Monday, 16 October 2017

The Feast of Saint Ignatius of Antioch

Almighty ever-living God, who adorn the sacred body of your Church with the confessions of holy Martyrs, grant, we pray, that, just as the glorious passion of Saint Ignatius of Antioch, which we celebrate today, brought him eternal splendor, so it may be for us unending protection. 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 Ignatius of Antioch, pray for us that we may have true faith in the reality of Christ's presence in the Blessed Sacrament.

Scorpion's Fury 17

The Feast of Saint Hedwig

Grant, we pray, almighty God, that the revered intercession of Saint Hedwig may bring us heavenly aid, just as her wonderful life is an example of humility for all. 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.



St. Hedwig, pray for us, that we may be abundant in doing works of mercy.

Sunday, 15 October 2017

Catholic Herald: The Pope’s remarks on capital punishment need to be clarified

Catholic Herald: No Pope can overturn the Church's teaching that the death penalty is legitimate. So Francis's comments were puzzling

by Edward Feser

"On October 11, Pope Francis addressed an audience gathered to celebrate the 25th anniversary of the Catechism of the Catholic Church. The press has been reporting that the Pope called for a change to the Church’s traditional teaching on capital punishment. Some of his remarks do indeed seem to imply that. However, other remarks in the same address point in the opposite direction. Taken as a whole, the Pope’s remarks make his position on capital punishment very unclear.

To provide context, it is necessary briefly to review the Church’s traditional teaching on capital punishment. Consider first that the Church teaches that Scripture is divinely inspired and cannot teach error on matters of faith and morals. Yet there are a great many passages in Scripture that teach the legitimacy of capital punishment. For example, Genesis 9:6 states: “Whoever sheds the blood of man, by man shall his blood be shed; for God made man in his own image.” Romans 13:4 teaches that the state “does not bear the sword in vain [but] is the servant of God to execute his wrath on the wrongdoer.” Many other passages could be cited. The Fathers of the Church understood such passages to be sanctioning capital punishment, and the Church has for two thousand years consistently followed this interpretation. The Church also teaches (for example, at the First Vatican Council) that Catholics are obliged to interpret Scripture consistent with the way the Fathers understood it, and consistent with the Church’s traditional interpretation. Taken together, these teachings logically entail that the legitimacy of capital punishment is regarded by the Church as a divinely revealed doctrine."


I don't like the death penalty and I am glad that it was abolished in the UK, but I cannot see that it is the great moral evil that Pope Francis seems to make it out to be.

Eastern Ukraine Situation Report 15th October

Guardian: MPs move to block Theresa May from signing ‘no deal’ Brexit

Guardian: MPs move to block Theresa May from signing ‘no deal’ Brexit

A powerful cross-party group of MPs is drawing up plans that would make it impossible for Theresa May to allow Britain to crash out of the EU without a deal in 2019. The move comes amid new warnings that a “cliff-edge” Brexit would be catastrophic for the economy.

One critical aim of the group – which includes the former Tory chancellor Kenneth Clarke and several Conservative ex-ministers, together with prominent Labour, SNP, Liberal Democrat and Green MPs – is to give parliament the ability to veto, or prevent by other legal means, a “bad deal” or “no deal” outcome.

Concern over Brexit policy reached new heights this weekend after the prime minister told the House of Commons that her government was spending £250m on preparations for a possible “no deal” result because negotiations with Brussels had stalled.

Several hundred amendments to the EU withdrawal bill include one tabled by the former cabinet minister Dominic Grieve and signed by nine other Tory MPs, together with members of all the other main parties, saying any final deal must be approved by an entirely separate act of parliament.

Death Metal Music, by Natalie J. Purcell



Natalie J. Purcell, Death Metal Music, 2003 McFarland and Co.


I have been enthusiastic about death metal since I was a teenager, and it is probably my favorite style of music. This book provides an ethnographic study of death metal fans, as well as reflection on the controversial place of death metal within society.

Through interviews with fans, Purcell builds up a very informative picture of why people love death metal and what such people are like. Her findings suggest that in general, they are healthy, well-adjusted and law-abiding people. This stands in contrast to researchers who have argued that metal music can lead to depression, suicide and violent behaviour. Purcell acknowledges that many death metal fans are prone to depression, but she suggests this is because such people are drawn to death metal music, rather than the music inducing such emotions.

Purcell spends a lot of time discussing the issue of gory lyrics in death metal. While she acknowledges in an earlier chapter that the lyrics of death metal bands are quite diverse, the heavy emphasis on this aspect of the scene perhaps gives the misleading impression that this is a dominant characteristic of the music. I listen to a wide range of death metal bands from brutal death metal to melodic death metal, none of which have gory lyrics (or is it just that I can't understand them because of all the growling and grunting anyway?). I personally find the gore stuff distasteful and would avoid bands like that. For instance, I would never buy a Cannibal Corpse album. I appreciate that they are respected within the scene, but I just find their songs about mutilation and sexualised violence appalling. Nevertheless, such lyrical content is the most widely known aspect of the genre and so this is why she gives it such an emphasis. Many politicians such as Joe Lieberman and Dick Cheney have attacked death metal and called for censorship of its lyrical content. Purcell argues that such leaders use content such as music, films and video games as a scapegoat to avoid looking at the real causes of violence in society, such as mental health problems and racism.

Our author argues that the gory lyrics of death metal are not to be taken literally and offer an artistic way of looking at the harsh realities of life. I appreciate that listening to the music of Cannibal Corpse is unlikely to lead a person to commit acts of murder, rape and torture, but I can't help thinking that it is in some way unhealthy to be overly exposed to graphic descriptions of such acts. As a conservative Christian I believe that modesty and shame have a role to play in society in building up our moral conscience. There should be things that we are ashamed to look at. Even if looking or reading about those things does not lead us to do them, they may cause us to become desensitized to their immorality and this cannot be healthy.

I find myself in general agreeing with Purcell's positive evaluation of death metal, while disagreeing with her willingness to absolve death metal artists of responsibility for their content.

Friday, 13 October 2017

The Feast of Saint Callistus

O God, who raised up Pope Saint Callistus the First to serve the Church and attend devoutly to Christ's faithful departed, strengthen us, we pray, by his witness to the faith, so that, rescued from the slavery of corruption, we may merit an incorruptible inheritance. 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 Callistus, pray for us and for Pope Francis.

Fatima 100

Prishtina Insight: Does the EU need to be afraid of Kosovo’s radicalization problem?

Prishtina Insight: Does the EU need to be afraid of Kosovo’s radicalization problem?

"More importantly, there is no publically available evidence that Kosovo returnees from Syria and Iraq have travelled to the EU to commit terrorist acts, even though organizations like the UNDP boldly make this claim. In 2017, UNDP published a report on Prevention of Violent Extremism in Kosovo, in the context of describing the “notoriety” of the Kosovo citizens who have joined ISIS, also claims that: “other Kosovans have carried out attacks on Western Europe and in the U.S.A.” The source for this is a 2015 UNDP report, not available to the public. After I obtained the report, it became clear that this is not the case. The 2015 report lists five cases of attacks or attempted attacks, between 2007 and 2014, mostly from Albanians with Macedonian origin, and almost all were citizens of the western countries. Not only were they not returnees from Syria and Iraq, most of them were not even “Kosovans.”

It is unclear why the UNDP would publish such claims based on such weak evidence. It is clear though that such publications do not help Kosovo’s image in the EU. Just as damaging are Serbia’s open and constant efforts to prevent Kosovo’s membership to international organizations, which are often built around outrageous claims comparing Kosovo to ISIS, which are then fed to the media. Most recently, on September 15, 2017, the Serbian Government presented in Paris a propaganda film against Kosovo pushing forward the same narrative."

There is a lot of very negative propaganda and fake news put out about Kosovo.

Paratroopers Training Together

Thursday, 12 October 2017

First Things: Beware of Dog

First Things: Beware of Dog

by Matthew Schmitz

Pets are replacing America’s children. According to the marketing research firm Mintel, two-thirds of American pet owners treat their pets as “part of the family.” One-third say that their pets understand their feelings better than most humans. Half care as much about the health of their pet as about any family member. (Pet owners who have actual children are less likely to speak of their pets in these terms.) Forty-four percent of young pet owners see their pets as “starter children.” Seventeen percent of pet owners bought pet costumes last year, and 10 percent bought pet strollers. First comes love, then comes marriage, then comes Fido in the baby carriage.

We are sentimental about pets because we are unwilling to welcome human life—or so says Pope Francis. In 2014, he condemned those who choose not to have children because they fear poverty and sickness. Such people think, “It’s better . . . more comfortable—to have a dog, two cats, and the love goes to the two cats and the dog.” But their love of animals shows their indifference to man.

The conflict between love of pets and love of children is most obvious in gentrifying neighborhoods, where sterile, secular, dog-loving whites are displacing poor, fecund minorities. In 2011, Marshall Brown, a veteran D.C. political activist, criticized the gentrifiers: “The new people believe more in their dogs than they do in people. They go into their little cafes . . . they don’t connect at church . . . they don’t volunteer in the neighborhood school.”


I really can't stand the habit of people who refer to themselves as the 'mother' of their cat or dog. You are not your cat's mother. You are not your dog's mother.

ConservativeHome: The rebels are right – Universal Credit is a good reform, endangered by a poor decision on its implementation

ConservativeHome: The rebels are right – Universal Credit is a good reform, endangered by a poor decision on its implementation

by Mark Wallace

"For both of these reasons, the objective of Universal Credit is correct: killing off the benefits trap, encouraging and aiding people back into work, improving lives and saving money in the long run.

And yet the practicalities of its introduction have proved to be troubled – so much so that plans to extend the number of areas in which Universal Credit is used are currently under threat from a rebellion of backbench Conservative MPs.

At the heart of the problem is the fact that applicants must wait six weeks from putting in for Universal Credit to receiving a penny. By definition, many of those applying have very little or nothing at all; a presumption that they can make do for a month and a half without any income risks plunging some into hunger, deprivation or even homelessness. It is this which is driving concern among MPs about the impact of the scheme – a fundamentally positive reform, undermined by an unwise decision in its implementation."


Mark Wallace is right that Universal Credit is a positive reform that is being implemented in a really dreadful way. Of course, the reform I would really like to see is a universal basic income.

The Feast of Saint Edward the Confessor

O Almighty God, who willest to be glorified in thy Saints and didst raise up thy servant Saint Edward the Confessor to shine as a light in the world: Shine, we pray thee, in our hearts, that we also in our generation may shew forth thy praises, who hast called us out of darkness into thy marvellous light; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.


Most glorious St. Edward, you showed your devotion to God with patience, gentleness and generosity. Like you, may I serve to strengthen the Kingdom of God through patient prayer and charity. Amen.


Saint Edward, pray for us and for England.

Spanish Contingent in Latvia

Wednesday, 11 October 2017

Daily Mail: Pope Francis warns couples not to substitute pets for children... or face 'the bitterness of loneliness' in old age

Daily Mail: Pope Francis warns couples not to substitute pets for children... or face 'the bitterness of loneliness' in old age

Pope Francis has warned couples not to substitute cats and dogs for children, saying it will only lead to solitude and the 'bitterness of loneliness' in old age.

Celebrating daily Mass in the Vatican yesterday, the Pope said owning pets may be 'more comfortable' than raising children, but did not offer the same opportunities for love and godliness.


Sometimes I love the Holy Father's bluntness and lack of sentimentality.

Tuesday, 10 October 2017

LSE Brexit| To Brussels via Rome: how Eurosceptical are British Christians?

LSE Brexit| To Brussels via Rome: how Eurosceptical are British Christians?

"For the most part, this is a result of Catholics’ greater propensity to assess the EU’s policy performance and the benefits of EU membership positively, and to identify with the Union and perceive it as a legitimate institution. This trait probably stems from the history of Catholicism, which values international co-operation within a supranational institution – i.e. the Papacy – that constrains the sovereignty of national governments, as well as from the belief in universal social, moral and political values and a tendency to view universalism as the means by which shared goals and objectives can be achieved.

Anglicans, conversely, are more likely to feel that the costs of EU membership are greater than the benefits and to reject a European identity. This is probably a reflection of their attachment to the notion of a sovereign, independent nation-state, and historic scepticism regarding supranational institutions promoting universalist values and threatening their own distinctive identity. Moreover, the history of Protestantism is one in which the various groups have been dependent upon a strong nation state and national government to protect them from the dominance of a supra-national institution promoting Catholic universalism; and the values of Protestantism promote localised collectivism based around common local and/or national identities to achieve common objectives, rather than unification with a supranational institution. It seems likely that the history and values of Protestantism predispose its affiliates towards more negative views of the EU’s policy performance and weaker attachments to it, and to the notion of a European citizenry, than their Catholic counterparts."


It's very nice to know that British Catholics are less Eurosceptic than British Protestants.

Monday, 9 October 2017

The Feast of Blessed John Henry Newman


O God, who bestowed on the Priest Blessed John Henry Newman the grace to follow your kindly light and find peace in your Church; graciously grant that, through his intercession and example, we may be led out of shadows and images into the fulness of your truth. 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.


Blessed John Henry Newman, pray for us and for the Ordinariate of Our Lady of Walsingham.

Sunday, 8 October 2017

Eastern Ukraine Situation Report 8th October

Talking to a Labour leaning Millennial voter

At my sister's housewarming party, I got talking to a young man aged about 25-30 who said he was inclined to vote Labour. I asked him what he thought of Jeremy Corbyn. He replied that he generally agreed with the things Corbyn said. Although he was strongly pro-immigration and hostile to Brexit, he was not put off by Corbyn's ambivalence on the EU and Brexit.

What struck me about his 'left' leanings was that they were not particularly ideological. He was not a Trostskyist or particularly socialist. He was sympathetic to Corbyn's policy of nationalization of utilities, but was equivocal on it. Even more strikingly, he was not hostile to free market economics. His main concern was sufficient funding for education and healthcare, which he felt was not characteristic of the present Conservative government.

I asked him what the Conservative Party would need to do to win his vote. He replied that he would need to be sure that the Tories were not going to make huge cuts to public services, as they did after the coalition of 2010.

It seems clear to me, that the Conservative Party is going to face a huge struggle in winning the votes of people like this guy. There is no way we are going to win their vote by attacking Corbyn or lecturing them about the virtues of free market economics. What we need to do is to commit our party to robust spending on health, education and public services.

Friday, 6 October 2017

The Feast of Mary, Queen of the Rosary




Pour forth, we beseech you, O Lord, your grace into our hearts, that we, to whom the Incarnation of Christ you Son was made known by the message of an Angel, may, through the intercession of the Blessed Virgin Mary, by his Passion and Cross be brought to the glory of his Resurrection. Who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever.


O Queen of the most holy Rosary, in these times of brazen impiety, show again thy power, with the signs which accompanied thy victories of old, and from the throne where thou art seated, dispensing pardon and grace, in pity watch over the Church of thy Son, His Vicar, and every order of the clergy and laity, suffering in grievous warfare. Hasten, O most powerful destroyer of heresy, hasten the hour of mercy seeing that the hour of judgment is daily challenged by innumberable offences. Obtain for me, the lowest of men, kneeling suppliant in thy presence, the grace which may enable me to live a just life on earth, and reign with the just in Heaven, whilst with the faithful throughout the world, O Queen of the most holy Rosary, I salute thee and cry out: Queen of the most holy Rosary, pray for us! Amen.


Litany of Loretto

Lord, have mercy.
Christ, have mercy.
Lord, have mercy.
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 Savior, 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 honor, 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 take away the sins of the world, spare us, O Lord!.
Lamb of God, who take away the sins of the world, graciously hear us, O Lord!
Lamb of God, who take away the sins of the world, have mercy on us.

V. Pray for us, O holy Mother of God.
R. That we may be made worthy of the promises of Christ.

Let us pray. Grant, we beg you, O Lord God, that we your servants, may enjoy lasting health of mind and body, and by the glorious intercession of the Blessed Mary, ever Virgin, be delivered from present sorrow and enter into the joy of eternal happiness. Through Christ our Lord.
R. Amen.





Saint Mary, Queen of the Most Holy Rosary, pray for us and for the victory of the Kingdom of God.

Thursday, 5 October 2017

The Feast of Saint Faustina Kowalska

O God, who in a wondrous manner revealed the inexhaustible riches of your mercy to Saint Maria Faustina, grant, we beseech you, that by looking with trust upon the pierced side of your Son we may be strengthened to show mercy one to another and, at length, sing forever of your mercy in heaven. Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son, who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit, God, forever and ever.

Saint Faustina, pray for us and for Poland.

The New York Times: Time for the Trump Administration to Arm Ukraine

The New York Times: Time for the Trump Administration to Arm Ukraine

by Anthony J. Blinken

"For all these continuities in policy, one vital discontinuity would add a timely exclamation point: the senior team’s united recommendation that Mr. Trump lift restrictions on the provision of lethal defensive equipment to Kiev, notably anti-tank weapons.

That ban was heavily debated during the last administration. Its proponents argued that any military escalation favored Moscow, for whom the stakes were higher and the ability to quickly pour more lethal weapons into Ukraine much greater. They were concerned Ukraine would be emboldened to act out militarily and overplay its hand. They knew that Moscow sought to divide us from our European partners, most of whom opposed lethal aid. President Barack Obama concluded that we should keep the focus where we had the advantage: on tough sanctions, economic aid to Ukraine, training for its troops, support for its reform efforts — especially combating endemic corruption — and determined diplomacy.

That was then. For three and a half years, Moscow has blown past every diplomatic off-ramp offered by the United States and Europe to end the crisis. Instead of implementing the Minsk Agreement — a road map it signed to restore Ukraine’s sovereignty while protecting the rights of all of its citizens, including the Russian-speaking minority — the Kremlin has denied the agreement’s plain meaning and dodged its obligations. The occupied east now harbors one of the largest tank forces in Europe. And tens of thousands of Russian troops are poised across a border that Moscow controls, a stark reminder to Kiev that a much larger swath of its territory remains in jeopardy.

What might give Mr. Putin pause at turning up the temperature yet again within eastern Ukraine — or worse, taking another whole bite out of the country — is the knowledge his troops would be seriously bloodied in the doing. Chancellor Angela Merkel of Germany, once the leading opponent of lethal aid, now is open to it. Listening to Mr. Putin’s lies, year after year, has that effect. Defensive weapons for Ukraine is an idea whose time has come."

Naturalis Historia| Walking Whales On Board Noah’s Ark: The Inevitable End-point of Creationists’ Post-Flood Hyper-Speciation Belief?

Naturalis Historia| Walking Whales On Board Noah’s Ark: The Inevitable End-point of Creationists’ Post-Flood Hyper-Speciation Belief?

"But how does Mr. Lacey know that whales are sea creatures? Sure, they look like sea creatures now but YLCs don’t believe that any animal look the same as when it was created. They believe that most have undergone radical changes reflecting changes in a new environment brought about by Adam’s sin. Notice that the creation account does not use a specific term for whale. Given that there is no fossil evidence that whales existed before the Flood, wouldn’t it be more consistent for the YLC to argue that Noah’ carried a pair of walking animals on the ark that then adapted to a marine environment after the Flood?

The sea creatures that the Genesis account refers to could have been sea reptiles for which the Flood geology record contains abundant evidence. Pinnipeds, sirenians, sea otters etc. all have fossil records that suggest they had ancestors that were more adapted to land than to water. Combined with the lack of evidence they existed prior to the Flood why should YLCs continue to insist that God made seals and whales as they appear today?

I’ve suggested for several years that the new emphasis of YLCs on radical post-flood speciation could erode previous young-earth claims insisting that whales were never land animals, especially if one considers the lack of evidence of whales in Flood fossil record."

Tuesday, 3 October 2017

Biblical Evidence for Catholicism: Dr. Robert Fastiggi Defends “Amoris Laetitia” Against Critics

Biblical Evidence for Catholicism: Dr. Robert Fastiggi Defends “Amoris Laetitia” Against Critics

"Prof. Echeverria ends his article with a very valuable quote from Cardinal Müller about the need for more clarification, which can only be provided by the Pope. He fails, though, to mention that Cardinal Müller also says that “in Amoris Laetitia there’s no new doctrine or explication of some juridical points of the doctrine, but an acceptance of the doctrine of the Church and the sacraments.” Does Prof. Echeverria agree or disagree with Cardinal Müller in this regard? It would seem that he disagrees because in his April 2016 CWR article he claims that Pope Francis opens the door to situation ethics and implies support for the gradualness of the law. It’s difficult to see how AL could contain “an acceptance of the doctrine of the Church and the sacraments” and yet open the door to situation ethics and the gradualness of the law. It would also seem that Prof. Echeverria disagrees with Cardinal Ouellet, Archbishops Chaput, Sample, and Prendergast, as well as the Bishops of Poland and the Canadian Provinces of Alberta and the Northwest Territory along with Bishop Thomas Paprocki, Thomas Olmsted, James Conley, Steven Lopes, Philip Egan, and Vitus Huonder who all understand AL in line with Catholic tradition. Did they miss something or are they being dishonest? To be consistent Prof. Echeverria should be willing to correct them publicly for their endorsement of a papal exhortation that opens the door to situation ethics, the gradualness of the law, and undermines the need ‘for the grace of the sacrament of confession” (as he suggests in his April 2016 article)."

Ecclectic Orthodoxy| Theosis and the Palamite Distinction: Questions & Concerns

Ecclectic Orthodoxy| Theosis and the Palamite Distinction: Questions & Concerns

"I am particularly concerned about the depersonalization of theosis the language of energies inevitably seems to generate. Grace becomes something other than the one God personally bestowing himself in the living fullness of his Trinitarian reality, a power akin to electricity or the force of the Jedi. This is not the intent of the doctrine, yet the danger is real. Just visit an Orthodox forum on the internet. Solution: substitute the term “activity” for “energy.” Torstein Tollefsen maintains that “activity” more accurately expresses the meaning of the Greek term energeia, particularly as used in the Eastern theological and spiritual tradition. “Nowadays,” he comments, “it seems that ‘energy’ has become the established translation of the Greek energeia in spiritual literature and whenever the topic is related to Orthodox spirituality and ‘Palamism’. One can live with this … However, now and then one gets the impression that energy is a kind of quasi-material force almost flowing into the human recipient” (Activity and Participation in Late Antique and Early Christian Thought, p. 5). Andrew Louth concurs: “‘activity’ seems to me a much better translation of the Greek energeia” (Introducing Eastern Orthodox Theology, p. 40). To speak of the activities of God immediately draws our attention back to the one God who is Person subsisting in three Persons. All persons are mysterious, indeed apophatic, and are perceived only through their acts. Whereas energy is easily imagined as an independent entity, an activity is intrinsically correlated to the agent who performs it. We naturally speak of a person’s energy (“She has so much energy, I get tired just watching her perform”), just as we speak of a person’s power (“You shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you” [Acts 1:8]). A suggestion for Orthodox preachers: leave the “essence” and “energies” to the philosophers."

Live-Fire Demonstration

Sunday, 1 October 2017

Prayer, by Timothy Keller



Timothy Keller, Prayer: Experiencing Awe and Intimacy with God, 2014 Hodder and Stoughton


To worldly people, prayer is a complete waste of time, yet to the Christian, prayer is the most powerful thing she can ever do. There are few topics more worthwhile to write about than prayer. This book, by renowned evangelical preacher Timothy Keller, attempts to provide both a theology of prayer and also a practical manual of how to pray. He identifies prayer as a spiritual energy that enables us to appropriate God's grace and to make spiritual truths real in our daily lives.

A lot of books on prayer focus too much on private prayer and say little or nothing about the corporate prayer life of the church. Keller, however, does not neglect the importance of the church's corporate prayer life, in fact he says that private prayer needs to be shaped by the public ministry of the church. The Catholic Church recognizes this well and encourages the laity to participate in the Liturgy of the Hours, or to at least use devotions that have been shaped by the public liturgy of the Church. He criticizes the lack of corporate prayer in evangelical churches that have adopted contemporary worship styles, arguing that this fails to help Christians to learn the practice of private prayer. He encourages the use of liturgy and warmly recommends the Book of Common Prayer.

Our author takes a very non-polemical and irenic approach in this book, avoiding harsh criticisms of those who take differing positions. At times he quotes two somewhat different views without stating which he favours. While he is a Reformed theologian who rejects much of Roman Catholicism, he offers favourable views of the Catholic tradition at times. He recommends Hans Ur Von Balthasar's book on prayer, praising it's critical and objective view of contemplative prayer. Keller sees value in contemplation, but he sees a danger of moving away from the verbal Word of God in it, a danger that Balthasar also acknowledges from a Catholic point of view. I like the way that Keller found common ground between Aquinas and John Owen on the importance of the beatific vision.

In the introduction, Keller makes reference to two contrasting views of prayer, one that sees prayer as a way of making communion with God and one that sees prayer as seeking the establishment of the Kingdom of God. He sees both as equally valid. However, I would have liked him to have spent a bit more time exploring and trying to resolve the tension between these two approaches.

I was particularly pleased that our author quoted William Cowper's wonderful hymn 'Sometimes a Light Surprises,' an hymn that deserves to be much better known and more widely sung.



Catholic Herald: ‘Amoris Laetitia’ is built on traditional Thomist morality, Pope says

Catholic Herald: ‘Amoris Laetitia’ is built on traditional Thomist morality, Pope says

“St. Thomas and St. Bonaventure affirm that the general principle holds for all but — they say it explicitly — as one moves to the particular, the question becomes diversified and many nuances arise without changing the principle,” he had said. It is a method that was used for the Catechism of the Catholic Church and “Amoris Laetitia,” he added.

“It is evident that, in the field of morality, one must proceed with scientific rigour and with love for the church and discernment. There are certain points of morality on which only in prayer can one have sufficient light to continue reflecting theologically. And on this, allow me to repeat it, one must do ‘theology on one’s knees.’ You cannot do theology without prayer. This is a key point and it must be done this way,” he had told the Jesuits in Rome.

Polish Team scores 3rd Place

Saint Jordan of Bristol



Prior to visiting Bristol Cathedral last week, I had never heard of Saint Jordan of Bristol. Helpfully, the cathedral bookshop sold me a short booklet by David Higgins, offering some scholarly investigation into the little that is known about this saint and some history of the chapel dedicated to him at College Green, Bristol. It seems he was a Benedictine colleague of Saint Augustine of Canterbury, who went to minister in west England.

Saint Jordan of Bristol, pray for us.

Independent: As a Tory MP, I believe that deluded hard Brexiteers like Boris Johnson have no place in government

Independent: As a Tory MP, I believe that deluded hard Brexiteers like Boris Johnson have no place in government


by Nicky Morgan MP


"Many Conservatives believe that our conference needs to show the Conservatives retain a reputation for competence, a strong commitment to market economics and how that benefits everyone, and how Brexit is not going to drag us to a point where a Corbyn-led government becomes a reality.

But those who think that Brexit offers an opportunity to move to some low tax, almost offshore deregulatory haven don’t seem to care about the threat posed by Corbyn. They need to wake up. Not only is there no appetite for their vision amongst the electorate, it isn’t smart economics and would be our undoing as a party.

Since the speech we’ve seen the launch of the Institute of Free Trade at an event held within the Foreign Office. Led by my old Oxford compatriot, Daniel Hannan MEP, this institute is designed to persuade those of us misguided enough not to have got the message yet that a new era of free trade will lead to glorious economic growth.

But the news from the US this week shows why this “free trade dream state” is unlikely to ever be realised. Remember President Trump promising an early free trade agreement between the UK and US? Remember how the ardent Brexiteers crowed and told the rest of us to stop being glum about life outside the EU and how easy these agreements would be?"

Friday, 29 September 2017

Eastern Ukraine Situation Report 29th September

ConservativeHome| Sponsored Post: Kevin Green: Can the UK labour force meet demand after Brexit?

ConservativeHome| Sponsored Post: Kevin Green: Can the UK labour force meet demand after Brexit?

"The question we hear a lot is, “well, why can’t employers find more British workers to fill these jobs?” The REC’s latest research looks specifically at agriculture, food production, hospitality and warehousing, and shows that many employers in these sectors are already trying, unsuccessfully, to attract enough people from their local community. In many instances there are simply not enough UK nationals willing and able to fill the roles currently occupied by EU workers, whether that’s because the jobs are seen as “low-status”, or because they require too much physical labour for some jobseekers.

“Employers should focus on improving automation” is a common response to this problem. But we are in danger of overestimating the potential for machines to fill a labour gap. Automation may be possible for larger companies, but will be too expensive an investment for SMEs, and in many cases jobs require tasks which are simply not automatable. Many employers say that they have already automated as much as currently technology allows.

There is anxiety from all sides: employers are considering scaling down or relocating, workers from the EU feel unable to plan their future here, and British workers recognise that their workplaces would struggle without their EU colleagues. These are significant threats to our jobs market, which has been the foundation stone of the UK’s economic recovery."

Postmillennial Worldview: THE IMPORTANCE OF GOOD NEWS

Postmillennial Worldview: THE IMPORTANCE OF GOOD NEWS

"Writing at The Guardian, Oliver Burkeman suggests that despite a dragging civil war in Syria, heart-rending photos of drowned refugees, North Korea’s nuclear saber-rattling, disasters, terrorist attacks, and racial violence, the world is objectively better now than it’s ever been.

Hard to believe? Well, here are the facts: Swedish historian Mark Norberg breaks down global indicators of human flourishing into nine categories: food, sanitation, life expectancy, poverty, violence, the state of the environment, literacy, freedom, equality, and the conditions of childhood. And in nearly all of these categories, we’ve seen vast improvement in my lifetime.

Despite the fact that nine out of ten Americans say worldwide poverty is holding steady or worsening, the percentage of people on this planet who live on less than two dollars a day—what the United Nation’s defines as “extreme poverty”—has fallen below ten percent, which is the lowest it’s ever been.

The scourge of child mortality is also at a record low. Fifty percent fewer children under five die today than did thirty years ago.

Worldwide, 300,000 more people gain access to electricity every day. In 1900, global life expectancy was just 31 years. Today, it’s an impressive 71 years. And violent crime rates in the United States are the lowest they’ve been in half a century.

Nicholas Kristof wasn’t too far afield when he called 2016 “the best year in the history of humanity.” This year may see even more progress.

So why do these cheery pronouncements strike us as inaccurate—even outrageous? Why—according to a recent poll by YouGov—do a vanishingly small six percent of Americans think the world as a whole is becoming a better place?

Burkeman lays much of the blame on the press. Thanks to a 24-hour news cycle that actively seeks out and overplays the worst stories, our perception of the world is skewed. “We are not merely ignorant of the facts,” he writes. “We are actively convinced of depressing ‘facts’ that aren’t true.” And no wonder! It’s hard to sell papers and get Web traffic with good news. No one reports when a plane takes off. They only report when they crash."

The Feast of Saint Michael and all Angels



Saint Michael the Archangel, defend us in the day of battle, be our protection against the wickedness and snares of the Devil and do thou, O prince of the heavenly host, cast down into Satan and all the evil spirits who prowl through the world seeking the ruin of souls.


O God, who dispose in marvelous order ministries both angelic and human, graciously grant that our life on earth may be defended by those who watch over us as they minister perpetually to you in heaven. 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 the Holy Archangels

Lord, have mercy. Lord, have mercy.
Christ, have mercy. Christ, have mercy.
Lord, have mercy. Lord, have mercy.

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 Ghost, Have mercy on us.
Holy Trinity, One God, Have mercy on us.


Holy Mary, Queen of Angels, pray for us
Holy Mother of God, pray for us
Holy Virgin of virgins, pray for us
Saint Michael, who was ever the defender of the people of God, pray for us
St. Michael, who did drive from Heaven Lucifer and his rebel crew, pray for us
St. Michael, who did cast down to Hell the accuser of our brethren, pray for us
Saint Gabriel, who did expound to Daniel the heavenly vision, pray for us
St. Gabriel, who did foretell to Zachary the birth and ministry of John the Baptist, pray for us
St. Gabriel, who did announce to Blessed Mary the Incarnation of the Divine Word, pray for us
Saint Raphael, who did lead Tobias safely through his journey to his home again, pray for us
St. Raphael, who did deliver Sara from the devil, pray for us
St. Raphael, who did restore his sight to Tobias the elder, pray for us
All ye holy Angels, who stand around the high and lofty throne of God, pray for us
Who cry to Him continually: Holy, Holy, Holy, pray for us
Who dispel the darkness of our minds and give us light, pray for us
Who are the messengers of heavenly things to men, pray for us
Who have been appointed by God to be our guardians, pray for us
Who always behold the Face of our Father Who is in Heaven, pray for us
Who rejoice over one sinner doing penance, pray for us
Who struck the Sodomites with blindness, pray for us
Who led Lot out of the midst of the ungodly, pray for us
Who ascended and descended on the ladder of Jacob, pray for us
Who delivered the Divine Law to Moses on Mount Sinai, pray for us
Who brought good tidings when Christ was born, pray for us
Who comforted Him in His agony, pray for us
Who sat in white garments at His sepulcher, pray for us
Who appeared to the disciples as He went up into Heaven, pray for us
Who shall go before Him bearing the standard of the Cross when He comes to judgment, pray for us
Who shall gather together the elect at the End of the World, pray for us
Who shall separate the wicked from among the just, pray for us
Who offer to God the prayers of those who pray, pray for us
Who assist us at the hour of death, pray for us
Who carried Lazarus into Abraham’s bosom, pray for us
Who conduct to Heaven the souls of the just, pray for us
Who perform signs and wonders by the power of God, pray for us
Who are sent to minister for those who shall receive the inheritance of salvation, pray for us
Who are set over kingdoms and provinces, pray for us
Who have often put to flight armies of enemies, pray for us
Who have often delivered God’s servants from prison and other perils of this life, pray for us
Who have often consoled the holy martyrs in their torments, pray for us
Who are wont to cherish with peculiar care the prelates and princes of the Church, pray for us
All ye holy orders of blessed spirits, pray for us

From all dangers, deliver us, O Lord.
From the snares of the devil, deliver us, O Lord.
From all heresy and schism, deliver us, O Lord.
From plague, famine and ware, deliver us, O Lord.
From sudden and unlooked-for death, deliver us, O Lord.
From everlasting death, deliver us, O Lord.


Through Thy holy Angels, we beseech Thee, hear us.
That Thou would spare us, we beseech Thee, hear us.
That Thou would pardon us, we beseech Thee, hear us.
That Thou would govern and preserve Thy Holy Church, we beseech Thee, hear us.
That Thou would protect our Apostolic Prelate and all ecclesiastical orders,w e beseech Thee, hear us.
That Thou would grant peace and security to kings and all Christian princes, we beseech Thee, hear us.
That Thou would give and preserve the fruits of the earth, we beseech Thee, hear us.
That Thou would grant eternal rest to all the faithful departed, we beseech Thee, hear 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.

Lord, have mercy. Christ, have mercy.
Lord, have mercy.

Our Father, Hail Mary, Glory Be

Bless the Lord, all ye Angels: Ye who are mighty in strength, who fulfill His commandments, hearkening unto the voice of His words.

He hath given His Angels charge concerning thee, To keep thee in all thy ways.



Let Us Pray

O God, Who dost arrange the services of Angels and men in a wonderful order, mercifully grant that our life may be protected on earth by those who always do Thee service in Heaven, through Jesus Christ Thy Son, Who with Thee and the Holy Ghost are one God now and forever.

Amen.

O God, Who in Thine unspeakable Providence dost send Thine Angels to keep guard over us, grant unto Thy suppliants that we may be continually defended by their protection and may rejoice eternally in their society, through Jesus Christ Our Lord, Who lives and reigns with Thee, in the unity of the Holy Ghost, forever and ever.

Amen.



Saint Michael and all angels, pray for us, that we be made worthy to enter God's heavenly Kingdom.

Thursday, 28 September 2017

Airbourne!

Adam Smith Institute: Only bombing would be worse than rent control

Adam Smith Institute: Only bombing would be worse than rent control

by Sam Bowman

One effect of government oversight is to retard investment in residential rental units. Imagine that you have five million dollars to invest and can place the funds in any industry you wish. In most businesses, governments will place only limited controls and taxes on your enterprise. But if you entrust your money to rental housing, you must pass one additional hurdle: the rent-control authority, with its hearings, red tape, and rent ceilings. Under these conditions is it any wonder that you are less likely to build or purchase rental housing?

This line of reasoning holds not just for you, but for everyone else as well. As a result, the quantity of apartments for rent will be far smaller than otherwise. And not so amazingly, the preceding analysis holds true not only for the case where rent controls are in place, but even where they are only threatened. The mere anticipation of controls is enough to have a chilling effect on such investment.

Block points out that the very whisper of rent controls can be harmful – if there’s a danger that your investment might be subject to punative state-imposed price ceilings, it’s probably better to play it safe and build something else.

The latest daft idea from Corbyn's Labour Party is rent control. My nurse colleague, who was won over by Corbyn at the last election is always saying she thinks rent controls are a good idea, so I suspect that the public would buy such an atrocious policy.

The Feast of Saint Wenceslaus

O God, who taught the Martyr Saint Wenceslaus to place the heavenly Kingdom before an earthly one, grant through his prayers that, denying ourselves, we may hold fast to you with all our heart. 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 Weceslaus, pray for us and for the Czechia.

Wednesday, 27 September 2017

Holiday



Yours truly in Marlow, Buckinghamshire, proudly wearing my EU flag t-shirt.

Apologies for the lack of activity on this blog. I've just been on holiday with my father in Henley-on-Thames and Bristol.

Mindy Finn: How I Would Rebrand the Republican Party

Mindy Finn: How I Would Rebrand the Republican Party

"First, the Republican Party must embrace radical inclusion—the idea that we are equal because we are human, no matter our class, color or creed. This is the self-evident truth on which our founders relied when they declared our independence. It must also be the prime principle in defining our new nation. The U.S. population will become "majority minority" in 2044, according to Census data. The GOP shouldn't fight that change, but rather protect those principles core to the American brand; equal rights and treatment for all."

Wednesday, 20 September 2017

The Feast of Saint Matthew



O God, who with untold mercy were pleased to choose as an Apostle Saint Matthew, the tax collector, grant that, sustained by his example and intercession, we may merit to hold firm in following 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 Matthew, pray for us, for all civil servants and for the Jewish people.

Tuesday, 19 September 2017

The Feast of Saint Theodore of Canterbury

Almighty God, you called your servant Theodore of Tarsus from Rome to the see of Canterbury, and gave him gifts of grace and wisdom to establish unity where there had been division, and order where there had been chaos: Create in your Church, by the operation of the Holy Spirit, such godly union and concord that it may proclaim, both by word and example, the Gospel of the Prince of Peace; who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.


Saint Theodore of Tarsus, pray for us and for England.

Sunday, 17 September 2017

A Church for the Poor, by Martin Charlesworth and Natalie Williams



Martin Charlesworth and Natalie Williams, A Church for the Poor: Transforming the church to reach the poor in Britain today, 2017 David Cook



I have met one of the co-authors of this book, Natalie Williams. She attends my parents' charismatic evangelical church. I think she stood as a parliamentary candidate for the Labour Party somewhere (you can't win all the time). She previously wrote a book 'The Myth of the Undeserving Poor,' which criticised some of the cuts to welfare made by the government. I haven't read, but my father says its good, and he's a Conservative councilor. I have long been unhappy with the approach to social security taken by my party.

This book argues that evangelical churches have become too middle class in their composition and culture and that they need to change to become more effective at reaching out to poorer and working class communities and including poorer people in their life and community. They offer some very helpful practical ideas about how congregations can be more effective in this area. For instance, a lot of church meetings are held in the evenings, which can be difficult for those without cars to attend.

When my parents told me the premise of this book, that evangelical churches are too full of middle class people, I instantly offered a response. I argued that the reason for this is that when poorer people join evangelical churches, they inevitably become more middle class. My parents acknowledged that they knew people who had been converted by their church who had indeed become more middle class since joining. The authors do acknowledge this line of argument. Natalie refers to a conversation with one of her former church leaders who made a similar argument pointing out examples of people she knew at the church who had come from working class backgrounds who Natalie had assumed were very middle class. Our authors point out the solidly working class evangelical chapels of the early Twentieth century. I do suspect, however, that if we had a time machine and visited those chapels, we would find that their membership was primarily of the better off working class, rather than the indigent poor. We might say that these well-dressed working class were the middle class of their own day. I think our authors underestimate the level to which membership of a Protestant (I don't think it's the case with Catholic Churches) church is a driver of upward social mobility.

I was pleased that our authors had a look at what is going on past the Catholic side of the fence. They commend the work of the Vincent De Paul Society and various other Catholic charities and initiatives, though they point out that these are not necessarily integrated into the life of Catholic parishes. They also point out the lack of emphasis on evangelizing the poor in these social action initiatives.

Speaking as a Catholic convert, the cosy middle class community of an evangelical church is something I really miss. There are certainly more working class people in my Catholic parish and even more people of colour than in the average evangelical church. However, their is a cliqueness, with working class whites talking to each other, Filipinos talking to other Filipinos and Indians talking to Indians. While there is more diversity of class and colour, there is the lack of the strong integrated community and social connectedness that one finds in an evangelical church.

I would recommend this book for its challenging insights and concern for an evangelism that reaches the whole of our communities.



5 Reasons not to Live in Sin

Matt Walsh: 5 reasons why living together before marriage will kill your relationship

"It’s not enough to say that cohabitation is different from marriage. The truth is that it’s the direct opposite of marriage. In marriage, you live as one united through sickness and health until death do you part. In cohabitation, you live as two divided, for an undetermined period of time, for as long as it remains convenient until one or both of you decides otherwise. You may point out that many modern marriages function more like the latter than the former, and I’d agree. That’s the point. Cohabitation doesn’t resemble marriage, but, in our culture, marriage increasingly resembles cohabitation.

Couples inevitably bring the cohabitating mindset into marriage because it’s hard to flip the switch, especially when your married life looks on the surface almost exactly like your life before. You leave the wedding reception and return to the apartment you already shared and the lives that were already intertwined in every practical way. The only difference — and it’s a huge one, a defining one — is that now you’ve made a lifelong commitment to one another. But that’s not what you’ve practiced. You haven’t practiced commitment, you’ve practiced avoiding it. You’ve practiced living with this person tenuously and conditionally, and, whether you intend to or not, there’s a good chance you’ll continue on living exactly as you rehearsed."

Matt Walsh does not mention the additional risk to young men of becoming homeless when their girlfriends kick them out. I've met so many young men in the course of my work who have moved in with a woman and then had nowhere to go when the relationship ended.

Saturday, 16 September 2017

The Feast of Saint Cornelius an Saint Cyprian

God our Father, in Saints Cornelius and Cyprian you have given your people an inspiring example of dedication to the pastoral ministry and constant witness to Christ in their suffering. May their prayers and faith give us courage to work for the unity of your Church. Grant this through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.


Saint Cornelius and Saint Cyprian, pray for us, for Pope Francis and for all bishops.

Friday, 15 September 2017

The Guardian: Theresa May rebukes Donald Trump over tube bombing tweets

The Guardian: Theresa May rebukes Donald Trump over tube bombing tweets

Theresa May has rebuked Donald Trump for suggesting the people responsible for an explosion on a London tube train were known to the Metropolitan police.

The prime minister expressed her frustration as she spoke for the first time about the “cowardly attack” at Parsons Green underground station in west London, which injured at least 22 people.

Trump claimed on Twitter that the terrorist attack involved “sick and demented people who were in the sights of Scotland Yard”, despite no such information having been released publicly by police. He also blamed it on “loser terrorists”, promoted his travel ban and advocated a “proactive and nasty” policy against Islamic State.

Asked about Trump’s potential breach of convention on intelligence sharing, May was unusually critical of the US president, saying: “I never think it’s helpful for anybody to speculate on what is an ongoing investigation.”

When the president tweeted, no suspect had been identified and no group or individual had claimed responsibility for the blast.

The Met police said the president’s comments regarding Friday morning’s incident were unhelpful and “pure speculation”.

Trump's tweet after the terrorist attack was bizarre.

Delivering on Employment here in Stevenage

Thursday, 14 September 2017

The Memorial of Our Lady of Sorrows




O God, who willed that, when your Son was lifted high on the Cross, his Mother should stand close by and share his suffering, grant that your Church, participating with the Virgin Mary in the Passion of Christ, may merit a share in his Resurrection. Who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever.



The Litany of Our Lady of Sorrows


V. Lord, have mercy on us.
R. Christ, have mercy on us.
V. Lord, have mercy on us. Christ, hear us.
R. 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 Mary, Mother of God, pray for us.
Holy Virgin of virgins, pray for us.
Mother of the Crucified, [etc.]
Sorrowful Mother
Mournful Mother
Sighing Mother
Afflicted Mother
Foresaken Mother
Desolate Mother
Mother most sad
Mother set around with anguish
Mother overwhelmed by grief
Mother transfixed by a sword
Mother crucified in thy heart
Mother bereaved of thy Son
Sighing Dove
Mother of Dolors
Fount of tears
Sea of bitterness
Field of tribulation
Mass of suffering
Mirror of patience
Rock of constancy
Remedy in perplexity
Joy of the afflicted
Ark of the desolate
Refuge of the abandoned
Shiled of the oppressed
Conqueror of the incredulous
Solace of the wretched
Medicine of the sick
Help of the faint
Strength of the weak
Protectress of those who fight
Haven of the shipwrecked
Calmer of tempests
Companion of the sorrowful
Retreat of those who groan
Terror of the treacherous
Standard-bearer of the Martyrs
Treasure of the Faithful
Light of Confessors
Pearl of Virgins
Comfort of Widows
Joy of all Saints
Queen of thy Servants
Holy Mary, who alone art unexampled

V. Pray for us, most Sorrowful Virgin,
R. That we may be made worthy of the promises of Christ.

Let us pray.

O God, in whose Passion, according to the prophecy of Simeon, a sword of grief pierced through the most sweet soul of Thy glorious Blessed Virgin Mother Mary: grant that we, who celebrate the memory of her Seven Sorrows, may obtain the happy effect of Thy Passion, Who lives and reigns world without end. Amen.



Our Lady of Sorrows, pray for us, that we may be ready to suffer with Christ thy son.

Tuesday, 12 September 2017

Cap X: Scandinavia is no socialist Valhalla

Cap X: Scandinavia is no socialist Valhalla

by Madeline Grant

"Indeed, viewing Scandinavian countries as socialist – or even left-wing – overlooks an essential truth about how their economies are organised. While these nations do have high taxes and generous welfare, in many respects, their markets are unusually free, adopting exactly the kind of policies that the British Left, with its rigid adherence to central planning and intervention, spends its time fighting against.

Last week, the Labour Party pledged a minimum wage of £10 that would apply to all workers, including those aged 16-18. This policy would, if implemented, carry hugely perverse side-effects – with young and unskilled workers all but priced out of the job market.

In contrast, the very concept of central government setting a “one-size fits all” policy to cover all jobs and sectors is utterly alien to the Scandinavian economies. Neither Sweden, Norway nor Denmark actually has a minimum wage. Instead, wages are decided by mutual agreement between unions and employers, which usually vary according to the industry or occupation in question. In this respect, Scandinavian labour markets are far more flexible and decentralised than Britain’s."

Sunday, 10 September 2017

ConservativeHome: An unloved Prime Minister. An inadequate Foreign Secretary. And a hamstrung Trade Secretary. What a Brexit mess.

ConservativeHome: An unloved Prime Minister. An inadequate Foreign Secretary. And a hamstrung Trade Secretary. What a Brexit mess.

by Kieron O'Hara

"David Davis’ public utterances imply that he feels that Britain’s post-Brexit position should be constructed jointly with the EU in order to get the win-win, yet desirable as this is, it is patently unrealistic. In the first place, most EU leaders see Brexit as a massive act of self-harm on the part of the British, and have already moved on. But second, as any casual observer of European politics could have told him, any EU position itself is a carefully negotiated compromise, which is why the EU is spectacularly bad at negotiating with outside entities (as even supporters understand). Michel Barnier simply doesn’t have the clout to adjust his view without a minimum of 27 phone calls to busy people. Britain might have had a chance had it come into the negotiations with a stable idea of where it wanted to be in the future, but it is in the worst possible position now. What looks to Liam Fox like blackmail is simply the intransigence borne of a complex balance of interests (which no longer, of course, include Britain’s). Barnier’s reply to criticism might well be that at least the EU got its position sorted out in advance, unlike some others he could mention.

Britain is spectacularly badly-placed to resolve these matters to its own satisfaction. The unloved Prime Minister has weakened herself; she has no obvious successor, while the Leader of the Opposition is a disgrace. Post-referendum British politics are driven by Brexit. As a result we are represented abroad by a patently inadequate Foreign Secretary, whose one qualification for the job is that he backed the winning side in February, apparently after tossing a coin. We have a Trade Secretary who is forbidden to negotiate any trade deals, reduced to sucking up to the sort of leader who has threatened to bomb schools in his own country. The careers of all three Brexit ministers were pretty well over, until resurrected by Theresa May’s domestic need to include prominent Leavers. On the other hand, the major players pre-referendum (who destroyed their own careers, so one need not feel sympathy for them) are, in their prime, exiled from British politics. George Osborne is having a lovely time editing the Evening Schadenfreude."

Agile Spirit 2017

Catholic Herald: Young Catholics want reverence, not liturgy wars

Catholic Herald: Young Catholics want reverence, not liturgy wars


by Mark Rezac


"From what I have seen, the Traditional Latin Mass appeals to some Catholics, but I don’t think it will ever become the norm again. I personally prefer the Novus Ordo Mass, because it’s the form with which I grew up and with which I am most familiar. I’ve gone to public school my whole life and have never formally been taught Latin, and so I prefer a Mass I understand.

An unscientific poll of my young people friends tends to agree – we haven’t been taught Latin like the previous generations, and we don’t see what’s wrong with a prayerful and reverent Novus Ordo Mass.

Judging by the ever-growing crowd of young people at the Novus Ordo Mass I attend weekly, at which we chant the opening antiphons in English and have incense galore, we’re looking for reverence, but at a Mass we understand."

First Things: What Mary Teaches

First Things: What Mary Teaches

by R.R. Reno

"The Marian doctrines affirm that God has so chosen, in the person of the Blessed Virgin Mary. She does not thereby become a demi-goddess, as many Protestants imagine. On the contrary, she is theologically central to Catholic piety because she is a human being, just like us. With the grace of God, we too can be freed from sin and draw near to God. This is a supernatural hope. It is a hope that depends upon God’s love. But Mary’s example shows that it is a realistic hope.

People often speak of modern secularism as the era in which man “grows up” and assumes free responsibility for his life, rather than remaining dependent on an imagined deity. By this way of thinking, post-Christian society in the West provides opportunities for existential enlargement and energetic self-realization. I’ve found it to be otherwise. We are increasingly satisfied with less and less. The therapeutic language of self-acceptance epitomizes our limited vision. When “being yourself” becomes our highest ambition, we’ve surely hit bottom.

It’s not surprising, therefore, that the Marian doctrines were officially promulgated in the modern era. (The Immaculate Conception was defined in 1854 and the Assumption in 1950.) By clarifying what God has done in the person of Mary, the Church raises our eyes toward the highest goals, teaching the faithful that human flesh is capable of remarkable feats of holiness—even to the point of sinless perfection and fellowship with God in our flesh. This is much-needed good news, in our epoch of self-imposed mediocrity."

Saturday, 9 September 2017

Legalizing Murder

Independent: Universal basic income may be adopted in Scotland providing a weekly cash payment for life

Independent: Universal basic income may be adopted in Scotland providing a weekly cash payment for life

Scotland may adopt a universal basic income scheme that would guarantee a cash payment of up to £150 a week to its citizens for the rest of their lives, Nicola Sturgeon has said.

The First Minister said she would fund research into the proposal that would “inform parliament’s thinking for the future”.

The system has been championed as a method to do away with the UK’s welfare system, but critics complain that it is complicated and pointed out that many of the handouts overlap.


Sadly my Tory friends were mocking and dismissive of this idea. I would hope that Ruth Davidson's Scottish Tories would get behind it.

Bloomberg: Don't Believe What Jeff Sessions Said About Jobs

Bloomberg: Don't Believe What Jeff Sessions Said About Jobs

by Noah Smith

"Hundreds of thousands? How did Sessions arrive at this number? It appears that he simply counted the number of adult Dreamers (as the program’s beneficiaries are known) and assumed that each one of them had denied a job to an American.

That’s terrible economics. It’s a classic application of a well-known fallacy called the Lump of Labor -- the idea that there are a fixed number of jobs in the world, and those jobs get divvied up among people.

How do we know this is a fallacy? It’s obvious that the number of jobs in the world isn’t fixed. Imagine if the United States deported every single American except for Jeff Sessions. Would Sessions then have his pick of any job? No, he’d be in the forest trying to eat berries to survive. Kicking people out doesn’t just reallocate jobs from one person to another. It also destroys them."


Theresa May really needs to read this article.

Eastern Ukraine Situation Report 9th September

Friday, 8 September 2017

The Feast of the Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary

Impart to your servants, we pray, O Lord, the gift of heavenly grace, that the feast of the Nativity of the Blessed Virgin may bring deeper peace to those for whom the birth of her Son was the dawning of salvation. 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 of Loretto

Lord, have mercy.
Christ, have mercy.
Lord, have mercy.
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 Savior, 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 honor, 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 take away the sins of the world, spare us, O Lord!.
Lamb of God, who take away the sins of the world, graciously hear us, O Lord!
Lamb of God, who take away the sins of the world, have mercy on us.

V. Pray for us, O holy Mother of God.
R. That we may be made worthy of the promises of Christ.

Let us pray. Grant, we beg you, O Lord God, that we your servants, may enjoy lasting health of mind and body, and by the glorious intercession of the Blessed Mary, ever Virgin, be delivered from present sorrow and enter into the joy of eternal happiness. Through Christ our Lord.
R. Amen.


Holy Mary, Daughter of Zion, pray for us and for the Jewish people.

Father Ed's Blog: Regarding Jacob Rees-Mogg

Father Ed's Blog: Regarding Jacob Rees-Mogg

Both Jacob Rees-Mogg and Tim Farron reveal to us that anti-Christian bigotry is not only thriving but growing in modern Britain. Indeed one detects real malice and spite for those who believe in, say, the sanctity of life from conception to the grave, or who uphold marriage as a union for one man and one woman due to the manner in which babies are made. Why so much hatred for alternative views? Why are Christian beliefs no longer to be tolerated? Why so much venom?

The demonisation of Christianity we witness should alarm us all. For history teaches dehumanisation of any minority is a step on the road to persecution. So thank God for the courage of Jacob Rees-Mogg who, unlike Farron, refuses to apologise for his faith. Why should he? What a breath of fresh air to witness such integrity. He is doing more good than he knows- even if he pays a heavy price in terms of preferment. For he holds up a mirror to the brave new world and, in the vitriol showed towards him, we understand better the creeping intolerance of our present culture. It must be stopped.


I find Jacob Rees-Mogg unbearable and to a large extent, he represents most of what I despise about my party. I think he would be a disaster as Tory leader. However, his willing to stand by Catholic teaching is commendable and courageous. As Father Ed points out, it does rather contrast to Farron's equivocation.

The Mogg had getting hyped up an awful lot lately, with some Conservatives supporting him as a replacement for May. I had no doubt that sooner or later he was going to get asked about his views on homosexuality and that this would kill his chances.

Saving Taxpayers Money

Tuesday, 5 September 2017

The Guardian: UK 'does not have capacity to strike new trade deals after Brexit'

The Guardian: UK 'does not have capacity to strike new trade deals after Brexit'

Senior government figures have said that the UK does not have the capacity to renegotiate dozens of trade deals that already exist between the EU and third countries.

Instead, they are planning to draw up copycat deals to those that already exist, in an attempt to replicate an agreement struck by Theresa May in Japan last week. May and the Japanese prime minister, Shinzo Abe, signed a joint statement that committed their countries to working towards an economic partnership agreement (EPA) as an “immediate priority”.

The statement said: “As the UK exits the EU we will work quickly to establish a new economic partnership between Japan and the UK based on the final terms of the EPA.”

May hopes such instant copycat deals – termed “cut-and-paste Brexit” by opponents – could be reached with other nations to help secure continuity and confidence.

But a senior government source admitted that it was also a question of need for the UK, given the lack of resources to renegotiate the dozens of deals already signed between the EU and third countries.

So much for the idea that 'Global Britain' would soar off and make all these awesome trade deals with the rest of the world. Not happening.

Sunday, 3 September 2017

Jesus in the Shadows, by Eric Robinson



This offers an introduction to Biblical typology. The author seeks to provide a readable explanation of the insights of the great Protestant Bible scholar, Patrick Fairbairn. The author points out the historical importance of typology in understanding Scripture. It is his hope to reveal how the Gospel of Jesus Christ is presented in the types and shadows of the Old Testament. He goes through a number of well known 'Sunday school' type Bible stories and demonstrates how Jesus Christ is revealed in these narratives.

The book does not offer a huge amount of help in dealing with conflicting claims for typological interpretation. Commentators have always offered disagreement in how some types should be interpreted. We might question the author's assertion that the Bible's symbols are always used the same way. Is this necessarily the case? The classic example of this is in the parable of the leaven. Those who hold symbols are always used consistently claim that the leaven must be bad, while many commentators disagree that the leaven in that parable is negative, suggesting it refers to the influence of the Gospel.

Typological interpretation has always been important to Catholics, though modern scholarship has lead to it being sadly overshadowed and overlooked. This book should be very helpful for Catholic readers.

Matt Walsh: Progressive Christians, you are ‘loving’ people straight into damnation.

Matt Walsh: Progressive Christians, you are ‘loving’ people straight into damnation.

"St. Paul proclaimed that he is “not ashamed of the Gospel because it is the power of God that brings salvation to everyone who believes,” yet a significant number of pastors, priests, and Christian scholars have revealed themselves to be profoundly ashamed of it. Their teachings and their sermons linger around the edges of the truth without ever venturing too deeply into it. They are afraid of it and embarrassed by it. Our culture is full of people — many of them Christian — who do not know what Christianity is, what it professes, what it requires of us, because those tasked with telling them have refused to do so. That is what necessitates the Nashville Statement. The fact that people were surprised by it only proves how much it was needed."

Saturday, 2 September 2017

Ukraine: Witness to Revolution



This book is a collection of journalistic articles on the Maidan revolution as it happened in Kyiv. It provides a very informative account of how the events unfolded in Kyiv in 2014. It details the various factions involved in the protests, both the protesters and those supporting the government of Yanukovych. It highlights the heroism of ordinary men and women who were prepared to face brutality from the police in the riots and those who supported them, simply through bringing soup or winter clothing. These were people who risked everything just to save Ukraine from corruption, autocracy and Russian domination. The book dispells the myth that the protests were orchestrated by the CIA or that the ranks of protesters were dominated by far right extremists. This is an inspiring and very interesting read.

The National Interest: South Korea Must Be Ready for Unification for a Simple Reason

The National Interest: South Korea Must Be Ready for Unification for a Simple Reason

by Jong-Wha Lee


"The Korean peninsula is currently the most dangerous flashpoint in the world. North Korea may now be capable of launching an intercontinental ballistic missile that can hit major US cities. It is highly unlikely to give up its nuclear weapons, despite harsh sanctions by the United States and the United Nations.

South Korea should prepare for a unification process, which could happen unexpectedly. No one expected the fall of the Berlin Wall and German reunification. And the costs of not being prepared could be high."

Eastern Ukraine Situation Report 2nd September

Catholic Herald: The real message of Amoris Laetitia has been obscured

Catholic Herald: The real message of Amoris Laetitia has been obscured

by Ed Condon

"Sadly, those advancing the “hidden meaning” interpretation of Amoris Laetitia have sucked up much of the oxygen of discussion and attention, doing a real disservice to those couples in irregular situations whose care the text urgently calls for. But the real pastoral potential of Amoris Laetitia isn’t going unexplored. This week, Bishop Pedro Daniel Martinez Perea of the diocese of San Luis, Argentina, published an excellent pastoral letter on the care of couples in the light of Amoris Laetitia.

What is so excellent about the letter is not merely the absence of the abstruse and contortionistic moral argumentation which others have deployed to make Amoris Laetitia say what it patently doesn’t. Free of any agenda other than genuine pastoral care, Bishop Martinez is able to let the urgency and concern of Amoris speak for itself. The result is a clear, coherent, straightforward celebration of marriage, and a message of uncompromising love for all couples, whatever their status.

This genuine care for couples in all manner of unique situations is given real depth in the letter since, free from a myopic focus on receiving Communion as the be-all and end-all of pastoral life, Bishop Martinez gives real weight to spiritual direction, habitual Confession, Eucharistic adoration and other aspects of full parish life."

Amoris Laetitia is a very beautiful and a very edifying document.

Politico: MPs warn Theresa May over customs union

Politico: MPs warn Theresa May over customs union

The All-Party Parliamentary Group on EU Relations, led by the Conservative former business minister Anna Soubry and former Labour frontbencher Chuka Umunna, called on the government to keep the U.K. in the customs union permanently to avoid “a reckless and economically dangerous self-inflicted wound.”

In a position paper published in August, the Department for Exiting the European Union set out the U.K.’s plan to leave the European customs union, enter into a temporary alternative with the EU during a transition period, and then continue trading under one of two complex new customs arrangements.

The report by the cross-party group, which includes anti-Brexit MPs from the Conservatives, Labour, the Liberal Democrats, the Scottish National Party and Wales’ Plaid Cymru, said that leaving the customs union would hit the U.K. economy to the tune of £25 billion a year and more than double the number of firms forced to make customs declarations.