Archive: October 2011

No Latin Masses in York...

Blogged by James 4 Years ago...

It's been four years since Summorum Pontificum but Catholics in York are still struggling to get to an EF Mass...

Mass in York

There will be no evening Mass at the Church of the English Martyrs in York this Sunday, 25th September. Please pass this information on to anyone that you think may be thinking of attending. Information about when Masses will resume in York will be posted as soon as it becomes available.


What's going on?

A week in hospital...

Blogged by James 4 Years ago...

After a week going to work during the day and sitting by Joanne's bed at night I find myself wondering:

I'm sure I was really busy all the time before this happened...

...what was I busy doing?

Red Herrings at the Birmingham Oratory

Blogged by James 4 Years ago...

I'm not a huge fan of TV soap operas and it's been a long time since I saw any. My sister used to be big in to soaps so I used to see bits of them in the background but since I got married I'm pleased to say I'm completely out of touch.

However, judging by some of the emails I've been getting (and some of the comments on this blog) quite a few people seem to be under the impression that I have been getting my soap opera fix from the Birmingham Oratory. They seem to think I care about who said what to who, why it is that so-and-so has never got on with so-and-so, who may or may not have driven who to a nervous breakdown and so on.

Let me spell it out for you: I'm not interested.

This is not about the internal politics of the Birmingham Oratory. It has never been about the internal politics of the Birmingham Oratory!  Do you think I am stupid? Do you really think I would get involved in the internal politics of a religious community from 200 miles away based on hearsay over the internet? I wouldn't even get involved in the internal politics of a religious community if I lived next door!

So why am I getting involved? Because the problems at the Birmingham Oratory are not internal...

For  example: The lastest rumour from the Oratory is that everything is Fr Guy Nicholls fault... I know nothing about Fr Guy Nicholls so let me ask you: Did Fr Guy Nicholls pay Jack Valero to act as spokesman for the Oratory? No. Did Fr Guy Nicholls put Fr Duffield on a train and tell him to have his photo taken outside Eccleston Square?

I can't hear you... What's that? No?

Did Fr Guy Nicholls arrange the exclaustration of Fr Dermot Fenlon? No, that would require "either the direct approval of either the Holy See or the local bishop". Did Fr Guy Nicholls arrange for the recent press release on the new provost to come direct from the Catholic Bishop's Conference? No.

Fr Guy Nicholls is a red herring and the real culprits are getting away scott free.

The world should be watching...

Blogged by James 4 Years ago...

I'm sure Maria won't mind if I steal her blog entry...

We know of his appalling case thanks to Christian Solidarity Worldwide - see its briefing on Pastor Nadarkhani here - which is campaigning for Pastor Nadarkhani's life and freedom of conscience.

We also know about Pastor Nadarkani thanks to leading Catholic blogger, Caroline Farrow, who has been unsparing in her efforts to raise awareness of this awful story. Read her superb post here and if you haven't already done so, please email and phone the Iranian embassy expressing your grave concern for Nadarkhani. Caroline has helpfully provided a template letter for your guidance.

The world knows about Pastor Nadarkhani thanks to campaigning lawyer and New Statesman writer, David Allen Green. Green, an Atheist whose commitment to human rights descends from the Enlightenment tradition has been tenancious in following the Nadarkhani story. When he writes, governments sit up and take notice. The Foreign Office released a statement not long after Green blogged about Nadarkani, as did the US State Department and so too did the Iranian Embassy in London.

Perhaps stung by the growing international clamour for Nadarkhani's life and liberty, the official Iranian news agency has recently been putting it about that Pastor Nadarkhani has been sentenced to death for rape and extortion and even more chillingly, claimed that he is a Zionist.

The New Statesman's Mehdi Hassan's eloquent denunciation of the death sentence levelled upon Pastor Nadarkhani as not only unIslamic but anti-Islamic was a perfect exposition of the humane heart of the Islamic faith and one which which Moslems all over the world will echo.

Meanwhile, in the very quarters that Nadarkhani should expect the strongest support, that is to say among Western Christian leaders, there has been unsconscionable silence, as both Archbishop Cranmer and Damian Thompson have noted with understandable disgust.

Thanks Maria and good work Caroline.

Peas in a Pod...

Blogged by James 4 Years ago...

The latest email to come from Catholic Voices is the announcement that the first Catholic Voices Academy event will be held at the London Centre of the University of Notre Dame.

Interesting choice of location... The supposedly Catholic University of Notre Dame which gave pro-abortion president Obama an honourary degree.

While the pro-abortion president was applauded inside, an elderly pro-life Catholic priest was arrested. This is how the University of Notre Dame treats pro-life Catholics...

Don't think that's just over zealous security staff. The university did not drop criminal charges against the protesters for nearly two years.

Pro-lifers (Peter Williams, Robert Colquhoun - I'm looking at you) should be asking themselves serious questions about how far down this rabbit hole they want to go. Do they honestly think that Austen and Jack got the yellow pages out and picked a venue at random?

A reminder...

Blogged by James 4 Years ago...

Don't forget, David Aron begins his 184 mile walk for the Good Counsel network tomorrow.

Give him some money...

Aborting the iPhone?

Blogged by James 4 Years ago...

Turns out illegal abortion may be what made the iPhone possible...

Her name is Joanne Schiebel. In 1954, she was a young unmarried college student who discovered that she was pregnant. In the 1950s, her options were limited. She could have had an abortion – but the procedure was both dangerous and illegal. She could have gotten married, but she wasn’t ready and didn’t want to interrupt her education. Joanne opted, instead, to give birth to the baby... and put it up for adoption.

And so it was that in 1955, a California couple named Paul and Clara adopted a baby boy, born out-of-wedlock, that they named Steven.This adopted baby grew into a man who changed the world. We celebrate his life and his accomplishments and wish him the best in the afterlife. The baby’s name is Steve Jobs.

If you are thankful for the life of Steve Jobs; if you are thankful for the contributions he has made to the world and your life then today…thank his mother Joanne Schiebel for choosing life. Imagine for a moment how many Steve Jobs have been aborted...


I should add that every abortion is a tradgedy regardless of whether the child in question is Steve Jobs or not. Every life is of immesurable value.

Examples like this remind us that abortion doesn't just deprive a child of life, it also deprives the world of a child.

Man is the exception...

Blogged by James 4 Years ago...

It's always nice to have a bit of Chesterton on a Saturday afternoon...

Man is an exception, whatever else he is. If he is not the image of God, then he is a disease of the dust. If it is not true that a divine being fell, then we can only say that one of the animals went entirely off its head… Man is always something worse or something better than an animal; and a mere argument from animal perfection never touches him at all. Thus, in sex no animal is either chivalrous or obscene. And thus no animal ever invented anything so bad as drunkenness — or so good as drink.

All Things Considered (1908).

h/t The Hebdomadal Chesterton

West Hull Youth at World Youth Day

Blogged by James 4 Years ago...

Last year readers of this blog donated generously towards helping young people from West Hull get to World Youth Day in Madrid. One of them was captured on film (so to speak) by the Bishops Conference photographer (below) and the photo even made it to the Catholic Herald.

[Photo Credit: Mazur/]

Jessica writes...

I would like to briefly thank those who made it possible for Josh, Nathan and I to attend “World Youth Day”.

For those who do not know about WYD, let me give you a little information. WYD was started by the late Blessed Pope John Paul ll in 1986. WYD does actually happen every year, however once every two or three years young people from across the Earth come together for a weeklong event, we come and celebrate our Faith with the Holy Father, the successor of St Peter in Holy Mass.

The three of us went with the diocese for two weeks, although we didn’t go straight to Madrid. Firstly we travelled by coach to Valladolid; home of the Royal English college of St Alban. We had a tour of the seminary led by Bishop Terry and attended Mass at the college most days during our stay here.

While staying at Valladolid we also travelled to Avilla famous for its association with St Theresa. We visited the monastery where she was for some time based. We also visited the monastery at Duenas where the relatively new Spanish Saint Raphael had lived. Both these saints were patrons of this WYD.

In the second week we travelled from Valladolid to Madrid. Most mornings we had Catechesis followed by Holy Mass. Some of the talks during the catechesis sessions were really inspiring and helped us to understand the teachings of the Church. This is really important for young people, as sometimes it is difficult to defend our beliefs if we do not understand it ourselves.

At the main the events the atmosphere was amazing, at the vigil alone was over a million people. Everyone was really friendly, we had loads of photos taken with other people from around the world and we had small badges with our Diocesan name on which we swapped with various trinkets from fellow pilgrims – I came back with a little koala from Australia and a bag from Italy, among other things.
When the Pope arrived the atmosphere was electrifying; everyone singing and cheering – it made you proud to be a Catholic.

To anyone thinking of going to the next WYD in Brazil (2013) – Go for it. It will be well worth going and you will meet lots of other Catholics the same age as you and make lots of great friends who share the same Faith you do. It shows you are not alone.

Do not be afraid, you are not on your own, your one in a crowd of many who share the same beliefs, be proud of your Faith.

You can keep up to date with the various things Catholic youth in West Hull get up to at the Do Not Be Afraid To Be Saints! blog.

Waking Up...

Blogged by James 4 Years ago...

Good to see some of the more moderate blogs are finally catching on...

The Archdiocese of Westminster won't answer Ches's questions about Quest booking a diocesan venue for a Conference, and now Mass is to be celebrated publicly for Quest.

The dioceses of England and Wales are asked by a blogger how many exorcists there each have and the Communications Officer for the Diocese of Middlesborough not only refuses to asnswer him but tells him that blogging should be made a serious criminal offence.

The Catholic Truth Society has issued an instruction which accompanies just about every copy of the new translation available to Catholics in parishes that says that Holy Communion is to be received standing.

Add to this the ongoing Catholic Voices brouhaha (a good Humptydumptyish word), some remarkable examples of secular priests being moved about, and you don't need to see albino monks to think that something might be afoot.

In Austria and Ireland, the rebellion is being led by priests inn parishes.  In this country it seems to be being led by apparatchiks in Eccleston Square and diocesan curiae.


The people who run the Church in this country are not simply incompetent - they are doing it on purpose...

The Pilgrimage of Grace

Blogged by James 4 Years ago...

I published this blog entry this time last year but I think it is worth posting again...

In 1535 St Thomas More and St John Fisher were executed, but the Archbishop of Canterbury would remain the Archbishop of Canterbury until 1555. While the king was cutting Catholic heads off, prelates like Archbishop Thomas Cranmer were making cosy arrangements with the government and helping to build the new religion.

Sound familiar? In 2010 the government no longer cuts heads off but so called "equality legislation" has closed the Catholic adoption agencies and once again, Catholic teaching on human sexuality threatens to become the flashpoint. Asked whether the Church might bless same sex partnerships, Cranmer's successor, Archbishop Vincent Nichols answered "I don’t know. Who knows what’s down the road?"

Like Cranmer, Nichols is waiting to see which way the wind blows. If the government makes Catholicism illegal, the Bishops Conference of England and Wales will simply adapt Catholicism...

But... but... Cranmer was a protestant! Was he indeed? Was he a protestant in 1533 when he was appointed a Catholic Archbishop? Interesting.

Anyway, I mention all this because today was the anniversary of the start of the Pilgrimage of Grace. On 13th October 1536, Robert Aske lead nine thousand who were joined by priests and forty-thousand men from York, Durham, Lancaster and other areas. The insurgents and took York and arranged for the monks to return to their houses and Catholic observance was resumed. No doubt at the time people referred to them as Taliban Catholics and wrote articles asking "What is it about riots that make people so angry?". Just as today people seriously think it is blogs that make people angry and not, you know, all the stuff there is to be angry about.

Robert wrote to the King "In all parts of the realm men's hearts much grudged with the suppression of abbeys, and the first fruits, by reason the same would be the destruction of the whole religion in England." Today, the suppression of the Birmingham Oratory is a similar step. Eventually the King sent a Jack Valero type character to make a load of promises so the protesters went home and, once everybody was dispersed, the promises were broken and the leaders arrested.

These days the dissolution is more subtle, institutions remain standing in name only while individuals are bundled away. Has anybody heard the Birmingham Oratory say a single thing in defence of Catholic teaching since the three left? I haven't. Has heard Catholic Bishops on the radio scoffing at Catholic teaching? I have.

For our part, we don't need to march on York, we can (thank goodness) march virtually across the web. Nobody is going to cut our heads off, though they might force my wife to stop blogging...

You can find out more about the Pilgrimage of Grace here.

Bloggers are the problem.
Bloggers are the problem.

But like much of the establishment, Britain's senior clergymen have surrounded themselves with legions of press advisers whose jobs it is to make sure their paymasters don't put their foot in it – predominantly by keeping their heads below the parapet.

"I'm not sure he'll say much on that," says the press man for Archbishop Vincent Nichols when asked whether the leader of Catholics in England and Wales will broach the topic of abortion. "We're not really keen on an 'archbishop versus the politicians' headline'."


Bloggers are the problem.

What is Poverty?

Blogged by James 4 Years ago...

Just as it is easier to recognize ill health in someone you haven’t seen for some time rather than in someone you meet daily, so a visitor coming into a society from elsewhere often can see its character more clearly than those who live in it. Every few months, doctors from countries like the Philippines and India arrive fresh from the airport to work for a year’s stint at my hospital. It is fascinating to observe their evolving response to British squalor.

Welcome to England....

Dr Who at the Birmingham Oratory

Blogged by James 4 Years ago...

I don't know if you watch Doctor Who but the latest series included a human sized robot filled with tiny people. The robot had the ability to kill an individual and then take on it's form so that people would think they were speaking with the deceased when in reality they were speaking only with a robot imposter.

You may think there is a Birmingham Oratory, you may have been there and seen the buildings, read the newsletter and even had a cup of tea after Mass. What you actually saw was a lot like the robot from Doctor Who. The appearance of the Birmingham Oratory is there, but the Oratory community is gone.

The Birmingham Oratory community has been torn up and spread (literally) to the far corners of the earth. What remains are buildings and a few fragments of what once was, all held up on artificial limbs to look like it is still alive - it is not. Do not confuse the buildings with the community.

What remains is a puppet manipulated from afar by cynical politician Bishops, hell bent on bringing the legacy of Cardinal Newman under their control and silencing the dangerously outspoken Oratorians. Oratorians who once forced Clare Short to abandon her speaking gig at a local school, who criticised Tony Blair in the national press...

Are you blind? The press releases are coming from Eccleston Square! Yes, that would be Eccleston We're not really keen on an 'archbishop versus the politicians' headline' Square!

The same Eccleston Square that was paying Jack Valero to "act" as spokesman!

But it's okay, you keep blaming Fr Guy Nicholls - I'm sure he arranged everything.

Water good idea!

Blogged by James 4 Years ago...

It turns out that water is not H2O after all...

An individual molecule of H2O doesn’t have any of the observable properties we associate with water. A glass of water, pure as water can be, is better understood as containing H2O, OH–, H3O+ and other related but less common ions, and even this is a vast oversimplification (if we could get truly pure water, which we cannot). Our current best understanding of the electron transfers that give water the properties we observe is a statistical average of ever changing interactions so complex as to be quite literally unthinkable. Indeed, the problem is “not that we are unsure which (distribution of types of) microstructure is the correct one. The point is that there is no one correct microstructure, because the microstructure depends as much on the context and functions just as another nominal essence would” (van Brakel, 2000b, 80–81).


This isn't a new discovery by the way, proper chemists know that water isn't H2O because they went on to study proper chemistry at degree level and beyond. So why do you and I think water is H2O? Because that's what our teachers told us.

Why did our teacher tell us that water is H2O? Because the truth is far too complicated to teach little children, so they gave us a simplification of the truth to give us something to work with until we are old enough to understand things better.

This happens a lot in science. Lots of what you were taught at school isn't strictly speaking true, it's a simplification of the truth. But did you know that also happens with religion? Much of what you were taught at school is simply not true. It was a simplification somebody gave you to work with until you were old enough to understand things better.

The main difference between science and religion seems to be this: When people discover that water isn't really H2O they don't say "gasp! science has been disproved!" but rather, they understand that they were taught a simplification when they were younger and that their knowledge and understanding of the subject is limited.

Yet when people discover that the simplified explanation of religion they learned when they were young doesn't quite match up to their experiences in the real world, they decide that religion must be broken, not their understanding. When somebody tries to give them a more grown up explanation of God they say things like "but religion is supposed to be simple!"

You can have a simple religion if you want, just like you can have simple technology. You can buy a computer and use a computer and never ask questions about how it works. But, if you are an adult and if you like to ask questions and if you like to understand what is going on then you might want to develop your understanding a little bit.

h/t Mark Shea

Telling gynaecologists what they want to hear..

Blogged by James 4 Years ago...

I reckon the people at the Royal Society of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists (RSOG) already know that maternal mortality is a problem in developing countries. I reckon they've probably worked out that this is a bad thing and that something ought to be done about it. It is, after all, one of the Millennium Development Goals.

So it won't suprise any of you to hear that when Archbishop "not keen" Vincent Nichols gave the annual Sir George Pinker memorial lecture to the Royal Society of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists that was basically all he told them.

Telling people things they already know is his speciality.

Meanwhile the Royal Society of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists policy is that "abortion and contraception are an integral part of comprehensive sexual and reproductive health services."

Did Archbishop Vincent Nichols care to tell them that abortion is a bad thing and that they ought to do something about it? Er... nope. Of course not. Telling people things they don't want to hear doesn't make you popular.

Which is, of course, what being an Archbishop is all about?


h/t John Smeaton

Home at last!

Blogged by James 4 Years ago...

Having spent the last four weeks living in a hospital Joanne is finally home!

The traction is now off her leg and she's allowed to sit on the floor and play though she's not to stand up on it for another three weeks (and then only if the doctor is happy with the x-ray). I've spent four weeks sleeping in a hospital which has been a slightly surreal experience but not a bad one. The staff on ward 130E at Hull Royal Infirmary were fantastic and looked after Joanne and her family really well.

Thanks to everybody who has been thinking of and praying for her.

Dominicans not so pro-life after all...?

Blogged by James 4 Years ago...

It seems somebody didn't get the memo about 'vs the politicians'...

Vigil of reparation outside Blackfriars, Oxford, for the invitation of Jon Cruddas MP, the pro-abortion politician to speak at their conference

Dr Jon Cruddas MP is due to speak at Blackfriars Hall, Oxford, on Saturday 29th October at their conference 'The Modern State and the Kingdom of God'. Dr Cruddas will speak about 'Building democracy'.

In December 2010 Jon Cruddas told The Catholic Herald that abortion "should be safe, legal and rare" and in June 2007 he said to BBC Sunday AM , when questioned about abortion ,“I'm perfectly happy with the current situation”. The current situation in the UK is that there are 570 registered abortions on average each day, with abortions carried out up to birth.

Since 2000, Jon Cruddas MP voted 18 times with the anti-life lobby. For example:

  • voting in favour of the anti-life Human Fertilisation and Embryology Act at second reading - a law designed to kill millions of innocent human beings deliberately created never to be born. 
  • voting for the pro-euthanasia Mental Capacity Act.

Dr Cruddas has also expressed his pride in his voting record in support of the homosexual agenda. Prior to this campaign, Daniel Blackman wrote three times to the interim director of the Las Casas Institute Fr Richard Finn OP. The letters were dated 17th August 2011, 21st September 2011 and 7th October 2011.

These letters raised objections to Jon Cruddas MP being invited to speak, with a request that the invitation to him be withdrawn. Daniel received one reply to his first letter. Fr Richard said in his reply that they took their Catholic identity seriously, but that they thought it was acceptable to invite a speaker along with whom they wouldn't necessarily agree with on all issues. Fr Richard did not respond to Daniel's two subsequent letters and he has been informed several days in advance that this vigil will be taking place. Whilst there is still time, it is hoped Las Casas will withdraw their invitation to Jon Cruddas. In the absence of this happening, an act of public prayer and witness is felt to be a sensible and respectful course of action.

"The Catholic community and Catholic institutions should not honor those who act in defiance of our fundamental moral principles. They should not be given awards, honors or platforms which would suggest support for their actions." ~ US Catholic bishops' document Catholics in Political Life, June 2004

"Platforms which would suggest support for their actions" had been interpreted to mean "speaking invitations, as these invitations would suggest support for their actions."

Catholics are naturally scandalised that a Catholic institution have invited a speaker who has on several occasions voted for measures which deny human beings their fundamental right to life and which are in direct contradiction to Church teaching. Therefore we will be holding a vigil in reparation for this event outside Blackfriars, Oxford, from 3pm - 5pm Saturday 29th October. You are welcome to join us.

We are praying for the conversion of Dr Jon Cruddas MP, those who invited him to speak and those Catholics associated with Blackfriars who have not raised their voice in opposition to this scandal. We also pray for all those whose faith has been weakened or destroyed by scandals within the Church. We entrust them all to the Immaculate Heart of Mary.

In light of his record we are calling on Blackfriars to cancel Dr Jon Cruddas' address, just as the Catholic Parliamentary Internship Scheme recently cancelled their placement of an intern with him.

This event has been organised by Catholics: Called to be faithful, not compromise. You can contact us at or visit our blog

If you live within an hours drive of Oxford then you should definitely go along and support the vigil between 3pm and 5pm this Saturday.

Congratulations Michael and Tania!

Blogged by James 4 Years ago...

Congratulations to Michael and Tania over at Larger Family Life who are celebrating the birth of twins.

That would be their tenth and eleventh child.

Young Nuns

Blogged by James 4 Years ago...

The Fransiscan Sisters of the Renewal are great and we are very lucky to have them and the Fransiscan Friars of the Renewal just down the road in Leeds. They were featured as part of a recent BBC programme 'Young Nuns'.

Every time we meet the Fransiscan Sisters/Friars I find myself thinking that our family would be happier if we just lived a bit more like them. After all...

"The family is likewise an evangelizing community, where the Gospel is received and put into practice, where prayer is learned and shared, where all the members, by word and deed and by the love they have for one another, bear witness to the Good News of salvation."

John Paul II

Anyways, if you are quick (before 1st Nov) you can catch Young Nuns on iPlayer. If you're too busy to watch it all, skip to 11:10, 18:40, 27:36 and 44:00 for the bits about our friends in Leeds.

And yes, as it happens, being a dad also involves dancing and singing with children. It ought perhaps to involve a bit more prayer on my part.

Christians banned from fostering children...

Blogged by James 4 Years ago...

Refusing to say that gay lifestyles are 'acceptable' now apparently makes you unsuitable to foster children.

Fortunately it's only that kind of Christian. Other kinds of Christian are still allowed so this definitely isn't about Christianity at all and it's totally reasonable for our Bishops to remain silent about this kind of thing because let's face it, ignoring Catholic teaching is 100% compatible with being a Catholic.

Catholics who choose to believe the unpopular bits about Catholicism are really just choosing to have an optional extra bit - probably because they enjoy hating everybody. Those kinds of people deserve whatever they get.


Update: Oh look. Archbishop Vincent Nichols has something to say about the rights of the very small minority of Catholics who might have become members of the Royal family but find themselves excluded yet he doesn't have anything to say about the thousands of Catholics who might have become foster parents but can't because they accept the Church's teaching on homosexuality.

You blind guides, you strain out a gnat and swallow a camel!

Fr Leon Pereira OP has sent his thoughts on the matter to Paul Smeaton and given permission for them to be published. Thank you Fr Leon.

Dr Cruddas’ voting record as an MP on abortion and same sex unions is not in keeping with the teaching or mind of the Catholic Church. This matters all the more because I am given to understand that Dr Cruddas describes himself as a ‘practising Catholic’ - a designation at odds with his actions as an MP. His actions appropriate the dimension of scandal precisely because he is a public figure. Therefore what he says and does in public which is contrary to Catholic faith and morals, all the while describing himself as a ‘practising Catholic’, are a scandal to the Faithful and prone to reinforce the assumption that perhaps these things (abortion, same sex unions, etc) do not matter, and that Catholics may reasonably conform their mind to that of the age, and still somehow (mysteriously!) remain fully Catholic without incurring any penalties whatsoever. That is a grave wrong wrought against God and His Church.

Is the Church then unable to dialogue with institutions or individuals who hold certain beliefs contrary to our Faith? Not at all. From the beginning we prayed for the very same emperors and authorities who persecuted and killed us. We appealled to them, to their reason, for tolerance and for the truth (the sole truth that comes from God which they can still perceive by the use of their reason, and not necessarily faith) which enables genuine justice and peace in society.

Notice how in her history the Church has not hesitated to negotiate with authorities, no matter how evil their deeds. We hold out the hope for their conversion and salvation, beginning with the cessation of their evil deeds, but also we do not see anything or anyone as beyond hope whilst they are still in via, still alive.
So in our desire to spread the Gospel, we should never be reluctant to dialogue with anyone, whatever their beliefs, so long as they are genuinely open to dialogue. You cannot dialogue with soliloquists, but we can still pray for them. I see the invitation extended to Dr Cruddas as a great opportunity for the friars at Blackfriars, Oxford, to ascertain where exactly his faith has gone wrong, and how his conscience has come to be so deformed. I am not too surprised that he has ended up like this, because the Church in our country has for too long been filled with compromise on essentials, and tolerated error - error which has poisoned the minds of too many Catholics who take secular assumptions as their yardstick in morals, and not Christ and His authoritative teaching, expressed by His Church.

But when Blackfriars opens its doors to the public to hear Dr Cruddas, this becomes a different matter. The invitation, although not an awards ceremony, nevertheless takes on the air of an accolade. Out of politeness it is unlikely that Dr Cruddas will be asked serious (however awkward) questions. Instead it is most likely he will leave Blackfriars with a sense of vindication, confirmed in his erroneous position by our silence and misplaced courtesy. Is it inconceivable that he or his supporters may say that he was honoured by an invitation to Blackfriars, where he set forth his positions in a well-received and unchallenged lecture, etc? The false impression given then is that Dr Cruddas truly is what he calls himself: a ‘practising Catholic’. And it is the Catholic in the pew who will suffer - either by being misled into error, or by the scandal this will cause.

At the heart of this, I wonder why Dr Cruddas in particular was invited by the Las Casas Institute? There are many MPs to invite, so the reason is unlikely to be his membership of the Commons. I hazard that it is his Catholicism and perhaps his affiliation to the Labour Party. But, as I have said above, his distorted understanding of the Catholic Faith is a scandal because he is a public figure. There seems to be an assumption in this country that to be Catholic is to be Labour. This naivete reached a nadir in the fawning displayed by our Church over that most reprehensible couple Tony and Cherie Blair. In Mr Blair’s case, I cannot understand how he could be received into the Church without a public abjuration of his erroneous beliefs and practices - for example, his own voting record on abortion. These were errors he committed before he became a Catholic, but they were in the public sphere, and his reception as a Catholic without any recantation is a continuing scandal.

The Church must remember that her one Lord and Spouse is Jesus Christ, and not hurry to jump into bed blithely and blindly with any political party or establishment. It is such ‘promiscuity’ which infects us, infects our faith, and makes the Church weak, sick and compromised.

The assumption that the Church’s social teaching is more naturally alligned to the political Left is a false one. The great irony is that Dr Cruddas (who has woefully failed to stand up for the Catholic teaching on abortion by his voting) has been invited by an institute committed to ‘justice and peace’ (our normal shorthand for Catholic Social Doctrine) when the single greatest justice and peace issue in our country is abortion! Is that like inviting the BNP to speak on ethnic minorities?

Justice and peace has, in the U.K., often been interpreted as ‘soft’ issues, that the middle classes can protest safely, for example, nuclear weapons and their disarmament, or ecological issues. I call them ‘soft’ because they do not impact our daily lives, even though we live in the shadow of nuclear destruction and environmental pollution (I am suspicious of ‘Climate Change’ being treated as a pseudo-religion, one which supplants the Gospel in the minds of too many Catholics and Christians; the only unforgiveable sin for them seems to be one’s ‘carbon footprint’). The things which do impact our daily lives are abortion, employment, just wages, euthanasia, the poison of contraception, and the erosion of both marriage and the family.

Perhaps the ‘Cruddas Affair’ is a wake up call to Catholics. Why is the Church so sycophantically snuggling up to the Left? Why do we tolerate errors on this scale? Why are Catholic public figures not brought to task for the scandal they cause? Justice and peace must be at the heart of the Church’s faith and morals, and I mean true justice and peace, and not simply those ‘easy’ or ‘soft’ issues which the wider society will not object too much to, and which does not require individual Catholics to convert to the Gospel.

We sign agreements to make our parishes ‘Fair Trade friendly’. That requires a conversion of sorts, although I understand that Fair Trade as it now stands could be improved and made fairer. But why do we not make a covenant with all our families (remember, they are the ‘domestic Church’ according to Vatican II!) to be ‘Humanae Vitae friendly’? Is it a good use of our energies to chain ourselves to the gates of Faslane, when hundreds of thousands of children are slaughtered in our cities every year? Probably not, but it is easier isn't it? It's easier to moan about carbon footprints than to form our consciences according to the mind of Holy Mother Church. But then the Gospel isn't about what's easier.


Fr Leon Pereira, O.P.

h/t Paul Smeaton

Jon Cruddas rained off...?

Blogged by James 4 Years ago...

Sounds like the Jon Cruddas talk at Blackfriars in Oxford didn't go ahead.

Maybe he was ill or had family commitments or something. On the other hand, perhaps he pulled out because...

...several younger members of the Priory are active supporters of SPUC in Oxford, supporters of vigils outside abortion clinics oragnised by similar parts of the anti-abortion movement, and went ballistic upon hearing that Dr Cruddas was coming to visit??


Who knows? If that's true then well done them. Meanwhile somebody called Francis Davis (I've never heard of him either) is spitting feathers.

Fr Perera seems to think that a senior MP giving up his Saturday to travel from Dagenham to Oxford is ‘bestowing an honour’ on him. How very self referential. Get real Father, Dr Cruddas does bigger gigs every week.

It is all very strange really as in September 2008 Jon Cruddas spoke in the very same room that he was due to speak in tommorrow inside Blackfriars Priory and we had a great chat in the Lamb And Flag afterwards. His views are the same now as they were then and he went down a storm.

And thus does the Church – well the 90 or so English Dominicans 2/3 of whom are active – risk failing to honour one of its sons to whom they owe respect.

The only solution is for the Prior Provincial to invite Dr Cruddas back to Oxford and give him a platform in the Priory so as to send a clear signal that the English Dominicans played no part in Dr Cruddas’s absence tommorrow.


What a whirlwind of contradiction. First he mocks Fr Pereira for thinking it would be "bestowing an honour" for Blackfriars to have Dr Cruddas over to speak. Then without pausing for breath he says the Church could "risk failing to honour one of its sons" if they don't have him over to speak. Is it an honour or not?

Elsewhere he writes...

Now, I have not met Fr Periera so none of this is personal. But his stance is not helpful, is of a piece with his policies as Prior in Leicester, is politically naive and will do damage to the pro-life cause. He has been led astray by that part of the anti-abortion movement that likes to be funded to talk to those with whom it agrees , and rant against the rest. In that regard his position is co-terminous in its political irresponsibility with that of SPUC’s and does nothing for the sensible voices in parliament who seek reform on such issues. Theologically its the equivalent of walking around with hand cleanser and boxes of Ariel Soap Powder for one’s own use rather than having a vision of how to build sanitary considtions for a society.


Presumably Francis Davis thinks sanitary conditions for society would be best built by people who don't keep their own hands clean? In any case, it is difficult to see how sanitary conditions are promoted by giving a platform to somebody who thinks speading germs is a good idea.

Rabbiting on about Halloween!

Blogged by James 4 Years ago...

In the absence of Christ, the after life looks pretty grim.

Remember you will die.


With bunnies!