Friday, 29 April 2011

Padre Pio and the British Royal Family

During the evening of January 20th, 1936, Padre Pio received visitors in his cell. The visitors were Dr Guglielmo Sanguinetti, and two other lay people. Suddenly Padre Pio took to his knees and urged them to pray; “for a soul that is soon to appear before the tribunal of God.” When they finished their prayers, Padre Pio asked of them; “do you know for whom you prayed?” Padre Pio then told them that “it was for the King of England.” Dr Sanguinetti, who was a dear friend of Padre Pio’s, was surprised that Padre Pio had said that King George was approaching the last judgment. The newspapers had reported that King George only had a touch of flu.
Around midnight, Padre Pio went to the room of Padre Aurelio, and asked him to pray with him for the king of England, who Padre Pio described as “a soul which at this moment is about to appear at the tribunal of God.” The two padres prayed for a time, and then Padre Pio returned to his cell. The next day, the Italian newspapers announced the death of King George.

Padre Pio is not known to have had any contact with the British Royal Family. Many are curious as to why St Pio showed such concern for King George. King George was religious in the sense that he read a chapter of the Bible each day of his adult life, but was prone to remark; “there are some very queer things in it.” But when he became king in 1910, he broke with a 200 year tradition. It had been the custom that a new sovereign, when addressing Parliament for the first time, would condemn the Roman Catholic Mass and the invocation of Our Lady. But King George refused to declare the sacrifice of the Mass and veneration of the Virgin Mary as ‘superstitious and idolatrous’.
An Anglican and the son of the future King Edward VII, George was baptized on July 7, 1865 in the private chapel of Windsor Castle. Upon accession to the throne in 1910, the new king swore the following required oath: “I, N., do solemnly and sincerely in the presence of God, profess, testify and declare that I am a faithful Protestant, and that I will, according to the true intent of the enactments to secure the Protestant Succession to the Throne of my realm, uphold and maintain such enactments to the best of my power.”

See a previous post on Padre Pio and King George and central issue of salvation outside Mother Church.

Largest picture ever of JPII adorns St Peter's Square

Hat-tip to The Catholic Herald website where I spotted this video.

We will hear the nun who was cured through the intercession of JPII speak at the beatification

Tuesday, 26 April 2011

"There's a hair in my mousse..."

Duck's off! But Fawlty Towers is back on the menu!

The reactions that I got when I told people that abstaining from Fawlty Towers was part of my Lenten penance were varied: "that's a bit of a ridiculous fast", "that's very little compared to what I'm doing", "you can't be serious, ha ha ha...", and my absolute favourite, "can't you give up food? You could avoid food for Lent..." To be fair, the person who asked me if I was going to give up food, did themselves try to give up meals for Lent in a bid to lose a lot of weight. But the idea of yours truly giving up food for forty days is a bit of a non-starter: I'm hovering around eight stone, sometimes less than eight stone and am disqualified from donating blood because I'm under the required weight. If I fast during daytime, the next morning, I feel dizzy and feel as though my body will go through the mattress.
Ah, but Eastertide is here, and is anyone up for a bit of duck pulverized by Manuel?

Thursday, 21 April 2011

To number drop by drop Thy blood's slow loss...

Am I a stone, and not a sheep,
     That I can stand, O Christ, beneath Thy cross,
To number drop by drop Thy blood's slow loss,
And yet not weep?
Not so those women loved
     Who with exceeding grief lamented Thee;
Not so fallen Peter weeping bitterly;
     Not so the thief was moved;
Not so the Sun and Moon
     Which hid their faces in a starless sky,
A horror of great darkness at broad noon--
     I, only I.
Yet give not o'er,
     But seek Thy sheep, true Shepherd of the flock;
Greater than Moses, turn and look once more
     And smite a rock.

Christina Georgina Rossetti
Twitch of the mantilla to Linen on the Hedgerow.  
PS - I could not find a You-Tube video for this poem, so there's an 'opening' for someone to produce a video with this poem. 

A hiatus...

I wish every reader and anyone who stumbles on this blog a lovely, peaceful Holy Week and Happy Easter. About to jump on a plane, and go to Italy for Easter. I will be absent from the blogosphere for some time.

I looked into the prospect of a flying car, which would save me the RyanAir experience..but...

Want to view JP II's Beatification on your phone?

This is a new Catholic phone App, that brings you Catholic TV & Radio on your phone.Here is a link for this.

Tuesday, 19 April 2011

The white smoke and his first words: Sixth anniversary of Benedict XVI's election

I had goosepimples watching the footage of John Paul II - I'll be in Rome for his beatification.

Twitch-of-the-mantilla to The Catholic Herald website where I first saw this video.

When people ask me what Pope Benedict has accomplished...

Forgive this re-posting from the time when we were in preparation for the Pope's visit.

Monday, 18 April 2011

The Crucified Rabbi: Judaism and the Origins of Catholic Christianity by Taylor Marshall

This book looks fascinating!
The book's author Taylor Marshall is ecstatic that he is invited to the Vatican blogfest. I just added his blog to my list and I look forward to meeting him on May 2nd.

Sunday, 17 April 2011

'Fools! For I also had my hour'

Fools! For I also had my hour;
    One far fierce hour and sweet:
There was a shout about my ears,
    And palms before my feet
GK Chesterton

The London Oratory on Palm Sunday

This photo taken today at The London Oratory was nicked from New Liturgical Movement website

It is a magnificent grace to be able to attend Mass at The London Oratory. Years before I was able to move to London, I would  pass South Kensington tube station, and pray decades of the Rosary  for the graces to live near to The Oratory. At this time of writing, I estimate that I have attended over 300 Tridentine Masses there – mostly private Masses. I record this not to boast of piety (which I am in short supply of anyway) but to render a historical account of the life of 'a modern Irish' who went to London in their mid-twenties to be near the ‘Old Rite’ Mass/’Extraordinary Form’.
Had someone told my grandparents in 1950’s Ireland that their grandchild would move to a part of London to be near the Tridentine Mass, they would have thought it fantastical and the stuff of illusion. This was ‘the hey-day’ of the Catholic Church in Ireland – frequent Masses in each parish and a surge of vocations to the priesthood. Then it would have been inconceivable that there would come a time in Ireland’s history when there would be a dearth of vocations to the priesthood and few Tridentine Masses celebrated.
I have also had the privilege of going to Mass in St Bede’s Clapham and Corpus Christi, Maiden Lane.

Thursday, 14 April 2011

'Bless me father, for I have sinned...'

A grade school chaplain once heard the confessions of eight-year old pupils. Many of the boys had very minor and almost inconsequential misdeeds so the priest was rather happy. One group of youngsters though confessed similar sin. One said, "Father forgive me, I threw peanuts into the river." Another admitted, "Father forgive me, I threw peanuts into the river." The third and the fourth also confessed, "Father forgive me, I threw peanuts into the river."

The priest was intrigued but a little alarmed so he cautioned the boys not to be too hard on themselves. "Throwing peanuts into the river is not really a sin." He would have asked one of the nuns in charge of the catechism to find out how they teach the doctrine of venial and mortal sins to these young kids when a sulking and chubby kid approached him. The priest warned him, "Don't tell me you also threw peanuts into the river?"

The kid was surprised and looked up at him and said, "Father, I'm Peanuts!"

Twitch of the mantilla to The Jesuit Humor Blog

Going from the humourous to the serious, Mulier Fortis has a post with an austere video on confession.

Monday, 11 April 2011

Pope Benedict speeding in a limo...

After getting all of Pope Benedict's luggage loaded into the limo (and he doesn't travel lightly), the limo driver notices that the Pope is still standing on the curb.

"Excuse me, Your Eminence," says the driver, "but would you please take your seat so we may leave?" "Well, to tell you the truth," says the Pope, "they never let me drive at the Vatican, so I'd like to do the driving today."

"I'm sorry, but I cannot let you do that -- I'd lose my job! And what if something should happen?" protests the driver, wishing he'd never come in to work that morning. "There might be something extra in it for you," says the Pope.

Reluctantly, the driver gets in the back as the Pope climbs in behind the wheel. The driver quickly regrets his decision when, after exiting the airport, the Supreme Pontiff floors it, accelerating the limo to 105 MPH.

"Please slow down, Your Holiness!!!" pleads the worried driver, but the Pope keeps the pedal to the metal until they hear sirens. "Oh, dear God, I'm gonna lose my license," moans the limo driver.

The Pope pulls over and rolls down the window as the cop approaches. The cop takes one look at him, goes back to his motorcycle, and gets on his radio.

"I need to talk to the Chief," he says to the dispatcher. The Chief gets on the radio and the cop tells him that he's stopped a limo going a hundred and five. "So bust him!" said the Chief.

"I don't think we want to do that; he's really important," said the cop. The Chief exclaimed, "All the more reason!"

"No, I mean REALLY important!" said the cop.

The Chief then asked, "Who ya got there, the Mayor?"

Cop: "Bigger."

Chief: "Governor?"

Cop: "Bigger."

"Well," says the Chief, "then who is it?"

Cop: "I think it's God!"

Chief: "Now what makes you think it's
God Himself?"

Cop: "He's got the Pope for a limo driver."

I found this joke on 'The Ultimate Blog of Jesuit Humor'.

"It helps faithful Catholics to become devastatingly effective..."

Twitch of the mantilla to Fr Tim 'his hermaneuticalness'.

Padre Pio, the saint who still loves irises and roses

In the previous post, it was described how Padre Pio appeared to a little boy and told him that he likes purple irises and roses.
It's also the case that many have literally inhaled the proof of Padre Pio's intercession; when a magnificent fragrance has manifested itself. See here for more on this.

11 month old diagnosed with two debilitating diseases, and healed through the intercession of Padre Pio

The fact that the little miracle child was told by Padre Pio that he did not like the death mask placed over his face when his body was being exhibited, is of key importance.

Sunday, 10 April 2011

A Sublime Meditation on Passiontide


Today begins the fortnight
of immediate preparation for Easter,
which in the third century,
included a twelve days' fast
preceding the dawn of the Resurrection.
In the sacred Liturgy
and more especially in the Breviary,
we can still distinguish this special cycle
formed by this holy Passion-tide.

The season of Lent,
which was of later institution than Passion-tide.

In Lent
the Church was chiefly occupied
in the preparation of the penitents
for their solemn reconciliation on Holy Thursday,

Sacred Instruction into the Mysteries of the Faith.

and the instruction of catechumens
in preparation for their reception of Holy Baptism.

St. Peter baptizes those who were Catechumens.

Throughout Passiontide
these important occupations of Lent
take a secondary place.

The Pharisees take counsel with the Herodians.

During Passion-tide
but one thought predominates
in the Missal and in the Breviary
-the thought of Our Lord Jesus Christ,
who realizes the bitter persecution
which His enemies are plotting against Him.

During this fortnight,
in which the Liturgy illustrates with dramatic force
the ever-growing hatred of the enemies of our Lord,
the early Ordines Romani
forbid the final doxology to be said
after either the antiphonic or the responsorial psalmody.

Psalm 42, introduced in the 8th century,
is also omitted at the beginning of Mass.

Passion Sunday.
Station at St. Peter.

S. Pietro.)

The station at the Vatican today is the last remaining trace of the pannuchis which,
in the time of Pope Gelasius,
was celebrated at the tomb of the Apostles
during the night previous to the solemn Ordination of the priests and deacons
of Rome.

The Crucifixion of St Peter.

The Liturgical cycle of the Passion
begins with the Mass at the Vatican,
where Nero crucified the first Vicar of Christ
and where Pope Symmachus had built an oratory
named - Sancta Hierusalem -Holy Jerusalem
in honour of the triumphant Cross.

Who didst save Peter in the sea...

It was from that oratory near St. Peter's
that the following verses were introduced into the Liturgy:
Salve nos, Chrtiste Salvator,
per virtutem Crucis;

qui salvasti Petrum in mare,
miserere nobis.

Save us, Christ our Saviour,
by the virtue of Thy holy cross;

Thou who didst save Peter in the sea,
have mercy upon us.

The Mass of this Sunday
is entirely dominated by the memory
of the Sacrifice on Golgotha,
and is one of the most beautiful and pathetic
of the whole Roman Antiphonary.

Deliver me from my enemies, O Lord...
Thou wilt lift me up above them that rise up against me
From the unjust man Thou wilt deliver me.

(Gradual Ps. 17:48)
Quo vadis Domine?
Where art Thou going Lord?

Let us pray.

Domine Jesu Christe, qui de coelis...
O Lord Jesus Christ,
Who didst come down to earth from heaven,
from the bosom of the Father,
and didst pour out Thy Precious Blood
for the remission of sins,
we humbly beseech Thee,
that on the day of judgment,
standing on Thy right hand,
we may be considered worthy to hear:
Come ye blessed.
Who livest and reignest for ever and ever.

Deus, qui errata...
O God, who settest straight
what has gone astray,
and gatherest together what is scattered,
and keeping what Thou hast gathered together,
we beseech Thee in Thy mercy
to pour down on Christian people
the grace of union with Thee,
and putting aside disunion
and attaching themselves
to the true shepherd of Thy Church,
they may be able to render Thee due service.
Through our Lord.

Twitch of the mantilla to the Transalpine Redemptorists at Home blog, where I found this. I had been planning to concoct my own meditaiton on Passiontide, but this one is far superior. 

Keeping The Ten Commandments on Sunday...

Punishing the car, Basil Fawlty style...

Enjoy on a pleasant Sunday afternoon...

Bloggers! The Vatican would like to see your site!

I have requested an invite to the meeting for bloggers, and am praying to get a place. Heaven is being stormed today - a rosary, candles will be lit at the altar of St Anthony to 'find' me a place, and prayers at Mass. If being persistent/a-bit-pushy in prayer were a sin, I would have chalked up thousands of years in Purgatory!

Maybe it's time to re-learn 'remember to ask with confidence for big spiritual favours, and to ask for temporal gifts if it be God's will.' 

Tuesday, 5 April 2011

"What do you get for living in a climate like this? Green stamps?"

Today in London there are endless drizzles of rain, it's coming down like a punishment. The ceiling over London is gloomy dark clouds. Perhaps, some cheering-up courtesy of Fawlty Towers is in order, in this episode a disorientated man from California is disgruntled by English weather and Basil’s failure to understand a screwdriver means vodka and fresh orange juice. Enjoy this episode for me, and I’ll wait till after Lent.

Monday, 4 April 2011

The right patron saint of the internet?

Happy Feast of St Isidor (bishop)!
Not to be confused with St Isidore the Farmer.

Fulton Sheen: 'Spectators on and about the Cross'

A meditation that's very helpful; this time of year as we move closer towards the cross.

Bishop Sheen on Blessed John XXIII

Pope John XXIII is in the news again this week because it has come to light that he was given inaccurate info on Padre Pio. Here Fulton Sheen gives a more holistic description of ‘good Pope John’. Fulton Sheen shows the humorous, devoted-to-sinners sides of Pope John XXIII. Pope John XXIII had a self-deprecating humour: ‘For all eternity, God knew that I was going to be Pope, he had eighty years to work on me, why did he make me so ugly?’
Learn about the movie on Fulton Sheen’s life.  

Wanted: Amazing, Unsung Catholics

Do you know any unknown Catholics – lay or religious – who are doing fantastic work? The focus of this research is to get to know and then to celebrate Catholics who are not currently household names. Geography is not important; a Catholic from any part of the globe may be suitable. This ‘unsung’ Catholic may be doing humanitarian work, great works of evangelism or is a pioneer in their field. If you know of any such Catholic, let me know. Leave details of how I may contact you in the comment boxes. Many thanks, and all who get in touch will be assured many prayers at the Tridentine Mass.

Saturday, 2 April 2011

Abby Johnson's ad for TV: "My superiors actually instructed me to increase the numbers of abortions at my facility"

“98 percent of [Planned Parenthood’s] services to pregnant women are abortions.”
The statistics quoted come from Planned Parenthood's Annual Report itself.

Pope John XXIII was deliberately given false information on Padre Pio

'...which led the Pope to have a negative opinion and reservations about Padre Pio. This changed radically when the Archbishop of Manfredonia cleared this with the truth of what was actually said.'

Stefano Campanella has previously written about the time John Paul II (tomorrow is the sixth anniversary of his death) spent with the saint of the stigmata where Padre Pio confided in the young Fr Karol that his shoulder wound gave him the greatest agony.

Twitch-of-the-mantilla to The Catholic Herald website where the above video was posted.

Friday, 1 April 2011

'one of the greatest injustices history has ever known...'

The start is a trifle off-putting, and one might switch off for fear of seeing grisly abortion footage, when in fact the video only deftly and fleetingly shuffles the less horrific of such pictures. The true worth of this video is in its expose of the huge numbers of abortions in the US. The organisation Abort73, which is very much suited to an American audience, has a website that also gives info on the UK scene. Not all of Abort73's campaign tactics would be entirely suitable for the UK, but they are a brave initiative.
Perhaps, I think this video is better than it is, but why are there only 739 views?

Catholic Chaplain, Fr Zabelka, of the bomb group that dropped 2 A-bombs on Japan in WWII, repented of his involvement

As demonstrated here and more powerfully still here, the recent natural catastrophes in Japan reawaken thoughts of the man created disasters in Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

This is a very heart-rending testimony from Fr Zabelka (his photo is on the left) where he reflects on his omissions in forming Catholic soldiers 65 years ago.

Fr. McCarthy: Father Zabelka, what is your relationship to the atomic bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki in August, 1945?
Fr. Zabelka: During the summer of 1945, July, August and September, I was assigned as Catholic chaplain to the 509th Composite Group on Tinian Island. The 509th was the Atomic Bomb Group.
Q: What were your duties in relationship to these men?
Zabelka: The usual. I said Mass on Sunday and during the week. Heard confessions. Talked with the boys, etc. Nothing significantly different from what any other chaplain did during the war.
Q: Did you know that the 509th was preparing to drop an atomic bomb?
Zabelka: No. We knew that they were preparing to drop a bomb substantially different from and more powerful than even the "blockbusters" used over Europe, but we never called it an atomic bomb and never really knew what it was before August 6, 1945. Before that time we just referred to it as the "gimmick" bomb.
Q: So since you did not know that an atomic bomb was going to be dropped you had no reason to counsel the men in private or preach in public about the morality of such a bombing?
Zabelka: Well, that is true enough; I never did speak against it, nor could I have spoken against it since I, like practically everyone else on Tinian, was ignorant of what was being prepared. And I guess I will go to my God with that as my defense. But on Judgment Day I think I am going to need to seek more mercy than justice in this matter.
Q: Why? God certainly could not have expected you to act on ideas that had never entered your mind.
Zabelka: As a Catholic priest my task was to keep my people, wherever they were, close to the mind and heart of Christ. As a military chaplain I was to try to see that the boys conducted themselves according to the teachings of the Catholic Church and Christ on war. When I look back I am not sure I did either of these things very well.
Q: Why do you think that?
Zabelka: What I do not mean to say is that I feel myself to have been remiss in any duties that were expected of me as a chaplain. I saw that the Mass and the sacraments were available as best I could. I even went out and earned paratrooper wings in order to do my job better. Nor did I fail to teach and preach what the Church expected me to teach and preach – and I don’t mean by this that I just talked to the boys about their sexual lives. I and most chaplains were quite clear and outspoken on such matters as not killing and torturing prisoners. But there were other areas where things were not said quite so clearly.
Q: For example?
Zabelka: The destruction of civilians in war was always forbidden by the Church, and if a soldier came to me and asked if he could put a bullet through a child’s head, I would have told him absolutely not. That would be mortally sinful. But in 1945 Tinian Island was the largest airfield in the world. Three planes a minute would take off from it around the clock. Many of these planes went to Japan with the express purpose of killing not one child or one civilian but of slaughtering hundreds and thousands of children and civilians – and I said nothing.
Q: Why not? You certainly knew civilians were being destroyed by the thousands in these raids, didn’t you?
Zabelka: Oh, indeed I did know, and I knew with a clarity that few others could have had.
Q: What do you mean?
Zabelka: As a chaplain I often had to enter the world of the boys who were losing their minds because of something they did in war. I remember one young man who was engaged in the bombings of the cities of Japan. He was in the hospital on Tinian Island on the verge of a complete mental collapse.
He told me that he had been on a low-level bombing mission, flying right down one of the main streets of the city, when straight ahead of him appeared a little boy, in the middle of the street, looking up at the plane in a childlike wonder. The man knew that in a few seconds the child would be burned to death by napalm which had already been released.
Yes, I knew civilians were being destroyed, and knew it perhaps in a way others didn’t. Yet I never preached a single sermon against killing civilians to men who were doing it.
This is an extract from the interview, and you may read the full interview here

Earthquake and tsunami photos mirror the devastation of Hiroshima and Nagasaki

Hiroshima: A fire engine in ruins symbolises the sheer inadequacy of the resources that the Japanese people had for quenching the atomic rage of fire.
Minamisoma: The wreckage of a fire engine that attempted to fight gas fires.

While the enormity of the quake and the land it affected are far greater, footage of the disasters from recent weeks is terrifyingly comparable to those of 65 years ago in Hiroshima and Nagasaki.
Photos obtained at this link from The Daily Mail
There was an error in this gadget