Monday, November 8, 2010

Long Break.....

As you will no doubt have realized, this blog is on an extended sabbatical, it may return, but I have too many other duties. Joseph Pearce has asked me to write on the St. Austin Review blog, so we shall have to see.............Keep well, and keep the Faith!

Friday, September 17, 2010

Daniel in the Lion's Den

The speech in Westminster Hall - truly "Caritas in Veritate!"

Friday, September 10, 2010

"This truly great Englishman"

Words of the Holy Father, spoken at his General Audience, in preparation for the most important and difficult visit of his Papacy, about Blessed John Henry Cardinal Newman who will be beatified next Sunday..........."this truly great is my hope that more and more people will benefit from his gentle wisdom and be inspired by his example of integrity and holiness of life." Pope Benedict XVI. The words the Pope applies to Newman could just as easily refer to Pope Benedict - except he would be a "truly great Bavarian!"

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Not a good Pope

We do not have a good Pope: we do not have an outstanding Pope, we have have a great Pope! I wonder if most of us, lay and clerical, realize the Pope that we have been given at this precise moment in history.

Tomorrow we celebrate the Solemnity of the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus, of which the priesthood is the expression of his love, as St. John Vianney said. The Holy Father answered five questions from priests from different continents - his extemporaneous answers were, quite literally, extraordinary. Watching the Holy Father,through the blessing of EWTN, I realized that George Weigel's book 'God's Choice' was absolutely correct. As diabolic forces mass against the Church and her priests, what an incredible blessing to hear Peter address the priests of the world - the priests of Jesus Christ.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Beautiful - and Powerful!

Yesterday, on the eve of the Feast of Our Lady of Fatima, our beloved Holy Father, Pope Benedict XVI, consecrated all the priests of the world to the Immaculate Heart of Mary. This event, as the Year for Priests comes to an end next month, has profound significance, both theologically and spiritually. The Successor of St. Peter has entrusted the priests of the world, in a formal act of consecration, to the spiritual care of the Mother of God in the very place where She appeared. As the Pope has reminded us, we are only seven years away from the centenary of Her appearance. With all that has happened, and all that will happen, I think this moment is going to have profound significance, not only for all priests, but for the whole Church. Thank you, Holy Father!

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Happy Octave!

A happy, blessed and peaceful Easter Octave day to my faithful three or four readers! I must confess that the Triduum was not what I had hoped for - unfortunately, I allowed myself to be distracted by the venomous, serpentine and diabolic attacks on the Holy Father and the Church which reached a spittle-flecked crescendo on Easter Day. I was so distracted that, during the Vigil, I forgot to get the people to renew their Baptismal vows until we had started the intercessions - mea culpa - I am sure they think their priest is a moron! However, I had a lovely call from a parishioner this evening - a mother of five and a great inspiration to me - she told me to stop listening to the news - they loved their priest and they loved the Holy Father - thank God for parishioners like that!

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Betrayed by a Kiss

The "ad intra" encouragement of disloyalty to the Pope just got a huge boost from Fr. Richard McBrien, the well-known heterodox professor from Notre Dame. He really should be ashamed of the article he penned in Newsweek. The reality is that people who are warning about potential schism in the Church are actually behind on the story: the schism is real, and has been for some time - the difference is, they don't leave the Church anymore, they try and corrupt it from within. The danger to the precious faith of the ordinary faithful when those who speak, apparently in the name of the Church, is immense. Let us never forget that Jesus' warning about the "little ones" and the millstone was not about children but the little poor ones, those of a simple and humble faith. Another kiss in the Garden from Fr. McBrien. How appropriate on 'Spy Wednesday.'

Wisdom from Belloc

"The love of Truth is the distinguishing mark between men."

"A man who loves Truth and has the Faith is up against it."

"The Catholic Church is a thing of which a man never despairs or is ashamed."

What modern anti-Catholicism is - it is...."anti-civilization, anti-it, anti-wine, anti-laughter of a free sort, anti-love, anti-celibacy, and anti-pure stuff!"

Why this is really happening.

The Press: "the new black arts of mass suggestion and propaganda." Christopher Dawson

It has been said so many times, but still needs to be said: one case of the abuse of a minor by a priest is too many. It is not only a crime, but it is a mortal sin which, if unrepented, will result in eternal damnation. Independent and unbiased journalism - (seeking facts not spin) which used to exist, will confirm that the vast majority of the sexual abuse of children takes place within the family. Other institutions, especially Schools, also figure very highly in the statistics. I read one report that in one year in the New York Public School system (State schools in English), there were more reports of sexual abuse than in 50 years against the Catholic Church in the entire United States. What is happening now, in the wildly inaccurate, slanderous and downright false reporting of the current crisis, is more akin to a lynch mob than anything else. Even calling the crisis "current" is clearly not true; most of these cases are from decades ago and the Church, in Britain and the United States, is recognized, again by the independent and unbiased, as having the most stringent child protection measures in place of any organization. None of that matters; what matters is that the Catholic Church is the leading voice for traditional sexual morality in the world; the Church is the defender of life; the Church defends the God-given institution of marriage between a man and a woman. In the culture war which is rapidly intensifying in secular Europe and the United States, the Catholic Church is "the opposition" - the enemy - of a secularism which is not neutral, but hostile - and aggressively hostile. In military terms, the Pope is the "General" of this army - and if you want to take out an army, go for the leader and guide. John Allen, the uniquely fair religion "expert" on CNN, said in his new book, "Future Church" that is does not take much to move the "nones," those having no religious affiliation, to becoming the "antis." Anti-Catholicism is the anti-semitism of the secular elite who inhabit the newsrooms and editorial offices of much of the media. It is not only the "last acceptable prejudice," it is not even regarded as prejudice, it is sanity, clarity, breathing the pure air of freedom, liberated from the dark oppression of the Church. This will not change, it will only get worse. The attempt to portray the Church as the epicenter of child abuse in the world, despite the facts, is the attempt to exclude the voice of the Church from the Public Square. What is even more disturbing is that some of the support for this is "ad intra," coming from within. Perhaps we should not be surprised by this, betrayal has been part of the life of Christ's Body since that first kiss in the Garden. Every act of abuse is, of course, a betrayal of Christ - so is the sanctimonious kiss of the National Catholic Reporter and other "friends." The great fault of many in the hierarchy in recent years is not the "covering-up" of sex abuse - it has been naivete - imagining that the opponents of the Church are charming dinner party guests who wish to engage in "dialogue." They wish to "dialogue" us into obscurity, and this latest battle in the Great War to end all wars should concentrate the minds, and gird the loins of our platoon commanders. We are dealing now with what Roman Guardini called, "the smiling unbelief of the world's mighty and wellborn;" but they are snarling, not smiling. Bryan Appleyard, writing in The Independent in February 1996 wrote these words....."The truth is that Catholicism is not a problem for the contemporary liberal, is is the the modern imagination, Catholicism is the biggest enemy of all. As a result, 'I hate Catholics' is quite commonly heard in otherwise civilized circles."

Don't Let the Facts Spoil a Good Story!

As if we didn't know, the "facts" reported by The New York Times about Pope Benedict have been demolished, by no less than the Judge who investigated the case. That has not stopped the NY Times from continuing to attack the Church: clearly admitting sloppy reporting and bias is impossible for the failing flagship of the liberal elite. Archbishop Dolan of New York and Bishop DiMarzio of Brooklyn deserved great praise for their outspoken comments about the NY Times

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Novena for the Holy Father

There is an orchestrated, organized campaign against the Holy Father, of this, there is no doubt. "le Grappin," as St. John Vianney described him, is behind this. The best, and only remedy is prayer. I suggest a novena to St. John Vianney, the Patron Saint of Parish Priests, beginning at First Vespers of Palm Sunday - how appropriate as we begin Holy Week. Please join in this Novena for Pope Benedict - if you are a priest, please ask your parishioners to join in prayer for the health, safety and protection of the Holy Father.

Monday, March 22, 2010


Today marks the Feast of the great English martyr, St. Nicholas Owen. St. Nicholas, a Jesuit lay-brother, was the famous builder of "priest-holes" and hiding places all over England during the terrible persecution of the Church. All the persecution was, of course, introduced by Parliament, with properly constituted law. My parishioners often smile indulgently when I tell them that, someday, they might have to hide me when laws are introduced here. Coincidentally(?), interesting legislation was passed last night in Congress which, despite all talk of "Executive Orders" will usher in the worst onslaught on the unborn since the infamous 'Roe v. Wade.' Next, as several Democrats have already said is on their agenda, comes the overturning of the Hyde Amendment. Start training in carpentry and hole building - St. Nicholas Owen, pray for us!

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Lazarus Rises

Having had more comebacks than Frank Sinatra - my posts will be infrequent, but not silenced!

"But for Wales, Richard!"

Thursday, March 18, 2010


It seems clear to me that it is time to say goodbye - this blog has clearly outlived any usefulness it might have had. I post so infrequently that nobody can be blamed for not looking at the blessed thing. Blogs have always seemed slightly self-indulgent - unless a good number of people say that, for whatever it is worth, in some way, not for my own glory, but that it actually helps their Christian journey, I think that the Feast of St. Joseph will be the time for Funeral orations for the 'Owl of the Remove.' Ciao.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Wisdom from Chesterton

"The issue is now quite clear; it is between light and darkness and every one must choose his side."

G. K. Chesterton.

The New Anti-Semitism

Christopher Hitchens

The vile Christopher Hitchens who, if he was writing about Jews or Black people would never be published and, in fact, would probably be prosecuted, has written a vicious, demented and demonic attack on the Pope on It struck me that, even though some would think that I have finally lost my marbles, Catholics, at least in some parts of Europe, but also in some parts of the USA that resemble Europe in their aggressive secularism, are experiencing gradually but perceptibly, what Jewish people experienced in the years leading up to the Holocaust. Absurd, say the naive, well-meaning fools who cannot fathom evil until it gasses six million. Just look at the language of the Hitchens article (actually don't - take my word for it - it's horrible). He is far from unusual. Cashing a check at the bank recently, I noticed the bank clerk looking at the check, the Church name on the cheque (British English), my name (identifying me as priest) - there was a coldness that I can only put down to hostility to the Catholic Church. I may have been wrong, but as I left, I immediately thought of the experiences of Jews in Germany in the 1930's - how little acts of hostility gradually became open contempt and then, finally, legalized persecution. Insane - persecution complex? I don't know - but look at the language of the intelligentsia which hates everything the Church stands for with a passion which is, indeed, demonic.

Owl Hospitalized

Prayers requested for the Owl: he was recently hospitalized because watching Nancy Pelosi made his toes curl.

Friday, March 12, 2010

The Silence of the Lambs

Anyone with even a modicum of interest in the fate of the Catholic Church in England, even if in exile across the water, cannot fail to have been gravely concerned about the events of recent weeks. The blogosphere has been alive with some excellent pieces by, among others, Father Ray Blake and Father John Boyle. Without recounting what has happened with the legislation introduced by the Labour government to force Catholic schools to teach abortion, contraception and homosexuality, the real cause of scandal has been the deafening silence of the bishops. One writer on the web referred to this moment as the "crossing of the Rubicon." That is, I think, not too extreme. The Catholic population of England and Wales is facing its gravest crisis since another group of episcopal pygmies decided that, rather than defend the successor of St. Peter, they would prefer the "establishment" of an English national Church. Just one, as we know, demurred - St. John Fisher. Many speak of the bishops keeping silent because they are "working behind the scenes...... waiting until after the election...etc, etc." In this instance, silence, if not signalling consent, at least signifies a stultifying lack of leadership and intestinal fortitude, or what, here in the United States they call "guts!" When the sheep need shepherds, all they get is the silence of the lambs.


Been a bit quiet for a few weeks, part of the reason to be explained in the next post. I have been contacted by my friend, the great Pastor of St. Mary's Parish in Greenville, South Carolina, Father Jay Scott Newman, with the news that he has entered the blogosphere with a blog entitled Ecclesia Semper Reformanda. I still don't know how to do one of those link things, but go and say hello.

Monday, February 22, 2010

Lenten reading

Although I hate those meme things, I am intrigued to find out what people are reading for Lent. For my spiritual reading, I am finally reading Pope Benedict's Jesus of Nazareth, just a couple of pages a day. For my Lenten study, Cardinal George's book, The Difference God Makes. He is, I think, the most intellectually able of the current bench of US bishops, and this collection is worth wading through. He echoes John Allen's new book, Future Church (or Allen echoes him), about the need for a return to apologetics, and some interesting things to say about evangelizing US culture.

"The public authority, the government, while it must protect freedom and foster justice, cannot teach. But the Church can; and this claim to teach the truth is truly counter cultural. It explains why anti-Catholicism is a socially and intellectually respectable prejudice among much of the cultural elite in this country. Since the culture is too narrow for Gospel truth, Catholic evangelizers want to enlarge American culture and broaden its vision."

Cardinal Francis George, OMI.

Wisdom from Ronnie

"Everywhere the politicians who have spoken loudest in the name of justice and of freedom have been the first to deny justice and freedom to their Catholic subjects."

Monsignor Ronald Knox.

Latest Marini News

Archbishop Marini before rehab.

Just to keep a regular reader happy(!) - the latest news of Archbishop Piero 'Kenny G.' Marini, former Papal MC. As faithful followers of this blog know (all three of them), we have followed, with prayer and concern, Archbishop Marini's frequent visits to liturgical rehab. All the news was positive until recently; he had been seen saying the Novus Ordo 'ad orientem,' had participated in a public burning of felt banners and even attended, in choir dress, an Extraordinary Form Mass. Sadly, I have to report he has once more fallen off the wagon. He is back in the high security liturgical re-education centre, run by the Institute of Christ the King, Sovereign Priest. My sources tell me that he will be there for at least three months, following a strict regime of EF daily Mass, piped-in Gregorian chant and sleep deprivation.

Friday, February 19, 2010

Ugly Britain

I see from various news reports, and from other blogs, that a concerted attempt is being made by the secular elite and other forces of "toleration" in Britain, to try and disrupt Pope Benedict's visit to Britain in September. I am sure we can expect these "protests," helped by an obliging media, to greatly increase as the visit gets closer. Anti-Catholicism has, of course, always been something of a popular spectator sport in Britain, along with sending children up chimneys and discussing the weather. From this side of the pond, it certainly seems that hostility to the Church is growing in ever-more secular Britain. Who will provide a strong defense of the Church in this hostile climate - the Bishops?

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

What's Wrong With This Picture?

Faith, we are constantly told by many prominent 'Catholics' in political life, is an essentially private matter. For at least a thousand years, if not a great deal longer, the public wearing of ashes on the head, given on Ash Wednesday, has indicated a public expression of two things: the fact that one is a sinner in need of repentance and, the commitment to seek reconciliation before the celebration of Easter (according to the General Liturgical Norms and the Ceremonial of Bishops). If you hold a public position against a fundamental teaching of the Church (or several key teachings - abortion, same-sex marriage) and you have no intention of conforming to the solemn teaching of the Church in public or private, in other words, seeking reconciliation, would not the wearing of a public symbol of faith and repentance be, perhaps, hypocritical - something the Lord condemns three times in the Gospel for Ash Wednesday? Maybe the wearing of a public symbol of Catholic faith might perhaps be to do with the Catholic vote? Someone help me out here, I'm just an ignorant "resident alien" with no vote.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Super Bowl of Obligation

Have been back for a few days, but little time for blogging. Yesterday was the US secular Holy Day of Obligation known as the Super Bowl. This has now become something of a secular para-liturgy. The introductory rites include pretzels, nachos and beer. Then, the main part of the rite develops with the meal, usually taken during half-time, unless the commercials are viewed, which is also very much part of the ritual. After the game, beer etc, is still consumed with the post-game analysis, which is, of course, greatly helped by the amount of beer consumed during the game. Having played Rugby as a youth, I have absolutely no interest in American Football, finding all the stops and starts incredibly irritating, so I had a rather lovely 'silent Super Bowl' - watching a rather fine French movie about the role of Algerian troops in WW II called 'Indigenes.'

Sunday, January 24, 2010


The Owl will be roosting on another perch for a few days..........

Monday, January 18, 2010

The Chimpanzee Look

My new official portrait

I am in something of a quandary: my editor at the 'Vermont Catholic Magazine,' the little bi-monthly I write a column for, that is read by literally dozens of readers, does not like the picture that is included with my column each fortnight. I agree with her; it shows the face of a man made only for exposure on radio. I much preferred the old black and white picture they used to use, but now colour is the big thing. However, the reason she, and others, do not like the (new and old) picture is that, apparently, I am not smiling. My eyes, even though they are half-English, are smiling. Why should we smile in official portraits/photographs? When did this fashion appear that we must look like exhibits on the National Geographic Channel? What does a smile convey? I decided to search the official portraits of the Presidents of the United States: you do not see teeth on any US President until....wait for it.....Ronald Reagan! After him, it's all teeth and gums. Gerald Ford has the merest hint of a wintry smile - no teeth, though - like a hint of sunshine on a cloudy day. Dwight D. Eisenhower is serious, so is Lyndon B. Johnson. Gravitas, my friends - that is what an official portrait should convey - not confirmation of Darwin's Origin of the Species.

Dickens and Pickwick

A couple of years ago I remember stating that one of my New Year resolutions was to "become more Pickwickian." Sadly, I have to report that has not occurred, at least as far as I am aware. However, I am becoming inspired once again, after reading, for the first time, G.K. Chesterton's "literary sketch,' (not biography) Charles Dickens. There is some beautiful writing in this book - my copy is a lovely, mouldy, Methuen & Co., Fourth Edition, dated January 1907. Chesterton truly captures the reason for Dickens success, which most of us only see now by watching the wonderful BBC adaptations (just saw Little Dorrit - wonderful!) He captures the fact, overlooked even by critics in the time of Dickens, of the folkloric/religious character of much of Dickens work and, of course, the fact that the characters are everlasting. A couple of beautiful quotes:

"To every man alive, one must hope, it has in some manner happened that he has talked with his more fascinating friends round a table on some night when all the numerous personalities unfolded themselves like great tropical flowers. All fell into their parts as in some delightful impromptu play. Every man was more himself than he had ever been in this vale of tears. Every man was a beautiful caricature of himself. The man who has known such nights will understand the exaggerations of "Pickwick." The man who has not known such nights will not enjoy "Pickwick" nor (I imagine) heaven. For, as I have said, Dickens is in this matter, close to popular religion, which is the ultimate and reliable religion. He conceives an endless joy; he conceives creatures as permanent as Puck or Pan - creatures whose will to live aeons upon aeons cannot satisfy. He is not come, as a writer, that his creatures may copy life and copy its narrowness; he is come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly. It is absurd indeed that Christians should be called the enemies of life because they wish life to last forever; it is more absurd still to call the old comic writers dull because they wished their unchanging characters to last forever. Both popular religion, with its endless joys, and the old comic story, with its endless jokes, have in our time faded together. We are too weak to desire that undying vigour. We believe that you can have too much of a good thing - a blasphemous belief, which at one blow wrecks all the heavens that men have hoped for. The grand old defiers of God were not afraid of an eternity of torment. We have come to be afraid of an eternity of joy...........he is there, as I have said, to exaggerate life in the direction of life. The spirit he at bottom celebrates is that of two friends drinking wine together and talking through the night. But for him they are two deathless friends talking through an endless night and pouring wine from an inexhaustible bottle."

"There are two rooted spiritual realities out which grow all kinds of democratic conception or sentiment of human equality. There are two things in which all men are manifestly and unmistakably equal. They are not equally clever or equally muscular or equally fat, as the sages of the modern reaction (with piercing insight) perceive. But this is a spiritual certainty, that all men are tragic. And this again, is an equally sublime spiritual certainty, that all men are comic. No special and private sorrow can be so dreadful as the fact of having to die. And no freak or deformity can be so funny as the mere fact of having two legs. Every man is important if he loses his life; and every man is funny if he loses his hat, and has to run after it. And the universal test everywhere of whether a thing is popular, of the people, is whether it employs vigorously these extremes of the tragic and the comic.............And all over the world, the folk literature, the popular literature, is the same. It consists of very dignified sorrow and very undignified fun. Its sad tales are of broken hearts; its happy tales are of broken heads."

G. K. Chesterton - Charles Dickens

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Poor British!

News from Britain is grim: the Nation is grinding to a halt, the snow is piling up and there is no salt or grit for the roads -oh, and it's rather chilly! The temptation is to smirk and make comments about shoveling snow yesterday (the regular work of a Vermont Parish Priest) in temperatures of -10F (I don't know what that is in the funny money calculus) - but we will not give in to that temptation, no, not a bit of it. Little note to my friend Father John of 'Caritas in Veritate' - experienced snow-shovelling P.P's do not usually wear the full cassock - tends to get in the way - but the Saturno looks excellent!

Friday, January 8, 2010


In a (slight - and friendly) parody of the inimitable 'Fr. Z' - or Fr. Zed, as the great Father Blake calls him - Friday supper........

Take a beautiful can of the finest Heinz baked beans - English Heinz beans ideally, for flavour and quality. Gently open with a Roman can opener. Pour slowly into a copper-bottomed pan. Heat gently and with love. Meanwhile, prepare two pieces of toast. This will involve opening a packet of bread and inserting the bread into a will want your bread to be brown but not burnt..... we in England call it "toast." When you judge that the beans are ready, butter your toast with Kerrygold Irish butter, pour the beans over the toast and, for that final "je ne sais quoi", remove from the fridge the ketchup (tomato sauce in English) and squirt ( a technical "foodie" term) over the "beans on toast." Buon appetito!

p.s. Just saw the movie 'Julie and Julia' about the cook Judith Child - for English readers imagine Fanny Craddock - but more eccentric (is that possible!) - obviously this inspired my friday night culinary masterpiece.

News of the Sick Patient

Thank you for all the kind comments. The patient is still under the weather but, after the late night anointing, the Owl of the Remove blogs breathing became less laboured and the quartet of nuns who were saying the rosary by the blogs bed noticed some colour returning to the blogs cheeks. I suspect the powerful prayers of the Pastor of one of the finest parishes in the South helped, along with other devout supplications. Partial paralysis may still be an issue, often lasting several weeks.........we must wait......and pray.

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Blog Last Rites

Last night the doctor was summoned to the bedside of the Owl of the Remove blog. It has been sickening for some time. Last night the breathing became laboured, some thought they could hear the death rattle. Several pious women are praying by the bed, hoping for a miraculous recovery.......perhaps their devout petitions will be heard. At the moment, it is 50/50.... the priest was called around midnight to administer the Last will all depend on the prayer of the faithful. If the sun comes up in the morning, perhaps there will be life in the old blog, it is so hard to say...there is so little strength in the old and weak body...........prayers please!