Marriage: For Life

Blogged by James Preece 5 Days ago...

Jesus forbids divorce.  The Pharisies tried to trick Jesus on this matter but Jesus brings them back to the words of Genesis...

Have you not read that he who made them from the beginning made them male and female, and said, `For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh'? So they are no longer two but one flesh. What therefore God has joined together, let not man put asunder." They said to him, "Why then did Moses command one to give a certificate of divorce, and to put her away?" He said to them, "For your hardness of heart Moses allowed you to divorce your wives, but from the beginning it was not so. And I say to you: whoever divorces his wife, except for unchastity, and marries another, commits adultery."

Marriage may have been broken by sin, but Jesus has raised it to a sacrament and shown how it should be. Marriage may be broken and hard, but by making Marriage a sacrament Jesus gives us gifts to help us.

If you are not Married yet - Think. Pray. Make sure your future partner understands Marriage in the same way you do. In the mean time – be faithful to the promises you do make.

Broken Down

Blogged by James Preece 2 Months ago...

About a year ago our washing machine broke down and I ended up paying a man to come around and fix it.  I watched as he undid about three screws, removed a pump thingy and extracted the childs toy. £30 please.

A week later it happened again.. the same problem, the same funny noise.  I undid the screws and took the pump out myself and fixed the washing machine.  I felt like I must have committed some kind of copyright infringement because I had stolen the idea and saved £30.

Now I discover you can locate pretty much any kind of washing machine repair on YouTube.  How is the washing machine repair industry going to survive if people are uploading all the fixes to fix sharing sites?

Well... a few days ago the machine broke again.  This time we could hear the motor running but the drum was not turning.  I guessed that perhaps a belt thingy had broken and when I removed a few screws I turned out to be correct.  I was able to acquire a replacement belt from a local purveyor of parts and had the washing machine up and running in time for lunch.

Not a bad days work.  I was feeling pretty manly. Like I'm some kind of mechanical ninja.

Shame then that during the next wash water started drip drip dripping out from underneath the machine.  I trace the leak to leaky drum brearings.  Now I'm really on a roll.

Only I'm not.  It turns out that replacing drum bearings means removing the drum and that means removing several tubes and the drawer frame thingy and the circuit board and most of the electrics.  It's a big job and I don't have time.

So.. We've put some old towels back there and we're going to live with the drip drip drip until the machine finally dies because I don't really want to replace a machine that totally works except for a few drips.  I'm a run it in to the ground kind of guy.  

Is there a moral to the story? Does there have to be?

I'm just keeping you in the loop...

Tone Deaf

Blogged by James Preece 2 Months ago...

This isn't a New Years resolution as such, but I would like to neglect you guys a bit less this year.  I often think and pray about you all during Mass - actually, that's not true. I sometimes think and pray about you all during Mass. Most of the time I'm thinking and praying about other stuff...

Well, I thought about you on New Years Day when the altar girls (there were no boys present for some reason) were lighting the candles on the altar using one of those clicky gas lighter stick things.  The acoustics are not bad in that Church and every click reverberated around the building.  It's not a big thing, but would it really be so hard to use a taper?

Still, I'm told I was lucky because often the altar is prepared for Mass during Adoration and there is all sorts of scurrying about while one is trying to spend time in the presence of Christ.  Speaking of Benediction, our Parish Priest still doesn't use a humeral veil.

I used to try and reason with these people but it's pointless.  If I can produce a written rule they'll accuse me of pharasiac rule mongering and if I can't they'll say "I told you so..."  Besides.. haven't you got more important things to worry about than a clicky sound?  Were you not supposed to be praying?

Yeah I was.. but I got distracted for some reason.  Some people might call those distraction causing things distractions but I would hate to go all technical.

This coming Sunday we're heading over the river to our nearest Latin Mass.  There's a bridge toll to pay and a long drive but for some reason when we walk in the back of that Church my children will speak in hushed tones and I won't even have to tell them.

It's almost as if all those little things add up.

Marriage: Broken by Original Sin

Blogged by James Preece 3 Months ago...

A few weeks ago Ella and I had the honour of being asked to give a talk on Marriage to our local Faith Forum group.  Because Marriage is a huuuge subject we ended up breaking it down in to nine mini-talks each of which made one simple point in a few minutes. This is part the second...

Adam and Eve failed at Marriage.  The serpent tricked them that they would know good and evil.  In the desire for wisdom Eve was tempted to place her trust in the serpant and not God.  She offered this to Adam and he too failed to place his trust in God.

The seeds of selfishness had been sown.  At the beginning of creation the devil attacks the relationship between man and woman.

When God comes to walk with them that evening He finds them hiding.  Adam places his own safety before that of his wife and complains to God that “it was the woman” that he was given that gave him the apple.  Adam's selfishness caused creation to be broken and marriage to be broken. 

Upon eating the fruit the unity of man and woman and their relationship with God is broken.  Relationships have become challenged by selfishness and couples need our merciful God to guide and heal them.

Marriage, like everything human, is in need of Jesus

If you are married - Don't expect your marriage to be perfect. You are both only human.

Every married couple you know is doing their best as sinful human beings.  Don't think that because people you know do marriage wrong that marriage is rubbish.

Marriage, like everything human, is in need of Jesus

Marriage: Baked in From The Beginning

Blogged by James Preece 3 Months ago...

A couple of weeks ago Ella and I had the honour of being asked to give a talk on Marriage to our local Faith Forum group.  Because Marriage is a huuuge subject we ended up breaking it down in to nine mini-talks each of which made one simple point in a few minutes. This is part the first...

Ella rummages through a bag and produces a loaf shaped tin that I used to bake bread in once upon a time. A bread tin? Why?

Marriage has been “built in” to humanity from creation and is an essential part of our being “made in the image and likeness of God”.  A look at the creation of Man and Woman in Genesis reveals Marriage is part of God's plan from the beginning.

Cake tin, Baked in. It rhymes. We are attempting to make our talk memorable.

In the accounts of creation we see that man and woman are created in the image and likeness of God.  “God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them”.  God saw that it was “not good that the man should be alone”.  God says that man should have a helper, but not as an term for inferior but as a genuine partner. 

We see the Trinity in the Creation account “let us make man in our image” man on his own lacks some of the “likeness” of God as does woman, it is through their unity that the image of God is revealed and in the unity of their love Man and Woman are themselves able to create, Marriage is creative.

Because Marriage is a part of what it means to be created human, we cannot understand human beings without understanding marriage. Men and women are not the "in image of God" on their own but together.

If the unity of two people in marriage makes us more fully “in the image of God” then through Marriage we help each other to be more holy.

This also means that the young people should understand that there romantic boyfriend/girlfriend type relationships are a part of their development as people made for Marriage.  Consider romantic partners as potential future spouses and if that seems silly, maybe you should ask yourself why?


Tells the World: Marriage is important, cannot understand human beings without understanding marriage. Men and women are different - man is not the image of God in his own (and vice versa).


Tells Married People: If the unity of two people in marriage makes us more fully “in the image of God” then through Marriage we help each other to be more holy.


Tells Young People: This is not just something for grown ups – marriage is where your relationships are heading. Consider romantic partners as potential future spouses and if that seems silly then ask yourself why?

I've been a gradualist all along...

Blogged by James Preece 4 Months ago...

As far as I am aware, it is already perfectly acceptable - even recommended - for Catholics to tailor their conversation to the target audience.  Were I in conversation with the Bishop of Middlesbrough for example, I might say "why don't you dump your confirmation program and replace it with something decent?" but if I were at a family gathering I might say something a little more along the lines of "what? more roast potatoes? it would be rude not to!"

If you listen to the likes of Austen Ivereigh this is..

one of the surprises of this synod — and the call for a new language of love and mercy rather than condemnation and precision


..because apparently the lefty liberals of this world have been labouring under the impression that officially they were supposed to be wandering around accusing people of things all the time. "Mother! To hell with the roasties! Why didn't you go to Mass this morning?"

If "gradualism" means speaking to people in a language then myself I'm way ahead of the Bishops. Sometimes I've been known to arrive at work on a morning and say, well "Good Morning" when really (if I were a good Catholic) I should have said "Good Morning Ye Damned".

Seriously though, when people talk about "gradualism" and "meeting people where they are" they don't really mean any of those nice things we nasty bloggers have been secretly doing all along. No. What they mean is lying to people and telling them that what they are doing is okay when really it is not.

"You are divorced and remarried? That's good! Come and join us for communion.."

Except that's a lie as well, because if the so called "gradualists" really believed in so called "gradualism" then it would apply to everybody and it doesn't. When a nasty blogger such as myself suggests that Cardinal Nichols was wrong to say that he "doesn't know" if the Catholic Church will someday "sanction gay unions" friendly gradualists would say "poor James, we must meet him where he is, let us go and tell him how wonderful he is" only funnily enough, they don't.

Funny that.

Burglars, rapists, war criminals and over-fillers of kettles are all denied the gradualists mercy. Only a select few special sins are, you might say, graded as worth of gradualism. To quote Chesterton again..

"Men do not differ much about what things they will call evils; they differ enormously about what evils they will call excusable."


Adultery is very much excusable these days, failing to pay Church Tax..

...not so much.

Richard Collins - Rest in Peace

Blogged by James Preece 4 Months ago...

It's a quirk of blogging that the age of a blogger is not always apparent.  In the case of Richard Collins of Linen on the Hedgerow, I always had the impression of a young man in his early twenties - such was his energy and enthusiasm for the faith.

Now I discover he was a grandfather...

It is with great personal sadness that we, the Collins Family, must inform the loyal followers of Linen on the Hedgerow, that our beautiful father, husband and grandfather, Richard Collins, has died peacefully at home this morning surrounded by those who loved him most.  He was blessed to receive the Last Rites and Holy Mass was celebrated in the Extraordinary Form at his bedside.  Please pray for the repose of his soul.

Eternal rest grant unto him O Lord and let perpetual light shine upon him.  May he rest in peace. Amen.

Pray for Richard and his family.

Requiem aeternam dona ei, Domine, et lux perpetua luceat ei!

The Listing Game

Blogged by James Preece 4 Months ago...

Sorry to plug the same blog twice in a row, but it's been a while since I saw anybody put together a good (or do I mean bad) list of problems with the Bishops of Eng;and and Wales...

  • The failure to preach about Humanae Vitae, anywhere, ever, by almost anyone;
  • The continued promotion of The Tablet, as though it were a Catholic journal, despite its dissent from Humanae Vitae;
  • The Filochowski/Pendergast scandal, when +Crowley was prepared to celebrate a Mass in honour of the 25 year anniversary of a homosexual relationship - a Mass eventually celebrated by the then-Rector of Ushaw Seminary, and attended by the bishop;
  • The failure of the Conference to back up +Egan’s important statement that politicians who voted against Catholic teaching should repent before presenting themselves for Holy Communion; 
  • The way in which  ++Nichols supports the 'Queering The Church'-led LGBT Masses; and the fact that his only clear statement on the subject was to tell those who questioned this policy to 'hold their tongues;'
  • ++Nichols' saying that talking about sin was a misguided attempt to motivate people;
  • The failure of  CES to hold anything approaching a Catholic line, and the appointment to it of a man who as an MP had voted consistently in ways that are diametrically opposed to Catholic teaching on, for example, abortion, contraception, 'gay' relationships etc.;
  • The Conference’s stance in favour of Civil Partnerships, which, it seems to me, paved the way for the disaster of Same Sex ‘Marriage;’
  • Catholic Marriage Care offering relationship support to homosexual couples;
  • The failure to correct the public statements of people like Professor Beattie, when she opines that Catholics may, in good conscience, ignore the teaching of the Church on matters of sexual morality;
  • The episcopal silence as Cafod has drifted away from Catholic principles (eg redefining abstinence in ways that are far from Catholic, and promoting condoms);
  • Personal conversations I have had with various bishops; for example one bishop (now retired, when I lived in another diocese) who told me that the Catholic Schools couldn’t teach the Faith, because many parents didn’t follow it, and their children might think they were doing something wrong.
  • The hostility shown toward +O'Donoghue for his 'Fit for Mission' project: praised by the Vatican, he was disappointed by the response of his brother bishops;
  • The welcome extended to the dissenting group ACTA and the contrasting hostility displayed to those who seek to defend the traditional Faith;
  • The promotion of educational programmes that are at best deficient and at worst heretical for use in our schools;
  • The silence around the whole +Conry affair;
  • The silence when +Conry was denigrating Confession (and his many other misrepresentations of the Catholic Faith);
  • The fact that +Conry's deliberate failure to teach on sexual morality was not noticed - because he was not the only bishop to be refraining from such teaching;
  • The '+Conry shrug' (exemplified in the link in my last post, but also practiced by ++Nichols when asked whether the Church would eventually bless homosexual unions);
  • The equivocation we hear from so many bishops whenever we might expect a clear explanation of any difficult aspect of the Faith.


CC Father doesn't mention the Birmingham Three, the destruction of Maryvale, the Cardinal Vaughan school, Birmingham Diocese sex education program etc...

The list just goes on and on.

Which leads to the question CC Father himself asks: what are the faithful to do when they no longer trust many of their bishops?