Friday, 30 September 2016

The Feast of Saint Thérèse of Lisieux

O God, who open your Kingdom to those who are humble and to little ones, lead us to follow trustingly in the little way of Saint Thérèse, so that through her intercession we may see your eternal glory revealed. 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 Therese of Lisieux

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,
God, the Holy Ghost,
Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us. (Repeat after each line)
Our Lady of Victory,
Our Lady of Mount Carmel,
St. Therese of the Child Jesus,
St. Therese of the Holy Face,
St. Therese, child of Mary,
St. Therese, devoted to St. Joseph,
St. Therese, angel of innocence,
St. Therese, model child,
St. Therese, pattern of religious,
St. Therese, flower of Carmel,
St. Therese, converter of hardened hearts,
St. Therese, healer of the diseased,
St. Therese, filled with love for the Blessed Sacrament,
St. Therese, filled with angelic fervor,
St. Therese, filled with an apostle's zeal,
St. Therese, filled with loyalty to the Holy Father,
St. Therese, filled with a tender love for the Church,
St. Therese, filled with extraordinary love for God and neighbor,
St. Therese, wounded with a heavenly flame,
St. Therese, victim of divine love,
St. Therese, patient in sufferings,
St. Therese, eager for humiliations,
St. Therese, consumed with love,
St. Therese, rapt in ecstasy,
Who desired always to be as a little child,
Who taught the way of spiritual childhood,
Who gave perfect example of trust in God,
Whom Jesus filled with a desire for suffering,
Who found perfection in little things,
Who refused God nothing,
Who sought bitterness in this life,
Who told us to call you little Therese,
Who offered her life to God for priests and missionaries,
Who gained countless souls for Christ,
Who promised, after her death, a shower of roses,
Who foretold: "I will spend my heaven doing good upon earth,"
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, St. Therese.
R. That we may be made worthy of the promises of Christ.

Let us pray
O Lord, who hast said: Unless you become as little children you shall not enter the kingdom of heaven; grant us, we beseech Thee, so to follow in humility and simplicity of heart, the footsteps of St. Therese, the virgin, that we may obtain everlasting rewards. Who livest and reignest forever. Amen.

Saint Therese, pray for us and for France

Joint Public Issues Team: The short-sightedness of blame in the face of need –Archbishop Sentamu and the Refugee crisis

Joint Public Issues Team: The short-sightedness of blame in the face of need –Archbishop Sentamu and the Refugee crisis

There is no ignoring the scale of the problem, nor pretending that to do more would have no impact on the UK. And yet to suggest that the problem has been caused by the Schengen Agreement or that camps like the Jungle wouldn’t exist without Schengen is vastly misleading. Families and children are not fleeing Syria because of the free movement of people within the EU. They are doing so because of the countless atrocities they face at home. The question for the UK is not what are others doing or not doing, but how much are we willing to offer these people in need?

It is quite clear that the Archbishop of York has absolutely no understanding of migration in Europe and has made a fool of himself. He probably thought "let's grab a headline by talking tough about refugees!"

It ill-becomes archbishops to ape the tabloid press. It looks pathetically hypocritical in his case, given that he was himself a refugee from Uganda.

The Guardian: Anna Soubry brands Liam Fox's free trade speech 'delusional'

The Guardian: Anna Soubry brands Liam Fox's free trade speech 'delusional'

A senior Conservative has voiced concerns about the responsibility for Brexit given to Liam Fox, Boris Johnson and David Davis, saying it was “really worrying these are the senior people who have the future of our country in their hands”.

In the run-up to the Conservative party conference in Birmingham this weekend, Anna Soubry reserved particular criticism for Fox, branding his speech on free trade in Manchester on Thursday “delusional”.

The former business minister, who sat in cabinet until July, said Theresa May was a voice of sanity following the referendum, but that the prime minister needed to explain even in “broad terms” what she wanted out of Brexit, as three months later we are “no further forward, and it’s her job to lead us”.

“Liam Fox’s speech this week was very worrying. In fact, it was delusional,” she told the Guardian. “How can we have ‘freer’ free trade? Let’s get real, for God’s sake. It’s really worrying that these are the senior people who have the future of our country in their hands. May is the voice of sanity, and without her I don’t know where the three Brexiteers would take us.”

I love Anna Soubry.

The Homeless Hub: What is homelessness?

The Homeless Hub: What is homelessness?

"It is important to distinguish the individual and personal experiences of those who lose their housing, from homelessness as a broader societal problem.

The problem of homelessness and housing exclusion refers to the failure of society to ensure that adequate systems, funding and support are in place so that all people, even in crisis situations, have access to housing. The goal of ending homelessness is to ensure housing stability, which means people have a fixed address and housing that is appropriate (affordable, safe, adequately maintained, accessible and suitable in size), and includes required services as needed (supportive), in addition to income and supports. (CHRN, 2012: 1)

This distinction is important because while individuals and families will undoubtedly continue to experience crises that result in their becoming homeless, the problem of homelessness is something that we, as a society, can address. Canada has long been home to people experiencing poverty, and homeless people have always needed charitable services such as emergency shelters and soup kitchens. Yet, homelessness as a social ‘problem’ has emerged only in the last two decades. Changes in our economy and housing market, as well as significant shifts in policies addressing poverty, have contributed to the homelessness crisis across the country."

Homelessness is lack of housing and the solution to homelessness is to give people homes to live in (as opposed to shifting them one hostel to another).

Thursday, 29 September 2016

The Feast of Saint Jerome

O God, who gave the Priest Saint Jerome a living and tender love for Sacred Scripture, grant that your people may be ever more fruitfully nourished by your Word and find in it the fount of life. Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son, who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever.

Saint Jerome, pray for us, for all those involved in Bible translation work and for Croatia.

The Telegraph| Teen mum turned Labour MP: Why Angela Rayner should have the Tories running scared

The Telegraph| Teen mum turned Labour MP: Why Angela Rayner should have the Tories running scared

by Cathy Newman

Angela Rayner certainly has a powerful story, what Denis Healey liked to call a 'hinterland'. She grew up on a Stockport council estate, brought up by a mother who couldn't read or write. She left school at 16, pregnant.

That's some life experience – one not shared by the majority of her Westminster colleagues. Indeed, some of her Conservative opponents have scoffed about whether she has the qualifications to fulfil her responsibilities as shadow education secretary.

“I may not have a degree – but I have a Masters in real life,” she hit back.

The challenges Rayner has overcome to make it to Parliament and represent the people of Ashton-under-Lyne (the first woman to do so), have given her a passionate zeal for Labour’s achievements in government.

Angela Rayner is one to watch. BUT then there is the shoe incident. Ms Rayner used a House of Commons letterhead to complain about to a shop about its failure to obtain a pair of novelty Star Wars themed shoes. That does rather bring up the worst stereotypes of the self-serving MP. Still, the fact she wanted such bizarre shoes shows she has some personality at least.


Wednesday, 28 September 2016

The Feast of Saint Michael and all Angels

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

O God, who dispose in marvelous order ministries both angelic and human, graciously grant that our life on earth may be defended by those who watch over us as they minister perpetually to you in heaven. Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son, who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever.

Litany to the Holy Archangels

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, Queen of Angels, pray for us
Holy Mother of God, pray for us
Holy Virgin of virgins, pray for us
Saint Michael, who was ever the defender of the people of God, pray for us
St. Michael, who did drive from Heaven Lucifer and his rebel crew, pray for us
St. Michael, who did cast down to Hell the accuser of our brethren, pray for us
Saint Gabriel, who did expound to Daniel the heavenly vision, pray for us
St. Gabriel, who did foretell to Zachary the birth and ministry of John the Baptist, pray for us
St. Gabriel, who did announce to Blessed Mary the Incarnation of the Divine Word, pray for us
Saint Raphael, who did lead Tobias safely through his journey to his home again, pray for us
St. Raphael, who did deliver Sara from the devil, pray for us
St. Raphael, who did restore his sight to Tobias the elder, pray for us
All ye holy Angels, who stand around the high and lofty throne of God, pray for us
Who cry to Him continually: Holy, Holy, Holy, pray for us
Who dispel the darkness of our minds and give us light, pray for us
Who are the messengers of heavenly things to men, pray for us
Who have been appointed by God to be our guardians, pray for us
Who always behold the Face of our Father Who is in Heaven, pray for us
Who rejoice over one sinner doing penance, pray for us
Who struck the Sodomites with blindness, pray for us
Who led Lot out of the midst of the ungodly, pray for us
Who ascended and descended on the ladder of Jacob, pray for us
Who delivered the Divine Law to Moses on Mount Sinai, pray for us
Who brought good tidings when Christ was born, pray for us
Who comforted Him in His agony, pray for us
Who sat in white garments at His sepulcher, pray for us
Who appeared to the disciples as He went up into Heaven, pray for us
Who shall go before Him bearing the standard of the Cross when He comes to judgment, pray for us
Who shall gather together the elect at the End of the World, pray for us
Who shall separate the wicked from among the just, pray for us
Who offer to God the prayers of those who pray, pray for us
Who assist us at the hour of death, pray for us
Who carried Lazarus into Abraham’s bosom, pray for us
Who conduct to Heaven the souls of the just, pray for us
Who perform signs and wonders by the power of God, pray for us
Who are sent to minister for those who shall receive the inheritance of salvation, pray for us
Who are set over kingdoms and provinces, pray for us
Who have often put to flight armies of enemies, pray for us
Who have often delivered God’s servants from prison and other perils of this life, pray for us
Who have often consoled the holy martyrs in their torments, pray for us
Who are wont to cherish with peculiar care the prelates and princes of the Church, pray for us
All ye holy orders of blessed spirits, pray for us

From all dangers, deliver us, O Lord.
From the snares of the devil, deliver us, O Lord.
From all heresy and schism, deliver us, O Lord.
From plague, famine and ware, deliver us, O Lord.
From sudden and unlooked-for death, deliver us, O Lord.
From everlasting death, deliver us, O Lord.

Through Thy holy Angels, we beseech Thee, hear us.
That Thou would spare us, we beseech Thee, hear us.
That Thou would pardon us, we beseech Thee, hear us.
That Thou would govern and preserve Thy Holy Church, we beseech Thee, hear us.
That Thou would protect our Apostolic Prelate and all ecclesiastical orders,w e beseech Thee, hear us.
That Thou would grant peace and security to kings and all Christian princes, we beseech Thee, hear us.
That Thou would give and preserve the fruits of the earth, we beseech Thee, hear us.
That Thou would grant eternal rest to all the faithful departed, we beseech Thee, hear 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.

Lord, have mercy. Christ, have mercy.
Lord, have mercy.

Our Father, Hail Mary, Glory Be

Bless the Lord, all ye Angels: Ye who are mighty in strength, who fulfill His commandments, hearkening unto the voice of His words.

He hath given His Angels charge concerning thee, To keep thee in all thy ways.

Let Us Pray

O God, Who dost arrange the services of Angels and men in a wonderful order, mercifully grant that our life may be protected on earth by those who always do Thee service in Heaven, through Jesus Christ Thy Son, Who with Thee and the Holy Ghost are one God now and forever.


O God, Who in Thine unspeakable Providence dost send Thine Angels to keep guard over us, grant unto Thy suppliants that we may be continually defended by their protection and may rejoice eternally in their society, through Jesus Christ Our Lord, Who lives and reigns with Thee, in the unity of the Holy Ghost, forever and ever.


Saint Michael and all angels, pray for us, that we be made worthy to enter God's heavenly Kingdom.

National Review: Last Night, Donald Trump Showed Why He’s Dangerous

National Review: Last Night, Donald Trump Showed Why He’s Dangerous

by David French

"Treaties aren’t business deals, nor are they protection rackets. They have been the hallmark of bipartisan American foreign policy since 1945, because liberals and conservatives alike have understood the profound risks of true American disengagement. Even the Obama administration, for all its fecklessness, hasn’t raised the specter of American retreat to the same extent as Trump has.

Trump has been running for president for 15 months. Businessman or not, that’s more than enough time to understand our treaty obligations — including the reasons for the relationships that have helped keep America out of a catastrophic war. If Trump truly believed that “nuclear is the single greatest threat,” he’d be wary both of nuclear proliferation and of discarding key allies. Geopolitics, like nature, abhors a vacuum, and American retreat almost always triggers a rival’s advance."

The Guardian: The ‘right’ to sell golliwogs is not something we should be fighting for in 2016

The Guardian: The ‘right’ to sell golliwogs is not something we should be fighting for in 2016

by Suzanne Moore

There is little ambiguity about these dolls; their literary presence spells it out. Blyton, in a Noddy story, has a naughty golliwog steal Noddy’s car. In her book Three Little Golliwogs (currently trading on eBay with the description “Banned, so bid fast!”), the characters Golly, Woggee and Nigger sing their favourite song, Ten Little Nigger Boys, which celebrates the death of 10 black children. In a 1975 edition of Agatha Christie’s 1939 mystery Ten Little Niggers, a lynched golliwog appeared on the cover.

These harmless toys for white children fully dehumanise black people to such an extent that someone such as Carol Thatcher would, in 2009, refer to a black tennis player as a golliwog. It wasn’t till that year that Hamley’s banned them. By 2011, Bill Etherbridge, a prospective Tory councillor, was thrown out of the party after posing with golliwogs on Facebook. He promptly joined Ukip and recently stood in the leadership contest. He said he was merely trying to stimulate “healthy debate”. Right. He has also written a book celebrating golliwogs called Britain: A Post-Political Correctness Society.

Golliwogs represent racism. The people who defend them really are awful.

Air Safety Training

Tuesday, 27 September 2016

The Feast of Saint Wenceslaus

O God, who taught the Martyr Saint Wenceslaus to place the heavenly Kingdom before an earthly one, grant through his prayers that, denying ourselves, we may hold fast to you with all our heart. Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son, who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever.

Saint Weceslaus, pray for us and for the Czech Republic.

International Support for Ukraine

Sunday, 25 September 2016

The Struggle for Identity Among Syro-Malabar Catholics, by Jaisy Joseph

The Syro-Malabar Catholics claim origin with the Indian mission of the Apostle St. Thomas. They adopted the East Syrian liturgy of the Nestorian Christians, but came into communion with the Roman Catholic Church in the 17th century with their cousins, the Chaldeans of modern-day Iraq. This book looks into sociological questions of identity among the Syro-Malabar Catholics, particularly in the USA. They often experience tensions with the combined identity of being Catholic but Syro-Malabar and being American, yet Indian. Such questions of identity are similar to those experienced by other immigrant groups, though perhaps particularly acute for Syro-Malabar Catholics because of the complexities of their origin.

In the historical introduction, the author defends the claim that the St. Thomas Christians really did begin with the mission of St. Thomas. She points out evidence of trade links between the Roman Empire, ancient Persia and the Malabar coast of India, suggesting that it was both possible and plausible that the apostle travelled to India. She also goes on to look at how the Portuguese Catholics attempted to impose Latin traditions on the Syro-Malabar community, which makes for depressing reading.

This is an interesting look at an easily forgotten, but very venerable branch of our Catholic Church.

Kyle W. Orton: Abandoning Syria to Assad Helps Al-Qaeda

Kyle W. Orton: Abandoning Syria to Assad Helps Al-Qaeda

"Allowing Assad free rein, as current policy does, protracts the war. The regime and its supporters have no intention of abiding by conditions that limit their capacity to subdue the insurgency, but they are unable to complete that task. What the pro-regime coalition can do is continue with their chosen tactics in the attempt, collective punishment and mass-displacement, which leave a desperate population amenable to appeals from anybody who can help. Al-Qaeda will continue to fill this void for as long as it is allowed to.

By fostering a vanguardist co-dependency, taking on the population’s concerns as its own and working toward them, al-Qaeda is able to use that population to protect itself and to push its ideology among them, working toward socializing people into its vision of an Islamic state and co-opting the rebellion. Leaving al-Qaeda as the only viable actor for protecting civilians from the Assad regime and its allies is creating a dangerously durable future base for Islamist terrorism."

Saturday, 24 September 2016

Sergius Bulgakov on Mary as Queen of the Universe

"From her innate nature flows out her sophianic significance as guardian of all creation, Queen of heaven and earth. Appropriate titles include sovereign of the seas, abundant provider of grains, fragrant flower, protector of cities and realms, and guardian of the vegetable kingdom. In general there is no creature which would not be subject to the Queen of heaven and earth. In this sense- but of course only in this sense- she can be called the soul of creation, more precisely the soul of the soul: for humankind as Adam, as lord of creation, is the soul of the world, and the Mother of God is the soul of the human race. As the pardoning heart, as maternal mercy and pity, not judging but only grieving and forgiving all things, the Mother of God appears at the Last Judgment where according to the iconographic witness of the Church, she prays the King on behalf of the human race and serves as advocate for sinners before the One who came to save sinners."

Sergius Bulgakov, The Burning Bush: On the Orthodox Veneration of the Mother of God

The Telegraph: Western voters have made foreign intervention almost impossible. That is a dangerous mistake

The Telegraph: Western voters have made foreign intervention almost impossible. That is a dangerous mistake

by Rupert Sutton

"Last week, as David Cameron’s decision to intervene and protect the citizens of Benghazi from Colonel Gaddafi’s murderous attentions was heavily criticised, future British intervention in overseas conflicts suffered another setback as a policy tool. Unfortunately, this is happening at the very time it is needed most.

Largely based on the findings of a dubious Foreign Affairs Select Committee report, Cameron’s critics railed against intervention. They did this while ignoring Syria, where three years after planned action to prevent President Assad butchering his own citizens was called off, independent monitors recently put the body count at 430,000 and rising.

Those slamming intervention also continued regardless of a stream of arrests across Europe, each revealing more individuals planning terrorist attacks who had been incited by Syria-based Isil recruiters intent on replicating the grisly successes of Brussels, and Paris."

The opponents of intervention seem to think we should have just let Gaddafi slaughter his own people, just like Assad continues to do in Syria.

Politics According to the Bible, by Wayne Grudem

Wayne Grudem, Politics According to the Bible: A Comprehensive Resource for Understanding Modern Political Issues in Light of Scripture, 2010 Zondervan

It is tempting to re-title this book 'The Gospel according to the Republican Party.' Evangelical theologian Wayne Grudem attempts to provide here a collection of insights into how the Bible can speak to modern politics. It turns out the Bible teaches all the things that Republicans agree with. The Bible approves of a flat rate of tax, school vouchers, waterboarding, gun ownership and holds that illegal immigration is one of the greatest evils of our age. I don't think its unfair to say that at times Grudem forgets his purpose in providing a general Biblical perspective on politics and at times just argues for his own opinions, based largely on his own interpretation of contemporary politics, offering only a superficial engagement with the Biblical texts.

The biggest problem with the book is the social, cultural and economic distance between today's political issues and the world of the Bible. The Bible is written for societies whose concerns were not the same as those of the contemporary USA. We cannot expect it to provide an answer as to whether school vouchers are a good idea or not. Nor do the principles it teaches easily translate between two very different socio-economic contexts. Grudem uses Biblical law to argue for private property as a fundamental principle. However, it seems arguable that the notion of private property held by the Israelites was not identifical to the individualistic understanding of property held by Grudem. He completely ignores the restrictions on property transfers in the law of Leviticus.

Grudem's attempt to use Scripture to proof text political positions is often very weak. For instance, he uses the tithes of the Old Testament to prove that there should be a flat rate of tax. Firstly, it is doubtful that the tithes were a tax, as opposed to a contribution to the religious cult of Israel. Secondly, we may ask how it is legitimate to argue for the single rate of the tithe as absolute, while holding the specific rate (10%) to be relative. Grudem uses 1 Samuel 8:10-18 to condemn 'big government' spending:

10 And Samuel told all the words of the Lord unto the people that asked of him a king.

11 And he said, This will be the manner of the king that shall reign over you: He will take your sons, and appoint them for himself, for his chariots, and to be his horsemen; and some shall run before his chariots.

12 And he will appoint him captains over thousands, and captains over fifties; and will set them to ear his ground, and to reap his harvest, and to make his instruments of war, and instruments of his chariots.

13 And he will take your daughters to be confectionaries, and to be cooks, and to be bakers.

14 And he will take your fields, and your vineyards, and your oliveyards, even the best of them, and give them to his servants.

15 And he will take the tenth of your seed, and of your vineyards, and give to his officers, and to his servants.

16 And he will take your menservants, and your maidservants, and your goodliest young men, and your asses, and put them to his work.

17 He will take the tenth of your sheep: and ye shall be his servants.

18 And ye shall cry out in that day because of your king which ye shall have chosen you; and the Lord will not hear you in that day.

I have used this text to make the same point in the past. Is this really a legitimate use of it? Some of the government spending in this text would seem to be military expenditure, which Grudem would heartily approve of. The rest of it seems to be about personal enrichment of the king, in the manner of some of the self-serving dictators who blighted Africa. People on any side of the political spectrum should object to that sort of thing. There is nothing in this text about spending on health, education or social security.

Thankfully, Grudem does not advocate abolishment of the welfare state as some American conservatives do. He seems to accept the need for some minimal social security. He does not, however, spend any time engaging with the huge problem of poverty and homelessness in American society. On economic questions, there is a little inconsistency. On the subject of recessions and the question of whether a Keynesian fiscal stimulus might be needed, he argues that the best stimulus would be tax cuts. However, he had already argued that too few Americans pay any tax at all. Therefore it seems doubtful given that premise that tax cuts would do very much to stimulate the economy in a recession.

Grudem offers strong arguments for the capital punishment. I would personally like to be able to say I was opposed to capital punishment, but I have never yet read a completely convincing case against the death penalty, particularly one written from a Biblical perspective. I don't feel at all comfortable with capital punishment and I cannot bear the thought of a woman being executed. I am just glad we no longer have capital punishment in the UK.

Our author rejects concerns about the environment, arguing for climate change scepticism. He quotes the work of the Danish environmental moderate, Bjorn Lomborg. I like Lomborg and I think he has a a lot of important things to say. However, I don't think he takes such a strongly climate change sceptic position as Grudem.

I very much agree with Grudem's support for a hawkish neocon foreign policy and his defense of the Iraq War. I also particularly liked the absence of the harsh Islamophobic rhetoric that has become alarmingly mainstream among Evangelicals. He talks instead about building alliances with Muslims to combat Jihadism. In this he seems much more at home in the Bush era than in the hysterical conservatism of today. Sadly, however, he has recently endorsed Donald Trump for president.

I think Wayne Grudem has some good things to say in this book, but the title unfortunately gives it an authority that it does not deserve.

Friday, 23 September 2016

New Atlanticist: Crimean Residents Vote in Russian Elections, Reluctantly

New Atlanticist: Crimean Residents Vote in Russian Elections, Reluctantly

by Eleanor Knott

"Finally, some reports demonstrate a lack of interest in the elections, as if there was little belief that much could change or be changed by participating, despite concerns of rising prices since annexation.

Overall, it is important for the international community to denounce the holding of Duma elections in Crimea as illegal and illegitimate, and it is important to refute Russia’s use of elections to normalize Crimea as a de facto part of Russia. But it is also prudent to recognize that the Duma elections do not indicate resounding support for the post-annexation authorities and Putin’s regime.

Low turnout across Russia indicates a systematic slowing of support for United Russia. Crimea’s annexation may have given the Putin’s Russia an initial “hit of cocaine,” but domestic economic paralysis and international isolation are becoming a sobering reality for the Kremlin."

Liberal Democrat Voice: Grammar schools are not the answer

Liberal Democrat Voice: Grammar schools are not the answer

by Simon Perks

"The Prime Minister claims that her plans to create more grammar schools will enhance social mobility and will help to bring about a truly meritocratic society. They will, she says, create ‘a country that works for everyone’.

Sure. Because grammar schools proved so good at doing just that the first time around.

What Mrs May’s proposals will do, of course, is appeal hugely to the seething mass of baby-boomer Tory voters who just can’t wait to get us back to the good old days of the 1950s and serve as a temporary distraction from the Government’s shambolic approach to all things Brexit."

BBC News: UK 'did not vote for hard Brexit', George Osborne warns

BBC News: UK 'did not vote for hard Brexit', George Osborne warns

Britain did not vote for 'hard Brexit' in the EU referendum and will have to compromise in exit talks, former Chancellor George Osborne has warned.

He said Leave campaigners were naive for thinking the UK could secure everything it wanted in negotiations.

In a speech in Chicago, he also warned against "the dangerous purity of splendid isolation" over co-operation.

He campaigned for the Remain side and was criticised for warning of a £30bn "black hole" if the UK voted to leave.

Mr Osborne's speech to the Chicago Council on Global Affairs is one of few public interventions he has made, since being sacked as chancellor when Theresa May became prime minister.

Wednesday, 21 September 2016

11th Armoured Cavalry Division

Church Society| Ministry Monday: A Plea for Hymn Books

Church Society| Ministry Monday: A Plea for Hymn Books

by Liam Beadle

The choice of hymns in a service is rightly the province of the minister, because what we sing is bound to form and re-form us. But when the hymns appear on a screen, the ordinary Christian is only exposed to what the minister has chosen, and cannot allow his or her eye to wander to neighbouring verses. To ask a provocative question, is a form of evangelical popery? When Cranmer produced the Book of Common Prayer, he placed in the hands of the layman the prayers of the Church. Perhaps it is time to put the hymns of the Church back in their hands, too.

Most of the Evangelical churches I regularly attended had abolished hymn books and used a screen. Maybe one day they will realize what they have lost.

Tuesday, 20 September 2016

Russian Aggression against Ukraine

The Feast of Saint Matthew

O God, who with untold mercy were pleased to choose as an Apostle Saint Matthew, the tax collector, grant that, sustained by his example and intercession, we may merit to hold firm in following you. Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son, who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever.

Saint Matthew, pray for us, for all civil servants and for the Jewish people.

Sunday, 18 September 2016

The Feast of Saint Theodore of Tarsus

Almighty God, you called your servant Theodore of Tarsus from Rome to the see of Canterbury, and gave him gifts of grace and wisdom to establish unity where there had been division, and order where there had been chaos: Create in your Church, by the operation of the Holy Spirit, such godly union and concord that it may proclaim, both by word and example, the Gospel of the Prince of Peace; who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

Saint Theodore of Tarsus, pray for us and for England.

Mary as Mediatrix in Sergius Bulgakov

"The meaning of the Mother of God in this respect is twofold: on the one hand as a human being she represents in herself the whole creaturely world, the whole human race, every human soul. With her and in her in heaven nature (natura naturata inseparably from natura naturans) remains and bears witness through her about itself, about its creaturly impotence and its hunger for divine existence. On the other hand, in her the whole creation prays to God with a prayer formed by the Holy Spirit himself "who intercedes for us with inexpressible sighs" (Romans 8:26) Every prayer of a weak and sinful human is powerless and limited in as much as it belongs to him, but when done in the Spirit and completed by the church it finds churchly wings which make it a prayer of the Church and raise it up to the very throne of God. Then, its might, power and authenticity bear no relation to its creaturely limitation any longer. But as much as it is a church prayer and in it there is something personal, by outstripping itself it grows into something universal, it becomes necessarily also the prayer of the Mother of God who according to the testimony of church hymns, prays without ceasing to her Son for all people and all things. None of our prayers, not only one directed immediately to her but one addressed directly to God, passes her by; rather, it becomes her own prayer, it is offered in and by her."

Sergius Bulgakov, The Burning Bush: The Orthodox Veneration of the Mother of God

Those words just inspire me with awe! Our prayers become the prayers of blessed Mary, Mother of God.

Mary, Mother of Jesus, by Sarah Lawrence

I think this short book is written by a Protestant. The author seems to imply that Catholic veneration of Mary and the saints is idolatry. Her book surveys what the Gospels tell us about the Blessed Virgin Mary, but does not touch on any of the Catholic dogmas about Mary. Lawrence does not even discuss the question of whether Mary had children by St. Joseph. She also does not really reflect on the theological significance of Mary bearing God in the flesh, which is the root failing of Protestant failure to understand Mariology. It is a fairly edifying read in general, however.

As with a lot of books on Amazon's Kindle Unlimited, this is in need of better proof reading to address errors in grammar.

The Mad Monarchist: Fascism, fascism and Monarchy

The Mad Monarchist: Fascism, fascism and Monarchy

"The term “fascist” has been so-overused in modern political discourse that it has become something of a joke, an epithet that is hurled at an enemy rather than a serious accusation. Everyone has probably heard the quip that the modern definition of “fascist” is someone who is winning an argument with a liberal. Few really know what it means, it is simply another way of calling someone evil. The political left is mostly responsible for this, calling anyone who is not a communist a “fascist” but right-of-center liberals have also taken to it, conceding to the left that “fascism” is simply another word for absolute evil and instead arguing that the leftists are the “real” fascists. Referring to radical, Islamic terrorists as “Islamo-fascists” or Jonah Goldberg’s book, “Liberal Fascism” being but two examples of this. Add to this the fact that a standard fascist economic model, corporatism, has been appropriated and re-defined as synonymous with plutocracy and it is no wonder that there is a huge amount of ignorance and confusion on the subject of fascism. So, what is actual fascism and what sort of record does it have regarding traditional authority?"

A really great article on the relationship between Fascist ideology and monarchism.

I agree with the 'Mad Monarchist' that the word 'fascist' is overused and abused. I am personally really fed up of the comparisons between Trump and Mussolini. I actually think they flatter Trump. Mussolini was a far more intelligent man than Trump, and in my opinion, a more compassionate man. If there was a choice to vote between Trump and Mussolini, I would vote for Mussolini.

The Guardian: Theresa May, the prime minister prepared to risk it all

The Guardian: Theresa May, the prime minister prepared to risk it all

by Toby Helm

"Writing on these pages, Phillip Blond, the inventor of one-nation red-Toryism who became disillusioned with Cameron, says May is developing a new post-liberal Conservatism that challenges the idea of so much power and wealth being concentrated in the hands of the elite. For Blond and other “communitarian” conservative thinkers, the hope is that the May era will herald an end to laissez-faire economics and usher in an era of proactive government, dedicated to building a more inclusive society. Quite how her approach to grammar schools will help all children, however, is a question being asked by far more Tory MPs than are needed to kill her flagship education plan stone dead in the Commons. The Cameroons are not happy and joke that her biggest achievement in office so far has been to unite Labour over grammar schools in a way it could not have managed itself."

United Politics: In defence of David Cameron

United Politics: In defence of David Cameron

by Bret Facey

"Finally, one of my main defences of Cameron are his reforms that essentially saved the Conservative Party. It is all too easy to forget the state of the Party in December 2005, still reeling from their third consecutive crushing defeat, barely chipping away at New Labour’s mammoth majority. They were a shambles. The simple fact was that prior to his leadership of the Party, it was old, ineffective, inefficient and useless. The Party was stuck to the “nasty party” label coined by Theresa May and still congested with aging politicians of the Thatcher era, who were out of step with the modern world.

While it did not sit well with the Party’s old guard, Cameron dragged the Conservatives out of the 1980s and into the 2000s kicking and screaming, tackling the “nasty party” image with the Big Society commitments and focusing on the NHS. It may not have pleased the ideological puritans, but now social justice and social mobility are front and centre in the Conservatives’ message.

But he did more than that. He changed the Party structurally, he made it fit to fight elections, an example of this being the difference in election strategies. The 2005 General Election slogan “Are you thinking what we’re thinking?” was dreadful. It appealed purely to our core vote and nothing else."

I remember just how miserable it was being a Conservative before Cameron, just waiting to get thrashed by Labour at the next election.

Saturday, 17 September 2016

The Panther and the Hind, by Aidan Nichols

Aidan Nichols, OP. The Panther and the Hind: A Theological History of Anglicanism, 1993 T & T Clark, Edinburgh

Dominican theologian Aidan Nichols has become one of my favorite writers. I suppose this is because he writes about the things that interest me, Eastern Orthodoxy, Mariology and Anglicanism. In The Panther and the Hind, Nichols offers a very interesting and useful guide to the history of Anglican theology from a Roman Catholic perspective. Nichols' main conclusion is ultimately that there is no true Anglicanism; Anglicanism is a essentially an incoherent compromise arrangement between three traditions, Reformed/ Evangelical, High Church/ Anglo-Catholic and Broad Church/ Liberal. He rejects the view that these traditions complement each other, as the three traditions all deny fundamental premises of their rivals.

Nichols sees four elements at work in the Church of the English Reformation, Lollardy, Erastianism, Lutheranism and Calvinism. The Lollard element manifested itself in the moralism of the Reformation English Church and in its rejection of Medieval ceremonies and pious practices. Nichols suggests that the Erastian element of the English Reformation is easily overlooked. He points out the centrality of the Crown and royal authority in the provisions of the Reformation English Church. The Lutheran element is seen in the acceptance in Reformation Anglicanism of the principle of justification by faith alone. The Calvinist element could be seen in the Reformation Church's theology of the sacraments.

Nichols' shows how the Caroline Divines departed from the ideas of Richard Hooker over that theologian's emphasis on the authority of parliament as an expression of the will of the Christian community. They instead favoured the central authority of the Sacral Monarchy. He shows that there was a spectrum of different ecclesiological views among the Caroline Divines. Coming to the Evangelical revival of the 18th century, he identifies a shift in the views of John Wesley. In his early period, Wesley had been very much an High Churchman. However, increasingly through his career, he became more positive in his views of Puritan writers (despite rejecting their Calvinism) and became sympathetic to their calls for revision of the Prayer Book and the structures of the Church of England. Nichols points out that today the Evangelical party is the strongest and most dynamic faction of the Church of England, despite the dominance of the Liberal party among the episcopacy. I appreciated his expression of admiration for the commitment of Evanglicals to core Christian doctrines.

On the 'Liberal Catholicism' of the late 19th century, I particularly liked our author's critique of Charles Gore on the subject of Biblical criticism:

"Meanwhile, we can note here Gore's general conclusion on the truth of Scripture. Although Scripture ma contain errors of detail, the history it describes is, in its essential outline, trustworthy. To deny this, he thought, would have 'results disastrous to the Christian Creed.' Unfortunately, Gore's theology of exegesis is hardly more than a stipulation that traditional doctrine and the fruits of the historical-critical method must coincide. He lacked both an internal critique of the historical method's own presuppositions and limitations of scope, and a theory- of the sort already called, in the Germany of his day, 'hermeneutical'- which might explain, by reference to such matters as canonicity (the reading of Scripture in its entirety), 'spiritual exegesis' and 'Tradition', how an ecclesial reading of Scripture can at once exceed the purview of the critical method, yet also incorporate its philological and historical erudition. Nor could he have recourse, as an Anglican, to the fall-back position of a magisterial determination of the significance of some judgement of the inspired authors."

A lot of things have happened since 1993. We have seen the emergence of a 'big tent' form of conservative Anglicanism in the Anglican Church in North America, which differs from the narrower approaches of previous continuing Anglican bodies. We have also seen Diarmaid MacCulloch emerge as a key writer on the subject of Anglicanism. It would have been interesting to have seen Nichol interacting with MacCulloch's views. Most significantly, we have also seen the creation of the Ordinariates as a means of continuing the Anglican tradition within the fold of the Roman Catholic Church a project with which our author has had much involvement. In this book, Nichols spoke of the possibility of an 'Anglican Uniate Church,' and while arguably the Ordinariates are a rather more provisional structure, they come close to this vision.

Henry Karlson: After Aquinas, Palamas

Henry Karlson: After Aquinas, Palamas

"We see, therefore, St. Gregory Palamas was interested in grace, more as it relates to God and continues to be united with God, while St. Thomas Aquinas was interested in the subjective experience of said grace. Theologically, St. Thomas Aquinas, by calling such grace in God as the substantial good in God, he was always implying its proper, uncreated nature, that it reflects the goodness we find in God. But for St. Thomas, the interest and concern was for how grace is experienced in us, and as it is an experience which changes over time, as we cooperate with grace, then it is added to us and becomes, as it were, an action in time and therefore “created.” The grace as it is in God remains the same, the same eternal goodness of God, but our experience with the unchanging activity of God is in time, and so his actions seem to be creating new effects within the realm of becoming. The debate, therefore, is over conventions, which are not absolutes, and are similar to debates we find as to how Scripture and its conventions are to be interpreted. When God is said to repent in Scripture,[7] orthodox theological interpretations point out that it is only the appearance of a change of mind in God to those reacting to God’s actions in relation to creation: the one eternal act remains the same, but in the realm of becoming, it is experienced in relation to that becoming and not in accordance to God’s being. Thus, in being able to understand “repentance” or metanoia or change of mind in God in a conventional sense, in relation to our temporal changing experience of our relationship with God, so we can understand “created grace” as reflective of the way grace is experienced by us in time, and not as to what grace is by its nature."

Want to be a Trade Deal Negotiator?

Working Together for Ukraine

Friday, 16 September 2016

The Feast of Saint Hildegard of Bingen

I first came to know of Saint Hildegard of Bingen as a teenager, when I happened to buy a cassette tape of her amazing choral music.

O God, by whose grace your servant Hildegard, kindled with the Fire of your love, became a burning and shining light in your Church: Grant that we also may be aflame with the spirit of love and discipline, and walk before you as children of light; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever.

Saint Hildegard of Bingen, pray for us, for all Benedictines and for all composers.

Thursday, 15 September 2016

The Feast of Saint Cornelius and Saint Cyprian

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

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

UK Training for Ukraine Armed Forces

Wednesday, 14 September 2016

ConservativeHome: Selective schools destroy choice and competition. Why Conservatives should oppose May’s plans.

ConservativeHome: Selective schools destroy choice and competition. Why Conservatives should oppose May’s plans.

by Sam Freedman

"Government ministers keep telling us that adding selective schools to the mix will increase choice and diversity within the school system. But Conservatives of all people should understand that choice requires a functioning market and markets require fair competition. Selective schools destroy choice and competition because the odds are so rigged in their favour. By being able to choose their own customers, they inevitably make all the alternatives less attractive.

I have three young children. At the moment I can choose between three comprehensives for them. If one of those became selective, my choice would disappear. I’d have to enter them for the eleven-plus to try and get access to the school that has all the advantages of selection. And if, even after I’ve shelled out thousands of pounds for private tutors and gone through months of domestic stress, they didn’t make the cut I’d be left with no choice at all. The remaining comprehensives, which would become secondary moderns in all but name, are it, unless I could scrape enough money together to move or go private – which, of course, wouldn’t be an option for the vast majority of people. Rather than diversity, selection offers parents a gamble where the odds are on losing."

The Memorial of Our Lady of Sorrows

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

The Litany of Our Lady of Sorrows

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

Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us.
Holy Virgin of virgins, pray for us.
Mother of the Crucified, [etc.]
Sorrowful Mother
Mournful Mother
Sighing Mother
Afflicted Mother
Foresaken Mother
Desolate Mother
Mother most sad
Mother set around with anguish
Mother overwhelmed by grief
Mother transfixed by a sword
Mother crucified in thy heart
Mother bereaved of thy Son
Sighing Dove
Mother of Dolors
Fount of tears
Sea of bitterness
Field of tribulation
Mass of suffering
Mirror of patience
Rock of constancy
Remedy in perplexity
Joy of the afflicted
Ark of the desolate
Refuge of the abandoned
Shiled of the oppressed
Conqueror of the incredulous
Solace of the wretched
Medicine of the sick
Help of the faint
Strength of the weak
Protectress of those who fight
Haven of the shipwrecked
Calmer of tempests
Companion of the sorrowful
Retreat of those who groan
Terror of the treacherous
Standard-bearer of the Martyrs
Treasure of the Faithful
Light of Confessors
Pearl of Virgins
Comfort of Widows
Joy of all Saints
Queen of thy Servants
Holy Mary, who alone art unexampled

V. Pray for us, most Sorrowful Virgin,
R. That we may be made worthy of the promises of Christ.

Let us pray.

O God, in whose Passion, according to the prophecy of Simeon, a sword of grief pierced through the most sweet soul of Thy glorious Blessed Virgin Mother Mary: grant that we, who celebrate the memory of her Seven Sorrows, may obtain the happy effect of Thy Passion, Who lives and reigns world without end. Amen.

Our Lady of Sorrows, pray for us, that we may be ready to suffer with Christ thy son.

Immediate Response

Tuesday, 13 September 2016

Bayonet Strike

The Feast of the Holy Cross

O God, who willed that your Only Begotten Son should undergo the Cross to save the human race, grant, we pray, that we, who have known his mystery on earth, may merit the grace of his redemption 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.

Litany of the Holy Cross

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, our Advocate,
Have mercy on us.
Holy Trinity, one God,
Have mercy on us.
Holy Cross whereon the Lamb of God was offered,
Save us, O Holy Cross.
Hope of Christians,
Save us, O Holy Cross.
Pledge of the resurrection of the dead, etc.
Shelter of persecuted innocence,
Guide of the blind,
Way of those who have gone astray,
Staff of the lame,
Consolation of the poor ,
Restraint of the powerful,
Destruction of the proud,
Refuge of sinners,
Trophy of victory over Hell,
Terror of demons,
Mistress of youth,
Succor of the distressed,
Hope of the hopeless,
Star of the mariner,
Harbor of the wrecked,
Rampart of the besieged,
Father of orphans,
Defense of widows,
Counsel of the just,
Judge of the wicked,
Rest of the afflicted,
Safeguard of childhood,
Strength of manhood,
Last hope of the aged,
Light of those who sit in darkness,
Splendor of kings,
Civilizer of the world,
Shield impenetrable,
Wisdom of the foolish,
Liberty of slaves,
Knowledge of the ignorant,
Sure rule of life,
Heralded by Prophets,
Preached by Apostles,
Glory of Martyrs,
Study of hermits,
Chastity of virgins,
Joy of priests,
Foundation of the Church,
Salvation of the world,
Destruction of idolatry,
Stumbling block to the Jews,
Condemnation of the ungodly,
Support of the weak,
Medicine of the sick,
Health of the leprous,
Strength of the paralytic,
Bread of the hungry,
Fountain of those who thirst,
Clothing of the naked,
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,
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.
Lord, have mercy.
Christ, have mercy.
Lord, have mercy.
V. We adore Thee, O Christ, and we bless Thee,
R. Because by Thy Holy Cross Thou hast redeemed the world.
[Together] Behold the Cross of the Lord! Begone ye evil powers!
The Lion of the tribe of Juda, the Root of David, has conquered! Alleluia!

Let Us Pray.

O God, Who for the redemption of the world, wast pleased to be born in a stable and to die upon a cross; O Lord Jesus Christ, by Thy holy sufferings, which we, Thy unworthy servants, call to mind: by Thy Holy Cross, and by Thy death, deliver us from the pains of Hell, and vouchsafe to conduct us whither Thou didst conduct the good thief who was crucified with Thee, Who livest and reignest eternally in Heaven. R. Amen.

Lord Jesus, may we always confess the cross upon which thou didst purchase our redemption.

Monday, 12 September 2016

New Atlanticist: It’s Too Soon to Write Off Angela Merkel

New Atlanticist: It’s Too Soon to Write Off Angela Merkel

by Ashish Kumar Sen

Angela Merkel has acknowledged that the setback her party suffered in elections in an eastern state this past weekend was a repudiation of her welcome to Syrian migrants, but the Atlantic Council’s Fran Burwell said backing away from this controversial policy will only hurt the German chancellor further.

“The voters would be more skeptical of her if she were to reverse what is a deep personal commitment, even though they may disagree with it,” said Burwell, vice president, European Union and Special Initiatives, at the Atlantic Council.

Sorrowful Mother, pray for us

The Feast of Saint John Chrysostom

O God, you gave your servant John Chrysostom grace eloquently to proclaim your righteousness in the great congregation, and fearlessly to bear reproach for the honor of your Name: Mercifully grant to all bishops and pastors such excellence in preaching, and faithfulness in ministering your Word, that your people may be partakers with them of the glory that shall be revealed; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

Saint John Chrysostom, pray for us, for all who preach and for all bishops.

Northern Coasts Exercise

Sunday, 11 September 2016

What Makes Britain Great

The Headcovering Movement: Christian Woman Forced to Remove Religious Headscarf at Alabama DMV, Told Only Muslims Can Cover Head

The Headcovering Movement: Christian Woman Forced to Remove Religious Headscarf at Alabama DMV, Told Only Muslims Can Cover Head

According to the lawsuit, Allen visited the DMV office in Auburn on Dec. 29, 2015, to renew her expired license and was told she had to remove her head covering and eyeglasses in order to take the photo for the document.

“No ma’am, I don’t uncover my hair,” Allen said she told the clerk.

“She asked me, ‘Is it for religious purposes?'”

“I smiled, ‘Yes, ma’am,'” said Allen.

The clerk then asked Allen if she was Muslim and when Allen told her she is Christian the clerk told her that she would have to remove the headscarf.

“Ms. Allen informed the clerk that she does not uncover her hair. In response, the clerk asked her, ‘Is it for religious purposes?’ Ms. Allen responded, ‘Yes ma’am.’ The clerk then asked, ‘Are you Muslim?’ When Ms. Allen explained that she is a Christian, the clerk told her, ‘No, then you need to uncover your hair. Only Muslim women have the right to cover their hair in the driver license photos,'” the lawsuit said.

A friend who had traveled with Allen tried to explain to the clerk that Allen “doesn’t uncover her hair ever,” but the clerk remained unfazed, insisting to Allen that: “You are not a Muslim, and Christian women don’t cover their hair.”

Lo, he comes with clouds descending

Lo! he comes, with clouds descending,
once for our salvation slain;
thousand thousand saints attending
swell the triumph of his train:
Alleluia! alleluia! alleluia!
Christ the Lord returns to reign.

Every eye shall now behold him,
robed in dreadful majesty;
those who set at nought and sold him,
pierced, and nailed him to the tree,
deeply wailing, deeply wailing, deeply wailing,
shall the true Messiah see.

Those dear tokens of his passion
still his dazzling body bears,
cause of endless exultation
to his ransomed worshipers;
with what rapture, with what rapture, with what rapture
gaze we on those glorious scars!

Now redemption, long expected,
see in solemn pomp appear;
all his saints, by man rejected,
now shall meet him in the air:
Alleluia! alleluia! alleluia!
See the day of God appear!

Yea, amen! let all adore thee,
high on thine eternal throne;
Savior, take the power and glory;
claim the kingdom for thine own:
Alleluia! alleluia! alleluia!
Thou shalt reign, and thou alone.

A fine hymn from Charles Wesley, which is included in some of our Catholic hymnbooks. What I like most about this hymn is that it mentions the reality of final judgment for those who have rejected God's gift of salvation. This is a doctrine which we do not hear proclaimed very often in churches, especially in the Catholic Church. Yet it is a truth that we cannot allow ourselves to forget or hide away.

Crux: Poland demands an end to ‘xenophobia’ among the Brits

Crux: Poland demands an end to ‘xenophobia’ among the Brits

WARSAW, Poland - Poland’s President Andrzej Duda said this week he’s written to church leaders in Britain asking them to counter “intolerance and xenophobia” exposed in attacks on Poles living there.

Duda said his letters to the heads of the Church of England and of the Catholic Church in Britain were in support of the Polish government’s efforts to obtain better protection for the hundreds of thousands of Poles living in Britain.

Since Britain’s June vote to leave the European Union, there has been an increase in reports of hostile acts against Poles.

Last week, a 40-year-old Pole, Arkadiusz Jozwik, died after he was beaten by teenagers in Harlow, about 50 kilometers (30 miles) north of London. Another Pole was injured in the attack, which British police are investigating as a possible hate crime. Two other Poles were beaten in Harlow on Sunday following a march in protest of Jozwik’s death.

The Guardian: EU flags waved at Last Night of the Proms in anti-Brexit protest

The Guardian: EU flags waved at Last Night of the Proms in anti-Brexit protest

Concertgoers at The Last Night Of The Proms have shown their solidarity with the European Union by waving EU flags during the performance.

In the run-up to the finale of the annual classical music event, it was reported that anti-Brexit campaigners were trying to drum up support for a twist on the usual union-jack-waving opportunity by handing out the EU banner to those in attendance instead.

When the programme aired on BBC1 on Saturday evening, viewers could see the EU flag making appearances in the stalls of the Royal Albert Hall. There was even one prominently placed on the conductor’s stand which was decorated with flags from across the globe.

A crowdfunding page raised more than £1,100 to buy the flags, with the annual musical event apparently chosen as it is “televised and has a very high profile”.

Crux: Can Mother Teresa help Clinton on adoption v. abortion again?

Crux: Can Mother Teresa help Clinton on adoption v. abortion again?

by Ines A. Murzaku

"At first blush, the idea of Hillary Clinton having much appeal for pro-life voters may seem a terribly long shot. A relatively little-known partnership between Clinton and Mother Teresa in the 1990s, however, suggests the fascinating possibility of altering the traditional political calculus.

In her July 26 speech accepting the Democratic nomination, Clinton reiterated her commitment to preserving social security, expanding social programs, fighting for children and their health insurance, and defending the disabled, working people, immigrants, women and the poor.

In many ways, those are precisely the same commitments Pope Francis celebrated in Mother Teresa when he formally declared her a saint on Sept. 4, and Mother Teresa and Clinton are linked by more than being accomplished women in what have long been men’s worlds."

Saturday, 10 September 2016

The Feast of Saint Paphnutius of Thebes

As we have promised above to make some mention of Paphnutius and Spyridon, it is time to speak of them here. Paphnutius then was bishop of one of the cities in Upper Thebes: he was a man so favored divinely that extraordinary miracles were done by him. In the time of the persecution he had been deprived of one of his eyes. The emperor honored this man exceedingly, and often sent for him to the palace, and kissed the part where the eye had been torn out. So great devoutness characterized the emperor Constantine. Let this single fact respecting Paphnutius suffice: I shall now explain another thing which came to pass in consequence of his advice, both for the good of the Church and the honor of the clergy. It seemed fit to the bishops to introduce a new law into the Church, that those who were in holy orders, I speak of bishops, presbyters, and deacons, should have no conjugal intercourse with the wives whom they had married while still laymen. Now when discussion on this matter was impending, Paphnutius having arisen in the midst of the assembly of bishops, earnestly entreated them not to impose so heavy a yoke on the ministers of religion: asserting that 'marriage itself is honorable, and the bed undefiled'; Hebrews 13:4 urging before God that they ought not to injure the Church by too stringent restrictions. 'For all men,' said he, 'cannot bear the practice of rigid continence; neither perhaps would the chastity of the wife of each be preserved': and he termed the intercourse of a man with his lawful wife chastity. It would be sufficient, he thought, that such as had previously entered on their sacred calling should abjure matrimony, according to the ancient tradition of the Church: but that none should be separated from her to whom, while yet unordained, he had been united. And these sentiments he expressed, although himself without experience of marriage, and, to speak plainly, without ever having known a woman: for from a boy he had been brought up in a monastery, and was specially renowned above all men for his chastity. The whole assembly of the clergy assented to the reasoning of Paphnutius: wherefore they silenced all further debate on this point, leaving it to the discretion of those who were husbands to exercise abstinence if they so wished in reference to their wives. Thus much concerning Paphnutius.

From the Ecclesiastical History of Socrates of Constantinople

O Almighty God, who willest to be glorified in thy Saints and didst raise up thy servant blessed Saint Paphnutius 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 Paphnutius, pray for us, for all monks and for all married priests.

The Guardian: European Muslims are not new. Nor are they all the same

The Guardian: European Muslims are not new. Nor are they all the same

by Natalie Nougayrède

"Just as Europe is a patchwork of cultures and nations, Europe’s Muslim populations are extremely diverse, as is their history. This may sound obvious, but it’s something that gets easily pushed aside in all the heated debates about Islam, migration and identity politics. Muslims tend to get lumped together as a single entity. “In Europe, we Muslims have to acknowledge that we have no common narrative,” says the mufti, “there are many differences.” For example, he points to how ethnic characteristics play a more important role than many observers realise. Muslims can relate as much to their ethnic or national roots (Bosnian, Albanian, Turkish, Kurdish, Algerian, Pakistani etc) as they do to their religious beliefs. Religious revival, as in any faith, doesn’t mean you sweep away other parts of your identity.

But that’s not to say there can’t be a “common narrative”, and Grabus is adamant that: “As Muslims in Europe, our duty is to create one, in which we would expose our understanding of Islam belonging here.” Much of this, he points out, has to do with education and overcoming ignorance, both among Muslims and non-Muslims. How many people, he asks, know that Austro-Hungary, under the Habsburgs, recognised Islam as an official religion as long ago as 1912? How many know that the first mosque in France was built by the secular French republic (in Paris, in the 1920s) as a tribute to the tens of thousands of Muslims who died in the first world war? And how many people are ready to consider that the medieval scholar Averroes, born in Córdoba when Andalucía was ruled by the Arabs, was a European Muslim?"

ConservativeHome: The treatment of Catholic schools is a “burning injustice” – a wrong that May is now set to right

ConservativeHome: The treatment of Catholic schools is a “burning injustice” – a wrong that May is now set to right

by Paul Goodman

"The injustice comes in the form of the admissions rule which requires new faith schools, when over-subscribed, to limit the number of pupils they accept on the basis of faith to fifty per cent. As an author wrote on this site, the rule “fails according to its own objective: it does little to increase the diversity of Jewish, Muslim, Sikh and Hindu schools, because for now at least they are unlikely to appeal to parents of other faiths. But the rule is effectively discriminatory for Roman Catholics: it prevents them from opening new free schools because it is almost certainly against canon law for a Catholic Bishop to set up a school that turned away Catholic pupils on the basis of their Catholicism”.

“Given that there is growing demand for Roman Catholic schools,” he continued, “which are more likely to be ethnically diverse than other schools, more likely to be in poor areas, more likely to be rated Good or Outstanding by Ofsted, and more likely to provide what parents want, the rule should be replaced by a legal duty on faith schools to ensure that their pupils mix – perhaps through sport, performing arts, or school visits – with children of other backgrounds.” It is reported this morning that the Government is to follow this advice. The Cameron Government resisted removing the cap. But the new Prime Minister is to scrap it."

I disagree with the grammar schools policy, but I am very happy about Theresa May's support for faith schools.

PoliticalBetting.Com: The Grammar School policy is un-Conservative and will appeal to the wrong people

PoliticalBetting.Com: The Grammar School policy is un-Conservative and will appeal to the wrong people

by David Herdson

"But there’s a more philosophical reason as to why the plan is un-Conservative: it is a big-state solution that would greatly diminish competition and undo many of the market-based reforms of the Gove era. As mentioned earlier, grammars need secondary moderns and both need to fit within a system which is either administered for each locality or which is allowed to develop organically but which once established becomes incredibly difficult to overturn. For example, if in one town with five secondaries, all of which can select, one school is seen as clearly superior, that school becomes the only de-facto grammar even if the others can nominally select on the same basis – and once it is established as such, it has a tremendous structural advantage to keep it in that position.

That kind of predict-and-provide is the opposite of what Gove did in hugely reducing the powers of LEAs to set local admissions, education policies, terms and conditions of employment and so on. But if local authorities can determine whether selection is allowed within their boundaries then it follows that they also need much greater power to impose other decisions on local schools.

Councillors and civil servants will love that; parents, teachers and heads are likely to be less enamoured with the prospect of being taken over from the LEAs from whose clutches they’ve only recently escaped (the public routinely expresses net support for grammar schools but I’m quite sure that their support would diminish rapidly if they thought their children would end up at secondary moderns). Furthermore, given that most authorities that are likely to take up the policy will be Conservative, all those battles are likely to be fought on the Tories’ own doorsteps.

Having launched the policy, it would be embarrassing to now scrap it. I’d be much less surprised however if it disappeared into a parliamentary black hole after the gesture to re-introduce is made."

This policy is entirely about keeping the Tory backbenches happy and keeping the Tory grassroots in love with May.

Ukraine Conflict September 10

This is war. This is Europe. This is happening today.

Rebuilding Russia, by Alexander Solzhenitsyn

Aleander Solzhenitsyn, Rebuilding Russia, 1990, Moscow

Come writers and critics
Who prophesy with your pen
And keep your eyes wide
The chance won't come again
And don't speak too soon
For the wheel's still in spin
And there's no tellin' who
That it's namin'
For the loser now
Will be later to win
For the times they are a-changin'.

Bob Dylan

At the collapse of the Soviet Union, the Russian writer and Gulag survivor, Alexander Solzhenitsyn offered his thoughts on what kind of form the new post-Soviet Russia should take. The political system he articulates in this book is a very ground-up model of government, with local democracy at its foundation.

A key part of Solzhenitsyn's vision was that Russia, Belarus and Ukraine should be kept together as a united east slav union. He believed that Ukraine, while having distinct traditions and customs was fundamentally part of Russia. He did allow that if Ukraine wanted to be independent, they must be allowed to be, though this needed to be decided by a fair national plebiscite. It was, they did and they were. Ukrainians voted for independence. Ukrainians in both the west and the Russian-speaking east were in favour of independence. Despite this, political hacks, policy wonks and history geeks predicted for years that Ukraine would break in half. It never did. The present conflict in Ukraine has occurred on the fringes of the nation, in Crimea and Donbas. While the Ossetians and Abkhazians had been fighting to break from Georgia for years, the fraction of Crimea and Donbas took place rapidly after Russian intervention, rather than arising from persistent and sustained resistance, as with Abkhazia and South Ossetia. Solzhenitsyn was unable to see the strength of national consciousness among Ukrainians.

Part of my frustration with this book comes from the sense that Solzhenitsyn was not at his best here. He was a man of great courage and conviction, with a deep sense of moral purpose, as well as compassion. Yet the subject of this book is the nuts and bolts of democratic systems and governments. It was a bit too easy for an idealist like Solzhenitsyn to criticize every structure of the new Russia without having to do the dirty work of running for election and actually implementing his policies. Our author expresses his disgust in this book at the prospect of career politicians arising in Russia. Yet every nation needs career politicians. A democratic system does not just require idealists and visionaries. It also requires boring, but smooth-talking men and women who are efficient at managing things. You don't need a dictator to make trains run on time; you need a transport minister who can read her briefings and make sensible decisions about railway contracts.

There are some who have made a link between this manifesto and Putin's regime. I personally would not say this. I think there is too much of a sense of humanity and compassion here for that and Solzhenitsyn is very clear in his rejection of great power politics. This is fundamentally the work of an agrarian romantic, rather than an authoritarian nationalist. I do suspect though, that had Solzhenitsyn's ideas been implemented in the new Russia of 1990, we would have ended up with something resembling Putinism.

As a monarchist, my biggest disappointment of this book is Solzhenitsyn's failure to call for the restoration of the Russian monarchy. The monarchy was central to the fabric of Russian life before the revolution and the lack of a restoration has left a deep void in the soul of Russian national existence.

Friday, 9 September 2016

The Telegraph: Theresa May's school reforms could force her to call an early election

The Telegraph: Theresa May's school reforms could force her to call an early election

by Juliet Samuel

"Mrs May’s government was already precarious. Her reform agenda for education will make it untenable unless she bows to political logic and holds an early General Election.

For one thing she has a majority of 17, fewer than the number of ministers she sacked. Many Tories will support her education reforms, but not all of them: David Cameron, for one, repeatedly said he thought opening more grammar schools would be a mistake.

Even if she can get the bill through the House of Commons, she will not be able to get it into law. Leaders in the House of Lords have already declared they’ll block it, according to The Huffington Post. Mrs May will be powerless to override them quickly because her reforms were not in the Conservatives’ manifesto.

That means she would have to get it through the Commons two times, over three years, to override the Lords and get it onto the statute book. All of that would have to during the throes of a contentious Brexit negotiation that could tear the Tories apart at any moment."

Russian Weapons in Ukraine

GQ: Why dads shouldn’t send their children to grammar schools

GQ: Why dads shouldn’t send their children to grammar schools

by Rupert Myers

All this means that the grammar school system exacerbates existing disadvantages. It’s like throwing life preservers 100m away from a group of swimmers – the fastest ones will grab them long before the weaker swimmers can. Poor children, who already face huge obstacles to academic success, are pushed further down by a system that focuses greater attainment on the disproportionately well off. This institutionalisation of disadvantage does not promote a state education system which provides equality of opportunity. Unlike public schools, in which parents can spend money while saving the state the cost of a place at a state school, grammar schools become a tool by which the state itself works to add a layer of advantage to existing advantage.

If May throws away caution on this issue, she will hand Labour an huge opportunity for electoral recovery.

Air Policing Mission in Bulgaria

Thursday, 8 September 2016

Wednesday, 7 September 2016

The Birthday of the Blessed Virgin Mary

Almighty and everlasting God,
who stooped to raise fallen humanity
through the child-bearing of blessed Mary:
grant that we, who have seen your glory
revealed in our human nature
and your love made perfect in our weakness,
may daily be renewed in your image
and conformed to the pattern of your Son,
Jesus Christ our Lord,
who is alive and reigns with you,
in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
one God, now and for ever.

The Litany of Loreto

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,
God the Holy Spirit,
Holy Trinity, one God,

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

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.

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

Let us pray.
Grant, we beseech thee,
O Lord God,
that we, your servants,
may enjoy perpetual health of mind and body;
and by the intercession of the Blessed Mary, ever Virgin,
may be delivered from present sorrow,
and obtain eternal joy.
Through Christ our Lord.

Holy Mary, Daughter of Zion, pray for us, for Israel and Palestine and all the Jewish people.