Feast of the Holy Family (Traditional Calendar)
Torch of The Faith News on Sunday 08 January 2017 - 13:00:49 | by admin
The Traditional Calendar today celebrates the Feast of the Holy Family. As the explanation of today's feast in the Traditional Missal recalls, the Holy Family at Nazareth teaches us lessons which are of crucial importance at the present time - that family life is holy and of divine institution, that manual labour is honourable, and that poverty is no disgrace.
For the last few years, we have been following the traditional custom of keeping our small in-house Nativity Crib set up in the lounge until the Feast of the Presentation in February. It can be very helpful as an aid and encouragement to prayer; as well as a consolation when all the other Christmas decorations have been removed in the chilled and grey days of January!
Last night, as we were about to begin praying the Rosary in front of our household Crib, Angeline suddenly got up and said: ''Do you mind if I rearrange this a bit? There are too many kings in the way and I can't see Jesus!''
Although this was a momentary distraction, and something which seemed quite ordinary at the time, the deeper aspects of her words dawned on me, whilst we prayed through the Joyful Mysteries as part of the First Saturday devotion.
How true it is that there are many secular ''kings'' who have tried to supplant Jesus in the hearts of the faithful through the ages.
Then again, how sad that even many leaders in the Church are now attempting to dethrone Christ and - forgetting that they were only made Princes of the Church in order to draw others to Him - are trying to replace Him with their own worldly ''kingships'' and faulty ideas.
And again, is it not too often the case that we ourselves prefer other ''kings'' to be lords in our own lives, rather than Jesus Christ the Universal King? None of us can honestly say that we are exempt from such sinful tendencies. Due to our concupiscent nature, we even use good things in selfish ways. How much we rely on God's grace and goodness!
And yet, therein lies the Good News: in spite of all the coldness and unwelcome of our fickle hearts, the Infant King lovingly breaks into our lives and calls us to love Him again in return. We need to remove the false ''kings'' from our hearts; and discern how to rightly order the good ''kings'' that can help us to serve Christ more faithfully.
Here is a traditional little prayer to the Holy Family, which might help us in that regard. It is highly recommended as a daily prayer throughout one's earthly pilgrimage.
Jesus, Mary and St. Joseph, I give Thee my heart and my soul!
Jesus, Mary and St. Joseph, assist me in my last agony!
Jesus, Mary and St. Joseph, may I breathe forth my soul in peace with Thee!
We wish you a Blessed Feast of the Holy Family!
Error Refutes Itself - Fr. Spadaro Demonstrates the Maxim
Torch of The Faith News on Saturday 07 January 2017 - 14:19:07 | by admin
Fr. Antonio Spadaro, a modernistic Jesuit described by observers throughout the world as the ''mouthpiece'' of Pope Francis, has provided a remarkable demonstration of St. Irenaeus' timeless maxim, ''Error Refutes Itself''.
Among his prolific Twitter outputs this week, Spadaro irrationally suggested that, ''Theology is no #Mathematics. 2 + 2 in #Theology can make 5. Because it has to do with #God and real #life of #people...''
As Phil Lawler points out, over at CatholicCulture.Org: ''Fr. Spadaro has an interest in promoting this sort of irrationalism. If you can suspend the ordinary rule of logic by making vague references to ''real life'' and ''people,'' then you can sew up the debate on Amoris Laetitia very neatly.''
Of course, there should be no ''debate'' on Amoris Laetitia, because the document should make clear the timeless objective truth that those living in an objective state of mortal sin are not to receive Holy Communion.
In any case, who wants to waste any time ''debating'' with someone like Spadaro, who cheerily tweets that he and his belief system are irrational and relativistic?
To avoid wandering down such blind alleys with the confused and confusing Antonio, let us instead read, digest and draw fresh life from the clear and logical teaching enunciated with such clarity in the First Vatican Council's description of the relationship between Faith and science.
In Dei Filius 4, we read: ''Though faith is above reason, there can never be any real discrepancy between faith and reason. Since the same God who reveals mysteries and infuses faith has bestowed the light of reason on the human mind, God cannot deny Himself, nor can truth ever contradict truth''.
Now, being reasonable and in accord with logic, that makes perfect sense doesn't it?
Gosh, if Fr. Antonio Spadaro thinks 2+2 can equal 5 - at least in his own little world of ''theology'' - then perhaps his Jesuit superiors best not let him count the money from the Sunday collection plates.
Or even go out alone.
At least, not with the parish cheque book!
Fides et Ratio Introduction: Faith and reason are like two wings on which the human spirit rises to the contemplation of truth; and God has placed in the human heart a desire to know the truth - in a word, to know Himself - so that, by knowing and loving God, men and women may come to the fullness of truth about themselves.
Epiphany Meditation and Prayer by St. Alphonsus de Liguori
Torch of The Faith News on Thursday 05 January 2017 - 21:14:04 | by admin
The Adoration of the Magi
Jesus is born in a poor stable; the angels of Heaven indeed acknowledge Him, but men abandon and forsake Him on earth. Only a few shepherds come and pay Him homage. But our Redeemer was desirous of communicating to us the grace of His redemption, and begins therefore to manifest Himself to the Gentiles, who knew Him least. Therefore He sends a star to enlighten the holy Magi, in order that they may come and acknowledge and adore their Saviour. This was the first and sovereign grace bestowed upon us, - our vocation to the Faith; which was succeeded by our vocation to grace, of which men were deprived.
Behold the wise men, who immediately, without delay, set off upon their journey. The star accompanies them as far as the cavern where the holy Infant lies: on their arrival they enter; and what do they find? They found the child with Mary (Matthew 2:11). They find a poor maiden and a poor Infant wrapped in poor swaddling-clothes, without anyone to attend on Him or assist Him.
But, lo! on entering into the little shed these holy pilgrims feel a joy which they had never felt before; they feel their hearts chained to the dear little Infant which they behold.
The straw, the poverty, the cries of their little Saviour, - oh, what darts of love! oh, what blessed flames are they to their enlightened hearts! The Infant looks upon them with a joyful countenance, and this is the mark of affection with which He accepts them amongst the first-fruits of His redemption.
The holy kings then look at Mary, who does not speak - she remains silent; but with her blessed countenance that breathes the sweetness of paradise she welcomes them, and thanks them for having been the first to come and acknowledge her son (as indeed He is) for their Sovereign Lord. See also how, out of reverence, they adore Him in silence, and acknowledge Him for their God, kissing His feet, and offering Him their gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh. Let us also with the holy Magi adore our little King Jesus, and let us offer Him all our hearts.
Affections and Prayers
O amiable infant! though I see Thee in this cavern lying on straw poor and despised, yet faith teaches me that Thou art my God, Who camest down from Heaven for my salvation.
I acknowledge Thee, then, for my sovereign Lord and Saviour; but I have nothing, alas! to offer Thee.
I have no gold of love, because I have loved creatures; I have loved my own caprices, but I have not loved Thee, O amiable infinite One!
I have not the incense of prayer, because I have lived in a miserable state of forgetfulness of Thee.
I have no myrrh of mortification, for I have often displeased Thy infinite goodness that I might not be deprived of my miserable pleasures.
What then shall I offer Thee? I offer Thee my heart, filthy and poor as it is; do Thou accept it, and change it.
Thou camest into the world for this purpose, to wash the hearts of men from their sins by Thy Blood, and thus change them from sinners into saints. Give me, therefore, I pray Thee, this gold, this incense, and this myrrh.
Give me the gold of Thy holy love; give me the spirit of holy prayer, give me the desire and strength to mortify myself in everything that displeases Thee. I am resolved to obey Thee and to love Thee; but Thou knowest my weakness, oh, give me the grace to be faithful to Thee!
Most holy Virgin, thou who didst welcome with such affection and didst console the holy Magi, do thou welcome and console me also, who come to visit thy Son and come to offer myself to Him. O my Mother, I have great confidence in thy intercession! Do thou recommend me to Jesus. To thee do I entrust my soul and my will; bind it forever to the love of Jesus!
St. Alphonsus de Liguori - Pray for us!
We pray for every grace and blessing to be given to you, our readers, on this holy Feast of the Epiphany of Our Lord.
Some Traditional Latin Masses to Celebrate Epiphany in NW England
Torch of The Faith News on Thursday 05 January 2017 - 17:39:02 | by admin
Although the Bishops' Conference of England and Wales has transferred the celebration of Epiphany to this coming Sunday, there are a number of opportunities for Catholics in the North West of England to follow the Traditional Calendar with a Traditional Latin Mass on Friday, 6th January. Please be aware that the following list may not be exhaustive.
St. Osmund's, Long Lane, Breightmet, Bolton, BL2 6EB.
7:30pm - Low Mass
St. Anthony's, Scotland Road, Liverpool, L5 5BD.
12 Noon - Low Mass
Our Lady's, Southport Road, Lydiate, L31 4HH.
10am - Low Mass Please Note the New Time!
English Martyrs, Alexandra Road South, Whalley Range, Manchester, M16 8QT.
7pm - Low Mass
ICKSP Shrine Church of Ss Peter, Paul and Philomena, 7 Atherton Street, New Brighton, Wirral, CH45 9LT.
N.B. On Thursday 5th of January at 5pm - Traditional Blessing of Epiphany Water before First Vespers of the Epiphany.
Friday 6th January - 7pm - Sung Mass
(Anyone who wishes to have their house blessed with the traditional Epiphany Blessing and blessed chalk is asked to contact the ICKSP Canons in good time for this to be done before 2nd February, 2017).
ICKSP Shrine of St. Walburge, Weston Street, Preston, PR2 2QE.
7pm - Sung Mass
FSSP Shrine Church of St. Mary, Buttermarket Street, Warrington, WA1 2NS.
N.B. The Blessing of Epiphany Water has taken place today (the Vigil of Epiphany) between 11:00-11:20am.
Friday 6th January - Masses at 12:10pm and 7:30pm
We give thanks to God for these good priests and the opportunities they provide for the faithful to attend the Traditional Latin Mass for the great Feast of the Epiphany on its traditional date.
Please Pray to Protect Ireland from the Scourge of Abortion
Torch of The Faith News on Thursday 05 January 2017 - 13:23:28 | by admin
Precious Life has warned that abortion could be legalised in Northern Ireland as early as February 2017, if David Ford's (Alliance Party) abortion bill is passed by the Northern Ireland Assembly.
This Bill began its passage through the Assembly on 6th December, 2016. It aims to permit the killing of babies with life-limiting disabilities, any time during pregnancy, right up to the moment of birth!
Reminding supporters that Jesus taught His disciples that some evils can only be overcome by prayer and fasting (Matthew 17:21), Precious Life's Bernadette Smyth is asking for a massive 'revolution' of prayer and sacrifice.
Basing this initiative on the fact that the battle is not primarily with human beings, but with the spiritual powers of evil (Ephesians 6:13), and that God used 40-day periods to transform individuals, communities and the entire world - from Noah in the Flood, to Moses on the Mountain and on to the Disciples after the Resurrection - Bernadette has called for a special 40-Days for Life pro-life campaign for Ireland.
Commencing a couple of days ago on 3rd January, and lasting until the Feast of Our Lady of Lourdes on Saturday, 11th February, Bernadette asks people all around the world to participate in praying the Prayer to Protect Ireland from the Scourge of Abortion (please see below).
Pro-life supporters everywhere are invited to offer their daily Mass; daily Rosary; daily Divine Mercy chaplet; and/or their daily Holy Hour. Fasting from favourite foods for this intention is also encouraged. So too, is taking part in - or at least praying for - the pro-life Prayer Vigils, which take place outside of Belfast's Marie Stopes Abortion Agency, every Thursday and Friday between 10:00am - 6:00pm (local time).
Readers in Northern Ireland are also encouged to: sign a Petition Postcard to the First Deputy and First Ministers; distribute Campaign Leaflets and Postcards in their local communities; Lobby Assembly members; and make donations to help the Campaign.
Precious Life's courageous Director Bernadette Smyth.
Readers everywhere are encouraged to take part by praying Precious Life's daily campaign prayer.
During the Next 40 Days, Please Pray this Daily Prayer to Protect Ireland from the Scourge of Abortion
Lord Jesus, You are the Divine Physician, and the source of all life and health.
Guide Northern Ireland's politicians at this critical time. Give them the humility to know that they are servants, not masters.
Give them the wisdom to realize that every life has equal value.
Give them the strength to resist the idea that some lives can be sacrificed to save others, or that killing the unborn is a part of health care.
Please give your people the courage to speak up and to hold public officials accountable for their actions.
In the Most Holy Name of Jesus, and through the intercession of the Blessed Virgin Mary, save Ireland from the sin and crime of abortion (say this last paragraph 3 times).
Please do join in the earnest praying of this prayer during each of the 40 days in Bernadette's important pro-life campaign.
Georg Ganswein - Who Art Thou?
Torch of The Faith News on Tuesday 03 January 2017 - 13:28:41 | by admin
Lake Cadore, 2007: Perhaps in those days nothing said ''New Evangelization'' more clearly to excitable young Catholics than the sight of Pope Benedict XVI and Archbishop Georg Ganswein, determinedly praying the Rosary, with Terminator shades, combat pants and hiking shoes. The look of ''cool orthodoxy'' was mimicked by plenty of young priests in sunglasses and cassocks, as well as young adults in ''X-treme Papa'' t-shirts. Ah, but a great deal has happened to make us all grow up a lot since then...
On Monday, the Vox Cantoris blog asked some important questions regarding the ''climate of fear'' in the revolutionary Vatican of Francis. This set me on the whole train of thought which follows...
There was a time when young Catholics used to look to figures like Archbishop Ganswein as models of orthodoxy and evangelization for a new generation. After all, it seemed that he had to be a bit special to have been made an archbishop at such a young age; and to have been picked by Pope Benedict XVI as his very own right-hand man.
And when the aging Benedict's health started to fail him, it was so often consoling to see the smiling Ganswein guiding the frail pontiff by the arm like some devoted, favourite son.
Even when Benedict ''retired'' to pray in his newly ''cloistered'' life in the Vatican enclosure, Ganswein cheerily appeared from time to time to keep the world up to date on all things Benedict.
In sickness and in health: Georg Ganswein always seemed to be there at just the right time.
Articulate, intelligent and dashing, Archbishop Ganswein gave engaging media interviews that seemed to reach out with the Faith to young people and to the interests and concerns of contemporary society.
For me at least, the wheels of that particular bandwagon fell off on Pentecost Sunday 2014. When Pope Francis invited leaders of different religions to ''pray together for world peace'' in the Vatican Gardens, I was bemused by Archbishop Ganswein's actions. I just could not understand how any man, let alone an archbishop with a reputation for orthodoxy, could go along so merrily with something which the Catholic Faith actually forbids.
And yet, as the live television footage showed, there was Archbishop Ganswein grinning and fawning over each of the guests as they arrived.
I was beyond scandalized that day.
The whole thing seemed to be the very antithesis of the real Pentecost; wherein the Holy Ghost brings unity to all peoples in and through the One, True, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church, which was founded by Our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.
Indeed, although the sun was shining in Rome - and it was baking down here in England too - I had a strange experience of the sky going spiritually black and much evil being unleashed on the earth on that day.
I also decided to keep a much closer eye on Archbishop Georg Ganswein whenever he appeared at papal events in the future. It began to seem strange to me that he could be such a close assistant to both Pope Benedict XVI and to Pope Francis.
Even the greatest of pontiffs have tended to replace the very best of papal advisors with their own men upon ascending the Throne of Peter. In part, it is just a normal aspect of human nature.
And yet, as Francis' Prefect of the Papal Household and Benedict's Private Secretary, Archbishop Ganswein is the man who continues to spend so much time praying with and closely assisting Benedict, whilst also remaining very closely associated with Francis. Given that Francis is pulling such revolutionary u-turns from several of Benedict's key policies, to say nothing of 2,000 years of Sacred Scripture and Tradition, it does seem odd that no-one has yet wondered about a conflict of interests.
The ''Two Popes'' Hypothesis
Perhaps none of this would seem so strange, if it had not been for Archbishop Ganswein's bizarre speech to the Pontifical Gregorian University in May 2016.
In the same period that Pope Francis' Holy See Press Office suddenly released a statement, purporting to be from Pope Benedict, to deny 1 Peter 5's claims about Fr. Ingo Dollinger and the Third Secret of Fatima - a denial made more unusual by the speed of its release, its failure to express itself in a way that sounded like Benedict himself, and by the lack of Benedict's own signature - Archbishop Ganswein confused the world by seeming to suggest that the papacy was now some kind of diarchy.
As translations from Rorate Caeli demonstrated at the time, Archbishop Ganswein had suggested to attendees, at the Pontifical Gregorian University, that Pope Benedict had ''profoundly and lastingly'' transformed the papacy in February 2013.
His Grace also acknowledged that the Conclave of 2005 had been the ''outcome of a battle'' between the Ratzingerians and the so-called ''St. Gallen group''. He even suggested that this struggle was the background to understanding Benedict's famous ''Dictatorship of Relativism'' homily, as Dean of the College of Cardinals.
But the most startling of ''revelations'' made by Ganswein that day in Rome, was his claim that Pope Benedict had not abandoned his papal ministry. Instead, he suggested that Benedict had built a personal office with a collegial and synodal dimension, almost a communal ministry, as if he had wanted to reiterate once again the invitation contained in his motto of co-workers with the truth. In the next section of his speech, Ganswein even went so far as to contend that there are not two popes but de facto an expanded ministry, with an active member and a contemplative member.
As we responded last May, this is completely illogical.
Just as disturbing was Ganswein's oddly relativistic summary of different viewpoints that have emerged since February 2013. He stated: ''So it is not surprising... that some have seen it as revolutionary, or otherwise as entirely consistent with the Gospel, while still others see in this way a secularized papacy as never before, and thus more collegial and functional, or even simply more humane and less sacred. And still others are of the opinion that Benedict XVI, with this step, has almost - speaking in theological and historical-critical terms - demythologized the papacy.''
The irony in Ganswein's weirdly convoluted discussion, is that he seemed to legitimate the claims of the likes of Fr. Paul Kramer and Antonio Socci regarding the invalidity of Benedict's abdication. After all, Our Lord founded the Church on St. Peter and his successors; there simply cannot be two popes validly reigning at one time. The papacy can be a monarchy, but never a diarchy.
What can be said of the Catholicism of a man who believes, thinks and speaks in this manner?
What's with the Hand-Signs Georg?
This will be the third time that I have drawn attention to something which has likely already lost me credibility with a number of folks. So be it, the truth needs to be studied.
Many of us were deeply disturbed by the highly choreographed event that marked Pope Benedict's 65th anniversary of priesthood during the summer of 2016. Catholics around the globe were confused when they could not reconcile the medicated-looking Pope Benedict's touchy-feely speech to Francis, with the deeply rational and nuanced articulation that had always typified his actions, speeches and copious writings before.
Not only that, but his famous request for Catholics to pray for him that he would not flee for fear of the wolves took on a distinctly creepy quality, when he said to Francis: ''Thank you Holy Father - your goodness - from the first day of your election, every day of my life here moves me interiorly, brings me inwardly more than the Vatican Gardens... Your goodness is the place in which I live and where I feel protected''.
Frankly, that un-Ratzingerian squishyness and philosophical improbability - ''your goodness is the place''??? - raises the question: from whom, or even what, does the Emeritus feel protected? And why does he need protecting?
Anyway, where I perhaps skated onto thinner ice was my request for readers to view the footage of those 65th celebrations. At the 35:20 mark, at the very moment that the camera focuses on him, Archbishop Ganswein is seen looking intently at the speaking Benedict, whilst also perfecting the kind of Diamond hand-sign so favoured by elites in the world of global government, international banking and world-wide pop-culture.
Careful observation in slow-motion - and this has been confirmed by two people in different countries - reveals that Ganswein moves his head forward a little at a time, whilst always looking right into Benedict's face. He appears to be trying to attract Benedict's attention; or else to subtly communicate something to him.
At that point, Benedict actually closes his eyes, whilst simultaneously making the Diamond hand-sign himself.
As soon as Ganswein sees this hand-sign being formed by Benedict, he visibly relaxes, drops the hand-sign himself and adjusts his stole slightly.
Francis is then shown clasping his own hands. At the very moment that Francis appears to be forming his own hands into a Diamond, the camera moves off and a close-up image of Benedict making the Diamond hand-sign fills the screen. Thus a subliminal link between the hands of Benedict and Francis could be said to have been established.
These events, including the camera work, are highly choreographed. If one watches Archbishop Ganswein at work, through video footage, it becomes clear that he is a very efficient and focused ''M.C.'' at papal events.
This continues with Pope Francis. For example, moments before Francis scandalized Catholics everywhere - on the 13th October anniversary of Our Lady of Fatima - by receiving a giant bound-copy of Luther's 93 theses, Ganswein can again be seen on film momentarily making the Diamond hand-sign toward those making the presentation.
As these things are so clearly ''hidden in plain sight'', it would be interesting to learn what exactly is being conveyed by them. Especially since a pontiff receiving the anti-Catholic theses of an arch-heresiarch is both heretical and scandalous.
Is Georg's Religion Fideism Rather than Catholicism?
Two bishops dressed in white: an unusual picture in the entire 2,000 year history of the Catholic Church. Closer inspection reveals the face of Archbishop Georg Ganswein grinning on from behind the scenes (at left).
I do not recommend readers to consult NovusOrdoWatch, due to that group's hardline sedevacantism. Nevertheless, they have done a service by providing a translation of an interview with Archbishop Ganswein that was released - amazingly on Christmas Day! - by the Austrian ORF channel.
At the very end of that interview - just as you may have been lulled to sleep by the mundanity of the rest of the interview settling on your Christmas turkey and mulled wine - Ganswein appears to deny the basic principle that the existence of God can be known by natural reason alone.
As the First Vatican Council magisterially affirmed in the Dogmatic Constitution Dei Filius: the existence of God can be known through natural reason. Whilst to know Who God is, as the Most Holy Trinity, we require the grace of Divine Revelation. And so, faith and reason go together. This is a bedrock of the Faith that we often imparted in the days that we were involved in the formation of lay catechists around England.
It is so foundational that the First Vatican Council went so far as to declare anathama sit! on any who deny the capacity of natural reason to discover the existence of God.
And yet, in contradiction to the First Vatican Council, the teaching of Pope St. Pius X in Pascendi, Bl. Pope Pius IX's approved decree in the Sacred Congregation of the Index, and St. Thomas Aquinas' 5 Proofs for the Existence of God, Archbishop Ganswein's Christmas interview appears to promote the heresy of Fideism.
For, if the translation is accurate, he suggests that: ''There is neither proof that God exists, nor proof that God does not exist. Faith does not operate based on rational proof.''
Although the archbishop does go on to talk about the importance of witness, I am sure you will agree, his is a strange message for such a high-ranking prelate to be spreading abroad as the Church celebrates the Incarnation, Birth and Infancy of Jesus on Christmas Day!
The report of his words sounds a lot more akin to the heresy of Fideism, than to anything close to orthodox Catholicism.
Who are You Georg?
Last night, we read Dr. Maike Hickson's article at 1 Peter 5, regarding Pope Francis' seemingly heavy-handed intervention to rid the CDF of three good and faithful priests on the staff. Men who, in two cases at least, appear to have been reported by someone for speaking too loudly against Francis' revolution...
This seems to be all of a piece with Francis' third harsh Christmas address in as many years to the Curia; and his radical re-staffing and re-structuring of the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Academy for Life.
As various commentators have observed, it seems that good and orthodox men in Rome not only live in fear now, but also face dismissal for remaining too visibly faithful to the True Faith.
Given that scenario, it does invite the question as to what kind of men find promotion in the days of Francis?
Well, we already have our answer when it is remembered that faithful men like Cardinal Burke are sidelined, or undercut like Cardinal Robert Sarah, whilst sacrilege-enabling figures like Blase Cupich, Joseph Tobin, Kevin Farrell and Jozef De Kesel are raised to the cardinalate by Francis...
To caricature Socrates' final days in prison, if it has become a crime to tell the truth, then why are you not in prison? In the same way, if good men get the boot in Francis' Vatican, then what does it mean to still be near to the top?
Archbishop Ganswein has publicly done a number of questionable things in terms of Catholic orthodoxy.
As this article has demonstrated, he has: promoted a heretical-sounding concept of the papacy; spoken breezily of a secularized and ''demythologized'' papacy; acknowledged the existence of a St. Gallen group that was against Benedict (and yet with whom Ganswein now seems quite content to work closely with); taken part with Francis in the reception of Luther's heretical 93 theses; been seen to make unusual hand-gestures at key moments during choreographed meetings with Benedict and Francis; seemingly uttered the heresy of Fideism during a Christmas interview.
I don't ever remember Archbishop Ganswein behaving in this manner when his close friend Benedict XVI was Pope.
At the same time, he has remained smilingly silent in the face of the grave problems surrounding Amoris Laetitia, the papal silence regarding the Dubia, the elevation of, let us say, ''problematic'' men to the cardinalate, and the persecution and sidelining of orthodox men.
Last night, the Canadian Vox Cantoris blog asked: ''How does someone like Archbishop Ganswein remain in the service of Francis to witness directly the destruction of the papacies of John Paul II and Benedict XVI? Is Ganswein a ''double-agent''? Is he Benedict's keeper in his monastic prison only to be let out for a circus now and then?''
Under the circumstances, these seem legitimate questions to be asking.
Given that orthodox men seem to be no longer welcome in Rome, faithful Catholics everywhere must ask of Georg Ganswein: What is your religion? Who do you serve? Why do you remain so popular with Francis when so many orthodox men are toppled or live in fear? Why are you not speaking out to defend Catholic orthodoxy?
In sum: Who are you, Georg Ganswein?
St. George - Pray for us!
Feast of The Most Holy Name of Jesus
Torch of The Faith News on Monday 02 January 2017 - 15:41:44 | by admin
St. Bernardine of Siena (1380-1444) painted a wooden tablet with the Monogram of the Holy Name of Jesus - ''IHS'' - surrounded by the rays of the sun, to help spread the devotion far and wide. In the centuries that followed, it became common to see similar representations of this Monogram depicted in sacred art, architecture, vessels and vestments. With a cross mounted above the central letter ''H'', this eventually became the emblem of the Jesuits.
The Traditional Calendar today celebrates the Feast of the Most Holy Name of Jesus. From the earliest days of the Church, Catholics have reverenced, and even prayed, the Holy Name of Jesus as a foundational devotion.
The closer one draws to Our Lord, the more one loves His beautiful and holy Name. This is more true than even the love one has for a spouse, because the Name of Jesus bears and expresses infinite depth. In the presence of this Name, we wish to become consumed by the eternal One, Who bears It.
St. Paul proclaimed: ''For which cause God also hath exalted Him, and hath given Him a name which is above all names: That in the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of those that are in heaven, on earth, and under the earth: and that every tongue should confess that the Lord Jesus Christ is in the glory of God the Father'' (Philippians 2:9-11).
Again, in Acts 4:12, we read: ''Neither is there salvation in any other. For there is no other name under heaven given to men, whereby we must be saved.''
The very name of Jesus expresses to us the infinite mystery of the Second Person of the Blessed Trinity. For that reason, the Catechism of the Catholic Church reminds us that the ''invocation of the Holy Name of Jesus is the simplest way of praying always'' (CCC 2668). Praying the Holy Name of Jesus was an indulgenced prayer for long periods of Church history. If ever one finds it hard to pray, or even if one is blessed with the desire to pray, it is a good practice to simply repeat the Holy Name with as much devotion as one can muster.
When I first became a Catholic in 1993, I noticed that there were a number of older Catholics in the parish who gently bowed their heads whenever the Holy Name of Jesus was mentioned during Holy Mass.
As the years went by, this practice became less common until Angie and I began to attend only the Traditional Latin Mass several years ago. In the Traditional Latin Mass, most people - in all ages of the congregation - continue this time-honoured practice.
I say time-honoured, because the 2nd Council of Lyons, held at the behest of Pope Gregory X in 1274 A.D., formally wrote the custom of bowing the head at the name of Jesus into the law of the Church.
That sacred Council ordered: ''Those who assemble in church should extol with an act of special reverence that Name which is above every name, than which no other under Heaven has been given to men, in which believers must be saved, the Name, that is, of Jesus Christ, Who will save His people from their sins. Each should fulfil in himself that which is written for all, that at the Name of Jesus every knee should bow; whenever that glorious Name is recalled, especially during the Sacred Mysteries of the Mass, everyone should bow the knees of his heart, which he can do even by a bow of his head.''
I actually owe my own practice of bowing my head at the mention of the Holy Name of Jesus to a small Irish boy that was interviewed on BBC's Songs of Praise programme sometime around 20 years ago.
I had, at that time, been a Catholic for just a couple of years and, as mentioned above, was aware that a few older Catholics were bowing their heads during Holy Mass. When this boy was speaking, very naturally, about his love for Jesus during this TV-show, he bowed his head in a manner that was as touching as it was natural. It was evident that this was so much part of the lad's daily practice that it was completely second nature to him.
From that day forward, I endeavoured to bow my own head whenever the Holy Name was mentioned in homilies and so forth during Mass.
As with any pious practices that are embraced as much by the heart as the limbs, this gradually became second nature to me also; both during the Sacred Liturgy and at other times when I hear the Most Holy Name being mentioned outside of Mass. Even when I say the Holy Name out loud myself, I generally bow the head gently. It is a consoling practice that has become something almost unnoticed by myself; and yet to omit it would register in my soul with a sense of discomfort. Thus, when I speak of the practice becoming unnoticed as second nature, this is not the same as to speak of it as unwilled. Rather, its practice makes it become so much part of the will that, eventually, it no longer requires conscious effort.
A good Catholic lady recently expressed her sadness to me that so few Catholics today bow their heads when the Lord's Name is spoken during Mass. That lady is right: we should be concerned about the loss of this practice and all that it signifies. Perhaps one aspect of this loss is down to that widespread collapse in orthodox catechesis that has sadly typified the last five decades in the Church. There are many well-intentioned younger Catholics who have never even heard of, much less encountered, this pious practice.
And yet it is worth noting that this practice is even pointed out in the latest General Instruction on the Roman Missal (GIRM). This explicitly teaches: ''A bow signifies reverence and honour shown to the persons themselves or the signs that represent them. There are two kinds of bows: a bow of the head and a bow of the body...A bow of the head is made when the three Divine Persons are named together and at the names of Jesus, of the Blessed Virgin Mary, and of the Saint in whose honour Mass is being celebrated'' (GIRM 275).
Going forward there are several practical things that we can all do to assist the recovery of this practice in order to deepen the honour given to the Most Holy Name of Jesus: praying the Holy Name over and over ourselves at some point each day with loving devotion; cultivating the practice of reverently bowing our own heads until this becomes second nature to us; passing this information on through sermons, newsletters, blogs, catechetical sessions and conversations with others; deciding to tell our own friends about it in celebration of this feast.
Let us conclude with the Offertory prayer from today's Traditional Latin Mass and Psalm 85: I will praise Thee, O Lord my God, with my whole heart, and I will glorify Thy Name forever; for Thou, O Lord, art sweet and mild, and plenteous in mercy to all that call upon Thee. Alleluia.
Anno Domini 2017 - Restore All Things in Christ!
Torch of The Faith News on Sunday 01 January 2017 - 10:53:02 | by admin
Instaurare Omnia in Christo
Let us begin this New Year of 2017 in Christ, with Christ and for Christ. We have been reflecting this morning on St. Paul's call to ''restore all things in Christ'' (Ephesians 1:10). It was an ideal that Pope St. Pius X so clearly made his own during the days of his great pontificate. Let us make it our own motto for the new year that is now opening out to us like a grand vista of opportunity.
On this day each year, we also recall those important words in the Catechism of the Catholic Church, which remind us that, ''Jesus Christ is the Lord of the cosmos and of history. In Him, human history and indeed all creation are 'set forth' and transcendently fulfilled'' (CCC 668).
As we recall each year on this day, it is well worth posting those words up somewhere in one's home to provide a daily reminder of this good news for the times when things get particularly tough.
Today is the Octave Day of Christmas, upon which the Traditional Calendar honours the Circumcision of Our Lord. From ancient times, the Church already celebrated certain aspects of the Nativity on this day: It marks a special day of devotion to the Blessed Virgin Mary, in honour of Her Motherhood; it also celebrates the anniversary of the Circumcision, when the divine Infant submitted to the rite which demonstrated the reality of His human nature, and shed His blood for the first time; thirdly, it was also the Name-day of Our Lord, when He was called Jesus, the Name told by the Angel at the Annunciation.
We wish all of our readers a Happy and Holy 2017!
As we embark on the adventure of 2017, we wish all of our readers, new and old, every blessing in Jesus Christ and in Mary, the great Mother of God. May this be a year in which we all receive many graces and blessings, experience a deeper conversion to Christ and grow towards holiness and true charity.
With love to you all from Alan, Angeline and Alan's mum Doreen xxx.
Thank you so much for your readership and prayers. Happy New Year!
2016: Amoris Laetitia et Annus Horribilis
Torch of The Faith News on Saturday 31 December 2016 - 21:13:35 | by admin
8 April, 2016: Cardinals Baldisseri and Schonborn ''selling'' Amoris Laetitia to the world's media with a smile. I don't know about you but, after the way they've been behaving, I wouldn't even buy a used car from these two relativistic princes.
In recent times, our annual New Year's Eve articles have included some commentary and reflection on a number of apocalyptic events that had occurred during the previous twelve months; together with a positive and urgent call to repentance and a sincere living-out of the Fatima message.
There is no doubt that the year ''2016'' has been forever pummelled into the very souls of orthodox Catholics by the release of Amoris Laetitia and all that has followed in its wake. In so many ways, it has caused 2016 to be an annus horribilis for the Church.
Perhaps there is no need to rehearse all of that again this evening.
Suffice it to say that, as the secular world dizzily prepares to celebrate the start of another New Year, the Church teeters at the very brink of a metaphorical, and in some sense a metaphysical, precipice.
Whatever seeming cracks may be appearing in the logistical movements of the 4 cardinals, those Dubia need answering; and they are not going to go away.
We will personally remember 2016 as a year marked by cracks and divisions.
Whilst there is a sense in which there was a world before Amoris Laetitia and a world after it, it is more truly the case that this diabolical saga has not so much sundered those two worlds, as it has further opened the dreadful splits that have already been opening up, between orthodox Catholicism and dressed-up heresy, for at least five decades.
In one way, it is good to see such splits finally being acknowledged. At least now they are undeniable; and can no longer be covered up by a seemingly ''open'' conservatism.
When St. Irenaeus of Lyons wrote his powerful treatise Adversus Haereses against the heresies of Gnosticism, around the year 180 AD, the lines of demarcation were at once made very clear. Everyone knew exactly where they stood, or else needed to stand.
On the other hand, the more painful splits this year have been felt when some orthodox priests and people, even those who share our serious concerns about Amoris Laetitia, have sought to distance themselves from us in order to protect themselves.
It seems that, in the year 2016, we have become too outspoken even for some of the orthodox who we support, and who formerly supported us...
The very fact that such people feel the need to be protected says everything that one needs to know about the present regime; which is so clearly undermining orthodoxy, and the orthodox, everywhere.
At times like this, I often think of Benjamin Franklin's line, ''we must all hang together, or most assuredly we will all hang seperately.''
Another kind of crack caught the world's attention for a brief moment on 30th October when - just one day before Pope Francis headed off to Lund to ''commemorate'' the arch-heresiarch Martin Luther - the ancient Basilica at Norcia, and many other ancient churches and homes in the town and surrounding area, were devastated by a very powerful earthquake.
A 'quake that was so strong that people in Rome not only felt it, but fled their beds in fear for their lives...
One of the most remarkable happenings this year, and one which well expresses the gravity of these times in which all sense of sin has been lost, was the fact that the respected theologian, Fr. Giovanni Cavalcoli OP, was suspended from Radio Maria and rebuked by Pope Francis' assistant Secretary of State, Archbishop Angelo Becciu.
Fr. Cavalcoli's only ''offence'' was to have suggested, in perfect continuity with centuries of Church teaching, that the devastating earthquakes could be understood as, ''divine punishment for the offence to the family and the dignity of marriage, in particular through (homosexual) civil partnerships.''
Fr. Giovanni Cavalcoli OP: He imparted Catholic teaching and suffered rebuke and suspension for doing so...
It will be remembered that Italy had only passed a new law approving homosexual civil partnerships on 23rd July this year. The first earthquake struck Norcia one month later on 24th August. This turned out to be only a most unusual ''fore-shock'' to the massive quake that shook Norcia, and all of Italy, on 30th October.
Archbishop Angelo Beccui publicly demonstrated his own lack of knowledge of Catholic doctrine when he claimed that Fr. Cavalcoli's words were not in accordance with the Gospel or the theology of the Church, that they offended believers and scandalized non-believers, and that they were somehow contrary to the ''vision of God offered to us by Christ''.
Fr. Cavalcoli, may God bless him, responded forcefully: ''I reaffirm everything... From a theological point of view, these disasters are the result of Original Sin... We are in the presence of a divine punishment for the sins of man... and two men together represent a sin against nature... Earthquakes are provoked by the sins of men, such as civil unions. Read the Catechism. I have been a doctor of theology for 30 years... and I repeat that sins like homosexuality deserve divine retribution, which can be manifested in earthquakes.''
It's funny, but I remember the days when I was still a Protestant looking into Catholicism, and thinking that the Catholic Church's teaching as regards disasters, and their relationship to temporal punishment for sin, actually made more sense of the universe and the possibility of belief in the presence of a loving God.
Without an understanding of the Fall, Sin and Redemption, in a universe where God brings forth a greater good from the evils that we have really brought on ourselves, then all one is left with is a meaningless nihilistic void that is fraught with fearful and overwhelming disasters.
How is any of that more comforting than the Catholic conception and invitation to trust in Divine Providence?
One of the most striking aspects of this whole affair, which most of the media also overlooked, was the response Fr. Cavalcoli gave about the Vatican in the days of Francis, when he was finally suspended from Radio Maria.
Pointing to Masonic infiltration in the Vatican, Fr. Cavalcoli reflected: ''I worked there but today I bitterly see how everything has changed... Satan has entered the Church for some time and into the Vatican itself.''
Asked if he would apologise for his words, Fr. Cavalcoli replied: ''I don't think so and I confirm everything I said. If any apology should be made, it should be to Catholics for the re-evaluation of Luther and the confusion this has created.''
Listen those who have ears to hear: The Basilica of St. Paul Outside-the-Walls has long been used as a centre for ecumenism. On the day before Pope Francis' visit to ''commemorate'' the heretic Martin Luther in Lund, this ancient church was physically split by the same earthquake which devastated Norcia.
The visit of Francis to ''commemorate'' the arch-heresiarch Luther was itself an apocalyptic event of unprecedented magnitute. So too, was the fact that Francis stood alongside an effigy of the same heretic, before a large audience of Lutherans, on the very anniversary of Our Lady of Fatima's apparition and publicly witnessed Miracle of the Sun.
In a sense this brings us full circle.
2017 will mark the 100th anniversary of the apocalyptic events at Fatima, the 500th anniversary of the heretical Lutheran revolt and the 300th anniversary of the emergence of Freemasonry...
We conclude this New Year's Eve reflection by again calling readers to place all of their hope in Our Lord and Our Lady; and to live the Fatima message by practicing the First Saturdays Devotion every month in 2017. Only with Jesus and Our Lady can be victory be assured.
We are undoubtedly living through extremely tough times for the Church and for orthodox Catholics. Nevertheless, let us go forward in hope with the words we highlighted this time last year from 1 Peter 1:6-7: Wherein you shall greatly rejoice, if now you must for a little time be made sorrowful in diverse temptations: That the trial of your faith (much more precious than gold which is tried by fire) may be found unto praise and glory and honour at the revelation of Jesus Christ: Whom having not seen, you love: in Whom also now, though you see Him not, you believe: and believing shall rejoice with joy unspeakable and glorified; receiving the end of your faith, even the salvation of your souls.
As 2016 draws to a close, let us pray for one another to Keep the Faith!
Our Lady of Fatima - Pray for us!
Christmas Evangelization from the Domestic Church
Torch of The Faith News on Friday 30 December 2016 - 14:22:27 | by admin
'Twas the night before Christmas: Angeline completing the finishing touches to our window crib-scene just before Christmas Eve.
The various feasts and seasons of the Liturgical Calendar provide many splendid opportunities for evangelization to shine out from the domestic church. Such opportunities become ever more important as atheistic secularization continues apace in the wider society.
As I've noted before, my late father Ken used to make special posters to hang in the windows at Advent, Christmas, Lent and Easter; as well as sending out religious cards to friends and neighbours with a brief Christian message, and the times of confessions and Masses at local churches, listed inside them.
Throughout the year, he also had a 10-inch tall Crucifix in the front window, which was replaced by a lovingly created Nativity scene each Christmas.
This Nativity was particularly notable because, except for the grounds and interiors of churches, it is very rare to see Christmas Nativity scenes in England these days. There may be plenty of houses adorned with illuminated Santas, reindeer and snowmen, but there are not so many featuring representations of the Holy Family.
In fact, due to their scarcity in British shops, Dad had to make his own using statues of Our Lady of Lourdes, St. Joseph the Worker and a plastic baby laid in a potpourri basket!
Perhaps it was just a Steubenville thing, but when Angie and I spent two years in America, it was wonderful for us to see Christmas Crib sets lit-up on the porches, window ledges and lawns of so many homes at this time of year.
I managed to pick up a Nativity set, at a garage sale in Ohio, during our first semester for just 50 cents. We were then able to set it up on the snow-covered veranda of our apartment during the holy season.
Although it cost us many times that to have the set boxed and shipped back to England two years later - and though it took four weeks longer than we did to come home across the Atlantic! - we've always considered that it was well worth the outlay and hassle.
Yet in thy dark streets shineth the everlasting Light. The hopes and fears of all the years are met in thee tonight.
With a drape of deep blue fabric to represent the night sky, a Christmas tree decoration doubling as the Star of Bethlehem, and a set of warm-white Christmas lights to add a bit of twinkle, we pray that our Nativity set helps to keep the light of Christ shining locally each Christmas.
Above a glowing candle-arch in the front living-room window, we have also erected Dad's last-made Christmas poster; complete with its Nativity icon, silvery background and multi-coloured reminder that God Became Man to Save Us.
The other front windows include his embossed Nativity window-hanging, which Angeline refreshed last Christmas with a new piece of red and gold tinsel, to keep Dad's legacy of Christian witness fresh for another few years.
The final window features the Keep Christ in Christmas poster that we first picked up last year. May God bless Province 21 (Burnley) of the Knights of St. Columba, who were again distributing similar posters to parishes around Lancashire in the weeks prior to Christmas.
Familiaris Consortio teaches: ''As a sharer in the mission and life of the Church, which listens to the Word of God with reverence and proclaims it confidently, the Christian family fulfills its prophetic role by welcoming and announcing the Word of God: it thus becomes more and more each day a believing and evangelizing community'' (FC 51).
There are many ways by which the domestic church can act an an engine of Catholic witness and evangelization in its own locality. These are some of the ways that we have inherited and developed; and which we joyfully continue through the various seasons of the Liturgical Calendar. We find them helpful in passing on traditions of faith and family in the home and hopefully beyond.
As the celebrations of the Octave of Christmas continue today, we pray that God will give us all the grace to Keep Christ in Christmas!