Tuesday, 31 December 2013

Friday, 13 December 2013

 

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Merry Christmas

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Thursday, 12 December 2013

I Am Not Here

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Tuesday, 10 December 2013

A. A. Manchester † R.I.P.

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Had my father lived he would have been ninety-five today. He succeeded my beloved mother by eight years when he died at the turn of the century, having been a professional guitarist in his early years and brilliant jazz pianist throughout his life which was balanced by him incoungruously becoming an accountant, later a company secretary and company director. Such employment provided for his wife and child in a way that music could not, but he disliked the business world and lived for his music. Like my mother, he was a truly extraordinary individual, blessed with huge intelligence and not a little eccentricity. We lived in London at a time when it appeared to be, and probably was, the centre of the universe. The 1950s, 1960s and early 1970s were extraordinary times to be alive, especially in a city like London. My parents both died in London, but it had long since ceased to be what it once was and I quit the capital in the 1990s.

My father was not overtly religious, but nonetheless believed in Our Lord and toward the end of his life asked to be baptised because he was uncertain he had been as an infant when England was going through the upheaval and aftermath of the First World War. He was baptised at our Oratory of the Precious Blood in South Hertfordshire.

My parents were quite unique, even for their time, and are greatly missed. What I miss most is their innocence. Their love for me was always evident and it is a comfort to know they saw me settled.

On this day I remember in particular the vision of my father hunched over the ivory keys as the sound of the piano reverberated throughout their Islington house, as it always did when I visited.




St Teresa of Avila, a saint my mother was drawn to early in her life, receiving the Blessed Sacrament. (Inset) my mother receiving the Blessed Sacrament; fortuitously the final photograph taken of her on the Feast of St Francis of Assisi 1991, one year before she passed into the Lord's safekeeping on the feast of the Holy Guardian Angels 1992.


St Thérèse of Lisieux also became very special for my mother with the passing of time. Both these saints now hold a place of exceptional reverence and veneration within our sanctuary area for sacred relics.

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Saturday, 7 December 2013

Colin Wilson † R.I.P.



Colin Wilson

26 June 1931 – 5 December 2013



Requiescat in pace


Colin Wilson, whom I had known since the turn of the 1970s, exchanging correspondence on largely esoteric matters of mutual interest, has died. He suffered a stroke last June, causing him to lose his speech.

Whilst struggling to become an established writer after finishing National Service, he came to London and slept on Hampstead Heath, close to Highgate Cemetery, for a period of time. The picture (above) shows him on Hampstead Heath in 1956.

I am first referred to in his writings in The Occult, published in 1971. The book covered subjects such as Aleister Crowley, George Gurdjieff, Helena Blavatsky, Kabbalah, primitive magic, Franz Mesmer, Grigori Rasputin, Daniel Dunglas Home, Paracelsus, P D Ouspensky, William Blake, Giacomo Casanova, Heinrich Cornelius Agrippa, and various other topics, including vampirism. He was also a good friend of my colleague Peter Underwood and was an active member of The Ghost Club.

Colin first came to prominence as a philosopher and novelist, writing widely on true crime, mysticism, the paranormal and other mysteries. He preferred calling his philosophy new existentialism or phenomenological existentialism.

He once said:

"I had taken it for granted that I was a man of genius since I was about thirteen."

For a short few months after the publication of his first book The Outsider in 1956, it seemed that the rest of the world thought so too.

Sunday, 1 December 2013

Advent









Sunday, 13 October 2013

Books

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Before you take your leave from the internet, it would be very appreciated if you could give us a good bibliography. Books relating to demonology and the supernatural, as well as books that had a profound impact on your life. Something to build our minds with in your absence. Thanks for everything. Pax vobiscum.


Books that most made an impact, of course, are the Bible and the lives of the Saints. I was influenced at a young age, probably in my early teenage years, by the writings of Montague Summers on such topics as demonology and vampirism. After Summers, I found more obscure writers on this hidden area, but I am loathe to list a bibliography, just as I am loathe to encourage anyone to take undue interest in such a perilous region of supernaturalism. Individuals called to the ministry of specialised exorcism where such knowledge is paramount will uncover all they need to know soon enough, and for them the Rituale Romanum is essential. Should more need to be known about these things, I would suggest something relatively easy to comprehend which is nevertheless comprehensive in its execution, and to that end I heartily recommend the former Roman Catholic priest Anthony Finlay's Demons! The Devil, Possession & Exorcism (Blandford, 1999). Dr Finlay has taught Latin and for many years studied the Bible and theological literature, as well as having direct experiences of possession and exorcism. His book contains a very good bibliography and seven excellent appendices.

However, a strong faith is worth more than a hundred thousand books. Live your own story. Above all, allow your faith to shine.

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Holy Blood Protection Prayers

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Greetings in Christ. I am sorry that His Grace will soon cease to write on this blog, but I believe I understand the desire for privacy. I sincerely thank His Grace for answering so many of my questions over the years. I hope the blog (albeit inactive) will be left on the internet so that His Grace's responses to past questions can still be read. I should also like to ask about deliverance prayers. A lot of Protestant sources say that the Blood of Jesus should be invoked against demons and curses. Is this an effective method, and are these deliverance prayers of Protestant origin acceptable for Catholics to use? I thank His Grace for his time and consideration, and ask God to bless him abundantly. In Christ, Theodore Conrath



ARTICLES  


BALM FOR THE SICK AND CONSOLATION FOR THE DYINGAN EASY MEANS TO PREVENT NUMEROUS MORTAL SINS
VERY USEFUL MANNER OF HIDING IN THE FIVE SACRED WOUNDS AS TAUGHT BY CHRIST TO ST. MECHTILDE 

CLERGY


PRAYER FOR PRIESTS AND THOSE DESTINED FOR THE PRIESTHOOD WITH CONSECRATION TO THE PRECIOUS BLOOD

PRAYER FOR PRIESTS 2
PRAYER FOR THOSE IN OUR CHARGE, TO BE SAID BY PRIESTS AND BISHOPS
ST. TERESA OF AVILA'S PRAYER FOR PRIESTS

CHAPLETS [ROSARIES]


THE CHAPLET OF THE PRECIOUS BLOOD 1

THE CHAPLET OF THE PRECIOUS BLOOD 2
ROSARY OF THE HOLY WOUNDS
ST. GERTRUDE THE GREAT CHAPLET

CONSECRATIONS


CONSECRATION TO THE PRECIOUS BLOOD 1

CONSCRATION TO THE PRECIOUS BLOOD 2
THREE ACTS OF CONSECRATION TO THE PRECIOUS BLOOD

CONVERSION AND MERCY, SEE ALSO LITANIES


THE MIRACLE PRAYERCONVERSION OR RETURN TO THE FAITHPRAYER OF ST. FRANCIS XAVIER FOR THE CONVERSION OF INFIDELS
EXORCISM PRAYER OF POPE LEO XIII
APPEAL TO ST. JOSEPH
THE HOUR OF MERCY

PRAYER FOR HEALING AND CONVERSION OF ANOTHER

EUCHARISTIC


TO JESUS FORSAKEN
ASPIRATION TO BE SAID AT THE ELEVATION OF THE CHALICE
SPIRITUAL COMMUNION AND A VISIT TO THE BLESSED SACRAMENT



LITANIES AND PETITIONS


THE LITANY OF THE PRECIOUS BLOOD VERSION 1
THE LITANY OF THE PRECIOUS BLOOD VERSION 2
THE PENITENT'S LITANY
BLOOD OF JESUS, HELP ME!


HOLY SOULS AND DEATH, SEE ALSO OFFERINGS


PRAYER TO FREE 1000 SOULS FROM PURGATORY: PROMISE PRAYER
HEROIC ACT OF LOVE
PRAYER FOR THE DYING
PRAYER FOR A HAPPY DEATH
REMEMBER, O BELOVED JESUS

SHORT PRAYER FOR THE HOLY SOULS TO MARY, INVOKING THE PRECIOUS BLOOD
ONE WEEK NOVENA TO THE PRECIOUS BLOOD FOR THE HOLY SOULS
MOST LOVING JESUS
OUR LADY OF INTERCESSION


NOVENAS, SEE ALSO HOLY SOULS AND OUR LADY OF THE PRECIOUS BLOOD


NOVENA TO THE HOLY GHOST
NOVENA TO THE PRECIOUS BLOOD


OFFERINGS: MORNING [AND OTHER]


3 OFFERINGS OF PRECIOUS BLOOD IN THANKSGIVING FOR THE IMMACULATE CONCEPTION
THE SEVEN OFFERINGS OF THE PRECIOUS BLOOD
MORNING OFFERING BASED ON THREE REVELATIONS OF OUR LORD
APPEAL TO DIVINE PROMISES
AN OLD MORNING PRAYER
AN OFFERING OF THE PRECIOUS BLOOD FOR SOULS
MORNING OBLATION
A PRECIOUS OFFERING THROUGH THE BLESSED VIRGIN MARY TO ASK FOR A SPECIAL GRACE

HOW TO OFFER THE PRECIOUS BLOOD TO THE ETERNAL FATHER

OUR LADY OF THE PRECIOUS BLOOD


MEMORARE TO OUR LADY OF THE PRECIOUS BLOOD
PRAYER TO THE PRECIOUS BLOOD INVOKING THE HELP OF MARY
NOVENA TO THE PRECIOUS BLOOD, INVOKING THE HELP OF MARY


OTHER: GENERAL


NATIONAL ORDER AND INTERNATIONAL PEACE
IN TIME OF CALAMITY 
BEAUTIFUL PRAYER TO JESUS
PRAYER TO PREVENT ONE MORTAL SIN
PRAYER TO OUR LADY OF GOOD COUNSEL
PRAYER TO THE SACRED HEART
PRAYER BEFORE AN OPERATION
ASPIRATIONS TO THE PRECIOUS BLOOD


PASSION-RELATED


PRAYER BEFORE A CRUCIFIX: FROM THE RACCOLTA
PRAYER IN MEMORY OF THE SCOURGING OF CHRIST
PRAYER IN HONOR THE SCOURGING OF OUR LORD 
PRAYER TO JESUS IN REMEMBRANCE OF HIS PASSION
DEVOTION TO THE DROPS OF BLOOD LOST BY CHRIST ON THE WAY TO CALVARY

THE MOTHER OF DOLORS

REPARATION


ACT OF REPARATION TO THE PRECIOUS BLOOD
PRAYER TO THE WOUNDED HEART OF JESUS
PRAYER TO JESUS SUFFERING
PRAYER TO THE PRECIOUS BLOOD


THANKSGIVING AND HYMNS


ACT OF THANKSGIVING
HYMN: SALVETE CHRISTI VULNERA
RACCOLTA PRAYER

Vampires, Burial and Death

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Dear Bishop Manchester, during these days I'm reading a book called "Vampires, Burial and Death" written by Paul Barber. Many people consider this book a masterpiece of the genre (non-fictional vampires) and I would like to know your opinion about it, if it's possible. Thank you. Alan (Italy).


The author is a research associate of the Fowler Museum of Cultural History at the University of California and his approach is purely scientific. Paul Barber surveys centuries of folklore about the phenomenon and offers only scientific explanation for the origins of the vampire legend. If you are looking to explain away this supernatural phenomenon as an exercise in social anthropology or forensic pathology, eg as a cultural abberation, this is the book for you. If you want to learn about the vampire as a demonic manifestation of supernatural evil, it is not. 

Paul Barber subtitles his book "Folklore and Reality," but it is his reality and he does not entertain any belief in vampires or, I daresay, much else considered supernatural. The book is well researched, however, and cites plenty of cases which, if you are not already familiar with them, will make it an engrossing, albeit dry, read. I found it somewhat boring and tiresome, probably because I am more than acquainted with all with the book's material. To those who collect folklore books of this nature, I would probably recommend it. Those wanting to learn about vampires and vampirism, however, should look elsewhere. Vampires, Burial and Death is a relatively light read which attempts to succinctly explain away vampires by relegating them to the status of a superstition and natural causes. The author is more interested in decomposition than demons, and is a million light years from such exemplary works as The Vampire: His Kith & Kin (1928) and The Vampire in Europe (1929) by Montague Summers who approaches the subject with scholarship, passion and a perspective very much akin to my own.
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Wednesday, 2 October 2013

Holy Guardian Angels

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Today is the feast of the Holy Guardian Angels. Paul V was the first Pope, in 1608, to authorise a feast day in honour of guardian angels. Pope Clement X changed the date to October 2nd and Leo XIII, in 1883, upgraded the date to a double major feast. There is a proper Office in the Roman Breviary and a proper Mass in the Roman Missal, which contains all the apposite extracts from Sacred Scripture bearing on the three-fold office of the angels, to praise God, to act as His messengers, and to watch over mortal men. "Let us praise the Lord whom the Angels praise, whom the Cherubim and Seraphim proclaim Holy, Holy, Holy" (second antiphon of Lauds). "Behold I will send my angel, who shall go before thee, and keep thee in thy journey, and bring thee into the place that I have prepared. Take notice of him, and hear his voice" (Exodus 23; capitulum ad Laudes). The Gospel of the Mass includes that pointed text from St Matthew 18: 10: "See that you despise not one of these little ones: for I say to you that their angels in heaven always see the face of my Father who is in heaven." Although October 2nd has been fixed for this feast in the Roman calendar, it is kept, by papal privilege, in Germany and many other places on the first Sunday (computed ecclesiastically) of September, and is celebrated with special solemnity and generally with an octave (Nilles, II, 503). This feast, like many others, was local before it was placed in the Roman calendar. It was not one of the feasts retained in the Pian breviary, published in 1568; but among the earliest petitions from particular churches to be allowed, as a supplement to this breviary, the canonical celebration of local feasts, was a request from Cordova in 1579 for permission to have a feast in honour of the Guardian Angels. (Bäumer, Histoire du Breviaire, II, 233.) Bäumer, who makes this statement on the authority of original documents published by Dr. Schmid (in the Tübinger Quartalschrift, 1884), adds on the same authority that "Toledo sent to Rome a rich proprium and received the desired authorisation for all the Offices contained in it, Valencia also obtained the approbation in February, 1582, for special Offices of the Blood of Christ and the Guardian Angels."

My mother introduced me to St Teresa of Avila and, later on, to St Thérèse of Lisieux. Her death on the day following the feast of the latter was the most difficult moment of my life. Her last breath came at twenty minutes past five o’clock on the feast of the Holy Guardian Angels 1992. All I can remember is my father’s distant voice proclaiming: “She’s gone.” Two little words that were of themselves devastating ― yet I knew in my heart she had not gone at all, but had passed into the Lord’s safekeeping where she would be for eternity. Like her favourite saints, my mother remained as fragrant as flowers in death, resisting decomposition until the last; even when I replaced the lid on her coffin in the stone chapel for the very last time. She became the “first person I would anoint and on whose behalf I would recite the prayers for the newly dead, since receiving the mitre.” [The Grail Church, Holy Grail, 1995, page 102.] My mother’s funeral was also the first I would conduct in my episcopal office. It was held at Islington and St Pancras Cemetery on the feast day of St Teresa of Avila, one of the two saints my mother was most close to; the other being St Thérèse of Lisieux. I also conducted a funeral service in the same cemetery chapel some eight years later for my father.
 


Do not stand at my grave and weep;
I am not there. I do not sleep.
I am a thousand winds that blow.
I am the diamond glints on snow.
I am the sunlight on ripened grain,
I am the gentle autumn rain.

When you awaken in the morning’s hush,
I am the swift uplifting rush
Of quiet birds in circled flight.
I am the soft stars that shine at night.
Do not stand at my grave and cry;
I am not there, I did not die.

(Mary Frye)

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Tuesday, 1 October 2013

St Thérèse Shrine and Relics



St Thérèse of the Child Jesus and the Holy Face was buried in the Lisieux municipal cemetery on 4 October 1897. She was the first to be buried in the new plot her monastery had purchased in response to the city's new legislative directives prohibiting interment inside the cloister. In view of what took place after St Thérèse's death, it can now be said that the new directives were providential, since they enabled hundreds of thousands of pilgrims to visit her grave over a period of twenty-five years. Had St Thérèse been buried inside the cloister, this would never have been possible. Only in 1923 on the occasion of her beatification were her mortal remains transferred to the Carmelite chapel where they are kept to this day.



When people stand in the presence of the mortal remains of St Thérèse of Lisieux, or have some contact with her relics, as with petals from an unpetalled rose, God, who received through her humanity so many signs of love, is pleased in turn to manifest his love through her bodily remains.



From these poor signs, God's salvific power reveals and unfolds itself. It is enough to read the many volumes recounting favours and cures obtained through contact with St Thérèse's relics, as well as the abundant correspondence that arrives daily in Lisieux. 



We are indeed blessed at the Holy Grail retreat to be able to display numerous first class relics of St Thérèse at a dedicated shrine created for the purpose of veneration. Alongside her holy relics are those of beloved St Francis and St Clare of Assisi.
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St Thérèse of Lisieux

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St Thérèse of Lisieux (2 January 1873 – 30 September 1897), or St Thérèse of the Child Jesus and the Holy Face, born Marie-Françoise-Thérèse Martin, was a French Carmelite nun. She is also known as "The Little Flower of Jesus."

St Thérèse loved the priesthood and consecrated herself for priests, calling herself "an apostle to apostles." She did not pray for priests for their sake only, but out of love for the souls they were to serve. She prayed for the priest in solidarity with Jesus in the Eucharist, with Mary, with the Church, and with the world, and offered her life for their apostolic ministry.
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She felt an early call to religious life, and, overcoming various obstacles, in 1888 at the early age of fifteen, became a nun and joined two of her older sisters in the enclosed Carmelite community of Lisieux, Normandy. After nine years as a Carmelite religious, having fulfilled various offices, such as sacristan and novice mistress, and having spent the last eighteen months in Carmel in a night of faith, she died of tuberculosis at the age of twenty-four. The impact of her posthumous publications, including her memoir The Story of a Soul, made her one of the greatest saints of the 20th century. Pope Pius XI called her the Star of his pontificate; she was beatified in 1923, and canonised in 1925. Thérèse was declared co-patron of the missions with Francis Xavier in 1927, and named co-patron of France with St. Joan of Arc in 1944. On 19 October 1997 Pope John Paul II declared her the thirty-third Doctor of the Church, the only Doctor of his long pontificate, the youngest of all Doctors of the Church, only the third woman Doctor.

Devotion to Saint Thérèse has developed around the world and she was my own mother's favourite saint. My mother died the day following the feast of St Thérèse. The depth and novelty of Thérèse's spirituality, of which she said "my way is all confidence and love," has inspired many believers. In the face of her littleness and nothingness, she trusted in God to be her sanctity. She wanted to go to Heaven by an entirely new little way. "I wanted to find an elevator that would raise me to Jesus." The elevator, she wrote, would be the arms of Jesus lifting her in all her littleness.

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Sunday, 29 September 2013

Michaelmas

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Michaelmas, the feast of Saint Michael the Archangel (also the Feast of Saints Michael, Gabriel, Uriel and Raphael, the Feast of the Archangels, or the Feast of Saint Michael and All Angels) is today.

Saint Michael is one of the principal angels; his name was the war-cry of the good angels in the battle fought in heaven against the enemy and his followers. Four times his name is recorded in Scripture:

(1) Daniel 10: 13 sqq., Gabriel says to Daniel, when he asks God to permit the Jews to return to Jerusalem: "The Angel [D.V. prince] of the kingdom of the Persians resisted me . . . and, behold Michael, one of the chief princes, came to help me . . . and none is my helper in all these things, but Michael your prince."

(2) Daniel 12, the Angel speaking of the end of the world and the Antichrist says: "At that time shall Michael rise up, the great prince, who standeth for the children of thy people."

(3) In the Catholic Epistle of Saint Jude: "When Michael the Archangel, disputing with the devil, contended about the body of Moses", etc. Saint Jude alludes to an ancient Jewish tradition of a dispute between Michael and Satan over the body of Moses, an account of which is also found in the apocryphal book on the assumption of Moses (Origen, De Principiis III.2.2). Saint Michael concealed the tomb of Moses. Satan, however, by disclosing it, tried to seduce the Jewish people to the sin of hero-worship. Saint Michael also guards the body of Eve, according to the "Revelation of Moses" ("Apocryphal Gospels", etc, ed. A. Walker, Edinburgh, p. 647).

(4) Apocalypse 12: 7, "And there was a great battle in heaven, Michael and his angels fought with the dragon." Saint John speaks of the great conflict at the end of time, which reflects also the battle in heaven at the beginning of time. According to the Fathers there is often a question of Saint Michael in Scripture where his name is not mentioned. They say he was the cherub who stood at the gate of paradise, "to keep the way of the tree of life" (Genesis 3: 24), the angel through whom God published the Decalogue to his chosen people, the angel who stood in the way against Balaam (Numbers 22: 22 sqq.), the angel who routed the army of Sennacherib (2 Kings 19: 35).

Following these Scriptural passages, Christian tradition gives to Saint Michael four offices:

To fight against Satan.

To rescue the souls of the faithful from the power of the enemy, especially at the hour of death.

To be the champion of God's people, the Jews in the Old Law, the Christians in the New Testament; therefore he was the patron of the Church, and of the orders of knights during the Middle Ages.

To call away from earth and bring men's souls to judgment ("signifer S. Michael repraesentet eas in lucam sanctam," Offert. Miss Defunct. "Constituit eum principem super animas suscipiendas,"  Antiph. off. Cf. The Shepherd of Hermas, Book III, Similitude 8, Chapter 3).



Friday, 13 September 2013

Three Months

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For the past thirteen years I have been reducing my appearances and have purposely not released any new material of a literary nature with view to entering a more private existence. I have always been a private person at heart, but events throughout my life have conspired to prevent this and thwarted any attempt to be private.

What most brought me to public attention were the television and radio programmes I regularly appeared on and also the books and documentary films associated with topics which hold the public imagination in thrall. It is for that reason I have not submitted a book for publication since the beginning of the 21st century. Likewise, I have scaled back my broadcasts in the media to a point where I no longer make them. I ceased giving interviews to the print media decades ago and only then in quality magazines. Moreover, it will soon be three years since I declared I am no longer prepared to provide interviews on the Highgate case. What there was to say has already been said many times over. I found myself answering the same questions again and again; questions which frequently already have the answers provided in my published account.

One of the problems, I quickly came to realise many years ago, is that interviewers, regardless of the subject, simply do not know the right questions and the questions are every bit as important as the answers.

I am still having to regularly turn down television and radio interview requests, along with a plethora of other invitations to partake in projects which would maintain this perception of me being a public figure, which, I accept, is exactly what I have been for the majority of my life. Yet what made me so is now in the past.

The concomitants of being a public figure have slowly eroded over the last thirteen years to a point where I stand at the threshhold of finally achieving meaningful privacy. Hence, in three months I shall step over that threshhold and become a private person. This will not affect my episcopal duties, sacerdotal ministry, art and music etc, but any involvement in secular preoccupations and the expression of views on same in the public hemisphere shall altogether cease.

I will continue to address questions on this blog for just three more months. Thus, if there is a anything you wished you had asked, but have so far not done so, you have until the feast of Saint Lucia 2013.


"The reality I once experienced exists no longer and although its memories are the most potent that I possess, they now seem so far away ─ possibly because next to the hunger to experience a thing, there is no stronger hunger than to forget."
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Tuesday, 3 September 2013

Feast of Pope Saint Pius X




Memorial (1969 Calendar): August 21


Double (1955 Calendar): September 3


Pope Saint Pius X was born at Riese, a small village in Venetia, Italy, on June 2, 1835. His name, prior to his election as pope, was Joseph Sarto. He lived in a poor family - one of eight children. He was baptised on June 3, 1835, and confirmed on September 1, 1848. He was ordained a priest at the age of 33 and worked for seventeen years as a parish priest before becoming Bishop of Mantua. In 1892, Joseph Sarto advanced to the metropolitan see of Venice with the honorary title of patriarch. On August 4, 1903, he was elected Pope of the Holy Catholic Church. He is a much revered by traditionalists.




Pope Saint Pius X venerated at the Holy Grail Retreat

Pope Saint Pius X announced in his first encyclical that his papacy would seek to "to renew all things in Christ." He is primarily remembered for allowing children to receive First Holy Communion at a much younger age - the age of 7 instead of 12 or 14. He said, "Holy Communion is the shortest and safest way to Heaven." Consequently, he encouraged frequent reception of Holy Communion. He is also remembered for bringing Gregorian Chant back, encouraging daily Bible reading and establishing various Biblical institutes, reorganising the Roman Curia, taking a stand against Modernism, which he called the "synthesis of all heresies."  His Holiness issued the Oath Against Modernism from his Motu Proprio Sacrorum Antistitum on 1 September 1910.  He also worked on the codification of Canon Law.




It was nearly on the 11th anniversary of his election as pope when World War I broke out. Bronchitis soon developed for Pope Saint Pius X. He died on August 20, 1914, to what he called "the last affliction that the Lord will visit on me" due to worrying over World War I. He is buried under the altar of the chapel of the Presentation in Saint Peter's basilica.


In his will, Pope Saint Pius X said, "I was born poor, I have lived poor, I wish to die poor." He was canonised on May 29, 1954, by Pope Pius XII - the first Pope canonised since Saint Pius V in 1672.


Patron of: Archdiocese of Atlanta, Georgia; diocese of Des Moines, Iowa: first communicants; diocese of Great Falls-Billings, Montana; pilgrims; diocese of Springfield-Cape Girardeau, Missouri.


Prayer:


O God, Who to safeguard Catholic faith and to restore all things in Christ, didst fill the Supreme Pontiff, Saint Pius, with heavenly wisdom and apostolic fortitude: grant in Thy mercy: that by striving to fulfill his ordinances and to follow his example, we may reap eternal rewards. Through the same our Lord.


Prayer Source: 1962 Roman Catholic Daily Missal


Photographs from the Canonisation of Pope Saint Pius X:










Monday, 26 August 2013

Paulo Coelho

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Dear Bishop,

I have recently come across the books of Brasilian bestselling author Paulo Coelho. Although I enjoyed his story of the pilgrimage to Santiago de Compostella, recently an elderly priest has advised me against reading anymore from Coelho, stating he was only outwardly a traditional Catholic and in reality an occultist and a (perhaps even black) magician. Given the fact that Coelho is apparently one of the most successful authors of the present I would very much appreciate your opinion regarding his work. Thank you.

Sincerely,
Patrick


Paulo Coelho was born in Rio in August 1947; "I am 100 per cent Virgo," he says, "stubborn, over-organised, slightly abstracted from the rest of the world." His father was an engineer, and expected his son to follow in his footsteps. His mother was a devout Catholic, and sent her son to a Jesuit school. They took a dim view of his desire to write, and an even dimmer one when he took to declaiming his poetry on the beaches amid Rio's proto-Beats. They sent him to a mental institution where he received electroshock therapy. In the late 1960s, he became a fully-fledged member of the Brazilian underground, growing hippy hair, doing drugs, and devouring the writings of the occultist Aleister Crowley. He met a singer called Raul Seixas and began writing lyrics for him. Seixas became a huge star, and one of his and Coelho's biggest hits was called Sociedade Alternativa; soon, kids all over Brazil were singing its catchy refrain – "Do what you want / Because it's the whole of the law / Long live the Alternative Society / The number 666 is Aleister Crowley."
"I've presided over a few black masses in my time, sure," grins Coelho. "I wouldn't recommend it necessarily, but every young person should allow the flame of rebellion to manifest in some way, because if you don't see the other side of the coin, you are just a sheep. You'll have some risky experiences, but everyone knows his or her limits, I believe." (This train of thought naturally brings him to Amy Winehouse: "I love her," he declares. "She doesn't seem like the happiest person on earth, and I guess she will either die or she will survive, but I believe it will be the latter; she has a talent to nurture.")

You will know them by their fruit. (Matthew 7: 16) 
It really is that simple.
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