Marriage: Broken by Original Sin

Blogged by James Preece 2 Weeks 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 1 Month 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 2 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 2 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 2 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?

Tactical Ignorance

Blogged by James Preece 2 Months ago...

Today's post of the day has to be this one from Counter Cultural Father although I may be biased because he includes my video.. Also, he wrote it yesterday so I'm a little behind the times..


Could it really be that our bishops (on ex- and one now a cardinal) both used this tactic to avoid saying (or even teaching) the truth? And if so, was that for fear of what the people might say if they told the truth? Or, for fear of revealing that they really don't believe aspects of the Faith it is their vocation and duty to uphold?


Could it really be?? Gasp!

You really should read the whole thing..

Fr Timothy Radcliffe at Flame 2

Blogged by James Preece 2 Months ago...

A reader writes...

Dear James

I am emailing you because I am deeply concerned with what the organisation CYMFED are proposing to inflict on Catholic young people by allowing Fr. Timothy Radcliffe to speak at their next Flame youth event in March 2015 at Wembley Arena. I know he is someone that has already been highlighted as being problematic in what he teaches and stands for.

I was wondering if you could highlight this on your rather excellent blog.

Many thanks,

You can watch a video and read some other comments about Flame 1 here.

There are a hundred more worthwhile things you could do for young people than send them along to hear the usual nonsense from the same people who were failing to inspire them two decades ago.

P.S. They had some other  interesting characters at the previous Flame congress. No, I'm not saying anything about secret affairs - I'm talking about things said in public.

Poor Bishop Conry

Blogged by James Preece 2 Months ago...

I'm sure you've all seen the news about Bishop Kieran Conry by now, poor man.

So far I reckon I've seen a dozen blog posts about the inevitable nasty backlash by those unforgiving hypocritical traddy snakes who prowl the internet seeking the ruin of souls... I can't really comment on those blog posts because I can't find them, all the nasty bloggers I follow have been talking about forgiveness and recommending we all go to confession before casting even the third stone.

As I blogged recently, I have been on a bit of a journey myself over the years in which I chased various problems in the Church ever higher and higher up the heirarchy.  The congregation were being lead astray by bad catechists so I told the Priest. The catechists were being lead astray by a bad Priest so I told the Bishop. The Bishop.. well, it turns out he knew all about it seeing as it was all his idea in the first place.  At first I was angry at the betrayal but over time I realised not only that these men are just as much victims of temptation as the congregations they betray but also that their own sins hurt them a lot more than my blogging ever could.

That's the thing... sin is it's own reward.

So I'm not angry with poor Bishop Conry and I'm not going to say "he needs our prayers" because frankly I need them just as much and it feels a bit smug to start prescibing prayers for other people.

I'm far more upset that for decades Bishop Conry has publicly contradicted the teaching of the Church. He has promoted theology which is demonstrably dangerous and stupid. He publicly mocked Catholic teaching on Women clergy in front of a massive global audience during the papal visit.

Strangely, nobody blogged about the importance of forgiveness when he did all that. Am I not supposed to forgive him for those things? Am I allowed to be nasty?  No.. I'm not.  But I suspect the truth is that nobody in any position of influence considers any of the above to be a problem.

Now it turns out he has had several affairs with married woman and suddenly it's all resignations and apologies. Do you think that's because our Bishop's Conference highly values the sanctity of Holy Matrimony? No.

It's because our Bishop's Conference values the opinion of the press more than it values the teaching of the Church. This is why every parish has a child protection officer (as well we should) but nobody cares when a Bishop laughs at us in Cofton Park.

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