Correctio Filialis

If you have been following the latest news from within the Church, you are familiar with the ongoing debacle regarding Pope Francis and his questionable teaching on communion for the divorced. It began with the Dubia of the four good cardinals, and now, we have this: the Filial Correction.

Our Holy Father has remained silent in the wake of the Dubia, which out of the signatories, only two cardinals remain living. Read, then and behold: a letter signed and delivered to the Pope.

Most Holy Father,
With profound grief, but moved by fidelity to our Lord Jesus Christ, by love for the Church and for the papacy, and by filial devotion toward yourself, we are compelled to address a correction to Your Holiness on account of the propagation of heresies effected by the apostolic exhortation Amoris laetitia and by other words, deeds and omissions of Your Holiness.

We are permitted to issue this correction by natural law, by the law of Christ, and by the law of the Church, which three things Your Holiness has been appointed by divine providence to guard. By natural law: for as subjects have by nature a duty to obey their superiors in all lawful things, so they have a right to be governed according to law, and therefore to insist, where need be, that their superiors so govern. By the law of Christ: for His Spirit inspired the apostle Paul to rebuke Peter in public when the latter did not act according to the truth of the gospel (Gal. 2). St Thomas Aquinas notes that this public rebuke from a subject to a superior was licit on account of the imminent danger of scandal concerning the faith (Summa Theologiae 2a 2ae, 33, 4 ad 2), and ‘the gloss of St Augustine’ adds that on this occasion, “Peter gave an example to superiors, that if at any time they should happen to stray from the straight path, they should not disdain to be reproved by their subjects” (ibid.). The law of the Church also constrains us, since it states that “Christ’s faithful . . . have the right, indeed at times the duty, in keeping with their knowledge, competence, and position, to manifest to the sacred pastors their views on matters which concern the good of the Church” (Code of Canon Law 212:2-3; Code of Canons of Oriental Churches 15:3).

This is only the opening paragraph. You can already see the amount of talented scholarship and effort put in, and it is not without ground. Even Bishop Fellay has signed, along with other prominent scholars and theologians.

The official website can be found here.

My thoughts regarding the matter are unimportant; I find the need for this public awareness fitting. I love our Holy Father, as every Catholic ought – his authority is given by Our Lord and Saviour and is to be unquestioned. However, something is obviously wrong in the way the texts of Amoris Laetitia have been written and there is a case for certain scandal regarding a certain ghost-writer of the document.

(Kiss me with the kisses of your mouth)

I digress. Let us pray.

Dearest Mother of God, truly the Theotokos and Mother of all the Church: hear our supplications as we call out to Thee. Safeguard, dearest Mother, our Holy Father, from all heresy and error. Protect the Church, dearest Star of the Sea: let not the tempest drown Her, as we raise our intentions up to You. For Thou alone art closest to the ear of the Father, the mercy of the Son, and the breath of the Holy Ghost. Pray for our Church, oh holy Mother of God: pray for us to Thy Son.

To Thy Son, oh Mary, intercede.

Oh Christ, the eternal King and High Priest: protect Thy Vicar upon this Earth and have mercy upon the sins of Thy Church. For we are only human, and only Thy grace can aid us in our hour of trial. Gentlest Saviour, we adore and magnify Thy most holy and divine name. We confess that we have sinned against Thee: in what we have done, in what we have failed to do, for we have not loved our neighbour as ourself and we humbly implore Thy forgiveness. Let Thy will be done, O eternal and life-giving Trinity. One God, in three persons: have mercy on us. Thy love is all around us, like a vast and mighty ocean: we are safe in Thy stronghold.

Through the Immaculate Heart of Mary.

Through the Sacred Heart of Jesus.



How He Loves Us!

He found it hard to focus on the light, because the strength and depth of the void between them was far too blighting, far more gentler, and slightly more beautiful than the stars which mapped the heavens.

Water moved below his feet, slapping against concrete, holding the River Thames together. Finite, finished, feeling. “Oh just to plunge, to drown – to fall into the depths of darkness and complete this earthly journey…”

The young man prayed, and Jesus came. Consumed by divine love and ardour, he took up his pen. Then he wrote a hymn, words of hope and an expression for reason. A true reason, the only reason for to live.

O the deep, deep love of Jesus, vast, unmeasured, boundless, free!
Rolling as a mighty ocean in its fullness over me!
Underneath me, all around me, is the current of Thy love
Leading onward, leading homeward to Thy glorious rest above!

O the deep, deep love of Jesus, spread His praise from shore to shore!
How He loveth, ever loveth, changeth never, nevermore!
How He watches o’er His loved ones, died to call them all His own;
How for them He intercedeth, watcheth o’er them from the throne!

O the deep, deep love of Jesus, love of every love the best!
‘Tis an ocean vast of blessing, ’tis a haven sweet of rest!
O the deep, deep love of Jesus, ’tis a heaven of heavens to me;
And it lifts me up to glory, for it lifts me up to Thee!

Samuel Trevor Francis is the author. Although a member of the non-conformist Plymouth Brethren, as a lay preacher, his sentiments are contained in no ecclesial community specifically, and reign in the fulness of truth when we consider the profound truth of Christ’s holy Catholic and Apostolic Church. Perhaps if Francis were a member of the Church, he might have been completely consumed in the fire of Divine Love, with access to the Body and Blood of our loving Saviour himself.

I love this hymn. Quite often I find myself lost in the void of darkness, carrying the burden of a sadness so inhibiting and burdensome that I wonder if I can carry on until the next day. I have never been suicidal, because it is the love of God alone who guards me from those thoughts. It is my faith that drives me, because I know that God wants every individual here on Earth for a divine reason. I know I am loved, and I know who is my master, and it is not myself.

“How He loveth, ever loveth, changeth never, nevermore!” How true are these words! How He loves us! Each Sunday we are privy to His own flesh and blood, soul and divinity!

Though unworthy, how He loveth! 

To all who carry their cross, never despair. Always hope, and if you can’t hope, pray. Then you will be given the grace to hope. Never stop praying.


The Good Shepherd – Voelkel

“I was received as an envoy of the Holy See with true respect and with cordiality”

If you have been following the traditional Catholic blogs and know anything of the SSPX, you’d know by now that there has been for the last year or two, beginning with Pope Benedict XVI, talks between the superior Bishop Fellay and various Cardinals and prelates. Today, over on Rorate Caeli, I read this heartwarming interview done by the blog’s Spanish correspondents:

Adelante la Fe: Your Excellence has recently visited the SSPX [seminaries] in the United States and France. We know it was a “discreet” meeting but, can you make an evaluation for us of what you saw and talked with them about? What expectations do you have of a coming reconciliation and which would be the main obstacle for it? Mons. Schneider: The Holy See asked me to visit the two [seminaries] of the SSPX in order to conduct a discussion on a specific theological topic with a group of theologians of the SSPX and with His Excellency Bishop Fellay. For me this fact shows that for the Holy See the SSSPX is not a negligible ecclesiastical reality and that it has to be taken seriously. I am keeping a good impression of my visits. I could observe a sound theological, spiritual and human reality in the two [seminaries]. The “sentire cum ecclesia” of the SSPX is shown by the fact that I was received as an envoy of the Holy See with true respect and with cordiality. Furthermore, I was glad to see in both places in the entrance area a photo of Pope Francis, the reigning Pontiff. In the sacristies there were plates with the name of Pope Francis and the local diocesan bishop. I was moved to assist the traditional chant for the Pope (“Oremus pro pontifice nostro Francisco…”) during the solemn exposition of the Blessed Sacrament.
To my knowledge there are no weighty reasons in order to deny the clergy and faithful of the SSPX the official canonical recognition, meanwhile they should be accepted as they are. This was indeed Archbishop Lefebvre’s petition to the Holy See: “Accept us as we are”.
I think the issue of Vatican II should not be taken as the “conditio sine qua non”, since it was an assembly with primarily pastoral aims and characteristics. A part of the conciliar statements reflects only its time and possesses a temporary value, as disciplinary and pastoral documents do. When we look in a two millennia old perspective of the Church, we can state, that there is on both sides (Holy See and the SSPX) an over-evaluation and over-estimation of a pastoral reality in the Church, which is Vatican II.

It is well known that Msgr Schneider, who is the auxiliary Bishop of Astana in Kazakhstan, has always been firm in his orthodox practise of faith. In February, he took a moment to point out, define, and denounce what can be seen as a New Gnosticism. His Grace has had the opportunity to visit the French and American seminaries and was welcome with open arms and free from criticism, and I think that that is absolutely wonderful. While a few cracks would certainly have to be paved in the way of regularisation of the Society, I agree with Msgr Schneider that we ought to take them as is, “as what’s written on the tin” so to speak. Please remember to keep Msgr Schneider in your prayers, and the Society of St Pius X as well, in your prayers and offerings.

Bishop Schneider offering the Pontifical High Mass during the Latin Mass Society pilgrimage to West Grinstead

If you’re interested, take a minute to pop over here and read the article that attaches the photo above.

Will we be known at the gates of Heaven?

This morning I was playing for an Anglican parish, and I heard what was one of the most thought-provoking homily; something the preacher said struck a chord that any true priest I know hasn’t said.

I don’t participate, it’s not the Mass. However, I do like to listen to the readings and the sermon to see what good is in it, and today I believe I found gold. Their gospel reading was that from the book of St Matthew, in particular Chapter 5 – the Beatitudes.

Now Jesus seeing the multitudes, went up into a mountain, and when he had sat down, his disciples came to him. And opening his mouth he taught them, saying:

Blessed are the poor in spirit: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

Blessed are the meek: for they shall possess the land.

Blessed are they that mourn: for they shall be comforted.

Blessed are they that hunger and thirst after justice: for they shall be filled.

Blessed are the merciful: for they shall obtain mercy.

Blessed are the clean of heart: for they shall see God.

Blessed are the peace-makers: for they shall be called the children of God.

Blessed are they that suffer persecution for justice sake: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

Blessed are ye when they shall revile you, and persecute you, and speak all that is evil against you untruly, for my sake; rejoice and be exceedingly glad, for your reward is very great in heaven: for so they persecuted the prophets, that were before you.

Of the fourth beutitude, St John Chrysostem says:

What is this poverty of spirit, but humility and contrition? This virtue of humility is placed in the first place, because it is the parent of every other virtue, as pride is the mother of every vice. Pride deprived our first parents of their original innocence, and nothing but humility can restore us to our former purity. We may pray and fast, we may be possessed of mercy, chastity, or any virtues, if humility do not accompany them, they will be like the virtue of the Pharisee, without foundation, without fruit. (Hom. xv.)

The Anglican fellow said nothing of St John, nor of the fourth beatitude, but I thought that was nice for consideration as it does connect to what he says. Our humility and contrition is founded and rooted as the pine tree in our love of Christ: our knowing of him, our obedience to him, our friendship in him. He is God, and He has opened up the gates of Heaven. What our priestly-minded friend posed this morning was this: when the hour of our death has come and we knock on the door of heaven, will God the father ask His Son “who standeth there?” and will he reply “this is my brother, someone who loves me and I have known for a short while” or “this is my brother, whom I have known his entire life, and who loves God with all his heart.”? Will we be shown to the room that He has prepared to us?

When we knock at the door, will the Father say “who standeth there?”, the response only being “I know not who stands there.”?

Now, I know there are some theological inaccuracies here and you’ll have to forgive me because I’m only half awake to begin with as well as dying with the flu-season’s gifts, but isn’t that something that tugs at the strings of your mind? Do we know He that died for us, our redeemer, the Blessed Trinity, the one, undivided, eternal, and adorable Godhead? Do we know the role of our Blessed Mother, who brought forth the son into His humanity?  Do we take the assistance of the saints that surround us?

Here’s your thought. Chew on it. I certainly am, and I don’t know how to answer my own questions. The only thing is this: I’m going to talk to my parish priest about this, and I think everyone should consider that in an examination of conscience before confession. God Love You All.

He that was called Judas

Yesterday as I was walking down the road, a man came over to me, related to me as if he were an uncle that was always there yet pays no blood relation to me, was particularly ossified and came over and gave me a hug and a kiss on the cheek. As if he bathed in it, the smell of strong illegal whiskey surrounded him, something we aren’t quite unfamiliar with. The ocean waves washed over the shore and the salt air blew in, filtering out the inebriation. I talked to him for a bit and he flicked a few rocks over the hill, frightening a chorus of birds, laughed, and walked back to his house. I soon figured it out: this was purely symbolic.

Of course the act wasn’t random, why today was I getting a kiss on the cheek from a man who usually didn’t go in ten inches of your personal space let alone grab on to you?

As he was yet speaking, behold a multitude; and he that was called Judas, one of the twelve, went before them, and drew near to Jesus, for to kiss him. And Jesus said to him: Judas, dost thou betray the Son of man with a kiss?

The passage above is from the gospel of St Luke, of the twenty second chapter. I’m not, most certainly, the Son of Man, nor a saint, nor any pious subject of the devoted author’s pen. But why did this happen to me just days after a great slap in the face from nature was given to me? Last weekend proved difficult to me, and it really broke me down emotionally. Yesterday, my closest friend also fell asleep at the wheel and drove into a hill by the post office, and yet is afraid to still drive. An ongoing conflict is still advancing here in my own house, of which my part is minor but I’m caught in the middle of. Seldom comes the peace I’ve been so bloody used to. Was that the betrayal? Or was that God giving me, as he does to each one of us, a cross to bear? Or is it, on the other hand, myself going crackers!? It feels as if the world looked at me and said “HA! You idjit! Enough of the foolish happiness, to Hell you go!” then twisted itself out of proportion.

Maybe I am just losing it.

Social Justice post

With news from good ol’ county Armagh ta-day. A certain high school, known with renown for it’s love of the marginalised – the persecuted LGBT people in our society, has decided to take the courageous step and meet at the Pride parade, as if it were the very thing they should do to promote Catholic values and commitments.

Sponsa. Capite nobis vulpes parvulas quæ demoliuntur vineas: nam vinea nostra floruit.

Now, call me stupid, please go ahead and do it, but gay pride has not a single thing to do with Catholic values.

Pride in oneself, in ones abilities, are. To support against the marginalisation of LGBT people, is as well. The affirmation of the sin of pre-marital, same-sex sexual acts of any time, isn’t. You can argue that Pride isn’t about that. I’d listen to that argument too, and I wouldn’t say anything because I haven’t got a clue about what Pride is to begin with. I only know what I’ve experienced first-hand.

To be quite honest, one of my closest friends is homosexual. I’d support him in anything he did, help him along in school, take him in were he ever out of the house for some reason. However, he knows I will not be on board with, in any circumstances, a same-sex relationship, and he understands why. Education breeds understanding, as the progressive crowd likes to say.

What the group of students did here was approach the issue of LGBT rights from the modern, progressive, “common” angle. As Catholics, it’s quite important that we are familiar with our own faith and dis ain’t how it’s done.

It’s true that we live in a sex-obsessed culture, and on all sides of every political spectrum, it is the main choice of conversation as of these past few months. The pride parades that I’ve witnessed were a show of a few different things. The biggest aspect was the promotion of sex-based love, that however you choose to have a relationship, the most important thing was good sex and common sexual interests. I know for a damn sure fact that just like heterosexuals, homosexuals are no different: they need to be loved, and to love, and sex isn’t the main priority. I also know for sure that we can’t group people into two groups as homo/hetero-sexuals. This is the reductionist terminology that the Church warns us against.

L – lesbian, G – gay, B – bi, T – trans, and the rest of the LGBT alphabet of people have been denied the opportunity to be treated as individuals. A boy that is attracted to other boys is seen as a “gay”, and likewise the girl that is attracted to other girls as a “lesbian”, and a boy or girl that has an attraction to both sexes as a “bisexual.” From what I’ve seen first hand, especially in my age group, we are defined by our sexuality alone. What Tristian does is so gay, because he’s gay. What Aisleen does is even gayer, because she’s such a lesbian. It’s no longer about the beauty of Tristian’s personality, or Aisleen’s sense of humour.

That is the first error that I’ve seen at these parades. The reduction of men and women into three, two, or seven letter words. Their souls and individual personality are completely neglected. As Catholics, it is our duty and our joy to “love one another, as we love ourselves.” We wouldn’t want to be kicked out of our homes and thrown out into the streets for professing to be a Catholic by our parents, and in like manner, nor do boys and girls who are attracted to the same sex.

We must always remember that we are our own people, we all are created unique in the likeness and image of God. There is no “a” breed, “b” breed, “c” breed. We are different, yet united in faith and in humanity. What’s more amazing is that we are united in that Christ himself died so that we would sin no more – his sacrifice for our debts, because God loved us so very much. Yet here we are, going against His will in the name of “promoting Catholic values.”

The choice made by this high school to allow their Catholic school to be represented here is counter-productive, because it doesn’t promote the authentic message of Christianity. How? I just explained that to you. The authentic message is that God is love, and the Lord himself has said:

Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with thy whole heart and thy whole soul and thy whole mind. This is the greatest of the commandments, and the first. And the second is this: Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself.

The regular idea of a Catholic school is to foster a great love of God, and love of neighbour, and knowledge of our faith. The catechism reads:

2357 Homosexuality refers to relations between men or between women who experience an exclusive or predominant sexual attraction toward persons of the same sex. It has taken a great variety of forms through the centuries and in different cultures. Its psychological genesis remains largely unexplained. Basing itself on Sacred Scripture, which presents homosexual acts as acts of grave depravity, tradition has always declared that “homosexual acts are intrinsically disordered.” They are contrary to the natural law. They close the sexual act to the gift of life. They do not proceed from a genuine affective and sexual complementarity. Under no circumstances can they be approved.

2358 The number of men and women who have deep-seated homosexual tendencies is not negligible. They do not choose their homosexual condition; for most of them it is a trial. They must be accepted with respect, compassion, and sensitivity. Every sign of unjust discrimination in their regard should be avoided. These persons are called to fulfil God’s will in their lives and, if they are Christians, to unite to the sacrifice of the Lord’s Cross the difficulties they may encounter from their condition.

2359 Homosexual persons are called to chastity. By the virtues of self-mastery that teach them inner freedom, at times by the support of disinterested friendship, by prayer and sacramental grace, they can and should gradually and resolutely approach Christian perfection.

I know I might be preaching to the choir, but it’s important to talk about this from my perspective. I’m going into my last year of high school. If we loved our neighbour as ourself, it would pain us to see them fall into sin. If my friend, who I love as the best friend I have EVER had, were to fall into this sin I wouldn’t be seven seconds out the door to give him a hug and ask him to reconsider – talk to him genuinely, truthfully, ask him to help me understand, and for him to understand me. I’d do anything for to make him happy as he could be, and that trap of false happiness is an easy one. I’ve fallen into it, and do, on a regular basis.

I’m not sure who is to be blamed – the administration or the students. It’s the teacher who is supposed to promote a moral education – this isn’t happening. We need to say a big prayer for this High School – a daily, nightly, afternoonly prayer for the students and teachers of this otherwise exemplary institution. Have you seen their A-grades? I’m jealous!

Dear Lady of Knock, Queen of all Ireland, pray for us that have recourse to Thee – and pray for St Paul’s. We should offer up a sacrifice for all of Ireland both Northern and the republic. We cannot pray too much, it’s impossible so ya know.


Religious Opinion

Last night I was graced with the presence of some of the most highly renowned 17-16 year old intellectuals on the island. My good friend and myself were camping with them, and when got everything around the fire so we could roast a decent marshmallow without cremation, the religious opinions broke out: peacefully, but in the way that the lark in the morning sweeps up the worm by surprise.

Of course this little gathering was not unlike the congregation of the finest educated minds at a pub near the finest and superior universities, so they thought, and their speech was that of foreign “grandiosity” (if I could use that instead of pretentious).

It’s hard for me to, in all honesty, take them seriously when they get at it because there’s just so much hot air that a boiler would push itself off the stove in embarrassment. It didn’t get steamy, but I found it a great insight, on my part, into the mind of he that aligneth himself not. Religion is useless, harmful, a dangerous corruption of civilisation. The very civilisation that is threatened by our religiosity, is one that was built and reared on the rock that is faith in Christ.

As it goes now, Christ is endangering the common good of the common man, in his common home and his common thought. I feel bad and angry at myself because I didn’t speak up. I couldn’t honestly take what they were saying, as something they were serious about. I had a hard time trying to understand if they were joking, or saying it just to see if I’d react? I wasn’t sure. I don’t really care, in all honesty, because you’ve got to base your reactions upon the character of each person. We all want an honest conversation, and we all know we’re right. Don’t go clawing and screaming at someone as if they were a wooden head with a mouth.

But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you. Gospel of St Matthew 5:44

If our aim is to be Christlike in all our actions, then who can we look to but Christ himself? He is our Master and our King. To imitate him is the greatest of all struggles because we have that pride and self-righteous idea that we are somehow better than all that breathes and God only knows how many days I’ve woken up with that attitude: Huff-puff, I know better, no one is greater than me. These are the days I need a good friend with a good rugby ball to smack me over the head. To match the logician, we’ve got to use our God-given logic. Pray, pray, pray. There’s no greater thing than prayer. This is more of a reminder to myself I’d say, than to back up what I’m saying.

When a friend upsets us, forgive him, but help correct him as well. Don’t get defensive. Say that “you understand why he thinks that because it’s certainly what it looks like, however, consider this (fill in the blank).” If I was a devout soul, I would frequent the sacraments much more than I do now. I’d say many more Rosaries than I do now. I’d walk the way of the Cross, the Via Dolorosa, much more than just at the beginning of Lent. Our good behaviour, our manners and inner peace depends on the faith we have and in our willingness to cooperate in divine providence and in God’s will. I’m ashamed at how many times I’ve sat by and let those who are genuinely ignorant of the truth in the Church because all they’ve been exposed to is the media’s perception and outlook, and let them criticise what they don’t really understand. Just the same can be said about me, when I sit and type a criticism of those who believe what they do. I certainly don’t know what they’ve been exposed to on television, the internet, radio, in school; and that is why our prayers make all the difference.

The world is unkind to any Christian. We have no spiritual weaponry ready at hand, but if we frequently met Christ at the fortress of forgiveness, the door to the confessional, and we poured our hearts out knowing that there is a forgiving and loving God always at our side, if we received Him in the Holy Eucharist, and adored His very flesh with a devout and pious spirit? Our words would flow as smooth as honey, sweet as the dew, never without the guidance of Our Lord and His Blessed Mother. Our heart would achieve it’s peace, and the burden of our cross would be as if the wood hollowed out. 

O Christian Soul, hold onto Holy Mother Church, and make use of her great traditions. Earth will survive us, I’m sure.