One Man + One Woman = Marriage
Torch of The Faith News on Tuesday 10 December 2013 - 17:09:53 | by admin
Following on from the tragic Royal Assent in July, the 'Equalities Minister' Maria Miller has just announced that - what she calls - 'same-sex marriages' will commence in England and Wales on 29th March 2014.
Demonstrating the reductionist view of the human person and of society which our Government applies to the people, Ms. Miller refers to this as 'just another step in the evolution of marriage'.
In these penitential days of Advent, let us all pray for True Marriage and for the strength to endure the open persecution which is surely coming. The days ahead will not be easy. Brothers and sisters in Christ, let us pray for and encourage one another. In John 16:33, Our Lord reminds us, 'In the world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.'
We ask that our pastors would guide us and lead us from the front in defence of the truth that marriage is between one man and one woman for life and that they would support initiatives to uphold and share this authentic meaning of Marriage.
Saints of God - Come to our aid!
Fr. Gary Walsh - Requiescat in Pace
Torch of The Faith News on Sunday 08 December 2013 - 20:59:53 | by admin
It is with great sadness that we must relate the death of another orthodox, young and hardworking priest in Liverpool. Fr. Gary Walsh passed from this life on Wednesday, fortified with the Last Rites of the Church. He was 53 years old.
Fr. Gary is known and loved throughout Merseyside and beyond as the superior of the Blessed Sacrament Shrine in the city centre of Liverpool. He has been integral to the mission of the Blessed Sacrament Fathers there for decades and has been part of the faith journey of many of us. It is painful to think of the shrine on Dawson Street being without him.
Like his brother priests at the shrine, Fr. Gary spent many hours - week-in and week-out for years - ministering to souls in the busy Confessionals and celebrating the Sacred Liturgy. With them, the Real Presence of Jesus Christ in the Blessed Sacrament was at the heart of his life, home and mission and he offered the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass with sincerity and reverence.
Fr. Gary was a strong defender of orthodoxy and he used his homilies to instruct the laity in the authentic teachings of the Church and to exhort them to grow in holiness. I remember hastening to him for Confession in the 1990's after he posed the penetrating question to the congregation, 'Am I closer to God and to holiness than I was this time last year?'
In recent years he signed up to a number of on-line initiatives which bear witness to his faith. In 2009, he signed the petition calling on the Bishops of England and Wales not to acquiesce with the Labour Government's plans to force Catholic schools to take on even more morally relative sex education. Fr. Gary signed his name with the comment 'Just for one more St. John Fisher'.
In 2010, he signed a petition defending the sacred character of the Catholic priesthood from theological reductionism and supporting His Holiness Pope Benedict XVI in preparation for his Papal Visit to Britain. Only this year, Fr. Gary signed up to a letter to Parliament which defended True Marriage and the rights and liberties of the Catholic Church in this country. Anyone who knew Fr. Gary was aware that he was himself a well-spoken and thoroughly patriotic Englishman. He often encouraged people to pray for the health and guidance of Her Majesty, Queen Elizabeth II and he was delighted when she met with the Holy Father in 2010. I was at the Blessed Sacrament Shrine with (then) Mike (later Fr. Mike) Williams when Diana, Princess of Wales, had been tragically killed in 1997 and Fr. Gary consoled the people and led them in prayers for her immortal soul.
As superior of the Blessed Sacrament Shrine in Liverpool, Fr. Gary was keen to support the Shrine Church of Ss Peter, Paul and Philomena which was established, across the River Mersey, by Bishop Mark Davies in 2012, as a centre for Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament and the celebration of the Sacred Liturgy in the Traditional Form of the Roman Rite, under the care of the Institute of Christ the King Sovereign Priest.
In May 2012, Fr. Gary handed us his I-Phone during a Marian Procession on the Wirral and asked us to get a picture of him with Canon Olivier Meney (ICKSP) who was at that time in charge of the newly opened Shrine Church. We managed to snap this shot during the Rosary.
Later on, Fr. Gary preached a brief homily on Our Lady of Fatima at the outdoor altar and he asked everyone to intercede to Our Lady for lapsed Catholics to return to the practice of the Faith.
A few months earlier we had met Fr. Gary in Liverpool and he was quite tearful about the death of our mutual friend Fr. Mike Williams who he thought very highly of. As we departed, Fr. Gary called after us, 'I read your blog you know... May God bless your ministry'. It was a great encouragement for us to be warmly supported by a priest like that. It gave us strength to keep doing Torch of The Faith.
Also in May 2012, we attended the annual Marian procession through the streets of Liverpool and took this photograph of him at the head of the procession along Bold Street. He was very happy that day and enjoyed the chance to do some time-honoured street evangelization.
It is so sad for Liverpool to lose such a good and young priest as Fr. Gary Walsh S.S.S. For all of us, another light has gone out on this earth.
In his frailty the grace of God had shone through Fr. Gary in a deeper way with a perceptible increase in gentleness of spirit. He had become somehow more 'little' and Christ shone through still more.
Having long worked for the Kingdom of God and having suffered under his own crosses we now commend him to the Divine Mercy of God - May he be given a share in Christ's Resurrection.
Thank you Fr. Gary - for all you did.
Fr. Gary's funeral will take place at the Liverpool Metropolitan Cathedral of Christ the King on the Feast of St. Lucy this Friday, 13th December. Please pray for him, his loved ones, his brother priests and the souls who were in his care.
Eternal rest grant unto Fr. Gary dear Lord, and let perpetual light shine upon him and may he rest in peace. Amen.
Feast of the Immaculate Conception - Holy Hour of Grace
Torch of The Faith News on Sunday 08 December 2013 - 00:29:04 | by admin
In the private revelation of the Rosa Mystica in 1947, Our Lady requested that a Holy Hour of Grace be kept on the 8th December, the Feast of the Immaculate Conception, from 12.00 - 1.00pm.
The purpose of this Holy Hour was to make reparation for the many sacrilegous communions, unworthy offerings of the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass, sins of impurity and general rebellion against Almighty God.
Our Lady was reported to have said, ''My Son is greatly offended by the sins of the people, especially by the sins of impurity. He is already planning to send the deluge upon the people, for their destruction, but I have asked Him to show mercy, and not send the destruction. So that is why I have appeared, to ask for penance and atonement for the sins of impurity.''
During the Hour of Grace, Our Lady promised that many graces would be granted, including the conversion of the most hard-hearted sinners, and that whatever was asked of Our Lady - even impossible cases - would be granted if in accordance with the Will of the Eternal Father.
The Holy Hour Requested by Our Lady
In this private revelation, Our Lady was reported to make the following requests for the Holy Hour:-
1. On the 8th December to pray silently for one hour from 12 Noon. (Clearly, attendance at Holy Mass takes precedence for those whose Mass is at the same time).
2. During this hour, the person making this hour of reparation is to put away all distractions and not answer the door or telephone.
3. The hour is begun by reverently praying the 51st Psalm (Miserere) three times with outstretched arms.
4. The rest of the Hour of Grace may be spent in silent communication with God, meditating on the Passion of Jesus Christ, saying the Holy Rosary, praising God in one's own way through favourite hymns, prayers or meditating on other Psalms.
Whilst this is a private revelation and Holy Mass takes precedence, we recommend this Holy Hour to those who are able in order to make reparaton to Our Blessed Lord for one's own sins and the sins of the world. In the past, we have found this to be a most powerfully grace-filled and fruitful hour of prayer.
Alison Davies - Requiescat in Pace
Torch of The Faith News on Tuesday 03 December 2013 - 16:44:26 | by admin
Of your charity, please pray for the repose of the soul of Alison Davies who has passed from this life today aged 58.
Alison led SPUC's No Less Human division for three decades and was a strong and articulate defender of the dignity, right to life and equal status of disabled people.
Alison had spina bifida and spoke out, through her media interviews and writings, on the eugenic nature of the British Abortion Act and against policies which treated disabled people as expendable and targeted them for euthanasia.
An example of her courageous witness, which also serves as evidence of the cynicism she fought against, was the day in 2007 when the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists (RCOG) in London refused to allow Alison to deliver a petition of 28,000 signatures against the infanticide of disabled babies. The RCOG said that they would only allow one person into their building and would therefore not allow Alison in as she would need help with her wheelchair.
At the time Alison said, 'It would be comical, if it were not also so tragic that the RCOG, which has asked for a debate on the killing of babies with disabilities such as spina bifida, wont let me, a disabled person, hand over our petition which has some 28,000 signatures'.
Fr. John Fleming, SPUC's bioethical consultant, has today praised Alison Davies as a 'great pro-life warrior, and a wonderful example to us all of one who accepted her sufferings with astonishing equanimity'.
Fr. Ray Blake, parish priest of St. Mary Magdalen in Brighton, says on his blog, 'Those who cared for her and knew her in recent years believe her to be a great saint, in that she wished to conform her life to the Cross of Christ, embracing it, loving it, finding meaning and hope in it - pray for her and for those who loved her'.
John Smeaton, SPUC's director, paid tribute on his blog-page: 'Everyone in SPUC and the whole pro-life movement will be greatly saddened at her passing. Frail in body, she was full of strength in defence of the most defenceless human beings - disabled unborn children. Her keen insight and uncompromising solidarity have proved a powerful defence for the sick and disabled targeted with euthanasia. Her own early struggle with temptations to suicide made her an exceptional witness that life is always worth living. Alison's strong Catholic faith and her love of children moved her to care for disabled children in India. Countless people touched by her life will now be praying that Alison, her family and friends will receive the peace they seek'.
She will be missed by pro-lifers everywhere.
Eternal rest grant unto her dear Lord, and let perpetual light shine upon her, and may she rest in peace. Amen.
Advent Giving - Please Help Good Counsel Network
Torch of The Faith News on Monday 02 December 2013 - 12:11:18 | by admin
A number of times we've described the essential work being done by the Good Counsel Network.
The Network is a pro-life organisation which has saved hundreds of babies and their mothers from abortion by being faithful to the Magisterium and by doing all things to Jesus through Mary.
Eucharistic Adoration in the chapel at the heart of
the Good Counsel Network.
The Good Counsel Network is in urgent need of prayers and funds. The Network's blog explains,
'We are completely broke at the moment and for most of the ''40 Days for Life'' campaign, our staff have had to put up with wages coming weeks late, which is more than tough when you are on a low wage and are doing very front-line work!!'
Good Counsel Network has saved hundreds of babies from abortion and helps many women through Counselling, Advice, Financial Help, Practical Support, Mother and Baby goods, Housing and Friendship.
Please help them to continue this vital mission. Cheques can be made payable to The Guild of Our Lady of Good Counsel and sent to The Guild of Our Lady of Good Counsel, PO Box 46679, London, NW9 8ZT.
Our links will not presently function on this News/Blog page but credit card payments can be made directly to the Good Counsel Network via their website. GiftAid forms can also be accessed there. Please see our Links Page for the appropriate link.
As we prepare to welcome the Christ-child, let us pray for the holy work of Good Counsel Network for mothers and their babies. Their apostolate could be an excellent choice for Advent-giving.
Advent Sunday 2013
Torch of The Faith News on Sunday 01 December 2013 - 21:07:48 | by admin
Grant, almighty Father, that when Christ comes again we may go out to meet Him, bearing the harvest of good works achieved by Your grace. We pray that He will receive us into the company of the saints and call us into the Kingdom of Heaven (Concluding Prayer, Evening Prayer, 1st Sunday of Advent).
Our prayer for Advent is that each one of us and our readers would open again the doors of their hearts to Jesus Christ! May we wisely prepare for His coming at Christmas and at His Second Coming by changing our hearts from the coldness and selfishness of sin and hardness to the loving warmth of His Charity.
Perhaps you a Catholic who has fallen away from the practice of the Faith.
Perhaps you are interested in joining the Church but are unsure how or whether to proceed.
Maybe you have fallen into extreme depths of sin and feel that there is no way back.
Perhaps you are a practicing Catholic, but have developed a superior attitude which looks down on sinners and - forgetting that everything is given to us by grace - has come to rely on your own strength and self-righteousness.
Or maybe you are a Catholic but you are in a spirit of dissent from some of the teachings of the Church.
Wherever we are coming from, God offers us the chance of a New Life in Jesus Christ. May this Advent be a time of great grace for the salvation and sanctification of souls. Let us cast out all sin and dissent from our hearts and let Divine Love find a home in us. To all our readers we proclaim: Come home again to the Divine Mercy of God this Advent and Christmas 2013!
God gives us this chance through the sacraments of His Church and the restoration given through Confession and Holy Communion.
Behold, now is the acceptable time; behold, now is the day of salvation (2 Corinthians 6:2).
May the Light of Christ enter into our hearts and dispel the dark night of sin and death this Advent.
Blessed Sacrament Procession - Steubenville
Torch of The Faith News on Sunday 01 December 2013 - 12:36:22 | by admin
It is heartening to read Ben Yanke's report of the Blessed Sacrament Procession at Franciscan University of Steubenville on the New Liturgical Movement website.
Mr. Yanke explains that the procession was held to celebrate the Feast of Christ the King in the new calendar.
A schola choir led traditional chants including Adore te devote, Ave verum corpus, Credo III, the Litany of the Sacred Heart of Jesus, Veni Jesu and the Salve Regina.
It is beautiful to see such a traditional procession processing around the campus grounds. We remember the deep snows of the long Ohio winters from our two years in Steubenville from 2004 - 2006. It looks like the first dusting has already arrived!
Here the procession heads past the Christ the King chapel. There are three daily masses in the chapel during the week and four on Sundays. Since 2008, Mass in the Extraordinary Form of the Roman Rite has also been available in the chapel every Sunday. Out of the 2,400 students at the university, 98% attend Sunday Mass on campus and around 700 attend for the daily weekday masses. A number of students also attend Mass in the local parishes.
500 students joined the Blessed Sacrament procession. The sheer number of young enthusiastic Catholics at the university is one of the things which encouraged us so much during our time there. The university provides 24-hour Eucharistic Adoration, Confession schedules four times each week, solid theological and catechetical training and vital evangelical outreach through works of mercy to the poor, the homeless, the elderly and the unborn. When we were there, around 10 non-Catholic students were joyfully received into the Church at the Easter Vigil each year.
Evangelii Gaudium - The Joy of the Gospel!
Torch of The Faith News on Thursday 28 November 2013 - 17:12:15 | by admin
'The joy of the Gospel fills the hearts and lives of all who encounter Jesus. Those who accept His offer of salvation are set free from sin, sorrow, inner emptiness and loneliness. With Christ joy is born constantly anew'... 'Now is the time to say to Jesus: ''Lord, I have let myself be deceived; in a thousand ways I have shunned your love, yet here I am once more, to renew my covenant with you. I need you. Save me once again, Lord, take me once again into your redeeming embrace'' '.
From the beginning of his new Apostolic Exhortation Evangelii Gaudium, His Holiness, Pope Francis, is inviting us all to begin again by opening our hearts to Jesus Christ and His healing power. This will allow us to receive the refreshment of Christ and to rely on God's grace as we go out joyfully with the Good News of the Gospel.
I have spent several hours, during the last two days, reading through the exhortation and have also glanced through various blogs and their summaries.
As we pointed out following the Holy Father's 'Big Interview' recently, it is so easy in this information age to rely only on the summaries of favourite blogs or the mass media.
The blogs I have viewed have each tended to focus on one aspect of the document, such as the Pope's words on the papacy, on the Sacred Liturgy or on pro-life issues. And of course, these are important themes for reflection and engagement.
However, there is a real danger of readers accepting sound-bites, proof-texts, summaries and opinions as authoritative and definitive in themselves. In this way, the reception of the teaching can be hindered or skewed. At worst, an alternative 'virtual-magisterium' appears to emerge. This is not only reductionist it also poses very real dangers for the peace and communion of the faithful. In this case, we also risk missing out on the Christian joy which His Holiness is inviting us to receive.
For example, a calm and prayerful reading of the original text imparted great peace, refreshment and indeed joy to my soul. Yes, there are aspects that challenged, convicted and even disconcerted me. However, as with all Church documents, the meaning of individual paragraphs needs to be received within the context of the whole text and the whole Tradition as well as with an openness to the Holy Spirit. After all, this is a papal teaching with a high - though not the highest - level of Magisterial authority.
The peace, refreshment and joy I described above was deeply troubled when I read one popular blog rejecting the document outright after presenting individual sentences out of their context; the hermeneutic of suspicion is not restricted to those of a modernist stripe.
During Advent we are going to pray the Rosary and read and pray through the exhortation, several paragraphs each evening in our home, in order to be open to what the Holy Spirit is truly saying through the Vicar of Christ on earth for the urgently needed evangelization of the world.
Evangelii Gaudium can be read over at the Vatican website and we invite all readers - Catholic or not - to read and reflect on its content as a preparation for the Holy Season of Christmas.
Mary, Mother of the living Gospel, wellspring of happiness for God's little ones - Pray for us!
God's Eternal Love versus Momentary Delusion
Torch of The Faith News on Monday 25 November 2013 - 17:39:13 | by admin
G.K. Chesterton said that 'every argument is a theological argument'. The widespread denial of the existence of God and of objective morality in our culture has gone hand in hand with the collapse of the family and the popular acceptance of pornography and 'alternative lifestyles'. This article will reflect upon some of the temporal and spiritual consequences of this degeneration. Please say a prayer to the Holy Spirit before reading further.
Last week in Flintshire, a 13-year-old boy pleaded guilty to the rape, attempted rape and sexual assault of an 8-year-old little girl. These crimes occured when the boy was just 10-years old. He had himself been subject to sexual abuse by the 'partner' of his mother and had been left to watch pornography for hours at a time since he was just 9-years-old.
The harm being done to children by pornography is truly distressing. Earlier this year, The Telegraph reported that there had been a shocking 5,028 sexual offences committed by UK children between 2009 - 2012. The figures are quite possibly much higher as the three largest police forces were unable to provide the relevant figures. The NSPCC blamed this huge amount of abuse on the easy availability of pornography.
Update: Since writing this article, the BBC reported on the problem of child-on-child sexual abuse in contemporary Britain. The Office of the Children's Commissioner for England stated that 'rape is seen as normal and inevitable in some areas, especially among gangs'. In light of a report which reported on the sexual abuse suffered by 2,409 youngsters from other children, Sue Berelowitz, the Deputy Children's Commissioner explained that the music and pornography 'industries' had 'a great deal to answer for'. Clearly, the breakdown of the family has been an engine in the emergence of violent gang culture among young people. As so often, the young and the vulnerable are the victims. This is the culture that the Church must encounter to bring the healing balm of Christ.
One man with a remarkable testimony about the harmful effects of pornography on childhood is Joseph Sciambra.
When Joseph was just 8 years old he read a pornographic magazine left in the house by an older brother. This led to a downhill slide into pornography addiction and to committing sins with other people. As a young man he became immersed in the homosexual scene in California. During this time, Sciambra says that he delivered himself over sexually to Satan and began to hear voices in his head. Following on from this, he became an actor in gay pornography and descended further into a world of violence and aggression. Such impure violence caused Joseph to end up in hospital where he had an experience of death and his soul descending into an open and salivating mouth which he knew to be Hell. Joseph's Catholic mother was at the side of his hospital bed praying earnestly and Joseph was given the grace of repentance; in fear of entering into eternal punishment he begged for God to help him and experienced the return of his soul into his own body in the bed.
In time Joseph rediscovered the Catholic Faith that he had left as a child and received God's forgiveness by making a good confession to a Catholic priest. A priest also performed an exorcism on him and demons were cast out from Joseph Sciambra. Since then, Joseph has found help and consolation from the Mother of God and from receiving Holy Communion in the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass.
Joseph's story helps us to see even more clearly the reality of the spiritual warfare behind the attacks on God, the Church, natural marriage, childhood, chastity and on morality itself, which are now systematically dismantling our civilization around us and submerging it in an unprecedented darkness.
Joseph Sciambra now reaches out to men caught in the homosexual subculture by assuring them of God's Love and then speaking of his own encounter with God's Love saving him from the salivating jaws of Satan in Hell. He explains to them that sinful use of sexuality is a momentary delusion whereas God's Love is 'enduring, satisfying and as real as it gets'. (LifeSiteNews).
Joseph's witness also demonstrates the importance of the Sacraments of Confession and Holy Communion together with devotion to Our Blessed Lady in the spiritual combat. May God protect and bless us all. Please pray that - like Bishop Paprocki of Illinois - all the leaders of our Church will preach the Gospel with mercy and with all truth for the salvation and sanctification of souls.
Reparation for the Sin of Same Sex-Marriage
Torch of The Faith News on Friday 22 November 2013 - 17:44:06 | by admin
Bishop Thomas John Paprocki of the Diocese of Springfield Illinois in America has demonstrated courageous leadership earlier this week.
Just half an hour after Governor Pat Quinn signed so-called 'same-sex-marriage' into state law in Chicago, His Lordship responded by leading several hundred lay people in Prayers of Supplication and Exorcism in Reparation for the Sin of Same Sex Marriage in the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception. The period of prayer was followed by a press conference in a room connected to the cathedral.
Bishop Paprocki explained that there are certain cultural situations which are so serious that a prelate may judge them to require a public exorcism.
When the prayer service was first publicly announced, the bishop drew from the introduction to the Rite of Exorcism to recall that, 'The presence of the Devil and other demons appears and exists not only in the tempting or tormenting of persons, but also in the penetration of things and places in a certain manner by their activity and in various forms of opposition to and persecution of the Church.'
Sadly, several Catholic politicians voted in favour of the new law by misrepresenting Pope Francis' words regarding people who struggle with homosexual attraction. Bishop Paprocki responded by stating, 'It is scandalous that so many Catholic politicians are responsible for enabling the passage of this legislation and even twisting the words of the Pope to rationalize their actions despite the clear teaching of the Church.'
He said that politicians have a 'moral obligation to work for the repeal of this sinful and objectionable legislation', adding, 'We must pray for deliverance from this evil which has penetrated our state and our Church'.
Bishop Paprocki, whose 51 year old former secretary was murdered by a homosexual activist in 2002, concluded, 'Pope Francis has also urged us to be mindful of God's mercy, so it is good to recall the profound expression of Divine Mercy uttered by Jesus as He was dying on the Cross to save us from our sins, 'Father forgive them for they know not what they do' (Luke 23:34)'.
Bishop Paprocki's leadership has reminded the world of the spiritual warfare which is behind the present collapse of Western civilization. In our next news post we will expound on this issue a little further. In the meantime, please pray for Bishop Paprocki, for his priests and for his lay faithful who have shared in this courageous defence of love and marriage.