Wednesday, 31 August 2016

The Independent| Brexit: UK economy 'could not survive' without EU labour, warns former minister

The Independent| Brexit: UK economy 'could not survive' without EU labour, warns former minister


This morning Ms Soubry told the BBC such a move would damage the UK economy. Asked if she wanted to retain free movement, she said: “Yes, that is my view.

“I believe in the free movement of labour form the EU. It has benefitted our country, especially business.

She went on: “Go and talk to those businesses, whether it’s picking fruit, whether it is people relying on highly qualified engineers, other experts working in British business.

“British business could not survive without access to that free movement of labour.”

She urged colleagues to make a “good strong positive case” for immigration or risk damaging UK growth.


Anna Soubry MP is one of the few Conservative MPs with the courage to defend the vital importance of EU immigration to our country.

Fair Winds

National Review: Time to John Birch the Alt-Right

National Review: Time to John Birch the Alt-Right

by Jonah Goldberg

"There is a diversity of views among the self-described alt-right. But the one unifying sentiment is racism — or what they like to call “racialism” or “race realism.” In the words of one alt-right leader, Jared Taylor, “the races are not equal and equivalent.” On Monday, Taylor asserted on NPR’s “Diane Rehm Show” that racialism — not religion, economics, etc. — is the one issue that unites alt-righters. If you read the writings of leading alt-righters, it is impossible to come to any other conclusion. Some are avowed white supremacists. Some eschew talk of supremacy and instead focus on the need for racial separation to protect “white identity.” But one can’t talk about the alt-right knowledgeably without recognizing their racism."


Any movement that seeks to promote beliefs about racial superiority or the need for racial purity needs to be denounced in the strongest terms.

New Liturgical Movement| Mantilla: The Veil of the Bride of Christ — A New Book on the Practice of Veiling

New Liturgical Movement| Mantilla: The Veil of the Bride of Christ — A New Book on the Practice of Veiling

It is especially to Ms. Elissa's credit that she does not resort to platitudes or generalizations, much less appeals to nostalgia or mere cultural norms, but rests her argument on Scripture (both Testaments), Church Fathers, St. Thomas Aquinas, and papal, liturgical, and canon law texts. Not surprisingly, the author, who is so sensitive to the language of signs, took pains to make the book itself beautiful: each chapter is prefaced by a monochrome reproduction of a famous painting featuring a woman in a veil. I was particularly struck by the third chapter, where Ms. Elissa shows her theological strength by offering a series of arguments of fittingness on behalf of the veil, and the fourth, where she responds to a battery of common objections (in fact, I have never heard any objection she does not raise and convincingly answer here).

The Big Audit

Tuesday, 30 August 2016

New Liturgical Movement: The Power of the Divine Office to Transform a Church and Society

New Liturgical Movement: The Power of the Divine Office to Transform a Church and Society

This reinforces my belief that that if we want to transform the culture and revive the Church, we can do this through the Domestic Church and the family centered on liturgical piety, including the chanting of the Liturgy of the Hours at home. Furthermore, this means that we need to encourage this in the vernacular, so that people who are not fluent in Latin (i.e. most people) can genuinely pray it. I suggest that the Anglican Use Divine Office is a way to do this, as I described in a review of the Customary of Our Lady of Walsingham. And it is the prayer of the family in the domestic church, centered on a liturgical piety, that can drive such societal change today as well as transform the Church. We need to form people as contemplatives as a matter of course, not as the exception.

NATO Airspace

Sunday, 28 August 2016

An Orthodox Response to Clerical Continence Claims

Orthodox Answers: Clerical Celibacy

At this point, it might be tempting to dismiss the entire issue as ‘not an actual cause of separation between Roman Catholicism and Eastern Orthodoxy’ because it is just a matter of discipline, and one that is currently under review anyway. However, I am convinced that the question of celibacy was in fact a major cause of tension between East and West, and that this issue remains extremely divisive. On the one hand, the Eastern Orthodox world looks at the imposition of priestly celibacy on the Uniate communities with the same reaction as St. Photius: a great sense of not wanting to be in any shape or form under the control of the Roman Church. On the other hand, there is a strong traditionalist movement within Catholicism that sees the debate over celibacy as a liberal ploy to destroy the identity and essence of the Roman Catholic priesthood . This movement is supported by a current of thought that sees priestly celibacy not just as a discipline but indeed as an apostolic tradition. Among the few documents posted on the official Vatican web site on this topic, the overwhelming majority are strongly in favor of such a theory. We find for instance a lengthy article by a Roman Cholij who relies heavily on Fr. Cochini’s study: The apostolic origins of priestly celibacy. The title leaves no doubt as to the position being advocated, and this view, at least tacitly endorsed by the Vatican, is a factor that must be reckoned with.
This perspective will certainly surprise and challenge many, including the majority of Eastern Orthodox clergy who assumed that the Eastern discipline is the closest to the apostolic model. It must be understood, then, that the Latin insistence on priestly continence (which led to celibacy) has very profound roots, and that the underlying issues need to be squarely faced. If continence and celibacy are indeed an apostolic command, or even if this position becomes dominant in Roman Catholic circles, the effect on Catholic-Orthodox reconciliation cannot be ignored.

On the one hand, our Church has married deacons, married ex-Anglican priests and married Eastern rite priests, yet on the other hand we have a school of thought promoted at the highest level that clerical celibacy is more than just a discipline, but the normative apostolic tradition, undermining not only our Eastern Catholic Churches, but also contemporary practice of married permanent deacons.

Virgin Mary: The Titles of an Unique Woman, by Eliane Da Silva



This book takes a look at popular devotion to the Blessed Virgin Mary in Brazil. Da Silva examines the place of Mary in the culture of Brazil, putting it in the context of both the Catholic faith and the political and economic struggles of the Brazilian people. There are some Liberation Theology concepts here, but there is nothing particularly objectionable. The author does quote Leonardo Boff quite a bit, a theologian who has had some odd ideas.

Da Silva presents a large selection of popular Marian hymns in the Brazilian language and uses them to explain the Marian faith of Brazilian Catholics. This is basic Mariology, but it is edifying. I am always encouraged to learn about the different ways that the Catholic faith is manifested in different cultures.

The author's first language is not English, so there are at times a few odd sentences and expressions.

Saturday, 27 August 2016

The Feast of Saint Augustine

Renew in your Church, we pray, O Lord, that spirit with which you endowed your Bishop Saint Augustine that, filled with the same spirit, we may thirst for you, the sole fount of true wisdom, and seek you, the author of heavenly love. 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 in honour of Saint Augustine


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 Ghost,
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.

Holy Father Augustine,
pray for us.

Saint Augustine, example of contrite souls,
pray for us.

St. Augustine, son of the tears of thy mother Monica,
pray for us.

St. Augustine, light of teachers,
pray for us.

St. Augustine, exterminator of heresies,
pray for us.

St. Augustine, illustrious warrior against the foes of the Church,
pray for us.

St. Augustine, pillar of the True Faith,
pray for us.

St. Augustine, vessel of Divine Wisdom,
pray for us.

St. Augustine, rule of conduct for apostolic life,
pray for us.

St. Augustine, whose heart was inflamed with the fire of Divine Love,
pray for us.

St. Augustine, humble and merciful father,
pray for us.

St. Augustine, zealous preacher of the Word of God,
pray for us.

St. Augustine, illumined expounder of Sacred Scripture,
pray for us.

St. Augustine, ornament of bishops,
pray for us.

St. Augustine, light of the True Faith,
pray for us.

St. Augustine, noble defender of Holy Church,
pray for us.

St. Augustine, refulgence of the glory of God,
pray for us.

St. Augustine, blossoming olive tree of the House of God,
pray for us.

St. Augustine, indefatigable adorer of the Most Holy Trinity,
pray for us.

St. Augustine, inexhaustible fountain of Christian eloquence,
pray for us.

St. Augustine, shining mirror of holiness,
pray for us.

St. Augustine, model of all virtues,
pray for us.

St. Augustine, consoler of the distressed,
pray for us.

St. Augustine, comforter of the forsaken,
pray for us.

St. Augustine, friend and helper of the poor,
pray for us.

St. Augustine, our father,
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 takest away the sins of the world,
Have mercy on us, O Lord.

Christ, hear us.
Christ, graciously hear us.

Let Us Pray

O God, Who didst disclose to Saint Augustine
the hidden mysteries of Thy wisdom
and didst enkindle in his heart
the flame of Divine Love,
thus renewing in Thy Church
the pillar of cloud and fire,
graciously grant that we may pass safely
through the storms of this world
and reach the eternal fatherland
which Thou didst promise us,
through Christ Our Lord.

Amen



Saint Augustine, pray for us and for all theologians.

CapX: What is NATO doing to protect its Baltic frontier?

CapX: What is NATO doing to protect its Baltic frontier?

By Edward Hamilton Stubber

"NATO has had some success in developing its cyber security. The 2014 Industry Cyber Partnership, is an initiative that establishes cooperation between NATO and private companies of member countries on cyber-security collaboration. In addition, NATO’s 2016 Technical Agreement on Cyber Defence with the EU has provides a broad platform for information sharing on cyber-defence.
However, cyber security experts at the Tallin-based think tank and NATO training facility for cyber-attacks, the CCDCOE, believe NATO’s cyber security policy is weak. They believe that as well as cooperative agreements that aim to prevent attacks and share information, NATO needs to increase its digital military capabilities by develop a full range of quick offensive response strategies. They point to the recent hacks on the Democratic National Convention in the US, and that the lack of response by NATO will encourage further aggression."

Essays about Homelessness in the US, by Kirsten Anderberg



The author of these essays has experienced homelessness herself, which gives them a very human quality and this subjective element makes them powerfully compelling. This comes out particularly in the essay Once you've been homeless, you can never go back, which talks about the permanent scarring and trauma left by homelessness, which those who have never experienced it cannot relate to.

She talks about the role of mental hospitals as homeless shelters in one of the essays. In the past, homeless people were forced into mental hospitals against their wills. Today, homeless people desperately try to present with mental health problems to gain admission to psychiatric wards. I have seen that a lot in my job as a substance misuse worker. Our author follows this with an interesting essay on unmarked graves in mental asylums. She also writes about the impact of homelessness on children, who are forced into a posture of suspicion and hostility towards society.

I think the most important essay in this book is the one which talks about how homelessness completely deprives people of privacy. This deprivation forces people who are homeless to withdraw into themselves and to erect mental barriers against society. This raises questions about strategies for addressing homelessness. Homeless people are often offered only shelters and hostels that provide minimal privacy. Their access to housing is made conditional upon their participation in programs that they may be wary of. This adds to the case for a housing first approach to homelessness which sees housing as a basic need that should be addressed immediately. Current policy in the UK often seems to treat homelessness not as a problem in itself, but a result of wider social problems.

There are some socialist views expressed in this book. I disagree with the author's anti-capitalist stance, but I prefer the anger of a socialist to the prejudiced sneering of a conservative. The author's socialism particularly comes out in an essay, which blames homelessness, as well as other problems on land ownership. Of course, getting rid of land ownership would cause its own problems. The re-appropriation of white farm lands in Zimbabwe led to famine in that country.

I would definitely recommend this to anyone seeking an insight into the great evil of homelessness.

Fr Hunwicke's Mutual Enrichment: Ordinariates and Thompson

Fr Hunwicke's Mutual Enrichment: Ordinariates and Thompson

"A reader has asked my comments on a recent Catholic Herald article by Damian Thompson. The notes which follow are, of course, purely and entirely my own private opinions.

DT, poor poppet, rarely gets things quite right. Hostility towards the Ordinariate is by no means anything like universal among the CBCEW. Quite the opposite. I have experienced only kindness and generosity from Crispian Hollis and Philip Egan, successive bishops of the diocese in which I geographically reside. Bishop Egan is a most distinguished and orthodox bishop who is exercising a very fine teaching ministry and is admired as a pastor by his laypeople and clergy alike. I consider it a piece of great good fortune to be living within his jurisdiction, even though he is not my bishop; and (from what I hear) there are not a few benevolent Catholic bishops around.

Nor is DT anywhere near being right in suggesting that the Ordinariate is about to fade away. The enthusiasm for it, and the sheer joie de vivre at our meetings, are almost palpable. It is true that one or two priests have "gone native" and submerged themselves into the Diocesan Churches, but this is not our major problem. Lack of money, of course, is. We had, as Anglicans, built up a number of quite wealthy organisations in our 150 years, but some 'continuing Anglo-Catholics' were so unkeen to see any of this shared out between them and us that they went to the Charity Commissioners. I can hardly deny that our poverty holds us back. It makes us, and our Ordinary, rather ... er ... beholden ..."

Father Ed's Blog: Why I remain optimistic about the Ordinariate

Father Ed's Blog: Why I remain optimistic about the Ordinariate

"Furthermore we should be encouraged that the points raised in the article did not come as a surprise. The reality is that Ordinariate II – as Damian names it- has been a work in progress behind the scenes for some time. It is what occupies our recently elected Deans and the Ordinary’s council, which led them to write the report ‘growing up and growing out’. A report which notes how when we first arrived the priority was simply to get clergy housed and cared for- and it is only now, five years on, that we are strong enough to ask more pertinent questions. How is the Ordinariate served in each situation? What needs to change?

Which is to say the baby Benedict delivered is becoming a toddler under Francis. And we are only just now able to begin the real process of growth and development. That would be my caveat to this article- things in their infancy are rarely as strong as they will become in maturity! Doubtless smaller groups will vanish and mistakes will and have been made. But the miracle is that we are still here- we do have successes to celebrate and we do exist at the heart of the reform of the reform. And – best of all- where we are allowed to flourish we bring growth and health. Hurrah!

Ultimately then I welcome the article. It is full of insight if a little off in terms of tone in places. But the bottom line is that I remain very optimistic. God has called us to something extraordinary and he will not abandon us…so long as we are brave and insightful and ready to take risks. Message received and understood in these quarters. Onwards and upwards we go…"

ConservativeHome: Why I‘m supporting the Homelessness Reduction Bill

ConservativeHome: Why I‘m supporting the Homelessness Reduction Bill

by David Mackintosh MP

"Picture the scene: you’ve worked and paid your taxes for most of your adult life, but recently things have spiralled out of control and you’ve ended up without a roof over your head. Perhaps you’ve suffered a bereavement, a relationship breakdown or mental ill health. Quite reasonably, you approach your council for help, only to be told you aren’t a ‘priority’ under the law because you’re not deemed ‘vulnerable’ enough, despite having nowhere to live. Doesn’t sound right does it?

Yet all too often this is exactly what happens, as I found out recently during a major Select Committee inquiry into homelessness – the first of its kind for a decade. As we now publish our final report, it’s clear to me that something needs to change, and with social justice high on the government’s agenda, I believe our recommendations can make an important contribution."

I fully support this bill. We need to radically change our housing policy to eliminate homelessness.

Friday, 26 August 2016

The Feast of Saint Monica



O God, who console the sorrowful
and who mercifully accepted
the motherly tears of Saint Monica
for the conversion of her son Augustine,
grant us, through the intercession of them both,
that we may bitterly regret our sins
and find the grace of your pardon.
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 Saint Monica and Saint Augustine

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.

Response: pray for us.

Mary, our Mother and the Mother of Jesus,
Mary, our Mother of Consolation,
Mary, the source of our hope,
Mary, the refuge of sinners,
Mary, the guiding star of our lives,
Mary, source of strength in our weakness,
Mary, source of light in our darkness,
Mary, source of consolation in our sorrows,
Mary, source of victory in our temptations,
Mary, who leads us to Jesus,
Mary, who keeps us with Jesus,
Mary, who redeems us through Jesus,
Mary, Mother of Consolation, our Patroness,

St. Augustine, triumph of divine grace,
St. Augustine, so faithful to grace,
St. Augustine, glowing with pure love of God,
St. Augustine, filled with zeal for God’s glory,
St. Augustine, bright star in the firmament of the Church,
St. Augustine, so great and so humble,
St. Augustine, dauntless defender of the Faith,
St. Augustine, vanquisher of heresy,
St. Augustine, prince of bishops and doctors,
St. Augustine, our father,

St. Monica, devout mother of St. Augustine,
St. Monica, whose prayers won Augustine from sin,
St. Monica, whose prayers gave Augustine to God,
St. Monica, pattern for wives,
St. Monica, model of mothers and mother of saints,
St. Monica, exemplar of widows,
St. Monica, devoted to prayer,
St. Monica, so patient in trials,
St. Monica, so resigned in sorrow,
St. Monica, so happy in death,
St. Monica, devoted child of Mary, Mother of Consolation,

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.

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

V. Pray for us, O holy father, Saint Augustine,
R. That we may be made worthy of the promises of Christ.

V. Pray for us, O holy mother, Saint Monica,
R. That we may be made worthy of the promises of Christ.

Let Us Pray

Lord Jesus Christ, Father of mercies and God of all consolation, grant to Thy servants, that joyfully venerating Thy most pure Mother Mary as Our Lady of Consolation, we may be consoled by her in our sorrows, fortified in our trials through life, and in dying, may merit the ineffable consolations of Heaven for all eternity.
Amen.


Saint Monica, pray for us, for all mothers and for young people.

Ready to Assist

Wolfowitz to Vote for Clinton

Reuters: Former Bush adviser Wolfowitz to vote for Clinton

Paul Wolfowitz, a Republican adviser to former U.S. President George W. Bush, plans to vote for Democrat Hillary Clinton in the November presidential election despite his "serious reservations", Der Spiegel magazine reported on Friday.

Wolfowitz, who served as deputy defense secretary under Bush and also as president of the World Bank, said he viewed Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump as a security risk because of his admiration of Russian President Putin and his views on China, the magazine reported.

"It's important to make it clear how unacceptable he is," the magazine quoted Wolfowitz as saying in an interview.

Wolfowitz joins a long list of Republicans who have said they will not vote for Trump.

"I wish there was a candidate whom I could support enthusiastically. I will have to vote for Hillary Clinton, although I have serious reservations about her," he said.

Coffee and Canticles: St. Louis IX and Disappointing Children

Coffee and Canticles: St. Louis IX and Disappointing Children

One year, after finishing this reading, I wondered whether St. Louis' son took this advice to heart and became a king worthy of such a father. Unfortunately, Louis, son of Louis, died before he could succeed to the throne. The next son, Phillip, is described in Wikipedia as "soft, timid and indecisive." The description of his reign, although not horrible, doesn't come across as that of a great king. He was mediocre at best.

If your children don't seem to be turning out quite the way you'd hoped, you might find a sympathetic saintly friend in Louis IX.

Thursday, 25 August 2016

Novenas: Prayers of Intercession and Devotion, by William Storey



William Storey, Novenas: Prayers of Intercession and Devotion, 2005 Loyola Press


On this blog I have previously reviewed two novena collections, the CTS Handbook of Novenas to the Saints and the American Treasury of Novenas. I've also reviewed another prayer book edited by William Storey, A Catholic Book of Hours.

The distinctive feature of this book is that the novenas are accompanied by a sort of prayer office, with a psalm, a short reading, a canticle and a litany. Some of these contain the Magnificat as a canticle, which feels awkward to say when one is saying the Magnificat as part of the Liturgy of the Hours. I sometimes say these offices, but more often I just say the novena prayer.

The selection of novenas to saints is a bit limited. Favorites like St. Anthony of Padua and Saint Joseph are there, but there is no novena to Saint Rita or Saint Anne. Oddly we get some novenas to individuals that have not yet been canonized- Blessed Mother Teresa of Calcutta, Dorothy Day and Oscar Romero. These choices clearly reflect the anti-traditionalist preferences of the editor. However, we do get a novena to Saint John the Baptist, who tends to get forgotten. There are also no novenas for the Marian feasts of the Immaculate Conception and the Assumption. The Novena to the Good Shepherd was new to me and a nice addition.

Not bad, but I think I liked Treasury of Novenas better.

Eagles Over Estonia

Wednesday, 24 August 2016

The Feast of Saint Louis, King of France



O God, who brought Saint Louis from the cares of earthly rule to the glory of a heavenly realm, grant, we pray, through his intercession, that, by fulfilling our duties on earth, we may seek out your eternal Kingdom. 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 Louis, pray for us, for France and for all kings and queens.

New Atlanticist: Ukraine at Twenty-Five

New Atlanticist: Ukraine at Twenty-Five

by John E. Herbst


"All three of us were heavily engaged with policy development related to Ukraine and Russia in the mid-1990s. In retrospect, some of our concerns at the time were overblown. The infamous CIA National Intelligence Estimate, for example, which predicted that Ukraine might split in two, proved spectacularly wrong. Ukrainian politicians, despite their many flaws, largely managed the substantial differences in outlook between the country’s east and west.

Ukraine has also done an admirable job of containing the intolerant demons of its not-so-distant past. Anti-Semitism and difficult relations between Ukrainians and Poles were a feature of life in Ukraine for centuries. Today, dialogue between ethnic Ukrainians and Jews, and between Ukrainians and Poles, has become a feature of Ukrainian life. Moscow’s claims in 2014 that fascists had come to power in Kyiv and that anti-Semitism was rife proved to be Kremlin-concocted fantasies. In the past two years, extreme nationalist politicians have fared poorly in Ukrainian politics.

Sadly for Ukraine and for the people of Russia, however, Russian President Vladimir Putin has pursued a policy of growing authoritarianism at home and an ideal of empire abroad. This has sparked a major challenge for Kyiv. In a sense, Putin bet on the flawed analysis of the 1990s’ National Intelligence Estimate when he began his covert war to foster separatism in the Donbas. The unwillingness of most ethnic Russians and Russophones in the Donbas to rise up explains why the Kremlin needed to send in regular army units in August 2014 and again in February 2015 to keep the so-called “Donetsk and Luhansk Peoples Republics” in operation. In fact, Putin’s illegal seizure of Crimea and war in the Donbas have fostered a modern Ukrainian consciousness and patriotism that is driving the country forward toward Europe and away from an imperial Russia."

Why the Brexit Vote Was Bad Democracy

Ready to Fight

Tuesday, 23 August 2016

The Feast of Saint Bartholomew



Strengthen in us, O Lord, the faith, by which the blessed Apostle Bartholomew clung wholeheartedly to your Son, and grant that through the help of his prayers your Church may become for all the nations the sacrament 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.


Saint Bartholomew, pray for us and for all missionaries.

Baltic Solidarity 1989

Licity Talks Politics: Bush Advisor Leaves Republican Party, Reflecting Thoughts of Many Longtime Republicans

Licity Talks Politics: Bush Advisor Leaves Republican Party, Reflecting Thoughts of Many Longtime Republicans


"Not only does Republicanism mean conservative policies, it also means decency and respect. This party was invented by people like Abraham Lincoln and other anti-slavery activists, who fought for equality and freedom. It is such a shame for Republicans to fall away from their roots and embrace an angry, self-centered, belittling position of a few.

Donald Trump’s anti-Muslim, anti-Hispanic, anti-women, anti-African-American rhetoric is a stark contrast to what the Republican Party was founded on and what it stands for today."

Monday, 22 August 2016

Bjorn Lomborg: Organic food is great business, but a bad investment

Bjorn Lomborg: Organic food is great business, but a bad investment


"Yes, organic farming will mean that in one field, a farmer will use less energy, create fewer greenhouse gases and have less nitrogen leaking.

But consider the bigger picture. Organic farming is much, much less efficient than regular old farming. Our farmer needs more fields to grow the same amount of produce. Not just because going organic means less fertilizer and more bugs and pests, but also because the land needs to lie empty or be planted with legumes to rebuild fertility between crop cycles.

A big study in Europe found that to produce the same gallon of milk organically, you need 59% more land. To produce meat, you need 82% more land, and for crops, it is more than 200%. That adds up to a lot of forest and nature being turned into farms for people in Portland, Ore., or Providence, R.I., to feel better about their choices at the supermarket.

If U.S. agricultural production were entirely organic, it would mean we'd need to convert an area bigger than the size of California to farmland. It is the same as eradicating all parklands and wild lands in the lower 48 states."

Sunday, 21 August 2016

The Feast of the Cosmic Queenship of Our Lady



O God, who made the Mother of your Son to be our Mother and our Queen, graciously grant that, sustained by her intercession, we may attain in the heavenly Kingdom the glory promised to your children. 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.


Hail, holy Queen, Mother of mercy; hail our life, our sweetness and our hope. To thee do we cry, poor banished children of Eve. To thee do we lift up our sighs, mourning and weeping in this valley of tears. Turn then, most gracious Advocate, thine eyes of mercy toward us. And after this our exile show unto us the blessed fruit of thy womb, Jesus. O clement, O loving, O sweet Virgin Mary.


Litany of Loretto

Lord, have mercy.
Christ, 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 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 Savior, 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 honor, 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 take away the sins of the world, spare us, O Lord!.
Lamb of God, who take away the sins of the world, graciously hear us, O Lord!
Lamb of God, who take away the sins of the world, have mercy on us.

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

Let us pray. Grant, we beg you, O Lord God, that we your servants, may enjoy lasting health of mind and body, and by the glorious intercession of the Blessed Mary, ever Virgin, be delivered from present sorrow and enter into the joy of eternal happiness. Through Christ our Lord.
R. Amen.



Holy Mary, Queen of the Universe, pray for us, that we may be counted worthy to reign with Christ.

Saturday, 20 August 2016

Winning a Debate with an Israel-Hater, by Michael Harris



This handbook is not aimed at those debating people who are strongly critical of Israeli policy, but at those who deny the right of the state of Israel to exist, a body of opinion that is alarmingly large. Harris offers strategies for challenging the arguments of those taking this extreme position.

Harris argues that those debating anti-Israelists to advocate a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. He suggests one should challenge the anti-Israelists as to whether they agree with a two-state solution, as it forces them to admit they are opposed to the existence of Israel. Harris challenges the idea of Israel being an apartheid state, pointing out the enormous differences between Israel and apartheid South Africa. He also points out that the anti-Israelists object to Israel being a Jewish state, while ignoring the many states that are officially Muslim.

There is a lot of humour in this book. I particularly liked his characterisation of the different sorts of Israel haters, such as aging hippies, Christian "peacemakers", Islamist youth and old school anti-semites. This was an informative and entertaining read.



The Feast of Saint Bernard of Clairvaux




O God, who made the Abbot Saint Bernard a man consumed with zeal for your house and a light shining and burning in your Church, grant, through his intercession, that we may be on fire with the same spirit and walk always as children of light. Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son, who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever.


The Litany of Saint Bernard of Clairvaux

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 Ghost,
Have mercy on us.
Holy Trinity, One God,
Have mercy on us.

Holy Mary, Mother of God,
Pray for us.
Queen conceived without sin,
Pray for us.
Saint Bernard, etc.
St. Bernard, who in giving thyself to God, drew many souls to Him,
St. Bernard, prodigy of the eleventh age,
St. Bernard, ornament of the clergy,
St. Bernard, terror of heretics,
St. Bernard, oracle of the Church,
St. Bernard, light of bishops,
St. Bernard, most humble,
St. Bernard, burning with zeal for the glory of God,
St. Bernard, most ardent for the honor of Mary,
St. Bernard, most beloved son of the Queen of Angels,
St. Bernard, most pure in body and mind,
St. Bernard, perfect model of poverty and mortification,
St. Bernard, most ardent in charity to all,
St. Bernard, who feared God and not earthly powers,
St. Bernard, whose whole exterior breathed holiness,
St. Bernard, whose very look spoke of God,
St. Bernard, flower of religious,
St. Bernard, who never lost sight of the presence of God,
St. Bernard, angel of Clairvaux,
St. Bernard, always absorbed in God,
Lamb of God, Who takest away the sins of the world,
Here us, O Lord.
Lamb of God, Who takest away the sins of the world,
Spare us, O Lord.
Lamb of God, Who takes away the sins of the world,
Have mercy on us.

Let Us Pray.
O great Saint, who from the very dawn of life turned all the powers of thy soul and the noble affections of thy pure and loving heart toward thy Creator; O angel clothed in mortal flesh, who appeared in this valley of tears as a bright lily of purity to shed around thee the good odor of Christ, to show to all the beauty of virtue, and to point out to thousands the way to Heaven-----O pray for us, that truly despising all earthly objects, we may live for God alone. R. Amen.


Saint Bernard, pray for us, for France and for all monks.

Wednesday, 17 August 2016

Univision News: Why this Republican is endorsing Hillary Clinton

Univision News: Why this Republican is endorsing Hillary Clinton

by Rosario Marin


"I have been a Republican since I became a US Citizen in 1984 and was proud to vote for Ronald Reagan’s reelection. Eventually, I was given the incredible honor to be the United States Treasurer, the first Mexican-born to hold this title.

I have been a loyal, trusted and fiery fighter for every Republican presidential candidate. I have been a delegate to the previous five Republican conventions. But since July 2015, when a certain candidate, upon entering the political arena, showed his contempt for Mexican immigrants by stating they were drug dealers, rapists and murderers, I have voiced my disgust and have warned one and all of the perilous threat he was to our party, our nation and the world."

Tuesday, 16 August 2016

Romanians on Parade

The Feast of Saint Stephen of Hungary

Grant your Church, we pray, almighty God, that she may have Saint Stephen of Hungary, who fostered her growth while a king on earth, as her glorious defender 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 Stephen, pray for us and for Hungary.

Sunday, 14 August 2016

The Feast of the Assumption of Our Lady



Almighty and everlasting God,
You have taken up body and soul
into the heavenly glory the Immaculate Virgin Mary,
Mother of Your Son: Grant, we beseech You,
that, ever intent upon heavenly things,
we may be worthy to be partakers of her glory.
Through Jesus Christ Your Son, our Lord,
who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit,
One God, forever and ever. Amen.


O Blessed Virgin Mary,
united to the victorious Christ in heaven,
you are the image and first-flowering of the Church
as she is to be perfected in the world to come.
You shine forth as a sign of sure hope and solace
for the pilgrim People of God.
In your Assumption,
you manifest the fullness of redemption
and appear as the spotless image of the Church
responding in joy
to the invitation of the Bridegroom, your Son,
who is the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep.

Grant that we may follow your example on earth
thereby imitating your Son as well
and being enabled to share your glory,
with Him for all eternity.


Holy Mary, Virgin Assumed into Heaven, pray for us, that we may enter into the glory and joy of heaven.

Russia and the Universal Church, by Vladimir Soloviev



The great Russian thinker, Vladimir Soloviev (1853-1900) was a convert to Byzantine-rite Catholicism. This book calls for the unification of the Russian Orthodox Church with the Papacy and the Catholic Church. It provides a powerful apology for the Petrine Supremacy and a critique of the particularism and other failings of the Russian Orthodox Church, but also goes beyond this to offer a Trinitarian picture of the cosmos upheld by divine wisdom.

Soloviev points out the role of the Papacy in helping the Church of the Byzantine east to resist the errors of Nestorianism and Monophysitism. Yet though the Byzantine Church ultimately rejected these heresies, he argues that they affected her mentality, causing her to fail to allow the Gospel to truly transform her society and this failing was inherited by her daughter, the Russian Church. In response, our author offers a vision of the Medieval idea of a universal Christian monarchy. The Byzantine and Russian empires had such an aspiration, yet a Christian empire needed to be united to the universal Christian Kingdom of Christ, which was headed by the Pope. There could be no universal Christian emperor without a Pope.

Like many Russian writers, he locates the glory of Russian spirituality in the faith of the peasantry. He points out that the peasants faith was about loving and worshiping Christ and his blessed Virgin Mother. In this, their faith was entirely akin to that of the Catholic peasants of western Europe. It was the bishops and hierarchs who had made the Orthodox faith a primarily negative one, defined by those Latin doctrines that it rejected. Yet while opposing the Russian Church's particularism, our author still sees a particularistic role for Russia and the Russian people. He sees a role for Russian in building a universal Christian empire to make known Christianity to the world, a little like the manifest destiny of the United States. I do think there is something unique about the Russsian people's capacity to endure suffering that has a Christ-like quality.

This book is a little difficult to read in the last chapters, where Soloviev's tone becomes more philosophical, but it is a truly beautiful book. The introduction and appendices connect Soloviev's ideas to the apparition of Our Lady of Fatima in the Twentieth Century. Our Lady promised at Fatima that Russia's conversion would bring an age of peace. The appendix also sees in Our Lady of Fatima the revelation of Sophia, the manifestation of divine wisdom which haunted and fascinated Soloviev.



I count myself as a Russophile, being one who loves Russian culture, while not being terribly happy with the sort of things the Russian government gets up to. I do think there is a danger with Russophilia that one can get confused between the romantic notion of 'Holy Russia' and the current Russian regime. One of the appendices offers some praise for Putin, which I found a little worrying. There is an unfortunate tendency among some Christian conservatives to see Putin as the saviour of Christian civilization, which I think is unhelpful. One might ask whether a Catholic Russian empire would actually be less aggressive and more respectful of the right of self-determination of other peoples than an Orthodox or Communist Russia? Whatever the case, Catholics must never give up praying for the conversion of Russia.

Saturday, 13 August 2016

The Feast of Saint Maximilian Kolbe



O God, who filled the Priest and Martyr Saint Maximilian Kolbe with a burning love for the Immaculate Virgin Mary and with zeal for souls and love of neighbor, graciously grant, through his intercession, that striving for your glory by eagerly serving others, we may be conformed, even until death, to your Son. Who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever.

Litany of Saint Maximillian Kolbe

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

Lord, have mercy on us
Lord, have mercy on us

God, our Father in 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

Immaculate Mary, Mother of the Savior, Pray for us
St. Maximilian Maria Kolbe, Pray for us...

Brave Knight of the Immaculata, Pray for us
Heroic Son of Poland, Pray for us
Man of living Faith, Pray for us
Obedient Son of St. Francis, Pray for us
Poor and Humble Friar, Pray for us
Example of Angelic Purity, Pray for us
Great Lover of our Eucharistic Lord, Pray for us
Consecrant of Our Lady, Pray for us
Faithful Priest, Pray for us
Model of Religious Life, Pray for us
Servant of the Church, Pray for us
Marian Mystic, Pray for us
Zealous Missionary, Pray for us
Modern Evangelist, Pray for us
True Ecumenist, Pray for us
Brilliant Apologist, Pray for us
Christian Journalist, Pray for us
Educator of Youth, Pray for us
Promoter of the Mass Media, Pray for us
Spokesman of Christian Values, Pray for us
Defender of Human Dignity, Pray for us
Promoter of the Miraculous Medal, Pray for us
Minister of Refugees, Pray for us
Friend of the Homeless, Pray for us
Hero of Auschwitz, Pray for us
Victim of Violence and Hatred, Pray for us
Provider for the Hungry, Pray for us
Preacher to the Hopeless, Pray for us
Companion of the Imprisoned, Pray for us
Comforter of the Sick, Pray for us
Consoler of the Dying, Pray for us
Instrument of Peace and Reconciliation, Pray for us
Man for Others, Pray for us
Victim of Planned Extermination, Pray for us
Martyr of Charity, Pray for us
Intercessor of the Addicted, Pray for us
Friend to those with Eating Disorders, Pray for us
Protector of Family Life, Pray for us
Inspiration to Volunteers, Pray for us
Patron of Pro-life, Pray for us
Patron of our Difficult Age, Pray for us
Prophet and Sign of the Civilization of Love, Pray for us

Lamb of God, you take away the sins of the World, Have mercy on us
Lamb of God, you take away the sins of the World, Have mercy on us
Lamb of God, you take away the sins of the World, Grant us peace

LET US PRAY: Merciful God, you raised up St. Maximilian Kolbe to the glory of your saints. Grant that we, through his heroic example and the powerful intercession of this Martyr of Charity, may always serve you in charity shown to our brothers and sisters. Grant the grace we need always to seek to accomplish the greatest glory of God in all that we do.

We ask this through Christ our Lord. Amen.



Saint Maximillian Kolbe, pray for us, for all Franciscans and for Poland.

Independent: Banning the burkini is misogynistic – and Western feminists are turning a blind eye

Independent: Banning the burkini is misogynistic – and Western feminists are turning a blind eye

by Huda Jawad

"What is it about French secularism’s blindspot to its own racism and misogyny? The obsession to the point of fetishism with Muslim women’s mode of dress and covering curtails the most basic of human rights – that of self-determination and freedom of expression. As Arundhati Roy so eloquently put it, coercing a woman out of the burqa instead of enabling her to choose is an act of violence, humiliation and cultural imperialism. Instead of extending the hand of fraternité, Lisnard and his supporters are excluding Muslims, if not pushing them into the arms of radicalisers.

Such policies and acts of discrimination are examples of how Islamophobia is more likely to manifests itself in a gendered way which targets and affects women uniquely, adding to their misogynistic oppression and religious victimisation."

There is nothing liberating about forcing women to wear less clothing.

The Guardian: Whether leavers like it or not, Europe has a say on how Brexit will happen

The Guardian: Whether leavers like it or not, Europe has a say on how Brexit will happen

by Jonathan Freedland

In the EU case, there are at least 27 other parties involved, each with a veto. The Bloomberg survey makes clear that post-Brexit negotiations will be a game of 27-dimensional chess. Theresa May won’t be able simply to stitch together a deal with Angela Merkel. She’ll have to accommodate, say, Spain’s wish for joint sovereignty over Gibraltar or Denmark’s desire for reciprocal fishing access. The eastern European states will demand that Britain make a financial contribution to the EU in return for privileged single market access. And on it will go, times 27.

Coffee and Canticles: They're Canonizing Him?

Coffee and Canticles: They're Canonizing Him?

"Which leads me to wonder how third century Christians would have reacted to the saints we commemorate today, St. Pontian, (pope) and St. Hippolytus (anti-pope!).

You heard me right. While Pontian (and two of his predecssors) reigned, Hippolytus was leader of a rigorist faction that believed the faith was not being adequately defended and maintained in its original purity by current leadership. His followers in the clergy elected him as a rival pope. Pontian, on the other hand, humbly offered to step down in favor of any legitimately elected successor if that would help resolve the schism.

This was back in the days when Christianity was still frowned upon by the Roman empire. In the year 235, the Emperor Maximus launched a persecution that swept up both Pontian and Hippolytus and sent them to a gulag on the isle of Sardinia. Pontian and Hippolytus supported each other during their last days on earth, which included torture and hard labor in salt mines. Hippolytus repented and reconciled with the Church. They died there and were acclaimed as both martyrs and saints. Hippolytus was the first anti-pope, and the only one honored with sainthood.

Did critics have a field day over these two? Were conservatives appalled that a schismatic like Hippolytus could be canonized? Or perhaps the liberals were: Hippolytus was a rigorist who felt that notorious sinners could never be readmitted to communion--how could a man so lacking in mercy be canonized? Or maybe some felt Pontian was wrong to make overtures to the Hippolytus faction by offering to resign rather than taking a more hardline approach. Who knows? But it's fun to speculate."

Balkan Aid

Friday, 12 August 2016

Naturalis Historia| A Creation Museum Speaker Asks: Do Animals Evolve?

Naturalis Historia| A Creation Museum Speaker Asks: Do Animals Evolve?

"After showing how some traits can be selected for by natural selection Osborne proceeded to show multiple domestic dogs and say they are all still dogs. The implication was that we know that these domestic dogs were all created by selection on ancestral wolves and thus natural selection really does work and can change animals – within limits of course. But then he proceeds to show multiple canine and fox (vulpine) species. He equates the changes that made domestic dogs with how all of these species could have easily have been formed since departing Noah’s Ark.

Most of the audience won’t realize they have just experienced a bait-and-switch. Domesticated dog breed formation has been observed but none of these are new species. There are no eye-witness accounts of species of canines and foxes forming. To the contrary, there are fossils of most of the 30+ species of canines and foxes that are thousands and even hundreds of thousands of years old. For example, the red fox alone is found over much of the world and lives in hot, cold, wet and dry environments and fossils are even found in the Middle East. Consider too that the Bible describes a canine that was as much a red fox then and those that live there today. Why is the red fox still a red fox in all of these environments and over all of this time if rapid speciation is constantly occurring? Where is the evidence that canines have been speciating during human history?

Morphological, genetically and behaviorally there are significant differences between canine species. There are NO historical records which recount the origin of any of these species. Osborne makes fun of evolutionary theory for being a “faith-based” science but then says the Bible teaches speciation but there is no eye-witness evidence to support this claim."

The Feast of Saint Pontian and Saint Hippolytus

I love the story of how Pontian, the rightful pope and Hippolytus, a schismatic anti-pope were rivals, yet the Romans had them both locked up together. Even in prison, they would not speak to each other, yet eventually were reconciled. Hippolytus is the only anti-pope to have been canonized. As an ex-Protestant who was very anti-Catholic, yet reconciled to the Catholic Church, I can identify with him.

Almighty God, by whose grace and power thy holy Martyrs Saint Pontian and Saint Hippolytus triumphed over suffering, and despised death: Grant, we beseech thee, that enduring hardness, and waxing valiant in fight, we may with the noble army of martyrs receive the crown of everlasting life; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.


Saint Pontian and Saint Hippolytus, pray for us, that we would be reconciled with our brethren with whom we differ.

God Among the Bunkers, by Chris Moorey



I have long had an interest in Albania. The Albanian civil war and the crisis in Kosovo both occurred when I was a teenager. When I lived in Worcester, I was friends with a chap who had served as an Evangelical missionary in Albania. In Albania people always remove their shoes in homes, a custom of which I very much approve. Albania is one of a handful of countries that I pray for every week. I normally pray for Albania on Mondays.

The title of this book is taken from the fact that the Communist dictator Enver Hoxha filled Albania with concrete bunkers as a security measure against invasion. Albania under Hoxha was the most repressive Communist regime in the world. In particular, Hoxha went far beyond any other Communist leader in his attempts to eradicate religious belief. Even North Korea has a show church to give a Potemkin illusion of religious freedom. In Albania, every vestige of religious practice was targeted by the state. This book provides a history of that persecution, demonstrating its horrors, but also demonstrating the survival of religious faith.

While the book emphasises the experiences of Orthodox Christians in Albania, it also has plenty of information about the persecution of Catholics and Muslims under Hoxha. This is appropriate, as uniquely, despite the division of its population into Orthodox, Catholics and Muslims, Albania has been surprisingly lacking in religious tensions. While Albanians may murder each other over tribal feuds, they are not nearly so inclined to kill each other over differing religious beliefs. The same tolerance has been extended in more recent years to the Evangelical groups and imported cults that thrived there after the end of Communism.

This is in many places a deeply saddening, as well as disturbing book. However, it is also very encouraging, showing the failure of Communism to eradicate the faith of so many Albanian people and the return of Albanians, especially young people to churches after Hoxha's fall.

Russian Military Build-up in and around Ukraine

Wednesday, 10 August 2016

The Feast of Saint Clare



O God, who in your mercy led Saint Clare to a love of poverty, grant, through her intercession, that, following Christ in poverty of spirit, we may merit to contemplate you one day in the heavenly Kingdom. 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 Clare. pray for us and for all Franciscans.

Mr Gog's Mystablog: Tents and Transfiguration

Mr Gog's Mystablog: Tents and Transfiguration

Given recent news, you might question whether now is a good time for us be up the mountain or the altar steps contemplating divine light.
Yet Peter, James and John were no strangers to persecution themselves, and still they thought that the glory of God they saw in Jesus was invaluable: worth their lives, in the end.
This is because they knew what they saw, from their own Jewish tradition. From 16 October this year, if you go into Hendon, you will see tents in many people’s gardens, out for the Feast of Tabernacles or Sukkoth, where the Jewish people will camp for a week in memory of God’s command to them to set up tents in the desert during the Exodus. The “roughly eight days” that Luke mentions at the beginning of his account of the Transfiguration (Lk 9.28) was that very week of the Feast of Tabernacles. This is why Peter offers to set up tents for Moses and Elijah, too, when he sees them with Jesus. They are at the final day of the Feast, and Peter sees Jesus bringing it to a dramatic culmination. But he knows, too, that the Feast of Tabernacles is not just the remembrance of a past event, but like all Jewish festivals, foreshadows also a hope for the future: in this case, the future dwelling of the just in God. When Moses and Elijah vanish in the cloud, Peter knows that the need for tents is over: in Christ, the promise has been fulfilled. The Kingdom is revealed, here and now.

Anglican priest Fr Tom Plant grasps the significance of Peter's words in Luke 9 as fulfilling the Feast of the Tabernacles. Whenever I have heard Evangelicals preach on this passage, they always end up saying that St. Peter was saying something stupid or carnal, completely missing the Old Testament background.

The Feast of Saint Philomena




O Saint Philomena, Virgin and Martyr, whom God glorifies by so many miracles, whom the Vicar of Jesus Christ has named the Protectress of The Living Rosary and the Children of Mary, manifest, more and more plainly from the heights of Heaven, that a voice holy as thine cannot be denied and that we have the right to rely upon thine aid. Obtain for us the grace to be faithful to Jesus Christ, even to death. Amen.


The Litany of Saint Philomena

Lord,have mercy on us.
Lord,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 Virgins
pray for us.
Saint Philomena,
pray for us.
Saint Philomena, filled with abundant graces from your birth,
pray for us.
Saint Philomena, faithful imitator of Mary,
pray for us.
Saint Philomena, model of virginity,
pray for us.
Saint Philomena, temple of perfect humility,
pray for us.
Saint Philomena, inflamed with zeal for the glory of God,
pray for us.
Saint Philomena, victim of love for Jesus,
pray for us.
Saint Philomena, example of strength and perseverance,
pray for us.
Saint Philomena, invincible champion of chastity,
pray for us.
Saint Philomena, mirror of most heroic virtue,
pray for us.
Saint Philomena, firm and intrepid in the face of torments,
pray for us.
Saint Philomena, scourged like your Divine Spouse,
pray for us.
Saint Philomena, pierced by a rain of arrows,
pray for us.
Saint Philomena, consoled in chains by the Mother of God,
pray for us.
Saint Philomena, miraculously healed in prison,
pray for us.
Saint Philomena, comforted by the Angels in your torments,
pray for us.
Saint Philomena, who preferred torments
pray for us.
Saint Philomena, who converted witnesses by your martyrdom,
pray for us.
Saint Philomena, who wore out the fury of your tormentors,
pray for us.
Saint Philomena, protectress of the innocent,
pray for us.
Saint Philomena, patroness of youth,
pray for us.
Saint Philomena, refuge of the unfortunate,
pray for us.
Saint Philomena, health of the sick and infirmed,
pray for us.
Saint Philomena, new light of the Church Militant,
pray for us.
Saint Philomena, who confounds the impiety of the world,
pray for us.
Saint Philomena, who rejuvenates the faith and courage of the faithful,
pray for us.
Saint Philomena, whose name is glorious in Heaven and feared in Hell,
pray for us.
Saint Philomena, made illustrious by the most splendid miracles,
pray for us.
Saint Philomena, powerful with God,
pray for us.
Saint Philomena, who reigns in glory,
pray for us.
Lamb of God, You take away the sins of the world;
spare us, O Lord.
Lamb of God, You take away the sins of the world;
graciously hear us, O Lord.
Lamb of God, You take away the sins of the world;
have mercy on us.
V. Pray for us, O Worker of Wonders, Saint Philomena,
R. That we may be made worthy of the promises of Christ.
Let us pray.
O Lord, through the intercession of Saint Philomena, Virgin and Martyr, whose eminent purity and practice of every virtue was most pleasing to you, pardon our sins and grant us the grace of___ (add your intention)



Saint Philomena, pray for us, for the Universal Living Rosary Association and for all Christian young people, that they may faithfully surrender their lives to Christ.

Tuesday, 9 August 2016

The Telegraph: Theresa May must ignore the Tory grammar school pleas if she wants to be truly One Nation

The Telegraph: Theresa May must ignore the Tory grammar school pleas if she wants to be truly One Nation


by Angela Rayner MP



Given that around just 2 per cent of children at grammar schools are eligible for free school meals, it comes as no surprise that in 161 of the 163 grammar schools left in this country, fewer than 10 per cent of pupils are eligible for free school meals.

They entrench division and separate out children at an early age.

The evidence shows that grammar schools overwhelmingly benefit those from more affluent backgrounds. This has absolutely nothing to do with academic ability and everything to do with background and wealth.

Grammar schools are about stigmatising children, not on the grounds of their ability, but on their background.


I suspect that Theresa May is much too cautious and risk averse to pursue a grammar school revival, but if she does it will be the reversal of the Conservative Party's current fortune. Parents do not want to see their children branded as failures at the age of 11.

Biblical Evidence for Catholicism: Theosis & the Exalted Virgin Mary

Biblical Evidence for Catholicism: Theosis & the Exalted Virgin Mary

To summarize: it is plausible that God could and would bestow an extraordinary place upon Mary in His redemptive plan for the human race. If we are all potentially partakers of the divine nature, as St. Peter informs us, then how much more so the Blessed Virgin Mary, the Immaculate New Eve, the Theotokos? If we all can be potentially God’s fellow workers, urged on by God’s enabling grace to work out our own salvation, then why cannot Mary conceivably have been chosen by God to be a dispenser of His salvific grace and Mediatrix?

A Friendly Visit to Lithuania

Sunday, 7 August 2016

The Feast of Saint Dominic




May Saint Dominic come to the help of your Church by his merits and teaching, O Lord, and may he, who was an outstanding preacher of your truth, be a devoted intercessor on our behalf. 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 Dominic, pray for us, for Spain and for all Dominicans.

The Federal Vision



This is a republication of The Federal Vision, a collection of essays edited by Steven Wilkins. This launched the Federal Vision controversy, also known as the Auburn Avenue controversy, which saw Norman Shepherd kicked out of Westminster Seminary. The authors attempted to offer a more catholic, high church reading of Reformed theology, but they were accused of compromising the doctrine of justification by faith alone.

These essays challenge conventional Reformed ecclesiology, viewing the church as a truly visible body and giving genuine recognition to the idea of the sacraments as means of grace and not just symbols that don't really do anything. The authors engage really well with the Scriptures as well as the Reformed tradition. The authors argue for a vital relationship between the covenant and the present experience of salvation. On their view, the covenant includes persons who are not among the elect and who will not ultimately be saved. Rich Lusk in the final essay, argues that the apostates in Hebrews 6 are persons who had a genuine experience of the grace of regeneration, despite not being elect. He argues against attempts by Calvinists to water down warning passages by introducing distinctions that are not found in the text. Those who are in the church, but who fail to persevere are genuine participants in the blessings and privileges of the covenant. This is a far more authentically Augustinian viewpoint than that of conventional Calvinism.

The views articulated here share much common ground with Catholicism. This was a really positive contribution to Reformed theology. It is unfortunate that the views of the Federal Vision for the most part fell on deaf ears within the conservative Reformed movement.

Saturday, 6 August 2016

The Feast of the Transfiguration




O God, who in the glorious Transfiguration of your Only Begotten Son confirmed the mysteries of faith by the witness of the Fathers and wonderfully prefigured our full adoption to sonship, grant, we pray, to your servants, that, listening to the voice of your beloved Son, we may merit to become co-heirs with him. Who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever.


Lord Jesus, Light of the World, may our lives be transfigured, that we may come to share in thine eternal glory.

Friday, 5 August 2016

The Guardian: If peers apply the brakes to Brexit, we’ll be doing our job

The Guardian: If peers apply the brakes to Brexit, we’ll be doing our job

by Patience Wheatcroft


"The sovereignty of parliament must prevail. It is central to our democracy and needs to be nurtured. There are far too many examples around the world of what happens when too much power is vested in any individual.

The ardent Brexiteers contend that the people have had their say and immediate action should follow. Yet some who voted out are already voicing misgivings. This is hardly surprising, given the nature of the campaign and what has since transpired. That extra £350m a week for the NHS promised by the leave campaigners proved as reliable as Andrea Leadsom’s CV. The remainers failed to make a positive case for the EU – did anyone mention the Erasmus project? They were squeamish about discussing the peace dividend from Europe.

But while the hike in mortgage rates that George Osborne threatened if leave triumphed is unlikely to follow on Thursday’s interest rate cut, the other dire predictions about the effect on the economy are already proving distressingly accurate. This week, surveys on the service and manufacturing sectors signalled the steepest fall in the economy since the height of the financial crisis. The drastic slump in the value of the pound is taking its toll on holidaymakers and, while optimists argue it should boost exports, that ignores the effect on manufacturers who have to import their materials."

Thursday, 4 August 2016

Naturalis Historia| The Ark Encounter: Depicting a Real Flood with Unrealistic Images

Naturalis Historia| The Ark Encounter: Depicting a Real Flood with Unrealistic Images



"Where is the sediment? This image depicts a tranquil sea. Nothing in the young-earth flood geology literature suggests a placid flood covering the earth. If the Ark has already been raised above the mountain tops, as shown in the image, how could 20,000 feet of sediment be deposited onto the pre-flood land from clear water? Small particulates in the water column could not have settled out in enough time for the waters to ever have been clear during the Flood.

Am I making a mountain out of a molehill here? Well, maybe a bit but stick with me because I think this image provides an illustration of a problem that is found throughout the Ark Encounter.

I recognize the clarity of the water is not as important as getting the dimensions of the ark right in the mind of the AiG staff. In addition, they acknowledge that they have used creative and artistic license to depict some aspects of the Noahic account. I believe the artistic license is in reference to giving names to wives of Noah and what their living quarters may have looked like and other such clearly speculative information provided at the Ark Encounter. But, couldn’t this image of the Flood waters covering the earth be just an artistic way of depicting the events of the Flood and therefore not objectionable? No, I don’t think so. I think it presents an inconsistent message and that inconsistently hits right at the core of what the presumed educational value of the Ark is.

The problem is that young-earth creationists would not consider the geological consequences of Noah’s flood as being subject to speculation and thus artistic license. There is a well-established base of creationist’ literature which purports to account for how the Flood was initiated, was sustained and subsided on the Earth resulting in all of the sedimentary rock and fossils found in those rocks. A calm sediment-free ocean as depicted here is a direct contradiction to all of their published literature.

I understand that showing a murky-brown sediment-filled ocean below the Ark would not be especially pleasing to the eye. It also raises even more questions such as how would filter feeding whales survive in muddy water? However, around the corner they weren’t afraid to get real about the devastation of the Flood by showing a heathen teenager girl who missed the boat being eaten by a shark. I will grant that the latter is artistic license but it doesn’t violate any of the young-earth creationist predictions of what could have happened at the onset of the Flood. Showing clear blue seas, on the other hand, is a depiction of a history they believe to be false."

Wednesday, 3 August 2016

Joint Exercises in Lithuania

The Feast of Saint Lydia



O Almighty God, who willest to be glorified in thy Saints and didst raise up thy servant, Saint Lydia to shine as a light in the world: Shine, we pray thee, in our hearts, that we also in our generation may shew forth thy praises, who hast called us out of darkness into thy marvellous light; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.


Saint Lydia, pray for us, for all Christian businesswomen, for Macedonia, Turkey and all the peoples of Europe.

Tuesday, 2 August 2016

Fr. Dwight Longenecker: Ten Things for Confused Conservative Catholics to Remember

Fr. Dwight Longenecker: Ten Things for Confused Conservative Catholics to Remember

"From emails and conversations I have had, I am aware that there are a good number of conservative Catholics who are confused, bewildered and distressed by the current state of affairs in our country and in our church.

They see the disastrous presidential candidates our system has produced and they wonder what on earth is going on. They see the violence in the streets, the threat of jihadist terrorists, the looming financial crisis and the church in which they felt secure (a church dominated by Pope John Paul II and Pope Benedict) being “reformed” by a pope they do not understand and do not trust.

What’s to be done? Well here are ten suggestions for finding stability in a turbulent world."

The Telegraph: David Cameron is right to reward his friends with honours

The Telegraph: David Cameron is right to reward his friends with honours

by John McTernan

"The current row about Cameron’s "cronyism" is entirely predictable and completely factitious. The "silly season" is well named, but this is surely the most ridiculous political row for a very long time. And it misses the point entirely.

The real meaning of the resignation honours list – and why Cameron’s should be delivered as drafted – is very different and far more subtle than the faux outrage dominating the coverage.

The truth is that politics is often brutal – a contact sport as they say. That much is obvious to even the least observant – the last few weeks have shown careers terminated more dramatically than in The Weakest Link.

The secret is that all politics is actually about friendship and loyalty. And it is when you forget that you are doomed. Loyalty is the most essential currency for any politician. Without it, you only run on talent and luck. The former can’t get you through everything; the latter doesn’t last forever. In the end, you need friends."

Orthodoxy and Catholicism, by Dave Armstrong



I believe this is a revised edition of an earlier book by Catholic apologist Dave Armstrong. Armstrong examines the key issues on which Eastern Orthodox Christians and Catholics disagree such as the filioque, original sin, the papacy and in more recent times, the issue of artificial contraception. He offers clear and well presented arguments for the Catholic position. On a more positive note, he demonstrates that Catholics entirely agree with the Orthodox doctrine of theosis.

This is arguably a 'two views' book, as it includes contributions to each chapter by Fr. Deacon Daniel Dozier, a Byzantine Catholic. Dozier offers reflection on Armstrong's arguments from an Eastern Catholic perspective. His contributions are somewhat more nuanced than Armstrong's, offering criticism of western Catholicism as well as apologetic arguments. The difference in tone was so striking that at times it felt like Dozier would have liked Armstrong to calm down a little bit! I particularly liked the fact that Dozier challenged the tendency in Catholicism to view clerical celibacy as the apostolic norm (implying it is the superior discipline). I have seen a number of Catholic apologists refer to the work of Fr. Christian Cochini, who made an historic case for clerical celibacy as the apostolic norm. The problem with Cochini's argument is that it proves to much and ends up undermining both the tradition of married priests in the Eastern rites and married deacons in the Latin rite. It is Fr. Deacon Dozier who concludes the book with a broad essay on relations between Catholics and Orthodox, prospects for unity and the place of Byzantine Catholics in bridging the two sides.

This is a good book for those unsure about why and how Catholics and Orthodox disagree, or who are unsure which of the ancient churches they should join. It provides both apologetic clarity and ecumenical respectfulness.

Monday, 1 August 2016

The Feast of Our Lady, Queen of Angels




August Queen of Heaven!
Sovereign Mistress of the angels!
Thou who from the beginning
hast received from God
the power and mission to crush the head of Satan,
we humbly beseech thee
to send thy holy Legions,
that, under thy command
and by thy power,
they may pursue the evil spirits,
encounter them on every side,
resist their bold attacks
and drive them hence into the abyss of eternal woe.

Amen


Our Lady, Queen of Angels, pray for us, that we may be granted the privilege of reigning with Christ over the cosmic powers.