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Showing posts from June, 2011

Pharmacist asks greater accountability on ‘safe sex’ from her colleagues; “Why are we as a profession going along with the lie that postcoital contraception is not abortifacients?”

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The journal of UK pharmacists, The Pharmaceutical Journal, ran an article by RoseMary Baker, a pharmacist from the Wirral, showing the downside of ‘safe sex’.
‘Are we being as fair to the public about sex as we are about smoking or eating sweets or drinking alcohol? Do we highlight the failure rate of contraceptives or do we couch the true failure rate in terms like “if used effectively”. Do we shout from the rooftops the fact that many progesterone only pills are likely to fail if the dose is more than three hours late? Have we fought for a Government health warning on condoms which says “this product is likely to fail if you have never used a condom before and you are fumbling around in the dark at the back of the youth club”? Do we help topunch home the truth that sexually transmitted infections really are transmitted sexually, are highly unpleasant and often lead to infertility later in life?’
‘Why are we as a profession going along with the lie that postcoital contraception is not …

Padre Pio is canonised a saint, nine years ago this month

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From the Homily of John Paul II on the occasion of the canonisation of Padre Pio:

1. "For my yoke is easy and my burden light" (Mt 11,30).

The evangelical image of the "yoke" recalls the many trials that the humble Capuchin of San Giovanni Rotondo had to face. Today we contemplate in him how gentle the "yoke" of Christ is, and how truly light is his burden when it is borne with faithful love. The life and mission of Padre Pio prove that difficulties and sorrows, if accepted out of love, are transformed into a privileged way of holiness…

2. "But may I never boast except in the cross of Our Lord Jesus Christ" (Gal 6,14).
Is it not, precisely, the "glory of the Cross" that shines above all in Padre Pio?... Throughout his life, he always sought greater conformity with the Crucified, since he was very conscious of having been called to collaborate in a special way in the work of redemption. His holiness cannot be understood without this cons…

The steps taken in canonising Padre Pio

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God thus showed the Church his desire to glorify on earth his faithful servant. In a short time the Capuchin Order took the steps prescribed by canon law to begin the Cause of Beatification and Canonization. After examining the case, the Holy See, in accordance with the norm of the Motu Proprio “Sanctitas Clarior”, granted the nihil obstat on 29 November 1982. The Archbishop of Manfredonia was thus enabled to introduce the Cause and set up the informative process (1983- 1990). On 7 December 1990, the Congregation for the Causes of Saints recognized its juridical validity. When the Positio had been completed, there was the usual discussion on whether the Servant of God had exercised the virtues to a heroic degree. On 13 June 1997 the Special Meeting of the Theological Consultors was held and gave a positive judgement. In the Ordinary Session on 21 October 1997, with Bishop Andrea Maria Erba of Velletri‑Segni, the Proposer of the Cause, together with the Cardinals and Bishops, recognize…

Paul VI said of Padre Pio that he “bore the wounds of our Lord”

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From his youth, his health was not very robust, and especially in the last years of his life it declined rapidly. Sister Death took him well-prepared and serene on 23 September 1968 at the age of eighty-one. An extraordinary gathering of people attended his funeral.
On 20 February 1971, barely three years after the death of Padre Pio, Pope Paul VI, speaking to the Superiors of the Capuchin Order, said of him: “Look what fame he had, what a worldwide following gathered around him! But why? Perhaps because he was a philosopher? Because he was wise? Because he had resources at his disposal? Because he said Mass humbly, heard confessions from dawn to dusk and was – it is not easy to say it – one who bore the wounds of our Lord. He was a man of prayer and suffering”.
Even during his lifetime, he enjoyed a vast reputation for sanctity, because of his virtues, his spirit of prayer, sacrifice and total dedication to the good of souls.
In the years following his death, his reputation for sanc…

Ah, but might Ann Widdecombe give a speech at the protest march?

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Possibly just my wishful thinking…? But on the timetable for the Protest March against Pakistan’s Blasphemy Laws (July 2nd), there is a slot for ‘political speeches’. And Anne Widdecombe is a veteran politician and special envoy for Aid to the Church in Need. On behalf of the charity, Ann travels, reports and monitors religious freedom. Maybe she will be a surprise speaker?


Will your name be on the petition handed to Downing Street, calling for Pakistani Christians to be protected?

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You may sign the petition, organised by Aid to the Church in Needhere.
On 2nd July this petition will besubmitted to the UK High Commission for Pakistan and 10 Downing Street. The more names the better; how many will pledge that they believe the Christians in Pakistan deserve better?
ACN UK director Neville Kyrke-Smith will be among those handing in the petition at 10 Downing Street asking the British government to put pressure on Pakistan to amend the laws and step up action to protect the rights of religious minorities. AID to the Church in Need UK is joining forces with Christians and non-Christians alike in a protest march against Pakistan’s infamous blasphemy laws.  The march (London  2nd July) will call for a change to Pakistan’s blasphemy laws which have been cited as causing 14 separate attacks on Christians over the last two months.Mr Kyrke-Smith said: “Blasphemy for us is just a word – for Christians and all people in Pakistan the accusation of blasphemy can lead to death.” T…

Vatican: Artists to honor Pope's 60th ordination anniversary with 60 works

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The Vatican will celebrate Pope Benedict’s 60th anniversary of priestly ordination with a month-long exhibition featuring 60 artists from around the world.
Details of the month long exhibition entitled ‘The Splendor of Truth, the Beauty of Love’ were unveiled in Rome today…The event will begin on July 4, when the artists and their work will be presented to the Pope himself. A wide range of art forms will be represented, including painting, sculpture, architecture, photography and music from globally renowned composers such as Ennio Morricone, Arvo Part and James McMillan.
“I was overjoyed and proud to have been invited to participate in this marvelous festival,” McMillan commented. The Scottish composer wrote much of the music to accompany Pope Benedict’s visit to the U.K. last year….“The response from the artists invited has been overwhelmingly positive,” said Richard Rouse of the Pontifical Council for Culture.
“They’re all encouraged, they take this as a good opportunity to reopen…

The enemy is from PEeP? And who can be Christian enough for Westminster Central Hall?

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According to The Jewish Chronicle, ‘a concerned member of Pro Ecclesia’, Robert Williams, got in touch with Westminster Central Hall and warned them off about the speakers Fr Kramer and Robert Sungenis. I’ve got some background details on Robert Sungenis, and yes, his stuff is incendiary, and neither representative or in line with Catholic thought. Sungenis’ views conflict with Pope Benedict’s (as put forth in Jesus of Nazareth Vol. 2). Apparently, PEeP’s Mr Williams spoke out about the PEeP conference because if Fr Kramer and Sungenis were hosted it "would be the equivalent of saying Rabbi Meir Kahane was representative of mainstream Judaism". But did Robert Williams say this to his fellow PEeP members before they booked the speakers?

Is it unreasonable to ask why didn’t Westminster Central Hall do a Google-check on the speakers before they accepted the booking and accepted the cash? Why not indeed? And it’s only a cool £4,000 that they took from PEeP. Two facts – Westmins…

The Cancelled PEeP talk – the Cork connection

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Daphne McLeod described Cardinal Burke’s abrupt pulling-out of the Pro Ecclesia et Pontifice conference as ‘a blow’. Cardinal Burke had planned to give a talk on the restoration of Church discipline and evangelisation. But indefatigable as ever, Daphne found a replacement speaker - Canadian Fr Kramer. But the venue, the Methodist Central Hall in Westminster has cancelled the conference on the grounds that ‘they’ don’t want to be associated with such speakers as Fr Kramer and Robert Sungenis. It’s another guilt-by-association theme with the authorities at Westminster Central Hall snobbishly fearing “their reputations would suffer if the conference were allowed to go ahead.” Fr Kramer is branded a conspiracy theorist while Mr Sungenis is called an anti-Semite because he has criticised Zionism. – but I don’t know the details of this well enough to comment. I do, however, have personal experience of Fr Kramer who lives in my hometown of Cork. He’s a brave soul and did prevent a pro-euthan…

Is it a good idea to publish comments from someone who believes they may be the ‘Second Coming’?

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On this postabout Padre Pio standing at the gates of heaven waiting for all his spiritual children, someone posting as ‘anonymous’ sent me a comment saying; “your ultimate goal is to fix your relationship with the gods and move on…. I may be that Real Second Coming… What I teach is the gods’ real way.”
I have not published this comment…yet. There are pros and cons to publishing such a comment. A blog is a forum where people may debate, swap ideas, and also if someone has an issue or a misunderstanding, then the other readers may give comments that are helpful and beneficial to the person’s faith and life. But where does one begin when a commentator who believes they may be a Messiah writes; “it has been discussed that similar to the matrix complex, the gods will offer a REAL Second Coming”. It does sound like the product of cultish brainwashing, does it not? Someone who believes that gods like The Olympians (see the picture to the left) are in control.

Except maybe it is a hoax – some…

Padre Pio's cured the son of a Vatican ambassador...

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Fernando Sanchez is the ambassador of Costa Rica to the Vatican, but his story has nothing to do with his job. He says, his son is alive thanks to a miracle of Padre Pio. He talks about it in his book "Birth of a spiritual child: Our history with Padre Pio of Pietrelcina." It happened three years ago. His child was born with serious heart problems. The doctors said there was no hope for him, but then something happened that changed everything. Fernando Sánchez Costa Rica’s ambassador to the Vatican "They called me to say, ‘Look, Don Fernando, there is a priest with your son’. I imagined the worst and I ran for the neonatal ward in the intensive care unit and I found the father with a relic of Padre Pio praying over my son’s crib. I joined him and nothing else." After two hours the child’s heart was beating normally and the next day the doctors stopped all treatment and took him off medication. Since then, Fernando Sanchez and his wife have no doubt that Padre Pio i…

St Anthony's Story

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St Anthony finds tea in Spain…

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There’s nothing quite as soothing as a cup of ‘black’ tea, which nowadays is much maligned because of its caffeine content and teeth-staining quality. I confess to not having brought enough tea-bags on my holiday to Galicia, North West Spain. I’m here in the rural Spanish countryside, with an alpine view from my window and sheep grazing in nearby fields. The scenery is not far removed from that of The Sound of Music. I’m far from shops, and I thought that I was hundreds of miles from strong, breakfast ‘black’ tea.
After my supply of crumpled tea bags ran out, I prayed to St Anthony; would there be any chance that you could ‘find’ me some tea bags….please…. Those tiny Continental tea-bags just don’t have enough tea…


Today, we visited Spanish friends for lunch, and ate a scrumptious meal of prawns, tortilla, honey-topped melon and red wine under the kiwi trees, with a shy sun sparkling from among the clouds. Afterwards we were about to have coffee, when our host turned to me and said, …

St Anthony, patron of lost things...

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What I like about this video is that the narrator speaks very much from the heart, weaving in the factual events of St Anthony’s life in a short-but-sweet presentation that captures attention.

St Anthony Exhibition…

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1:01 minutes into the video, the statue is quite like that in The London Oratory.

Camping in front of Santiago de Compostela's Cathedral….

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I’m holidaying here in Spain where the weather is abnormally bracing, blustery and cold for this time of year. I’m borrowing jumpers and clothes to keep warm and have had to keep my fancy, floaty summer dresses to one side. This weekend was devoted to a thorough exploration of Santiago de Compostela with my Spanish friends who acted as enthusiastic guides. This was the first time that I had ever been to Santiago de Compostela, a name that has long featured in my family’s history. My uncle did The (entire) Camino on foot eight years ago. Yesterday, my friends were ‘surprising me’ with the view of the cathedral, and wouldn’t tell me which direction it was. But when we reached the plaza, all I saw were tents, and so I quipped, ‘this can’t be true! They wouldn’t be set up camp in front of the cathedral.’ I turned to my right and saw the cathedral… Photos of the cathedral of Santiago de Compostela can never match up to the real-life visual experience, which overwhelms with its majesty.

The …

Over eleven times the population of Ireland has been lost in abortion in the US, in the last 38 years

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The populace of the 18 states in black symbolises the 50,000,000 reported abortions, which have been done in the US, since 1973.
There are just under four and a half million people living in the Republic of Ireland. This signifies that well over eleven times the populationof Ireland has been lost in abortion in the US, in the last 38 years.

A new documentary on saintly Fr John Lee, with an appearance of my ugly mug to be on Korean TV

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Korean Broadcasting Station contacted me and Luke Coppen in the past week and invited us to participate in a follow-up documentary to Don’t Cry for Me Sudan, which wasa historic film on the life of Fr John Lee’s mission in Sudan. Sometimes you can never guess what may come of one article – in February we did a featurefor The Catholic Herald on Fr John, a saintly Korean priest who gave his life to the people of Tonj in South Sudan. Fr John was especially devoted to the Sudanese lepers. The article caught the attention of Dr Goo Soo-hwan (in the picture on the right), who produced Don’t Cry for Me Sudan. Now, a Korean TV producer, a film director and a translator are trotting the globe to film interviews with people on the subject of Fr John Lee’s continuing influence, and on why many believe him to be a saint. And yesterday in the offices of The Catholic Herald, we were interviewed about why we had done this story on Fr John Lee Tae-seok for a mainly British and Irish audience. They fi…

Humanae Vitae...

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In the last 43 years, millions have read critiques of the encyclical and the satires of Humanae Vitae in glossy magazines. Whenever I get into a discussion about Humanae Vitae, I always ask the other person if they have read the encyclical. It might be mere coincidence but those who agree with Humanae Vitae have read the original document, and not some spurious review.  Few read the real thing... Here...

Padre Pio's letter supporting Humanae Vitae, perhaps the most controversial encyclical ever, released 43 years ago this summer

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Pope Paul VI had this letter published in L'Osservatore Romano. 
Your Holiness:

Availing myself of Your Holiness' meeting with the Capitular Fathers, I unite myself in spirit with my Brothers, and in a spirit of faith, love and obedience to the greatness of Him whom you represent on earth, offer my respectful homage to Your August Person, humbly kneeling at Your feet.

The Capuchin Order has always been among the first in their love, fidelity and reverence for the Holy See. I pray the Lord that its members remain ever thus, continuing their tradition of seriousness and religious asceticism evangelical poverty, faithful observance of the Rule and Constitutions, renewing themselves in vigorous living and deep interior spirit—always ready, at the least gesture from Your Holiness, to go forward at once to assist the Church in her needs.

I know that Your heart suffers much these days on account of the happenings in the Church: for peace in the world, for the great needs of its people…

Cardinal Burke and Pro Ecclesia et Pontifice's invisible ‘enemies’: are Pro Ecclesia their own worst enemy?

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Three tickets for Cardinal Burke’s talk collect dust on my shelf. And they will stay there for a long time, and become artefacts of our present times. His Eminence has cancelled his talk that was organised by Pro Ecclesia et Pontifice. I’m a tad sour that his talk had to be cancelled, as I had eagerly looked forward to it. His letter to Daphne McLeod is candid and to-the-point: ‘given my position as the Prefect of the Supreme Tribunal of the Apostolic Signatura, in which I act on behalf of His Holiness Pope Benedict XVI, it is not right for me to give a presentation in any place which in anyway would reflect the lack of respect for the Office of Bishop.’ In response to the Cardinal’s letter, Ecclesia et Pontifice say they are ‘whistleblowers’ and have enemies who convinced the Cardinal not to come. The danger here (as I see it) is that they credit random, unseen, nameless nemesis with having changed the Cardinal’s mind, thus endowing their ‘enemies’ with great influence over the Cardi…

Cardinal Burke's letter cancelling talk...

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10 Amazing, Unsung Catholics

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Check out The Catholic Herald website for this article. 
1. Gerry Straub
Gerry Straub has had an illustrious career as a television producer in New York and Hollywood, producing extremely popular shows such as General Hospital and The Doctors. But he is now applying his considerable expertise as a film producer, filmmaker, and critically acclaimed author to uncover the living conditions of the world’s poorest people.
Straub has written and directed 18 documentaries, including Embracing the Leper, which shows a Secular Franciscan valiantly bringing support to the lepers of the Brazilian Amazon. Straub is himself a Secular Franciscan, and founder of the San Damiano Foundation. This organisation makes films about the spirituality of St Francis of Assisi and the Franciscan care of the poor. One such notable film is Where Love Is, which shows the work of a Capuchin soup kitchen in Detroit. Straub has taught television directing at the Pontifical Gregorian University in Rome.
H…