Sunday, 29 September 2013



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


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."

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.


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: