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Showing posts from May, 2016

Cardinal Nichols and Archbishop Welby are continuing St Augustine's work on Facebook...

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The first Archbishop of Canterbury, St Augustine, was no coward. Yet when Pope St Gregory the Great sent him to England, Augustine turned back en route. He lost his nerve when travelling to England after he heard tales of Saxons savagery and feared he would fall prey to them. In earlier years, missionaries had come to Britain. But after the Saxon conquest they had retreated to the margins of society, keeping quiet about their faith. When Augustine returned to Rome, Pope Gregory encouraged Augustine with the news that Ethelbert, King of Kent, had taken Bertha, a Christian, as his wife. A far-seeing Holy Father, Gregory believed that Ethelbert would give Augustine his blessing and help in evangelising the English. And he was right. When St Augustine and his band of 40 brothers arrived on the shores of the isle of Thanet, King Ethelbert was there to greet them. Augustine was from a high-born Italian family and Ethelbert was impressed by his good manners and gentility. Giving Augustine f…

What should you say to a woman pregnant through adultery?

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I was having lunch with a Catholic acquaintance who mentioned St Rita of Cascia is popular in the Philippines because the rate of domestic violence is high and battered wives beseech her for graces to cope with bullying husbands. Thoughtlessly, I said I would look into praying to her. The person sitting opposite me raised an eyebrow and asked if I was having “man trouble”. Quickly, I clarified that I wasn’t, but was eager to pray to St Rita for work and money intentions. It is not surprising that some of my female friends say they become tongue-tied when St Rita comes up.  Our being tight-lipped is due to St Rita’s reputation as the saint for heartbroken women, victims of punch-throwing husbands and those in unhappy marriages. Were we to admit praying to her, we fear others may wrongly draw the conclusion we have been or are being abused at the hands of our boyfriends and husbands. St Rita herself was in an abusive marriage – she had been married off as a child of 12 – even though sh…

Why I wouldn’t want to be a female deacon

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"Mary, why wouldn’t you become a deacon?  It seems like the only logical next step for a woman like yourself who spends so much time availing yourself of the sacraments, why not help out in administering the sacraments?” Long ago, I got used to hearing such suggestions and at times I feel undermined by people who think the less of me for maintaining it is not my place to be a deacon. The same people who push other women to be female deacons often – not always but very often – seem to imply that one can only have a vocation if one is in ordained ministry, conveniently overlooking lay vocations and vocations to religious life as consecrated Brides of Christ who can do wonders for the lives and souls of others. Whenever these people talk about the lack of female religious and that some orders of sisters and nuns are not getting new postulants and are having to close convents, I can’t help but think this is also a fruit of undermining the vocation to be a Bride of Christ because wom…

It may get you called a freak, but Marian devotion is indispensable

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If you ever want proof that I’m in the Densa category, reference this fact: it has taken me the past 10 days to figure out ways to develop my love for Our Lady during this month of May which is dedicated to her. My normal routine is to offer the Rosary every day of every month as Our Lady asked us to do at Fatima, and to write pieces that spread devotion to the Holy Rosary. Yet when I started preparing to write this exact piece, I felt self-doubt, asking myself if I’m like a broken record, constantly repeating that Our Lady asked us to offer the Rosary each day, without putting the spotlight on spiritual classics concerning Our Lady that open our minds to appreciate why devotion to Our Lady is so incredibly important. Even the mere words “incredibly important” seem inadequate, but they are the best words at my disposal. As we are in the midst of May, I have been studying St Louis de Montfort’s True Devotion to the Blessed Virgin. I recommend this book with every fibre of my being, if…

I'm taking up the Pope's challenge to pray for other women

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The Pope’s video for May is a series of prayer intentions which asks us to pray for the betterment of women the world over. Pope Francis’ prayer that, “in all countries of the world women may be honoured, respected, valued for their essential contribution to society” got me thinking. I felt twinges of guilt because it is a prayer intention that I wasn’t aware I was neglecting. The reason for my oversight is that I don’t agree with liberal feminism, and have wrongly labelled praying for women as supporting feminism, which is an incorrect and illogical thought process. I realise that you don’t have to be a feminist to pray for other women. Womanhood is cherished by God; it was a woman who was mother to His Son. So praying for the good of other women, even those we do not know is something for every Christian to take to heart and to pray very earnestly for. How precisely do we pray for such an intention? One way is to pray specifically for the particular intentions of our female friends…