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Showing posts from 2015

Prayers needed for Mother Angelica, a heroine who has always defended the Faith

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I was very upset by the news that Mother Angelica has been put on a feeding tube, it's sort of the same feeling we had in the days leading up to Pope Benedict's abdication.  The photo below was taken at EWTN headquarters in Irondale, Alabama where a beautiful portrait of Mother Angelica hangs in pride of place.  Over at The Catholic Herald, I did an article on Mother Angelica's extraordinary story


‘Jesus had to hit me on the head and make me suffer,’ declared Mother Angelica when she appeared on the Journey Home, where she told viewers, ‘it was good for me that my dad left my mother when I was six.’  Mother Angelica explained, without a trace of self-pity, that her own pain taught her that there are two options when we suffer, we can bury ourselves in the world or turn to God.


Born Rita Rizzo, Mother Angelica’s parents divorced when she was 6, and she was ostracised by the other kids because she was the only one from a broken home who had to subsist in grinding poverty. No…

A feast fit for a Prince of the Church, our dinner with Cardinal Burke

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The Latin Mass Society very kindly invited me to the dinner at the Royal Overseas Club on the 13th of November to celebrate the occasion of Cardinal Raymond Burke's visit to London. 

His Eminence has a packed schedule as evidenced by the photos that our intrepid Chairman, Joe Shaw took.  Cardinal Burke also granted an interview to my editor, Dylan Parry, for The Mass of Ages with the sparkling line:

"I think Catholics should simply say that ‘I cannot accept this teaching as it goes against what the Church has always taught and practiced.’ I don’t think that Catholics should permit themselves to be driven away from the Church by those who are not upholding the Church’s teaching."

Sorry that I have been late blogging about this and posting my photos, it is high dinner party season and I have been giving quite a few in my West London flat as well as tearing around London to attend not a few wintry parties. John Carmichael and I are also working hard promoting the paperback edi…

A prophecy for our times

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'You’re a lesbian,’ hissed my classmate before she scrunched up her nose at me. We were 13 to 14 years of age, and she had been grilling me on how far I had gone. It was not the first time that I’d been labelled ‘lessie’ or ‘frigid’ because I’d never let one of the pimply boys kiss or grope me. I was not devout and had hardly any prayer life, so it wasn’t for fear of sinning that I didn’t bend to such peer pressure. It was an all girls’ school, and I knew that if I declared myself willing, I would be invited along to meet up with the boys after school.  My reason for not yielding to this manipulation was that I had no friends at the school and knew that if I gave in, I would fit in for a time, but I would have given the other girl power over me and  next time I’d have to go further to prove to her that I was heterosexual.
The very same girl called me a lesbian led a two-faced existence.  She egged on other young teens to get blind drunk and be the playthings of boys drenched in che…

A 12 year old murder victim teaches us how to forgive. A note on how to avoid 'the bitterness trap'

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Presently America has the honour of having the relics of St Maria Goretti tour from church to church, the virgin-martyr born 125 years ago this month. 125 years ago this month, Maria Goretti was born in Italy. Poverty had a vice-like grip on her family. When she was six, her parents lost their farm and had to up sticks and earn a meagre living working for other farmers. Following the untimely death of her father, Maria, her mother and siblings moved again, and not begin able to afford a house of their own, had to share with the Serenelli family, which is where little Maria Goretti got to know their son, Alessandro. Three years later, the 18 year old Alessandro started lusting after 12 year old Maria. One afternoon while her mother was working in the fields, Alessandro sexually harassed little Maria. She stood up to him, warned him his salvation would be in jeopardy if he defiled her, and cried out, “No! It is a sin! God does not want it!” Enraged by her refusal to submit to him (and …

Surviving ISIS: "At night they would torture me, during the day I was giving these young men advice on their marriage problems"

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At my parish of the London Oratory, Fr Douglas Bazi gave a talk in St Wilfrid's hall, the long drawing room with dazzlingly high ceilings.  Aid to the Church in Need have brought Fr Bazi from Iraq. He gave one of the most fascinating talks I've ever heard; it was both inspiring and heartbreaking.  He says that if a young Catholic man in Iraq decides to become a priest, he knows he will be martyred, 'to be a priest in Iraq is a one way mission; you will be killed.'

Fr Bazi knows this viscerally; ISIS terrorists kidnapped him for nine days. He was driving in traffic, when two cars sidled up and blocked him. Chaining his hands, they took him to a toilet where he was kept for several days with the instruction, 'if you open your eyes, we will shoot you.' They starved him and gave him no water for four days.  When he thought things were at their worst, Fr Bazi tried off-beat humour to show them they were not getting to him, and thus make them





doubt their efforts to hur…

Such truth in parody: let's re-name Amnesty, Shamnesty

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Liam Neeson lent his voice to the Amnesty International video calling for the repeal of the Eight Amendment of the Irish Constitution.   A most patronising piece, it puts forth that Irish women are in 'chains' because the Eight Amendment introduced a constitutional ban on abortion, and that people who are against the mutilation of the unborn are locked in the past.  

Manipulative in that it attempts to evoke the stigma that many Irish people feel when they think of 'poor Catholic Ireland'. I find it very offensive that they think Irish people will be so easily manipulated, apparently the only way Ireland can prove it has gotten over its past, is if abortion is legalised.

The most infuriatingly derisive statement is, 'it is the shadow of the country we'd hoped we'd left behind.'  Working on the assumption that we or all of us share their driving ambition to allow the legalised destruction of babies, evades acknowledging that there are Irish pro-life people…

Guest post from John Carmichael on how YOU can discover the secret of the Rosary

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The Secret of the Rosary
When my dear friend and editor, Mary O’Regan, asked me to contribute a guest post on the subject of the Rosary, the first thing that came to mind was the old line that, “writing about music is like dancing about architecture.” What I wish I could say about the Rosary seems so often to be beyond language.
Many disciples of Jesus Christ much more advanced than me have had their comment on this great prayer of the Church, but I have found them all wanting.
Take one for example: Saint Louis de Montfort, a glorious writer on our Blessed Mother. His True Devotion to Mary is for me a transcendent and exhilarating read. So, after having experienced my own startling encounter with the Rosary, I was very much looking forward to reading Saint de Montfort’s The Secret of the Rosary to find out why the Rosary was so powerful.   
Unfortunately I tried several times but could not get through it. There it sits, The Secret of the Rosary does, silently mocking me for my lack of d…

'The author gives credit to grace...'

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A reader has given Drunks and Monks a five star rating, and has written that, ‘the vulnerability and honesty of this conversion story give us a profound example of every human's experience to some degree...’
The second part of the review called to my mind, St Thérèse of Lisieux’s truism that everything is grace, ‘the author gives credit to grace and the grace received through the sacraments for his ability to see Truth. Great read.’
It was St Thérèse’s feast day yesterday, and I would like to wish everyone a belated happy feast. 

Today, Drunks & Monks garnered its 44th review

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Drunks and Monks was published on the auspicious day of Tuesday, July 7th, and today September 30th, feast of St Jerome, it garnered a total of 44 reviews. Here are a few tasters.   

Scott Woltze, an early and enthusiastic reader has been spreading the word about Drunks and Monksin various places around the internet with apostolic zeal. Scott's review got to the heart of Drunks and Monks:

"Like the other reviewers, I couldn't put this book down. It's a raw and honest book that lays bare the confused and brittle life away from Christ, and the little workings of grace that lead to conversion...The mystery of God's grace and timing is evident as he slowly moves toward conversion while many around him unwittingly seem to sabotage the Lord's work. Demons seemed to be aware of the workings of grace, and took an unusual interest in trying to prevent his conversion...On a personal level, I could relate to his loss of faith (and that of nearly all his peers) after growin…

John Carmichael's Drunks & Monks, a look behind the scenes

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I got to know John Carmichael in April 2014.  He got in touch with me via the comments section here and hereafter he saw me presenting the pilot episode of the show Extraordinary Faith on EWTN which was set in John’s parish church ofMissionSan Juan Capistrano in Southern California. John was eager to learn all about my experience as a TV producer – he was the first person that I ever met who truly ‘gets’the joys and pains of making television.
I was fascinated to learn that John is an agile legal eagle whose wings swooped high and low around Hollywood for many years when he representeda number of celebrity clients and handled big cases for film studios and record companies.As he says in the opening of his masterpiece, Drunks and Monks, ‘litigation is blood sport in Hollywood…I’ve seen more of what goes on backstage than I ever wanted.’
After he got to know me a little he told me he was working on a memoir that chronicled his conversion from being an unbelieving cultural Catholic to bein…

Dog of the Week

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Here I am near Paddington with this charming Chihuahua. You can see a lot of Chihuahuas and 'toy breeds' in the vicinity of Paddington Train Station because they are dogs beloved by commuters who can easily travel with a Chihuahua on their lap in the busiest train carriage at rush-hour. 

I've often been tempted to get a Chihuahua, and become a walking cliché: walking in kitten heels, wearing a cocktail dress on my way to some party with a Chihuahua sticking its fluffy head out of my handbag. The joy of having a Chihuahua is that they are so light they can be carried for long periods of time. They say that a Chihuahua is 'a little dog with a big personality', and Chihuahuas can have very dominant personalities, evidenced by the way many owners need strong dog harnesses to restrain a dog with such a slight build. Chihuahuas can have very mild personalities. Their genetic inheritance dictates the kind of personality they will have, and someone looking for a Chihuahua w…