Sunday, 31 December 2017

The Marian Option, by Carrie Gress

One of the most tedious subjects discussed in the Christian blogsphere was Rod Dreher's book 'The Benedict Option.' It seemed like every Christian blogger had to produce an ever more nuanced evaluation of this book and its proposals. The Benedict Option spawned a number of alternative 'options,' among them this book, The Marian Option. The author does not spend much time interacting with the proposals of The Benedict Option, but she seems broadly sympathetic to Rod Dreher's thinking, so this book is not necessarily meant in opposition to it.

Gress shows how important the figure of the Blessed Virgin Mary has been to western culture, through inspiring art, music and literature. She views Mariology and devotion to Mary as a vital resource in defending and promoting Christian values in the face of an hostile secular world. She cites the example of Saint John Paul II, then Karol Wojtyla, in his encouragement of devotion to Mary in the struggle against oppressive Communism in Poland. She lists many devotional practices that Catholics can adopt and ways that families can foster devotion to the Blessed Virgin. I was glad she mentioned saying the Liturgy of the Hours, though she might also have suggested saying the Little Office of the Blessed Virgin Mary as an alternative.

Our author does not seem to have a practical strategy beyond encouraging increased devotion to Mary among Catholics. I think that is a good plan; if every Catholic started saying the Rosary daily, I really do think the world could be changed. I think such a change, however, would look like short-term revival and spiritual renewal rather than reversal of the secularizing trends. Something deeper is needed to arrest the direction of the secularist currents in western society.

On the subject of Islam, I was glad to see she raised the fact that Muslims honour and respect Mary as the virgin mother of Jesus. Yet she brings up a lot of stuff about the Battle of Lepanto and past conflicts with Islam. There is too simple a correlation made between tensions between Christians and Muslims today and the armed conflicts of history. I find it frustrating that every time the Feast of Our Lady of the Rosary comes, you get Catholics blogging or tweeting about the Battle of Lepanto and putting an Islamophobic gloss on it. I would liked to have seen Gress provide something of a critique of the Islamophobia that has become too common among Catholics.

The Feast of the Holy Family

O God, who were pleased to give us the shining example of the Holy Family, graciously grant that we may imitate them in practicing the virtues of family life and in the bonds of charity, and so, in the joy of your house, delight one day in eternal rewards. Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son, who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever.

Lord Jesus, have mercy on us. Saint Mary and Saint Joseph, pray for us and for all Christian families.

The Feast of Saint Sylvester

Come, O Lord, to the help of your people, sustained by the intercession of Pope Saint Sylvester, so that, running the course of this present life under your guidance we may happily attain life without end. Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son, who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever.

Saint Sylvester, pray for us and for Pope Francis.

Wednesday, 27 December 2017

The Guardian: A Labour government might not be as bad as Brexit, claims Heseltine

The Guardian: A Labour government might not be as bad as Brexit, claims Heseltine

Michael Heseltine, the Tory grandee and former deputy prime minister, has suggested a Labour government led by Jeremy Corbyn could be less damaging than Brexit.

The peer made the claim, which is remarkable for a senior Conservative, in an interview for the Limehouse podcast about liberal and EU politics, as he was pressed on how catastrophic he believes Brexit will be for the UK.

Heseltine, a longstanding pro-EU politician, signalled that he still views a Labour government as having a negative effect on the country, but said leaving the EU could be worse in the long term. He also suggested Labour would eventually turn against Brexit and the Conservatives would be “left holding the baby”, as leaving the EU grows more unpopular.

I don't want to see Corbyn become prime minister, but I honestly feel more worried about the damage Brexit could do than the damage a Corbyn led Labour government could do.

The Feast of Sain John the Apostle

O God, who through the blessed Apostle John have unlocked for us the secrets of your Word, grant, we pray, that we may grasp with proper understanding what he has so marvelously brought to our ears. Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son, who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever.

Saint John, pray for us, that the life of God would abide in us.

Tuesday, 26 December 2017

Mr. Tickle

The Feast of Saint Stephen

Grant, Lord, we pray, that we may imitate what we worship, and so learn to love even our enemies, for we celebrate the heavenly birthday of a man who knew how to pray even for his persecutors. Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son, who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever.


Antiphon: And they stoned Stephen, invoking and saying: Lord Jesus, receive my spirit. And falling on his knees he cried with a loud voice, saying: Lord, lay not this sin to their charge. And when he had said this, he fell asleep in the Lord.

V. I see the heavens opened, R. And Jesus standing on the right hand of the power of God.

Lord, have mercy on us. Christ, have mercy on us. Lord, have mercy on us.

Saint Stephen, First Martyr, Pray for us. St. Stephen, who suffered for preaching the Name of Jesus Christ, Pray for us. St. Stephen, who so closely imitated Jesus in that great virtue of charity for thine enemies, Pray for us. St. Stephen, who when stoned by thine enemies, didst cast forth sparks, Pray for us. not of anger, but of love, to set on fire their hearts, harder than the stones which they threw, Pray for us. St. Stephen, having recommended thy soul to God, cried for mercy on the souls of thine enemies, Pray for us. St. Stephen, most zealous for the glory of God, b St. Stephen, most patient and constant, Pray for us. St. Stephen, pattern of chastity and purity, Pray for us. St. Stephen, whose heavenly fortitude caused admiration in all, St. Stephen, by whom so many miracles were wrought, Pray for us. St. Stephen, who, in the love of God, was not inferior to the Apostles themselves, Pray for us. St. Stephen, who didst convert many to the faith of Christ, Pray for us. St. Stephen, by whom the Church has received and continues to receive such singular benefits, Pray for us. St. Stephen, of whom it is said, that the Holy Ghost, Who inhabited thy soul, shone and darted forth His rays into thy body, Pray for us. St. Stephen, whose face shone like that of an angel, Pray for us. St. Stephen, filled with the faith and the Holy Ghost, Pray for us. St. Stephen, dear to the Heart of Jesus, Pray for us.

V. Obtain for us, O blessed Stephen, the virtue of holy charity: R. For which thou wast so eminent and we are so needy

Lord, have mercy on us. Christ, have mercy on us.

Let us pray. Grant to us, we beseech Thee, O Lord, so to imitate what we revere that we may learn to love even our enemies: for we celebrate him who could even plead on behalf of his persecutors with Thy Son Our Lord Jesus Christ. Who with Thee and the Holy Spirit livest and reignest, one God, world without end. R. Amen.

Saint Stephen, pray for us, for all deacons and for all persecuted Christians.

The story of St. Stephen might not seem very Christmassy, but I think it is appropriate that his is the first feast day to follow the Nativity of our Lord. Christ came into the world not to be served, but to serve. Likewise, St. Stephen was devoted to the service of others. Like Christ he was accused by his people and suffered for the sake of righteousness. St. Stephen is a shining example of the new humanity that is formed in Christ.

Eastern Ukraine Situation Report 26th December

Saturday, 23 December 2017

The Theology of Vatican II by Christopher Butler

Christopher Butler, The Theology of Vatican II, 1966 DLT, London

Bishop Butler, a Benedictine abbot originally presented this material in his Sarum Lectures in Oxford in 1966. This is a beautiful presentation of the theology of the key documents of the Second Vatican Council. Butler shows what made these documents so beautiful. He demonstrates how in some areas, Catholic theology had become narrow and stale and needed refining and enriching, a process that can be seen magnificently in the documents of Vatican II. The theology of the Second Vatican Council was orthodox theology in continuity with the Church's Magisterial tradition, yet renewed by deeper reflection. The provides extensive discussion of how the Council elaborated on the ecclesiology of the Catholic Church, moving it away from the somewhat rigid emphases that had come to characterize Catholic ecclesiology and to a better, richer understanding of the Holy Orders. On the topic of ecumenicism, Butler focuses on the concept of communion and 'imperfect communions.' A body outside the Catholic Church may enjoy a certain communion with Christ while not enjoying all the graces and privileges possessed by the Church.

I was particularly interested to read what Butler wrote on the subject of Mariology. He speaks about how an unofficial Marian movement had emerged in the Twentieth century, represented in various periodicals and the increasing popularity of Marian shrines and pilgrimages. This movement had emerged at the same time as the Liturgical Movement, however, Butler faults it for lacking the Liturgical Movement's concern for ecumenicism. He seems somewhat uneasy with Marian Maximalism. The presence of the Marian movement raised the question of whether the Council would provide a separate document on Mariology and whether it would establish Our Lady's role as Mediatrix of Grace and Co-Redemptrix. Bulter explains the reasoning behind the Council's decision to deal with Mariology within Ecclesiology, establishing her fundamental connection to the Church and why the Council refrained from speaking of Mary as Co-Redemptrix. Yet, as Butler points out, the Council affirmed the role of Mary as Mediatrix, even if with somewhat guarded language. As Jonathan Fleischer points out in Marian Maximalism, Vatican II had much to say about the importance of Mary in the economy of grace.

This is an old book, but it will remind you just how awesome and inspiring the Second Vatican Council was.

The Amish Catholic: The Triumph of Colour

The Amish Catholic: The Triumph of Colour

"A few clear lessons emerge. First, we have to get over our toxic allergy to all things Gothic (or Baroque, or Romanesque, or Byzantine, etc.). We needn’t go as far as Pugin in declaring one style to be definitively “Christian” to the exclusion of the rest, but we ought to embrace our own history. We shouldn’t fear extravagance in liturgical design as long as it’s well-executed, glorifies God, and directs the soul to worship the Eucharistic Lord. Yet we can also balance that tendency with a complementary emphasis on holy simplicity. Let us always recall that a Catholic imagination is only properly formed across several types of artistic encounter. We should foster and seek sound Catholic illustration as much as sound Catholic architecture or sound Catholic liturgical design. Finally, we shouldn’t fear radiance and color and the human face. Only then might we one day repeat the triumph of color that nearly converted a nation."

Friday, 22 December 2017

Leasehold Scandal

I do hope the government does something about existing leaseholds as well.

Thursday, 21 December 2017

First Things: Dispatches from Russia

First Things: Dispatches from Russia

by Marcus Plested

"I would not for a moment underestimate the difficulties of the church under the Putin regime. What might seem a cozy relationship from the outside is, I suspect, less comfortable on the inside. The state seems happy to co-opt the church as a pillar of Russian national identity as part of what Sergei Chapnin has memorably called “post-Soviet civil religion.” But the church remains constrained as to what it can do or say. Should it be more forthright in its critique of the state or in its denunciations of territorial expansionism, corruption, and abuse of power? I am not sure it is for us in the relative comfort of the West to say. Let us not forget that state persecution of the church is a matter of living memory. I visited an exhibition on hidden monasticism in the Soviet era at the Vysokopetrovsky Monastery that recalled the chastening stories of a number of Russian monastic martyrs. It displayed a gospel inscribed in minute characters on a flimsy piece of material that could be wound around the body and escape detection from prison guards. With such a history so close at hand, perhaps we should not be surprised that the church appears unwilling to risk its currently favored position within the new Russian polity.

That said, there is room for reform and renewal within the Russian Church. The church appears to be run in an authoritarian fashion (not unlike the state). Priests can be dismissed or moved with relative ease by higher authority. Lay participation in church governance at any level is minimal. Congregations appear rather subdued and subservient to the church hierarchy. There are other problems, too: a shortage of churches in the ever-expanding Moscow suburbs and an urgent need to reform seminary education. Getting state recognition for theological studies appears to be an onerous process. As a moral leader, the church has made only a little headway in the matter of abortion, which remains virtually a form of contraception for some in today’s Russia. Glasnost and perestroika kindled great enthusiasm for the church among young and educated people. Today, however, that enthusiasm seems on the wane as the collapse of the Soviet Union becomes a distant memory."

There is this really crass idea among some conservative Christians in the West that Russia under Putin is some glorious revival of a lost age of Christendom. This notion ignores the massively high abortion rate in Russia, as well as the pervasive corruption, not only in the Russian state, but also in the Orthodox Church.

Wednesday, 20 December 2017

The Atlantic: Conservatism Can't Survive Donald Trump Intact

The Atlantic: Conservatism Can't Survive Donald Trump Intact

by David Frum

"Rubin’s crime is that rather than waking up every morning fresh for each day’s calling of balls and strikes, she carries into her work the memory of the day before. She sees patterns where Cooke sees only incidents. She speaks out even when Cooke deems it prudent to hold his tongue.

In this course, Cooke is following the Republican leadership in the House and Senate and the more presentable of the conservative commentariat: Hope for the best. Make excuses where you can. When you can’t make an excuse, keep as quiet as you can. Attack Trump’s critics in the media and Hollywood when all else fails. That has also become the working position of many conservatives who in 2015 and 2016 called themselves “Never Trump.”

In the spring of 2016, National Review published its “Against Trump” issue. Twenty-one prominent conservatives signed individual statements of opposition to Trump’s candidacy. Of those 21, only six continue to speak publicly against his actions. Almost as many have become passionate defenders of the Trump presidency, most visibly the Media Research Center’s Brent Bozell and the National Rifle Association’s Dana Loesch."

Postmillennial Worldview: Reflecting on the King's Birth

Postmillennial Worldview: Reflecting on the King's Birth

"Zacharias continues the hope-filled joy, for he sees Christ’s birth as bringing glad tidings of victory for God’s people over their enemies (Lk 1:68–71). This again fulfills the Abrahamic Covenant (v 73; cf. Ro 15:8–12). Christ is the sunrise that will “shine upon those who sit in darkness and the shadow of death” (vv 78–79). Elsewhere this refers to the Gentiles (Isa 9:1, 2; Mt 4:16).

Later in the New Testament we see this light as a positive force, dispelling darkness in the present age (Ro 13:11–13; 1Jn 2:8). Because Christ has come, he will bring “peace on earth” (Lk 2:14a). His birth at his first coming insures peace on earth — not his second coming (although in the consummative new earth this peace will come to perfect, eternal realization)."

A Very Muslim Christmas

Monday, 18 December 2017

Mail on Sunday| ANNA SOUBRY on why Theresa May must condemn 'toxic' Brexit fanatics who are whipping up hate

Mail on Sunday| ANNA SOUBRY on why Theresa May must condemn 'toxic' Brexit fanatics who are whipping up hate

"Conservative MPs have observed the cries of ‘deselect’ from Momentum members at Labour MPs and councillors who don’t think ‘JC’ is Labour’s Militant messiah, but we consoled ourselves with the knowledge that such a well-organised and poisonous sect is not working to take over our own party.

BUT events following Wednesday’s vote now lead me to conclude we were wrong. We do have our very own ‘Blue Momentum’ – and we have to stop it now.

A tightly knit and co-ordinated group of Conservatives, including some MPs, are working with non-party members to get their hard version of Brexit at any cost. They are using the very same pernicious tactics as Corbyn’s Momentum.

Not convinced? Sounds far-fetched? Well, here’s the proof.

Within hours of Wednesday’s vote, a Conservative MP called for those of us who had voted for Parliament to take back control of Brexit, to be deselected as MPs and never be allowed to stand as Conservatives again. The self-same demand was repeated by Tory and non-Tory Leave cheerleaders. Then the abusive emails, social media postings and phone calls started.

Incendiary words used to describe us were repeated in the threats we received. Some observed that ‘traitors’ are usually dealt with by being shot.

The hatred is as blatant as it is offensive – as are the calls for us to be removed as Conservative parliamentary candidates."

Sunday, 17 December 2017

Reproductive Rights?

In Our Hands, by Charles Murray

The idea of a Universal Basic Income (UBI) is considered by many people to be a somewhat left-wing idea. However, there are those on the right who defend it. In this book, right-wing libertarian Charles Murray makes a case for something along the lines of a UBI. In this he is following in the heels of Milton Friedman's advocacy of a Negative Tax. I understand Charles Murray has expressed some very unpleasant and un-progressive views, however, his advocacy of a guaranteed minimum income is to be commended.

Murray proposes giving every citizen a guaranteed income of $13,000, of which $3000 must be spend on health insurance. This payment would replace all other welfare cash transfers. He argues that this will enable people to take responsibility for their own choices and to be independent. He argues that this UBI could replace all existing welfare payments and thus reduce the cost of bureaucracy, a key incentive for those on the right who support UBI.

Our author argues for the inequity of cash transfers that are made to specific groups of citizens, as opposed to public goods that benefit all. One example that he never touches on are social security payments made to disabled citizens. Presumably he does not think they require any additional payments beyond his proposed UBI. Yet disabled people often have all kinds of needs that cannot be managed via an ordinary income. They may need to pay for special equipment like mobility aids or adapted cars, taxi rides or payments for carers. I imagine he thinks that such expenses could be covered by private charities, but can we be sure that charities would have the resources to cover such vast needs? What is more, might not disabled people feel demeaned by having to rely on charities rather than receiving social security from the state? Murray has a lot to say about the strength of voluntary assistance and private charities prior to the New Deal, but even he admits that not every need in society was covered in those days. I do not share his confidence that private charity and voluntary assistance could flourish so easily in today's society.

I am largely in agreement with what Murray advocates in this book, but I am not confortable with all his argumentation and assumptions.

Saturday, 16 December 2017

One Minute to Ten, by Dan Hodges

Dan Hodges is a political commentator who currently writes for the Mail on Sunday (not to be confused with obnoxious Daily Mail). He was at one time a Labour supporter, but switched his allegiance to the Conservative Party. He has gained something of a reputation as a failed clairvoyant; having wrongly predicted the 2015 British election, the EU referendum, the US 2016 and the British election in June. At times he can be quite insightful, but he is far too positive in his analysis of Theresa May and he comes across as almost pathological in his attacks on the Labour Party. I think Corbyn is bad news, but we have to understand why he is supported by so many and keep in mind that Brexit could do even more damage to this country than Corbyn.

In this book, Hodges gives us a picture of the 2015 election, when David Cameron's Conservatives won a surprise majority in the UK parliament. The title references the moment at 10:00 PM when the exit polls are allowed to be announced on election day. He tries to get inside the head of each of the three main party leaders, David Cameron, Ed Miliband (Labour) and Nick Clegg (Liberal Democrat) as they await the moment of truth. He tries to imagine and portray the psychology of each of these key players both at that moment and in the run up to the election. Our author brings to this task his experience as a journalist, emphasizing the way that stories are spun by the press. It's interesting that he doesen't say that much about social media. A similar book about the politics of 2016 and 2017 would have said much more about Facebook and Twitter, which gained increased prominence, especially since the EU referendum.

The election of 2015 now feels like something that happened a century ago; so much has changed in the world's politics, and not for the better. I remember after Cameron's victory, I felt like I was walking on air for a week, even though I had failed to win the council seat I was contesting. I would never have felt that way had Theresa May won her predicted majority in the election this year.

Winter Wolf

Friday, 15 December 2017

The National Interest: Why Trump Was the Real Loser in Alabama

The National Interest: Why Trump Was the Real Loser in Alabama

by Jacob Heilbrunn

Trump is vulnerable on two fronts, which is why he will be almost wholly reliant on this duo for protection. The first is of course the Russia investigation. Trump’s lawyers appear to be totally out of their league when it comes to dealing with Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s legal team. Whether Mueller ends up targeting Trump or simply his associates remains an open question. But time may be running out for Trump: if the Democrats, as is now more likely, take both the House and Senate his presidency will be imperiled. The possibility that the GOP turns on Trump in an effort to preserve its congressional seats and that Trump, in turn, resigns the presidency this summer can no longer be discounted. With the passage of the tax bill, as Steve Bannon has noted, establishment Republicans really don’t need Trump any longer.

But perhaps the most dangerous development for Trump is the resurgence of interest in his past sexual history. Russia, shmussia. It’s a complicated story. There are too many moving parts for the public to get overly excited about. But sex? The question pretty much answers itself. Writing in the Washington Post, Karen Tumulty points to the dangers for Trump as the #MeToo movement gathers force. She observes, “Democrats Doug Jones’s unlikely victory may also be a sign that the formula for winning in a deeply polarized political climate, perfected by Trump, may not be so reliable as it seemed.”

Postmillennial Worldview: A Postmillennial Christmas

Postmillennial Worldview: A Postmillennial Christmas

Christ’s reign over his kingdom begins at his first coming (Mt 4:17; 12:28) and will gradually increase over time (Mt 13:31–33). In prophecy Christ appears as the son or branch of David (Jer 23:5; 33:13), or as David himself (Jer 30:9; Eze 34:23, 23; 37:24; Hos 3:5). After his resurrection he ascends to David’s throne (Ac 2:30–31), which represents God’s throne (1Ch 28:5; 29:23). His reign brings peace, for he is the “Prince of Peace” (Isa 9:6). Calvin puts it well in his commentary on Isaiah (vol. 1, p. 96). This peace grows incrementally through history in that Christ “extends its boundaries far and wide, and then preserves and carries it forward in uninterrupted progression to eternity.”

The Guardian: Anna Soubry receives messages calling for her to be hanged as a traitor

The Guardian: Anna Soubry receives messages calling for her to be hanged as a traitor

Anna Soubry, one of the 11 Conservative MPs who defied government whips this week when the government suffered its first Commons defeat over Brexit, has received multiple messages saying she should be hanged as a traitor.

Messages received by Soubry’s office – usually seen first by her parliamentary staff – also feature abuse, with one Facebook message saying: “Go hang yourself slag.”

It follows death threats to Dominic Grieve, the former attorney general, who drew up the amendment to the EU withdrawal bill that passed on Wednesday by 309 votes to 305, ensuring MPs must have a final vote on any Brexit deal.

Wednesday, 13 December 2017

Eastern Ukraine Situation Report 13th December

The Guardian: What are British values? And are faith schools really undermining them?

The Guardian: What are British values? And are faith schools really undermining them?

by Catherin Pepinster

"Targeting faith schools wholesale can have unintended consequences. The Conservative-Liberal Democrat coalition introduced a mandatory cap on the intake of believers to all new faith schools, requiring that a new institution would take 50% of its pupils from outside its faith population. The Catholic church stopped building new schools, because the policy broke its canon law, forbidding it from turning away students based on their Catholic faith.

When Theresa May became prime minister, she promised to overturn the policy, with No 10 saying it had been created to make faith schools more diverse but had failed because Catholic schools were more ethnically diverse than others, as well as more successful. Since May lost her majority, this U-turn appears to have been shunted to one side, with education secretary Justine Greening said to have indicated she doesn’t think it a priority.

But faith schools are a priority – for the thousands who attend them, for the thousands who want to do so, for those critics who rightly want to weed out the worst performers. And especially for the parents who want the freedom to choose these schools for their children. Now, that freedom is surely a fundamental British value. Ofsted, take note."

Wow, an article in The Guardian defending faith schools. Great stuff.

National Review: It’s Never Fun to Lose a Senate Seat, But the GOP Dodged a Bullet

National Review: It’s Never Fun to Lose a Senate Seat, But the GOP Dodged a Bullet

by Jim Geraghty

"Roy Moore may very well have been the worst Senate nominee for any major party in American history. Even if you dismissed the allegations of him sexually pursuing teenagers in his 30s – and there was no compelling reason to believe Moore’s shifting denials –he managed to create appalling new controversies in almost every appearance.

He completely avoided the campaign trail in the final days, because he could not be trusted to speak to the public.

Despite the frustration of a 52-seat majority becoming a 51-seat majority, tonight’s result is in fact, a long-term victory for the Republican Party. Had Moore gone to the Senate, he would have faced a Senate Ethics Committee investigation. Had that investigation brought back anything less than a full exoneration, GOP senators would have faced the decision of whether to expel him. As is, Moore could be counted on to create new controversies every time he faced the cameras; every Republican would constantly be asked if they agreed with their fellow senator’s controversial contentions about “reds and yellows,” unnecessary Constitutional Amendments, the wisdom of Vladimir Putin, or whether America was the focus of evil in the modern world."

Tuesday, 12 December 2017

The Feast of Saint Lucy

May the glorious intercession of the Virgin and Martyr Saint Lucy give us new heart, we pray, O Lord, so that we may celebrate her heavenly birthday in this present age and so behold things eternal. Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son, who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever.

Saint Lucy, pray for us, for Sicily and for Sweden.

A Message to Alabama

Karen Ingala Smith: This thing about male victims

Karen Ingala Smith: This thing about male victims

"Women overestimate their own use of violence but underestimate their victimisation. Women normalise, discount, minimise, excuse their partners’ domestic and sexual violence against them. Women find ways to make it their fault.

In contrast, men overestimate their victimisation and underestimate their own violence.2 Men are more likely to exaggerate a women’s provocation or violence to make excuses for initiating violence and, where retaliation has occurred, in an attempt to make it appear understandable and reasonable. Paul Keene, used the defence of provocation for his killing of Gaby Miron Buchacra. His defence claimed that he was belittled by her intellectual superiority and that he lost control after rowing with her by text over a twelve hour period. That a jury accepted his defence is a further example of how men’s violence is minimised and excused. Not only by men and the women they assault, but by the legal system. The right to claim abuse as a mitigating factor in domestic violence homicide cases was vitally important for women like Kiranjit Aluwahlia, Emma Humphreys and Sara Thornton, all of whom had suffered years of violence and abuse at the hands of the men they killed. That such a defence could be used in Paul Keene’s case only illustrates how differently women and men who use violence are treated."

It's become increasingly common for people, including many domestic violence specialists to claim that male victims of domestic abuse are as common as female victims. Karen Ingala Smith demonstrates how statistics that purport to show this are inadequate. The pushing of this notion of men as equal victims seems to be part of a reaction against feminism.

The Backbencher: The Conservative case for a Universal Basic Income

The Backbencher: The Conservative case for a Universal Basic Income

by Sam Ancliff

"Conservatives need to adopt this idea and champion it for two reasons: First of all, this will give everyone a cushion to fall back on, I have been unemployed and I have been an entrepreneur, both times a UBI would have made a world of difference to my life and helped get me off the ground on days where I felt like I had a mountain ahead of me. Secondly, I truly believe that the Conservative Party is the party of the working class, a UBI would not just be there for those who do not want to work, who just want to claim off the system, it would be there for those single working parents, scraping by on minimum wage trying to support two children, it would be there for that hardworking builder who has fell on hard times, it would be there to escalate hundreds of thousands of people out of working poverty, giving everyone true spending power.

It would also allow people to begin to enjoy our lives, we spend about half of our waking life at work throughout the majority of our years, this would allow more people to adopt flexi-time or part-time hours and give them more of their lives back, this in turn would create more jobs as more and more people job share. With an age of automation and AI looming a head of us, which is expected to take up 1/3 of all jobs in Britain, a UBI is going to become more and more necessary in the future. The Conservatives and the UK Government could pioneer the way forward and set the precedence. We can plant the flag and become the champion of a UBI and prove we are truly the party for the many, not the few."

It's very encouraging to see another Tory arguing in favour of a universal basic income.

The Feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe

O God, Father of mercies, who placed your people under the singular protection of your Son's most holy Mother, grant that all who invoke the Blessed Virgin of Guadalupe, may seek with ever more lively faith the progress of peoples in the ways of justice and of peace. Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son, who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever.

Hymn to Our Lady of Guadalupe

You... are the fountain of my life,
Under your shadow... in your protection,
I fear no evil... no pain no worry.
Maria, O most merciful Mother,
Gentle virgin...
with the name Guadalupe.
On a mountain... we find roses in winter,
All the world... has been touched by your love.
Here... in the crossing of your arms,
Could there be anything... else that I need?
Nothing discourage... nothing depress me.
You...are the
star of the ocean,
My boat is small... and the waves are so high.
But with you to guide me... I’ll reach my homeland.
You... are the dawn of a new day,
For you give birth... to the Son of the Father.
All of my lifetime... I’ll walk beside you.

Our Lady of Guadalupe, pray for us, for Mexico and for all who are involved in the pro-life movement.

Monday, 11 December 2017

NBC News: Ambassador Haley says Trump accusers have right to be heard

NBC News: Ambassador Haley says Trump accusers have right to be heard

U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley said that the women who accused President Donald Trump of sexual impropriety have a right to be heard.

Haley, speaking on CBS' "Face the Nation," broke from the Trump administration line on the 16 sexual misconduct allegations that face the president. The White House has said that the women who have accused Trump were lying and voters rejected their accusations when they elected Trump.

Independent: Jeremy Corbyn calls for Brexit to be delayed if it allows for 'better deal'

Independent: Jeremy Corbyn calls for Brexit to be delayed if it allows for 'better deal'

Jeremy Corbyn has called for Brexit to be delayed until after March 2019 if it allows the Government to secure “a better deal”.

The Labour leader surprised MPs by giving his personal backing to “dropping the unnecessary exit date deadline” from the EU Withdrawal Bill, ahead of a crunch vote next week.

Speaking in the Commons – as Tory MPs praised Theresa May for last week’s Brussels deal to move the exit talks onto trade – Mr Corbyn said she had only “scraped through”.

Corbyn is a maniac, but Labour seem to be far more sensible than the Conservatives when it comes to Brexit.| Condoleezza Rice: Alabama Senate election one of history's most significant| Condoleezza Rice: Alabama Senate election one of history's most significant

Former U.S. Secretary of State and Birmingham native Condoleezza Rice today urged Alabamians to vote in tomorrow's special Senate election.

"This week's special election will be one of the most significant in Alabama's history. As a native daughter, I remain - at heart - an Alabaman who loves our state and its devotion to faith, family, and country," Rice stated.

The statement continued:

"I encourage you to take a stand for our core principles and for what is right. These critical times require us to come together to reject bigotry, sexism, and intolerance.

"It is imperative for Americans to remain focused on our priorities and not give way to side shows and antics. I know that Alabamans need an independent voice in Washington. But we must also insist that our representatives are dignified, decent, and respectful of the values we hold dear.

The Feast of Saint Damasus I

Grant, we pray, O Lord, that we may constantly exalt the merits of your Martyrs, whom Pope Saint Damasus so venerated and loved. Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son, who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever.

Saint Damasus, pray for us and for Pope Francis, that his leadership and ministry may be marked by holiness.

Sunday, 10 December 2017

The Catholic Teaching on Scriptural Inerrancy, by John Wynne

You would not think so if you read most Catholic study Bibles or if you listen to most Catholic biblical scholars, but the Catholic Church actually does teach the Inerrancy of Scripture. This book aims to show this is definitely the case, demonstrating from magisterial documents that Biblical Inerrancy is part of the infallible teaching of the Church. Some have claimed that a new position was introduced at the Second Vatican Council, namely that the Bible is only inerrant in matters of faith and morals. Our author shows that this was by no means the case and Vatican II upholds traditional teaching on the authority of the Bible.

Wynne's personal views come out in a question and answer section on the subject of Inerrancy. He seems to favour a flat and wooden version of Inerrancy, along the lines of Evangelical arch-heresy hunter Norman Geisler, which treats every historical narrative as having the same level of accuracy as a newspaper report or a court testimony. Wynne says that genre criticism is useful, but should not be used to deny the historical truth of narratives. The problem is that genre is highly relevant in determining how a narrative is communicated. If we watch a movie about the Second World War, we don't expect the same level of accuracy as a historical tome about World War II. The texts of Scripture need to be understood within their own ancient literary context. Wynne is absolutely right that Catholic theologians have become complacent in failing to offer a critical response to much biblical criticism. Catholic writers often treat every proposal of scholars as a settled fact. I have heard that in our seminaries, virtually nothing is taught about Scripture except the documentary hypothesis and redaction criticism. Yet the answer to this is not to adopt a wooden and literalistic approach to the Scriptures that isolates them from their ancient near east context.

Our author rejects the theory of evolution. In fact, a worrying reference to the 'Genesis Flood' as having a role in interpreting scientific evidence suggests he is Young Earth Creationist. Like most writers who question the theory of evolution, he gives the misleading impression that there is no evidence for it and that it is not an established scientific fact. The truth is that scientists are as certain of the reality of evolution as they are of any other scientific theory. Likewise, he gives the misleading impression that there is a close link between Darwinism and Uniformitarianism, despite there being a century between the two ideas. I have not read his other two books that deal more directly with evolution, but he does not give the impression in this work that he has much knowledge about the subject.

This book is useful in showing what the Catholic Church teaches about the authority of Scripture, but when it comes to the interpretation of Scripture, Wynne is probably not somebody to follow.

The Guardian: Theresa May faces first Brexit bill defeat, say Commons rebels

The Guardian: Theresa May faces first Brexit bill defeat, say Commons rebels

Theresa May is facing her first Commons defeat on her Brexit bill within days, amid a last-minute plea to pro-European Tories to force a “truly meaningful vote” on Britain’s final EU deal.

Leading Tory rebels believe they have a real chance of securing the measure, with party whips also said to be worried that they cannot prevent an embarrassing defeat for the prime minister before she heads off to Brussels for a historic EU summit.

In a joint statement on Saturday night, senior figures from across the Commons told the Observer that MPs considering whether or not to join this week’s rebellion should “put the national interest, not party politics, first”.

The statement is signed by the leaders of the all-party parliamentary group on EU relations, including former Tory business minister Anna Soubry, Labour’s Chuka Umunna, Jonathan Edwards from Plaid Cymru, Stephen Gethins from the SNP, Caroline Lucas from the Greens and Jo Swinson from the Lib Dems. They warn that ministers may be quick to use “exceptional powers to take the UK out of the EU on a bad deal, or with no agreement at all”.

“It has been said that in the EU referendum last year, the British people voted to ‘take back control’ of our laws,” they write. “For many, that meant a powerful reassertion of parliamentary sovereignty. As such, we parliamentarians have a solemn duty to scrutinise the actions of the executive. On no subject is this scrutiny more important and more necessary than Brexit.

“Members of all parties have already provided valuable scrutiny to the EU (Withdrawal) bill, and we have forced the government into some concessions. But little of that will matter unless we can have a truly meaningful vote on the withdrawal agreement the government negotiates with the European Union.”

Saturday, 9 December 2017

LBC| Vince Cable: It Appears Britain Could Be Tied To Single Market For A Century

LBC| Vince Cable: It Appears Britain Could Be Tied To Single Market For A Century

Theresa May travelled to Brussels this morning following intensive overnight negotiations.

She said there would be no hard border and the Good Friday Agreement would be upheld.

The Prime Minister added that the deal was “fair” to the British taxpayer.

Sir Vince, a staunch Remainer, said the announcement had left him feeling “generally positive” as it had “reduced the risk of crashing out in a disorderly way”.

He added: “I also infer from what has been said that Brexit is now being tied to the resolution of the Irish border problem.

“In other words Britain will stay in the single market and customs union until the Irish border issue is resolved.

“But, since the Irish border issue is unlikely to be resolved any time this century, it seems to imply we’re staying indefinitely.”

Those of us advocating a soft Brexit have reasons to be cheerful about Theresa May's deal.

Christmas is Pagan and other Myths, by J.P. Holding

A while ago, we looked at J.P. Holding's critique of Norman Geisler's hardline approach to Scriptural Inerrancy. In this book, the Protestant apologist debunks various connections made between Christmas and various pagan traditions. These claims have been made by a wide variety of writers; the Jehovah's Witnesses, Protestant fundamentalists and atheists. A good deal of them are so absurd that they are barely need debunking; such as the claim that putting children in the lap of Santa originates with placing children upon an idol of Molech. Some of these myths about the pagan roots of Christmas have become so entrenched that secular journalists frequently make casual references to them. The 'plain man' now knows it as a fact that Christmas was originally pagan.

Holding marshalls the evidence that the date of 25th December had nothing to do with any pagan feast. He shows that Christmas trees do not appear in Jeremiah 10 and that Father Christmas is not a pagan deity. Some of these errors arise from a lack of awareness of the recent origin of many Christmas traditions in the 19th century. Likewise there is an absurdity in making connections between traditions that arose in the Middle ages and the ancient near east. They simply do not make sense within the time scales. I think these ideas evade scrutiny because most people struggle to grasp historical distance. Just as people struggle to deal with the vast size of the universe, they struggle to conceive of the vast distance of historical epochs. I think most people imagine historical events like a series of James Bond movies in an order they can't be bothered to sort out, with no real awareness of the gulfs of time that separate them.

I used to buy a lot of these ideas of a pagan origin for Christmas when I was a Protestant fundamentalist. Yet at the same time, my family celebrated Christmas and I enjoyed celebrating it with them, despite somehow holding that Christmas was vaguely objectionable. I'm glad I am a Catholic now and don't have to try and resolve such mind-boggling tensions.

J.P. Holding admits he is not a great enthusiast for Christmas and has no liturgical commitment to the feast, however, he has a zeal for commonsense which will not allow such absurd myths to escape censure. As well as debunking the absurd myths about Christmas, he also offers some harmonizations of the infancy narratives in the Gospels. This is a very useful apologetic resource.

Yulia Tymoshenko| Interview to Reuters: Ukraine’s Tymoshenko expects fair U.S. ruling after Manafort indicted

Yulia Tymoshenko| Interview to Reuters: Ukraine’s Tymoshenko expects fair U.S. ruling after Manafort indicted

Ukrainian opposition leader Yulia Tymoshenko said in Reuters interview on Wednesday she has faith in the United States justice system to do the right thing after last week’s indictment of Paul Manafort, the man who helped bring her arch enemy to power.

A political survivor and the strident voice of Ukraine’s 2004/2005 Orange Revolution, Tymoshenko was jailed during the pro-Kremlin presidency of Viktor Yanukovich in 2011 in a case condemned by Western leaders as selective justice.

According to the indictment of Manafort, who was a consultant to Yanukovich’s Party of Regions before becoming Donald Trump’s campaign manager, Manafort used offshore accounts to secretly pay $4 million for a report on her imprisonment.

Ordered under house arrest as he awaits trial, Manafort has pleaded not guilty to a 12-count indictment on charges that include money laundering and failing to register as a foreign agent of Yanukovich’s government.

Money laundering allegations against Manafort are not new: Tymoshenko herself made them in a legal case she filed in New York against Yanukovich, Manafort and others that was dismissed in September 2015.

“As a result of the work of Yanukovich and his circle, I ended up in prison,” the 56-year-old Tymoshenko said in an interview, in her first public comments about Manafort since his indictment.

She said Yanukovich spent huge sums to blacken her name, “…without doubt this affected my life and that of my family and team in a certain way, and Ukraine as well,” she said.

SA80 Rifle

Friday, 8 December 2017

Public Discourse| Rendering the Sexed Body Legally Invisible: How Transgender Law Hurts Women

Public Discourse| Rendering the Sexed Body Legally Invisible: How Transgender Law Hurts Women

by Erika Bachiochi

"Once the law subordinates the sexed body to a subjectively determined “gender identity,” the sexed body becomes legally invisible. When Judith Butler, the intellectual guru of the trans movement, channels Nietzsche and states that there is “no doer before the deed,” no person or subject before his or her “performative utterance,” she is intimating that women as a distinct class should be removed from social understanding, and so, ipso facto, from the law. (Trans activists now refuse to refer to abortion as a “women’s issue,” since men, they claim, can get pregnant too.)

Whatever one makes of the merits of feminist identity politics as a whole, to deny that women are a legal class distinct from men is to erase the female body from social, legal, and political consideration. This is deeply problematic for a whole host of reasons, including but not limited to: legislating on and healing from sexual assault (whose perpetrators are disproportionately male); researching and treating women’s distinctive nutritional, medical, and pharmaceutical needs; promoting the proven merits of single-sex educational and sports programs; and creating authentic solutions for those who seek flexible work arrangements in order to prioritize family obligations (the vast majority of whom continue to be women). Radical feminists have taken note, and many of them have written and spoken out against the movement to legally codify transgenderism. Because of this inexcusably “essentialist” perspective, they have been cast out from Gender Studies departments, which have been trans-formed by the gender ideology of Foucault and Butler."

Thursday, 7 December 2017

New Atlanticist: Here’s What the New NDAA Means for Missile Defense

New Atlanticist: Here’s What the New NDAA Means for Missile Defense

by Matthew Kroenig

"According to David Sanger at the New York Times, options under consideration for reconstituting a boost-phase capability include: air-to-air missiles on fighter aircraft or drones, or lasers mounted on drones. The latter option is particularly attractive for several reasons. Hitting a target with a continuous beam of energy is less difficult than “hitting a bullet with a bullet,” the cost per shot is lower, and it is less provocative than sending a live missile over enemy territory.

Other funding is allocated to improve defenses for Hawaii (the US state most vulnerable to the North Korean threat), the testing of SM-3 Block IIA missiles against an intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM)-range target, and the development of a space-based sensor and intercept layer.

To go into effect, the legislation must still be signed by Trump and Congress will need to find funds for a defense budget that exceeds the limits of the 2011 Budget Control Act. If approved, this defense budget would take important steps toward improving US defenses against emerging 21st century security threats."

Fighting Global Terror

The Feast of the Immaculate Conception of Our Lady

O God, who by the Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin prepared a worthy dwelling for your Son, grant, we pray, that, as you preserved her from every stain by virtue of the Death of your Son, which you foresaw, so, through her intercession, we, too, may be cleansed and admitted to your presence. Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son, who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever.

The Litany of Loretto

Lord, have mercy on us
Christ, have mercy on us
Lord, have mercy on us
Christ, hear us
Christ, graciously hear us

God the Father of heaven,
have mercy on us.

God the Son, Redeemer of the World,
have mercy on us.

God the Holy Spirit,
have mercy on us.

Holy Trinity, one God,
have mercy on us.

Holy Mary,
pray for us.

Holy Mother of God,
pray for us.

Holy Virgin of virgins,
pray for us.

Mother of Christ,
pray for us.

Mother of Divine Grace,
pray for us.

Mother most pure,
pray for us.

Mother most chaste,
pray for us.

Mother inviolate,
pray for us.

Mother undefiled,
pray for us.

Mother most amiable,
pray for us.

Mother most admirable,
pray for us.

Mother of good counsel,
pray for us.

Mother of our Creator,
pray for us.

Mother of our Saviour,
pray for us.

Virgin most prudent,
pray for us.

Virgin most venerable,
pray for us.

Virgin most renowned,
pray for us.

Virgin most powerful,
pray for us.

Virgin most merciful,
pray for us.

Virgin most faithful,
pray for us.

Mirror of justice,
pray for us.

Seat of wisdom,
pray for us.

Cause of our joy,
pray for us.

Spiritual vessel,
pray for us.

Vessel of honour,
pray for us.

Singular vessel of devotion,
pray for us.

Mystical rose,
pray for us.

Tower of David,
pray for us.

Tower of ivory,
pray for us.

House of gold,
pray for us.

Ark of the covenant,
pray for us.

Gate of heaven,
pray for us.

Morning star,
pray for us.

Health of the sick,
pray for us.

Refuge of sinners,
pray for us.

Comforter of the afflicted,
pray for us.

Help of Christians,
pray for us.

Queen of Angels,
pray for us.

Queen of Patriarchs,
pray for us.

Queen of Prophets,
pray for us.

Queen of Apostles,
pray for us.

Queen of Martyrs,
pray for us.

Queen of Confessors,
pray for us.

Queen of Virgins,
pray for us.

Queen of all Saints,
pray for us.

Queen conceived without original sin,
pray for us.

Queen assumed into heaven,
pray for us.

Queen of the most holy Rosary,
pray for us.

Queen of Peace,
pray for us.

Lamb of God, who takes away the sins of the world,
spare us, O Lord.

Lamb of God, who takes away the sins of the world,
graciously hear us, O Lord.

Lamb of God, who takes away the sins of the world,
have mercy on us.

Grant we beseech Thee, O Lord God,
that we, Thy servants,
may enjoy perpetual health of mind and body:
and, by the glorious intercession of the blessed Mary, ever Virgin,
be delivered from present sorrow and enjoy eternal gladness.
Through Christ, our Lord.


Holy Mary, Virgin Conceived Without Sin, pray for us, that by God's grace, we may turn from all that is wrong.

Wednesday, 6 December 2017

The Feast of Saint Ambrose

O God, who made the Bishop Saint Ambrose a teacher of the Catholic faith and a model of apostolic courage, raise up in your Church men after your own heart to govern her with courage and wisdom. Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son, who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever.

Saint Ambrose, pray for us, for Milan, for all bishops and for all hymn writers.

Mirror: 7 times Tory David Davis boasted about the Brexit impact assessments he now claims don't exist

Mirror: 7 times Tory David Davis boasted about the Brexit impact assessments he now claims don't exist

by Daniel Bloom

Top Tory David Davis is accused of misleading Parliament after claiming he has NO impact assessments on Brexit.

For months the Brexit Secretary said officials were studying more than 50 sectors of the economy as Britain prepares to leave the EU.

But after Parliament voted to publish the reports, there was a 'dog ate my homework' moment.

"There's no systematic impact assessment I'm aware of," Mr Davis declared today, adding: "The usefulness of such a detailed impact assessment is near zero".

He said there WERE reports on 58 sectors of the economy - they just don't assess directly how Brexit might affect these sectors.

David Davis has shamefacedly lied to parliament. He can have no future as a cabinet minister and should resign.

Tuesday, 5 December 2017

The Feast of Saint Nicholas

O God, who didst adorn by the working of countless miracles the holy bishop Nicholas: grant, we beseech Thee, that by his merits and prayers we may be delivered from the flames of hell. Through our Lord. Amen

Saint Nicholas, pray for us, that we may always be generous and ready to respond to the needs of others.

Royal World: RIP King Michael (1921-2017)

Royal World: RIP King Michael (1921-2017)

"RIP King Michael of Romania (25 October 1921 - 5 December 2017), who was the last living adult head of state from World War II. I am saddened by his death, and even more saddened that he was not restored to the throne. My condolences to the Romanian Royal Family and to all loyal Romanian monarchists."

Evening Standard: Ireland brings home the folly of Mrs May’s choices

Evening Standard: Ireland brings home the folly of Mrs May’s choices

Editorial by You-Know-Who

What the Government didn’t tell us was that this approach inevitably meant a hard border with the Irish Republic, because the two countries on either side of it would have different regulations.

Ireland, which now has a veto over Britain’s future thanks to Brexit, said “no”. To square the circle, Downing Street came up with what Baldrick might call a “cunning plan” whereby Northern Ireland would have “regulatory alignment” with the south and the EU — even if the rest of the UK would not.

Decisions affecting Belfast would be taken in Dublin and Brussels, not London. Over time this would (as Denis Staunton of the Irish Times writes opposite) lead to an all-island economy, and make “a United Ireland more likely”.

The irony that the Brexiteers might be doing more to advance the cause of Irish nationalism than O’Connell, Parnell and Gerry Adams was not lost on the DUP. So Ulster said “no”.

You might have thought the PM would have checked with the faction that is keeping her in power before offering her plan to the EU. Clearly not; hence the fiasco yesterday. So what next?

Even I could not believe what a tragically hilarious fiasco was made of Monday's failed agreement. It is becoming unbelievable just how incompetent and useless the present government is. Theresa May is showing herself to be one of the weakest prime ministers this country has ever had. One of her worst faults is cowardice. She is afraid to stand up to the lunatic hard Brexiteers. She was afraid to sack Boris Johnson. She was afraid to meet voters or appear in a TV debate during the election. Now she has shown that she is utterly terrified of crossing the Democratic Unionist Party.

Sunday, 3 December 2017

The Feast of Saint Clement of Alexandria

O GOD, who hast enlightened thy Church by the teaching of thy servant Clement: Enrich us evermore, we beseech thee, with thy heavenly grace, and raise up faithful witnesses who by their life and doctrine will set forth the truth of thy salvation; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

Saint Clement of Alexandria, pray for us and for all theologians.

Saint Clement had a few odd ideas, and he is not recognised by Latin Catholics as a saint any more. But he is still honored by the Oriental Orthodox (and some Eastern Catholics) and Anglicans.

The Feast of Saint John of Damascus

Grant, we pray, O Lord, that we may be helped by the prayers of the Priest Saint John Damascene, so that the true faith, which he excelled in teaching, may always be our light and our strength. Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son, who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever.

Saint John of Damascus, pray for us, for all theologians and for peace in Syria.

The Feast of Saint Barbara

Oh God, who among the other miracles of Your power, have given the victory of martyrdom, grant, we beseech You, that we, who are celebrating the heavenly blessed Saint Barbara, Your Virgin and Martyr, may by her example draw nearer to you, Amen.

Saint Barbara, your courage is much stronger than the forces of hurricanes and the power of lightening. Be always by our side so that we, like you, may face all storms, wars, trials and tribulations with the same fortitude with which you faced yours. O Beautiful Maiden once imprisoned in a high tower, protect us from the lightning and fire that rages in the sky and the discord of war. Keep us alert and protect us from the dangers that surround us. Holy Mary Mother of Jesus intercessor for us all; we pray to assure receiving of the Sacraments of Penance and Holy Eucharist at the hour of our death. Through Jesus Christ Our Lord, Amen

Saint Barbara, pray for us, that we may love Christ and be faithful to Him unto death.

The Saint Alban Breviary

The Rev. Kenneth Ray Orsburn, Jr, The Saint Alban Breviary: A Simplified Anglican Breviary, 2015

This is not a complete breviary, it is intended to be used in conjunction with the Book of Common Prayer offices of Morning and Evening Prayer. This book supplies additional hours of Prime, Terce, Sext, None and Compline. The language of the Prayer Book is used, thus creating a daily regime of office prayers that blends seamlessly with the Prayer Book. The (British) 1928 Book of Common Prayer contained offices of Prime and Compline and the author uses these offices as a source.

A really nice selection of collects are provided from the Anglican tradition. The author has made some very thoughtful choices. The prayer of Bishop Brent is said at each hour:

Lord Jesus Christ, you stretched out your arms of love on the hard wood of the cross that everyone might come within the reach of your saving embrace: So clothe us in your Spirit that we, reaching forth our hands in love, may bring those who do not know you to the knowledge and love of you; for the honor of your Name. Amen.

There are no elements of Marian devotion in this breviary; the book is clearly intended for a broad use across the Anglican spectrum.

I expect this breviary will mostly be used in private devotion. However, it is clearly intended for more public use, as it contains a lot of sections where the priest leads and the people respond. This feels very unnatural in private use. I think the author would have done better to create a breviary that can be used more effectively for private prayer.

There is no psalter in this breviary. One therefore needs to have a copy of the Prayer Book or a Bible to hand when saying these offices. I don't like switching from one book to another, so I found this a little irritating. Obviously, it would have made the book thicker (and more expensive), but I would have preferred the breviary to have included not only a psalter, but also the offices of morning and evening prayer. After all, the Manual of Anglo-Catholic Devotion manages to squeeze in the two 1662 Book of Common Prayer offices.

This is a nice addition to the various books drawn from the Anglican Prayer Book tradition, but it does have some limitations.

Business Insider: 'Just unreal': Trump's latest tweet indicates he's 'utterly clueless about his own jeopardy,' experts say

Business Insider: 'Just unreal': Trump's latest tweet indicates he's 'utterly clueless about his own jeopardy,' experts say

Trump told reporters at the time that he had been forced to fire Flynn because he had misled Vice President Mike Pence about those conversations. But the White House gave no indication at the time that it knew Flynn had lied to the FBI in a January interview about those conversations — a federal crime that Flynn pleaded guilty to on Friday.
"I fired him because of what he said to Mike Pence," Trump said during a press conference on February 16.

He continued: "Very simple. Mike was doing his job. He was calling countries and his counterparts. So, it certainly would have been OK with me if he did it. I would have directed him to do it if I thought he wasn’t doing it. I didn’t direct him, but I would have directed him because that’s his job."

Trump's tweet on Saturday appears to indicate that Trump was aware Flynn had lied to the FBI when he departed the administration in February.

It also seems out of line with what a person close to White House counsel Don McGahn told the New York Times on Friday, which is that when former Acting Attorney General Sally Yates warned him about Flynn in January, she did not mention that Flynn had committed a federal crime.

If Trump knew that Flynn was in the FBI's crosshairs when he asked former FBI Director James Comey, whom he later fired, to consider "letting Flynn go" the day after Flynn resigned, that could dramatically bolster the obstruction case federal prosecutors are building against him.

Saturday, 2 December 2017

A Basic Income will be the Salvation of Capitalism

Jesus v. Jerusalem, by Joel McDurmon

Written from a postmillennial preterist perspective, this book re-examines the parables and sayings of Jesus and offers fresh interpretations of these texts that place them in the context of the destruction of the Jerusalem temple and Yahweh's covenant relationship with Israel. There has been a strong tendency among preachers and expositors to interpret the parables in terms of general moral principles or general Christian doctrine, separating them from their immediate historical context. It is perhaps difficult for Christians today to understand and appreciate just how significant the destruction of the temple was for first century Christians. Perhaps the best comparison would be to Americans and the events of 9/11, though even that underestimates it. This book provides a very insightful and educational corrective to poorly constructed exegesis.

The book includes number of appendices that defend the author's postmillennial views. These challenge such premillennial and dispensational beliefs as a future anti-christ, a rebuilt Jerusalem temple and the general pessimism about the world's future that premillennialists promote.

Friday, 1 December 2017

The Guardian| Nicky Morgan: ‘It’s time for the senior people in my party to stop appeasing the Brexiters’

The Guardian| Nicky Morgan: ‘It’s time for the senior people in my party to stop appeasing the Brexiters’

Interview by Decca Aitkenhead

The member for Loughborough, a former City lawyer, was one of the Cameroon intake of 2010 and promoted to the cabinet within just four years. Her party today, I suggest, must feel very different from the one she served then. “I know, I know. It’s tragic. It’s very tragic, actually.” Remainers, she points out, are not the only miserable ones. Even parliament’s arch Brexiters aren’t exactly brimming with joy.

“No. With them, it’s all paranoia about Brexit not being delivered. I think what lies behind the mutineers headline, and the abuse we get on Twitter and everything else, is a kind of, ‘Don’t take it away from us!’ It’s a bit like an army moving in somewhere: ‘We’ve secured the area, we must protect it at all costs’, rather than a confident: ‘Yes, we know we’ve done this and here is our vision for what life beyond March 2019 looks like.’ We are still waiting for other people to articulate what they think post-March 2019 looks like.”

Is she referring to anyone in particular? “Well, the people who led the leave campaign. I’m talking about Boris.” I ask if she thinks Boris Johnson even wanted us to leave the EU and she chuckles drily. “I don’t know him well enough.” Does she consider him capable of having backed leave merely to improve his personal prospects of replacing Cameron? “I do.”

Wednesday, 29 November 2017

The Feast of Saint Andrew

We humbly implore your majesty, O Lord, that, just as the blessed Apostle Andrew was for your Church a preacher and pastor, so he may be for us a constant intercessor before you. Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son, who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever.

Saint Andrew, pray for us and for Scotland, Greece and Russia.

La Stampa: Recent Comments of Pope Francis Should Help to Quiet Papal Critics

La Stampa: Recent Comments of Pope Francis Should Help to Quiet Papal Critics

by Robert Fastiggi

"Recent statements made by the Holy Father should help to quiet these concerns of his critics. In his Nov. 11 video message sent to participants in the 3rd International Symposium on the Apostolic Exhortation, Amoris laetita, Pope Francis offers a description of conscience that is the very opposite of what the four dubia Cardinals fear. Instead of describing conscience as an autonomous faculty for deciding good or evil, the Holy Father points to a proper conscience as an antidote for “a worship of the self, on whose altar everything is sacrificed.” He cites the great theologian, Romano Guardini (1885–1968)—the former professor of Pope Benedict XVI and the thinker upon whom Pope Francis had planned to write his doctoral thesis. The Holy Father states: “Romano Guardini, in one of his texts on the theme of conscience, indicates the path for seeking the true good. He writes, ‘From this imprisonment within myself I am free only if I find a point, which is not my ego, loftier than myself; something solid, working within me. And here we arrive at the crux of the matter … that is, religious reality. That goodness ... is something living.... It is the fullness of worth, which belongs to the selfsame living God.’” This citation of Guardini shows that Pope Francis does not consider conscience “a faculty for autonomously deciding about good and evil.” Instead, he sees conscience as rooted in “the living God” who helps to free us from the imprisonment of ourselves.

The Holy Father also cites Vatican II’s description of conscience as “the most secret core and sanctuary of a man [where] he is alone with God, whose voice echoes in his depths” (Gaudium et spes, 16). He then points out that “it is up to the Christian to ensure that in this sort of tabernacle there is no lack of divine grace, which illuminates and strengthens conjugal love and the mission of parents. Grace fills the ‘amphorae’ of the human heart with an extraordinary capacity for giving, renewing for today’s families the miracle of the wedding at Cana.” Here we see that Pope Francis recognizes conscience as a receptacle of divine grace, which illumines and strengthens us. This is the very opposite of an autonomous faculty for deciding good and evil. Conscience finds its light and strength from God. It receives illumination from God and not from itself. This is Pope Francis’ view of conscience, and it is completely different from the one feared by the Cardinals in the fifth of the dubia."

BBC News: Donald Trump retweets far-right group's anti-Muslim videos

BBC News: Donald Trump retweets far-right group's anti-Muslim videos

Donald Trump has retweeted three inflammatory videos from a British far-right group.

The first tweet from Jayda Fransen, the deputy leader of Britain First, claims to show a Muslim migrant attacking a man on crutches.

This was followed by two more videos of people Ms Fransen claims to be Muslim.

Britain First was founded in 2011 by former members of the far-right British National Party (BNP).

The group has grabbed attention on social media with controversial posts about what they deem "the Islamification of the UK".

This is just so appalling. Britain First were largely fading out of the public view, aside from Jayda Fransen facing more criminal charges; now Trump has given them extra publicity, breathing life into this hideous organisation.

Let's not forget that Thomas Mair shouted 'Britain First!' as he stabbed poor Jo Cox to death last year.

Monday, 27 November 2017

Royal Engagement

So Prince Harry is to marry... big surprise, a celebrity commoner. There is something so predictable about our royals marrying commoners. We would actually be shocked if the BBC reported Prince Harry was going to marry a German princess. I suppose it looks good in the media and it keeps our monarchy popular, seeing off the threat of republicanism, but I am not alone among monarchists in resenting this near universal trend.

There is also the fact that she is divorced. Despite being a Catholic, I still have my doubts about the wisdom of abolishing the Act of Settlement, thus removing the Catholic faith as a barrier.

I hope they are happy, but I'm not going to get overly excited about this news.

The Guardian: Anti-Muslim online surges driven by fake accounts

The Guardian: Anti-Muslim online surges driven by fake accounts

A global network of anti-Muslim activists is using Twitter bots, fake news and the manipulation of images to influence political discourse, new analysis reveals.

Many have recorded significant growth in their social media followings over the past year, co-ordinating to push the message that Islam is an “imminent threat” to western society. Researchers from the anti-racist organisation Hope Not Hate found that the impact of tweets from one controversial US activist, Pamela Geller, who is banned from the UK, is magnified by 102 bots, automated or semi-automated accounts that automatically tweet or retweet their content.

Researchers also monitored a sample of popular anti-Muslim Twitter accounts in Britain and the US between March and November this year, and found that, on average, there was a 117% growth in followers.

Geller, described by critics as a figurehead for Islamophobic organisations, produces the Geller Report, which doubled its viewers to more than two million people each month between July and October. The Gates of Vienna counter-jihadist blog, described by critics as a training manual for anti-Muslim paramilitaries, also doubled in visitors per month during the same period.

Sunday, 26 November 2017

A Royalist Litany

Lord have mercy on us,
Christ have mercy on us,
Lord have mercy on us.
Christ hear us.
God the Father of Heaven, Lord of all, have mercy on us.
God the Son, King of Kings and Lord of Lords, have mercy on us.
God the Holy Ghost, Lord and giver of life, have mercy on us.
Holy Trinity, one God, have mercy on us.

Christ the King, have mercy on us.
Lord Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on us.
Lord Jesus, Price of Peace, have mercy on us.
Holy Mary, Queen of the Universe, pray for us.
Holy Mary, Tower of David, pray for us.
Holy Mary, issue of kings, pray for us.
Holy Mary, Flower of Jesse, pray for us.
Saint Joseph, Illustrious son of David, pray for us.
Saint John the Baptist, herald of the Kingdom of God, pray for us.
Saint Peter, to Whom were given the Keys of the Kingdom of Heaven, pray for us.
Saint Constantine and Saint Helena, pray for us.
Saint Theodosius, pray for us.
Saint Justinian and Saint Theodora, pray for us.
Saint Tiridates, pray for us.
Saint Tamara pray for us.
Blessed Charles the Great, pray for us.
Saint Henry II, pray for us.
Blessed Karl, pray for us.
Saint Hedwig, pray for us.
Saint Wenceslaus, pray for us.
Saint Jadwiga, pray for us.
Saint Casimir, pray for us.
Saint Stephen of Hungary, pray for us.
Saint Elizabeth of Hungary, pray for us.
Saint Margaret of Scotland, pray for us.
Saint Boris, pray for us.
Saint Vladimir and Saint Olga, pray for us.
Saint Nicholas II and Royal Martyrs, pray for us.
Saint Tikhon of Moscow, pray for us.
Saint Angelina of Serbia, pray for us.
Saint Louis IX, pray for us.
Saint Joan of Arc, pray for us.
Elisabeth of France, pray for us.
Saint Bernadette, pray for us.
Saint Therese of Lisieux, pray for us.
Saint Bertha, pray for us.
Saint Edmund the Martyr, pray for us.
Blessed Alfred the Great, pray for us.
Saint Edward the Confessor, pray for us.
King Charles the Martyr, pray for us.
Mary of Modena, pray for us.
Saint Canute IV, pray for us.
Saint Olaf, pray for us.
All Holy and Christian kings, queens, and princes, pray for us.

Lamb of God, who takest away the sins of the world, spare us O Lord.
Lamb of God, who takest away the sins of the world, graciously hear us, O Lord.
Lamb of God, who takest away the sins of the world, have mercy on us.
Christ hear us, Christ graciously hear us.
Lord, have mercy, Christ have mercy.
Lord, have mercy.
Our Father, etc.

Lord God, we beseech thee to have mercy on all Kings, queens and rulers, that thou wouldst bestow upon them thy saving health. Grant, Almighty Father, that they would lead by example and be a moral inspiration to their peoples. We pray also that all the peoples of the world may be brought into the Kingdom of Christ and bow down to His Lordship. This we ask in the name of thy Son, Jesus Christ, King of Kings and Lord of Lords, who reignest with thee and the Holy Ghost, one God, forever and ever, world without end.

A litany I have composed for all Christian monarchists to pray. There are undoubtedly a few other saintly kings and queens I might have included in this.

The Guardian| Anna Soubry on Brexit: ‘History will condemn those who haven’t tried to stop all this nonsense’

The Guardian| Anna Soubry on Brexit: ‘History will condemn those who haven’t tried to stop all this nonsense’

by Rachel Cooke

Theresa May’s government is, she believes, in thrall to just 35 hard Brexiters, a situation she regards as preposterous given that the majority in the chamber now agree the only thing that matters is getting the best deal for Britain. “The government was,” she says, “foolish to make this some sort of test of people’s Brexit credentials by going back on what they had said and suddenly deciding to put the date of our withdrawal on the front of the withdrawal bill, a decision that, as any lawyer will tell you, is just plain stupid [because it allows for no flexibility in negotiations]. Our concerns about this are technical, not political, which is why, for it to be stoked up in such a manner, you wonder what on earth is really going on. Why are these Brexiters behaving like this?” What’s the answer to this question? “They are really, really worried about not getting their hard Brexit and so they have made it a test of their strength and of Theresa May’s strength, too.”

The wing of the party that found succour under Thatcher (when, as a one-nation Tory, Soubry left the Conservatives) and which went on to destroy John Major is now in the driving seat: “And if it doesn’t stop, if the prime minister doesn’t do what she’s perfectly capable of doing, which is to try and unite people as opposed to fuel further division, our party is going to be destroyed.”

The Feast of Christ the King of the Universe

Almighty ever-living God, whose will is to restore all things in your beloved Son, the King of the universe, grant, we pray, that the whole creation, set free from slavery, may render your majesty service and ceaselessly proclaim your praise. Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son, who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever.

Litany to Christ the King

The Lamb that was slain is worthy to receive power
and Divinity and wisdom and strength and honor;
To Him be glory and empire forever and ever.
V. He shall rule from sea to sea,
and from the river to the ends of the earth.

R. All kings shall adore Him, all nations shall serve Him.
Lord, have mercy upon us.
Christ, have mercy upon us.
Lord, have mercy upon us. Christ the King, hear us.
Christ the King, graciously hear us.

Thou Who didst receive crowns and tribute from the Magi,
May all nations serve Thee, O Lord.
Who didst rule by love the Holy Family of Nazareth,
May all nations serve Thee, O Lord.
Who as King, served Thy people in the example of filial obedience,
May all nations serve Thee, O Lord.
Who drawest to Thy realm the fishermen to be fishers of men,
May all nations serve Thee, O Lord.
Whose Kingdom is not of the spirit of this world,
May all nations serve Thee, O Lord.
Who art King not of the Jews alone but of all creation,
May all nations serve Thee, O Lord.
Who wast mocked in false purple by the little rulers,
May all nations serve Thee, O Lord.
Who wast crowned with piercing thorns,
May all nations serve Thee, O Lord.
Who wast nailed to Thy throne on Golgotha,
May all nations serve Thee, O Lord.
Who didst ransom Thy people by the royal Sacrifice of Calvary,
May all nations serve Thee, O Lord.
Who didst purchase Thy Kingdom with the Blood of the Atonement,
May all nations serve Thee, O Lord.
Who in Thy Resurrection wert the First-born from the dead.
May all nations serve Thee, O Lord.
Who in Thy glorified Body art risen triumphant,
May all nations serve Thee, O Lord.
Who art enthroned and crowned at the right hand of The Father,
May all nations serve Thee, O Lord.
In Whom are all created things in Heaven and on earth, visible and invisible,
May all nations serve Thee, O Lord.
Beneath Whom are all thrones and dominations.
May all nations serve Thee, O Lord.
Beneath Whom are all principalities and powers,
May all nations serve Thee, O Lord.
By Whom all things subsist,
May all nations serve Thee, O Lord.
To Whom all the nations of the earth are subject,
May all nations serve Thee, O Lord.
Through Whom all things are reconciled unto Thy Father,
May all nations serve Thee, O Lord.

V. His power shall be an everlasting power,
R. And His Kingdom a kingdom that shall not be destroyed.

That the peoples of this world may know
themselves subject to Thee,
We beseech Thee, hear us.
That they may put off their vainglory,
We beseech Thee, hear us.
That they may dispel the evils laicism has brought upon society,
We beseech Thee, hear us.
That they may hearken to Thy fiat,
We beseech Thee, hear us.
That they may bow their heads before Thee,
We beseech Thee, hear us.
That they may know Thy reign is eternal,
We beseech Thee, hear us.
That they may submit to Thy just and gentle rule,
We beseech Thee, hear us.
That they may recognize Thy Vicar on earth,
We beseech Thee, hear us.
That they may freely accept his rule for Thy sake,
We beseech Thee, hear us.
That they may know that Thy Church, being Thee
Thyself, cannot die as nations die,
We beseech Thee, hear us.
That the Gentiles may be restored to mercy,
We beseech Thee, hear us.
That to Christ the King all things may be restored,
We beseech Thee, hear us.
That in the Prince of Peace true peace may by all be found,
We beseech Thee, hear us.
Lamb of God, Who takest away the sins of the world,
Spare us, O Christ our King.
Lamb of God, Who takest away the sins of the world,
Hear us, O Christ our King.
Lamb of God, Who takest away the sins of the world,
Have mercy on us.
V. His power shall be an everlasting power,
which shall not be taken away,
R. And His Kingdom shall not decay. Alleluia. Let Us Pray.
Almighty, everlasting God, Who in Thy beloved Son,
King of the whole world, hast willed to restore all things anew,
grant in Thy mercy that all the families of nations,
rent asunder by the wound of sin, may be subjected
to His most gentle rule, Who with Thee liveth and reigneth
in the unity of the Holy Ghost, God, world without end. R. Amen.

An Appropriate Protestant Hymn

1 Jesus shall reign where'er the sun
does its successive journeys run,
his kingdom stretch from shore to shore,
till moons shall wax and wane no more.

2 To him shall endless prayer be made,
and praises throng to crown his head.
His name like sweet perfume shall rise
with every morning sacrifice.

3 People and realms of every tongue
dwell on his love with sweetest song,
and infant voices shall proclaim
their early blessings on his name.

4 Blessings abound where'er he reigns:
the prisoners leap to lose their chains,
the weary find eternal rest,
and all who suffer want are blest.

5 Let every creature rise and bring
the highest honors to our King,
angels descend with songs again,
and earth repeat the loud amen.

Isaac Watts

Jesus Christ, King of Kings and Lord of Lords, may we see the extension of your Kingdom over all nations and peoples.