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Showing posts from March, 2016

Why I didn't have my feet washed on Holy Thursday - foot washing is too important to be dragged into a feminist debate

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The debate over foot-washing is often seen in terms of simply excluding or including women. But it would seem very different if we were informed by our Christian consciences and not by feminism. In our ‘post-feminist’ society, we women are told that Christianity is informed by misogyny. That women will now have their feet washed on Maundy Thursday is seen by some as one means of correcting a male-dominated system. Of course, the Pope did not reform the rite for feminist reasons. However, the issue can get caught up in political debates, which is a pity. I won’t have my marble-white, blue veiny feet washed today. But I won’t object when I hear of a female friend or acquaintance who will have their feet washed; they are doing so in line with the Church’s teachings and they may be trying to reach greater holiness. I’d just invite them to think twice if they are merely having their feet washed in response to feminist propaganda which seeks to turn women against Our Lord, by arguing that …

Praying to St Joseph for a spouse can have unexpected consequences...

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When I was 18, I prayed the novena to St Joseph for the intention of getting a husband of the Orlando Bloom variety. Yes, I know, 18 is childishly young, and at the time I yearned to be a teenage bride with a pale pink lace veil who would dance down the aisle to Chuck Berry’s It Was A Teenage Wedding (I’m not joking – those were my wedding plans). At the time, it didn’t matter to me if the guy was Catholic or not, as long as he was extremely good-looking and had thick hair. Clearly, my priorities were in order. Needless to say, it did not come to pass and I am still unmarried. Thank you, St Joseph for unanswered prayers. I did not, however, dare to offer the novena to St Joseph for a devastatingly handsome hubbie during my twenties. Why ever not? My reason has ironically to do with the fact that I became more serious about my faith. Bear with me while I explain: during the decade-long time between 20 and 30 I heard quite a few men and women say that they prayed to St Joseph for a hus…

I saved a life by keeping my mouth shut

"The abortion is booked and I’m definitely having it,” said an old friend who is a life-long atheist who thinks that people who talk about God are liars. “Having an abortion is not a sin – there is no such thing as sin – there is no God who will punish me for it,” my friend instructed me. Listening to her, I felt trapped. I knew if I spoke about the Catholic teaching that abortion is a mortal sin, I would actually make my friend more determined to ‘prove’ that it was not, and she was adamant that, “Mary – you will see nothing bad will happen to my soul – I don’t have one.” I only had one option; to listen intently to her – and I discovered that she was of the opinion that she would not suffer after the abortion. I decided to rectify this by getting as much information on Post Abortion Syndrome as I could and showed her a secular testimony from a woman who wanted to commit suicide after her abortion. Even though she was tempted to brush this off as “not enough evidence” (the same…

Young people bullied for following God’s call could embrace Elizabeth of the Trinity as their patron

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"She flipped out,” is how one young man described his mother’s reaction after he told her he wanted to be a priest. “She said I could do so much better than be a priest and said her friends would think me abnormal on account of choosing voluntary celibacy.” Ever conscious of public image, his mother never did give him her blessing, but she continued to go Mass, “so that the neighbours would not think she was lapsed”. Her son never entered seminary. I heard of another young man who ran away from home to join a very strict religious order – against his parents’ wishes. When his father picked a fight with the head of the religious order, his son said to him that he had to leave their home in order to follow Christ and that Jesus said in the Gospels that a man who could not leave his parents was not worthy to be His disciple. The two cases above concern men who are contemporary Catholics. Yet Blessed Elizabeth of the Trinity, whose canonisation has just been announced, would have sh…

The future of politics belongs to blondes...

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Evil spirits tempt, but when we succumb it is our fault

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A devout Catholic friend of mine went to the doctor because she was feeling physically run down. She mentioned that she could be maliciously catty about others and that it drained her of energy, but that she felt lighter after confession. This was her remedy for mental exhaustion caused by being dragged down by the weight of her sins. Probing a bit further, the doctor asked her if she believed temptation may be the work of bad angels. My friend answered “yes.” The medic, seeing that my friend was calm and collected, said he respected her religious views and he believe in God but that he had to warn her that thoughts of bad angels inspiring people to do bad deeds was dangerous fantasy. Furthermore he thought that people were blame-shifting- they ascribed blame to imaginary spirits and not to themselves. My friend told her doctor that he had a point – people could blame the sources of temptation – but not take responsibility for themselves. She clarified that God has given each human e…

King Ethelbert: the first English monarch to become Catholic. His influence is barely acknowledged today

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An important anniversary took place on February 24. It was the 1400-year anniversary of the death of King Ethelbert – the first Anglo-Saxon king to become a Christian. Yet across England there was little fuss made and little celebration of the anniversary. Thankfully, there was a Tridentine Mass offered in the seaside town of Ramsgate – at the church of St Augustine’s and St Ethelbert’s – by the Kazakhstani Bishop Athanasius Schneider to commemorate the anniversary. Ethelbert was king of Kent from 560 – 616. Born and raised a pagan, Ethelbert sought to marry the Christian Princess Bertha. Bertha was the daughter of Charibert, a Frankish king who insisted that a strict condition for his daughter Bertha marrying Ethelbert be that she would be allowed to practice her faith freely and she came with her own chaplain, Bishop Luihard. For the early years of their marriage, Ethelbert and Bertha would have had what we now call a mixed marriage. Queen Bertha’s reign in Kent saw the beginning o…