Sunday, 30 August 2020

Ungrateful Lepers

 Who, as a child, did not have impressed upon them the importance of saying thank you for gifts given? Or who would have been able to escape the task of writing thank you cards after birthdays and Christmas? Yet even if this childhood training in etiquette did not feature in one’s life, the duty of rendering thanks to another, particularly after a great favour, would not be foreign.

That is why this Gospel initially strikes one as so strange. Is it really possible, one asks, that out of ten lepers who were miraculously healed by Christ, only one returned to give thanks? How did the other nine not think it necessary to do as their companion did, to fall down before Christ giving thanks? 

From personal experience, this Gospel can have a tendency to lose its effect if one does not take pause to dwell on it. For after hearing these words the immediate thought it, “Well, I wouldn’t have forgotten to say thank you”. And in an instant, one has ignored any possible teaching which he could have drawn from the sacred texts.

If we take a moment further to dwell on the lines of the Gospel, is it entirely true to say that we would have acted better than the nine ungrateful lepers? Perhaps, in reality, one will find that he is not altogether that different after all. For whilst we can be quick enough to send petitionary prayers to God in rapid fire when our need is great, can the same properly be said with regards to giving thanks? Indeed, are our prayers as swift or numerous when simply rendering adoration and praise to Him? Personally, they are often not.

“But wait”, one might object, “this attack is hardly fair; I have never received such a grace as being cured from leprosy and not given thanks to God”. No indeed, such grievous physical ailments are far less common, yet with sin we freely fall into a greater spiritual ailment. Indeed, through sin one can kill his soul whilst maintaining a healthy body. Hence the Baltimore Catechism describes sin as “any wilful thought, desire, word, action, or omission forbidden by the law of God”.(1) In order to be cleansed from these wilful offences against God, we must come before Him and petition for healing, just like the ten lepers. Yet after receiving the sacrament of Confession and having been cleansed from this spiritual ailment, which is completely our fault, is it not the case that we so regularly forget to render proper thanks to God for the immense graces which He has given? Or even more, is it not the case that we simply fall back into the same habits and the same sins in a matter of days, and so, unlike the lepers, return to the feet of God for His grace every week? 

How then, can a person truly state that he is better than the nine ungrateful lepers! They remained ungrateful for being healed from a mere physical illness. We remain ungrateful for being healed from spiritual illness and death, and yet continue to deliberately fall into that state regularly. What is the remedy for this and how can one seek to imitate the grateful leper?

To do so, we must remember the four ends of prayer which are adoration, thanksgiving, reparation and petition. The spiritual authors teach that the four ends should be the guide to our very prayers, thus adoration and thanksgiving should be more of a focus in life than petitionary prayers. 

Adoration is based upon an acknowledgement of the majesty and beauty of God. When Christ taught the Our Father, the first intention which He gave was that of adoration of God: “Our Father, who art in Heaven, hallowed be thy name”. God is our end, nothing else can satisfy man, and hence there is nothing better to do in prayer than to spend time in adoration of His perfection. It is for this end that the Divine Office is prescribed for various hours throughout the day and night, so that God might be ceaselessly adored by His Church. 

But also we owe our very existence and salvation to God, who sustains and nourishes us constantly. It is to Him that we “owe all that we are, all that we have, whether in the order of nature or of grace”.(2) To Him we must render thanks for His Incarnation, death and resurrection, which have released us from the bonds of sin. Hence prayer is not a practice of the pious but a duty of all. This act of thanksgiving to God is done out of love for Him, which must come before the more selfish interests of petitionary prayers. 

Next, we must seek to make reparation for our sins through prayer. Now prayer here can act in a two-fold manner. Firstly it can assist us to recognise our sins and then it enables us to atone for them. Prayers of reparation are in direct opposition to sins, which ultimately are based upon pride. Logically speaking, such prayers should be a pre-requisite before one makes a fresh prayer of petition.

Finally, the fourth end of prayer is that which is all too familiar, petition. There needs to be no explanation or proof of why such prayers are necessary, for they come so naturally. By praying in this manner we are heeding the command of God who stated, “ask and it shall be given you; seek and you shall find: knock and it shall be opened unto you”.(Matt 7:7). If we do not ask then we shall not receive. 

These four ends of prayer should serve as a guide for the kind of prayer which we perform. It is all too easy to offer prayers of petition at the cost of the other three. Yet it should chiefly be prayers of adoration and thanksgiving which are the offering one makes to God. In fact, just as we have been commanded to offer prayers of petition in time of need, so are the other three ends of prayer also a duty to perform. How can one hope to have a relation with God if he refuses to adore Him, to thank Him and to ask pardon for his sins?

In order to model oneself upon the grateful leper, one must develop a true conversation and friendship with God. The nine selfish lepers sought to pray only in petition and ignored the other three, more important ends of prayer. One must take careful note of the Gospel, so that the important teaching regarding true prayer, is not lost.

1: Kinkead, Baltimore Catechism No 3, q64.

2: Tanquerey, The Spiritual Life, 245.

Sunday, 23 August 2020

Love of neighbour.


“Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with thy whole heart and with thy whole soul and with all thy strength and with all thy mind: and thy neighbour as thyself…Do this and thou shalt live”.

Such is the answer given by Christ to the young lawyer who questioned Him regarding the law. The first clause of the statement is straightforward to explain, ‘love the Lord thy God’. Putting it into practice is however considerably more difficult since it involves a certain death to self. Previous articles on this site have mentioned ways in which this can be done, by practicing the presence of God and by developing a great love for the Holy Eucharist. Having a lively devotion to Mary as Queen and Mother is invaluable in drawing close to her Son.

But that which is very commonly mis-taught is the second part, namely the love of neighbour. It is this which must be the focus of our thoughts this morning, for how is one to love one’s neighbour correctly, especially in the spiritual realm? 

The answer is of course found in the above words of Christ - to love thy neighbour as thyself. This involves seeing a neighbour as another self, wishing for him all that one would wish for oneself. Ultimately this involves willing that he save his soul, since this is the highest good which one wishes for self. Thus as spiritual life and then physical life are wished for oneself, they must be wished for one’s neighbour. 

Willing that a neighbour might have physical life is easy enough, for there are few who actively wish that harm or evil might befall another. One the face of it, willing the spiritual life of a neighbour is also easy, because who can really wish that he be admitted to Heaven but not a neighbour, without being aware of the hypocritical nature of such a thought. 

It seems though that the manner in which one wills salvation for the neighbour is the aspect which most often is the stumbling point. This is because modern society is centred upon self-fulfilment in whatever manner a person chooses. If a man chooses to engage in all sorts of immoral behaviour because he feels that way inclined, then society promotes and supports such actions so that he might be ‘fulfilled’. But, true love of neighbour necessitates that one does not condone immoral behaviour but rejects it and calls it out for what it is. For the good of the soul of such a man, as well as for the good of the souls to whom he might give scandal, moral wrong must be denounced as an act of charity. If one witnessed a man about to commit suicide, then the bystander would surely attempt to stop the unhappy man from performing an action which would be fatally injurious to his life. Even more so then, must we be able to do likewise in the spiritual life. 

Such is the motive behind the valiant men and women who stand outside the abortion clinics, praying and counselling the young mothers so that they might not abort their unborn child. Judgement and condemnation are not their thoughts, but rather true love of neighbour, seeking to help these mothers to save a life and save souls.

Love of neighbour necessitates the uncomfortable part of telling the truth, particularly when they do not wish to hear it. It demands the teaching of truth out of love of God and love of neighbour, because this Truth is the highest good which anyone can conform to. It is love of neighbour which moves good Catholics to protest abortion, gay marriage, modern perverse education in schools and the proliferation of so many immoral ‘rights’. These and many other moral evils must be publicly denounced and protested if the command to love God and neighbour is to be fulfilled.

As many will know, protesting these things is nowadays a sure way to gather public outcry and fall foul of the police, who ironically defend a distorted version of love of neighbour. Our societies in various countries are built upon a profound rejection of God and lack of concern for neighbour. Only then could a society so publicly and unashamedly offer the murder of innocents as ‘healthcare’.

The farcical nature of modern society is found in its attention to self, in the name of love for all. In such a permissive state, wherein nearly every action and possible depravity is permitted, there can be no lasting rule of law, no true civil peace or prosperity and no true happiness. For when God is so thoroughly rejected and denied in society, then man finds himself centred upon himself and this selfish form of living can never satisfy. He has no means or incentive to help his neighbour out of the practice of sin, for what is sin in a society where evil is freely advocated?

How is such a state, the current state of most countries, to be remedied? The two-fold command of love must be practiced. Thus, society and man must return to loving God for His own sake and as the chief end of life. When He has been returned to His proper place in the life of man, then morality will be refocused away from selfish desires and back towards the noble pursuit of virtue. Only then can love of neighbour be truly practiced, whereby a man helps and guides his neighbour to the practice of virtue. 

Hence a Christ centred love of self and neighbour requires an ardent living of the faith and teaching of the truth. It does not tolerate compromise and thus true charity also entails caring for the soul of others. Any law or social custom which panders to the lower desires of man, at the cost of the soul, is thus not truly concerned with good, but is a perversion of truth and order. 

Loving a neighbour as ourself, and consequently caring for the soul of another, is a true reflection of the love which Christ has for man. It is in this manner, as He teaches, that one can hope to be saved.

Sunday, 16 August 2020

Our Lady, assumed into heaven.


Yesterday marked the wonderful feast of the Assumption of Mary, a feast marked in the glorious mysteries of the rosary. It is a day on which we have cause to marvel at the wonders bestowed to Mary by her Divine Son. 

St. Alphonsus writes eloquently on this event in The Glories of Mary, in which he devotes several pages to her Assumption. The saints recounts the beautiful meeting between Son and Mother upon her glorious arrival, so different from the meeting on the road to Calvary. Just as she was united with Him at every step in the Redemption, so she must also be united to Him in heavenly glory, where the two share the inestimable glory. But this glory only comes after the suffering of the cross, and they cannot be viewed as separate. The Assumption can be seen almost as a mirror of Calvary. On Calvary Mary raised herself up in order to be beside Christ and so to share in His redemptive suffering; here she is raised up by Him to join in the heavenly throne which she has merited through her joint sufferings. Just as on Calvary Mary was able to join her sufferings to Christ’s due to having received preventative redemption, so on the Assumption she is once again able to join Him due to His power alone. Her life, even in this moment of glory, is focussed on giving honour and glory to God and leading souls to Him. “If thy sufferings have been great on earth, far greater is the glory which I have prepared for thee in heaven”.(1)

Whilst at that awful moment at the cross the entirety of creation was plunged into tumult and chaos, now the heavens resound with the exaltations of the angels who gather to welcome their Queen. Indeed, second only to God, how can they not love most of all, she who loves God most of all? Yet it is not just the angels who hail Mary as their queen and throng to lead her to her throne. The Litany of Loreto contains many invocations to her as queen: she is queen of patriarchs, prophets, apostles and martyrs. These servants of the Most High now make their way to greet she who bore their Lord and Master. The martyrs salute her: “She, by her great constancy in the sorrows of her Son’s Passion, had taught them [the martyrs], and also by her merits had obtained them strength, to lay down their lives for the faith”.(2) So do the holy patriarchs, who had awaited the coming of the Virgin Mother who would crush the head of the serpent: “O Marys, it is thou who wast our hope; for thee it was that we sighed with such ardour and for so long a time”.(3) 

But the heavenly host is not yet complete, for Mary is queen also of confessors, virgins and all saints. Now they come to render homage to her, for she it was who taught them the glory of virginity and the practice of the virtues. In this their Queen, they have the perfect model of perfection, for though they are her predecessors in time, she is their mother in grace. 

St. Alphonsus calls to our attention a meeting which we might overlook when meditating on the Assumption - the meeting between Mary and St. Joseph. “Who can ever describe the joy which the holy patriarch felt at seeing his spouse so triumphantly enter heaven and made Queen of Paradise?”(4) In the Scriptures, even less is heard of St. Joseph than of Mary, but one can only imagine the beatitude of their union, those two souls who were united in caring for the Infant King. The joy of the saints and angels would not compare to the joy experienced when these two blessed souls met at the throne of God. 

Such a scene is that which we celebrate on this happy feast, and by doing so honour not just Mary, but her Divine Son, to whom her whole life was oriented. But what we have seen thus far is the depiction of her arrival into the realm of glory, and Ligouri urges us to continue by thinking of the glory of the throne to which she was raised. Mary’s love for her Son surpasses all imaginings. None can truly understand the depths of love which existed in her heart for her Child who was to redeem the world. Rightly so, then, should the glory of her position as Queen mirror the depths of her love. Rightly so should she be raised in a position above all and next to her Son. “Rightly, then, does the Church sing that Mary having loved God more than all the angels, the Mother of god has been exalted above them all in the heavenly kingdom”.(5)

Just as her position at the foot of the cross was seen by the world to be of the lowest rank, stood next to a criminal, her position in heaven is of the highest order. Seated next to her Divine Son, Mary thus pours out graces upon all those who ask. Her title of Mediatrix of graces is thus ever more fulfilled, as she reigns as Queen of heaven and earth.

Such are the happy thoughts which the saints give us to ponder over on the feast of the Assumption. Their love of Mary enables them to depict the heavenly scenes in such a vivid manner, that the reader can well picture himself there. Let us ask Our Lady, assumed into heaven, to grant us a greater devotion to her, so that we might one day partake of that glorious sight.

“Enter then that kingdom, and take thy seat near Me; come to receive that crown which I will bestow upon thee as Queen of the universe”.

1: St. Alphonsus Ligouri, The Glories of Mary, 391.

2: Ibid, 393.

3: Ibid, 393.

4. Ibid, 394.

5. Ibid, 395.

Sunday, 9 August 2020

Humility in prayer


The tenth Sunday after Pentecost draws to our attention the matter of prayer. One is presented with two examples: the first the example of the pharisee, whose prayer is more like self-adulation than a true conversation with God; second is the prayer of the publican, who is marked by his humility before God. The pharisee knew the law well and yet was unable to live the faith correctly. His spiritual life had become centred upon himself and instead of being an example to those around him, he became a source of scandal. 

Such a passage thus accentuates the importance of humility in prayer. The Baltimore Catechism defines prayer as “the lifting up of our minds and hearts to God to adore Him, to thank Him for His benefits, to ask His forgiveness, and to beg of Him all the graces we need whether for soul or body”. (1) The first end of prayer, adoration, thus orients the importance of humility in prayer, for with true adoration necessarily comes humility. One cannot know and love God, yet remain full of self love and pride. 

When seeking to be humble in our prayers, it helps to remind ourselves of the nature of prayer. Our end is union with God, and prayer is a conversation with God. Perfection is not God aligning Himself with us, but quite the opposite. Hence, in prayer we must always act in humility, seeking “the accomplishment of the divine will, and not of your own, both by the act of prayer itself and by what you desire to obtain”.(2) Humility and prayer are the antitheses of pride, since the proud soul will not submit himself to the will of God and ask for assistance. For this reason we are reminded of our need for humility at the start of Lent, with the words “remember man, that thou art dust, and unto dust thou shalt return”.(3) Christ warns us not to be like the Pharisee, but to model ourselves on the publican who came to God with the words “O God, be merciful to me a sinner”. This is also taught in the epistle of St. James: “God resisteth the proud, and giveth grace to the humble”.(James 4:6) Dare we say it, but prayer without humility, cannot be prayer at all. A proud ‘prayer’ twists reality and is the work of one who seeks to have God conform to him. On the contrary, the devout soul can never forget that we have nothing which we have not received.

St. Alphonsus teaches that the prayer of a humble soul “at once penetrates the heavens and presents itself before the throne of God, and will not depart thence till God regards it and listens to it”.(4) With humility, a soul is thus able to know itself better and consequently pray more sincerely. Just as pride is the source of all vice, humility is the opposing source of virtue. It makes the soul pleasing to God, and disposes one to hear the voice of God in the silence of the heart.

St. Bonaventure recommends three steps in gaining humility. The first step is to think upon God, the author of all creation. He has made all for Him and disposed creation so that we might come to a happy union with Him, if only we can so decide to do so. In our own strength we have not the ability to do anything, and if we seek to attribute anything to our own power then we become like Lucifer. Rather, we must attribute all to Him and nothing to ourselves but the faults of each day.

Next, we must think on Christ, who so humbled Himself to suffer and die upon the cross, the most ignoble of deaths. Through His humility was won our redemption, and it is in humility that He calls us to follow Him in the way of the cross. This life of the cross is still reviled by the world to this day, as people scorn and deride the followers of Christ. Yet just as Christ, the highest good, lowered Himself to be treated as a common criminal, the humble soul must be able to do the same and follow Him in meekness of heart.

The third step recommended by the saint is to think of oneself. By becoming familiar with our faults and failings we can readily observe just how far we have to go in order to attain to the heights of perfection. Sin has become the predominant feature in our lives yet we are called to imitate Christ in perfection. Of ourselves then we have nothing which we can be proud of. Thus, we can ask “where have we come from and where are we going?”. This question should serve to keep us away from our own prideful failings and desire to follow Christ in humility. 

Our Blessed Mother is the perfect example to follow in the practice of humility. She responded to the highest honour with perfect humility. Instead of allowing herself to become filled with pride at the thought of being the Mother of God, instead she uttered the words, “Because he hath regarded the humility of his handmaid; for behold from henceforth all generations shall call me blessed”. (Luke 1:48) She is the guide and shining beacon who leads her children to her Son through the sure path of humility. Her very life can be summed up in this virtue. Close by her Son in all His life, she never sought to draw attention away from Him, but chose rather to lead others to Him. This she continues to do from her throne in Heaven and so it is to her that we can have fruitful recourse. 

Humility in prayer is one of the chief marks of true prayer, nor can prayer be effective without it. In conversing with God, the humble soul is aware of his failings, the majesty of God and the awful price which Christ has paid for his redemption. He models himself thus upon Our Lady and seeks to become like her when responding to God. For in the end, what better prayers are there, than the words of Mary and the humble publican: “be it done to me according to thy word” (Luke 1:38); “O God, be merciful to me a sinner” (Luke 18:13).

1: Kinkead, The Baltimore Catechism No 4, q304.

2: Scupoli, Spiritual Combat, 122.

3: The Roman Missal 1962, (London, Baronius Press, 2007), 293. ‘Memento homo, quia pulvis es, et in pulverem reverteris’.

4: St. Alphonsus Ligouri, The Way of Salvation and Perfection, 441.

Sunday, 2 August 2020

The chains of Peter.

Yesterday the Church traditionally celebrated the feast of St. Peter in Chains. It is a feast which commemorates the time when the first pope was led out of imprisonment by an angel and delivered back to his flock. The early Church were praying constantly for his safe release, crucially aware of their own need of guidance and protection from this first vicar of Christ. As an answer to prayer, God sent an angel who led St. Peter out of his cell, past the guards and freed him from his chains. Those chains were visible chains, iron bonds which kept the prince of the Apostles secured in a cell. Many saints and martyrs have shed their blood for the faith whilst being held captive by such chains. To the un-Christian world, such chains served to set the martyrs apart as outcasts, visibly imprisoned by fetters and eventually killed for love of God. These visible chains were for many centuries, the mark of the persecution of the Church. She was nourished by the blood of Her martyrs, who clung to the truth and remained steadfast in the faith, and who thus were shackled with chains in imitation of St. Peter.

Today instances of such persecutions are less prevalent, although still very much present, particularly in communist China. One might think therefore that the Church has freed herself from any such chains and stands in an exalted position in the world. But no - whilst there are few visible chains, the invisible chains are very real and so much more dangerous. In place of handcuffs placed upon Her members, the Church is now increasingly attacked by those of Her members who wish to shackle Her with the chains of relativism, cowardice, scandal and ultimately heresy. Those who should be foremost in teaching and proclaiming the truth have abandoned the cause and aligned themselves with the world. In turn, these past few months have seen widespread state interference in Church worship, with the cessation of public Masses being enforced in an unprecedented manner. 

But perhaps, one should not be so surprised at the actions of a God-less world: “If the world hate you, know ye, that it hath hated me before you”. (John 15:18) Again the Scriptures read: “He that is not with me, is against me: and he that gathereth not with me, scattereth”. (Matt 12:30) There is really no middle ground in the service of God; either one acts for or against Him. Thus, those who have already given themselves over to the service of themselves, should not surprise us when they seek to attack and persecute the Church, albeit in a currently (mostly) un-bloody manner.

Yet regarding those who are in the Church, indeed leading the faithful, it is always deeply unsettling when these souls seek to enslave the Church to the practices of the world. Let us recall that it was the English Bishops who first ordered the closing of the churches on March 20th, days before the Government decree.(1) There is an increasingly evident trend amongst a large part of the hierarchy, to give primary care to bodily health at the cost of spiritual health. The global phenomenon of the closure of Churches meant that Catholics the world over were denied access to the sacraments. At a time when the possibility of death was supposedly increased from the ‘pandemic’, faithful souls found themselves unable to confess their sins, receive Holy Communion or even the last rites. 

The reason given for this? The reason given was “a moral duty to protect life”. (2) A moral duty to protect life - when one reads this through, the underlying thought of many of the liberal clergy becomes immediately apparent. Namely, that when push comes to the proverbial shove, what matters most of all is this earthly life, not the spiritual life nor the attainment of heaven. Is this not precisely the teaching which Christ warned of in these words: “fear ye not them that kill the body, and are not able to kill the soul: but rather fear him that can destroy both soul and body in hell”. (Matt 10:28). Certainly, we have a duty to protect all innocent life, (an important distinction to just ‘protect life’, for traditional Church teaching permits the use of the death penalty and allows one to use justified deadly force on certain occasions), yet such a duty can never act in opposition to the primary duty which we have of offering worship to God. But this argument has been covered by many, and indeed was the subject of my article here, some weeks ago on Good Shepherd Sunday. 

It seems though that the forces of the world, under the disguise of clerical collars, have gone further in their promotion of the physical life at the cost of the spiritual. The recent statement by the Catholic Bishops Conference of England and Wales regarding the matter of vaccination has stated that Catholics have a “prima facie duty to be vaccinated”.(3) Certainly, we have a duty to give honour and glory to God, to attend Mass on Sundays, receive the sacraments, to do good and avoid the practice of sin. But to be vaccinated…Quite simply, the bishops do not have the authority to make such a statement regarding this means by which individuals might seek to maintain their health. Nor should they even be suggesting the method of widespread vaccination, since such an approach is being used to further global control and a new world order.(4) Behold the chains of the modern world!

But there is more in the bishops’ statement which must scandalise any Catholic. They take an unapologetically anti-life stance regarding the use of vaccinations made from the cells of aborted babies. To justify this outrage, they offer this explanation: “Human society has often benefitted from the wrongs done in the past for which we must repent”.(5) In these words, the bishops give another example of a duplicitous nature, for they note the evil of abortion and yet mention that in time this evil effectively becomes less significant. They thus fall foul of the error of proportionalism, which seeks to justify a moral evil by focussing on the good effects. This was explicitly condemned by John Paul II, in Veritas Splendor, §75-76. One could not even seek to justify the statement’s error by appealing to the principle of double effect, since this states that the action must be good or at least morally indifferent. In short, the statement seeks to bind the Church in the chains of error and sin, making Her implicit in the rejection of the truth. 

In a masterclass of condescension, the statement further mentions that the bishops “acknowledge the distress many Catholics experience when faced with a choice of not vaccinating their child or seeming to be complicit in abortion”.(6) 'Distress' here being the word of choice of the astute liberal, who wishes to cloud his error in fine language and polished rhetoric. For yet again the bishops are placing the importance on mortal life, on vaccination, instead of the moral life. Yet again the duty of acting morally and honouring God is placed beneath the modern teaching of preserving one's physical health at all costs. Perhaps the bishops might state that the distress one might feel from using such a vaccine would be a benefit to human society in future years, since we have often benefited from wrongs done in the past. 

Perhaps also, the bishops wish us to believe that the world is not in a state of chaos, dominated by sin and depravity, and thus we can base the morality of our actions on the word of the world. Certainly, this is what they seem to mean in these words: “all clinically recommended vaccinations can be used with a clear conscience and that the use of such vaccines does not signify some sort of cooperation with voluntary abortion”.(7) They seem to be ruling out even the slightest possibility that the authorities of the world, who so freely promote abortions as a human right, ought not to be trusted. The bishops go further, by letting such people be the guidance of our moral choices. The chains of immorality and heresy are thus freely promoted.

So the chains of St. Peter, so miraculously removed by the angel, have been replaced by those of immorality, relativism and heresy, and by the Church’s own sons. First the Catholic faithful have been deprived of the sacraments and are now being told to use vaccines which are at best of dubious moral value. All this is done in aid of the new god - man. Gone is the primacy of God and instead the world and the worldly clerics have placed man and his physical health in God’s place. Let us make no mistake, the recent statement by the Bishops Conference of England and Wales is not the first nor shall it be the last, which shall promote sin under the guise of virtue. There is a spiritual battle taking place before our eyes and this time the faithful children of God are being oppressed by their wayward shepherds. In recent months, the sudden and rapid increase in chaos, public depravity, public abandonment of the faith and the teaching of error from both spiritual and temporal leaders, cannot be overlooked. The time is fast approaching when faithful Catholics will be persecuted not just by the world, but by those in the Church who have entered into partnership with evil. In case this seems preposterous or even scandalous to so criticise the bishops, let one recall that under Henry VIII there was only one St. John Fisher. The rest chose to preserve their physical health, keep their lives and follow the directives of a heretic king. So one should not be surprised that such a situation is occurring yet again, for after decades of spiritual decline in the Church, such an eventuality should even be expected. 

What is the answer to this crisis? To pray and to act. Just as the early Church prayed unceasingly for St. Peter, we must do the same. In a spiritual battle, we must not lose sight of the paramount importance of the spiritual weapon of prayer. Only by fighting evil with this weapon can we hope to have victory. But we must also be prepared to act and take a stand, like St. Thomas More and St. John Fisher. Like them, we must govern our lives by prayer and good works, yet refuse unflinchingly to bend the knee to whatever moral depravity is being promoted. We must protest against the imposition of sin, writing to the bishops, spreading word amongst the Church that there are still those who hold fast to truth and doctrine. With prayer and strong Catholic action we can thus have hope in the words of Mary, “In the end my Immaculate Heart will triumph”.






6: Ibid.

7: Ibid.

Seventeenth Sunday after Pentecost

 Apologies to regular readers of this blog, who will notice the absence of a post this morning, as a result of needing time away from the sc...