Saturday, January 23, 2010

Amanda Platell speaks sense on life

Not someone I'm terribly familiar with but she spoke sense last night on Any Questions (23minutes 26 seconds into the programme) on the sanctity of life in the case of the mother Frances Ignlis who was convicted of murder for killing her severely incapacitated son.

I've found this good column in the Daily Mail: "Twix bars, condoms and the betrayal of our young people."

Priesthood as a gift

The following is a reflection from the Secretary of the Congregation for the Clergy.

“Almighty Father, grant to these servants of yours the dignity of the priesthood. Renew within them the Spirit of holiness. As co-workers with the order of bishops may they be faithful to the ministry that they receive from you, Lord God, and be to others a model of right conduct.”
(Pontificale Romanum: De Ordinatione Episcopi, presbyterorum et diaconorum,
Edition typical, Typis Polyglottis Vaticanis 1990)

From the Vatican, 15th January 2010

Dear Brothers in the Priesthood,

A central part of the prayer of ordination recalls how the Priest is essentially a gift, and, exactly in view of that “supernatural gift”, he carries himself with a dignity which everyone, clergy and lay faithful, are called to recognise. One has in mind a dignity which is not the work of man but which is the pure gift of grace, to which one is called and which no one can demand as a right. The dignity of the priesthood, bestowed by the “Almighty Father”, must be evident in the life of priests: in their sanctity, in their welcoming humanity full of humility and pastoral charity, in the clarity of their faithfulness to the Gospel and the doctrine of the Church, in the sobriety and solemnity of their celebration of the divine mysteries, in their ecclesiastical garb. Everything in the priest must lead him to recall, to himself and to the world, that he is the object of an unmerited gift beyond any merit of his, which makes him an efficacious presence of the Absolute in the world for the salvation of men.

The Spirit of holiness, which one begs might be poured forth anew, is the guarantee to be able to live the vocation one has received in “holiness” and, at the same time, the condition of the very possibility to be “faithful to the ministry”. Faithfulness is the wonderful meeting of the faithful freedom of God and the created but wounded freedom of man, which, however, through the power of the Spirit, becomes sacramentally capable “to be to others a model of right conduct”. Far from reducing the ministerial priesthood to a moralistic category, such an exhortation shows the “fullness” of life: a life which is really thus is a life that is integrally Christian.

The Priest, clothed with the Spirit of the Almighty Father, is called to “guide” the journey of sanctification of the people entrusted to him by teaching and the celebration of the sacraments and, above all, with his own life, with the certainty that this is the only end for which the priest himself exists: Paradise!

The gift of the Father makes of the “sons-priests” his beloved; a portio electa populi Dei, which is called to “be chosen” and also to gleam by the holiness of life and the witness of faith.

May the memory of the gift received, always renewed by the Spirit and the protection of the Blessed Virgin Mary, Handmaid of the Lord and Tabernacle of the Holy Spirit, allow each Priest to “faithfully fulfil” his mission in the world, in joyful expectation of the heavenly reward kept safe for the chosen sons, who are also heirs.

+ Mauro Piacenza
Titular Archbishop of Vittoriana

Tuesday, January 19, 2010


From the Vatican News Service today:


VATICAN CITY, 19 JAN 2010 (VIS) - The Pontifical Council "Cor Unum" released the following English-language communique late yesterday:

"In light of the request of the Pontifical Council 'Cor Unum' that Catholic Relief Services (CRS), the international humanitarian agency of the Bishops of the United States, co-ordinate the Church's relief efforts in Haiti at this stage, CRS has been holding on-site meetings with the Haitian Episcopal Conference, the apostolic nuncio and several foreign Catholic charitable agencies, now operating in Port-au-Prince, to asses and respond to the disaster.

"The group initiated immediately the provision of food, water, clothing, shelter and medical aid for the displaced survivors in informal camps. Twelve sites have now been jointly determined as distribution points for further provision with security and operational assessments already undertaken. Personnel and supplies from neighbouring Santo Domingo and other nations continue to arrive through a variety of Catholic aid organisations.

"As with previous disasters, the concrete generosity of Churches, institutions and individuals worldwide is again being manifested. The needs and challenges remain significant, particularly on the level of movement of goods and people and security, and are likely to grow as the effects of the earthquake in and beyond Port-au-Prince become increasingly evident".

Monday, January 18, 2010

How much is a smile worth?

The charity SmileTrain has been advertising extensively of late in publications as diverse as The Week, English Heritage and the Catholic Herald.

In the developed world, babies with the slightest hint of cleft palate are routinely aborted. I therefore felt compelled to support the work of this charity and have sent a donation. £175 covers the cost of surgery to one child but you can donate any amount you like. I daresay their advertising costs are considerable but how else are they to raise funds.

I generally make enquiries of charities about their pro-life position and have been assured that none of their funds goes to pre-natal testing or any other such procedure that would lead to abortion.

Find them here.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Catholic Education - a nail in the coffin?

One reason I was all but silent on the blog from early December to early January was that I was very concerned about our Catholic Education. I wanted to write, but not rant. Allow to explain some of my worries.

This weekend's issue of the Tablet (Bishop pledges not to pry into teachers’ private lives) reports that Bishop Malcolm McMahon, the Chairman of the Catholic Education Service, "has promised that the Church will not investigate the private lives of applicants for the headships of Catholic schools." The promise has been made in the light of the increasing difficulty encountered in the recruitment of candidates for headships whose lives fully correspond to the Church's teaching, particularly as regards marriage.
But Bishop Malcolm McMahon told The Tablet that the backgrounds of potential school leaders were not the concern of the Church and it should be up to applicants themselves to decide whether they were able to live according to church teaching. “Their family life isn’t scrutinised,” said the bishop. “I’d be rather ashamed if the Church was doing that to people. But we do expect people in leadership in the Church to live out their Christian commitment as best they can.”

I feel this is yet another 'nail in the coffin' of Catholic Education in our country.

The backgrounds of potential school leaders, indeed of every living soul, is of immense concern to the Church since She is concerned about the salvation, not only of those who lead our schools, but of those whom they are charged to lead and teach. There needs to be some way of ensuring that our teachers are exemplary in their lives. Only in that way can they give example to the pupils and teach coherently what the Church teaches.

The Code of Canon Law reminds both teachers and Ordinaries of their responsibilities in this regard:
Can. 803 #2: The instruction and education in a Catholic school must be grounded in the principles of Catholic doctrine; teachers are to be outstanding in correct doctrine and integrity of life.
Can. 804 #2: The local Ordinary is to be concerned that those who are designated teachers of religious instruction in schools ... are outstanding in correct doctrine, the witness of a Christian life, and teaching skill.
Can. 805: For his own diocese, the local Ordinary has the right to appoint or approve teachers of religion and even to remove them or demand that they be removed if a reason of religion or morals requires it.

So, it is evident that there needs to be some manner of establishing whether a teacher - and therefore a head teacher - is outstanding in correct doctrine and the witness of a Christian life and that there is no reason of morals why they should not be appointed. How is this to be done if not by enquiring (notice the less loaded language I choose as an alternative to "investigate") into these matters. Surely we have a right to ask, in this day and age when marriage in particular is undermined, whether a candidate's life in this regard is in keeping with the Church's teaching, in particular:
- if married, have they been married in accordance with the laws of the Church?
- if unmarried, are they 'living together' with anyone?
- have they entered into a civil partnership?
and to insist that they enter into a contract to always live by the Church's teaching this regard.

But Bishop McMahon does not see that being in a civil partnership is a problem. The Tablet reports:

He also said that the Church was not opposed to civil partnerships. “Civil partnerships are precisely what they say they are. They’re not gay marriages or lesbian marriages. They’re simply a legal arrangement between two people so that they can pass on property and other rights in which they were discriminated against before,” he said. “We have many gay people in education and a large number of gay people in the Church, at least the same as the national average. I think a person who is leading a church school should live according to the Church’s teaching whether they are in a civil partnership or not. A civil partnership is not a marriage, it’s not a conjugal relationship.”
Firstly, I think it is regrettable that Bishop McMahon adopts the descriptive 'gay' to people. I prefer to follow the Catechism of the Catholic Church in thinking of so-called 'gay' people as those 'who experience an exclusive or predominant sexual attraction towards persons of the same sex', acknowledging that 'homosexual acts are intrinsically disordered' as is the inclination itself. (CCC 2357,2358) Hopefully, Catholics who experience this struggle have recourse to the help of God's grace to control this inclination and even overcome it, to live chaste lives and friendships.(CCC 2358,2359)

Secondly, if by "the Church" we mean Pope Benedict and the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith and the authentic Magisterium of the Church, we would have to point out Bishop McMahon's error in this regard. The Tablet does have the fairness to refer to the campaign of the Bishops' Conference of England and Wales against civil partnerships and to say that Bishop McMahon takes a softer line on these issues - all the more reason that we should be worried that he is now Chairman of the CES.

We should respectfully refer Bishop McMahon to the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith's June 2003 document Considerations regarding proposals to give legal recognition to unions between homosexual persons in which arguments from reason are given against the legal recognition of homosexual unions and then the position of Catholic politicians faced with the question of such legal recognition.

We read:
In those situations where homosexual unions have been legally recognized or have been given the legal status and rights belonging to marriage, clear and emphatic opposition is a duty. One must refrain from any kind of formal cooperation in the enactment or application of such gravely unjust laws and, as far as possible, from material cooperation on the level of their application. In this area, everyone can exercise the right to conscientious objection. (n.5)

Laws in favour of homosexual unions are contrary to right reason because they confer legal guarantees, analogous to those granted to marriage, to unions between persons of the same sex. Given the values at stake in this question, the State could not grant legal standing to such unions without failing in its duty to promote and defend marriage as an institution essential to the common good.(n.6)

The normalisation of these forms of union also affect the perception of young people's perception of marriage:
Lifestyles and the underlying presuppositions these express not only externally shape the life of society, but also tend to modify the younger generation's perception and evaluation of forms of behaviour. Legal recognition of homosexual unions would obscure certain basic moral values and cause a devaluation of the institution of marriage.(n.6)
On the question of rights and discrimination:
Because married couples ensure the succession of generations and are therefore eminently within the public interest, civil law grants them institutional recognition. Homosexual unions, on the other hand, do not need specific attention from the legal standpoint since they do not exercise this function for the common good.

Nor is the argument valid according to which legal recognition of homosexual unions is necessary to avoid situations in which cohabiting homosexual persons, simply because they live together, might be deprived of real recognition of their rights as persons and citizens. In reality, they can always make use of the provisions of law – like all citizens from the standpoint of their private autonomy – to protect their rights in matters of common interest. It would be gravely unjust to sacrifice the common good and just laws on the family in order to protect personal goods that can and must be guaranteed in ways that do not harm the body of society.(n.9)

On the responsibility of Catholic politicians, the CDF advise (my emphasis):
If it is true that all Catholics are obliged to oppose the legal recognition of homosexual unions, Catholic politicians are obliged to do so in a particular way, in keeping with their responsibility as politicians.

About rights and discrmination, The Tablet reports Bishop McMahon as saying:
(Civil partnerships are) simply a legal arrangement between two people so that they can pass on property and other rights in which they were discriminated against before.
The point is, however, that this was not a form of unjust discrimination. It was a recognition that marriage is a unique form of partnerhip in which a family is formed, and that the goods of the partners become the goods of the family and, rightly, pass to surviving members of the family on the death of one or other spouse. This ensures not only the good of the family but the good of society too. Marriage uniquely concerns the common good.

It is now those who are unable to enter into civil partnerships who are discriminated against: unmarried siblings who spend a lifetime together, perhaps caring for one another; priests who have been served lovingly by selfless housekeepers; etc. These cannot make use of these civil partnerships precisely because the assumption is that the relationship is sexual. Therefore the notion that civil partnerships have nothing to do with homosexuality is quite naive. The fact that Bishop McMahon refers to "the many gay people (we have) in education" shows that it is homosexual people he has in mind when talking about prospective headteachers and others being in civil partnerships. Tony Blair, that celebrated "convert" to the Catholic Faith and architect of this legislation, wrote in The Independent on 21st December 2005:
It (the new legislation) gives gay and lesbian couples who register their relationship the same safeguards over inheritance, insurance and employment and pension benefits as married couples.
And at a Stonewall dinner in March, reported by UK Gay News, Blair spoke of his real pride and joy about this legislation and the rights it has given to homosexual people.

I think we are within our rights to presume that people who have entered into a civil partnership are in a same sex relationship. Even if they are not, this common presumption will naturally give rise to scandal amongst those who uphold the natural institution of marriage. It will particularly scandalise those Catholic parents who care about this matter if their children's school's head teacher or other teacher is in such a partnership.

There is another very important matter and that is the question of discrimination within the Church that this statement implies. The reason why the CES is getting soft on recruitment is because of the pressures of equality legislation. Yet all Catholics, and our Catholic Schools, are subject to Divine Law and Ecclesiastical Law. If Catholic headteachers will not have their 'family life' scrutinised, why should Catholic priests not have the same right to privacy? Perhaps I might, after all, support the Government's move to have priests recognised not as office holders but as employees, just to illustrate the consequences for the Church of applying double standards - one for its laity and another for its clergy.

Clergy are now less able to defend orthodox teaching in our schools. We are becoming more and more sidelined as we seek to uphold the Church's teaching by our teaching and, more importantly, by our example. Catholic headteachers and, indeed, all teachers in our Catholic schools, should have the same obligation. And if we cannot recruit satisfactory candidates, we need to reassess the provision of Catholic education, considering a redeployment of funds and resources into educational projects that will be more effective at passing on the whole Truth, and nothing but the Truth, to future generations.

Friday, January 15, 2010

Haiti - how to help

Inevitably with disaster emergency appeals, people want to know how they can effectively contribute funds to assist the immediate needs of the people who are suffering and to help rebuild what has been destroyed.

Aid to the Church in Need is in contact with the Apostolic Nuncio, Mgr Bernardito Auza, and is now collecting funds for emergency help in Haiti to be routed through the nunciature, one of the few administrative buildings that seem to have survived the quake in the capital, Port-au-Prince.

You can find out more at the Aid to the Church in Need website and donate here.

There will be an emergency collection for the Haiti earthquake in the parish this Sunday. The money collected will be sent to Aid to the Church in Need.

The following is a message from the Apostolic Nuncio in Haiti:
"We're in big trouble for obvious logistical reasons. We have no reserves of water and petrol stations are closed. CRS (catholic Relief Services) has an important presence here and perhaps the center of operations will be transferred to Gonaives because' here in Port-au-Prince things are difficult. We lack everything.

Archbishop Miot, the good and always smiling Archbishop of Port-au-Prince, died when thrown from the balcony of his room while waiting for someone to go out for a ceremony. The strength of the earthquake threw him from the balcony and it seems that he died immediately. But there is no electricity and so we decided yesterday to transfer his body to Saint Marc, Gonaives. I suggested to bury him immediately, but here it is not the tradition, it would be an insult. It has still to be yet to be verified, how many priests and religious are dead, as some are still beneath the rubble. Even the Vicar General of PAP,the Rev. Charles Benoit, and the Canceller, Fr. Cherie, are still under the rubble. Fr. Cherie is definitely dead, but we are not sure about Fr. Benoit as he is underneath the rubble of the Archbishop that had four floors and' now is reduced to a pile of cement.

Last night I went to visit the major seminary, which is a heap of concrete, except for one building. Thank god all but one of the staff were able to get out of the ruins, but three or four seminarians are still missing, nine were confirmed dead, including seven in the philosophy section. We are trying to collect all religious and priests together, who are left with nothing. The shocks continue, but are less violent.

I also visited religious houses and places to see and to express the concern of the Holy Father. All grateful situation like this, and want to give priority to helping those who are still buried under the rubble. So far no help by air rescue has arrived. The airport cannot cope – the control tower has collapsed... a warship with aid should arrive shortly from the U.S. Santo Domingo is our gate to the world for the moment. So many people are waiting for help at the border.

The people are sleeping or wandering aimlessly through the streets, but many have also left for the mountains for fear of a tsunami. It is probably better that they leave to relieve the congestion in the capital.

Yesterday, some bishops have been able to com to the Nunciature to coordinate and make decisions. We will meet again tomorrow with leaders of CRS and Caritas in the Nunciature. "

Thanks again and God bless!
+ Bernardito Auza

The Fides website is also carrying current reports:
“The aftershocks continue, although less violent. We are in need of everything and will be for quite awhile!” Apostolic Nuncio tells Fides

Missionaries of the Immaculate Conception: sisters are fine, although buildings have suffered tremendous damage

5 Camillian seminarians have returned home fine and are already at work in the hospital, working without anesthesia

“Haiti was already an extremely poor country before the earthquake. Now we are desperate,” says Fr. Lovera, Director of the “Saint Camille” Pediatric Hospital in Port-au-Prince

Oblates of Mary Immaculate (OMI): one student dead, damages to provincial house and scholasticate destroyed

Many Salesians still missing, over 200 students buried under the fallen building in Port-au-Prince Enam

Humanitarian emergency in Haiti: Daughters of Mary Help of Christians at work on the site

First humanitarian aid interventions open doors, although there is fear of epidemics

DOMINICAN REPUBLIC - Archdiocese of Santiago de los Caballeros: “The country has opened the doors of all its hospitals and reinforced medical personnel,” fundraising telethon planned

Hospital run by Camillians is only one functioning. “We are in need of practically everything,” Fr. Efisio Locci tells Fides

A parishioner from our neighbouring parish also informed me about the Missionnaires de Saint Jacques, a religious order founded in Brittany but who have a number of priests and lay missionaries in Haiti. They too have need of funds. One of their seminarians is reported to have died. Their website is in French. Their uptodate news from Haiti is to be found here.

Monday, January 11, 2010

His Honour Judge Joseph Dean RIP

Joe died at the William Harvey hospital this morning. Funeral arrangements will be announced in due course. Please pray for the repose of Joe's soul, for his wife Jenny and family. May he rest in peace.

Candlemas Sung Mass

Some advance notice: that there will be a sung Latin Mass (extroardinary form) here at St Simon's at 6.45pm on Tuesday 2nd February. Preparations are underway. If anyone would like to help in any way, do let me know. 'All are welcome' as they say. Many thanks.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

If we think we had it bad...

Here's the video that exlaodicea referred to.

Snow clearing this morning

At 9am I started shovelling the snow to clear a path. As parishioners arrived, they got involved. Three (John Barton, Vivian Conn, Martiel Eba) took over the shovelling and Eileen Conn and I transferred to gritting. Our newly appointed parish photographer Maureen Auchterlonie again captured some moments for the record. The Saturno came into its own and caused much amusement/delight! Great to see the co-operative parish spirit in operation. Attendance at the 10am Mass was suprisingly good. The 12 noon was decimated - many travel from places that would have been inaccessible today. Await to see the 6pm this evening.

Oh and the kids had snowball fights after Mass - all in the spirit of Christian peace, love and fun. Hope I didn't allow any breach of elf 'n' safety!

Saturday, January 9, 2010

Clerical cooking

Following on the culinary posts by Father Z and Owl of the Remove, here's my supper for this evening: a nice tuna and pasta with onions, red pepper and chopped tomatoes. Yes, that's a laptop computer you can see in front of you. As we are all snowed in I relaxed watching La Vie en Rose which was available on the BBC iplayer. A very moving film about the enigmatic Edith Piaf. What a complex character (if it's a true biographical movie): devotion to St Therese of Lisieux, conducting an affair with a boxer, addicted to drugs, consults a psychic, etc. She was certainly an inspiring singer. May she rest in peace.

Here's how the Church is looking these wintry days:

Parishioner Maria Lanzino was one of the small number of parishioners who made it to Mass yesterday (Friday).

I'm looking forward to seeing a good number of intrepid parishioners getting here tomorrow by foot, sledge, ski...

The Dogmatism of Secular Humanism

Polly Toynbee did not miss the opportunity in yesterday's Any Questions to speak pompously as usual as President of the British Humanist Association and insist on the 'privatisation' of religion. Could we have secularist humanism 'privatised' too? When religion was banned from the public square in the Soviet Union and the satellite states of the USSR, China, Cuba, Cambodia... or in fascist Germany how humane did the society become? How many people died? And in our society today, how many innocent babies are killed in this 'civilised' 'enlightened' western culture of ours? I really get fed up with religion being blamed for the evils of the world. It was completely disingenuous of Ms Toynbee to move from the difficulties caused by religious fanatics to the privatisation of religion. Mind you, Simon Hughes MP gave her the perfect opportunity to do so.

You can listen to it here (19 minutes 43 seconds into the show)
"Can I just add to that (Simon Hughes MP had made reference to fundamentalists of all faiths, not just Moslem, Christian too - fair enough but it gave Toynbee the opportunity to come in with her dogma) because I am president of the British Humanist Association (oh, so you speak with authority and we must all listen up!) that also it's not just about faith; it's about making sure that we keep faith quite separate, quite private and away from the public sphere; that there is a definite distinction between public life, what government does, and what people do in their private life and we don't let the two get mixed up and I think we've given rather too much over emphasis to faith..."
It was rather ironic that she was speaking in the Baitul Futuh Mosque in Morden, Surrey on the outkirts of London, the largest mosque in Western Europe, the international headquarters of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community and claimed on the programme to be possibly the most outstanding building of the 21st century. According to the Jonathan Dimbleby's introduction, three thousand people were gathered earlier in the day for Friday prayers, it is a building of this age with outreach programmes and vibrant inter-faith dialogue. They have a 24 hour satellite TV network that transmits its sermons and other events around the globe.

Good luck to them. They have every right to promote their activities and to be present in the community. Maybe the Catholic Church should plan a mega-Church in a London suburb, with satellite TV etc. I hope the planners would welcome it in the same spirit as this mosque is clearly admired and respected.

Jonathan Dimbleby informed listeners that the mosque, opened in 2003, was built at a cost of £15 million, the money raised entirely by the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community. If the Catholic Church spent £15 million pounds, raised entirely by voluntary contributions of the Catholic faithful, on a 3,000 capacity mega-church, I'm sure it wouldn't be long before complaints about the riches and wealth of the Church would be heard!

"The Story of This" - a new book by Andrew McNabb

Andrew McNabb sent me the following message which I am happy to publish here.
My name is Andrew McNabb. I am an American writer and the great grand nephew of the great Dominican priest, Fr. Vincent McNabb (d. 1942: prolific writer, lead speaker for the Catholic Evidence Guild at Hyde Park, Distributist and close friend of Chesterton and Belloc.) I am the author of a short story collection, The Body of This, that many are considering "Catholic" literature. Joseph Pearce, in his cover blurb, describes the book as “as radically transforming as viniculture, transforming the water of everyday experience into the wine of life.” In Standpoint Magazine (July/August,) Piers Paul Read referred to the book as “exquisite.” For more info about me and The Body of This, please visit

Helpers of God's Precious Infants Christmas 2009 Newsletter

As you may know, I occasionally join in prayers outside the Marie Stopes abortion facility at Maidstone. This and other prayer vigils are organised by valiant lay people who style themselves the Helpers of God's Precious Ifants. Our next at Maidstone is on February 18th:
Helpers of God's Precious Infants Maidstone 18th February 2010

Here is their Christmas 2009 Newsletter, published with permission.
Helpers of God's Precious Infants Christmas 2009 Newsletter

Bob Hope on Zombies and Democrats

Laughing out loud thanks to Gemoftheocean.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Christmas Sanctuary

Parishioner Maureen Auchterlonie took this photograph on New Years Day before the Extraordinary Form Mass at 10am. She was showing it to us on her camera after Bible Study this evening. Notice the new altar super-frontal with the Lamb of God - it really looks splendid, the work of another parishioner Catarina Beresford.

There was a very nice atmosphere at that Mass - a number of Sri Lankan families were present and all were very happy and joyful. Fewer people attended the mid-day Ordinary Form Mass than the 10am Extraordinary Form.

Attendance at New Year's Day was quite poor. In the USA it's a Holyday of Obligation.

Wintershall Nativity Play

A bit late, but on the Monday before Christmas a group of parishioners travelled to the Wintershall Estate for their famous Nativity Play. Here are some photos, generally without captions as you should be able to make out the scenes.

Some of the scene might seem out of order but dramatic licence was used to flashback etc and include many aspects of the Nativity story in a very effective manner. There were also some lovely musical items (e.g. Ave Maria).

It's a very moving production and an excellent way to prepare for Christmas. So check it out next year.

The shepherds explain to the children in the audience the scene they have witnessed.

The Annunciation

The Magi arrive.

St Michael appears and warns the Magi to return by a different way. Here the prayer to St Michael was said.

St Michael addresses Herod, who was suitably consigned to the fires of hell through the back of the stage.

The Totalitarianism of Abortion covers a homily given by Archbishop Carlos Osoro of Valencia, Spain, on the feast of the Holy Innocents. The state-sponsored practice of abortion is the greatest crime of nations throughout the world, led by the nations of Europe. How can the human species ever hope to live at peace amongst its members when it disregards its most vulnerable and innocent, when it seeks to kill its own members for no other reason than that they are inconvenient?
According to the Spanish newspaper ABC, Osoro also denounced western nations where "we fill our mouths with talk of human rights and where the most is being done to prevent the construction of peace and reconciliation."

"Reconciliation will never arrive while human life is not respected from its beginning until its natural end," added Osoro, who noted that the situation is similar to "what was experienced in Europe in previous times," comparing the current abortionist regimes to the totalitarianism of the 20th century.

"In questioning life, liberty in itself is brought into question, and the most profound injustice that can exist is established, which is to take away the life of the most defenseless," said Osoro.

Osoro's comments were made as Spain moves towards the legalization of abortion on demand. Legislation recently passed by the Spanish Chamber of Deputies (the lower legislative house) will allow women to freely choose death for their children during the first fourteen weeks of pregnancy, and will mandate pro-abortion education throughout the country.

Lifesitenews comments:
As a result of widespread abortion and contraception, Spain's families have an average of about 1.3 children, and the country is experiencing strong immigration pressures from Africa and Latin America.

Of course, it's not very politically correct to speak about 'immigration pressures', but we have to acknowledge that as we kill our own unborn and refuse to procreate at a sufficient level, well, immigration 'pressures' are a consequence.

Is immigration in itself a bad thing? No, of course not, where there is a need for people to move from one part of the world to another to seek freedom from persecution, reasonble standards of living, etc. The native culture should be able and willing to welcome such migrants. As a son of Irish immigrants I am glad that immigration was and is possible and I rejoice at the cultural diversity of my parish congregation.

But we must accept the consequences of not replacing our own population and killing those who could enter our societies as active contributors before they are born. Our native cultures will die and the world will be all the poorer for that, not to mention the moral consequence of the terrible sin involved. Immigration combined with a re-population of the native culture would provide for a healthy and enriching mix of cultures. And as Christians, we would rejoice in experiencing the catholicity of the Church in our own lands and the opportunity to bear witness to our Christian faith to those of other cultures and religions who would come.

It is long overdue that the Church should promote life and seek to encourage married couples to have more children and to support them in doing so, and working to promote an economic environment where it is no longer necessary for both parents to work. This would be a great project for the Archdiocesan Commission for Justice, Peace and Integrity of Creation.

See also John Smeaton's blog post: UK was morally powerless to stop Akmal Shaikhs' execution in China

Mgr Graham Leonard - May he rest in peace

The former Bishop of London who converted to the Catholic Church and was ordained a Catholic priest on 23rd April 1994 has died.

At the time of writing, the only websites carrying the news appear to be:

Damian Thompson:
I’ve just heard that Mgr Graham Leonard, the former Bishop of London who became a Catholic and was made a (married) Monsignor by Pope John Paul II, has died.

Mgr Leonard, 88, was a formidable and dignified champion of the Anglo-Catholic cause in the Church of England; when he converted to Catholicism after the vote to ordain women priests, he was ordained priest conditionally, having persuaded the Vatican that he might already possess valid orders by virtue of an Old Catholic apostolic succession.

Mgr Leonard had originally hoped that he could bring with him Anglican priests and faithful who could worship together after their reception; as it turned out, the time was not yet ripe. But it is now. The Ordinariate scheme, currently taking shape, will be a fitting memorial to this inspiring priest.

Ruth Gledhill:
Monsignor Graham Leonard, former Bishop of London who converted to Catholicism and became a Catholic priest, has died. He was such a great man, a great Bishop of London, a true Catholic priest. We had fun, those of us on the religion beat when he was not just in the news, but making it. The London diocese has a statement. Apologies for the brevity of this blog, more soon.

Here is the (Anglican) diocese of London's statement:
The Bishop of London has issued a statement on the death of Monsignor Graham Leonard.

"As Bishop of Willesden and then after a spell in Cornwall, as Bishop of London for ten years, Graham Leonard served the Diocese with faithfulness and a particular care for its large number of Church Schools.

"He will be mourned by his many friends and colleagues and our hearts go out in sympathy to Priscilla who played such a significant part in Bishop Graham's London ministry".

I'm sure our Miles Iesu (of which Mgr Leonard was a member) blogger will have a tribute to him in due course.

UPDATE: See Father Dwight Longenecker, Father Sean Finegan, Diocese of Westminster.


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