Wednesday, 30 September 2015

The Feast of Saint Jerome




O God, who gave the Priest Saint Jerome a living and tender love for Sacred Scripture, grant that your people may be ever more fruitfully nourished by your Word and find in it the fount of life. 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 Jerome, pray for us and for Croatia.

Tuesday, 29 September 2015

The Archangel Barachiel




Oh Blessed St. Barachiel, obtain for us through your intercession, the fullness of the graces of the most holy sacrament of matrimony. Intercede for us most fervently, in those moments of great duress and temptation, when we are most unlikely to recall your power to intercede for us, that through your benevolent love, you may thwart the efforts of the evil one to harm our marriage, our family and our faith. Be our bulwark against our weaknesses that our union may grow stronger, our family may grow more pious and our faith may grow deeper. St. Barachiel come with your legion of angels to rouse us out of our torpor! Help us and our children to do good and grow in the love of God and Mary. Amen


Saint Barachiel, pray for us and for the Synod on the Family

The Archangel Sealtiel




Oh holy St. Sealtiel come to my aid with your legion of angels! Intercede to our Almighty and merciful God! Graciously attend to to my humble prayers; and make me, whom God has appointed to dispense the heavenly Mysteries through no merits of my own, but only through the infinite bounty of His Mercy, a worthy minister at His sacred altar; that what is set forth by my voice may be confirmed by His Holy Grace. Pray for me that our good Jesus may grant me the grace to be a priest after His own Sacred Heart! Amen


Saint Sealtiel, pray for us, that we may lift our voices in unceasing prayer.

The Archangel Jehudiel




Oh holy St. Jehudiel, you are the powerful and formidable adversary of Beelzebub. Come to our aid with your legion of angels! Accompany us in the combat against the terrible attacks of hell which threaten to anihilate our Holy Mother the Church. Safeguard us at the hour of death and console us with your powerful presence. Intercede for us that we might not perish without the last sacraments and may properly prepare to stand before the terrible seat of judgement. Remove all jealousy from our hearts so that each one of us, through conformity to the Divine Will, become, like you, a living praise to the glory of God in this life and in the next. Amen


Saint Jehudiel, pray for us, that we may be made fit to wear an heavenly crown.

The Archangel Uriel




Oh holy St. Uriel, come to our aid with your legion of angels! Intercede for us that our hearts may burn with the fire of the Sacred and Immaculate Hearts. Assist us in co-operating with the graces of our confirmation that the gifts of the Holy Ghost may bear much fruit in our souls. Obtain for us the grace to use the sword of truth to pare away all that is not in conformity to the most adorable Will of God in our lives, that we may fully participate in the army of the Church Militant. Amen


Saint Uriel, pray for us, that we behold the brightness of God.

The Archangel Raphael




Blessed Saint Raphael, Archangel, We beseech you to help us in all our needs and trials of this life, as you, through the power of God, didst restore sight and gave guidance to young Tobit. We humbly seek your aid and intercession, that our souls may be healed, our bodies protected from all ills, and that through divine grace we may become fit to dwell in the eternal Glory of God in heaven. Amen.


The Litany of Saint Raphael


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, Queen of Angels,
pray for us.

St. Raphael,
pray for us.
St. Raphael, filled with the mercy of God,
pray for us.
St. Raphael, perfect adorer of the Divine Word,
pray for us.
St. Raphael, terror of demons,
pray for us.
St. Raphael, exterminator of vices,
pray for us.
St. Raphael, health of the sick,
pray for us.
St. Raphael, our refuge in all our trials,
pray for us.
St. Raphael, guide of travelers,
pray for us.
St. Raphael, consoler of prisoners,
pray for us.
St. Raphael, joy of the sorrowful,
pray for us.
St. Raphael, filled with zeal for the salvation of souls,
pray for us.
St. Raphael, whose name means "God heals,"
pray for us.
St. Raphael, lover of chastity,
pray for us.
St. Raphael, scourge of demons,
pray for us.
St. Raphael, in pestilence, famine and war,
pray for us.
St. Raphael, Angel of peace and prosperity,
pray for us.
St. Raphael, endowed with the grace of healing,
pray for us.
St. Raphael, sure guide in the paths of virtue and sanctification,
pray for us.
St. Raphael, help of all those who implore thy assistance,
pray for us.
St. Raphael, who was the guide and consolation of Tobias on his journey,
pray for us.
St. Raphael, whom the Scriptures praise: "Raphael, the holy Angel of the Lord, was sent to cure,"
pray for us.
St. Raphael, our advocate,
pray for us.

Lamb of God, Who takest away the sins of the world,
Spare us, O Lord.
Lamb of God, Who takest 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.

Christ, hear us.
Christ, graciously hear us.

Pray for us, St. Raphael, to the Lord Our God,
That we may be made worthy of the promises of Christ.

Let Us Pray.

Lord, Jesus Christ, by the prayer of the Archangel Raphael, grant
us the grace to avoid all sin and to persevere in every good work
until we reach our Heavenly destination, Thou Who livest and reignest
world without end. Amen.


Saint Raphael, pray for us, that we may know God's mercies whenever we travel.

The Archangel Gabriel




Blessed Saint Gabriel, Archangel We beseech you to intercede for us at the throne of divine mercy: As you announced the mystery of the Incarnation to Mary, so through your prayers may we receive strength of faith and courage of spirit, and thus find favor with God and redemption through Christ Our Lord. May we sing the praise of God our Savior with the angels and saints in heaven forever and ever. Amen.

The Litany of Saint Gabriel

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 , Queen of Angels, pray for us.
Saint Gabriel, glorious Archangel, pray for us.
St. Gabriel, strength of God, etc.
St. Gabriel, who stands before the throne of God,
St. Gabriel, model of prayer,
St. Gabriel, herald of the Incarnation,
St. Gabriel, who revealed the glories of Mary,
St. Gabriel, Prince of Heaven,
St. Gabriel, ambassador of the Most High,
St. Gabriel, guardian of the Immaculate Virgin,
St. Gabriel, who foretold the greatness of Jesus,
St. Gabriel, peace and light of souls,
St. Gabriel, scourge of unbelievers,
St. Gabriel, admirable teacher,
St. Gabriel, strength of the just,
St. Gabriel, protector of the faithful,
St. Gabriel, first adorer of the Divine Word,
St. Gabriel, defender of the Faith,
St. Gabriel, zealous for the honor of Jesus Christ,
St. Gabriel, whom the Scriptures praise as the Angel sent by God to Mary, the Virgin,

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

Christ, hear us.
Christ, graciously hear us.

V. Pray for us, blessed Archangel Gabriel,
R. That we may be made worthy of the promises of Jesus Christ.

Let Us Pray .
O blessed Archangel Gabriel, we beseech thee, intercede for us at the throne of Divine Mercy in our present necessities, that as thou didst announce to Mary the mystery of the Incarnation, so through thy prayers and patronage in Heaven we may obtain the benefits of the same, and sing the praise of God forever in the land of the living. R. Amen.


Saint Gabriel, pray for us, that we may honour the Blessed Virgin Mary to whom thou didst come.

The Archangel Michael




Saint Michael the Archangel, defend us in the day of battle. Be our safeguard against the wickedness and snares of the devil, and do thou, O Prince of the Heavenly Host, cast into hell Satan and all other evil spirits, who prowl through the world seeking the ruin of souls.


I pray the St. Michael's prayer every day after the morning office.


The Litany of Saint Michael

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, Queen of the Angels, pray for us.
St. Michael the Archangel, pray for us.
Most glorious attendant of the Triune Divinity,
*Pray for us is repeated after each invocation
Standing at the right of the Altar of Incense,
Ambassador of Paradise,
Glorious Prince of the heavenly armies,
Leader of the angelic hosts,
Warrior who thrust Satan into Hell,
Defender against the wickedness and snares of the devil,
Standard-bearer of God’s armies,
Defender of divine glory,
First defender of the Kingship of Christ,
Strength of God,
Invincible prince and warrior,
Angel of peace,
Guardian of the Christian Faith,
Guardian of the Legion of St. Michael,
Champion of God’s people,
Champion of the Legion of St. Michael,
Guardian angel of the Eucharist,
Defender of the Church,
Defender of the Legion of St. Michael,
Protector of the Sovereign Pontiff,
Protector of the Legion of St. Michael,
Angel of Catholic Action,
Powerful intercessor of Christians,
Bravest defender of those who hope in God,
Guardian of our souls and bodies,
Healer of the sick,
Help of those in their agony,
Consoler of the souls in Purgatory,
God’s messenger for the souls of the just,
Terror of the evil spirits,
Victorious in battle against evil,
Guardian and Patron of the Universal Church

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.

Pray for us, O glorious St. Michael,
That we may be made worthy of the promises of Christ.

Let Us Pray

Sanctify us, we beseech Thee, O Lord, with Thy holy blessing, and grant us, by the intercession of St. Michael, that wisdom which teaches us to lay up treasures in Heaven by exchanging the goods of this world for those of eternity, Thou Who lives and reigns, world without end. Amen.

Relying, O Lord, upon the intercession of Thy blessed Archangel Michael, we humbly beg of Thee, that the Holy Eucharist in whose presence we kneel, may make our soul holy and pleasing to Thee. Through Christ Our Lord. R. Amen.


St. Michael, pray for us, that we may reject all the works of Satan.

The Feast of Saint Michael and all Angels



It is appropriate that Michaelmass falls just as the darkness of Autumn descends. In the Autumn gloom, we need the brightness of the angels.


O God, who dispose in marvelous order ministries both angelic and human, graciously grant that our life on earth may be defended by those who watch over us as they minister perpetually to you in heaven. 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 Michael and all angels, pray for us, that we be made worthy to enter God's heavenly Kingdom.

Monday, 28 September 2015

The Feast of Saint Wenceslaus

O God, who taught the Martyr Saint Wenceslaus to place the heavenly Kingdom before an earthly one, grant through his prayers that, denying ourselves, we may hold fast to you with all our heart. 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 Weceslaus, pray for us and for the Czech Republic.

Saturday, 26 September 2015

Daily Prayer from the Divine Office



Daily Prayer is a one-volume version of the British edition of the Liturgy of the Hours. It contains the offices of morning, daytime, evening and night prayer, but contains the offices of readings only for Christmas, Good Friday and Easter. In contrast with the Shorter Morning and Evening, with which I was introduced to the Divine Office, it contains a substantial set of propers for saints' days, so the user will be able to celebrate the full cycle of the church's liturgical year. For the benefit of Irish users, it also contains a separate section of propers for Irish feast days.

This is a compact and attractive book that is easy to read. It contains a quite sufficient set of page markers. It would have been helpful if the Benedictus and Magnificat had been placed on the back pages, as they are in many breviaries and it would also have been helpful to have the invitory psalms right at the beginning of the book, as they are in Shorter Morning and Evening. Nevertheless, this is still a vital resource and the easiest way for British Catholics to access the depth of the Liturgy of the Hours without forking out for the three volumes of the Divine Office.

Why not join that great cosmic choir of the Church, as we join in prayer and praise daily?

The Feast of Saint Cosmas and Saint Damian



May you be magnified, O Lord, by the revered memory of your Saints Cosmas and Damian, for with providence beyond words you have conferred on them everlasting glory, and on us, your unfailing help. 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.


Oh glorious martyrs of Christ, Saints Cosmas and Damian, you gave your lives for the love of God, benefiting your fellow man, and crowning your martyrdom with an open and loyal profession of your faith. You taught us to love God above all things, and to love our fellow man as ourselves, professing always, and without fear, the religion of Jesus.
Augmenting amongst the faithful populace many miracles, you are glorious indeed. Through your intercession, which brings about deliverance of these miracles, we pray to you for your aid in all things. May your patronage never be far from us in the illness of our body and soul.
Oh great protectors, Saints Cosmas & Damian, assist us with your love and free us from all evils. Amen


Saint Cosmas and Saint Damian, pray for us and for all doctors and pharmacists.

Friday, 25 September 2015

The Catholic Eternal Truth: Full Transcript: Pope Francis Speech To U.S Congre...

The Catholic Eternal Truth: Full Transcript: Pope Francis Speech To U.S Congress

Today I would like not only to address you, but through you the entire people of the United States. Here, together with their representatives, I would like to take this opportunity to dialogue with the many thousands of men and women who strive each day to do an honest day’s work, to bring home their daily bread, to save money and – one step at a time – to build a better life for their families. These are men and women who are not concerned simply with paying their taxes, but in their own quiet way sustain the life of society. They generate solidarity by their actions, and they create organizations which offer a helping hand to those most in need.
********

It goes without saying that part of this great effort is the creation and distribution of wealth. The right use of natural resources, the proper application of technology and the harnessing of the spirit of enterprise are essential elements of an economy which seeks to be modern, inclusive and sustainable. “Business is a noble vocation, directed to producing wealth and improving the world. It can be a fruitful source of prosperity for the area in which it operates, especially if it sees the creation of jobs as an essential part of its service to the common good” (Laudato Si’, 129). 


It's an impressive speech. I particularly liked the fact that His Holiness addressed the complaint that he always talks about the poor and never has anything to say about the middle classes. Here he acknowledges the importance of hardworking taxpayers. He even has positive things to say about capitalism and the market economy, even if he does tie it into the rather nebulous idea of the 'common good.'.

I don't share the Holy Father's strong opposition to the death penalty. After years of supporting the death penalty I have become equivocal on the issue. I don't like the idea of killing people, but I think the arguments for the death penalty from Scripture can't be dismissed, even if they are inconclusive.

I also like the Holy Father's rejection of hostility to immigrants. Donald Trump in the USA and Nigel Farage in the UK need to heed that message.

Wednesday, 23 September 2015

Reformed Christian Theology: Long Hair IS NOT the Head Covering!

Reformed Christian Theology: Long Hair IS NOT the Head Covering!

As we can see, the fact that the proponents of dumping head covering don’t actually believe in enforcing long hair is proof that none of them really believe long hair is the covering. So, they have no choice but to change their reasoning to either “historical context” or accusations of legalism.



It's true, those who teach that Paul is talking about long hair and not a fabric covering don't show any interest in actually setting a standard of long hair (how long?) for women. The churches that teach this are usually full of ladies with short hair.

Monday, 21 September 2015

Patristic Evangelism: Vladimir’s Irenaen Moment

Patristic Evangelism: Vladimir’s Irenaen Moment

'One of the most interesting–and underdeveloped–aspects of Patristic thought is St Irenaeus’s “Recapitulation” view. On its broadest level it is simply Ephesians 1:10–Christ sums up all things in heaven and earth in himself. But what does that really mean? How far can you take it?

Maybe far.

Irenaeus uses it as the key to at least four events in Scripture: God’s covenant with Adam, Noah, Moses, and the final covenant that renews man and recapitulates everything in itself, that which by the Gospel raises men and wings them for the celestial kingdom (3.11.8).'

The Feast of Saint Matthew



O God, who with untold mercy were pleased to choose as an Apostle Saint Matthew, the tax collector, grant that, sustained by his example and intercession, we may merit to hold firm in following you. 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 Matthew, pray for us and for the Jewish people.

Sunday, 20 September 2015

The Dome of Eden, by Stephen H Webb




Catholic convert and philosopher Stephen H Webb offers many valuable contributions and says much that I agree with yet I found much in this book frustrating. For a theology book, it's an unusually thrilling read; Webb gives us one exciting idea or fascinating thought on practically every page.

Stephen Webb accepts the fact of evolution. He does not deny the theory, though occasionally he seems to suggest that there are scientific problems with evolution and that there are grounds for the arguments of Intelligent Design. Nevertheless, despite not disputing the fact of biological evolution, he feels that Christian theologians have failed to reconcile evolution with a Christian worldview. He berates the advocates of theistic evolution for failing to see the problems with evolution as a Divine work. His argument is that evolution involves a struggle for survival which involves an acceptable level of animal suffering. Such natural evil, in his view, is incompatible with the loving God we find in Scripture.

Webb's solution is to argue that evolution is to a large extent the work of Satan and not God. He does this by arguing for the Gap Theory, that is a gap between Genesis 1 and 2, during which Satan rebelled and the original creation fell into ruin. The millions of years of geological time occurred during this gap. The extinction of one species after another and the devopment of predatory and parasitic forms of life result from Satan's interference in creation during this time of chaos.

I was already familiar with this idea, having read the work of Open Theist Greg Boyd seven years ago. In God at War and Satan and the Problem of Evil, Boyd made the same argument that the high level of suffering in nature should be accounted for by the activities of Satan and evil celestial powers during the Genesis gap. I wholeheartedly adopted this view at the time, despite rejecting Boyd's Open Theism. I have not completely rejected it. I am not completely sure how I interpret Genesis chapter 1 these days, but I have never shaken off the idea of the Gap Theory and it still remains my default view. I think a strong case can be made for a pre-cosmic fall. I was a little surprised that Webb did not make any reference to Boyd until half-way through the book. Given the similarity of Webb's view to Boyd's, I think it would have been polite to have mentioned him a little earlier.

While I think Webb (and Greg Boyd) is correct in adopting some form of Gap Theory and a primordial fall of Satan, I am not so convinced these days that it is right to attribute predation in nature to Satan. Webb is of very conscious about the fact that this seems close to Gnosticism. He offers the somewhat weak argument that the Gnostics might have been along the right lines to some extent in denying aspects of the creation were not the work of God. He is also aware that some passages of Scripture seem to imply that predation is a fundamental part of creation and demonstrates God's glory, such as Psalm 147 (146). Our author suggests that such passages demonstrate God's providential care without indicating that predation was part of God's original design, which is not altogether convincing. I am simply not convinced that the Scriptures share Webb's view of natural evil. I can't help suspecting that Webb's horror at animal suffering is a result of modern sentimentality and would not be shared by the authors of Scripture. I do see a tendency in some theologians and Bible scholars towards sentimentality towards animals.

Webb has other thoughts on Genesis chapter 1. He also argues that the days of Genesis 1 concern not the creation of the entire cosmos, but only the Garden of Eden, a particular location on Earth. This was God's attempt to establish a perfect microcosmos, free from the effects of Satan's fall. It was inhabited by non-predatory animals living in harmony, a kind of Platonic realm of ideal animals, as they would have been had there been no Darwinian evolution. He argues that the firmament or dome (which creationists use to think was a water canopy surrounding the Earth) was a protective barrier, separating Eden from the chaos of the fallen cosmos. I think the idea of Genesis 1 dealing with the formation of Eden is a good move and harmonizes well with the approaches of John Walton's cosmic temple theory or John Sailhamer's promised land theory of Genesis 1. I am not so sure about how Webb approaches the firmament. As an argument against the creationist canopy theory, he refers to the fact that the sun and stars seem to be within the firmament. This would seem to be a problem with the firmament surrounding only the Garden of Eden and not the whole cosmos. Not that it matters much, but Webb seems to be unaware that the Young Earth Creationists have largely abandoned the water canopy theory.

Our author seems to want to argue that God is in some sense corporeal. This is among several criticisms he makes of classic theism. This is a bold claim and he never outlines in exactly what sense he thinks that God has a body. I suppose he must give a clearer idea of this in his book on the metaphysics of matter, but it would have been nice if he had given us some clearer indications of his thoughts in this book. He rather misleadingly implies that theologians prior to St. Augustine did not hold to the incorporeality of God. I'm a little bothered that for a Catholic writer, he shows little concern in demonstrating that his views in this area are in harmony with the teaching of the Magisterium. Either he assumes that they we know they are, he assumes the reader does not care, or he does not care if he has strayed from orthodox teaching. I rather hope that it is not the latter.

One really valuable contribution that this book makes is in the case it makes for the Scotist view of the primacy of Christ's incarnation, that is that if the Fall had not occurred, the incarnation would still have taken place. This is something I very much agree with and the implications for out theology are enormous. If the Scotist view is correct, then all of creation, all matter is created for Christ. Our humanity is created for the very purpose of union with God. He uses this to make an interesting argument for the doctrine of Transubstantiation. Of everything in the book, it is this defence of the Primacy of Christ that impacted most on me.

Given that Stephen Webb accepts the fact of evolution, I found it surprising that he takes such a harsh and combative tone towards evolutionists. He insists on referring to them as Darwinians, even though evolutionists have pointed out that this is a misleading term. He is of course, primarily criticising the moral and philosophical implications of evolution, nevertheless, once or twice he defends the scientific criticisms of evolution made by the Intelligent Design advocates. I think evolutionists reading the book are likely to be put too much on the defensive. I think this book would have really benefited from a much more irenic tone. At times, the author comes across as a little bit cocky in his willingness to dismiss the ideas of others and to adopt radical views. He also makes the old implication that evolution is a 'theory in crisis,' which is something that creationists have been claiming for decades. There is no doubt about evolution in the scientific community.

I think this is an enjoyable and fascinating book, despite its flaws. One thing that really impresses me about Stephen H Webb in this is his high view of the Bible. He really takes the authority of Scriputre seriously, which is not always readily seen in Catholic writers.

Saturday, 19 September 2015

God's Rivals, by Gerald R. McDermott



Gerald R. McDermott, God's Rivals: Why has God allowed different Religions? Insights from the Bible and the Early Church, 2007 InterVarsity Press


God's Rivals examines the problem of the particularly and exclusive claims in the light of a world with many religions. The author brings to this subject some voices from the Scriptures and also from the Early Church. Exploring the problem of religious diversity, McDermott rejects the idea that there are many routes to salvation. He also argues that the theory of Inclusivism is inadequate, though it might be suggested that some of the Early Church ideas that he explores later in the book are moderate forms of Inclusivism. McDermott then goes on to show that this is not a new problem. The Israelites of the Old Testament were aware of the gods of other nations and the early Christians were surrounded by idol worship. We can learn from how they approached this reality.

Delving into the Scriptural data, he finds examples of knowledge of God outside of the covenant nation of Israel. He also demonstrates that the ancient Hebrews did not hold to an absolute, unqualified monotheism. Though they were called to worship only Yahweh, they believed in the existence of the gods of other nations in some sense. He then moves on to show how the Hebrews believed in 'gods,' the Divine Council, a much neglected but very important theme in Scripture. The Old Testament portrays Yahweh as being accompanied and assisted by a council of heavenly beings. Of course, not all the spiritual beings are on the side of Yahweh, and at times the Old Testament offers a model of cosmic war between competing celestial powers. The foreign religions are followers of Yahweh's rivals. Moving into the New Testament, he finds this theme continued in Paul, with his talk about an array of celestial intermediaries between God and man, principalities, powers, thrones and dominions. There are many lords and gods. The author also explores how Paul sees idolatrous religion as a corruption of the truth.

In the next chapters, McDermott offers critical reflection on how several of the Ante-Nicene Church Fathers dealt with the theme of heathen religions. He looks first at Justin Martyr and his idea of the Logos being universally at work in humanity. He then goes on to look at Irenaeus idea of universal natural revelation and his thoughts on righteous pagans. Next up is Clement of Alexandria and his positive views of Greek philosophy. He also considers Origen's radical ideas about the spirit world.

This book attempts to consider a modern issue by paying heed to voices from the past. In this it is Paleo-Orthodoy at its best. I would have liked the author to have looked at how some of the Post-Nicene Fathers approached these questions. I also would have liked him to have spent a little longer talking about the Divine Council, but he did have a loot of material to cover in a relatively short book. He does not spend much time talking about the question of the fate of the unevangelised, which is likely to be paramount in the minds of readers, but there is more to the issue of religious diversity than this. This is not a book that gives definite answers to every question, but it offers a lot of food for thought.

Friday, 18 September 2015

Catholic Herald: Until ISIS is destroyed, civilisation itself is not safe

Catholic Herald: Until ISIS is destroyed, civilisation itself is not safe

Article by Anne Widdecombe


'The argument may be fierce but it is also a distraction, because there will be no end to the flood of displaced persons and its concomitant human misery unless there is also an end to the war. That means force, and it is time to face up to that as a previous generation was forced to do.

This is not Britain’s war or America’s war or even the West’s war, but rather that of the entire civilised world. Until ISIS is stopped in its tracks, civilisation will not be safe. A huge coalition of all concerned nations, including those in that area, is what is needed to rout ISIS decisively and restore peace and re- building. Without that approach, anything we do is mere sticking plaster on a festering wound.

We have hesitated too long, and while we have been havering and hovering, millions have suffered horribly. The original proposal to bomb Syria, which Parliament threw out two years ago, was boneheaded.'

Wednesday, 16 September 2015

The Feast of Saint Cornelius and Saint Cyprian

God our Father, in Saints Cornelius and Cyprian you have given your people an inspiring example of dedication to the pastoral ministry and constant witness to Christ in their suffering. May their prayers and faith give us courage to work for the unity of your Church. Grant this through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.


Saint Cornelius and Saint Cyprian, pray for us, for Pope Francis and for all bishops.


Saint Cyprian always makes me think of some of our African bishops who have taken such a strong stance against western immorality and compromise. I was looking at the list of participants for the Synod on the Fanily. Yes, it is depressing to see some of the liberals pickled by the Holy Father, but the presence of so many African bishops is reassuring.

Tuesday, 15 September 2015

The Memorial of Our Lady of Sorrows




O God, who willed that, when your Son was lifted high on the Cross, his Mother should stand close by and share his suffering, grant that your Church, participating with the Virgin Mary in the Passion of Christ, may merit a share in his Resurrection. Who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever.



Our Lady of Sorrows, pray for us, that we may be conformed to Christ in His sufferings and death.

Monday, 14 September 2015

Catholic Herald: The Pope must choose his words carefully during his visit to Africa

Catholic Herald: The Pope must choose his words carefully during his visit to Africa

Article by Father Alexander Lucie-Smith

'Finally, the Pope has of course written a book, or rather an encyclical, about the environment, and ecological questions are of pressing urgency in Africa. The countries he will visit are industrialising after quite a few fits and starts, and this is important for them, given their growing (though still modest) populations. More and more people are moving to cities, where they live in often squalid conditions. The Pope might well visit the notorious slum of Kibera in Nairobi (it is served by missionaries from Mexico) but if he does, he should see Kibera as in part at least as a success story.

People come together to live in such places because there are jobs nearby, and they can live cheaply there; large and dense urban populations are the engine of economic and social development. Kibera, for example, is packed full of schools, traders, craftsmen, service-providers, churches and bars. It is filthy, but it gives opportunities the countryside does not offer, just as London did in the nineteenth century. London then was as packed and squalid as Kibera is today.'



I am also concerned about the impact of the Holy Father's visit. One huge problem in Africa is a common attitude that the West should always be giving Africans money, food and other resources. With his emphasis on poverty and social justice, Pope Francis could encourage this sense of entitlement in Africa, when what Africa needs most is the development of markets and wealth-creation.

Saturday, 12 September 2015

BBC News: Rick Perry drops out of US presidential race

BBC News: Rick Perry drops out of US presidential race

Former Texas Governor Rick Perry has dropped out of the race to be US president - the first departure among a large field of Republican candidates.

Mr Perry had recently stopped paying campaign staff in states with early contests like Iowa.
His campaign has been struggling in the polls and he failed to make the cut into the main Republican presidential debate last month.

Mr Perry also ran in 2012 but dropped out after a series of gaffes.

Without naming front-runner Donald Trump, Mr Perry warned fellow Republicans to reject hard-line stances on immigration that could alienate Hispanic Americans.
"In America, it is the content of your character that matters, not the colour of your skin," he told supporters on Friday.



This is sad. Although I'm backing Bush, I think Perry was a very solid candidate. I hope the Republican Party takes heed to his warning about taking a hard-line stance on immigration.

The Telegraph: Jeremy Corbyn is new Labour leader with stunning 60 per cent of votes in first round

The Telegraph: Jeremy Corbyn is new Labour leader with stunning 60 per cent of votes in first round

The Labour Party gives up serious politics in favour of posturing. Corbyn's socialism is rancid stuff and has no place in modern Britain.

Friday, 11 September 2015

BBC News: Assisted Dying Bill: MPs reject 'right to die' law

BBC News: Assisted Dying Bill: MPs reject 'right to die' law

MPs have rejected plans for a right to die in England and Wales in their first vote on the issue in almost 20 years.
In a free vote in the Commons, 118 MPs were in favour and 330 against plans to allow terminally ill adults to end their lives with medical supervision.


Very good news. The thought of British doctors prescribing lethal drugs to patients would have been a terrifying prospect.

Thursday, 10 September 2015

Biblical Evidence for Catholicism: Bible on the Veneration of Angels & Men

Biblical Evidence for Catholicism: Bible on the Veneration of Angels & Men

'In several other instances, men are also bowed down to and venerated, with no disapproval in the text; for example, Paul and Silas (Acts 16:29) and Daniel (Dan 2:46-48; by the king!). The Greek word for “fell down before” in Acts 16:29 is prospipto. It is also used of worship of Jesus in five passages (Mk 3:11; 5:33; 7:25; Lk 8:28, 47). But where men are involved, the meaning is honor, or veneration.'

A Defence of Fast Food from Stephen H. Webb

Against the Gourmands: In Praise of Fast Food as a Form of Fasting

"Frozen pizzas, canned vegetables, cheap hamburgers, and sugary beverages are not the enemy; we are, which suggests that junk food is not the real temptation: pride is. When we regulate one desire, we inevitably take pleasure in another. When vegetarians give up meat, they find compensation by granting themselves the right to tell other people what to eat. Liberal academics who rant against Walmart and McDonald’s are the moral equivalent of dieters who secretly indulge in french fries: the regimen of most scholars is typically so focused, restrained, and vigilant that the sheer fun of making sweeping generalizations about the lower classes is, on occasion, irresistible. Everyday sinning is not very original, but original sin is very creative. We have a bottomless capacity to derive moral gratification from our sensual sacrifices."

***

"Cavanaugh’s story of the Zweber family farm is meant to illustrate the value of buying locally as a check on the menace of multinational corporations, the hypermobility of capital, and the false universality of globalization. I am not saying that there is anything wrong with buying locally, but Cavanaugh fails to recognize just how capitalistic the Zwebers of the world are. Hormone-free farmers are responding to consumers, and once a nichemarket becomes popular with the masses, it must match growth with increasing efficiency. In other words, if everyone wanted to drive out into the country for free-range meat, demand would outstrip supply, the price would go up, and somebody would figure out a way to lower prices by linking, organizing, and expanding the various production sites. Free range would go corporate (and this, of course, is already happening). Cavanaugh holds up the local as the choice everyone should make, but if everyone were to make that choice, it could no longer be local."

***

"I kind of like the idea of church potlucks becoming a celebration of local produce, but doesn’t this risk introducing the very class divisions that the Apostle Paul, when he advised Christians to eat at home, feared? Won’t those who bring garden veggies to the table look down on those who make a green bean casserole from the can?"


This is not new, but I really liked it. With his support for America, capitalism and globalization, Stephen H. Webb is not a very fashionable writer.

Tuesday, 8 September 2015

The Feast of the Nativity of Our Lady

Impart to your servants, we pray, O Lord, the gift of heavenly grace, that the feast of the Nativity of the Blessed Virgin may bring deeper peace to those for whom the birth of her Son was the dawning of salvation. 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.


Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us that we may draw closer to your Son, the Lord Jesus Christ.

Saturday, 5 September 2015

The Telegraph: The Corbyn doctrine on war is a betrayal of what makes Britain great

The Telegraph: The Corbyn doctrine on war is a betrayal of what makes Britain great

Article by John McTernan


'Doing nothing while Assad barrel-bombed his people had consequences – half the Syrian population are dead or displaced and the European Union is now reaping the whirlwind. Yet virtually no voters could tell you how and why their views on refugees are affected by a parliamentary vote.

That’s the beauty of democracy. The voters know what’s right – and that is doing the decent thing. They want to be proud of Britain not ashamed of the country they love. Corbyn’s withdrawal from the world doesn’t just bring shame on him and the Labour Party but on the whole country. The kicker is that voters have the final say – and they will say No. In thunder.'

The Unabbreviated Horologion or Book of the Hours




The Book of the Hours contains the Eastern Orthodox offices of Matins, Vespers and Compline, as well as the First, Third, Sixth and Ninth daytime hours. It also contains part, but not the entire Menaion (equivalent to the Propers of western breviaries).

I was already familiar with some of these offices from other prayer books. I like the traditional language of this, but Eastern Orthodox prayers just don't work for me. Our Orthodox brethren don't have the same tradition of private use of the divine office that Catholics have. Hence, this liturgy cannot easily be used in private devotion; they are meant to be said by a priest with a choir. Trying to say them on your own in your living room just does not work. Nevertheless, those wanting to appreciate the differences between the western and eastern offices will find this very useful.

It's a bit of a bulky book and has no page markers. It also feels quite cheaply bound.

The Militia Templi: The Saints on the Power of the Divine Office

The Militia Templi: The Saints on the Power of the Divine Office

“When one recites the office with attention, what merit and profit does one derive from it. What lights are then obtained from the divine words! With what holy maxims is the soul penetrated! How many acts of love, of confidence, of humility, of contrition, may one not make by merely paying attention to the verses which one recites" Saint Alphonsus Ligouri

Found this through Coffee and Canticles. The Divine Office is just as worthy of our devotion as the rosary.