Thursday, July 28, 2016

and I will be at the...

Evangelium conference this weekend...

We have been...

... at Sonntagberg in Austria, with old friends, having a most beautiful and special time...a glorious Mass celebrated by the Bishop in the magnificent mountain-top basilica....sunny days talking over so many things in the world and the Church...


Wednesday, July 27, 2016

...and while all the summer things...

...are happening, there is a great awareness that this summer isn't an ordinary one, that deep and serious things are surging...Today the organising committee for a Catholic women's group gathered for its regular meeting in the comfortable crypt hall of a London church, with coffee brewed and plans and  hopes and worries shared just as on so many previous occasions. We tackled an agenda with plans for projects for schools, an Autumn conference, a Spring a pilgrimage...you can't just spend time wringing hands and talking about martyrdom in Europe. But a priest has been martyred. And in France. This is our world, and we must take responsibility for coping with whatever new difficulties we all face year on year.

Like so many other Christians in Britain, I spent a lot of time in the 1970s and 80s trying to help Christians in lands where ghastly things were happening - random attacks on priests or groups of faithful were things we read about and remembered in our prayers. There was a feeling then that things in the West were bad because of family breakup, abortion, and  also problems within the Church... but attacks from Islamic fanatics in European towns were not something that figured on our horizon...

A young friend...

...is blogging from World Youth Day for the Catholic Herald. You can read her blog here...it's been a powerful experience for these young Catolics to be gathered together praying following the murder by an Islamicist of a priest in France...

Thursday, July 21, 2016

...and if you are interested....

...in Auntie's  view on the current political scene in Britain, try here...

FIRST MASS....

...of Father Philip Andrews. at St Joseph's Church, New Malden...a glorious and joyous occasion. It is so moving to kneel to recieve a young priest's first blessing, and to kiss his hands. Philip has been living and helping in the parish during the holidays of his years at the Venerable English College in Rome, so he is a popular figure, and there was a great sense of celebration...the church was packed, and there was a  great buffet supper in the parish centre, lots of cheery greetings,  speeches, toasts, the cutting of a celebration cake...

There were other  young men from the VEC joining in the celebrations, plus of course priests from across the diocese... all a sign of hope for the Church in the years ahead. Pics of Fr Phil's ordination (St George's Cathedral Southwark, Sat July 16th) here...

Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Summer...

...and blackberries ripening, and I've made the first batch of jam. Want some?  Then you must come to the 2016 Towards Advent Festival at Westminster Cathedral Hall on Saturday November 26th...book the date in your diary now.

And, while you are about it, book Saturday October 22nd, the Blessed Sacrament Procession through London. Starts at Westminster Cathedral, 1.30pm. This is the annual "Two cathedrals" Procession, which crosses he Thames at Lambeth Bridge and finishes with Benediction at St George's Cathedral, Southwark. A date not to be missed: it's a magnificent witness to the Faith in London. The Procession looks magnificent as it crosses the Thames with Parliament in the background...come and be part of it all!







London, in sizzling heat...

...but the river cool and surging and  there was a blessed refreshing breeze as we walked across Tower Bridge and talked history...and pondered Arthur and the Grail, and  Saxons and Vikings and Augustine coming to Kent,..

A wonderful day spent with Bishop Timothy Senior and Father Christopher Ward of Philadelphia.  We met the Tower of London - for all sorts of obvious reasons a poignant place for Catholics to meet - and went to Tower Hill and knelt to pray at the site of More and Fisher's martyrdom...then on to All- Hallows-by-the-Tower  which is rich in history and a place of serenity on that noisy corner where the traffic roars into the city...and then crossed the river and lunched at Hays Wharf. And then on to Parliament where they were to meet Sir Edward Leigh's team and be shown Westminster Hall and  so on, and then to Westminster Cathedral to concelebrate Mass.

It was so good to hear about the Church in Philadelphia, and the seminary there, and the promise it all holds.


Family time...

...at a glorious family wedding. A happy, happy time...

Friday, July 15, 2016

A wonderful...

...Catholic History Walk in Chelsea, in the footsteps of St Thomas More, beginning at the Church of Our Most Holy Redeemer, and going on to More's tatue by the Embankment, and Chelsea Old Church, and Roper's Garden, and More's re-erected London house...and finishing at Allen Hall...

One of the people on the Walk told us about how More's statue came to be placed there. It was the initiative of Sir George Catlin, husband of Vera Brittain, and father of (Baroness) Shrley Williams...

NEXT History Walks are:

WEDNESDAY Aug 10th, 2pm

WEDNESDAY Aug 17th 6.30pm

Both Walks start on the steps of Westminster Cathedral.
All welcome - no need to book, just turn up!   More info here...


Tuesday, July 12, 2016

Long discussion...

...with a  journalist/politico friend of longstanding, about political events in Britain. Both of us have links w. some of the people involved in the recent dramas in the Tory party. Much to discuss and ponder...

One thing which is interesting is how the  ferocious feminists can't cope with Theresa May, just as they couldn't cope with Margaret Thatcher. They can't get their ideology to fit into the facts. The first, and then next, female Prime Ministers of our country have come from families with strong fathers they loved dearly, and who helped to forge their ideas and inspire their lives. They both loved and married rock-solid, affectionate, dependable men who gave them support and help and encouragement and  with whom they forged wonderfully loving and happy marriages.They have both been regular churchgoers of traditinal Christian beliefs, taught by their parents and honoured throughout their lives.   Doesn't fit the fem-agenda. The fems just can't cope with it all.  Faced the the great reality of  Lady Thatcher, they tried to ignore her: you will find daft fem publications that sort of give her a tiny footnote, while trying to invent fem-folk heroines from little-known legendary figures or even sometimes  pagan goddesses.

It would be amusing - except that some of the fem-lobbyists are embedded in the education system, and are feeding this unhistorical rubbish to children.

Sunday, July 10, 2016

We began...

...in the Fitzalan-Howard family chapel at Arundel, where we held a Penitential Service. It is always a solemn feeling to kneel where people have been praying for hundreds and hundreds of years. You understand again what it is to ask for God's mercy and forgiveness, to join with all the other penitents down all the centuries, all so human, all so different and so smiliar...all of us sinners, all needing God's grace...

...and then in due course we processed across the road to the great Cathedral, where Mass was concelebrated....this was an Ordinariate Pilgrimage, marking the Year of Mercy, and we entered through the Cathedral's Mercy Door, which was all wreathed with flowers.

Too cold for a proper picnic: I had packed a big hamper but it was a bit bleak just sitting on a bench outside the Cathedral in a chilly wind putting bits of smoked salmon into rolls... But then there was Benediction, and the Divine Praises... "Blessed be God..." and lovely music...and then a pleasant walk through the town down to the river, and Tea... with toasted tea-cake...and a look at the old Dominican priory, and the Arun rushing by... so on to the train home...glorious views of the Sussex countryside in the evening light...

Late into the evening, I clicked around the internet to get the latest news, and was deeply deflated by reading about the CofE's Synod...there seems to be a complete abandonment of the notion of a revelation from God to the human race.

If the poor CofE  decides to allow ceremonies for two (or three, or whatever number some feel is right)  people of the same sex to go through a form of marriage, it somehow ceases to have a link with the idea that God has any direct interest in the human race at all. He has no plan, no message for us.   Rather, the idea seems to be that the CofE should be an organisation that celebrates how people feel, and makes up ceremonies accordingly. God is just a word used from time to time to make the noise sound right.  But no Word made flesh,no understanding of male and female, of God's union with the human race, of what Cana meant, or the Marriage Feast of the Lamb...so there's the end of it. No amount of noise can fill the gap.

I don't want to sound rude, but it would be nice if they would let the rest of us use some more of the glorious old buildings - which in a sense belong to the whole nation and not just to any one part of it - - so we can worship God in them as the builders intended...