Onward Christian Soldiers! Toward a masculine, robust Christian faith

We still sing Onward Christian Soldiers in our parish.  It’s one of those hymns that many Christian denominations have relegated to the dustbin because it sounds so militaristic.

But I love it, because it is about the reality of spiritual warfare and how all of us are engaged in the battle with the enemy carrying forward the Cross of Jesus whether we know it or not, whether we like it or not.  We are all called to be Christian warriors and our weapons are spiritual not carnal.

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Our Lady’s Dowry

This being the day of my departure to take up studying for the Master’s programme at the International Theological Institute in Austria – AND, in the traditional Roman Calendar, the feast of the Immaculate Heart of Mary, I offer as an envoi the Marian Shrines of Great Britain and Ireland. I have visited a few – and plan to see a lot more over the next few years!

Our Lady of Walsingham

Our Lady of Westminster

Our Lady of Willesden: Catholic and Anglican

Our Lady of Muswell

Our Lady of Canterbury

Our Lady of Ipswich

Our Lady of Caversham

Our Lady of England

Our Lady of Glastonbury

Our Lady of Doncaster

Our Lady of Guisborough


Ladye Park

Our Lady of Cardigan

Our Lady of Carfinn

Our Lady of Aberdeen

Our Lady of Knock

Peter Slipper- Bishop of Australia?


1It may have escaped your attention that the disgraced former Federal Speaker of the House, Peter Slipper, has been made ‘Bishop of Australia’.

While Peter Slipper has maintained a public presence since his departure from politics, he kept his appointment as a Bishop for the Brazilian Catholic Apostolic Church (ICAB) fairly low key. The question has to be asked: why is Slipper in the Episcopal closet?

Know as “Slippery Pete” even before he entered politics, in 2012 Peter Slipper stood down from parliament over allegations of misappropriation of travel expenses, as well as sexual harassment claims by a staff member including texts sent to him about sexual matters  and what was termed “‘vile anatomical references” referring to women’s private parts (while slipper was an Anglican priest). During the court cases in 2014 Slipper reported he tried to commit suicide twice, and his psychiatrist, Chris Martin, submitted evidence in the case whether fraud charges against Mr Slipper should be dropped on mental health grounds. Continue reading

Why the Church needs You, Specifically

The recent revelations regarding Cardinal McCarrick and the Pennsylvania 300 have forced many more Catholics into an uncomfortable realisation that some of us cradle Catholics of a certain age have lived with our entire adult lives: as Pope Adrian VI remarked of his immediately pre-Tridentine era, “the Catholic Church is sick in head and members.”

Of these specific scandals and their allied occurences (even within the Vatican) that have sullied the past few decades, much has been and can be written: how disgusting it is that men could seamlessly perform both the most sacred rites and loathsome acts imaginable; that a culture of acceptance of this horror has grown up within the hierarchy – a hierarchy so often committed to altering the Faith committed to its care in as brutal a manner possible; and that under the current Pontificate, favouritism from the highest quarters of that hierarchy has protected some of the worst offenders.

But there are other things to that can, have, and should be said: that in many ways – despite Church teaching – this de facto acceptance of these practises by prelates parallels developments among the elite in western society as a whole (not merely Hollywood but Washington, where recurrent page scandals underline the fact that the age of consent in DC is 16 by Act of Congress, and elsewhere); that the problem is as bad or worse amongst other religious and civil organisations – especially the public schools (who coincidentally are usually exempted from any government attempts to lengthen the statute of limitations); that what is so often misnamed “pedophilia” by the media is simply the desire for younger men by older homosexuals; and that the difficulty of homosexuality in the priesthood so demonstrated presents a marketing problem for our media and elites, who wish to promote the practise in the greater society while attacking it in the Church (hence the misuse of the “pedophilia” label). Continue reading

Prayer requests sought for Pilgrimage

Bishop Steven Lopes of the Personal Ordinariate of the Chair of St. Peter is leading a pilgrimage to the Holy Land Oct. 2-12.

Joining him will be six Ordinariate priests and 95 faithful.

“The spiritual benefits of the pilgrimage need not be restricted to those actually making the trip,” said a note from the chancery.  “The Bishop and Ordinariate clergy will carry the intentions of the whole Ordinariate on pilgrimage and offer Mass each day at the various shrines for those intentions.”

“All Priests are invited to collect prayer intentions from their faithful and send them to the Bishop for inclusion in the Holy Land Pilgrimage.  Please email Laurie Miller (office@ordinariate.net) your prayer intentions by September 28 so she has enough time to collate them for the pilgrims.”

What are your prayer requests?   My prayer request is for the ordinaries, the priests and the faithful to be beacons of holiness and deep Catholic faith in a time of trouble and uncertainty facing the Church.

I hope some Society members will be along on the pilgrimage and will send me photos to post here.

Regarding the present crisis

Maybe some of you who came into the Catholic Church because of Pope Benedict XVI’s generous offer to Anglicans are wondering what on earth did I get myself in for by joining the Catholic Church?

For me, none of what is being revealed in the present scandal is new or surprising.  I factored this in prior to becoming Catholic.  But I can understand for others, this is shocking and maybe even demoralizing.  What are we to do?

I believe our response should be prayer, fasting, reparation, and ever deeper conversion to ensure that after the current pruning the Church is undergoing there remains healthy, living growth abiding in the Vine who is Jesus Christs.  We must resist the temptation to use the human energy of anger to try to make things right using our own power.

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UK Ordinariate lay people discuss mission at conference

Fr. Simon Chinery, who handles communications for the Personal Ordinariate of Our Lady of Walsingham posted the following over at Independent Catholic News.

Last week, Worth Abbey hosted the first Lay Conference of the Personal Ordinariate of Our Lady of Walsingham. An initiative of the Ordinariate’s Pastoral Council, the three day conference brought together some 50 delegates from groups across Great Britain to discuss how to move forward the Ordinariate’s mission.

Keynote addresses were given by well-known priest and blogger Fr Ed Tomlinson of the Tunbridge Wells mission and by Catholic historian Dr James Kelly of Durham University. The Ordinary, Mgr Keith Newton, also spoke to the conference. There were also lengthy discussions and Question and Answer sessions where delegates sought to understand the issues and opportunities facing the Ordinariate and identify the best way to address these.

Work is already well underway to identify projects that the Pastoral Council can carry forward and to formulate proposals to the Ordinariate’s Governing Council.

Recordings of the keynote talks are available on the website of the Portal Magazine: www.portalmag.co.uk/audio.php

This is great news!   I hope to listen to the keynote talks over the weekend.  I hope you will avail yourself of the opportunity also.

I suspect the issues and opportunities in the UK have some overlap with those in North America and Australia, and differences as well.

How you can support the Church and Pro-Life


For it’s new “Pro-Life action policy”, Real Estate for Life has added the Personal Ordinariate of Our Lady of the Southern Cross to their list of organisations it supports: both organisations are recent fruits of the New Evangelisation: but what does real estate and Anglicans that came into union with Rome have to do with the Pro-Life movement?

When Pope Paul VI wrote his prophetic 1968 encyclical Humanae Vitae in support of human life against birth control pills (use of which would later see the rise abortion, euthanasia and pornography) there was already a crack in the dam. The Lambeth Conference of the Anglican Communion in 1930 had gone against the ancient Christian ban of birth control: the Anglo-Catholic communities which went on to enter union with the Catholic Church through the Personal Ordinariates knew all too well the reasons for the teaching as they saw once full and vibrant congregations whither away, and marriages fail.

Part of the growing pains that all three Ordinariates are still going through is financial- despite this our ministries contribute far more to the wider Catholic Church than our numbers would suggest. One area of ministry the Personal Ordinariate of Our Lady of the Southern Cross (OLSC) is passionate about is the Pro-Life movement, in the tradition of the Anglo-Catholic slum priests helping the most vulnerable in society. Little did we know that OLSC’s new ‘Pro-Life action policy’ would allow the opportunity for Ordinariate supporters, on three continents, to give much needed financial help- and at no cost to them.

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The renewal of the Shrine at Walsingham

One of our members alerted me to this marvelous interview with the new rector of the England’s national Marian shrine at Walsingham at The Catholic Herald.  I am excited about this because I’m aware of efforts to made better known Canada’s national Marian shrine at Cap-de-la-Madeleine in Trois-Rivieres, Quebec, where I will be going for a pilgrimage Aug. 22, on the Feast of the Queenship of Mary.

Here’s an except of Mark Greaves interview with Mgr. John Armitage, the new rector, with my emphases:

But Mgr Armitage’s mission is not just about bricks and mortar: he wants the message of Walsingham to be better understood. “There’s a significance to the spiritual health of this country that is linked to this place,” he says. After all, he adds, this was where the Mother of God chose to appear, to “share the joy that her Son became her Saviour”.

Pre-Reformation England was known for its devotion to Our Lady. That’s why it had the ancient title of the Dowry of Mary – that is, a country set aside for Mary. Mgr Armitage suggests that this tradition, while not quite forgotten, is not “to the forefront” of English Catholicism today. Much focus is on the martyrs, but they grew out of this great tradition, he says. “You read the [medieval] writings and you see exactly where they came from.” Mgr Armitage speaks reverently about this older English spirituality. Much was destroyed, he says, but the writings survived. He loves St Aelred of Rievaulx, St Bede, St Anselm, the Cloud of Unknowing. He talks about Sir Gawain and the Green Knight, a 14th-century Arthurian romance. Sir Gawain “took his strength when in trouble from the five joys Our Lady had in her Son”. The term the “joys of Our Lady” is a very English way of understanding the Mother of God, he says. Hence the message of Walsingham: to share the joy. “That’s the beauty of nationalities and cultures,” he says. “Every country has something to say – its own spin on the ball.” He wants England to recognise this heritage, “to draw from it”.

Walsingham utterly embodies this tradition, he says. Once it was destroyed in 1538, it was gone – it has no recusant history. When a Catholic convert, Charlotte Boyd, bought the Slipper Chapel in 1896, no local devotion to Our Lady existed.

Things have certainly changed in the 122 years since. As well as receiving huge numbers of pilgrims, it hosts major events such as Youth 2000. It’s a magnet for religious orders: in June the Greyfriars, or Conventual Franciscans, returned to the shrine for the first time since the Reformation. Just recently, 12 large Catholic families have moved into the area. EWTN, the US Catholic television network, has set up a British headquarters there.

Unraveling a marvelous tapestry?

Once upon a time, I believed all that was necessary for salvation was a personal relationship with Jesus Christ.  Knowing that He loved me, died for me, paid the price for my sins was and is Good News.  I knew some things from experience,  and the rest of the Bible, the rest of what any Christian leader had to tell me, I set in reserve until I came to understand, usually the hard way.

Then, I grasped what St. Anselm was getting at when he said, “Credo ut intelligam”  I believe in order that I may understand.  And I realized it was important to believe the  Apostolic faith.  Where could I find it?

Around this time, I also became involve Continue reading