Saturday, 27 December 2014

The Feast of St. John the Apostle

O God, who through the blessed Apostle John have unlocked for us the secrets of your Word, grant, we pray, that we may grasp with proper understanding what he has so marvelously brought to our ears. 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 John, pray for us, that the life of God would abide in us.

Friday, 26 December 2014

The Feast of St Stephen

Grant, Lord, we pray, that we may imitate what we worship, and so learn to love even our enemies, for we celebrate the heavenly birthday of a man who know how to pray even for his persecutors. 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.


Antiphon: And they stoned Stephen, invoking and saying: Lord Jesus, receive my spirit. And falling on his knees he cried with a loud voice, saying: Lord, lay not this sin to their charge. And when he had said this, he fell asleep in the Lord.

V. I see the heavens opened, R. And Jesus standing on the right hand of the power of God.

Lord, have mercy on us. Christ, have mercy on us. Lord, have mercy on us.

Saint Stephen, First Martyr, Pray for us. St. Stephen, who suffered for preaching the Name of Jesus Christ, Pray for us. St. Stephen, who so closely imitated Jesus in that great virtue of charity for thine enemies, Pray for us. St. Stephen, who when stoned by thine enemies, didst cast forth sparks, Pray for us. not of anger, but of love, to set on fire their hearts, harder than the stones which they threw, Pray for us. St. Stephen, having recommended thy soul to God, cried for mercy on the souls of thine enemies, Pray for us. St. Stephen, most zealous for the glory of God, b St. Stephen, most patient and constant, Pray for us. St. Stephen, pattern of chastity and purity, Pray for us. St. Stephen, whose heavenly fortitude caused admiration in all, St. Stephen, by whom so many miracles were wrought, Pray for us. St. Stephen, who, in the love of God, was not inferior to the Apostles themselves, Pray for us. St. Stephen, who didst convert many to the faith of Christ, Pray for us. St. Stephen, by whom the Church has received and continues to receive such singular benefits, Pray for us. St. Stephen, of whom it is said, that the Holy Ghost, Who inhabited thy soul, shone and darted forth His rays into thy body, Pray for us. St. Stephen, whose face shone like that of an angel, Pray for us. St. Stephen, filled with the faith and the Holy Ghost, Pray for us. St. Stephen, dear to the Heart of Jesus, Pray for us.

V. Obtain for us, O blessed Stephen, the virtue of holy charity: R. For which thou wast so eminent and we are so needy

Lord, have mercy on us. Christ, have mercy on us.

Let us pray. Grant to us, we beseech Thee, O Lord, so to imitate what we revere that we may learn to love even our enemies: for we celebrate him who could even plead on behalf of his persecutors with Thy Son Our Lord Jesus Christ. Who with Thee and the Holy Spirit livest and reignest, one God, world without end. R. Amen.

Saint Stephen, pray for us and for the persecuted Christians of the Middle East.

Tuesday, 23 December 2014

Tory MP Laura Sandys sets out the case against 'Brexit'

Guardian: Calls for a UK exit from the EU are at best perverse, and at worst unpatriotic

Article by Laura Sandys MP

Those already at the door marked “exit” embody a strange combination of defeatism and lack of ambition. They pose as the great patriots, but would any prime minister or British monarch (at least since Elizabeth I refused to marry a continental king) develop a clear policy to reduce the UK’s influence in Europe? That is what exit means – a real and highly substantive reduction in the UK’s influence with our neighbours and in our power to shape Europe’s policy. I do not see how anyone could think that a UK sitting on the outside would be a more powerful country; that withdrawal from any international club would enhance our international influence; or that leaving a trading organisation could in anyone’s mind reflect an economic strategy that will serve British business and jobs better.

And what about our own United Kingdom, an increasingly difficult settlement between four nations. For a start, withdrawal would not support a stronger union because pro-European Scotland would be back at the “independence” ballot box within months. It is Northern Ireland’s future stability, however, that would be most compromised; all political understandings would be threatened, the economy would be destabilised, and cross-border trade totally compromised. A political impact assessment of the consequences of European withdrawal for Northern Ireland would be a terrifying document to read, for the people of Northern Ireland and the coherence of the UK. Within years it would be irretrievably damaged, politically and economically.

Absolutely right. I have much respect and admiration for Laura Sandys. I think it is so sad that she is not contesting the South Thanet seat against nasty Nigel Farage.

The point about Scotland has been made before, but it is an important one. What she says about Northern Ireland is not something I had previously considered. It is very worrying to think about what would happen to the situation in Northern Ireland after 'Brexit.'

Sunday, 21 December 2014

Customary of Our Lady of Walsingham

I am not an ex-Anglican, but I have a certain fondness for Anglicanism and make regular use of the 1662 Book of Common Prayer in my private devotion. I'm even a member of the Prayer Book Society. I therefore thought it was worth forking out for the rather expensive prayer book of the Ordinariate of Our Lady of Walsingham.

The Customary of Our Lady of Walsingham is an adaptation of the Book of Common Prayer for Catholic use. It thus stands in the tradition of Book of Divine Worship, which did the same for ex-Anglicans in America, nowever, unlike the Book of Divine Worship it provides only the daily office of morning and evening prayer (along with night prayer and daytime prayer) and has no rite of communion. I have not yet read the 1928 Book of Common Prayer, so I cannot say to what extent the deviations in the Customary from the 1662 prayer book follow on from the revision of 1928.

The office of morning prayer omits the penitential prayer and reserves it for evening prayer, which seemed a bit surprising. It also tones down the language of sinfulness from the original, omitting 'there is no health in us' and 'miserable offenders.' A prayer for the Pope is added to the collection of petitions at the end of morning and evening prayer. The litany also adds prayer for the pope and prayer to Mary and saints. That of course, has the disadvantage of making the already lengthy Anglican litany even longer. I feel it is a shame that the Lord's Prayer with doxology is omitted and only the version without doxology is used at the end of morning and evening prayer.

Collects are provided for both feast days of particular significance for the England and feasts universally celebrated by Catholics. A short alternative lectionary is included at the back with short Scripture readings. I will admit that I normally use this when saying morning and evening prayer; opening up a Bible seems like an interruption in the flow of my prayer time. I suppose it is the Protestant in me that likes to distinguish Bible study time from prayer time.

A small change that does not fail to irritate me is the replacement of Holy Ghost with Holy Spirit. I know it is not very Catholic to say Holy Ghost, but as ghost lacks a syllable, it rolls off the tongue better and sounds more elegant than spirit.

I was disappointed that the Bible translation used is the RSV. This very much lacks the grandeur and dignity of the King James Bible. If the KJV was unacceptable for use in a Catholic liturgy, could the Douay-Rheims not have been used instead?

This book is very sturdily bound and will probably last quite a few years. It has three page markers which makes use a lot easier.

I don't think this is perfect, but it is wonderful to see Catholics making use of the glorious prayer book. The Customary has enriched my private devotion, even though I still use the 1662 BCP just as often (with my own addition of Marian prayers).

Saturday, 20 December 2014

Jeb Bush for President!

I am not American, but I have been known to take an interest in US politics. A few years ago, I gave John McCain my backing and he got the nomination, even if he lost to Obama. I didn't bother with the last US election; all the Republican contenders seemed like extreme fiscal conservatives.

Jeb Bush is definitely the man I'd like to see in the Whitehouse. A moderate, establishment conservative who is pro-immigration. He's even a convert to Catholicism like me. Bush definitely gets my support.

Wednesday, 17 December 2014

Daily Telegraph: Boris Johnson: do those concerned about immigration want ‘forced sterilisation or one-baby policy?’

Daily Telegraph: Boris Johnson: do those concerned about immigration want ‘forced sterilisation or one-baby policy?’

Boris Johnson has suggested that people concerned about Britain's rising population are prejudiced and joked that they want "forced sterilisation or a one-baby policy".

The Mayor of London implied that those concerned about the rising numbers living in the UK were not being honest about their motives, asking: "How would people feel if the population pressure was caused entirely by white, Anglo-Saxon protestant babies?"

Saying that immigration was good for the economy, Mr Johnson added that he understood people had fears about the pressures on public services in the Capital, but insisted that curbing the numbers coming to live in the UK from overseas was not the answer.

Boris Johnson finally starts to talk sense on immigration.

Saturday, 13 December 2014

God is Impassible and Impassioned, by Rob Lister

Rob Lister, God is Impassible and Impassioned: Toward a Theology of Divine Emotion, 2013 Crossway

This is a deeply disappointing book. One might have hoped that Rob Lister would have offered a contemporary defence of the much neglected doctrine of divine impassibility, but instead he redefines impassibility beyond recognition.

Lister attempts to persuade us in this book that when Christians historically affirmed that when Christians affirmed, as with the 39 Articles and the Westminster Confessions that "God is without passions," they didn't actually mean that and that God really does have passions.

Lister's position is that God is not subject to emotional affects that are involuntarily or unexpectedly wrung from him by his creatures.

The idea of God choosing to enter emotional states voluntary seems a very problematic one. It implies a clear duality in God. On the one hand, we have the essential God who is unaffected by His creation and then we have the emotional affected God that he chooses to become. Not only does this seem to damage God's eteranal unchangeable nature, but it also makes it impossible to affirm the doctrine of divine simplicity. Rather shockingly, he makes not the slightest mention of divine simplicity in the book. Are we supposed to assume that this doctrine is not important? Or does Lister think that nobody believes in divine simplicity any more?

Lister makes the case for his position being the historic and orthodox view and endeavours to find support for it among the Patristics, the Medieval theologians and the Reformers. He finds a few odd quotations in which a few divines say something similar to his views, but on the whole he has to force their words into his mould. He handles the evidence rather misleadingly, for instance using Athanasius and the Cappadocians discussion of the incarnation as evidence that they held to some sort of qualified divine passibility. However, the issue of divine impassibility lies not in the incarnation, but in the essential attributes of the Godhead.

The author becomes particularly troubled when he gets into the Medieval era. It seems clear that Saint Anselm affirmed an absolute divine impassibility and Lister is quite embarrassed by this. He tries to offer a rather strained interpretation of Anselm. He encounters in Saint Thomas Aquinas a similar resistance to his redefinition of impassibility. I am quite sure that Aquinas would be horrified by the idea of God choosing to feel emotion. Part of the difficulty is Lister's unwillingness to examine the definition of emotion as a philosophical category. For Aquinas, every term had to be rigorously defined, where Lister leaves the concept of what emotion is rather vague.

Lister rightly rejects the model of divine suffering offered by modern theologians, such as Moltmann. Yet he does not provide a strong critique to the widespread rejection of impassibility among Evangelical theologians. He lists a number of Evangelical critics of impassibility, John Feinberg, John Frame and Millard Erickson. He argues that the model of impassibility these theologians reject is not the true one that he advocates. We might wonder whether they have really so misunderstood the doctrine of impassibility as Lister seems to think.

The author argues at first that his views are largely in line with those of Paul Helm, though Helm has recently offered some very robust criticisms of Lister's views. He later expresses disagreement with Paul Helm over the issues of divine responsiveness, with Helm denying that God is in any way affected by His creations and Lister affirming a volutary divine response to creatures. It seems to me that Lister's emphasis on God's response being voluntary risks absolutizing God's will at the expense of His nature, thus landing us in Voluntarist territory.

Lister's disagreement with Helm comes down to the different ways in which these two theologians handle divine atemporality. Helm, standing with the classic tradition, insists on an absolute atemporality. Lister follows Bruce Ware in arguing that while God is outside time, he is just as fundamentally engaged in time. We end up with yet another dualism between God's eternal essence and His assumed interaction with creation. It is this dualism that has attracted Helm's recent criticisms.

I don't see this book as an encouraging sign of the state of conservative Evangelical theology. It is a good example of the weakness of the 'New Calvinism,' the 'Young, Restless and Reformed' movement. Like the New Calvinists in general, Lister wants to affirm the classical Reformed understanding of God, yet his modern commitment to the 'Passionate God' of modern Evangelicalism leads him to compromise the integrity of that Reformed tradition. It is difficult to enjoy the emotion-driven fervour of contemporary worship music while affirming a God who is 'without passions.'

The Feast of Saint Lucy

May the glorious intercession of the Virgin and Martyr Saint Lucy give us new heart, we pray, O Lord, so that we may celebrate her heavenly birthday in this present age and so behold things eternal. 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 Lucy, pray for us, that we may be faithful unto death.

Friday, 12 December 2014

Daily Telegraph: 'Teaching humanism in religious studies will fail pupils'

Daily Telegraph: 'Teaching humanism in religious studies will fail pupils'

Article by David Ashton

The BHA’s attempt to illustrate what a systematic study of humanism would consist of, is exactly what one would expect from trying to force humanism into religious categories; it fits like a foot in a glove.

Categories like ‘key religious texts or scriptures’, ‘early history’, ‘key figures’, ‘traditions’, ‘rituals’, ‘community’, ‘rites of passage’ ‘places and forms of worship’ and ‘festivals and celebrations’ misrepresent the nature of humanism and necessitate it becoming a less sophisticated and less demanding study than the alternative options of studying a religion.

Furthermore, much of the content specified is not distinctive to humanism as opposed to atheism, and much of it would be covered anyway in the ‘inquiring, critical and reflective’ study of religions, philosophy and ethics currently proposed by the Department for Education.

The BHA’s claim that excluding humanism is ‘discriminatory’ is a moral flashcard that detracts focus from the more relevant discussion of what content provides the most academically enriching educational contribution to the GCSE.

Edward Feser: Causality and Radioactive decay

Edward Feser: Causality and Radioactive decay

'Those who know some science but not a lot of philosophy very often assume that when a Scholastic philosopher says something about the nature of causality, or substance, or matter, or the like, then he is making a claim that stands or falls with what physics tells us, or at any rate should stand or fall with what physics tells us. But this is a category mistake. Scholastic metaphysics is not in competition with physics, but approaches the phenomena at a different (and indeed deeper) level of analysis. Its claims do not stand or fall with the findings of physics, any more than the claims of arithmetic stand or fall with the findings of physics. Indeed, like arithmetic, the basic theses of Scholastic metaphysics are (so the Scholastic argues) something any possible physics must presuppose.

Sometimes the critics assume that Scholastic metaphysics is in competition with physics because they are themselves making question-begging metaphysical assumptions. For instance, they might assume that any rationally justifiable claim about the nature of matter simply must be susceptible of formulation in the mathematical language of physics, or must be susceptible of empirical falsification. They are essentially making a metaphysics out of physics. Only physics can tell us anything about the nature of physical reality (so the critic supposes), so any claim about the nature of physical reality is implicitly, even if not explicitly, a claim of physics. As we will see below, this cannot possibly be right. Physics cannot even in principle tell us everything there is to know about physical reality (let alone reality more generally). But even if the assumption in question could be right, it simply begs the question against the Scholastic merely to assert it, since the Scholastic rejects this assumption, and on the basis of arguments that need to be answered rather than ignored (arguments I’ll discuss below).

Sometimes the conflation of empirical and metaphysical issues is due less to such large-scale philosophical assumptions than to a simple fallacy of equivocation. Both physicists and Scholastic metaphysicians use terms like “cause,” “matter,” and the like. A superficial reading therefore often leads critics to assume that they are addressing the same issues, when in fact they are very often not using the key terms in the same sense.

Sometimes the conflation is due to sheer intellectual sloppiness. Critics will formulate the issues in ridiculously sweeping terms, making peremptory claims to the effect that “Aristotelianism was refuted by modern science,” for example. In fact, of course, the labels “Aristotelianism” and “modern science” each cover a large number of distinct and logically independent ideas and arguments, and these need carefully to be disentangled before the question of the relationship between Scholastic metaphysics and modern physics can fruitfully be addressed. It is no good to say (for example) that since Aristotle’s geocentrism and theory of natural place have been falsified, “therefore” we should not take seriously his theory of act and potency or the account of causality that rests on it. This is simply a non sequitur. Such issues are completely independent of one another, logically speaking (regardless of the contingent historical association between them).'

The Feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe

O God, Father of mercies, who placed your people under the singular protection of your Son's most holy Mother, grant that all who invoke the Blessed Virgin of Guadalupe, may seek with ever more lively faith the progress of peoples in the ways of justice and of peace. 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.

Our Lady of Guadalupe, pray for us and all who are involved in the pro-life movement.

Thursday, 11 December 2014

Daily Telegraph: What woman could ever vote Ukip?

Daily Telegraph: What woman could ever vote Ukip?

Article by Victoria Lambert

'And while, of course, we need to consider how we fit into Europe in the 21st century – given that many voters weren’t even born when we joined the Common Market in 1973 – we do have cause to be grateful to the EU for measures such as secure pension rights for women.
On Twitter a few weeks ago, I asked the question: why would any woman vote for Ukip? I certainly felt the full force of Ukippers’, um, loyalty to the cause, and their frustration that they feel ignored. Most were polite but simply didn’t understand why the country shouldn’t revert to a time when men and women knew their place and their roles were more clearly defined.
That’s fine, for them, really it is. Because there will always be some men, and a few women, who think life in a Fifties time warp – with fewer foreigners and women who eschew jeans – was better. more manageable.

And it doesn’t really matter to the rest of us that Godfrey Bloom once quipped that “no employer with a brain in the right place would employ a young, single, free woman”, or that Farage’s reaction was: “Dear old Godders! Godfrey’s comment has been proved so right.” Not really. Pair of pub bores after a few too many shandies.

Yet it must concern any woman thinking of voting purple that the party’s only female MEP, Marta Andreasen, defected to the Tories last year. Speaking to the BBC, she said: ''[Farage] doesn’t try to involve intelligent professional women in positions of responsibility in the party. He thinks women should be in the kitchen or in the bedroom.”

And so women who care about pay, pensions and family rights, women who want to contribute to debate on these issues, will vote for parties that take them seriously. Vote for Ukip? Show me the turkey who would vote for Christmas.'

The Feast of Saint Damasus

Grant, we pray, O Lord, that we may constantly exalt the merits of your Martyrs, whom Pope Saint Damasus so venerated and loved. 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 Damasus, pray for Pope Francis, that his leadership and ministry may be marked by holiness.

Monday, 8 December 2014

Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary

O God, who by the Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin prepared a worthy dwelling for your Son, grant, we pray, that, as you preserved her from every stain by virtue of the Death of your Son, which you foresaw, so, through her intercession, we, too, may be cleansed and admitted to your presence. 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.

Lord, have mercy on us
Christ, have mercy on us
Lord, have mercy on us
Christ, hear us
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,
pray for us.

Mother of Christ,
pray for us.

Mother of Divine Grace,
pray for us.

Mother most pure,
pray for us.

Mother most chaste,
pray for us.

Mother inviolate,
pray for us.

Mother undefiled,
pray for us.

Mother most amiable,
pray for us.

Mother most admirable,
pray for us.

Mother of good counsel,
pray for us.

Mother of our Creator,
pray for us.

Mother of our Saviour,
pray for us.

Virgin most prudent,
pray for us.

Virgin most venerable,
pray for us.

Virgin most renowned,
pray for us.

Virgin most powerful,
pray for us.

Virgin most merciful,
pray for us.

Virgin most faithful,
pray for us.

Mirror of justice,
pray for us.

Seat of wisdom,
pray for us.

Cause of our joy,
pray for us.

Spiritual vessel,
pray for us.

Vessel of honour,
pray for us.

Singular vessel of devotion,
pray for us.

Mystical rose,
pray for us.

Tower of David,
pray for us.

Tower of ivory,
pray for us.

House of gold,
pray for us.

Ark of the covenant,
pray for us.

Gate of heaven,
pray for us.

Morning star,
pray for us.

Health of the sick,
pray for us.

Refuge of sinners,
pray for us.

Comforter of the afflicted,
pray for us.

Help of Christians,
pray for us.

Queen of Angels,
pray for us.

Queen of Patriarchs,
pray for us.

Queen of Prophets,
pray for us.

Queen of Apostles,
pray for us.

Queen of Martyrs,
pray for us.

Queen of Confessors,
pray for us.

Queen of Virgins,
pray for us.

Queen of all Saints,
pray for us.

Queen conceived without original sin,
pray for us.

Queen assumed into heaven,
pray for us.

Queen of the most holy Rosary,
pray for us.

Queen of Peace,
pray for us.

Lamb of God, who takes away the sins of the world,
spare us, O Lord.

Lamb of God, who takes away the sins of the world,
graciously hear us, O Lord.

Lamb of God, who takes away the sins of the world,
have mercy on us.

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 the blessed Mary, ever Virgin,
be delivered from present sorrow and enjoy eternal gladness.
Through Christ, our Lord.


Sunday, 7 December 2014

The Feast of Saint Ambrose

O God, who made the Bishop Saint Ambrose a teacher of the Catholic faith and a model of apostolic courage, raise up in your Church men after your own heart to govern her with courage and wisdom. 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 Ambrose, pray for us, for Milan and for all hymn writers.

Saturday, 6 December 2014

Daily Telegraph: 2014: the year racism went mainstream

Daily Telegraph: 2014: the year racism went mainstream

Article by Dan Hodges

'Slowly but surely, the rhetoric has intensified. Slowly but surely, the hunt for policy prescriptions to match the rhetoric has intensified. And slowly but surely, the line of what we regard as a “moderate” or “sensible” or even “acceptable” contribution to the debate surrounding immigration has shifted further and further back.

I suspect that if someone had predicted even as recently as 2010 that we would see giant government billboards driven around our streets, telling migrants to “go home”, they would have been accused of paranoia. Similarly, if they’d warned that the government would start introducing, and publicising, random spot checks of suspected illegal migrants on the tubes, buses and railways, with particular emphasis on locations with high multi-ethnic populations, they’d have faced charges of hysteria. What, I wonder, would people have said if someone had claimed government ministers were preparing a policy of standing back and letting refuges drown, in order to discourage other refugees from attempting to reach the sanctuary of southern Europe?

All of these things has happened. They are not the product of the fevered imagination of out-of-touch liberal commentators. They are real policies, implemented by the government of the day. And yet as each of those policies has been unveiled, it is those who have condemned them, and the toxic atmosphere that has lead to their introduction, who have been portrayed as standing outside the moderate mainstream.'

I just love Dan Hodges. Definitely the most sensible person writing for the Daily Telegraph.

Am I Metropolitan?

The opinion that mass immigration is a good thing has come to be regarded as a characteristic of the 'Metropolitan elite.' These are a distinctive breed whose views are apparently out of touch with the rest of the population.

So being a defender of mass immigration, am I one of these Metropolitan types?

I am educated to postgraduate level in a humanities subject. I work in the healthcare sector. Those are probably typical traits of the Guardian class. On the other hand, I live in a provincial and fairly working-class town. I'm also a Tory and hold traditional views about the family. So I'm not sure that I'm a representative of the so-called Metropolitan class.

Friday, 5 December 2014

The Feast of Saint Nicholas

O God, who didst adorn by the working of countless miracles the holy bishop Nicholas: grant, we beseech Thee, that by his merits and prayers we may be delivered from the flames of hell. Through our Lord. Amen

Saint Nicholas, pray for us, that we may always be generous and ready to respond to the needs of others.

LMS Chairman: Additional Thoughts on Headcovering

LMS Chairman: Additional Thoughts on Headcovering

'Traditional Catholics are not shutting up about it. Online, they are going on and on and on about it. There are loads of video testimonials from young ladies themselves on the subject, and the practice is spreading. There are still plenty of uncovered ladies at the Traditional Mass in England today, but more are plucking up the courage to wear a mantilla ('chapel veil'), or something equivalent. The very counter-cultural nature of the practice makes it attractive. The more the liberals attack it, the more it becomes a badge of honour.

Like so many liberal arguments of the 1960s and 1970s, the attack on head coverings for women looks, with hindsight, terribly unconvincing, a muddled historical and theological contrivance to placate modern and Protestant sensibilities by destroying something distinctive in Catholic culture.

The argument was, in a nutshell, that women were (oppressed and) wore headcoverings in St Paul's day, so there can be no theological significance to the practice. This makes all the classic mistakes: it mischaracterises what the Catholic practice actually is; it utilises an utterly lazy account of the original cultural context; and it ignores the arguments in favour of the practice, in this case expressed in Scripture itself. (Or have the liberals removed St Paul from the canon of Scripture on account of his being an old misogynist?)'

Rorate Caeli: FIUV Position Paper: Headcoverings in Church

Rorate Caeli: FIUV Position Paper: Headcoverings in Church

A robust defence of the apostolic practice of women's headcovering from Joseph Shaw.

Feast of Saint Clement of Alexandria

O GOD, who hast enlightened thy Church by the teaching of thy servant Clement: Enrich us evermore, we beseech thee, with thy heavenly grace, and raise up faithful witnesses who by their life and doctrine will set forth the truth of thy salvation; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

Saint Clement of Alexandria, pray for us and for all theologians.

Saint Clement had a few odd ideas, and he is not recognised by Latin Catholics as a saint any more. But he is still honored by the Oriental Orthodox (and some Eastern Catholics) and Anglicans.

Wednesday, 3 December 2014

Throne, Altar, Liberty: Orthodoxy is More Than Fundamentalism - Not Less!

Throne, Altar, Liberty: Orthodoxy is More Than Fundamentalism - Not Less!

'The publication of The Fundamentals, the statements by the Niagara Bible Conference and the Presbyterian General Assembly, and the entire fundamentalist movement in general arose in response to a specific problem – the growth of unbelief, formulated as doctrine, in the Protestant denominations. This formulated unbelief was known as modernism or (theological) liberalism. Either term is apt because it was a product of the Modern Age and the predominant ideology of that Age which is liberalism. The Modern Age was an Age of rebellion against tradition and authority, which liberalism regarded as shackles that robbed people of their freedom and blinders that kept from them the light of reason and science. Needless to say, this type of thinking, which had gradually grown up in the academic world as Renaissance humanism, the rationalism of the “Age of Reason”, and the “Enlightenment” took the university further and further away from its medieval, theocentric, Christian roots, eventually produced the attitude that C. S. Lewis and Owen Barfield dubbed “chronological snobbery”, i.e., the attitude that says “its well enough for people of past ages, who didn’t know any better, to believe in things like miracles and the virgin birth, but people like me in this enlightened, modern, age in which we live cannot be expected to believe such things”. When this attitude is held by a clergyman or theological professor it takes the form of theological liberalism, which regards the virgin birth of Jesus Christ as a story His disciples later made up (or borrowed from pagan mythology) and says the same thing about His deity or uses the term “divinity” instead of deity, meaning by such a term a concept like “the spark of divinity that is in all of us”, borrowed from the early Gnostic heretics. The Apostles said that Jesus rose from the dead, the liberals taught, because they could feel Him living on inside themselves the way you or I might continue to still feel the presence of a loved one who has passed away. The essential message of Christianity, modernism taught, was that we should love all people and treat them fairly and justly, reading modern egalitarianism into the concepts of “fairness” and “justice”, and all that stuff about the Son of God, coming down from heaven, being born of a virgin, dying for our sins, and rising triumphant over sin and death, was just window dressing. All of that was unnecessary anyway, liberalism taught, because the whole concept of “sin” comes from an outdated and barbaric understanding of morality that we have outgrown in modern times.

With garbage like this coming to be taught from the pulpit there was a clear need for something like fundamentalism to reaffirm and fight for the truths that Christians had historically and traditionally believed which the modernists or liberals were denying.'

The Feast of Saint Barbara

Oh God, who among the other miracles of Your power, have given the victory of martyrdom, grant, we beseech You, that we, who are celebrating the heavenly Blessed Barbara, Your Virgin and Martyr, may by her example draw nearer to you, Amen.

Saint Barbara, your courage is much stronger than the forces of hurricanes and the power of lightening. Be always by our side so that we, like you, may face all storms, wars, trials and tribulations with the same fortitude with which you faced yours. O Beautiful Maiden once imprisoned in a high tower, protect us from the lightning and fire that rages in the sky and the discord of war. Keep us alert and protect us from the dangers that surround us. Holy Mary Mother of Jesus intercessor for us all; we pray to assure receiving of the Sacraments of Penance and Holy Eucharist at the hour of our death. Through Jesus Christ Our Lord, Amen

Saint Barbara, pray for us, that we love Christ and be faithful to Him unto death.

The Feast of St. John of Damscus

Grant, we pray, O Lord, that we may be helped by the prayers of the Priest Saint John Damascene, so that the true faith, which he excelled in teaching, may always be our light and our strength. 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 John of Damscus, pray for us, for those who teach theology and for Christians in the Middle East.

Rorate Caeli: Wear the Veil Day- Show your devotion to Jesus Christ and Our Blessed Mother

Rorate Caeli: Wear the Veil Day- Show your devotion to Jesus Christ and Our Blessed Mother

'Several years later, I helped Andrea Hines promote the second annual Wear the Veil Day in the Diocese of Charlotte, North Carolina. I first met Mrs. Hines in 2012 outside an abortion mill where I had gone to pray against abortion with the few members of the Latin Mass Society of Belmont Abbey College. Mrs. Hines had organized the prayer event, and with her blessing we prayed aloud the Rosary in Latin.

A year later I met her again at the Charlotte diocese’s Eucharistic Congress. She was handing out veils to women and I asked her why she was doing this. She explained that when a woman wears a veil she shows her love for Our Lord and makes a commitment to the modesty of Our Blessed Mother. Wearing a veil for a woman, I came to understand, was a way of living your faith and reminding yourself and others that you are obedient to Church teachings, especially the teachings on modesty and chastity.

My experience with that second Wear the Veil Day inspired me to promote the Third Annual Wear the Veil Day in honor of Our Lord and Our Blessed Mother. When a woman wears a veil with the same understanding expressed by Mrs. Hines, she helps other women and men see that there women among us who seek to imitate Mary. As men, we may not be able to wear a veil, but we can certainly help women who do promote this beautiful devotion.

I pray that women across the nation will participate in the Wear the Veil Day on Dec. 8, and that men will lend them their support.'

LMS Chairman: Baseball hats in church in Hexham and Newcastle

LMS Chairman: Baseball hats in church in Hexham and Newcastle

'It is interesting to see the obligation of men extended to outside events (such as open-air Masses), when men would at that time naturally have worn hats outside, whereas the obligation of women is tied more to the reception of Holy Communion.

It's it odd that no-one seems to think that this obligation was oppressive to men, when in fact it would have occasioned noticeable discomfort in outdoor settings, either from the sun or from the cold, and represented a deviation from normal practice. Women, on the other hand, are effectively told: just do what you'd do anyway, wear something on your head.

Today fashions have changed, and the obligation is no longer in canon law, though the Scriptural basis of the obligation, St Paul in 1 Corinthians 11, is still there, between 1 Cor 10 and 1 Cor 12. Since few people wear hats or anything else on their heads in the West, it is the practice of women putting something on in church which now strikes us as surprising. The only thing which has survived is a general sense that men take off their hats inside, which is actually quite a recent thing, as these drawings of the House of Commons demonstrate: men, like women, were entirely comfortable wearing hats indoors into the 20th century. Taking them off in church or, in Protestant practice, taking them off specifically for prayer in church, was a dramatic gesture.'