Thursday, 31 December 2015

The Feast of Saint Sylvester

Come, O Lord, to the help of your people, sustained by the intercession of Pope Saint Sylvester, so that, running the course of this present life under your guidance we may happily attain life without end. 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 Sylvester, pray for us and for Pope Francis.

Edward Feser: Christians, Muslims, and the reference of “God”

Edward Feser: Christians, Muslims, and the reference of “God”

Let me start by rehearsing some points that should be obvious, and which others have already made, but which are crucial for properly framing the question at hand. First, we need to keep in mind the Fregean point that a difference in sense does not entail a difference in reference. To use Frege’s famous example, the sense of the expression “the morning star” is different from the sense of the expression “the evening star.” But these two expressions refer to one and the same thing, viz. the planet Venus. Similarly, expressions like “the God of the Christians” and “the God of the Muslims” differ in sense, but it doesn’t follow from that alone that they don’t refer to the same God. By the same token, though the expression “God” is different from the expression “Allah,” it doesn’t follow that God is not Allah, any more than Stan Lee and Stanley Martin Lieber are different men.

Second, even a speaker’s erroneous beliefs don’t entail that he is not referring to the same thing that speakers with correct beliefs are referring to. Consider an example made famous by Keith Donnellan. Suppose you’re at a party and see a man across the room drinking from a martini glass. You say something like “The guy drinking a martini is well-dressed.” Suppose, however, that the man is not in fact drinking a martini, but only water. It doesn’t follow that you haven’t really referred to him. Furthermore, suppose there is a second man, somewhere in the room but unseen by you, who really is drinking a martini and that he is dressed shabbily. It doesn’t follow that you were, after all, really referring to this second man and saying something false. Rather, assuming that the first man really is well-dressed, you were referring to that first man and saying something true about him, even though you were wrong about what he is drinking. And thus you are referring to the very same man as people who know that he is drinking water would be referring to if they said “The guy drinking water from a martini glass is well-dressed.” Similarly, the fact that Muslims have what Christians regard as a number of erroneous beliefs about God does not by itself entail that Muslims and Christians are not referring to the same thing when they use the expression “God.”

Sunday, 27 December 2015

Dead Aid, by Dambisa Moyo




A friend of my family once served as a short-term missionary in Mozambique. She expressed some frustration to me about attitudes of entitlement and dependency that she encountered among Africans. They would tell they thought the USA should give them food and money. My friend used to try challenging their attitude by asking them "Why should the USA give you anything?" Not that she necessarily thought the USA should do nothing to help Africans, but it was clear that giving could sometimes be counter-productive.


The author of this book argues the controversial conclusion that not only is development aid to Africa ineffective, but it is in fact the major cause of Africa's misfortunes. She argues that aid props up inefficient African governments, encourages corruption and provides an alternative to economic development. She does not advocate the immediate cessation of aid, but she suggests that the tap needs to be slowly turned off. She suggests a number of alternative sources of revenue that African countries an draw upon.

Moyo argues that it is trade, not aid that Africa needs. She therefore praises Chinese investment in African economies. She acknowledges criticisms that have been made of Chinese activities in Africa, but argues that the results have been hugely beneficial to Africa. She also praises micro-credit schemes that have come in for criticism in recent years.

Moyo's book has been critiqued by those who know more about economics than I do and many have found fault with her thesis. Nevertheless, whether Moyo i right or wrong, what is beautiful about this book is that it is the work of an African woman. There are plenty of white men who have a lot to say about what Africa needs. Yet here we have an African woman who is offering her own perspective about the real issues facing Africa today.



Wednesday, 23 December 2015

Counterrevolutionary Army of America: Monarchs, Saints, Worship, and the Divine Order

Counterrevolutionary Army of America: Monarchs, Saints, Worship, and the Divine Order


'In the Divine Order where Jesus Christ is King of Kings (and not the President for four years after which He seeks re-election) in the Father’s Kingdom, our earthly Kings and Queens are to represent (however imperfectly) the Father’s Kingdom “on earth as it is in Heaven.” They are the Lord’s stewards and lieutenants (re: Joan of Arc’s message to Charles VII proclaiming Christ as the true King of France with Charles as His Lieutenant) for His dominion through the Social Kingship of Christ. They may not be saints; however, we owe them the dulia they deserve due to their position and responsibility in the Kingdom of God on earth as it is in Heaven.

We need good Monarchs in order to establish the Kingdom of God on earth as it is in Heaven. They need good subjects. It is their duty to be good, pious, saintly Monarchs. It is our duty to be good, pious, saintly subjects. Do we all, Monarchs and subjects, fall short in our duty? Rhetorical question.'

Tuesday, 22 December 2015

The Heavy Anglo-Orthodox: Same God?

The Heavy Anglo-Orthodox: Same God?


"Again, Dr. Hawkins and Pope Francis are not wrong – at the very least, not on the level at which they are engaging. To start from treating God as an intellectual exercise rather than as a person, and dividing Him up by His attributes and nature, as Marcion did, is incredibly dangerous. It led him to deny that the Father preached by Christ is the same God as that worshipped by the Jews, based on the very same logic that is being used by evangelicals to deny the identity of the Christian Father with the Muslim God. But neither can we or should we shy away from proclaiming the love of that same Father to the world, as beautifully and truly expressed in the doctrine of the Holy Trinity. It may seem a fine line to hold, but no one ever said giving God right glory was easy."

Tuesday, 8 December 2015

British Influence: Ten questions that Brexit supporters need to be able to answer

British Influence: Ten questions that Brexit supporters need to be able to answer


1. What would the Eurosceptic ideal arrangement between the UK and the EU look like and how realistic is it possible to achieve?

2. Every successful arrangement with the EU to allow countries outside of it access to the Single Market has included freedom of movement – how would we arrange access to the Single Market without agreeing to freedom of movement?

3. Article 50 stipulates a two-year timeline for exiting the EU. However, the Swiss deal with the EU took almost ten years to agree. How would we avoid any post-Brexit arrangement taking as long as the Swiss deal did?

4. Won't the commercial interests of the remaining EU countries take precedence for them over giving Britain "a good deal" post-Brexit?

5. Won't the two-year (at minimum) period post-Brexit period see Parliament completely tied up in renegotiation with the EU to the detriment of all other legislation?

6. Without the weight of the Single Market behind us, how will Britain avoid being in a poor bargaining position with countries like China, should they wish to come to the bargaining table in the first place?

7. How could voters be persuaded that the more radical alternatives to EU membership wouldn’t bring radical economic and political change with it that would disadvantage them?

8. Are those who wish Britain to leave the EU proposing open borders – or even significantly relaxed visa restrictions – with all Commonwealth countries, including some developing countries with massive populations, and in some cases large scale internal political problems, such as India, Pakistan and Nigeria?

9. During the two-year negotiation period that starts with the triggering of Article 50 post-referendum, wouldn’t there be a large incentive for an unprecedented amount of EU citizens to emigrate to the UK while it was still legally possible?

10. Are proponents of Brexit willing to remove a crucial aspect of the Northern Ireland peace process, and to risk Scotland leaving the UK, in order to leave the EU?

The Washington Post: Why Christians must speak out against Donald Trump’s Muslim remarks

The Washington Post: Why Christians must speak out against Donald Trump’s Muslim remarks

Article by Russell Moore


"Make no mistake. A government that can shut down mosques simply because they are mosques can shut down Bible studies because they are Bible studies. A government that can close the borders to all Muslims simply on the basis of their religious belief can do the same thing for evangelical Christians.

A government that issues ID badges for Muslims simply because they are Muslims can, in the fullness of time, demand the same for Christians because we are Christians."


Secularism is a far bigger threat to Christianity than Islam. You let the secularists go after the Muslims; don't be surprised when the secularists go after the Christians. If the Far Right ever comes to power in Europe, they will start by rounding up the Muslims, then they will be rounding up the Christians and Jews.

National Review: Trump’s Proposed Muslim Immigration Moratorium Is the Wrong Response to Political Correctness

National Review: Trump’s Proposed Muslim Immigration Moratorium Is the Wrong Response to Political Correctness

Article by David French

"Off the top of their heads, even the most hawkish national security conservatives can identify multiple categories of Muslims who should have access to the United States, beginning — of course — with our own citizens. There are many others. What about the interpreters who’ve laid down their lives to serve our warriors downrange and now find themselves under imminent threat from jihadists? What about members of allied militaries who are training to be the Muslim “boots on the ground” that we need to help take the fight to the enemy? Do we treat the Kurds — who are sheltering so many of Iraq’s Christians while also providing the most effective fighting force against ISIS — the same as we treat suspected terrorists? It makes no sense."

Monday, 7 December 2015

The Feast of the Immaculate Conception of Our Lady



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.

Amen.

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.

Sunday, 6 December 2015

William Bouguereau: The Last History Painter | Newington-Cropsey Cultural Studies Center



William Bouguereau: The Last History Painter | Newington-Cropsey Cultural Studies Center

"The new French government pressured the Ministry of Culture to organize a Grand Triennale of history painting, to raise the morale of the French people and the arts community, who were incorporating themes of decline and decadence. The Ministry selected Meissonnier to organize the exhibition. Many artists saw through the charade. Among those who refused an invitation to exhibit was Bouguereau. The Ministry simply “borrowed” some of his works. The exhibition was a grand failure. Increasingly, the public turned to the works of the Impressionists, with their theme of “art for art’s sake.” The art world, like French politics, was splitting into two camps. Almost alone, Bouguereau continued to focus on spiritual and religious subjects. Not even the notorious Dreyfus Affair provoked a single notation in his voluminous journals. It is those passionate masterpieces, beautifully reproduced in Ross’s book, that attracted a large cult following during his lifetime, inFrance and America. Germany itself was experiencing a spiritual renaissance in the works of the Nazarene artists, who had established a religious school of art in a large medieval monastery just outside Rome. There were religious stirrings among the Pre-Raphaelite artists in England, inspired by the writings and messianic lectures of Ruskin. (Ruskin also had a profound influence on the artists of the American Hudson River School.) Bouguereau had the advantage of the best secular anatomical education in the nude figure, which was then provided by theFrenchAcademy. Few artists of any nation could match the perfection and grace of Bouguereau’s figure paintings and drawings."

*******

"Miraculously, by the end of his career, as he approached 80, he had produced a series of Madonna and Child paintings that are among his best work. The Virgin of the Lillies (1899), which is part of the Newington-Cropsey Collection, evokes the flat, rich decorative motifs and patterns one observes in early Renaissance religious paintings. Crippled by age and illness, he continued to paint and attend to his teaching. In the last year, he managed to produce a dozen paintings. Despite a declared national period of mourning, within a few years after his death, the backlash had begun. Within a few more years, his name and work had been largely expunged from public memory. Textbooks were rewritten to eliminate Bouguereau’s contributions to the history of art. Now, after almost a century of rejection, his paintings are once again drawing attention and admiration. Today, in America, Bouguereau is a respected figure for hundreds of students working in small, independent ateliers, like those ofJacob Collins and Stephen Gjertson. When I was a young art student, teachers would literally twist the Conté stick out of your hand if they observed you trying to create a classical approach to the figure. For much of the last half of the twentieth century, classicism and realism were out of favor. Finished, formal works were anathema."


The art world basically considers the work of Bouguereau to be trash. The reason is simply that he painted pictures of things that were beautiful and good. The art world has long been dominated by godless people who want pictures of things that are ugly and controversial. They will always despise the work of Bouguereau.

The Stripping of Altars, by Eamon Duffy



Eamon Duffy, The Stripping of Altars, 1992 Yale University


This book is a book of two halves. The first half gives a picture of the religious life of pre-Reformation England and its customs and traditions. The second half provides a history of the eroding of that religious culture during the Tudor Reforms.

Prior to this book, there had been a commonly held assumption that the religious life in England prior to the Reformation was in a very poor state. The institutional church was portrayed as corrupt to the core and the common people were viewed as ignorant and irreligious, with the dissenting Lollard movement the only sign of real spiritual enthusiasm. In this book, Duffy paints a contrary picture of an English people who were truly devoted to their religion. Duffy looks at all aspects of religious life; processions, festivals, devotions to saints and indulgences.

The second half of the book, on the course of the Reformation, demonstrates the slow pace of the Reformation. The Catholic instincts of Henry VIII combined with the strength of traditionalist feeling meant that Cranmer could not bring in the changes he wanted overnight. The gradual erosion of Catholic religion took place by stealth and Duffy demonstrates much resistance to the changes in local communities. Mary I attempted to put back the clock and restore the old religion, but by her time, so much damage had been done to the religious fabric of the nation that she faced an uphill struggle. While not denying the horrors of her persecutions, Duffy offers a sympathetic reading of her reign. By the time of Elizabeth I, the reformation was largely complete and many of those holding traditionalists adopted a stance of loyalty to the Book of Common Prayer against the Puritans, as the prayer book maintained the last vestiges of the old Catholicism.

I was particularly interested in the Duffy's examination of devotional primers. These books were devotional manuals for the laity. Duffy sees in them evidence of the importance of devotion amont the literate. In their medieval form, they usually comprised the Little Office of the Blessed Virgin Mary combined with Eucharistic devotions. The Reformation authorities introduced new primers that provided Protestant prayers, eventually modelling themselves on the Book of Common Prayer. Mary also had officially endorsed primers printed as a means of re-introducing Catholic devotion.

This is a fascinating survey of Medieval and early Reformation Christianity in England.

Saturday, 5 December 2015

Orthodox in the District: Why I am a monarchist

Orthodox in the District: Why I am a monarchist

"Why am I a monarchist? Above all else, because I am an Orthodox Christian and a careful student of Christian theology, both Eastern and Western, Church history, and European history. My areas of specialisation are the Classical Greeks and Romans, Late Antiquity, Byzantium, medieval and early modern Britain, Renaissance Italy, early modern and Imperial Russia, and the British Empire. Aside from being a purely academic interest, I am fundamentally of the belief that monarchy constitutes the ideal form of human governance and have an abiding conviction that monarchy offers the best form of government known to mankind. Monarchies have existed for the entirety of known human civilizations, while democracy originates in Athens in the sixth century BC, the Roman republic from the same period, and communism and fascism are both less than 150 years old (and already rightfully and widely completely discredited).

I believe, and thousands of years of history have shown, that a man or woman instructed from youth in the art of government, a person who is trained from childhood to see their rule as a sacred duty, a solemn service, and a public stewardship, governs more benignly, sincerely, capably, and nobly than someone who has either taken power through brute force, revolution, or contested elections. Democratic elections are an extraordinary thing in that they propose that, upon being elected, a politician who has previously been partisan, divisive, and factious will somehow, almost magically, cease to be partisan, divisive, and factious upon taking office. I believe it is the very height of naivete to believe that a popularly elected politician can somehow serve as a supra-political, unifying figure."

ConservativeHome| Daniel Hamilton: After the Syria vote, liberal intervention is back – or should be. We need global engagement.

ConservativeHome| Daniel Hamilton: After the Syria vote, liberal intervention is back – or should be. We need global engagement.


"Encouragingly, Commons support for extending the airstrikes already underway against ISIS in Iraq to Syria has been achieved without the repeated fetishisation of the need to secure United Nations (UN) “approval” that many in the Labour Party appear to see as a pre-requisite to any form of foreign policy interventionism. While the support of the UN is always preferable in respect of any military engagement, its structures lack the nimbleness required to allow human rights-based democracies such as the UK to take steps to protect both their national security and that of states such as Iraq whose territory is under siege from ISIS operatives. The “legitimacy” of the United Kingdom’s foreign and military policy decisions need not be drawn from an international body but rather from appropriate debate and scrutiny in Parliament. Wednesday night’s vote proved that.

There is, however, a crucial role that international bodies such as the UN must now play in Syria: planning for a country that is free of both ISIS and Bashar al-Assad’s regime. Blair’s lack of a clear strategy to stabilise post- Ba’athist Iraq only served to prolonged the presence of troops on the ground – driving up casualty rates and infuriating public opinion. The UK, U.S and France must now work with the UN and Organisation of Islamic Cooperation to fashion a clear plan for the future functioning of the Syrian state, including the federalisation of government structures and protections for minorities.

When considering the issue of military action in Syria, another key consideration must be that of discharging our obligation to support allies like France – both in formal bodies such as NATO or the unshakable cultural norms of pluralism and human rights – in their hour of need."

Neoconservatism, by Douglas Murray



Douglas Murray, Neoconservatism: Why we need it, 2005 Social Affairs Unit


Before reading this book, I thought I was a Neocon. Having read this, I am not so sure; at least I am not exactly the kind of Neocon that Douglas Murray is. My understanding was that Neocons advocateda hawkish interventionist foreign policy. Right there and I'm with Douglas Murray on that. If there is talk about military action, I am invariably in favour of it. On the other hand, on the domestic front I believed that Neocons lacked the usual conservative hostility to 'big government' and welfare programs. I saw this exemplified in the 'compassionate conservatism' advocated by pre-office George W Bush and continued in the advocacy of former secretary of state, Condoleeza Rice, a woman I very much admire. It turns out that our author does not consider Rice to be a proper Neocon, but a convert to Neoconservatism. While accepting the need for social security, Murray seems to be as hostile to big government as any conservative.

This book was written in those bleak days when the Conservative Party was stuck in seemingly eternal opposition. Murray writes as though his ideas are the salvation of the Conservative Party. He had not yet seen David Cameron's brand of One-Nation Toryism return us to government and gain a glorious majority in the last election. Yet with the recent crisis in Syria, this is an highly relevant book.

Douglas Murray sees the essence in Neoconservatism a willingess to confront the enemies of democracy, a complete rejection of moral relativism and a scepticism of the institutions of global governance. I'm a bit unsure of the heavy emphasis on relativism. It has been said that there are far more books written criticising relativism than there are books advocating it. I am not so sure that this is a helpful tag to place on his opponents. It is very easy to label those whose views are more complex and nuanced than one's own as 'relativists.' Take those who show support to Palestinian terrorists. Are they relativists? I don't think so. They rightly or wrongly believe that the Israeli government's occupation of the Palestinian territories is a moral evil that should be opposed. The person holding this view may not necessarily endorse all the actions of Hamas, but this is not that much different from a pro-Israeli person feeling that Israel is right to defend herself, yet sometimes goes a bit too far in her actions.

I would suggest that when it comes to education, relativism is a fundamental philosophical problem for all who stand in the tradition of Liberalism, including Murray's Neoconservatives. What values do we teach the children? Why should the values that Murray preaches be absolutized? Only Christianity can provide the absolute moral vision that Murray calls for.

Weirdly, enough Murray actually reminds me of Jeremy Corbyn and his hard left supporters. The Corbynistas seem unwilling to accept that a reasonable and decent person could possibly support the Tories, hence they continually make out that Conservatives are selfish or evil. Likewise, Murray makes out that anybody who disagrees with him is either ignorant or a traitor to their country. It seems like he is trying to shut down any debate on the policies he advocates. You are either with him or against him, in the latter case you are a traitor who hates the West. While I enjoyed his dismissal of that irritating bore Noam Chomsky, I don't think it's at all fair to claim that everybody who writes for the Guardian hates Great Britain. One almost imagines Murray setting up a Committee for Un-British Activities. In a way, Murray is actually borrowing the tactics of the liberal-left, who are always quick to shut down debate on anyone who does not share their values, hence the recent 'no-platforming' of feminists like Julie Bindle and Germaine Greer who don't accept the privileges demanded by transgender activists. Murray wants to 'no-platform' anyone he considers to be a traitor to the West.

Regarding the domestic policies advocated by our author, I do not see anything particularly 'neo' about them; they are the sort of policies that most conservatives, with the call for smaller government, more limited welfare programs and the usual depressing complaints about immigration. There is a lot of Daily Mail-type hysteria about Islam. His worst offence, however, is a very offensive comment he makes about 'black culture.' Murray seems to be blind to just how serious a problem racism is in our society. He dismisses 'political correctness' without showing any awareness of how entrenched racist attitudes and assumptions can be.

The problem with Murray is that he is simply too much of an idealist and I would say this puts him at odds with the strong tradition of realism in the Tory party. He does not seem willing to accept that sometimes there are problems that cannot be solved and unsatisfactory situations that have to be accepted. We can accept that there are problems with the UN, the EU and other international organisations, but does that mean we can do without them? Neoconservatism sees foreign policy as central because it recognises the inter-connectedness of our globalized world. That means that international organisations are as vital as ever and we cannot simply dismiss them as irrelevant, however much they may need improvement. Likewise, on the domestic side, immigration may bring with it problems, but does that mean that reducing immigration is the answer. No, because immigrstion brings benefits that outweigh its disadvantages.

Despite my complaints, there are things that I agree with in this book. I very much agree with his claim that conservatism spends too much time lamenting the decline of Britain and tends to look to the past instead of looking forward. I liked his comment about the tendency of young Conservatives to adopt a snobbish and anachronistic posture. I totally agree with his central argument for the necessity of military interventions where necessary. I appreciated his admiration for Tony Blair's foreign policy, though I doubt he will persuade many with his defence of the Iraq War. I would have liked him to spend more time explaining how he would sell his vision of a hawkish-foreign policy to a sceptical public.

Friday, 4 December 2015

The 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.

The Independent: Immigration is good for growth, so why is the public so hostile to it?

The Independent: Immigration is good for growth, so why is the public so hostile to it?


"Economic growth isn’t everything, but it is terribly important for meeting expectations of higher living standards. The Japanese birth rate is so low that the overall population is declining. Without a baby boom or a burst of immigration, its population is set to contract by a quarter by the middle of the century, creating an array of economic nightmares such as the hollowing out of entire communities and a lack of workers to care for the extremely old. Germany is facing a similar challenge.

If people think that high migration and a rising population are an economic problem, they should consider the alternative.

Economic growth isn't everything but it is notable also that popular anxiety about immigration usually takes expression as a complaint about its impact on native jobs and wages. It is often said that while immigration might be good for rich people (who, for example, can employ cheaper cleaners), it hurts the living standards of everyone else. Yet there is no evidence of immigration holding down wages, beyond those at the very bottom – and even there the effect is negligible. Despite May’s assertions about displacement, there is no evidence of people being pushed out of the workforce either. Immigrants seem to fill gaps that would not otherwise be filled. So why the public hostility?"

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 may love Christ and be faithful to Him unto death.

The Feast of Saint John of Damascus

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 Damascus, pray for us and for peace in Syria.

Thursday, 3 December 2015

The Feast of Saint Francis Xavier

O God, who through the preaching of Saint Francis Xavier won many peoples to yourself, grant that the hearts of the faithful may burn with the same zeal for the faith and that Holy Church may everywhere rejoice in an abundance of offspring. 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 St. Francis Xavier

Lord, have mercy.
Lord, have mercy.
Christ, have mercy.
Christ, have mercy.
Lord, have mercy.
Lord, have mercy.
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 Ghost,
Have mercy on us.
Holy Trinity, One God,
Have mercy on us.

Holy Mary, Virgin Mother of God,
Pray for us.
Saint Ignatius, founder of the Society of Jesus,
Pray for us.
Saint Francis Xavier, the glory and second pillar of that holy Institute, etc.
Apostle of the Indies and Japan,
Legate of the Holy Apostolic See,
Preacher of the truth and doctor of the nations,
Vessel of election, to carry the Name of Jesus Christ to the kings of the earth,
Shining light to those who sat in the shadow of death,
Full of burning zeal for the glory of God,
Unwearied propagator of the Christian Faith,
Most watchful shepherd of souls,
Most constant meditator on Divine things,
Most faithful follower of Jesus Christ,
Most ardent lover of evangelical poverty,
Most perfect observer of religious obedience,
Thou who didst burn with the fire of Divine Love,
Who didst generously despise all earthly things,
Most able guide in the way of perfection,
Model of apostolic men,
Model of all virtues,
Light of infidels and master of the faithful,
Angel in life and manners,
Patriarch in affection for and care of God's people,
Prophet mighty in word and works,
Whom all nations and the Church have with one voice associated
with the glorious choir of Apostles,
Who wast adorned with the crown of virgins,
Who didst aspire to the palm of martyrs,
Confessor in virtue and profession of life,
In whom we reverence, through the Divine Goodness, the merits of all Saints,
Whom the winds and the sea obeyed,
Who didst take by assault the cities that had revolted from Jesus Christ,
Who wast the terror of the armies of infidels,
Scourge of demons and destroyer of idols,
Powerful defense against shipwreck,
Father of the poor and refuge of the miserable,
Sight to the blind and strength to the lame,
Protector in time of war , famine, and plague, Wonderful worker of miracles,
Who wast endued with the gift of tongues,
Who wast endued with the wondrous power of raising the dead,
Resounding trumpet of the Holy Ghost,
Light and glory of the East,
Through the cross, which thou didst so often raise among the Gentiles,

Saint Francis Xavier,
we beseech thee, hear us.
Through the Faith, which thou didst so marvelously propagate,
we beseech thee, hear us.
Through thy miracles and prophecies, etc.
Through the perils and shipwrecks which thou didst endure,
Through the pains and labors, in the midst of which
thou didst so ardently exclaim, "Still more! Still more!"
Through thy Heavenly raptures, in the midst of which thou didst
so fervently exclaim, "Enough, enough, Lord, enough!"
Through the glory and happiness which now thou dost enjoy in Heaven,

Friend of the Heavenly Bridegroom,
intercede for us.
Blessed Francis Xavier, beloved of God and men,
intercede 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 takest away the sins of the world,
Have mercy on us.
Christ, hear us.
Christ, graciously hear us.
V. Pray for us, Saint Francis Xavier,
R. That we may be made worthy of the promises of Christ.

Let Us Pray.

O God, Who by the preaching and miracles of blessed Francis
wast pleased to add to Thy Church the nations of the Indies,
mercifully grant that we who venerate his glorious merits
may imitate his virtues, through Our Lord Jesus Christ Thy Son,
Who with Thee and the Holy Ghost liveth and reigneth,
one God, world without end. R. Amen.



Saint Francis Xavier, pray for us and for the continued growth of the Church in Asia.

Wednesday, 2 December 2015

Catholic Herald: ‘Effective action’ against ISIS is necessary, says cardinal ahead of major Commons vote

Catholic Herald: ‘Effective action’ against ISIS is necessary, says cardinal ahead of major Commons vote


Cardinal Vincent Nichols has said that “effective action is necessary” against ISIS, ahead of a crucial vote on whether the UK should launch airstrikes against Syria.

In a statement released today, the spiritual leader of Catholics in England and Wales, said: “Effective action is necessary to stop the grave harm being inflicted by ISIS on civilians.

“While indiscriminate violence is never justifiable, specific use of force to protect the vulnerable is defensible, if it is combined with sustained diplomatic and humanitarian efforts. As Pope Francis has said: ‘Where there is unjust aggression, it is licit to stop the aggressor’.”

Tuesday, 1 December 2015

The Telegraph: Immigration rules are causing a curry crisis

The Telegraph: Immigration rules are causing a curry crisis

Article by Ian Birrell


It is hard to think of a better pin‑up for the modern Conservative Party than these superb examples of entrepreneurial drive, which crop up across the country, from inner cities to the Scottish Highlands and former troublespots in Northern Ireland. Yet this is now an industry suffering a crisis that is hotting up, with at least two restaurants closing down each week. Owners are turning outlets into flats, staff becoming Uber drivers. And with cruel irony, the key cause is the government’s myopic determination to crack down on immigration.

Amid fierce competition from new chains and nationalities, curry houses are being forced out of business by a shortage of chefs. There are doom-laden warnings that as many as one third could close. And the core issue is that attempts to hire skilled new cooks from abroad are hampered by rules that prevent them coming from outside the European Union unless earning more than £29,570 a year and working in an establishment that does not offer takeaways. But this is some £5,000 higher than standard pay for such chefs and most curry houses offer take-home meals. As so often, government meddling with the labour market has backfired. Even temporary hirings to plug gaps are thwarted.


This is the problem with the idea that you can restrict immigration to a set of skilled professionals that are in shortage. It is not possible for the government to micro-manage what skills are needed within the economy at any one time. The government could, of course, start issuing more work permits to chefs, but then they would only find that some other profession was needed.