Thursday, 27 May 2010

Communion in the Hand…'flying fragments’…

I’ve explained how it causes fragments of Our Lord to encrust themselves in the crevices of hands. Then the fragments go wherever the hand goes. And I’ve got patronisingly sympathetic smiles from practising Catholics who tell me I’m ‘too young’ and ‘taking things too seriously’. And the secularists call this ‘nutty’ – we’re so concerned about the fragments of Our Lord’s Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity being scattered in places they should never go. Or are we really that concerned? Some people are adamant that you are only allowed receive in the hand. There is a perception that Communion on the tongue is ‘banned’. One chap in the US said to me, ‘but it’s obedience to the church to let the frag-fragments or whatever ya call them fly! They are flying fragments of God’s love.’ Slight modification; they are God. 

How I usually get into a conversation about Communion in the hand, is that I’m asked why we receive on the tongue in the Tridentine Mass. As in, ‘don’t you think it’s a bit fuddy-duddy to only receive on the tongue?’ I always remain very gentle and refuse to get into an actual argument about what way a person receives – in an argument a person may feel compelled to defend their position and to stick to it. On a few occasions, I’ve been told ‘people who get a bee in their bonnet about fragments going missing are sickos, and into icky things anyway.’ Admittedly, I’m not very perceptive, but when I hear things like that, I pull back from the debate; if those of us who want to preserve Our Lord’s Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity from becoming ‘flying fragments’ and are called ‘sickos’ because of it, well the person who calls us ‘sickos’ has fundamental problems with the faith. One also hears, ‘why aren’t they more inclusive, and permit people to receive in a way where they are closest to Our Lord?’ Feeling close to Our Lord is just that – a feeling – and it jars with me that we want to feel close, but then do not give more respect i.e. by receiving on the tongue.

In opposing Communion in the hand, I’ve used Church doctrine and I’ve quoted renowned Catholics, but haven’t had encouraging responses. But maybe that’s because I have not understood that the way we treat the Host directly influences how we think of it, and the othe way round. Reading Fr. Hugh S. Thwaites, SJ’s concise little book Our Glorious Faith – and how to lose it, I found a section about Communion in the hand under the heading; ‘We should behave the way we believe.’ Fr. Thwaites wrote, ‘I remember a good example of this. It was in a convent of contemplative nuns, and I had just said Mass for them. They had all received on the tongue and I was telling the sacristan that I preferred people receiving on the tongue because of the danger of particles flaking off the Host, not being noticed in the palm of the hand, and falling on the floor. “After all,” I said, “in each tiny fragment there’s Our Lord.” She denied this. She said that there was not the Real Presence in a fragment of the Host.
Now how did she come to think that? No one had ever told her….The reason is that she had been behaving for some little time as though the fragments were of no consequence, and so she had come to believe that they were of no consequence….This is why the Church hedges the Holy Eucharist about with so much reverence and care, with sanctuary lights, and silk curtains, with genuflections and incense, with secure locks and safely guarded keys. The Church knows that these safeguards that we see and touch also safeguard our faith.’
So, in future, , I’ll carefully say that were I to receive in the hand, I would lose respect for the Eucharist, because tiny fragments are mislaid and that the way I behave influences how I believe. 

Friday, 21 May 2010

Your Name is Needed to Oppose the Abortion Ad

The petition is available at:
The LifeSiteNews article where I first learned of the petition:
Ed West wrote a great article on the abortion ad available at Daily Telegraph blogs:

Wednesday, 19 May 2010

E-mail to Bishop Moran...

I'm not suggesting everyone send a Mass stipend to Bishop Moran for the intention of Fr. Michael Mary. Fr. Michael Mary was the proposed celebrant for the Mass in St. Magnus' but has yet to be granted faculties to do so, will he be granted them by Bishop Moran? Only time will tell. In the mean time if you wish to pledge your support for a Mass in St. Magnus'...

Anyone wanting to e-mail Bishop Peter Moran (of Aberdeen) may do so at the following address:

Address e-mails to "The Most Reverend Full Name, D.D." 

Tuesday, 18 May 2010

Dear Bishop Moran...

London, May 18th 2010
Your Excellency, Bishop Moran,
May this find you well. I am a young Irish Catholic living in London. I spoke with your PA this morning and she invited me to write to you instead of leaving my mobile phone number. I am writing to you regarding a Latin Mass that was envisaged by Una Voce Scotland to take place at St. Magnus’ Cathedral.
As a lay person watching the events unfold in the media, it would appear that several anomalies have arisen, namely the use of the cathedral of St. Magnus’, the choice of 'newly reconciled' priests, crucially whether or not the Mass was indeed ‘blocked’ as has been described, and if the Mass may/will go ahead. I will explain my view of things, and would be grateful if you would make brief contact with me at either the address above or the phone number. 
Una Voce Scotland received permission from The Church of Scotland for a Mass to be held in St. Magnus’ Cathedral, a church that was originally a Catholic church, but has been in the care of The Church of Scotland, since the Reformation.  This follows Una Voce’s apostolate of holding Masses in pre-Reformation churches.  When writing to you, Una Voce suggested that priests from the Transalpine Redemptorists offer the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass in St. Magnus’ Cathedral, rather than giving you the task of finding a priest. Eight months ago, you replied to Una Voce Scotland, objecting to either Fr. Michael Mary or Fr. Anthony Mary of the Transalpine Redemptorists celebrating the Mass because as you wrote, "they have as yet only limited faculties to celebrate Mass in this diocese". True – this information is available on the web page of the Transalpine Redemptorists – yet you are in the position to grant them faculties for this unique Mass?

Your letter to Una Voce stated, "like all priests of the Church they are at liberty to celebrate the forma extraordinaria privately without specific permission, and to have some people with them when they do, but for public celebration the local bishop’s permission is needed".  From the documented facts the motu proprio Summorum Pontificum clarifies that a priest does not need any special faculty to offer the Extraordinary Form. You, however as the bishop in this case may give express permission due to ordinary jurisdiction, considering the Mass would take place in your diocese.

I have not spoken to you, so have not had the opportunity to ascertain whether you intended to completely ‘block’ (that's the unfortunate word I keep reading) the celebration of the Mass in the EF altogether – or if you merely stipulated some concerns – which perhaps in the near future will be rectified. The latter may well be the case since you celebrated Mass (EF) in June 2009 at Papa Stronsay with the Transalpine Redemptorists. Photos and an account of which are available from
 From my personal point of view, I will at this point pledge my whole hearted support for Mass in the Extraordinary Form to be celebrated at St. Magnus’ Cathedral. Presently, I am completely baffled as to why faculties have not been granted one of the Transalpine Redemptorist priests for the unique privilege of offering merely this Mass. I look forward to your response.
May I request that you offer a Mass for the intentions of Fr. Michael Mary, he has written this week on his web page that ‘things are not at all easy for us’ because to date the Sons of the Most Holy Redeemer Papa Stronsay have not been canonically erected.
Please find the enclosed Mass stipend.
                        In Christo et Maria, 
Mary O'Regan  

Web page for the Transalpine Redemptorists:

Friday, 14 May 2010

May 13 - Archbishop Nichols spends an evening with us at the London Oratory

It was the moment everyone had secretly been hoping for; Liam O'Hara, a young Catholic said to Archbishop Vincent Nichols, ‘I’m questioning his [Gregory Pope] appointment as deputy director to the Catholic Education Service’, then Archbishop Nichols was invited to respond on what he thought of the dubious appointment of the Labour politician. We were seated in the large drawing room in St. Wilfred’s Hall where the monthly meeting for young Catholics is held by the London Oratory fathers. It was during the Q and A section of our archbishop’s talk. I was a tad confused by the Archbishop’s response, but then I’m on the dense side. I’d be interested to know what you make of this, ‘I didn’t know Mr. Pope until recent weeks, and I didn’t have anything directly to do with his appointment….I acknowledge and respect the reality of different political processes and realities…Gregory Pope really loves it that on ballot papers his name is down as Pope Gregory, he really loves that…’ Our archbishop was heard saying that Gregory Pope can’t be found ‘isolating aspects of his career’ and that it’s advised for politicians to vote for a reduction in the number of weeks that abortions can be performed. Hang on - isn’t that the reason that there was the furore about Mr. Pope’s appointment to the CES – the very fact that he voted against reducing the number of weeks that abortions may be done? Our archbishop continued with ‘let us be more careful about coming to quick conclusions based on voting records on single issues.’ Archbishop Nichols then said something about ‘absolute Catholic teaching’ not always corresponding with ‘absolute political realities’ and if we don’t participate we risk becoming ‘isolated’.

On the whole, Archbishop Nichols’ talk had been very encouraging, warm and interactive, and he was keen to have a long question and answer time. He answered many questions with kindliness and a deft humour. One young professional spoke that he felt slightly persecuted in his work place by ‘militant atheists’ and their harassing questions about the virgin birth. Our archbishop was candid, ‘tell them to get a life…ask them why they aren’t looking after their own life…if you want to appreciate the beauty of a stained glass window, you must go into a church.’ When replying to a young lady who enquired as to what he says to Catholics whose friends are making choices to have sex before marriage and IVF, Vincent Nichols said ‘it’s difficult for me not to be pious…they must stay your friends…you know in your heart of hearts that their choices are not always going to have happy consequences…they may even have tragic consequences and they’re going to need you.’
There was a question from someone who feels ‘scared’ about the pope’s visit, to which Vincent Nichols urged that ‘we must not be ruled by the negativity in the press…the pope can come and speak about issues beneath the radar…such as social cohesion’, and that there’s ‘nobody better than the pope’ to engage in a discussion on these issues. ‘It’s a government sponsored visit…it will mean recovery…and healing of an ancient wound in our history…’
Throughout the question time, Vincent Nichols moved more into the heart of the room, and that’s when he noticed my shaking hand at the back of the room. ‘Thank you so much for your talk, our pope has told us about the hermeneutic of continuity and with regard to the Motu Proprio of 2007, how do you see the greater facilitation of the Extraordinary Form, the Latin Mass happening?’ May have just been me, but there was a slight atmosphere change, and my question was re-phrased with the archbishop asking those who had heard about the Motu Proprio to put up their hands. Some said afterwards that asking the full-to-bursting room of young Catholics to put up their hands if they knew about a solemn papal document was ‘patronising’, that perhaps if those present had not heard about the pope’s Motu Proprio, it didn’t just mean that it was of less importance. Archbishop Vincent Nichols did respond to me directly however, and said that the Holy See had asked him to collect reflections on the first three years of the 2007 Motu Proprio. Vincent Nichols has written to parish priests and ascertained that there are ‘many priests who are willing to learn…but not great demand.’ He also added that 'a troubling aspect of the Motu Proprio is that...some think it's [ the Tridentine Mass] is the proper one...'

The varied questions asked to our archbishop came after a talk he gave entitled ‘Habits of the Heart’, where he spoke on prudence, ‘just because we can do it does it mean we should?’, courage; and gave the examples of courageousness including honest and ‘straight’ when talking to friends, fidelity in marriage and pursuing a vocation. Justice means accepting that ‘the rights of other people are more pressing than my own’, and temperance as Archbishop Nichol’s grandfather was fond of saying, ‘a man is rich according to the simplicity of his needs’.
All in all, I believe while there was disappointed regarding his liberal stance on Gregory Pope’s appointment, I consider Archbishop Nichols to be a well-spoken, and a spirited man of faith, he told us that ‘our eyes are opened with faith’, that ‘there’s a nobility within you that’s of God’ and encouraged us to 'put lots in the collection box for the pope’s visit'.

Wednesday, 12 May 2010

Norman Tebbit 'Clever Mr. Clegg gobbled up the Tories' concessions, then sprang his trap'

During the elections, I was heard melodramatically saying that I would have to be jailed before voting Lib Dem. But even I have to admit that making a home in the Tory tent feels uncertain these days when we are presented with the current potpourri of political ideologies and colours.
I get the Conservative Home e-mail every day, but I’m addicted to reading Norman Tebbit to understand the chain of events. I reproduce part of his most current article found on Daily Telegraph blogs.
[Update: I've just seen that David Cameron has told the Lib Dems to put up or shut up. That's the right thing for him to say.]
The roots of the continental-style electoral shambles afflicting this kingdom go deep. Sufficient to say for the moment that the Conservatives polled 10.6 million votes, more than 3 million fewer than they regularly scored through the postwar era. Labour scored 8.6 million against Blair’s 1997 total of 13.5 million. This is their lowest total (with the exception of 8.4 million in 1983) since 1935. In contrast, the Lib Dems did well with 6.8 million, but still not as well as the Alliance (their parent party) who scored 7.8 million in 1983 and 7.3 million in 1987 against Margaret Thatcher.
I know that I am in danger of becoming a bore by going on about the numbers, rather than the percentages of votes cast for the parties, but the numbers of votes cast for a party are akin to the cash flow of a company. The percentages are more like the profit and loss account, which as we know can easily be used to distract shareholders from a falling cash flow, until the cash runs out and the business goes bust.
It was the failure of Cameron’s Conservatives to get back to the historic levels of support for the party which left him vulnerable to Mr Clegg. But it has to be said that Mr Clegg has played his hand with great skill.
Once Mr Cameron had rejected the advice of some of us who had seen all this before (or even read of it) to sit tight and make plain his willingness to form a minority government and go it alone, he was at the mercy of Mr Clegg.
The Tory team were easily led to believe that Mr Clegg had no option but to support a Tory-led coalition, or to subside into parliamentary impotence. In fact, they had. A Lib Dem-NuLab coalition with the support of other “progressive” nationalist parties could be cobbled together and once Mr Clegg had gobbled up all the Tories’ concessions, he sprang his trap. It was announced that he had secured even more from NuLab, including the resignation of the Prime Minister himself. Now he is back to the Tories, suggesting that they might like to entice him into their planned coalition with a few more goodies. The Tories may have thought that they were the only bidders for the favours of Mr Clegg, but now they know they were not.
The next step in this drama could be a call from Mr Clegg  explaining that he could not sell the deal he had made with the Tories to the Lib Dem Party (which has a veto on such matters). Sadly, he would say to Mr Cameron, with whom we are told he gets along very well, that he would have to have a few more concessions, or he would have to go off with NuLab.
At that stage, as he looked at the scalp of Mr Brown displayed prominently on Mr Clegg’s belt, Mr Cameron might begin to feel very uneasy indeed. It would be one thing to sacrifice Mr. Osborne to make Mr Cable the Chancellor, or Mr. Hague to make Mr Clegg Foreign Secretary, but there are limits, you know.
So there are a number of twists and turns that may yet come in this plot.
In the meantime, Mr Darling has come back from Brussels having had another £10 billion or so added to our contingent liabilities. What an appetite for cash the EU elephant has!
Lord Tebbit’s article is available in full:

Tuesday, 11 May 2010

Inspired by the Little climb Mount Kinabalu

Praying to St. Therese of Lisieux, the little Carmelite nun inspires us to good works, some of which are very missionary in character.Today, I received a link to Margy Lee’s blog, where she describes how she and her husband Steve are planning to climb Mount Kinabalu as a fundraising endeavour for the Carmelites in England, notably for the  Carmelite Retreat Centre in Oxford, it needs a boost in finances, to facilitate renovations and for the Carmelite fathers. On her blog (, Margy asks ‘Is there a need for Carmelite work and spirituality in this country, you may ask? To answer that, here’s a little image. Last year when we commemorated the life and works of one of our Carmelite saints, St Thérèse, a young 24 year old French nun who lived in the 19th Century, approximately 300,000 people from all over the UK flocked to the churches where her relics where visiting.’

St. Therese never went on the missions, but her great missionary zeal has been bequeathed to many who follow her example, and who desire for Carmelite holiness to be embraced all over the globe, from Lisieux to Oxford, to Mount Kinabalu.  Pope Pius XI declared of St. Therese, “Saint Therese of the Child Jesus, Patron of Missionaries, men and women, of all existing missions on earth, with the same merits of St. Francis Xavier, with all the rights and the liturgical privileges which this title entails.”  May St. Therese help Margy and Steve climbing Mount Kinbalu;
‘This two day climb starts at 6.30 am the first morning, where 5 hours later and 2000 m higher we reach the first shelter. This part of the climb is graced with a botanical paradise of fauna and flora that ranges over 4 climate zones. After (half) a night’s rest we are up again at 3 am bracing sub-zero temperatures (and perhaps a touch of altitude sickness!) to start our final torch-light ascent up a steep rock step aided by a fixed rope to the summit at 4,060 m, (13,450 feet) where we hope to capture the magnificent views of North East Borneo and the Philippines being revealed before us at sunrise.’

I do believe this is a very worthy cause, by helping the growth of Carmelite spirituality in this country, we are maintaining the legacy of St. Therese and her continued mission in the UK.  You may log onto Margy’s blog and contribute a donation. Please join us in praying that Margy and Steve’s mission to climb Mount Kinabalu goes smoothly, and that they raise lots of funds for The Carmelite Retreat Centre.

PS - From personal experience, I too have felt the tug to do work with a missionary element after praying to St. Therese. Following a year of making many novenas to the Little Flower, I went to the South Bronx in New York to do rather challenging pro-life work, and youth work where I helped young people from the age of twelve to twenty-five to leave either cohabiting lifestyles or their life of ‘sleeping around’ because they were ‘looking for the one.’ For my final nine days in New York, I prayed a novena to the saint, and was handed a specially crafted red rose on the 9th day of the novena.

Thursday, 6 May 2010

Blogger defends Pope Benedict in light of NY Times mendacity

Follow the link above for a very good analysis on the NY Times plot to discredit the pope.

What I would like to know is why the NY Times continues to publish such misleading accounts - haven't they got any pride?

Also, who deserves the pay-check, the NY Times journalists or the bloggers who labour to correct the mendacious analysises of the NY Times?

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