Wednesday, 22 November 2017

The Feast of Saint Clement of Rome

Almighty ever-living God, who are wonderful in the virtue of all your Saints, grant us joy in the yearly commemoration of Saint Clement, who, as a Martyr and High Priest of your Son, bore out by his witness what he celebrated in mystery and confirmed by example what he preached with his lips. Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son, who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever.


Saint Clement, pray for us and for Pope Francis.

Tuesday, 21 November 2017

The Feast of Saint Cecilia




O God, who gladden us each year with the feast day of your handmaid Saint Cecilia, grant, we pray, that what has been devoutly handed down concerning her may offer us examples to imitate and proclaim the wonders worked in his servants by Christ your Son. Who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever.


Saint Cecilia, pray for us and for all musicians.




Now haste ye to your crowns, cries Cecilia to her brethren; and soon the virgin herself is led before the judge.

She despises his angry threats and laughs at his false gods' wherefore the innocent maiden is declared deserving of death.

She remains long enclosed in the bath, while the furnace rages beneath; but stronger is the divine fire that burns in the virgin's heart.

Thrice does the barbarous lictor strike the innocent victim: he cannot accomplish his crime, for Christ has granted a delay to the martyr.

As her last hour draws nigh, she devotes her ancestral mansion to God, then free she wings her flight to the nuptials of the Lamb.

Hail! body of the martyr, long hidden in the sombre crypt; shining with a new glory, thou art restored to thy mother Rome.

The Virgin of virgins watches over thee, lest thou fade as a flower in the darkness, while thou liest empurpled with the blood of thy martyrdom, and clad in thy golden robe.

Sleep in thy silent marble tomb, while they spirit enthroned in heaven hymns its glad joy, and graciously receives our prayers.

May the happy choirs of virgins praise thee, O Jesus, their Spouse; to the Father and the Paraclete be equal and eternal glory. Amen

The Feast of the Presentation of the Blessed Virgin Mary in the Temple




As we venerate the glorious memory of the most holy Virgin Mary, grant, we pray, O Lord, through her intercession, that we, too, may merit to receive from the fullness of your grace. Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son, who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever.



Litany of Loreto

V. Lord, have mercy.
R. Christ have mercy.
V. Lord have mercy. Christ hear us.
R. Christ graciously hear us.
God the Father of heaven, have mercy on us.
God the Son, Redeemer of the world, have mercy on us.
God the Holy Spirit, have mercy on us.
Holy Trinity, one God, have mercy on us.

Holy Mary, pray for us.
Holy Mother of God, pray for us.
Holy Virgin of Virgins, [etc.]
Mother of Christ,
Mother of divine grace,
Mother most pure,
Mother most chaste,
Mother inviolate,
Mother undefiled,
Mother most amiable,
Mother most admirable,
Mother of good Counsel,
Mother of our Creator,
Mother of our Savior,
Virgin most prudent,
Virgin most venerable,
Virgin most renowned,
Virgin most powerful,
Virgin most merciful,
Virgin most faithful,
Mirror of justice,
Seat of wisdom,
Cause of our joy,
Spiritual vessel,
Vessel of honor,
Singular vessel of devotion,
Mystical rose,
Tower of David,
Tower of ivory,
House of gold,
Ark of the covenant,
Gate of heaven,
Morning star,
Health of the sick,
Refuge of sinners,
Comforter of the afflicted,
Help of Christians,
Queen of Angels,
Queen of Patriarchs,
Queen of Prophets,
Queen of Apostles,
Queen of Martyrs,
Queen of Confessors,
Queen of Virgins,
Queen of all Saints,
Queen conceived without original sin,
Queen assumed into heaven,
Queen of the most holy Rosary,
Queen of families,
Queen of peace,

V. Lamb of God, Who takest away the sins of the world,
R. Spare us, O Lord.
V. Lamb of God, Who takest away the sins of the world,
R. Graciously hear us, O Lord.
V. Lamb of God, Who takest away the sins of the world,
Have mercy on us.

V. Pray for us, O holy Mother of God.
R. That we may be made worthy of the promises of Christ.

Let us pray. Grant, we beseech Thee, O Lord God, that we thy servants may enjoy perpetual health of mind and body, and by the glorious intercession of blessed Mary, ever Virgin, may we be freed from present sorrow, and rejoice in eternal happiness. Through Christ our Lord. R. Amen.



Holy Mary, Ark of the Covenant, pray for us and for all Christian children, that they may learn to be devoted to God.

Monday, 20 November 2017

ConservativeHome: Why I’m proud to be a mutineer – or, rather, to be striving to improve the EU Withdrawal Bill

ConservativeHome: Why I’m proud to be a mutineer – or, rather, to be striving to improve the EU Withdrawal Bill

by Nicky Morgan MP

"When those pursuing a course of action which will affect Britain’s place in the world for decades to come prefer to label us, and try to bully us into silence, rather than argue their case, that says much more about them that it does about us. If anything, last week has emboldened us further in putting forward the case for a Brexit which respects the referendum result but does not undermine our economy, our constitution nor our values as a country."

The Feast of Saint Edmund the Martyr




O God of ineffable mercy, who didst give grace and fortitude to blessed Edmund the king to triumph over the enemy of his people by nobly dying for thy Name: Bestow on us thy servants, we beseech thee, the shield of faith, wherewith we may withstand the assaults of our ancient enemy; through Jesus Christ our Redeemer, who liveth and reigneth with thee and the Holy Ghost, one God, now and for ever. Amen.



Saint Edmund, pray for us, for all kings and queens and for East Anglia.

Sunday, 19 November 2017

Republocrat, by Carl Trueman



Carl R. Trueman, Republocrat: Confessions of a Liberal Conservative, 2010 Presbyterian and Reformed Publishing

This book, by Reformed theologian Carl Trueman is a critique of American politics. The author is an Englishman transplanted in the USA. The transatlantic perspective here rather put me in mind of the BBC's 'Letter from America.' As I read it, I imagined Carl Trueman speaking with Alistair Cooke's voice.

Trueman had supported the Conservative Party in his youth, but had become disillusioned with the right, coming to suspect that those on the right were more often than not motivated primarily by commercial and business interests. He is particularly critical here of the tendency of Evangelicalism to become too aligned with the Republican Party. He decries the partisanship of American politics, the bias of the media and the lack of charity that Christians show to those of differing political views. There is a danger when one is criticizing both sides of the political spectrum that one falls into an arrogant 'plague on both your houses' attitude, but Trueman manages to avoid this.

This book was written before the rise of Trump, but recent events must surely be deeply disturbing to its author. The level of partisanship in America seems to have reached an unbelievable level. The willingness of Christians, particularly Evangelical Christians to defend all manner of lies and villainy from Trump and his crew is appalling. He would no doubt be surprised by the ascension of Jeremy Corbyn to the Labour leadership, as he suggests that nobody with an unpolished appearance could reach a position of leadership today.

Trueman's grasp of economics seems a little weak. He says that a Mafia protection racket and drug dealing are both forms of capitalism. This is not true at all. Trueman seems to think that capitalism is simply any form of commerce, when actually it is more specific, the rational investment of capital. Nevertheless, the book is not about advocating an economic model; it is instead a wise and vital call for Christians to show more discernment in the political arena.

Saturday, 18 November 2017

Royal Wedding Anniversary


Catholic Herald: The unlikely champions of married priests

Catholic Herald: The unlikely champions of married priests

by Michael Davis

The retired Conservative politician Ann Widdecombe is no one’s idea of a liberation theologian. But she supports married priests. “In this country, hundreds of Anglican priests have crossed over to Rome and stayed married, whereas a Catholic priest must choose between marrying and his vocation,” she told me. “But I don’t think we should lift the celibacy rule wholesale. That would cause a lot of division. What the Pope should do, rather, is leave it to the archbishops and let it be decided on a case-by-case basis.”

Damian Thompson, editor-in-chief of the Catholic Herald, agrees. “A vocation to celibacy isn’t the same thing as a vocation to the priesthood,” he observes. “We already recognise that by ordaining married men who belong to Eastern Rite churches or were previously Anglican clergy.”

He hopes that married priests would solve more problems than just the vocations crisis.

“This is a delicate point,” Thompson says, “but I think the ban on marriage lies behind the dramatic over-representation of gay priests in parts of the West. Although most of these men lead faithful celibate lives, and I’m horrified by attempts to exclude gay men from seminaries, shouldn’t we address this imbalance?”

I think in the balance, the arguments for introducing (or reintroducing) married priests in the Latin rite are stronger than the arguments against.

ConservativeHome: More social housing, fewer no-fault evictions. The Conservatives need a plan for Britain’s growing renters.

ConservativeHome: More social housing, fewer no-fault evictions. The Conservatives need a plan for Britain’s growing renters.

by Dan Wilson Craw

"Rather than focus exclusively on boosting homeownership – by reducing stamp duty, for example – Philip Hammond should design policies that address the needs of renters as they age into retirement. Next week’s Budget will set out the government’s proposed solutions to the housing crisis. One area the Treasury is looking at is how to increase security of tenure for private renters.

Doing so, by restricting the ‘no fault’ eviction process that means tenants are given just two months’ notice to move, and by limiting the amount that rents can rise, should be key priorities for government. The rewards for the Tories would be fewer disrupted educations, more reason for tenants to invest time in their community, and fewer people with the sense that capitalism is out to get them.

There is also a basic sense of fairness that is currently undermined by ‘no fault’ evictions; in theory a diligent tenant, who has always paid their rent on time, has as much security as someone who has trashed the property, so there is no real reward for being a responsible renter.

More secure tenancies bring greater stability to renters’ lives, allowing them to plan more effectively for the future – to put money away money for a mortgage, or to save for retirement. But Hammond should also consider strategies to support the ageing rental sector population and reduce the government’s growing benefit burden in the process. New social housing construction, for example, would not only provide more opportunities for stable tenure. It would also lower the housing benefit bill in the long run, as housing supply begins to catch up with demand."

Catholic Herald: Bishop Egan criticises ‘draconian’ crackdown on pro-lifers

Catholic Herald: Bishop Egan criticises ‘draconian’ crackdown on pro-lifers

Bishop Philip Egan of Portsmouth has expressed dismay at a move to ban pro-life vigils outside an abortion clinic in his diocese.

The bishop said the decision, by Portsmouth city council, was part of “ever more draconian restrictions” on freedom of expression.

The council voted 33-1 to do “all within its powers” to prevent pro-life vigils outside an abortion clinic in Milton, Portsmouth.

The vigil, organised by 40 Days for Life, was attended by Bishop Egan last month. At the time he tweeted: “Please pray for the brave participants and for an end to abortion.”

Responding to the council vote, Bishop Egan said: “I am personally very sorry about this. The Portsmouth 40 Days for Life was a peaceful witness in which we offered prayers for the unborn, for mothers facing difficult choices, for medical staff, for families and for a change to the abortion law. We will have to continue this now in other fora.

“The council’s decision is yet another example of the ever more draconian restrictions being placed by our so-called liberal society on freedom of religious expression. With the current tides of regulation, it will become ever more difficult for Catholics to live out and witness to their faith.”

Has the bishop considered launching a judicial review of this decision?

Apache Helicopters arrive in Poland


Friday, 17 November 2017

The Feast of Saint Elizabeth of Hungary




O God, by whose gift Saint Elizabeth of Hungary recognized and revered Christ in the poor, grant, through her intercession, that we may serve with unfailing charity the needy and those afflicted. Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son, who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever.


The Litany of Saint Elizabeth of Hungary

Lord, have mercy upon us.
Christ, have mercy upon us.
Lord, have mercy upon us.

O Christ, hear us.
O Christ, graciously hear us.

O God the Father, of heaven:
have mercy upon us.
O God the Son, Redeemer of the world:
O God, the Holy Ghost:
O Holy Trinity, one God:
have mercy upon us.

Holy Mary:
Pray for us.
Immaculate Virgin:
Mother and Mistress of our Order:
Pray for us.

St. Elizabeth, Princess of Hungary:
Pray for us.
St. Elizabeth, Duchess of Thuringia:
St. Elizabeth, mother in Israel:
St. Elizabeth, queen in the Kingdom of God:
St. Elizabeth, consoler of sinners:
St. Elizabeth, nurse of lepers:
St. Elizabeth, devoted wife of Louis the Good:
St. Elizabeth, famous exemplar of Christian widowhood:
St. Elizabeth, fervent spouse of the Son of God:
St. Elizabeth, humble in prosperity:
St. Elizabeth, patient in adversity:
St. Elizabeth, mighty in penance:
St. Elizabeth, wondrous in prayer:
St. Elizabeth, first-born of the tertiaries regular:
St. Elizabeth, protectress of our Order:
St. Elizabeth, the "dear saint" of Holy Church:
Pray for us.

O Lamb of God, that takest away the sins of the world:
spare us, O Lord.
O Lamb of God, that takest away the sins of the world:
graciously hear us, O Lord.
O Lamb of God, that takest away the sins of the world:
have mercy on us.

V. Pray for us, O blessed Elizabeth. Alleluia.
R. That we may be worthy of the promises of Christ. Alleluia.

Let us pray.

The following Collect is said:

Merciful Lord, we pray Thee to pour the bright beams of Thy grace into our hearts: that, by the glorious prayers of Thy Saint Elizabeth, we may learn to despise all worldly prosperity, and ever to rejoice in all Heavenly consolation. Through Christ our Lord. Amen.



Saint Elizabeth, pray for us and for Hungary.

The Economist: Children are victims in the latest identity-driven culture war

The Economist: Children are victims in the latest identity-driven culture war


"Gender reassignment is a momentous choice, since it causes irreversible physical changes and, if surgery is done to reshape the genitalia, perhaps also sterility. For gender-dysphoric children the clock is ticking, since puberty moulds bodies in ways no drugs or scalpel can undo. Waiting until adulthood to start the transition therefore means worse results.

Some clinics buy time with puberty-blockers, which suppress the action of sex hormones. But these may have harmful side-effects. Furthermore, most gender-dysphoric children will probably not become transgender adults. Studies are scarce and small, but suggest that, without treatment, a majority will end up comfortable in their birth sex, so treatment would be harmful. Unfortunately, no one knows how to tell which group is which. Yet some trans activists have thrown caution to the wind. Specialists who start by trying to help gender-dysphoric children settle in their birth identities, rather than making a speedy switch, risk being labelled transphobes and forced out of their jobs. Few are willing to say that some such children may actually be suffering from a different underlying problem, such as anorexia or depression."

Thursday, 16 November 2017

Evening Standard: PM’s attempt at divide and rule misfires

Evening Standard: PM’s attempt at divide and rule misfires

editorial by You-Know-Who

"So since it serves no legal purpose, and doesn’t help with the negotiations, why is Mrs May trying to amend her own law?

She wanted to pick a fight with her own party. That is only justified for leaders if there is some major issue at stake. There wasn’t. It was an entirely tactical wheeze to make her look strong — and it has spectacularly backfired.

First, it has revealed that Tory doubts about Mrs May’s approach to Brexit are widely shared by experienced people in the party — everyone in Westminster knows those voicing reservations in public are the tip of the parliamentary iceberg. Some senior Brexit-supporting MPs are among those in despair about this latest gimmick.

Second, it has revealed the PM’s flawed instincts. You would think a Government that had lost its majority would think sensibly about how to minimise the number of difficult votes, not create more of them. You would also think that a PM who has lost her authority would be seeking to unify her party, not advocate deliberate division. Alas, not."

Sky News: Anna Soubry MP reports threats to police after Daily Telegraph headline

Sky News: Anna Soubry MP reports threats to police after Daily Telegraph headline

A Tory MP has revealed threats against her have been reported to police after she was branded among "Brexit mutineers" on a newspaper's front page.

Anna Soubry is one of 15 Conservative backbenchers highlighted as rebels by the Daily Telegraph, as the Government attempts to steer its key Brexit legislation through Parliament.

Under the headline "The Brexit mutineers", the newspaper's controversial front page also featured photographs of the MPs.

Ms Soubry immediately hit back at "bullying" while Brexit minister Steve Baker expressed his "regret" at "media attempts to divide our party".

Speaking in the House of Commons on Wednesday, Ms Soubry raised a point of order with Speaker John Bercow as she told of the threats.

The Broxtowe MP said: "According to my office, they have just reported about five, if not more, tweets to the police issuing threats against myself following the front page article on today's Daily Telegraph.

"Would you therefore, Mr Speaker, make it very clear to everybody, in whatever capacity, that they have an absolute duty to report responsibly and make sure they use language that brings our country together and makes sure that we have a democracy that welcomes free speech and an attitude of tolerance."

The government has been complicit in allowing a culture of abuse towards those who are unenthusiastic about Brexit.

The Feast of Saint Margaret of Scotland



O God, who made Saint Margaret of Scotland wonderful in her outstanding charity towards the poor, grant that through her intercession and example we may reflect among all humanity the image of your divine goodness. Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son, who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever.


Saint Margaret, pray for us and for Scotland.