Suffer Little Children - The Betrayal of Catholic Families

Torch of The Faith News on Thursday 02 March 2017 - 16:26:24 | by admin



Two shocking things happened in the UK on, of all days, Ash Wednesday.

Firstly, the BBC reported the government's decision to make ''relationships and sex education'' (RSE) compulsory in all schools in England for four year olds and upwards.

Then, on the very same day, Archbishop Malcolm McMahon, in his capacity as Chairman of the Catholic Education Service (CES), issued a warm and breezy press release to officially welcome this news on behalf of the Catholic Church in England and Wales!

For those Catholics who were watching closely enough, this recalled the grim days of 2009, when the CES was working very closely indeed with the, then, Labour Government to bring in a radical model of sex-education; against the wishes of thousands of parents, priests and teachers who signed a petition to resist it.

We must have reached a new religious and societal low when we hear of a Catholic archbishop giving a warm welcome to compulsory ''relationships and sex-education'' for young minors. That fact is made even more serious by the seeming silence from all the other UK bishops and most of the faithful.

It must be said that His Grace's approach certainly represents a radical departure from the orthodox teaching of the Catholic Church: as it is found so clearly and unambiguously presented in Magisterial documents such as Gravissimum Educationis, Divini illius magistri and Familiaris consortio (FC); as well as the careful guidelines set forth in the Pontifical Council for the Family's, The Truth and Meaning of Human Sexuality (TMHS).

It would appear that Archbishop McMahon's cheerful acceptance of this dire news is gravely wrong on a number of levels.

In the first instance, the Church has consistently, and strongly, affirmed that parents are the primary educators of their own children. They have inviolable rights in this regard. Indeed, as both FC 36 and TMHS 41 confirm, the right and duty of parents to educate their own children is, ''irreplaceable and inalienable, and therefore incapable of being entirely delegated to others or usurped by others.''

Related to this is the important law of subsidiarity.

As TMHS 23 acknowledges: ''This implies the legitimacy and indeed the need of giving assistance to the parents, but finds its intrinsic and absolute limit in their prevailing right and their actual capabilities. The principle of subsidiarity is thus at the service of parental love, meeting the good of the family unit.''

So fundamental is the law of subsidiarity, that FC 36 and TMHS 43 insist that schools are bound to observe it in relation to sex-education.
An essential thread which runs through all the Magisterial teaching in this area, is the fact that each child is unique and develops at his or her own rate.

Furthermore, due to Original Sin and Concupiscence, matters of education in human sexuality should be dealt with in a chaste manner, aiming at education in mature love and morality, within the privacy of the family.

Divini illius magistri deals with this by providing a clear warning that even parental education in chastity needs great delicacy to avoid unwittingly stirring or kindling the heart of the child to an undue interest in sexual matters. As TMHS 41 concludes: ''No one is capable of giving moral education in this delicate area better than duly prepared parents.''

Another essential issue which particularly relates to this latest news is the fact that FC 37 and TMHS 78 both describe the ages from ''about 5 to puberty'' as the ''years of innocence''. Furthermore: ''This period of tranquility and serenity must never be disturbed by unneccesary information about sex''.

I can foresee two areas where some will attempt to defend Archbishop McMahon, and even the British Government itself.

Firstly, they have both spoken about the right of parents to withdraw their children from lessons they are not happy with.

Notice, however, what Archbishop McMahon does, in terms of giving with one hand whilst taking away with the other, in his official CES press release. He states: ''We additionally welcome the Government's commitment to protect parental right of withdrawal and involve parents in all stages of the development and delivery of SRE in all schools. It is essential that parents fully support the school's approach to these sensitive matters. The experience of Catholic schools is that parental involvement is the basis for providing consistent and high quality RSE at home and at school.''

Incidentally, one of our good friends tried to pull her daughters out of inappropriate classes in her local ''Catholic'' primary school. She came under enormous pressure from the headteacher; who claimed that she could be reported to the local authority for removing her children, because the bishops had already given their approval. Even when schools are more co-operative with parents in allowing students to withdraw from classes, this causes the children involved immense psychological and social pressure from their peer group. Instead of being allowed to just enjoy being a kid, they find themselves at the centre of attention over a sensitive issue. This in itself can have long-term impacts on their development. 

Actually, this also relates to the second defence that I can foresee some people making of the Archbishop.

They might suggest that the ''relationships-education'' in primary school will not be actual ''sex-education'' until secondary school.

However, this presupposes that it is alright to give such education in the context of a group setting; where both boys and girls of mixed maturity and faith background will be taught by an adult who is not their parent. As we have seen above, this contradicts the Church's time-honoured teaching.

Then again, it is well known that the great majority of high schools, even those under the auspices of the CES, are allowing in school nurses who give out contraceptives and abortifacients, such as the so-called ''morning-after-pill''. Again, such schools are imparting graphic sex-education and permitting the spread of LGBT ideology. How will the newly compulsory ''relationships'' education in primary schools be anything other than a preparation for all of that?

This has a particular resonance in Archbishop McMahon's own Archdiocese of Liverpool. Indeed, the following case demonstrates the problems that even primary schools will face now that ''relationships and sex-education'' is to become compulsory in all of England's schools.

Regular readers will recall the disturbing case from Sacred Heart Primary School in Atherton, which we reported on extensively in March 2016.
Whilst over 2,000 of the faithful signed an on-line Citizen-Go petition to complain against her actions, Archbishop McMahon and school chaplain Fr. Paul Seddon maintained a strange silence in the wake of news that Ms. Carrie Morrow, Headteacher of Sacred Heart Primary School in Atherton, had been promoting LGBT ideology to the young primary-aged children in her care.

This included: allowing an adult drama group to perform a play about two princes who ''fall in love'' with each other; giving a lesson on when ''gay'' is an acceptable word; getting the children to design logos for the local Wigan ''Gay Pride'' march; and encouraging them to write creative reflections about being ''proud'' of who you are and supporting friends who ''come out'' as ''gay''.

In terms of parental rights, local parents only found out about this abuse after the event.

Whilst one parent, Mr. Julian Marsh, received a visit from local police responding to complaints of ''hate crime'' after he had posted his strong reactions on social media, Ms. Morrow was instead awarded a ''Rainbow Flag'' award from the LGBT Proud Trust.

This large flag was duly posted alongside the young childrens' artwork, some of which appeared to depict same-sex pairings, prior to being featured with the teacher and her young class in a photograph and article in the local Wigan Today newspaper. 

As far as I know, neither the parental complaints nor the Citizen-Go petition were ever dealt with by Archbishop McMahon. Certainly, the scandal that had been given was left to linger.  

This is all of a piece with Archbishop McMahon's appointment of the former MP Mr. Greg Pope to a highly-paid leadership role in the CES; even though this man had a parliamentary track record of voting in an anti-life and anti-family manner; and had signed parliamentary motions in support of international and domestic abortion providers, and in praise of condom manufacturers who had helped with ''National Condom Week'' in UK schools...

We heartily agree with Antonia Tully of SPUC's Safe at School team, when she writes about this handover of the nation's Catholic primary school children: ''Parents will be absolutely powerless to protect their children from presentations of sexual activity which we know is part of many sex-education teaching resources for primary school children.''

One can only wonder why Archbishop Malcolm McMahon would be working so closely with the British government to betray Catholic families in this grave manner. I keep thinking of the words of that great English martyr-bishop St. John Fisher who lamented: ''The fort is betrayed even of them that should have defended it!''

The other Bishops in England and Wales should remember that they have each received from Christ the authority, rights and duties to govern in their own dioceses. At the end of their lives, they shall have to give an account of their tenure to Him. It is not up to Archbishop McMahon, the CES, or the British government to dictate to them, the parents or the youngsters in their care, on matters of sexual morality. Each bishop should also be reminded that parental rights in this area are sacrosanct. Let no-one forget, either, that Catholic parents are tax-payers with rights too.

This situation highlights the benefits of homeschooling and the Catholic homeschool networks that we have encountered in England during the last decade.

Make no mistake: How bishops, priests, school governors, parents and children respond to this will have a huge impact on their eternal salvation. Please pray for those good parents who are struggling to raise their children in the Faith; they deserved better than this from their shepherds.

Acts 5:29: We must obey God rather than men.

Our Lady of Fatima - Pray for us!

St. Joseph - Pray for us!

St. Maria Goretti - Pray for us!

Ash Wednesday 2017

Torch of The Faith News on Wednesday 01 March 2017 - 10:08:10 | by admin


Remember, man, that thou art dust, and into dust thou shalt return (Gen 3).

Perhaps one of the classical mistakes that we can make as Catholics is to set about the penitential season of Lent as though everything depends upon us. We can sometimes tend to think that we can somehow earn, or even purchase, God's love by the fasts and penances that we undergo in this holy season. Maybe that is why we so often find the Lenten season so daunting; and why we struggle to keep to it joyfully.

To enter more fully into the Lenten season, it is surely important to recall that God's love and grace already precedes us, accompanies us and goes ahead of us along the way of life.

Christ first loves us.

That means that all our almsgivings, fasts, prayers and penances are really the response called forth in and by love.

The Lenten practices are not so much us trying to win His love, or to simply get His attention, by suffering stoically through gritted teeth. Rather, they are the very least that we can do for One Who loves us so much.

Before we ever existed, He thought of us for eternity. He first loves us and we even need His grace to help us to respond to His love with our loving sacrifices. As St. Paul taught in Ephesians 5:2: ''And walk in love, as Christ also hath loved us, and hath delivered Himself for us, an oblation and a sacrifice to God for an odour of sweetness.''  

The study on the theme of the Heart of the Incarnate Word, which is found in paragraph CCC 478 of the Catechism of the Catholic Church, can be very helpful to us in grasping this afresh at the start of Lent.

This reads: ''Jesus knew and loved us each and all during His life, His agony and His Passion, and gave Himself up for each one of us: 'The Son of God... loved me and gave Himself for me (Galatians 2:20).' He has loved us all with a human heart. For this reason the Sacred Heart of Jesus, pierced by our sins and for our salvation (John 19:34) is quite rightly considered the chief sign and symbol of that... love with which the Divine Redeemer continually loves the Eternal Father and all human beings without exception.''

St. Bonaventure's study of The Life of St. Francis has a marvellous section that can help us to better understand and practice the almsgiving, fasting, prayer and penances of this holy Lenten season:-

The poor man of Christ had only two mites (Mark 12:42), namely his body and his soul, which he could give away in generous charity. But out of love of Christ he offered them so continuously that he seemed to be constantly immolating his body through rigour of fasting, and his spirit through the ardour of his desire, sacrificing a holocaust in the outer courtyard and burning incense in the interior temple.

Quite simply, it was all for love. This deep love of Christ in the heart of St. Francis led him to undertake additional 40-day periods of penance at other times of the year, such as in preparation for the Feast of the Assumption, and in thanksgiving after it.

Today the Church calls us to enter deeply into conversion to Christ through the season and practices of Lent. This is an official day of Fasting and Abstinence.

The ashes that we will receive on our foreheads at Holy Mass today are a sacramental sign of this call and response to conversion. As such, they can act as a conduit of grace to those who are prepared, well disposed and firmly willing to receive such grace as God wishes to give us to keep a good Lent, to become closer to Christ and to make it to Heaven for a blessed eternity with Him.

When we consider the state of the Church and society, and our own past sins and ongoing struggles with sin and attachment to selfishness, we can see how much we need the penitential season of Lent. How wise and good is our Mother the Church to give us this season to bring us back to Jesus once more. If we keep in mind the foundational truth that Christ first loves us, then we shall not be discouraged by our weakness, nor become proud if we manage to fast and pray well. 

We pray that all our readers will be blessed with a good Lent.

St. Francis and St. Bonaventure - Pray for us!      

You Know the Church Has Been Infiltrated When...

Torch of The Faith News on Tuesday 28 February 2017 - 14:10:30 | by admin

The blind leading the blind: Italian Radical politicians Pannella and Bonino.

The Soros/Bergoglio-backed Italian politician Emma Bonino needs no introduction to readers of this blog. Indeed, she is notorious here and in Italy due to her claim to have aborted some 10,000 pre-born babies using a home-made device from a bike pump; as well as being an active political promoter of abortion, divorce, homosexual pairings and the legalization of drugs.

We only mention Bonino again because we were startled to hear on Gloria TV that her late co-activist Marco Pannella has been praised in the media by none other than Archbishop Vincenzo Paglia.
They have eyes but they cannot see: Archbishop Vincenzo Paglia.

It will be remembered that Paglia is the President of the recently subverted Pontifical Academy for Life. 

For decades, the celebrated academy had stood firm as a bastion of orthodoxy under the leadership of Popes St. John Paul II and Benedict XVI.

Last August, under the auspices of the formerly orthodox Pontifical Council for the Family, Paglia launched a relativistic and immoral sex-education programme in time for the 2016 World Youth Day in Krakow. This represented a total contradiction of the Pontifical Council for the Family's own guiding document, The Truth and Meaning of Human Sexuality, from 1995.

On 10th November 2016, LifeSiteNews reported that the members of the Pontifical Academy for Life, with Paglia as President, would no longer be required to sign the traditional declaration of support for the Church's pro-life teachings.

Then, just days ago on 17th February, LifeSiteNews recalled that Pope Francis had removed every single existing member of the academy as part of his new ''reforms''; and that the institution had been effectively shut down for the present time.

In these present days, as Catholics and concerned cultural obervers await details of new members, Archbishop Paglia has suddenly described the late Italian politician and atheist Marco Pannella as a ''man of a great spirituality,'' whilst speaking of his death as ''a big loss'' for Italy.

In contrast to this gushing panegyric from Paglia, Gloria TV forthrightly describes Pannella as a ''demonic presence in Italian politics''.

Gloria TV bases this description on the fact that Pannella was the leading Italian champion for abortion, divorce, euthanasia, homosexual pseudo-marriage and free drugs. In other words, all of the hot-button issues that the Pontifical Academy for Life has traditionally stood against!

In addition to this, it is also common knowledge that Pannella lived in a self-described ''open relationship'' with a woman, which facilitated him also having homosexual liaisons with ''three or four'' other men.

It is, by now, beyond clear that those who have infiltrated the Catholic Church are now so confident in their success that they are not even pretending to be Catholics any more. They publicly contradict Christ and the constant Magisterium of His Church when they speak and act in this manner.

That being the case, it is the duty of all faithful Catholics to call these men out publicly for what they are: the enemies of Our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, of His Church and of the souls He came to save from sin and eternal death.

Archbishop Vincenzo Paglia - you are known by your fruits (Matthew 7:16).   

Some Traditional Latin Masses for Ash Wednesday in NW England

Torch of The Faith News on Tuesday 28 February 2017 - 13:07:28 | by admin

There are a number of opportunities for Catholics in this north west region of England to attend Traditional Latin Masses for Ash Wednesday. Although the following list may not be exhaustive, these include:-

St. Anthony's, Scotland Road, Liverpool, L5 5BD.

12 noon - Low Mass

English Martyrs, Alexandra Road South, Whalley Range, Manchester, M16 8QT.

7pm - Low Mass

New Brighton
ICKSP Shrine Church of Ss Peter, Paul and Philomena, 7 Atherton Street, New Brighton, Wallasey, CH45 9LT.

Imposition of Ashes and Holy Mass at the following times:

9am - Low Mass

7pm - Sung Mass

ICKSP Shrine Church of St. Walburge, Weston Street, Preston, PR2 2QE.

Imposition of Ashes and Holy Mass at the following times:

9am - Low Mass

7pm - Sung Mass

St. Helens
Holy Cross, Corporation Street, St. Helens, WA10 1EF.

6:30pm - And also Night Prayer with Ashes at 7:45pm

FSSP Shrine Church of St. Mary, Buttermarket Street, Warrington, WA1 2NS.

12:10pm - Blessing and Imposition of Ashes followed by Low Mass

7pm - Imposition of Ashes followed by Low Mass

Please note: Confessions will also be available for half an hour before each of these Masses at St. Mary's.

We thank God and these good priests for making the Traditional Latin Masses available for Ash Wednesday. Readers in this north west region of England are strongly encouraged to attend wherever possible. 

Deo Gratias!

Torch of The Faith News on Monday 27 February 2017 - 21:06:40 | by admin

By God's grace, Mum is home with us again; and even celebrating her 71st birthday with a cake!

Dear readers,

Thank you so very much for all your prayers and for checking by here each day for news. Thanks, too, to those who have sent kind and supportive e-mails. 

Please forgive our delay in posting anything here, but we have been through a rather harrowing few days.

We see from the internet that other Catholic folks experienced the night of last Thursday into Friday as something of a weird time of spiritual warfare.

Thursday morning had been grim enough here with the batterings of ''Storm Doris'' ripping drainpipes, roof tiles and fences from local homes. The round-up of news from Rome also seemed to bring with it a particular darkness that day. The whole of that night was oppressive.

At 4:45am on Friday, I was lying awake when I suddenly heard Mum screaming out a long, loud and terrifying scream from her room. In fact, this was amplified in stereo by the fact that we have a baby-monitor next to our bed and linked through to Mum's room.

Regular readers will recall that Mum suffered a stroke in the late summer of 2014, which wiped most of her memory and speech; as well as leaving her in need of 24/7 care.

In recent months, Mum has been experiencing ''choking'' bouts, mainly at night, due to the post-stroke failure to swallow consistently. In the daytime, we are there to remind her to swallow, but during the night, saliva can build up and then cause a gag reflex which makes Mum begin to panic and choke. The baby monitor wakens us when this happens and we run in to assist her. (I should add that Mum has a hospital-style bed with an elevated headrest to keep her as safe as possible).

When I got to Mum after her dreadful scream in the early hours of Friday morning, she was clutching her head with both hands, tilting her head far back and displaying an expression of agony on her face.

She then went through a very frightening period of about 20 minutes, which included symptoms of seizure followed by very abnormal breathing. In all that time, she could not see us and her eyes were going from left to right and back constantly. To be honest the experience was quite terrifying and I put Holy Water on Mum's face and head. Her breathing became so bad and rattling that we feared for her life.

We rapidly called both our priest confessor and an ambulance.

God bless him, our spiritual director was stood in full black clerical attire - plus maroon house slippers! - when I pulled up to his front door about 20 minutes later. He got in the car and we sped back for him to give Mum Extreme Unction.

Minutes before Father and I arrived back home, Mum had begun to come back to recognizing Angie and breathing more easily. At the point when Father began leading the Our Father, Mum looked up and gave a gentle smile. That gave us some peace.

On a lighthearted note, as we crossed to the ambulance we came across a bright pink and white woman's fluffy slipper in the driveway. It was not Mum's or Angie's. Sometimes things like this give you a bit of a laugh in the midst of emergencies and we speculated that it must have been dropped ''twister-style'' by Storm Doris! Over the weekend, we discovered that it actually belonged to a local lady who had hung it out on a ledge to dry during the high winds of the storm; she and said slipper are now happily reunited!

The staff at the hospital were great and Mum had to go through all the usual observations and tests. We were told that this could have been a seizure which afflicts some people after a stroke. The time lapse from the stroke to now seemed long to us, but we were very grateful when Mum was discharged to come back home with us.

Mum has slept a great deal since returning home, but she was able to have a bit of birthday cake to celebrate the fact that Saturday was her 71st birthday.

So, thanks again for all the prayers. We are so grateful to God for sparing Mum and for the fact that she recognizes us and is breathing normally again. By God's grace, we are all back now and catching up with a few days worth of the news...

Our Lady of Lourdes and St. Joseph - Pray for us!

Quarant'ore - New Brighton and Preston

Torch of The Faith News on Monday 27 February 2017 - 21:06:36 | by admin

To expiate the excesses committed during the three days of carnival which used to precede Lent, the Church established the devotion of the 40 Hours of Eucharistic Adoration. 

The devotion traditionally began on Quinquagesima Sunday, which we celebrated yesterday in the Traditional Calendar.

In present times it can be difficult to find parishes that actually celebrate Quarant'ore at all, never mind celebrating the devotion at the traditional time.

This is why it is so encouraging to see that the ICKSP shrines in this region are presently holding the 40 Hours.

We had planned to advertise these a few days ago, but were delayed by all that happened with poor Mum. Although this means we are late with the advert, we are still posting it to edify readers with the knowledge that such things are still happening; and to encourage any readers in the north west region of England to try and attend in the time left.

The above poster relates to the ICKSP Shrine Church of Ss Peter, Paul and Philomena at 7 Atherton Street, New Brighton, Wallasey, CH45 9LT.
The ICKSP Shrine Church of St. Walburge, at Weston Street, Preston, Lancashire, PR2 2QE, also has adoration until 7pm this evening; and from 10am until 7pm tomorrow. The event will then finish with Solemn Conclusion and Benediction of the Blessed Sacrament.

Wherever you are in the world, please join your hearts to these dedicated periods of Adoration of Our Blessed Lord in the Most Holy Sacrament of the Altar.

O Sacrament Most Holy, O Sacrament Divine, All Praise and All Thanksgiving Be Every Moment Thine!

Urgent: Please Pray for My Lovely Mum Doreen

Torch of The Faith News on Friday 24 February 2017 - 08:11:35 | by admin

Mum with her 70th birthday cake by our home altar this time last year.

Dear readers,

Please, please, pray for my dear mum Doreen today. She suffered a very frightening seizure in the early hours of this morning and has been taken by ambulance to hospital.

Tomorrow will be her 71st birthday.

By God's grace, Mum has already received Extreme Unction from our confessor/spiritual director.

We will update you once we know more.

She is precious to us - please pray for her soul and health.

Our Lady, Queen of Mothers - Pray for us!

St. Joseph - Protect and pray for us!

Bread and Circuses

Torch of The Faith News on Thursday 23 February 2017 - 18:17:18 | by admin

From ancient times, the Catholic Church has celebrated a feast in honour of St. Peter's Chair of Primacy on the 22nd February. After the establishment of St. Peter's See in Rome came to be celebrated on 18th January, yesterday's date became associated with the celebration of the seven years during which St. Peter ruled over the Church as Bishop of Antioch.

I must admit that I was less than edified last night when I logged in and read reports that Pope Francis had skipped the traditional Solemn Liturgy of Cathedra Petri to watch an outdoor circus-style performance; featuring women unchastely cavorting about the place, whilst wearing skin-tight ''cat'' costumes...

Indeed, the images that flashed up on the screen presented a near occasion of sin to any man who was not dead from the neck down. That, by the way, is why I will not post up those images or the associated - and I'm told much worse - videos here at this site.

And yet, by sitting through this performance yesterday, Pope Francis, Bishop Georg Ganswein et al, seemed strangely unmoved; and even appeared to be oblivious of the Church's teachings on chastity of dress and comportment.

Indeed, Vatican Radio reports that Pope Francis went so far as to say: ''Beauty carries us to God. It is a path which arrives at God. Continue to make beautiful things! Continue to make good things for all of us! Thank you!''

Does beauty always lead us to God in a fallen world? Well, there is a sense in which all true beauty has the capacity to lead us to God, Who is the very source of Goodness, Beauty and Truth par excellence; but it is also true that, due to Original Sin and Concupiscence, it is never a good idea to have lasses dressed like that cavorting about the place the way they did yesterday. In any case, some of their poses and gestures were far from dignified or beautiful. Actually, this whole scene comes close to the kind of public Roman performances that were condemned by St. Augustine in his classic, The City of God Against the Pagans! Indeed, when the Church became fully established, such public spectacles were at last banished from the precincts of ancient Rome. 

Because of our fallen and wounded nature, we can tend to see and use good things in ways that are selfish and sinful. It has, therefore, always been the constant teaching of the Church to guard purity through chaste actions, clothing, speech and careful custody of the eyes.

I mean, come on, are these men so saintly that they are untroubled by such public spectacles?

But then again, if they were so holy, wouldn't they tell these ladies to cover up and act a bit more, you know, lady-like; as much for the sake of the womens' own souls, as well as for the sake of other weaker men who have not reached their levels of sanctity?

What then are we to make of such high-ranking clergy being so unmoved? Are they half-dead? Are they blind? Don't they believe the Church's teachings on chastity? Are they, erm, are they... No, surely not, perish the thought!

The whole debacle calls to mind Juvenal's criticisms of the ''bread and circuses'' that were given out to please the populace in the days of the collapsing Roman Empire.

Instead of reverently celebrating the primacy of St. Peter and preparing us all for the penitential season of Lent, Francis and his associates are sitting around watching performances that orthodox Catholic men, knowing that they are made of clay, try their very best to avoid, in order to remain in the peace and love of Christ. Then we end up seeing the images anyway, because they go out from Rome to every corner of the globe by nightfall.

Then, too, one cannot reflect on these things without also being troubled by the words of Our Lady of Fatima: ''More souls go to Hell because of the sins of the flesh than for any other reason... Certain fashions will be introduced that will offend Our Lord very much... Woe to women lacking in modesty.''

It is not nice or good to have temptation put in one's path by a spiritual father; much less by a reigning pontiff. Up to now, it seems that Francis has tempted: fornicators and adulterers to continue in their sins; cardinals, bishops and priests to go along with sacrilege and heresy; orthodox Catholics to become angry and/or despairing; nominal Catholics to become confused and/or indifferent; and Catholics who like to debate to be gradually altered by his sophistry. Now, it seems, that temptation is becoming less laterally in the realms of reason and more plainly just straight in-your-face.

It was St. Padre Pio who said that impurity and discouragement were the chief merchandise of the Devil.     

Does anyone still doubt that these men are trying to deliberately and systematically take down the Church by design?

We must pray a great deal for Pope Francis and the bishops and priests who condone this type of thing. As Jesus warned in Matthew 18:6: ''But he that shall scandalize one of these little ones that believe in me, it were better for him that a millstone were hanged about his neck, and that he should be drowned in the depth of the sea.''

Let's see how Generalissimo Arturo Sosa Abascal S.J. ''reinterprets'' that for the mores of a new generation!!!

St. Peter, the First Pope - Pray for us!

May Our Heavenly Father protect us from temptation and deliver us from evil. Amen!

Canon Gerard Wharton - Requiescat in Pace

Torch of The Faith News on Thursday 23 February 2017 - 16:34:39 | by admin

Of your charity, please pray for the repose of the soul of Canon Gerard Wharton, whose funeral and burial took place this morning.

Fr. Gerry is known to many Catholics throughout the Archdiocese of Liverpool, due to his dedicated service as chaplain to the annual Archdiocesan pilgrimage to Lourdes, between the years of 1986 and 2001. 

Following his ordination at St. Joseph's seminary at Upholland in 1957, Fr. Gerry had served as both assistant and parish priest at a number of well-known parishes across the Archdiocese.

He was made an honorary canon in 1992, and served as a Canon of the Metropolitan Cathedral Chapter from 1998 - 2016. During his Golden Jubilee celebrations in 2007, he was also made a Canon of the Shrine of Lourdes.

From 2006 - 2012, he served as chaplain to the sisters and community at Nazareth House in Crosby. A local man, who had been born in Seaforth and educated in Waterloo, Canon Wharton's funeral took place this morning at St. Edmund's in Waterloo; followed by burial at Ss Peter and Paul in Crosby.

The official Archdiocesan obituary relates that, in earlier years, Canon Wharton had inspired many seminarians who had spent their placements with him, due to his devotion to the Blessed Sacrament and Our Lady, as well as the way he lived his life as a priest.

I encountered Canon Wharton, or ''Fr. Gerry'' as he preferred, a number of times in Lourdes in the late 1990's. I remember that, at a time when some priests were going over to Lourdes in bright t-shirts (and even shorts), he was always smartly dressed in his black clerical suit and collar.

He always seemed to me to be a gentle, humble and kindly priest, who took an interest in other people and their needs. At the same time, he was very down-to-earth and prepared to ''muck-in'' with everyone else. 

Several years ago, Angie and I were encouraged when we visited Nazareth House and heard Fr. Gerry defending true marriage; and calling on all who were present in the chapel of the Sisters of Nazareth to both pray and stand up for this important intention. Early in 2013, Canon Wharton was one of the priests who signed the letter to MPs and The Telegraph, defending natural marriage between one man and one woman, and calling for the proposed same-sex ''marriage'' laws to be rejected.  

Fr. Gerry died on 12th February at the age of 86. It was just one day after the Feast of Our Lady of Lourdes, in his 60th year of priesthood. May he rest in Christ's peace.

Eternal rest, grant unto Fr. Gerry dear Lord, and let perpetual light shine upon him, and may he rest in peace. Amen.

Agnus Dei, Qui Tollis Peccata Mundi - Miserere Nobis!

Torch of The Faith News on Tuesday 21 February 2017 - 11:11:44 | by admin

I often recall the exactitude of Laurence England's question to Cardinal Raymond Burke, during His Eminence's visit to Chester in March 2015.

In the question-time at the end of the evening, Laurence had asked to what degree the cardinal thought the present crisis in the Church was related to a Eucharistic crisis. To this question, Cardinal Burke had replied that there is a definite link between the loss of belief in the Real Presence, together with the correct understanding of the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass, and the associated call for the divorced/re-''married'' to be given Holy Communion.

The gravity of this situation is borne out by the awful matters I discussed here yesterday. The spectacle of a laicised priest mocking Jesus Christ, during an entertainment show on a major feast day in a formerly Catholic country, is nothing short of apocalyptic. Even one generation ago, nobody would have deemed such evils to be possible in Ireland. Neither would such things have been tolerated.

I know a priest who, about 25 years ago, was once cutting through an alleyway in Ireland during a visit to the sick. Two thugs suddenly appeared and blocked his path in an attempted mugging. When they realized he had with him the Blessed Sacrament, the muggers hesitated, grew fearful, backed off and then rapidly fled the scene. Sinners they might have been, but they knew better than to mess with the good God.

In some sense, these characters were not as bad as those who scoffed at Jesus on RTE. They still had some handle on the hierarchy of reality, and a sense of what is right and wrong. There is even a certain humility in their action of running in fear. Please God, that shock might have been the grace they needed to bring them to repentance.

I read this morning, at 1 Peter 5, that the Judas-Bishop Charles Scicluna down in Malta has suggested that seminarians who ''do not agree with Francis'' will freely find that ''the seminary gate is open''.

What he seems unable to see, blinded as he must be by a remarkably narrow ultramontanism - and who knows what else - is that it is the truth which sets us free (John 8:32).

Indeed, Charles Scicluna needs reminding that the very gates of Hell yawn open for him if he does not repent of his present course.

Scicluna's promotion of heresy and sacrilege is made even worse by his not-so-subtle attempt to coerce others into joining in his sins with him. This is all very grave indeed.

Unlike those muggers who backed off when they were faced with the Presence of God and the gravity of their crime, Scicluna has an inverted sense of the hierarchy of truth.

He would place the confusing subtleties of Francis above the clear Truth of Jesus Christ, the dignity of Holy Matrimony and the salvation of souls.

Therefore, his is a worse kind of crime, because he does not hesitate to steal Christ; mugging his own priests, seminarians and lay faithful in order to throw Jesus to the very street dogs. And, unlike those thieves who attempted their misdeeds in the shadows, he even has the temerity to promote sacrilege to the public in broad daylight!
There is a beautiful account recorded in St. Bonaventure's classical Life of St. Francis. It tells of a sheep that was given to St. Francis.

St. Bonaventure relates: ''The pious man admonished the little sheep to praise God attentively and to avoid giving any offence to the friars. The sheep carefully observed his instructions, as if it recognized the piety of the man of God. For when it heard the friars chanting in choir, it would enter the church, genuflect without instructions from anyone, and bleat before the altar of the Virgin, the Mother of the Lamb, as if it wished to greet Her. Besides, when the most sacred Body of Christ was elevated at Mass, it would bow down on bended knees as if this reverent animal were reproaching those who were not devout and inviting the devout to reverence the Sacrament.''

No doubt those who mocked Christ on RTE would scoff at this story. However, it shows that, when God gives His grace, even a dumb animal is capable of discerning the Real Presence of Christ in the Holy Eucharist. Unlike them, this sheep could see because it was innocent, humble and without guile.

Those who would laugh at this story should recall that St. Bonaventure, who carefully relates it, was not only one of the greatest minds of his age, but was also holy and therefore trustworthy. Not only that, he had made an honest research into the life of St. Francis from the saintly men who had actually lived with him and witnessed many of the miracles associated with his life.

This story reminds me of a small spruce tree in one of the quadrangles at Ushaw Seminary in the 1990s. My late-friend Fr. Mike Williams and I noted how it was growing about 20-ft from the chapel wall, at an angle of about 60 degrees from the ground. This meant that its tip was pointed directly at the Tabernacle. Fr. Mike observed to me, ''Because Christ is not loved or respected here, even the very trees pay Him homage''. This certainly does call to mind Luke 19:40: ''To whom he said: I say to you, that if these shall hold their peace, the stones will cry out.''

Again, whilst post-moderns would scoff at this type of piety, it demonstrates the purity of heart that sees Christ in all things; and above all where He most certainly is, in the Blessed Sacrament.

I've related here once before how a highly educated Nigerian priest, a man with several university degrees, once told Angie and I that he had been giving a retreat back in Africa.

One evening, after an Adoration and Benediction service in which he had blessed the congregation with the Monstrance in the chapel, a small Protestant boy from the nearby village came up to him. The child asked, ''Who was that baby?'' When the priest wondered which baby he meant, the boy replied, ''The one you were carrying in the church''.

It came to light that when this boy had looked up at the Blessed Sacrament, held aloft by the priest in the Monstrance, he had seen the Christ-Child. And so, when the priest explained to him about the Real Presence of Jesus, he had no trouble understanding or believing! Some time later, after a period of catechesis and the permission of his family, this boy became a Catholic.

Again, what we see here is the innocence and humility that, when aided by grace, is able to recognize Christ in the Eucharist.

Angie and I know a priest who was once concelebrating Holy Mass with another priest, during a time of spiritual searching that he was going through. After the Consecration, the main celebrant suddenly gestured to him to look at the Sacred Host on the paten. He told us that, with the other priest, he was amazed to see Jesus looking back at them both from the Host with great joy and love! This priest told us that the Lord looked back and forth at them, from one to the other, each in turn. When he gasped ''It's Jesus!'' to himself, this priest told us that the Lord seemed to be exuding a great sense of delight, as if to say, ''Well, Who did you expect... Of course it's Me!''

When that priest told us his account of this event, he was giggling with a child-like innocence. Don't think this means he is a bit soft in the head. On the contrary, his personality is normally serious, and he has served for a prolonged period of time in a difficult placement.
Finally, we once heard a Franciscan priest in America preaching about a mission he had given in Latin America.

He did not have sufficient Hosts to give out to all of the devout locals who flocked to Holy Mass.

Choked with emotion, this priest related how he had prayed trustingly to the Lord, and had just kept on giving out Holy Communion to the crowds of faithful until, in a manner reminiscent of the Multiplication of the Loaves in Sacred Scripture and the similar Eucharistic Miracles of St. John Bosco, all who came had received Holy Communion. Only then, did the supply of Hosts cease to be there. The priest said with simplicity: ''This is how it is on mission.''

What all of these accounts have in common is Catholic Dogma, the Real Presence of Jesus, God's gift of grace and the humble faith of those who received these unfathomable gifts.

Whilst God sometimes allows such miracles to remind people of His Presence in the Eucharist, most of us are called to believe in faith based only upon His Word and the testimony of His holy Church.
To quote Gerard Manley Hopkins' translation of St. Thomas Aquinas' Adoro te devote: ''What God's Son has told me, take for truth I do; Truth Himself speaks truly, or there's nothing true.'' And we know from Sacred Scripture and Tradition that God's Son has told us that the Eucharist is His Body and Blood.

These stories are shared here to remind us all of that fact; and to encourage and edify readers in these grimly faithless times.

In the midst of this present crisis, may Jesus give us all the grace to recognise Him in the breaking of the bread (Luke 24:35). Let us especially pray this prayer for those who are choosing to be His enemies, and for those who deny Him, or who lead sinners into even worse sins through a wrong notion of mercy.

Eucharistic Heart of Jesus - Have Mercy on Us!

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