Friday, 31 July 2015

Another of my Mother's Christmas Carol lyrics

This was written at the request of the hymnologist Erik Routley for the University Carol Book (1961) of which he was the editor.

1. Come, ye thankful people, and welcome Christ to earth
With songs of joy and gladness at this amazing birth.
For now within the manger the new-born Baby lies;
For him the angels' music is ringing through the skies,

They hail with adoration the one eternal Word
That has to earth descended to be by all men heard.
They hail with adoration the one eternal Word
That has to earth descended to be by all men heard.

2. A maiden and a baby, a stable cold and bare,
Yet never was there palace that could with this compare,
For here the Queen of angels her son and God adores
While he his heavenly Father for all mankind implores.

He comes from highest heaven to end our woe and strife,
That we may live for ever with his celestial life.
He comes from highest heaven to end our woe and strife,
That we may live for ever with his celestial life.

3. "Holy, Holy, Holy" the glorious angels cry,
And "Holy, Holy, Holy" let Christians now reply.
Gold and myrrh and incense are gifts from Eastern kings,
But prayer and adoration the poorest of us brings,

As singing with the angels "Nowell, nowell, nowell",
We worship the manger our Lord, Emmanuel.
As singing with the angels "Nowell, nowell, nowell",
We worship the manger our Lord, Emmanuel.

Thursday, 30 July 2015

Further moral floundering...

So, further to yesterday's post about the morality or otherwise of lying to save lives...

Firstly, Hugh of Avalon on Twitter asked for 'that chilling Newman quote.' (NB, for the pedants [well, really for myself in that role], I have now amended my original with 'quotation' for 'quote'). 

This is the one I had in mind:

"The Catholic Church holds it better for the sun and moon to drop from heaven, for the earth to fail, and for all the many millions on it to die of starvation in extremest agony, as far as temporal affliction goes, than that one soul, I will not say, should be lost, but should commit one single venial sin, should tell one wilful untruth, or should steal one poor farthing without excuse."
Of course, Newman says 'without excuse.' But does that clause apply only to the stealing of one poor farthing (and we do have a clear Catholic understanding that a starving man may steal a loaf of bread for his family) or to all the preceding clauses?

The main thrust, however, is clear: that sin is a far worse evil than death or suffering, and I think it is easy to lose sight of that perspective. But for Catholics it is foundational.

A second consideration: in the comments, Sig Sønnesyn raised the very important issue of the impact of telling a lie on the one who does so. Sin does not leave us unchanged. We all (I assume) know from bitter (and in my case, repeated) experience the easy progression from occasion of sin, to venial sin, to mortal sin. And as St Peter warns us: 'Be sober and watch: because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, goeth about seeking whom he may devour.' We may be quite sure that the devil is keen to exploit our legitimate anger at the evil of abortion to our own destruction.

As an inveterate and habitual liar, I am particularly sensitive on this point. 

And I think that there is a real risk that we end up, to justify both our anger and our tactics, demonising those whom we oppose. We see the almost unthinkable evil being committed by abortionists, and (understandably) characterise them as evil people. For example, if we use just war theory (an interesting proposal by the estimable Ttony  in yesterday's comms box) to justify our tactics, then we see them as the enemy waging war on the unborn and indeed on civilisation (and we are right, in one way). But we have clear commands about how we are to deal with our enemies: we must love them.

And really, that is the third consideration that was in my head as I awoke this morning. It is easy to see the unborn as the victims of abortion; it is not a great stretch to see their mothers (at least in many instances) as the victims, too. But what we should never lose sight of is that the primary victims of abortion are the abortionists: it is their eternal souls that are at most risk.

This paper by Anthony Ozimic of SPUC is well worth reading, about the effects of abortion on the abortionist.

So at least a secondary goal of all (Catholic) pro-life activity should be the conversion and salvation of the abortionists: it is our duty in charity. The work of Abby Johnson et al seems exemplary in this regard.

Quite how that informs this debate, I remain unclear; but we lose sight of it as a consideration to our great peril.

At the very least, we should pray for the abortionists as fervently as we do for the other victims in this terrible business: for our real enemy here is the devil, and it is his work, both through them, and in us, that we must oppose.

Sancte Michael Archangele, defende nos in proelio, 
contra nequitiam et insidias diaboli esto praesidium. 
Imperet illi Deus, supplices deprecamur: 
tuque, Princeps militiae caelestis, 
Satanam aliosque spiritus malignos, 
qui ad perditionem animarum pervagantur in mundo, 
divina virtute, in infernum detrude. 

Wednesday, 29 July 2015

Is it right to lie to save lives?

So a rather trenchant discussion has been taking place on Twitter (and what have I told you before about Twitter? Really not a good medium for such discussions...) about whether it is right to tell a lie to save lots of lives.

The context is the sting operation by the Centre for Medical Progress which has resulted in three (so far) chilling videos exposing Planned Parenthood's practice of selling parts of aborted unborn children (or foetuses, if you prefer the technical term - it means the same thing) for profit - and discussing the whole business in the most callous terms.

Clearly we should fight the evil abortion culture of deadly lies with every legitimate weapon available to us. But is lying a legitimate weapon?

I feel torn both ways  on this. On the one hand, I can see (and have seen) very strong arguments against lying. On the other, I can see (and have seen) very strong arguments in favour of what CMP has done. I have also seen very poor arguments marshalled, and indeed some ad hominem, which add heat rather than light to the debate.

People on either side of the debate see why their own side is right so clearly, and see how the other side is wrong with equal clarity; but I do not.

So this blog is an attempt to articulate some of my thinking; I do not necessarily expect to reach a definite conclusion (though I may, of course, surprise myself).

On the one hand, it seems to me that lying is a particularly serious type of sin. It is not just an offence against God's law, and normally an injustice to our neighbour; it is also an attack on God, in so far as it is an attack on the truth, and God the Son said: I am [...] the truth. Likewise, it is a siding with the Devil, who is the father of all lies. So even a relatively trivial lie, a venial sin, is (I think) a particularly serious type of venial sin, and therefore very dangerous for the person who commits it.

And any sin, mortal or venial, is to be avoided. It is a first principle of Catholic moral philosophy that we must not do evil in the hope of achieving good ends. Or to put it the other way around, for an action to be good, both the means and the end must be good.

Further, based on the Natural Law, St Thomas Aquinas makes it quite clear that every lie is sinful.

On the other hand, our duty to the truth is not, perhaps, as simple as it first appears. There are certainly occasions when it would be wrong to reveal the truth - the most obvious being the seal of the confessional. So withholding truth is not, in itself, always sinful.

Further the moral theologians allow deception (in certain circumstances) as legitimate, and it is hard to see the moral distinction between deception by devious means and a lie direct.

And then there is our fundamental moral intuition. It seems self-evident that to tell a lie in order to save lives is not a terrible thing to do. The example of hiding Jewish people from the Nazis and lying when you get the knock on the door is hard to refute without great moral discomfort.

Because of concupiscence (that is the damage to our natures left by Original Sin) I am wary of appeals to moral intuition. As I have observed before it is too easy to make excuses in sin.  But in this case, the moral intuition is inclining us to do something dangerous, not easy, so the question of it being disordered by self-interest seems less obvious, and therefore the moral intuition more worthy of respect.

So my heart pulls me in the direction of allowing the lie to save lives.  But then my head rebels: I consider St Thomas More, for example. He could easily have argued to himself that by a small lie, he could do far more good, both politically, and with regard to his vocation as a husband and father, than by sticking to the truth and dying, with no chance of achieving anything. Yet we revere him as a saint, a martyr and a hero for his witness to truth: and who would dare to say that no good came from it?

So perhaps a strict adherence to the truth, even if it prevents us from taking actions which we believe might well save lives, is what God wants: and He will use it according to His infinite wisdom and love, in ways that we cannot foresee.

Moreover, where does it end? If I will tell a small lie to save lives, would I tell a big one (eg falsify research, or lie on oath)? And if I would, what else would I do? Threaten an abortionist? Kidnap his child? Bomb his clinic? Murder his child as a warning (for after all, if taking one innocent life could save thousands...)? Where does one draw the line?  And how does one decide where to draw it?

The moral basis for our pro-Life beliefs is surely that there are some actions that are inherently wrong: if I don't adhere to that, on what basis do I proceed?

And then my heart revolts: are you not playing the Pharisee? Posing as virtuous, when you know the truth is quite other? You say you refuse to sully your purity to save lives, when you casually sin on a daily basis, with no greater purpose than your own comfort or whims?

And of course, my head knows the answers to that, not least the chilling quotation from Newman, and so it goes on.

And then people are quoting Rahab and all that, and I think, what about Abraham, who was ready to kill the innocent Isaac because God told him to do so? Obedience to God's law is foundational, not Pharisaical, surely? And so it goes on and on.

And part of me knows what I would do, but I am also clear that we cannot deduce what we should do from what we would do: that indeed would be arrogance, implying that all my behaviour is virtuous...

So I admire the clear-headed logic and rigour of those who insist that we cannot sin to do good: they are surely right.

And I admire the compassion of those who insist that lying to the likes of Planned Parenthood in order to stop the slaughter of children is legitimate: how can they be wrong?

And I cannot find any authority in the Church to support the notion that not all lying is sinful (if anyone can, please let me know!)

And I know in my head and my heart that there cannot, finally, be any conflict between Caritas and Veritas: for they are one and the same Person. 

And I remain unsure.


And why does it matter?

It matters because both truth and love matter.

It matters because in fighting abortion we are fighting a spiritual battle: so we must ensure that we are fighting it in ways that do not collude with the Father of Lies, but rather are taught us by the Father who is Love and Truth.

It matters because our vocation as humans is to know, love and serve God.

It matters because to sin is cataclysmic: whether that sin is lying, or failing to do all we legitimately can to save innocent lives.

And on a very practical note, it matters to me, as it reveals a huge gap in my own education, and the need to study this issue further.


As ever, I welcome comments: feel free to put me right, point out where I am an idiot, etc. 

However, I will not post comments that are unduly disparaging of others.

Sunday, 26 July 2015

Investors Wanted

With my astounding business acumen, I am putting together a business plan for a new, very profitable business which I plan to launch shortly. 

For a limited time, there is an opportunity for the forward-looking investor to get in on the ground floor of this innovative and highly lucrative enterprise.

Here's the scam. Very shortly, it will be both legal and lucrative to persuade people to commit suicide. 

It will be legal, because they will keep bringing the euthanasia legislation before parliament till they get the answer they want, and will then gradually extend the scope of it (to include the elimination of any opt-out clauses deemed necessary in the first instance, and then the removal of all the restraints and safeguards...)

It will be lucrative, because very soon the accountants will be able to demonstrate the annual cost of people living into their 80s (say) to the NHS and DWP; not to mention those living with any special needs. So to save NHS/DWP funds, voluntary euthanasia will be a very pragmatic option. And in the spirit of free-market enterprise, anyone helping some reach a decision should be remunerated with a small commission. 

So I plan to start an enterprise to be in pole position as soon as this becomes legally viable. We will have trained sales people, who will have a wonderfully euphemistic job title (suggestions welcome; though I am currently inclined to End-of-life Care Experts). They will use a completely non-judgemental approach to help people think through their options (ever-increasing pain and debility on the one hand, or a quick and easy end on the other) and reach the right decision. And they will collect the commission, whilst bathing in the virtuous glow of saving the NHS money.

Any takers?

Here's where I have trouble...

Here's where I have trouble in following some of President Obama's reasoning.

I love my children. That love expresses itself in many ways: spending time with them, educating them, laughing with them, providing for them, listening to their piano practice. It also expresses itself in specific, and appropriate, physical ways: tickling them, hugging them, chasing them around the garden, and when younger, throwing them into the air and catching them.

For that, I should be judged - positively. These are good loving behaviours.

That love does not express itself sexually; and if it were to do so, I should be judged negatively: that would be bad behaviour.

The same is true, of course, mutatis mutandis, for many other relationships in my life: with my parents, my siblings, my friends and so on.

There is one relationship, and one only, in which love is expressed sexually, and that is with my wife. That fact, not least the exclusivity of that sexual relationship, is beneficial to me, to her, to our children and to wider society. From it flows the family itself, including its stability; and our commitment to each others ensures that we do not threaten the stability of any other relationships, which is also in wider society's interests; as is the fact that we do not contract or transmit STIs, nor require abortions to correct 'mistakes.'

So when Obama says that nobody should be persecuted because of whom he or she loves, I agree. But when he extrapolates from that proposition the idea that States have a duty to promote homosexual relations on the same footing as married relations, I cannot follow him.

And he says that in Africa: a continent plagued with AIDS that has been spread by sexual promiscuity, not least amongst practicing homosexuals. 

Indeed, until relatively recently when they started to sanitise their image, part of gay pride for some homosexual men was a pride in promiscuity - and a promiscuity that reached staggering proportions. That is now not publicised: instead, a strategy was put in place which ensured we hear about the stable couples who have been together for 20 years. But who is to say which of these gay myths is nearer to reality?

What is clear is that Obama's only idea of controlling AIDS, swamping the population with condoms, is insufficient; and his promotion of a particular philosophy of how Africans should regulate their own affairs is both morally bankrupt and tainted by an American superiority that smacks of colonialism.

Saturday, 25 July 2015

The Enormity of the Pro-Life Challenge

It may be that I am a bit out of the loop these days, but it seems to me that the pro-life movement in this country has not really developed a coherent strategy, designed to win people over to a pro-life understanding.

And that is an enormous challenge. 

In one sense, history has moved in a pro-life direction. The science of embryology, the growing understanding of neuro-psychology, and the technology such as ultrasound all support the pro-life cause. 

Whereas in 1967 it was easy to believe the 'blob of tissue' argument, that is no longer intellectually possible.

But in another way, I would argue, history has moved against us. For we now find ourselves in a position in which a large proportion of the population has a psychological interest in believing abortion to be morally acceptable.

The reason is simple. Over the last 47 or so years, large numbers of women have had abortions; large numbers of husbands, lovers, mothers, friends have been close to them; and large numbers of medical and ancillary staff have performed, assisted or otherwise been involved in them.  Few, if any, of these people are likely to have a self-image that they are evil. Therefore, when confronted with the idea that abortion is evil, they may suffer from cognitive dissonance: they need to reconcile that notion with their self-understanding that they are not evil.

As I have had occasion to mention before, one of the many things I lament in the change from the Traditional to the New Rite of Mass is the loss of the wonderful prayer from Psalm 140 (said at the incensing of the altar): Pone, Dómine, custódiam ori meo, et óstium circumstántiæ lábiis meis: ut non declínet cor meum in verba malítiæ, ad excusándas excusatiónes in peccátis. (Set a watch, O Lord, before my mouth: and a door round about my lips.  Incline not my heart to evil words; to make excuses in sins.)

So one way, and I think the most frequent way, that we may try to resolve the type of cognitive dissonance I am concerned with, is to convince ourselves that our bad actions were not so bad, after all ('to make excuses in sins'). The unspoken, and scarcely adverted to, inner dialogue goes something like this. 'I am not an evil person. I had (performed, collaborated with, etc) an abortion. Therefore abortion cannot be such an evil thing.'

And of course, our media, entertainment industry, political establishment, medical establishment, schools and universities all confirm that judgement. I wrote some years ago about my nephew's tragic case, and I think it may well be very typical. They (he and his girlfriend) really believed - they needed to believe, and were taught to believe - that they were doing the responsible thing. They still feel the need to believe that. So we need to think carefully about the implications of that for our long-term pro-life strategy.

There is also another, almost opposite, psychological state that we may encounter. That is, the person who had an abortion, but does realise that it was evil. With time, she may forget the duress she was under, the lack of freedom she experienced, when pushed to abort her child. So the guilt may be disproportionate; not to the objective evil, which is grave indeed, but to the subjective guilt. If, for example, she was young, vulnerable and confused, and parents, teachers and boyfriend all told her that the only choice was to have an abortion, her personal culpability may be very limited.  But we need to think about her, too, as I am sure there are many in such a position.

It may be that people are discussing such things, that a strategy exists or is being developed, to address these issues: if so, I would love to know about it.

But if I am right, and that conversation is not being had, I think it is time to get on with it.

Monday, 20 July 2015

More on ex-priests and ex-nuns as teachers

A priest writes (starting with a quotation from my blog earlier today, here):

“I am not saying that no ex-priest or ex-nun should ever be employed as a teacher.”

This was indeed the case pre-Vatican II.

It might have seemed rather harsh – but I suspect that the reasons for it were as follows:

  1. To avoid sending mixed messages to children. A priest makes promises for life – like a married couple.
  2. Some (not all) former priests and nuns may disagree with the Magisterium on some matters of faith or morals.
  3. Some (not all) former priests and nuns may have lost their faith.

Nowadays (so I am told by those who are more knowledgeable than me) former priests and nuns may become teachers at a Catholic School – on a case by case basis.

But obviously great prudence and care is needed to avoid scandalising children.

Sadly I suspect great prudence and care are not always taken.



Catholic Schools as Sanctuaries

I knew there was something else... something that has been niggling at the back of my mind over the weekend.

And I woke up with that sudden clarity induced by a glass or two of red last night and a shower this morning.

It is this: I think the practice of appointing ex-nuns and ex-priests (I use the term in the colloquial sense - priestly ordination is, of course, permanent) to teach in our Catholic schools is a very risky one.

It has been going on for decades now: someone leaves the convent or the presbytery and immediately turns up teaching in a Catholic School.

Here's why that concerns me. I think that teaching in a Catholic School is also a vocation. A Catholic School should be a sanctuary dedicated to learning the Faith and how to live as a Catholic adult in a hostile culture, not a sanctuary for people on the run from their vocation, or struggling to come to terms with themselves.

That, I am sure, sounds harsh. But the reality is that if people are leaving the priesthood or the religious life, they have either discovered that they have mistaken their vocation, or are in the process of abandoning it. Either of these realities is likely to be a traumatic and unsettling time for them: it is not the time to start teaching children.

Yet somehow, Catholic Schools repeatedly appoint people in that situation. I suspect it is as a way of keeping them on the Catholic payroll, as it were, when their lives are in transition. A charitable aim, perhaps, but I think a misguided response.

I am not saying that no ex-priest or ex-nun should ever be employed as a teacher. People who have gone through that trauma are certainly not beyond redemption, and once they have resolved their crisis they may make fine teachers.

Nor am I saying that the Church should not find ways to support such people: that may indeed be an obligation, and is almost certainly an act of charity.

But it is also true that while going through such turmoil, people are almost by definition not in the most stable state. Many also have issues with the Church and its teaching. 

So I think that at the very least there should be both a cooling off period, and then a process of genuine scrutiny before appointing such people to teaching positions in Catholic Schools. Our children deserve no less; and yet that is not what I see happening.

Sunday, 19 July 2015

Telling Fr Fisher's Story

It seems that some people thought my reference to vitriol in yesterday's post was directed at Dr Shaw; I have amended the post to clarify that was not what I meant. I was referring to some of the very intemperate comments I have seen in comms boxes and on Facebook.

With regards to Dr Shaw's post, he clearly reached a different prudential judgement to me about publicising Fr Fisher's story, and on balance I think he was right, though I question the precise way he went about it. 

My concerns were that such an approach would risk depriving Fr Fisher of his good name, that it would risk provoking precisely the kinds of intemperate comments we have seen (Dr Shaw sensibly deletes them - other blogs are less prudent), and that it would provide more arguments for the enemies of tradition.

On the other hand, I think there is always a case to be made for the truth being told - and everything published was material put in the public domain by Fr Fisher himself; further, understanding what was going on for Fr Fisher undermines any attempt to re-write history and suggest that traditionalists drove him from the parish, or any such nonsense; moreover, I think that parents of the school where Fr Fisher teaches have a right to know about his history and sympathies; and it is very important in our understanding of the episcopal crisis we face in this country (which was the point of my post  yesterday).

So my criticism of Dr Shaw's post, for what it's worth, is that it did not put that context around the story, which meant it risked seeming an act of retaliation against a man who has done things we don't like.  I am quite confident that was not his intention, not least as he concludes by asking for prayers for Fr Fisher, but I have already seen that particular interpretation being touted around.

Saturday, 18 July 2015

More on the Blackfen saga

I do not wish to comment on Fr Fisher (any more than I did on Kieran Conry after his fall) and for similar reasons: it is bad form to kick a man while he is down, and we do not know all the circumstances.

However, as with the Conry affair, I think it raises questions that are both legitimate and important to address, with regard to the episcopal oversight of the affair.

Soon after Fr Fisher's appointment, many were speculating about the bishop's intention in appointing him to the parish. Even given the most charitable of interpretations, it was clear that something had quickly gone very wrong. But there was no episcopal intervention, merely a bland letter.

Now it seems that there were already plenty of reasons to suspect at that time that Fr Fisher might have been in a fragile space, with regard to his faith and his vocation. Either these were known of when he was appointed to Blackfen, in which case I think he was the victim of a gross dereliction of care; or they were not, in which case I think my observations on Toxic Ignorance (which I voiced at the time of the Conry scandal, apply).

For the victims of this are not merely those who loved the traditional Mass at Blackfen, nor just those who liked the new ways at Blackfen, who have lost their new PP after less than a year, but also Fr Fisher himself, who seems to be going through a bad time (and which is really not helped by vitriolic attacks which some have made in comms boxes or on Facebook and Twitter: Catholics should know better than this). What he needed at that time is more likely to have been excellent pastoral support, not being thrown into what was bound to be a very difficult position.

I can only conclude that the crisis in the Church in the country continues, and that a major factor in this is widespread episcopal failure. 

We do have good bishops, of course, and it is important to listen to them and support them. 

And we have others. We must not be led astray by them, nor allow ourselves to be scandalised by them, or led into behaving badly ourselves, in our frustration and anger.

We must pray for them all, and for Fr Fisher, and all affected by the developments at Blackfen.

Sunday, 12 July 2015

Fr Fisher resigns from Blackfen

Fr Steven Fisher, the priest who took over as PP of Blackfen when Fr Tim Finigan was moved, has announced his resignation.

His tweet has a link to a Facebook page - but the link is broken, so I can find out no more at this stage.

Readers will remember that his arrival was welcomed, but his subsequent actions caused much grief and consternation amongst those who attended the traditional Mass, which he quickly stopped.

I blogged about it extensively at the time (here for example, and here), and those posts attracted more views than anything else I have ever covered. 

I will blog further if and when further news reaches me here in the wilds of Cumbria...

James Arthur at Porta Fidei

A bit belatedly, I am blogging about another of the talks at the excellent Porta Fidei conference in Carlisle. I wrote about Adrian Pabst's excellent address here, and now I want to summarise on the other speaker I found particularly good, James Arthur.

His name, and a little of his work, were already familiar to me, as Michael Merrick - who organised the conference - had recommended his book The Ebbing Tide to me some time ago. Doubtless it was because of this book, and his subsequent work that Michael invited him to speak; and a very good speaker he was. 

I start, as ever, with the caveat that this account is drawn from my memories and notes. However, at the bottom, I include a link to the video of his talk, so you can get the authentic version there. (That does, of course, raise the questions, which I have asked myself, why write my account when the original is online. I do so for two reasons: it helps my recall, and it is possible that some people may read this who would not look at the video, or who will only do so having read this account.)

It was, perhaps, a sad sign of our times that Professor Arthur explained that he would read much of his talk, so that he could not be misrepresented later, as Catholic education is a dangerous topic to talk about! (In the light of the Tim Hunt affair, one sees only to clearly the wisdom of his prudence!)

He started by discussing Catholic identity and Catholic institutions. He pointed out that people are currently anxious about the many and complex identities they subscribe to, and asked how we, as Catholics, are different, and what difference that makes. 

His understanding is that Catholic identity is anchored in our baptism, and that our Institutions should reflect that Catholic identity, by being extensions of Catholic communities and expressions of Catholic teaching in practice. 

He noted that in our time, there is a conflict between social principles of authority and the Catholic identity, and that in our secular modernity, many Catholics live in harmony with the social principles of our time, and thus repudiate what we believe. They self-identify as Catholics in a manner that he justly described as tribal.

He then turned his attention to three types of Catholic Institutions: Adoption agencies, hospices and schools.  All three were regulated by the Church, but over time have grown supported by government funding, and are therefore subject to government regulation. They all now serve the general population, which raises the question, what does Catholic mean in this context? Arthur's answer is that should be manifest particularly in intentions and motivations: to serve Christ, by seeking the good of the individual, the common good, and particularly the good of the poor.

Thinking of hospices, they are rightly open to all who need them. But once euthanasia is legalised, how will they stay open and still be faithful?

The adoption agencies were originally established to preserve the Faith of children, which meant placing them with married Catholic couples. But that was redefined, in the name of being 'effective' so that any couple was allowed to adopt. So when Same Sex Marriage is legalised, how to they operate in a Catholic fashion?

Turning his attention to schools, he summarised the impact of demographic changes on them: 30% of pupils and 45% of teachers are non-Catholic.

He noted, in passing, the outrage occasioned when the Catholic Archbishop of San Francisco recently insisted in Catholic teaching in the schools, commenting that if it is possible to resist such pressure in San Francisco, then it should be possible anywhere!

However, he discerns a drift towards secularisation in our schools, not a deliberate one, but through a process of socialisation. Some of the clues to watch for are when the talk is of 'Christian' not 'Catholic,' of 'Gospel values' not 'teaching the Faith,' when there is a concern for secular values and secular alliances, when recruitment is based only on teaching ability, and when the emphasis is on activism, not doctrine.

We need to resist this and develop a better self-understanding; we need to evangelise! And we need to remember that we are heirs to a huge treasury of moral and scientific learning; and also remember what Chesterton said: that every education teaches a philosophy (and that if we leave a void, our secular society will fill it).

Thursday, 9 July 2015

EF Mass Times Lancaster Diocese - July

Sorry this is a bit late: I have been busy...

Sunday July 5th Sixth Sunday after Pentecost
St Walburge, Preston 10.30 am, Sung Mass 
St Mary Magdalene, Leyland Road, Penwortham 8.30 am 
St Catherine Labouré, Stanifield Lane, Leyland 11.30 am
Our Lady & St Joseph, Carlisle 6.00 pm 

Friday July 10th Seven Holy Brothers, Ss Rufina & Secunda
Sizergh Castle Chapel, 7.00pm

Sunday July 12th Seventh Sunday after Pentecost
St Peter's Cathedral, Lancaster 3.00 pm
St Walburge, Preston 10.30 am, Sung Mass
St Mary Magdalene, Leyland Road, Penwortham 8.30 am 
St Catherine Labouré, Stanifield Lane, Leyland 11.30 am
Our Lady & St Joseph, Carlisle 6.00 pm 

Sunday July 19th  Eighth Sunday after Pentecost
St Walburge, Preston 10.30 am, First High Mass and First Blessings of Rev Guilaume Fenoll
St Mary Magdalene, Leyland Road, Penwortham 8.30 am 
St Catherine Labouré, Stanifield Lane, Leyland 11.30 am
Our Lady & St Joseph, Carlisle 6.00 pm

Sunday July 26th  Ninth Sunday after Pentecost
St Walburge, Preston 10.30 am, Sung Mass
St Mary Magdalene, Leyland Road, Penwortham 8.30 am 
St Catherine Labouré, Stanifield Lane, Leyland 11.30 am
Our Lady & St Joseph, Carlisle 6.00 pm

Shrine Church of St Walburge, Preston 
Sundays: 10.30 am, Sung Mass

Mondays – Fridays: 12 noon, Low Mass (except First Friday 7.00 pm) Saturdays: 10.30 am, Low Mass

Thursday, 2 July 2015

Adrian Pabst at Porta Fidei (ii)

Michael Merrick, who organised the excellent Porta Fidei conference last week has just posted a video of Adrian Pabst's talk to YouTube.

That will enable scholars to compare my notes of his talk (here) with what he actually said, thus discerning my inaccuracies and biases, and deducing many interesting things about my psyche.

But sensible people will simply listen to Adrian's very stimulating presentation.