Monday, 24 December 2007

O most Holy Night...

O most Holy Night, all the earth being at peace...

Correggio. Madonna and child (Holy Night). 1520.

"And Joseph also went up from Galilee out of the city of Nazareth, into Judaea to the city of David, which is called Bethlehem, because he was of the house and family of David, to be enrolled with Mary, his espoused wife, who was with child. And it came to pass, that when they were there, her days were accomplished that she should be delivered. And she brought forth her firstborn Son and wrapped Him in swaddling clothes, and laid Him in a manger, because there was no room in the Inn. And there were in the same country shepherds watching and keeping the night watches over their flock. And behold an Angel of the Lord stood by them and the brightness of God shone round about them, and they feared with a great fear. And the Angel said to them 'Fear not; for behold I bring you tidings of great joy that shall be to all people. For this day is born to you a Saviour who is Christ the Lord, in the city of David. And this shall be a sign unto you: you shall find the Infant wrapped in swaddling clothes and laid in a manger'. And suddenly there was with the Angel a multitude of the heavenly host, praising God and saying 'Glory to God in the highest and on earth peace to men of good will.' "

[Luke 2:4-14]
[The Gospel of the Nativity of Our Lord, the first Mass of Christmas at midnight]

The Eighth Day before the Calends of January, being

In the 5199th year of the creation of the world, from the time when God in the beginning created the heavens and the earth;

the 2957th year after the flood;

the 2015th year from the birth of Abraham;

the 1510th year from Moses, and the giving forth of the people of Israel from Egypt;

the 1032nd year from the anointing of King David;

in the 65th week according to the prophesy of Daniel;

in the 194th Olympiad;

the 752nd year from the foundation of the City of Rome;

the 42nd year of the rule of Octavian Augustus,

all the earth being at peace,


the eternal God,
and Son of the eternal Father,
desirous to sanctify the world by His most merciful coming,
being conceived by the Holy Spirit,
nine months after His conception
was born in Bethlehem of Judaea,


[From the Martyrology of Christmas Day
sung at the old Office of Prime in Cathedral Chapters and Monasteries of the Latin rite of the Roman Catholic Church, to an ancient chant by a dignitary in Choir recalling the Septuagint chronology. All others in Choir remain standing throughout until the lector comes to the word "Bethlehem" at which all bend the knee unto the ending.]

O Emmanuel,
Rex noster et legifer noster, expectatio Gentium, et Salvator earum: veni ad salvandum nos, Domine Deus noster.

O Emmanuel,
our King and Lawgiver, the desire of the nations and the Saviour thereof, come to save us, O Lord our God.

[Isaias 7:14,33,22]
[The 7th of the Great 'O Antiphons' of Advent, sung at Vespers in the Roman rite for the last 7 days of Advent]

Puer natus est nobis,
et filius datus est nobis, cujus imperium super humerum ejus et vocabitur nomen ejus, magni consilii Angelus.

Unto us a child is born,
a Son is given, and the government shall be upon His shoulder and His name shall be called Wonderful Counsellor"

[Isaias 9:6]
[Introit of the third Mass of Christmas, during the daytime]

Happy Christmas to all!


Friday, 21 December 2007

What is a good man like?

What is a good man like?

It is not really fashionable to speak of this today. Men, particularly white European men, are, in today's supposedly "anti-sexist", "anti-discriminatory" world, so often disregarded and too often considered to be the suitable butt of rather unpleasant Feminist jokes and insults. That this is, in itself, "sexist" and "discriminatory" is either not realised or just ignored.

Of course, women are interested in men but not always the good men. They are all too often more interested in the fashion icon, the pop star, the actor or the popular hero. In so wasting their time, they often miss the good man, the one who would make them the best sort of husband and so they end up with someone rather less good for a husband. In far too many cases, divorce follows.

They may then, all too often, blame the entire male sex and jump to the false conclusion that there are, in fact, no good men.

The media - especially the advertising media - all too frequently mocks the good man, the loyal and faithful husband and the gentle, loving father. He is too often presented as pedestrian or foolish or "uncool" (that most fatuous of descriptions!).

So, what is the good man like?

Well, we have the model of our Lord and the saints, particularly St Joseph, the Prince of Juda who humbly worked as a tradesman and carpenter. These are our best models, of course, but sometimes they can seem too remote.

Perhaps it is good to look around us, among our friends and family, for good people. If we look we shall see them.

But good men are often overlooked and not seen. Why is that? Well, perhaps it is because they are less obtrusive and do not press themselves upon others so much and so are not so readily seen. They are often not the centre of attention because they dislike that. They are not part of the glittering, glamorous, worldly beau monde. They are not the pop star or actor of the moment, nor the popularist politician who features in all the papers or the multi-millionaire who is feted by the media.

Personally, for men, I think a particularly fine example is that portrayed in the film Dr Zhivago by Sir Ralph Richardson - himself, in real life, an excellent Catholic gentleman, by the way, and a traditional Catholic at that.

He plays the wonderful character of Zhivago's father-in-law, Alexandr Alexandrovich Gromeko.

He is, in the film, a composite character combining two characters from the book but I particularly like the way he is portrayed in the film by Sir Ralph. It was an inspired choice by David Lean. Sir Ralph, in real life the quintessential English Catholic gentleman, is the perfect choice for this character.

He is a constant presence but never obtrusive. He is father to Tonya, Zhivago's wife.

Both book and film concentrate upon the famous poet, Yury Andreyevich Zhivago, and his affair with Larissa Feodorovna Antipova, a central figure, Lara, played by Julie Christie, as they are both caught up in the drama and terror of the Russian Revolution.

But whilst we have some sympathy with both these central characters we cannot, of course, approve their affair. We think of poor Tonya and little Sasha and his unborn sister. We might even think of her loving father, Alexandr Alexandrovich, except that he does not obtrude upon us. Why? Because he is the model of a good man and a good father. He provides the safe and reliable background upon which his wife, family, son-in-law and grand-children can depend.

Sir Ralph Richardson as Alexandr Alexandrovich Gromekin in the David Lean film of Dr Zhivago

His first care is his wife and family. He is a devout Christian, is patriotic and is patient and long-suffering. He is a loving and indulgent father and a safe and reliable husband. He has impeccable manners and is kind to all. In Gromeko's case, he is also a gentleman and something of a scholar.

When the film begins we see him burying little Yury's mother, his wife's good friend, and taking little Yury into the family as if he was his own son. He follows the coffin of his wife's good friend, praying with the priests, removes his hat and crosses himself as the prayers are said and does his best to comfort the women and children. He is on good terms with the priest and is known and respected by his neighbours.

He is well-to-do, has a big house in Moscow and an estate beyond the Urals.

Zhivago watches as Tonya lights a candle on the tree at a Christmas party before the Revolution but, unknown to all, Lara (left) is preparing to shoot the exploitative Viktor Komorovsky who has abused her

When the revolution comes, his world is turned upside down. Zhivago goes to the front as an Army doctor, and Alexandr Alexandrovich, his wife and daughter and grand-child are forced to occupy a small part of his house which is seized by the Bolshevik government, and they have to take orders from a pair of brazen liars and thugs who are the Political Commissars that now occupy the best parts of his house.

The Bolshevik Army on the march in Moscow

They live in great poverty, scrimping for food, lacking fuel to heat even their small part of the house. His beloved wife grows ill and dies and he is left alone with his daughter and grand-child. He bears his grave misfortunes with Christian fortitude.

When the war ends, Zhivago comes home. He is feted by his family and his wife cooks up the best of their carefully preserved rations for him. Ever solicitous for the comfort of others, Alexandr Alexandrovich asks "How was it?". "Excellent!" says Yury. "Say something to her, won't you?" says his father-in-law, ever anxious that his daughter's special efforts for her husband will be noticed and thanked by him.

The gentlemanly Alexandr Alexandrovich (right) is ever-solicitous for the welfare of his family

When they are able, they escape from Moscow to the Gromeko estate near Yuryatin beyond the Urals, miles away, so that they can hide from the Communists who are determined to slaughter Christian gentlefolk like them.

Gromeko and his family, having been used to comfort and wealth, are penniless and in mortal danger. They must queue and sleep on the platform at Moscow station and then take a filthy cattle truck full of starving peasants, brutalised prisoners, sick and even mad people, on the long, long journey to get to Yuryatin.

At Varykino, their estate has been impounded by the local Soviet and they must make do with a ruined cottage to house themselves.

A touching scene is enacted at Yuryatin station when they arrive. The new station master is the Gromekos' old servant, Petya. Upon seeing Gromeko he cries "Is it really you, Alexandr Alexandrovich?", who replies in fatherly tones, "Yes, it's me, Petya" and Petya runs to kiss his hand in the old way calling him "your Honour". "Now, now, Petya", he says, "That's all done with, you know" seeking to forestall any possible problems that might arise from the old pre-revolutionary and very Christian relationship of master and servant.

But the old retainer will not have it, so fondly does he remember his old master and so favourably does he compare the old Christian gentleman with the foul, new, Bolshevik masters who are burning, murdering and ripping up the whole country. He quickly takes up his former role as a servant of the family and drives them in the horse and carriage to Varykino and settles them into the cottage. It is almost like those old, happy times before the Revolution!

One day, Petya brings some supplies from Yuryatin but his master sees that his mind is saddened. "What is it, Petya?" he kindly asks and Petya gives him a newpaper he has managed to find.

The Tsar has been murdered, together with all his family.

Tsar Nicholas II and his family who were mercilessly murdered by the Boshevik Communists

"Oh, that's a savage deed!" groans the old man putting his hand to his eyes and then cries out in compassion "Oh, what's it for? What's it for?".

The old master and the old servant, both deeply Christian, share the same sadness for the destruction of the old world, the savage murder of innocents and the horror of the new world that has engulfed them all. They are both good, compassionate, Christian men.

Throughout, the family is penniless and scratch and scrimp just to live but the old man continues to do his best to dress as a gentleman ought, though everything he possesses is threadbare and worn and almost falling apart - his old grey Homburg hat, his tattered Inverness cape, his threadbare suit.

Yet through all the horror and penury, he even manages to keep his sense of humour and, when they are still in Moscow, he tells Yury, jokingly and with mock triumph, to watch as he smokes the last half of the last cigar in all of Moscow.

This good old man also greatly loves his daughter who is also a wonderfully good person.

Zhivago, too, loves his wife but, in the chaos of the times, he sees, again, Larissa Feodorovna Antipova in Yuryatin and falls in love with her. He later tries to break off from her, especially as Tonya is pregnant with their second child, but on his way home, lost in thought and heart-break, he is captured by Red partisans and forced to become their Army doctor.

Varykino beyond the Urals, in mid-winter

Tonya and her father have no idea what has happened to Yury. Disaster has struck. After this, in the film, we do not see them again.

We learn later that they went to Yuryatin in search of Zhivago and were led to the house of Lara Antipova after which they understand that part of the story, doubtless to their intense sadness. But the good Tonya leaves a touching letter for her husband hoping that he might one day be able to re-join them if he is still alive.

Later still, we learn that they returned to Moscow but that they were later exiled by the government as being hated bourgeois in touch with "White" or monarchist emigres. They are sent into exile and go to Paris, happy merely to have escaped being shot.

We also learn that they have been in touch with expatriate Russian monarchists with the aim of enlisting their aid to try to help get Yury out of Russia.

But it comes to nothing and they never see Yury again - as happened to so many Russian emigre families.

What sadness must have engulfed those unhappy families, so brutalised and buffeted by those evil times!

We can readily imagine how the old man will have done his best to comfort his beloved daughter and to help and protect his grand-children since he is now the nearest male relative able so to do.

Cheated of all his wealth and estates, ill-used by the Bolsheviks, deprived of his wife and then, later, his son-in-law, exiled with his daughter and grand-children to a foreign city and forced to make ends meet as best he can, this gallant old gentleman does his best to rise to the occasion, retaining his honour, his dignity, his faith and even his sense of humour, putting always before himself his daughter and grand-children whom he loves with all the love that a good man can muster.

This, I suggest, is an accurate portrait of what a truly good man is like.

God grant us all the grace to conduct and bear ourselves in the same way!



O ORIENS, splendor lucis aeternae et sol iustitiae: vei, et illumina sedentes in tenebris et umbra.

O Dayspring! Brightness of eternal Light and Sun of Justice: come and enlighten them that sit in darkness and in the shadow of death.

~~~~~ " ~~~~~

This is the 5th of the 7 great "O" Antiphons of Advent that are sung at Vespers up until Christmas Eve.

These are beautiful prayers that tell of the coming of our God in the flesh using the words of the Old Testament that predict the coming of the Messias.

There are 7 of them. 7 is a sacred number - 7 days of the week, 7 Sacraments, 7 deadly sins and contrary virtues, 7 ages of man, 7 ranks of Holy Orders (Priest, Deacon, Subdeacon, Acolyte, Lector, Exorcist and Porter), 7 ranks of the Christian nobility, 7 diurnal hours of the Divine Office (Lauds, Prime, Terce, Sext, None, Vespers and Compline - Matins being the Night Office) and so on. 7 is the Biblical number of perfection whereas 6 is the number of sin.

The 7 "O" Antiphons are a most wonderful and ancient way to usher the Christian people into the Holy Presence that comes to us in the depth of the night on Christmas Eve as a tiny babe.

What a glorious way for God to come into the world - a tiny baby in a stable-cave, with his holy parents and surrounded by animals and simple, adoring shepherds!

Who but God could think of such a marvellously beautiful way to come down from on high to visit His people!

Anton Raphael Mengs. The Adoration of the Shepherds.

NOLITE timere: quinta enim die veniet ad vos Dominus noster!

FEAR not: on the fifth day our Lord shall come to you!

[Antiphon of 21 December, 5 days before Christmas]


Tuesday, 18 December 2007

The Sodality of our Lady: new commentary

I have been asked to let readers know about a new publication and do so now.

It is called "True Source of the Sodality Spirit", by Fr. Hugo Rahner, S.J. (the Catholic brother of the heterodox Fr Karl Rahner SJ).

It is available at:

First, it is a commentary upon - and contains as an appendix - the "lost" Apostolic Constitution of Pius XII, Bis Saeculari Die, issued in 1948.

Second, it is a commentary upon the Ignatian Exercises, giving a precis for the laity of how to follow an Ignatian form of spirituality.

Third, it is an insight into a most traditional devout Catholic Association, the Sodality of Our Lady, which numbers among its members 70 Saints, 4 Doctors of the Church (St. Peter Canisius, St. Robert Bellarmine, St. Alphonsus de Ligouri, and St. Thérèse of Lisieux), as well as nearly two dozen Popes (most recently Blessed Pius IX, Leo XIII, Benedict XV, Pius XI, Pius XII, Blessed John XXIII, Paul VI, and John Paul II).

The Emperors Ferdinand III and Leopold I were both Sodalists.

Visit the website at:

I may add that it was a devotion long associated with the Jesuits and was a great devotion among real Catholics in Ireland!


St Ignatius de Loyola, founder of the Company of Jesus (later Society of Jesus)

Friday, 14 December 2007

Letter to Thomas at Advent: beware the compromisers and false optimists

I reproduce below a letter to a friend who has plainly been influenced by a new and wholly fatuous statistical argument that is fast becoming the shibboleth of those who continue to dismiss the traditional Roman rite out of ignorance and weak-minded prejudice.

I hope it may, perhaps, help others to counter this latest propaganda of the pusillanimous.

The name is changed to preserve anonymity.

St Thomas the Doubter would not believe until he had physical proof.

Dear Thomas,

There is a species of fraudulent optimism that can become dishonest and so a sin. Take care you do not fall into it. Telling your brothers that all is well when it simply is not is unjust, uncharitable and untruthful. Take care not to make that mistake.

We must be optimistic, indeed, but we must also be truthful. False optimism is not true optimism. It is, like all lies, a sin.

You say you have a PP who is "very orthodox". The fact that you have a PP who is orthodox does not make those others, who are not, any the better. And there is no such thing as "very" orthodox. One is either orthodox or one is not.

You quote Fr Werenfreid van Straaten as saying that "Bishops are better than you think". I knew Fr Werenfried for many years and I never heard him ever say such a thing. He knew better!

You say (as is now the new mantra of those who still want to dismiss the old rite) that the number attending the traditional Roman rite is less than 1% of the total number attending mass in the Western Latin rite (actually I doubt that figure).

To view the traditional mass from a purely statistical perspective bespeaks not only a lack of faith but also a lack of reason. Beware of it!

Those who are so concerned with statistics always fail to mention the most dramatic and obvious statistic of all - the statistically MASSIVE decline in the numbers attending mass and the sacraments since the introduction of the new rite.

Take care not simply to ignore that yourself.

In the 50s and early 60s the Church was growing in leaps and bounds and mass attendance was simply enormous. Within a decade of the new rite this had been utterly shattered and mass attendance is now tiny by comparison.

There has been a massive haemorrhage of souls from the Church - souls whose very salvation has thereby become threatened. And the very pastors, whose job it is to care for and cure such souls, are all too often the least concerned about this terrible disaster. They even have the shameless mendacity to call this "Renewal"!

What bigger lie could there be than that?

THAT is the statistic that the fraudulent and dissembling optimists dishonestly ignore!

If one wants to play the statistics game then the fake optimists lose hands down. Where did all those massive numbers of mass-attending Catholics go after the new rite came in?

Then, even worse, these very same false "optimists" show themselves so narrow-minded and inward-looking that they can only look at that tiny number of people currently attending church these days, rather than looking out to a world that is in dire need of Christ and the sacraments. How many of them are going to be attracted to the silly, liturgical nonsense that goes on in the average Catholic parish these days? Why did so many leave in the first place? And how many are going to come back or be attracted by the very thing that drove so many away in the first place?

Wake up to reality!

The Catholic Church is not just a little club for those folk who currently call themselves Catholic and who want to re-fashion the liturgy so as to suit their own lazy, selfish, corrupt and worldly tastes.

This is to treat the Church as if it were a little plaything of our own to be re-fashioned to suit ourselves rather than to be the instrument of God and his sacred plan for mankind. That is not zeal, still less love. It is the capital sins of Sloth and Pride. It comes straight from Satan.

It is typical of the slothful, uncaring and anti-missionary attitude of so many modern Catholics that they are more concerned to have a liturgy that suits their own lukewarmness instead of one that suits God and His missionary desire to preach to the world and save all souls.

It is frankly sickening in its sinful self-indulgence and pure selfishness. Such people are already on the road to Hell, God help and rescue them. It is our solemn duty to warn and admonish them and to pray for their conversion back to love and zeal for the Faith and away from the lukewarmness that threatens their very salvation.

The question is not how many people currently attend the traditional mass. There is only one question that needs to be asked and you ought to know this without me telling you.

It is this: "What does God want?".

That is the question to be asked. If we find out the answer and then do it we shall soon enough have numbers in abundance, indeed "pressed down and running over" as Scripture puts it.

Look at churches like the Brompton Oratory in London. At the Christmas midnight mass it is so filled with people that after a certain hour it is impossible to get into this huge Church, so packed is it. Why is this? Because it has retained so much of the traditional rites over these last 40 years of darkness and aridity. Soon, it will be reverting fully to the traditional rites and think, then, how many more will be attracted back to God thereby.

In times past, many men and women were converted to the Faith simply by experiencing its ancient liturgy, especially the ancient Roman rite. Who now is converted to Catholicism by the insipid liturgical fare that so many parishes favour?

Are we getting large numbers at mass in the new rite? Well? Are we? You know the answer. Of course, we are not. The new liturgy has decimated a once populous and vibrant Church. Now the story is all about decline, closing churches, closing schools, closing parishes. It is all closing, closing, closing. It's a big closing down sale!

And what is the response? Fatuous, false optimism and half-baked compromise! In short, sloth, lukewarmness and the very Devil himself!

Such is the modern approach of so many. Beware of it. It is a dangerous trap for the unwary and catches many in its snares.

Of the entire numbers in the Church, only a tiny minority are martyrs or canonised saints. Does that mean we need not bother about striving to be like canonised saints because they are less than 1% of the entire Church? St Thomas says that only a minority gets to Heaven. I hope he is wrong but, if not, then on a purely statistical analysis we should cater for Hell over Heaven! Scripture is replete with tales of the falling away of the majority and of the faith of a remnant keeping alive the fullness of faith for better times. Shall we simply ignore the obvious lesson there?

Only 2 of the Apostles remained with Christ upon the Cross - far, far less than 1% of the Jews who should have been faithful to Him. Should we look to the faithless majority or the tiny, faithful minority as our example? Need I even ask this question? Do I really need to remind you that this tiny minority are now considered, together with St Joseph and St John the Baptist, the very greatest of all the saints in the Church, i.e. our Lady and St John?

What percentage of the Christian people do they make up, pray? A tiny, minute fraction of far less than 1% of the total!

And what happened to the rest, the majority, including his closest followers, the Apostles and disciples?

They ran away.

The first "collegiate act" of the College of Apostles and bishops was to run away!

And what of the vast majority who formed the remainder of the flock - the people chosen by God Himself to be the harbingers of the Messias? What happened to this huge majority?

They, too, ran away or were indifferent. Worse - many of them were actively responsible for crucifying Him. This was where the statistical majority lay!

Catholic truth and practice is not a numbers game. It is about discovering the will of God and doing it.

I will not here rehearse again all the arguments which overwhelmingly favour the traditional mass but if you have forgotten them already (so soon!) then, of course, I shall give you them all over again, if you like.

But for the present let me just say this: what cannot be denied is that the Novus Ordo is a break with tradition and breaking with tradition is simply wrong for a Catholic. This does not mean that the new mass is invalid, or even illicit, but it does mean that it is vastly inferior. And God should not be worshipped with anything less than the best.

Even in Latin the Collects of the new mass are ambiguous and, I have no doubt, that is how Bugnini, and his committee of compromisers, intended them to be. The new rite is a liturgy got up by a committee not confected over time by the Holy Spirit. It represents a preference for, and compromise with, the traditions of men over the traditions of God, in short, the very thing that Scripture warns us to avoid.

The traditional Roman rite has a continuous tradition back to the original Ordo Romanus of the earliest times. The Novus Ordo is literally that - novus - a novelty. It is a confection of men, patching and splicing the traditions of the past. It is but 40 years old. The traditional rite is, in essentials, nearly 2,000 years old. Every reform of the Roman rite from St Gregory the Great, to St Gelasius, to St Pius V and after, until that of Paul VI, has been a restoration to the original stem and the paring away of novelties.

The Novus Ordo had done the very opposite: it has introduced novelties and not around the edges where they might be acceptable but at the very heart and centre of the rite! Look at the scandalous way in which Bugnini dared to interfere with the very words of consecration. Ironically and fittingly, he removed the very words "Mysterium Fidei" - in short, he removed the "mystery of Faith" from the heart of the rite. It is a fitting commentary upon his demolition of the ancient Roman rite.

But the crowning abomination and shame has been the appalling mistranslation into "English" by ICEL of the Novus Ordo. It is nothing short of a shameful betrayal and disgrace. It has over 350 mistranslations and is a pastiche of the already weakened Latin Novus Ordo.

Yet this absurd pastiche is what the average Catholic now gets in his Parish church! This is what "nourishes" the faith of the average Catholic. No wonder so few know their faith and so many have simply left! Is it really surprising?

And then, to add insult to injury, a whole range of other innovations have been introduced! Facing the people, women altar servers, communion in the hand, are but some of the more common.

Clown "masses"

There are wildly eccentric and bizarre innovations beyond the worst nightmares of the Fathers of Vatican II that have grown up and festered in the corrupt and corrupting years that we have witnessed since Vatican II: clown masses, "liturgical" dancing, Yogi bear masses, "Gay" masses, replacing of the cross with the statue of Buddha, revolutionary masses with "Molotov cocktails" and bullets being brought up to the altar in place of the elements. Any and every abuse that a distorted and perverted human mind can devise has been essayed over these last 40 years of chaos - and they are still happening!

And yet this is called "Renewal"!

Was there ever a bigger lie?

It is a lie so great that it can only have come from the very Father of lies, himself. And yet so many weak-minded and pusillanimous Catholics are taken in by it!

Women "priest" liturgy and pretended "Ordination"

If we had an ounce of zeal and love in our lukewarm souls we should be crying out at such abuses and resolutely refusing to have anything to do with them. Such is what faithful Catholics did during the days of the Arian heresy. The orthodox would not even touch a football that had been touched by an Arian priest, Newman tells us.

How pathetically weak and lukewarm are we by comparison! What spineless cowards we are that we cannot even begin to follow the example of the saints of times past!

Instead we settle for lies, distortions, compromises, corruptions, abuses and half-truths - ever the resort of the slothful and the pusillanimous.

No - it will not do. It is a betrayal of the Faith and a betrayal of God.

God does not compromise our freedom. If we wish to ruin and shatter the beautiful, towering glory that He has built us in the Roman rite then He will let us do so. But He will also let us pay the price. He invited us to come back but He will not force us. We must do so willingly, even if it is to be in the face of great odds and hardships. The good is often gained at a price - but it is a price we must pay.

Now God has, through the Holy Father, once again given us a wider access to the riches of his incomparable Roman rite, the most ancient rite in the Church.

Will we make use of what He has given us?

You say that the traditional rite has been spared from some of the excesses of the new rite by the very fact of its having been (illegally) banned. Yes, you are right that God has thus preserved His treasure and has done so by allowing it to be hidden and illegally suppressed but kept as the carefully-guarded treasure of those few who still truly love God enough to value so supreme a divine gift to us.

But in so admitting that His beautiful gift would, if it had not been illegally suppressed, have been trashed by the ungrateful iconoclasts of the post-Vatican II period, you admit the whole of my case. You admit, in short, that these last 40 years have been dominated by destroyers and not builders, by enemies of Catholic truth and practice and not by the friends of God.

Moreover, this could only have happened with the permission of the very bishops whom you seek to exculpate from any blame.

Well, then?

Draw the obvious conclusion.

We must shun such destroyers. We must return to the Traditions of God and leave the traditions of men which cannot last.

Then we shall not only be worshipping God as He wishes to be worshipped (and how else should we worship Him?) but we shall also be reaching out to the churchless, faithless millions who will only be attracted to the Church and to the Faith by those who are fully loyal to the traditions of the Gospel and to the Holy and Ancient Traditions of God.

Take a lesson from the Eastern Church. Would they ever have considered such a wholesale abandonment of their liturgical traditions as has happened in the West? Never! Men and women were prepared to die in the East over no more than the manner of crossing themselves!

How pathetically weak are we by comparison!

And with what shameful, disgraceful Pride do we go about congratulating ourselves for our clever compromises and "forward thinking"!

Away with such trash. It is the refuge of the spineless, the cowardly and the unholy.

Turn, instead, to the ancient and hallowed traditions of the Church - hallowed by time and the sure judgment of the Holy Spirit.

Anyone who does so - and most, alas, do not - will discover an astonishing liturgical treasure trove that is second to none and which is the warmest balm for the sorriest and most lukewarm of souls.

The problem is that so few of our proud, arrogant, conceited and pusillanimous modern Catholics are even willing to taste and see the goodness of the Lord. They attend a couple of silent Low Masses and think nothing of them. They never darken the door of a Church to hear and taste the intense, spiritual riches of the Missa Cantata or, still less, the Solemn High Mass of the Roman rite which is meant to be the norm in the traditional Roman rite.

Even less do they experience the whole liturgical year of the Roman rite, that "Liturgical Year" of which the founder of the so-soon-to-be-hi-jacked Liturgical Movement, Dom Prosper Gueranger, so lovingly wrote.

And yet they have the effrontery and damnable Pride to attack and abuse this rite, a rite about which they care little and know even less!

They speak with their tongues about the praise and love of God but in their actions, in suppressing the traditional rite and in trivialising the new rite with the toy baubles of shallow modernity, they show themselves in their true light. It is rank, hypocritical, Pharisaism. It shall not go unpunished in the life to come.

What kind of supposed lover of God prefers childish pantomime ditties like "Colours of Day" or "If I was a fuzzy-wuzzy bear" to the timeless beauty of Veni Creator Spiritus, Rorate Caeli, Crux Fidelis, Pange Lingua, Vexilla Regis, Te Deum and the host of other divine poetry and song that so great a God has so lovingly provided for us through the pen and words of the very saints and Doctors of the Church?

Need I even ask?

And yet such people include all too many of our bishops - the successors of the Apostles who should be first among us in the love of God and the preservation of His gifts and treasures to us!

No, Thomas, it will not do.

This is not about mere rubrics but about the ancient traditions of the Faith, handed on from the Apostles and from generation to generation, hallowed by time and the Holy Spirit, and smashed to pieces in a few short years by the hand of Archbishop Bugnini, the architect of the new liturgy and a man who, by his own admission, was sacked by Paul VI for being a Freemason.

Do we praise God with the pastiche creation of this disgraced prelate or with the creation of the centuries, arising from the Jewish Temple worship, nourished and developed by the hand of saintly Apostles, popes and Doctors and hallowed by the Holy Spirit Himself?

Need I even ask?

You must make up your mind to close your ears to the siren voices of compromise and lukewarmness. Get off the fence before the iron begins to enter and weaken your soul.

Remember our Lady and St John, the remnant of the Faith in its darkest hour when Christ was upon the Cross. Count not the numbers and statistics of the vast majority that did not feel the courage to go with them. Stand, instead, at the foot of the Cross with the Holy Ones of God. Then, with them, you shall be able to enjoy to the full the glory of the Resurrection when it comes.

Cast aside the lies of the compromisers and the pusillanimous Pharisees. Embrace the truth. Taste and see the goodness of the Lord. Do not be like the liars, the compromisers and the worldly, who refuse to taste and see and instead prefer to attack, insult and abuse that which they have not even yet tasted.

They have allowed themselves to be guided not by the God of truth but rather by the Father of lies. Do not be persuaded by mere statistics. The majority take the wide path that leads to destruction, Scripture tells us. And the majority are statistically more significant than the minority who follow the narrow path that leads to life. Who then shall we follow: the statistically significant who go down the wide path or the statistically insignificant who do not?

He who embraces truth will be persecuted but, in the end, he will triumph with the Master Whose path he shall then be following.

We must embrace the Cross, not statistics.

May God guide you so to do. Nothing less will do.

The timeless traditional Roman rite of the Mass


Tuesday, 11 December 2007

SPEM IN ALIUM: Hope in any other have I never had, save in Thee, O God of Israel!

Thomas Tallis, English Catholic composer

SPEM IN ALIUM numquam habui praeter in te Deus Israel qui irasceris et propitius eris et omnia peccata hominum in tribulatione dimittis.

Domine Deus Creator coeli et terra respice humilitatem nostram.

HOPE IN ANY OTHER have I never had, save in Thee, O God of Israel, Thee who will be angry and yet become again gracious and who forgiveth all the sins of suffering man.

Lord God, Creator of Heaven and Earth, look upon our lowliness.

Adapted from the Book of Judith for the Sarum rite

Tallis took these marvellous words for his motet from the Sarum rite, the old use of the Roman rite that was the most common among the English, taking its name from Old Sarum, the old Latin name for Salisbury in Wiltshire.

The words are adapted from the prayer of Judith, in the Book of Judith, when she prayed to the God of Israel.

This was Judith who saved her people from destruction by insinuating her way into the enemy camp and to the tent of their leader, Holofernes, who, taken by her beauty, let her in where she encouraged him to drink too much. When he had fallen asleep, Judith cut off his head and took it in a bag out of the camp and back to the camp of Israel and shewed it to the Princes of Israel who marvelled at her courage and tenacity.

Judith and her maidservant escape with the head of Holofernes from the Assyrian camp

The head of Holofernes was displayed on the walls of the camp and in the morning, when the Assyrians awoke to find their king dead and wailed in terror, the Israelite army fell upon them and defeated them, saving Israel from destruction.

The prayer of Judith was sung ever after in memory of her valour and courage. Although the tale is rather gruesome the sentiments of her prayer are timeless and sublime.

These marvellous words were turned into equally sublime music by that most remarkable of English Catholic composers, Thomas Tallis, when he wrote his homophonic piece Spem in Alium, which requires no less than 40 voices to sing all of its intricately interwoven 40 parts.

Hear this most extraordinarily beautiful and piercing piece of Rennaissance choral music here on Youtube:

There! Is it not an amazing piece of music? It could have been written by the very Angels themselves.

Friends of Eoghain Murphy in London were fortunate enough to be invited, for his 40th birthday on Friday last, to a "Salve" at St James' Church, Spanish Place, in St Marylebone, London, to hear this most marvellous piece of music sung by a full 40-part schola.

Thereafter we repaired to the Oriental Club for a reception in the main gallery to celebrate his birthday.

True to form, Eoghain attended splendidly attired in mauve, crushed velvet smoking jacket and Edwardian smoking cap with golden tassle!

For style, for colour, for amusement, for enjoyment and for fun - be a Catholic.

All this - and the fullness of truth, too!

Accept no substitutes!


Drop down the dew, ye heavens, from above and let the clouds rain down the Just One!

The Annunciation

Rorate caeli desuper et nubes pluant iustum. Aperiatur terra et germinet Salvatorem.

Drop down the dew, ye heavens, from above, and let the clouds rain down the Just One: let the earth be opened, and bud forth a Saviour.

Isaias 45:8

This versicle appears throughout the Offices for Advent and is yet another example of how much more Scriptural the old Roman rite of the Catholic Church is compared with the new rite of Paul VI in which, sadly, it is almost never sung. Most modern Catholics do not even know that this most beautiful Advent antiphon even exists.

The full hymn is sung thus:

Rorate caeli desuper et nubes pluant iustum.

Ne irascaris Domine, ne ultra memineris iniquitatis: ecce civitas Sancti facta est deserta, Sion deserta facta est: Ierusalem desolata est: domus sanctificationis tuac et gloriae tuae, ubi laudaverunt te patres nostri.

Rorate caeli desuper, et nubes pluant iustum.

Peccavimus, et facti sumus tamquam immundus nos, et cecidimus quasi folium universi; et iniquitates nostrae quasi ventus abstulerunt nos: abscondisti faciem tuam a nobis, et allisisti nos in manu iniquitatis nostrae.

Rorate caeli desuper, et nubes pluant iustum.

Vide, Domini, afflictionem populi tui, et mitte quem missurus es, emitte Agnum dominatorem terrae, de Petra deserti montem filiae Sion: ut auferat ipse iugum captivatis nostrae.

Rorate caeli desuper, et nubes pluant iustum.

Consolamini, consolamini, popule meus: cito veniet salus tua:. quare moerore consumeris, quia innovavit te dolor? Salvabo te, noli timere: ego enim sum Dominus Deus, tuus, Sanctus Israel, Redemptor tuus.

Rorate caeli desuper, et nubes pluant iustum.

Drop down the dew, ye heavens, from above and let the clouds rain down the Just One!

Be not angry, O Lord, and remember no longer our iniquity : behold the city of Thy sanctuary is become a desert, Sion is made a desert. Jerusalem is desolate, the house of our holiness and of Thy glory, where our fathers praised Thee.

Drop down the dew, ye heavens, from above and let the clouds rain down the Just One!

We have sinned, and we are become as one unclean, and we have all fallen as a leaf; and our iniquities, like the wind, have taken us away; Thou hast hid thy face from us, and hast crushed us by the hand of our iniquity.

Drop down the dew, ye heavens, from above and let the clouds rain down the Just One!

See, O Lord, the affliction of Thy people, and send Him whom Thou hast promised to send. Send forth the Lamb, the Ruler of the earth, from the rock of the desert to the mount of the daughter of Sion, that He Himself may take off the yoke of our captivity.

Drop down the dew, ye heavens, from above and let the clouds rain down the Just One!

Be comforted, be comforted, my people; thy salvation shall speedily come. Why wilt thou waste away in sadness? Why hath sorrow seized thee? I will save thee; fear not: for I am the Lord thy God, the Holy One of Israel, thy Redeemer.

Drop down the dew, ye heavens, from above and let the clouds rain down the Just One!

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ " ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

With this extraordinarily beautiful hymn the prayer of the Church during Advent is lifted up to the heavens in song.

Henry Tanner. The Annunciation. 1898


Well, that was a surprise, eh?

Not much response to my post on Ireland. Not surprising, I suppose. It will come as news to some.

Yes, it's true. Sinn Fein/IRA are not, repeat not, a Catholic organisation, nor even an organisation for Catholics.

But consider, now. Did you really ever think that a gang of terrorist murderers could be?


Well, then.

And yet there are still many out there who put money in the tin when it is passed round. And in Boston, until recently, the collectors even said things like "put in ten dollars and kill a British soldier".

Whatever happened to turning the other cheek, to forgiveness, to brotherliness, to meekness, and above all to love? Yes, my friends, where is Holy Charity in all this?

It all became shrivelled up in hatred, violence and a thirst for vengeance. How horrifying that once Christian men should fall into such vileness and infamy.

Could anyone really think that this has anything to do with Catholicism or Christianity? No, of course not.

We ought openly to admit that it comes straight from the very belly of hellfire.

The real leader of the IRA


Saturday, 1 December 2007

The tale of Erin (part two), the men of blood take over

It is grievous to see Ireland having escaped one form of tyranny - that of the Protestant Ascendancy - so soon delivered into the hands of another, even more deadly tyranny - that of the Republican terrorists.

Modern Sinn Fein/IRA is an avowedly Marxian-socialist organisation that supports liberal abortion, divorce and radical Feminism. Bairbre de Brun, Sinn Fein Minister in NI, signed into law the statutory instrument that legalised the “morning after” abortion pill which southern Irishmen rejected in the abortion referendum.

Republican extremism would not be an issue in Ireland had it not been for the fact that they bombed their way to the negotiating table. That such violent extremists had never found favour with most Irish people is a matter of historical fact.

The 1916 rebels, after arrest, were taken through the streets of Dublin where they were loudly booed and cursed by the Dubliners as traitors and terrorists. They were roundly condemned by the people of Dublin and Ireland whose sons were fighting on the Western front in France.

The streets of Dublin after the 1916 rebellion

Even after they were judicially murdered by a so-called “liberal” PM (David Lloyd-George) there was still never a majority for separation from Britain and still less for a republic. At its height, Sinn Fein never got an absolute majority of votes in Ireland and its popularity quickly dissipated. Notoriously de Valera left them to found Fianna Fail because they were too extreme and violent even for him.

Lord Edward Fitzgerald, the Protestant-born secular revolutionary, is captured

"Lord Edward and Wolfe Tone", the first United Irishmen, were both Protestants as were almost all the United Irishmen who started the rebellion of 1798 and began the modern Irish nationalist movement. The United Irishmen was originally an Ulster Protestant movement, not a Catholic one, but few nowadays know this.

The movement was inspired by the French Revolution, a revolution that slaughtered Catholics in vast numbers, banned religion, and proclaimed atheistic “rationalism” the new “religion” of the French State.

Many British and Irish Protestants were drawn to its false cry of liberty, equality and fraternity as well as its anti-Catholicism. These are the roots of the Irish republican nationalist campaign.

Later movements like Sinn Fein, the Fenians and the IRB were all avowedly secularist and revolutionary. They were all roundly and repeatedly condemned by the Catholic Church and their leaders excommunicated both by the Irish bishops and by Rome and, finally, in January 1870, by order of Blessed Pope Pius IX himself.

Bishop Moriarty of Kerry famously said “Hell is not hot enough nor long enough for the leaders of the Fenians”.

No-one who bothers to check the record can be in any doubt whatever: the Church roundly, consistently and very strongly condemned the Fenians, the IRB and the Republican separatists as men of violence and terror and as secret societies.

Throughout the 19th century, no-one but these condemned extremists sought separation from Britain, still less an Irish republic.

Constitutionalists like Dan O’Connell sought only repeal of the Act of Union which had abolished the Irish Parliament and “united” it with the Westminster Parliament. The “Repeal of the Union” movement meant this and not, as so many today stupidly think, complete withdrawal from the UK and the foundation of a republic.

The Act of Union dissolved the Irish Parliament in 1801 because, it being a Protestant Ascendancy parliament, so many men thought it oppressive and unrepresentative of the Catholic majority.

"The Liberator": Daniel O'Connell, Catholic lawyer and bringer of liberty to the Catholics of Ireland and the British Empire

Daniel O’Connell and the constitutionalists were highly successful in their peaceful campaigns and achieved Catholic emancipation for the entire British Empire. Thereafter, Irish Catholics slowly began to be elected to Westminster and, in due course, an Irish Parliamentary Party was formed which had as many as 80 members of Parliament and held the balance of power.

Dan O’Connell remained, his whole life, a monarchist and was an admirer of Queen Victoria. But he was also an Irish patriot and a skilful campaigner for the cause of Irish freedom.

The constitutionalists came very close to achieving the repeal of the Act of Union and Home Rule and succeeded in persuading the British Prime Minister, William Ewart Gladstone, of the rightness of their cause.

However, they were opposed and severely hampered by the hot-headed revolutionaries and advocates of violence in the “Young Ireland” movement which based itself upon the anti-Catholic “Young Italy” movement of Mazzini, Garibaldi and other Pope-haters who set up a republic in Rome and eventually annexed all the Papal States from the Pope and tried to capture, imprison and even kill him.

Fortunately the Pope escaped to Gaeta in 1847. He was not so fortunate in 1870 and was imprisoned by the later Italian revolutionaries.

The hot-headed revolutionaries in Ireland were equally violent.

Ironically, the British government (especially under Gladstone) supported the Italian revolutionaries upon whom Young Ireland based itself. Like the Americans, the British government, in those days, had a nasty habit of supporting revolutions in Catholic countires whilst viciously suppressing even legitimate dissent within its own realms.

This, however, only served to confuse the issue in Ireland and allowed the secularist revolutionaries to pose as defenders of the Irish Catholic people, all the while that they were actually deeply anti-Catholic. It was a most diabolical deception, well worthy of the Prince of Darkness and Father of Lies himself.

The republican hot-heads staged further abortive uprisings in Ireland which completely pulled the rug out from under the constitutionalists and stymied the prospect of Home Rule.

The farcical attack on the police at widow McCormack's cabbage patch

Every murder or rebellion by the hot-heads lost the sympathy of the general public and set back the cause of Home Rule.

These ridiculous "revolutions" were largely farcical in their aims and execution, involved only small numbers of people, achieved nothing of any good and did a great deal of damage to the cause of Irish Home Rule.

The most ludicrous example was perhaps the "battle" of "Widow McCormack's cabbage patch" in which hot-heads bottled up a squad of police in the home of widow McCormack. After several abortive attempts by the revolutionaries to break in and capture the house, police re-inforcements arrived and arrested all the rebels.

More serious were the Phoenix Park murders.

This refers to the assassination in 1882 of the second and third persons in rank in the British Dublin Castle government of Ireland by the "Irish National Invincibles”, a secret society of republican extremists.

On 6 May 1882, the most senior Irish civil servant, the Permanent Under-Secretary, Thomas Henry Burke and the newly appointed Chief Secretary for Ireland, Lord Frederick Cavendish – who was also the nephew of Prime Minister William Gladstone – were stabbed as they walked though Phoenix Park in Dublin en route to the Viceregal Lodge, the vacation residence of the Lord Lieutenant of Ireland. Cavendish had only arrived in Ireland the very day he was murdered.

Charles Stuart Parnell (another Irish Protestant nationalist but with a penchant for other men’s wives) who had founded the Irish Parliamentary Party (IPP) sought to distance himself and his PArty from the murder.

Parnell was a very extraordinary and unusual man who came from the Church of Ireland (Anglican) gentry but later, it is said, secretly took the IRB (Fenian) oath. While, it is said, nevertheless preferring the Tories to the Liberals he was, at the same time, highly regarded by the Liberal Prime Minister, Gladstone who thought him one of the most extraordinary men he had ever met.

Charles Parnell MP, the "uncrowned King of Ireland", a nationalist from the Anglican gentry who joined the Fenian IRB, some say, and yet preferred the Tories to the Liberals whilst being a friend of Liberal PM Gladstone, was a curious mixture of contraries

However, Parnell's policy of allying his party to Gladstone's Liberal Party to enable Home Rule was also ultimately defeated by the murders. Gladstone's Minister Lord Hartington was the elder brother of Lord Frederick Cavendish. Saddened and infuriated by the manner of his brother's early death, Hartington split with Gladstone on Home Rule in 1886 and 1893 and led the breakaway Liberal Unionist Association which allied itself to Lord Salisbury's Conservative governments. This delayed Home Rule by 28 years, until the Third Irish Home Rule Bill which was passed technically in 1914, but which was never effected.

All the assassins were eventually captured, and five were hanged.

Eventually, after the fall of Parnell becuase of his divorce and marriage to his mistress, Kitty O'Shea, the constitutionalists began to make the running and under John Redmond and John Dillon, both Catholics and IPP MPs, the cause of Home Rule advanced rapidly by purely constitutional means. It was eventually achieved by the Home Rule Bill of 1914 but unfortunately the World War intervened.

The war was used by the new generation of violent revolutionaries as a cover for revolution (just as the Russian Bolshevik revolutionaries had done).

Some of the 1916 rebels had begun as monarchists (Plunkett wanted Josef von Hohenzollern, a German Catholic duke, to be king of Ireland) and some, like Connelly, were Marxian-Socialists. All soon agreed to be republican separatists.

The judicial murder of the rebels by the British Liberal government, and the bloody deeds of the "Black and Tans" and Auxiliaries, converted too many Irishmen into reluctant support for the revolutionaries.

The hot-heads had won and the hard-working, long-suffering constitutionalists lost, and many of them had died, or lost sons, fighting in the Great War, a fact which has been totally and shamefully forgotten by successive Irish governments, so that these brave men now have no memorial. They unquestionably died for Ireland, as much as any, believing, as did Redmond, that the Home Rule Act would be honoured after the War was over.

John Redmond MP, leader of the Irish Parliamentry Party in the House of Commons - a peace-loving constitutionalist who obtained Home Rule for Ireland in 1914

Few know that there were more Catholic Irishmen from the South fighting in the British Army in BOTH world wars than ever there were Orangemen from the North. And anyone could join the Irish Divisions but to join the Ulster Division, disgracefully, one had to sign the anti-Catholic Solemn League and Covenant.

After the war, Michael Collins began his campaign to de-stabilise Ireland and he did this by organising the murder, almost exclusively, of “Castle Catholics” - those who had some connection with the British administration. His evil “Squad” did not hesitate to shoot men coming out of Mass, and even in the confessional on one memorable occasion, save that the pistol jammed and so no-one was hurt.

His campaign worked all too well. The British government panicked and sent in the Tans. In many cases, houses left standing by the Tans were burned down by the IRA and vice-versa.

Michael Collins, Sinn Fein rebel and terrorist who organised the "Squad" to assassinate Catholics who did not support terrorism. Later the Free State leader, he was himself assassinated by his former comrades in terror, with the connivance of Eamonn de Valera

Collins then agreed to the Treaty forming an Irish Free State but Eamonn de Valera rejected it and boycotted the clandestine Dail (Irish Parliament). The Free State was declared and then another war broke out between pro- and anti- Treaty supporters, a bloody civil war. Many more Irishmen were killed in the civil war than in the war with the British.

At Partition (the main bone of contention in the Treaty) the Royal Irish Constabulary (RIC) was broken up and many RIC men headed for Ulster knowing that they could expect little mercy from the IRA after partition.

80% of the RIC had been Catholic, not Protestant.

After the Treaty men won (but with Collins dead, thanks to de Valera’s connivance some say) Sinn Fein/IRA began a campaign to de-stabilise the new Free State government. The Free State government cracked down on the IRA but the IRA responded by assassinating Kevin O’Higgins, the Justice Minister.

Over 100 IRA men were executed by the new Free State government for acts of terrorism against the government and 10,000 were interned - far more than ever the Brits interned or would even have thought of interning. This is another little known fact.

The IRA responded by reverting to a bombing campaign on the mainland of Britain and they succeeded in assassinating the British Chief of the Imperial General Staff, Field Marshal Sir Henry Wilson, in his own home.

Eoin O'Duffy, Sinn Fein rebel and later leader of the Fascist Blue Shirts

Former Sinn Feiner and IRA rebel, Eoin O’Duffy founded the new Free State police, the Garda Siochana and then helped to found Fine Gael. He later went off to Spain with the Irish Fascist “Blueshirts” to fight for General Franco.

De Valera abandoned Sinn Fein realising their extremism was a liability and founded Fianna Fail. He came to power with that new party and seized the opportunity presented by the abdication crisis in 1936 to remove all references to the monarchy save in external affairs. He did not dare put the matter to a referendum because he knew he would not win it.

Eamonn de Valera, rebel and terrorist assassin, about to be put safely under lock and key

De Valera never actually declared the Republic.

It was Costello, the Fine Gael Teaosaich, who did that, in 1948. He did it unilaterally and without consultation (still less any referendum). The immediate cause was his pique at the undiplomatic and rather offensive comments made by some Canadian Empire loyalists when Costello was visiting Canada.

The IRA did not stop its campaign of violence, however, and attacks were made upon British bases in the North even during the 1950s. Sean South was one such hot-head and he succeeded only in getting himself killed.

The troubles broke out again in the late 1960s when the more bone-headed of Orangemen stepped up their on-going low-level persecution of the Catholic minority. The British Army were called in not to harass the Catholic minority but rather to protect them from the Orange extremists.

The IRA seized upon this with glee to re-start a whole campaign of violence, dishonestly pretending that the British Army had been called in purely to assist the Orangemen to persecute Catholics.

And we know the rest.

But not many people know how many innocent Irishmen, Catholic and Protestant, have been killed by Sinn Fein/IRA, now a para-Marxist organisation.

IRA bombs have claimed the lives of innocent children, many of them Catholic. Who can forget the innocent old lady standing at the bus stop in London when the IRA's Chelsea barracks nail bomb went off and a 6″ nail was lodged in her heart? Or the aftermath of the Enniskillen bomb?

Aftermath of the Enniskillen bomb

Sinn Fein/IRA also took to racketeering on a grand scale in the North and South and not long ago were responsible for a £23.5 million pound bank robbery.

And it is known that Gerry Adams and Martin McGuinness have long been members of the IRA Army Council and have both, especially McGuinness, been personally responsible for murders.

Not nice people to do business with.

But neither are the Orange para-militaries.

These people are, however, only a tiny minority. Unfortunately, they are powerful because they have guns and bombs.

So it is essential that all the guns and bombs get taken away.

To be fair to David Trimble of the Ulster Unionist Party, he was the first politician willing to shift and try to reach a peaceful settlement. So were SDLP leaders like John Hume and Seamus Mallon. But Blair so mishandled the whole business that divisions widened again and the DUP and Sinn Fein got more, not less, votes.

Let us hope that the new "sweetheart" deal between the DUP and terrorist-supporting Sinn Fein will last. There remain, however, even more extreme groups like the INLA, the Continuity IRA and their equivalent among the Orange extremists. They can still do great damage.

Stormont: the Northern Irish parliament

It does not help that the Tony Blair/Bertie Ahern axis were more keen on getting the EU agenda advanced than they were on establishing peace and justice in Ireland. But we should be under no delusion. Sinn Fein/IRA are not a party or group worthy of the support of any sane Irishman or woman and certainly not any Catholic Irishman or woman.

But truth, alas, has long been a casualty in the wars that have beset Erin's beautiful isle. In the American Hibernian diaspora, especially in places like Boston, fantasy and falsehood have long taken the place of truth when it comes to their understanding of Irish history.

But - as someone once asked - why let the truth get in the way of a good story?

The answer is simply this: if you need to be persuaded that the truth is important then consider, too, the many innocent people, including children, who suffer and have suffered terrible harm because too many people who ought to know better can't be bothered to find out the real truth.


Erin's green Isle - the true story

Ireland is one of the most beautiful countries in the world. It is an island green and unspoilt and home to the Irish race for centuries. In the West, wild and haunting, a brilliant light often casts its ancient spell over hills and dales of wild heather, brush and peat turf. It is breathtaking and spectacular.

In this land a remarkably talented, poetic, romantic and often most delightfully charming and religious people have, for centuries, lived: the Irish. Of this people the oldest races amongst them are Celtic of which the largest by far are the Gaels, the latest Celtic race in time to arrive on Ireland's shores. They are thought to have originated in the Middle East, possibly Scythia or even Galatia.

The Gaels speak and write a very unusual and mystical language called Gaelic, as do their close cousins the Scottish Gaels of the Highlands and Islands of Scotland. In Roman times Ireland was variously called Hibernia or Scotia and the Scotti or Scots were originally from Ireland before some of them travelled across to the Mull of Kintrye and later gave their name to what is now Scotland.

Never conquered by the Romans the Irish Gaels nevertheless imbibed the Roman culture and, above all, the true religion of which Rome became the great guardian and mistress. This they were taught by a Roman Briton, one Patrick, the son of a Deacon of the ancient British race, the Cymri, but himself Romanised.

St Patrick was taken captive to Ireland but later found his way back to Britain. He then later returned with a mission – a mission to convert the heathen Gael and make of them a land of saints and scholars to witness to the Gospel and and a people who, far on the outer reaches of the known world, the very edge of Christendom, would come to demonstrate to the rest of Christendom a loyalty to Roman Christendom and to the See of St Peter that lasted.

King-Emperor Brian Boru, Ard Ri Eireann

Divided into 5 kingdoms - Ulster, Leinster, Munster, Meath and Connaught - the land of Erin came to be ruled by one High King, the Ard Ri Eireann, who regarded himself as an emperor, modelled upon the Emperor Charlemagne, ruling over kings. After the death of Brian Boru, the Empire of Erin fell into some disarray and corruption in both Church and State.

Eventually, the Pope – an English pope, Nicholas Breakspeare, Pope Adrian IV - in a Bull entitled Laudabiliter, issued after an invitation from various of the Irish Chiefs, particularly the King of Leinster, gave approval to King Henry II of England to invade Ireland.

King Henry sent Richard Fitzgilbert de Clare, Earl of Pembroke and later Lord of Leinster, nicknamed "Strongbow", to invade Ireland on behalf of himself and the Pope and to restore order.

In 1168 Dermot MacMorrough (Diarmuid mac Murchada), King of Leinster, driven out of his kingdom by Turlough O'Connor (Tairrdelbach mac Ruaidri Ua Conchobair), High King of Ireland with the help of Tiernan O'Rourke (Tigernán Ua Ruairc), came to solicit help from Henry II.

He was pointed in the direction of Strongbow and other Welsh Marcher barons and knights by King Henry. King Dermot secured the services of Richard, promising him the hand of his daughter Aoife (Eve) and the succession to Leinster. An army was assembled that included Welsh archers, which would lead to Richard's nickname, "Strongbow" (though it was first recorded in 1223, in a charter for Tintern Abbey).

The army, under Raymond le Gros, took Wexford, Waterford and Dublin in 1169 and 1170, and Strongbow joined them in August 1170. The day after the capture of Waterford, Strongbow married MacMorrough's daughter Aoife of Leinster.

The wedding of Strongbow with Princess Aoife MacMurrough of Leinster

After various rebellions challenged Strongbow, he called upon the King of England for aid and Henry invaded in October 1172, staying six months and putting his own men into nearly all the important places. He was made Lord of Ireland by Pope Adrian IV.

The new Anglo-Welsh later became more Irish than the Irish and remained staunchly Catholic when the times changed and Protestantism came to threaten Ireland. They were often called the "Old English" despite being more accurately described as Cambro-Norman.

Though Ireland was a papal fief entrusted to the English king, as Lord of Ireland, it was the Protestant tyrant Henry VIII who usurped the title King of Ireland. He and his bastard daughter, Elizabeth I, persecuted the Irish and imposed a Protestant Ascendancy upon the country.

When Mary restored Catholicism, her husband, King Philip of Spain, was recognised by the Pope as King of England but also King of Ireland.

Thereafter, the early Stuarts maintained the Protestant Ascendancy but with the conversion of King James II to the Catholic faith, Catholicism was increasingly released from its bondage throughout the "Three Kingdoms" of England, Scotland and Ireland.

King James II of England and Ireland and VII of Scotland

But the so-called “Glorious Revolution” which rebelliously and treacherously overthrew King James, brought in one of the most brutally oppressive and cruel penal codes ever to oppress a Christian nation.

It was against this illegal and immoral code that the Irish, including the old Cambro-Normans (or "Old English"), gave lawful resistance. They loyally supported the Jacobite cause and supported the Catholic Stuarts at home and abroad producing such great men as Patrick Sarsfield, Earl of Lucan, and many another of the “Wild Geese” who went to serve in the armies of Catholic Europe, many reaching the highest ranks in Army and State in the Empire and the kingdoms of Christendom.

Patrick Sarsfield, Earl of Lucan, best known of the "Wild Geese"

But this all changed with the advent of the French Revolution and the gradual marginalisation of the Gaelic language in which Ireland’s true history had been written and preserved.

A new, unnatural, unholy and rebellious spirit entered into the otherwise tranquil and gentle culture of the Irish people.

Ironically, it was introduced by sons of the very Protestant Ascendancy that had been oppressing Irish Catholics for centuries. Not content with directly oppressing the Irish Catholic people, the Protestant and secular liberal Ascendancy now, through its rebellious sons, sought to poison the souls of the loyal Catholic people with devilish ideas of rebellion and revolution - not just against illegitimate usurpers but also against legitimate governments.

This was, in effect, to attack the very Catholicism of the Irish Catholic people in even more subtle and dangerous ways than the earlier direct, physical persecution of the savage Penal laws. Not a few Irishmen were duped into imbibing the spirit of revolution and so lost their faith - the very faith their ancestors had died for.

A new, unnatural and unholy spirit of revolution invaded Irish culture from France

It was a foreign, alien spirit – a spirit engendered by the so-called Enlightenment and specifically by the French Revolution – but brought to Ireland by Irish-born liberal Protestants, men like Theobald Wolfe Tone, Lord Edward Fitzgerald and Robert Emmet, all of them Protestants.

They formed the Society of United Irishmen with the express purpose of severing the connection with England and, ironically, many of these men were from Ulster in the North of Ireland. Many were Ulster Presbyterians - Orangemen - and the remainder were largely Anglicans or secularists.

Theobald Wolfe Tone, a Protestant-born, secular revolutionary who founded the Society of United Irishmen to foment revolution and who was later to cut his own throat in prison awaiting trial for treason (he is a hero of the Irish Communist Party)

Later, secularists and lapsed Catholics joined the movement as it became more and more revolutionary, secular and rebellious and deeply hostile to the Catholic Church which condemned it.

But how many today know these facts?

They know about the IRA and Sinn Fein. Some know about the Black and Tans and the Auxiliaries who ravaged Ireland after 1918. But they know little of what came before these terrorist groups.

The “Tans” were a bunch of thugs (and the Auxies worse) employed by the British Liberal government (led by Welshman David Lloyd-George) who misused them gravely.

The "Tans" off to cause trouble, murder and mayhem at the behest of a British Liberal government

But… the IRA were founded not by Catholics but by secular revolutionaries who originally called the movement the Irish Revolutionary (later Republican) Brotherhood and the IRA (in all its manifestations: stickies, provos, etc) has killed at least as many Catholics in its bloody history as it has non-Catholics, and almost certainly many more.

IRA terrorist about to cause mayhem, death and useless destruction

Neither the IRA nor Sinn Fein is now, nor ever has been, a real friend to Catholic Ireland or to Irish Catholics.

The IRA even press young girls into doing their filthy "work"

Sinn Fein/IRA is a crypto-Marxist organisation dedicated to revolution by the spilling of innocent blood.

(To be continued)


Tuesday, 27 November 2007

Damien: the Apostle of the lepers

Blessed Damien of Moloka’i is one of my favourites, along with saints like the Cure d’Ars.

He confounds the worldly just as the blessed St John Vianney did. They cannot fathom what to them looks like foolishness. But it is the foolishness of the Divine and therefore all the more blessed.

What I like about Fr Damien is his humanity as much as anything.

He was cranky, impatient, bad-tempered when crossed and not always easy to deal with. His human failings somehow make his holiness shine all the more brightly. They also somehow make him so much closer to us who share his faults but not his holiness.

Indeed, it was really only Joseph Dutton, the reformed alcoholic and divorcee, who was able to really get close to Damien. Damien called him Brother Joseph and they became as one in their friendship and love of God.

Damien was a great traditionalist. None of your namby-pamby, half-baked liberal Catholicism for him, nor your wishy-washy ecumenical maunderings that try to pretend that all faiths are roughly the same. He was having none of that: he wanted to convert people to the Faith and so save their souls. He wanted his charges to be eternally happy forever with God.

He also did his best to give his poor lepers the best he could, even – nay especially – liturgically. He did his best to make his liturgy as impressive, solemn and ceremonial as possible but this, necessarily, was modest and humble since he had to select his choir from among the lepers and teach them himself.

Given their condition they did remarkably well under his tutelage but it was a truly moving sight to see these maimed and incapable lepers doing their best to play musical instruments and sing the chants and music of the Sacred Liturgy.

Their humble efforts must have been intensely pleasing to a God who loves the strivings of the humble.

Fr Damien considered them his pride and joy and loved to show them off to visitors who must have marvelled at the progress he had been able to make with them.

Damien and his choir of lepers

Leprosy is a particularly horrid disease. Men simply rot away and they smell appalling into the bargain. Extremities fall off and horrible ulcers and sores form on the body. Now there is a cure for the disease but even so there are still many millions of lepers in the world.

Damien was born Jozef ("Jef") de Veuster, the seventh child of the corn merchant Frans de Veuster and his wife Cato Wouters in the village of Tremelo in Flemish Brabant.

He entered the novitiate of the Congregation of the Sacred Hearts of Jesus and Mary (the Picpus Fathers) in Leuven, taking the name of Damian.

On 19 March 1864, Damien landed at Honolulu Harbour as a missionary. There, Damien was ordained to the priesthood at the Cathedral of Our Lady of Peace, a church established by his religious order. He served at several parishes on the island of Oahu just at the start of the spread of leprosy, influenza and syphilis by the influx of foreigners.

Fearful of its spread, King Kamehameha V segregated the lepers of the kingdom and moved them to a settlement colony on the north side of the island of Moloka’i. The Royal Board of Health, run largely by Europeans, provided them with supplies and food but did not yet have the resources to offer proper healthcare.

While Msgr Louis Maigret, vicar apostolic, believed that the lepers at the very least needed a priest to minister to their needs, he realized that this assignment could potentially be a death sentence. He asked for volunteers and 4 priests came forward. Damien was one and he asked for permission to go to Moloka‘i.

On 10 May 1873, Damien arrived at the secluded settlement at Kalaupapa. Bishop Maigret presented Damien to the colonists as "one who will be a father to you, and who loves you so much that he does not hesitate to become one of you; to live and die with you."

The settlement was surrounded by an impregnable mountain ridge and water on all sides.

There were 816 lepers living at Kalaupapa. Damien's first course of action was to build a church and establish the Parish of Saint Philomena (a favourite saint of the Cure d'Ars).

He did not limit himself to a purely spiritual role. He took on the role of doctor, builder, carpenter, farmer, child-carer, nurse and many other roles as well. He dressed ulcers, built homes and beds and even built coffins and dug graves.

When Damien arrived the lepers were in a dreadful state - listless, depressed, neglected, suffering, robbing each other, some living under trees and there was much drunkenness and sexual immorality.

The kingdom didn't plan the settlement to be in such disarray but the government's neglect in providing much needed resources and medical help unfortunately helped to create the chaos. Damien's arrival was a turning point for the community. Under his leadership, basic laws were enforced, shacks became painted houses, working farms were organized and schools were erected.

Damien and the lepers (from the film based on his life)

By December 1884, Damien himself had contracted leprosy. Despite the discovery, residents claim that Damien worked vigorously to build as many homes as he could and planned for the continuation of the programmes he created after he was gone.

His constant prayer was for other priests and especially religious sisters for the children, most of whom were orphaned because of their disease.

Eventually they came. Louis Lambert Conrardy was a Belgian priest. Mother Marianne Cope was Superior of the Franciscan Sisters of Syracuse. Joseph Dutton was an American Civil War soldier who left behind a marriage broken because of alcoholism but became Fr Damien’s most faithful and trusted companion, ever-patient and tireless in work. James Sinnett was a nurse from Chicago.

Fr Conrardy took up pastoral duties, while Mother Marianne organized a working hospital. Brother Joseph attended to the construction and maintenance of the community's buildings. James Sinnett nursed Damien in the last phases of the disease, closing his eyes upon Father Damien's death at the age of 49 from leprosy.

King David Kalakaua bestowed on Damien, during his life, the honour of Knight Commander of the Royal Order of Kalakaua.

When the King was away on a trip abroad, his daughter, Princess Lydia Liliuokalani, a gifted an intelligent woman, went to Moloka’i to see for herself what could be done to help her people. She visited the settlement to present a medal to Damien and was greeted with as much pageantry and ceremony as the poor lepers and their blessed priest could summon up. It was pathetically touching to see such efforts.

Her Royal Highness Princess, later Queen, Liliuokalani of Hawaii

She intended to make a speech to her suffering people but was so deeply touched by the scene that all she could do was weep and weep.

She was so moved, in fact, that she became a determined supporter of Fr Damien and was determined to acclaim publicly Damien's efforts and tell the world. Consequently, Damien's name was spread across the United States and Europe. Even American Protestants raised large sums of money for the missionary and the Church of England sent food, medicine, clothing and supplies.

Eventually, the disease caught up with Damien. He began to preach to his lepers saying “We lepers” and they knew that he had truly become one of them.

Damien the leper

Fr Damien died in the wooden parish house he had made by his own hands, lying in his cassock, surrounded by his new helpers, priests, brothers and sisters and at peace because his flock would not be abandoned at his death. It had been his one fear that once he himself caught leprosy his flock would be abandoned when he died. But now he could die in peace and, as he put it, be with God in heaven for Easter.

On 15 April 1889, he gave up the ghost, quietly, peacefully and calmly departing this life to rest from his most strenuous labours, mourned by his leper flock who wept as, for his Requiem and burial, they carried him to the Church he had re-built with his own hands.

It was Holy Week.