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Showing posts from April, 2016

John Sullivan SJ: a saintly priest whose story the world needs to hear

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Telling the tale of the saintly John Sullivan SJ’s life of heroic virtue could do some good to Ireland’s reputation. Were the life of this priest better known it would go a little bit towards counterbalancing the damage done to Ireland’s standing on the international stage by the clerical sex abuse committed by criminal priests. John Sullivan SJ did not have the typical upbringing of an Irish Catholic, never mind an Irish Jesuit who voluntarily takes a vow of poverty. His father was a Protestant who was very rich and a highly esteemed barrister who housed his family in Georgian Dublin. John was raised Protestant, even though his mother was Catholic. John Sullivan converted to Catholicism and was received into the Catholic Church in London’s Farm Street Jesuit community in 1896 when he was a 35-year-old barrister. Throughout all his years as a Jesuit, which were spent in County Kildare, Ireland, there was a touch of Pope Francis about him. He had tremendous affection for the poor, sou…

Mother Angelica would have been 93 this month, the most successful woman in television history was an 'unwanted' child

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Had our cherished Mother Angelica lived, she would have celebrated her 93rd birthday today. I put forward that a birthday present we could give Mother would be to do our best to use her life story and great achievements to counteract what St John Paul II called the culture of death. This may seem lofty, and could remain just a nice thought, but I think we need not be afraid to discuss Mother Angelica when we are having pro-life discussions, and to help others who think it’s “for the best” if an unwanted unborn child meets their end in an abortion clinic. For starters, we can retell the story of Mother’s humble beginnings to refute the dire predictions that we hear about “unwanted” children, namely that their being unwanted by one or both of their parents leaves them with emotional scars that keep them from achieving anything in life. The culture of death tars all “unwanted” kids with the same brush. Mother Angelica’s father John, on finding out that his wife Mae was carrying his chil…

On Turning 100. Mary O'Regan interviews John H Carmichael

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Q: So you garnered 100 Amazon Reviews in 9 months, almost all of them quite good. How do you feel about it?
A: It is strange to think one would in any way “mark” or take note of “100 Amazon Reviews.”
But Amazon in general and their reader reviews in particular have become important in our time.
And what a strange time it is.
What did we do before we could express our opinions so freely and so permanently about books?
We were at the mercy of professional reviewers, with their dry, arch, sometimes too-clever-by-half musings, meant not just to promote or demote a book, but also to reveal the professional reviewer's acumen, to contribute to an alternative genre of literature -- the literary review. Not so with the reader reviews on Amazon, which sometimes blurt out painful truths akin to “This book sucks!” Or, “Meh. I just couldn't get into it. Two hours I will never get back. I should’ve watched Dancing With The Stars instead.” To be clear, I respect professional reviewers but the rea…

Today I will be on the Jennifer Fulwiler Show talking about Drunks and Monks

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What a delight it is to have Jennifer Fulwiler, famed author of Something Other Than God visit us here in London.  

Jennifer has been an amazing trailblazer for Drunks and Monks, John Carmichael's epic memoir, and John has been a guest on her show twice. You may listen to his first interview here (at 43:00).  Today, I will be on Jen's show at 3:10 ET, which is 8:10 pm London time. 

The photo below was taken on one of the manicured lawns of South Kensington, in front of the church where TS Eliot was rector. We didn't have time to see Agatha Christie's house which is nearby, but next time, Jen...


Help abducted priests by praying to the clergy who have gone before them

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Dire rumours circulated last week concerning Fr Tom Uzhunnalil, a Salesian priest who was abducted by ISIS in Yemen on March 4. The worst hearsay was that his captors had crucified him on Good Friday, which thankfully appear to have been false. We can take heart that the most recent news has been positive; the bishops’ conference of India has said that Fr Tom is alive and still in the hands of his captors, but intense negotiations are underway to secure his release. It’s easy to feel powerless when we hear of a good priest being held hostage by terrorists, but I suggest we can pray for Fr Tom in a specific way, by praying to the souls of saintly priests who were imprisoned unfairly. One such priest is Fr Walter Ciszek, who has been proclaimed a Servant of God.
Fr Walter was captured by the Russian Army during World War II. After being accused and convicted during a phony trial of being a ‘Vatican spy’, Fr Walter spent 23 harrowing years in Soviet prisons and working in the salt mines…

Why Mother Angelica was Mother Angelica

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Back in the 1930s when Mother Angelica was Rita Rizzo, her mother took her out of a convent school because the nuns belittled her. After a priest cajoled and persuaded little Rita’s mother to send her back to the convent school, the same nuns singled Rita out for more of the same. At the Christmas party, they gave shiny new toys to all the other kids, but reserved a broken yo-yo for Rita. Raymond Arroyo’s biography quotes Mother Angelica as remembering that the toy “was old and scratched, had knots in it, you couldn’t use the thing.” When Rita grew up to become Mother Angelica she would always say that she hated “those nuns” and was clear that they could and should have told her that Jesus loved her. Perhaps it is a miracle in itself that Rita became a nun: it shows amazing strength of character on the part of Mother Angelica that she did not let fear that she would might become like the nuns from her childhood crush her vocation. I know that I wouldn’t have had the determination. Wh…