Showing posts from April, 2015


One of the participants in the Battle of Gettysburg almost 152 years ago spoke of the sound of the battle at its height as a monstrous roar unlike anything he had known - certainly other than human. One can reflect on the turning of the earth and the vast cacophony of human activity - good and bad, beautiful and ugly - and imagine it like a giant humming top emitting its combined cries of joy and pain, creation and destruction in a immense chorus into the heavens. All of it too much for us, but all of it is known continually, immediately and forever to God.
In 2006 Abbot Hugh Gilbert of Pluscarden Abbey preached on the subject “Christ the Light” and posed the question, “What’s really going on in life in the world? What on earth is really happening?” We might re-phrase the question as, “What’s it all about?”
The Abbot takes us back to St Augustine around 400 AD to begin the answer:
“So, my brothers and sisters, our whole business in this life is the healing of the eye of the heart, that e…


 It is interesting how many treasures both sacred and profane get buried and forgotten with the passage of time - tilling the soil in Ireland reveals a Mass kit buried for safety (its priestly owner perhaps executed before he could return for it), a vast hoard of Roman coins recovered at the bottom of the excavation of an English well (if only the barbarian attackers had known) or a Papal Encyclical buried in the subsequent documentation of World War II and the Second Vatican
Council “church-quake”. 

But the dust has settled and the advent of the computer database is shining light on some gems.

Eighty seven years ago the great Pope Pius XI issued the crystal clear gem of an encyclical Mortalium Animos on fostering true religious unity. Strangely it is not referred to in the Catechism of the Catholic Church or in the Second Vatican Council documents.

 It seems then ironical that it was last officially referred to by  Pope Saint John XXIII in his very first encyclical Ad Petri Cathedram (To…


In recent times Cardinal Walter Kasper has become once again a controversial figure in the lead up to last year's  preparatory Synod on the Family and in its turbulent aftermath. But this report from "FOUNDATION" of August 2008 shows that His Eminence is nothing if not adaptable to Pontifical change:

Cardinal Kasper speaks at Lambeth Conference

Prior to Benedict XVI’s election Cardinal Walter Kasper,
President of the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian
Unity had come to be regarded as somewhat a “loose cannon”
whose statements adduced reactions varying from regret to

In more recent times he has regained a more reliable voice. He
was invited to address the Lambeth Conference and as these
extracts show was very frank.

When I saw what you proposed as subject, “Roman Catholic
Reflections on the Anglican Communion”, I thought that you
could have chosen an easier one. This is a wide open title encompassing
many aspects of history and doctrine, and I can
only touch upon some…


Bishop Jacques-Bénigne Bossuet
“I came not to seek the Just”

In the whole teaching of the Gospels there is nothing more touching than God’s gentle and loving way of treating His reconciled enemies, that is, converted sinners.

He is not satisfied with blotting out our stains and washing away our filth; to His infinite goodness it is but a little thing that our sins should do us no harm. He would have them actually profit us. He draws out of them such benefits for our soul that we even feel constrained to bless our very transgressions, and to cry with the Church: “O Felix culpa!” [Blessing of the Paschal Candle, Easter Vigil]

His grace seems to struggle with our sins for the upper hand, and Saint Paul says that it even pleases Him to make grace abound more where sin has abounded. In fact, He receives penitent sinners back with so much love that innocence itself might almost be said to have cause for complaint or at least for some jealousy at the sight of it. The extreme gentleness with whic…


There are passages and phrases from Sacred Scripture which, in the post-Conciliar period, have come to induce confusion among many, even most, layfolk. The fault behind their difficulty lies with "spirit of the Council" homilists, and worse, lazy homilists. 

An example  is the "Eloi, Eloi, Lama Sabacthani" cry of Christ from the Cross - "My God, My God, Why hast Thou abandoned Me?" It is simply ignored by the homilists - too lazy to point out that it is a quote from the Psalm 22:1 which was always related to the Messiah and well known to the Scribes and the Pharisees.Thus, not a cry of despair but rather an assertion of His Messianic role. Yet the people in the pews, largely unaware of this are left to wonder if God the Son on the Cross thought that God (which He is ) had abandoned Him.

But we are concentrating here on another phrase: ".....but few are chosen"

The latter-day homilists let this phrase also simply pass by, usually without comment, or…


Mohammedanism and Peace
September, A.D.  622. 

"The Prophet Mohammed had taken flight with a few followers from the hostile city of Mecca to friendly Medina, thereby marking the starting point for the whole Muslim era; and just five years afterwards, in 633, the armies of Islam would begin the advance that was to take them, in the course of a single century, to within 150 miles of Paris and to the very gates of Constantinople, Christendom’s most formidable rival - and for the next thousand years its most implacable enemy - was already born, and would soon be on the march.

Until the second quarter of the seventh century, the land of Arabia was terra incognita to the Christian world. Remote and inhospitable,productive of nothing to tempt the sophisticated merchants of the West, it had made no contribution to civilization and seemed unlikely ever to do so. Its people, insofar as anyone knew anything about them, were presumed to be little better than savages, periodically slaughtering e…



I wrote this item in December,2006 for the Monthly Newsletter "FOUNDATION" - Pope Francis will celebrate Holy Mass on Divine Mercy Sunday 12th April, marking the Centenary of this horrible crime.:
Turkey and the Armenian Genocide
Much has been written in recent times about the genocide of Armenians (many of whom were Catholics) by the Turks during World War I.
To the Turkish Government the matter is unmentionable. It is quite bizarre: Germans are abject in their regret about the holocaust, the Japanese acknowledge but don’t apologise for their war atrocities, but the Turks will not even hear the subject of the Armenian genocide raised even after ninety years. (The French in their particular way made the point — it is now illegal in France to deny the Armenian genocide by the Turks!)
Some historic writings make Turkey’s actions obvious. The American Ambassador in Constantinople in 1915 was …