Will more prayer than activity produce success?

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The “Catechism of the Catholic Church” (‘CCC’), paragraphs 1803 and 1833, defines virtue as “habitual and firm disposition to do good.” An old adage alleges that patience is a virtue, but how patience (in the usual sense of that word) can be equated with habitual and firm disposition to do good is unclear to me. A tendency towards doing good can co-exist with impatience (in the usual sense of that word). Patience (in the usual sense of that word) can … Read More

We Should Fight Battles As Well As Heal Wounds

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An article by Philip Campbell in “The Catholic Herald” just after Easter 2024 cited numbers of recent baptisms/conversions in Canada, USA, France, full-to-capacity attendance at Westminster Cathedral on Good Friday, and “the growing church attendance amongst young people in Finland” as possibly being “the budding shoots of a Christian revival.” Apparently the article had been inspired by one from Justin Brierley in “The Spectator” magazine on the previous 30th March, whose headline (more confident than Mr. Campbell’s suggestion) was that … Read More

Should Weeds Be Pulled Up?

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One of Our Lord’s salutary stories was of a man who sowed wheat-seeds in his field. Subsequently an enemy secretly sowed weeds among them. When the wheat developed, so did the weeds. The man’s employees reported this to him and asked whether he wanted the weeds to be pulled up. He replied, ‘No, lest in doing that you pull up also the wheat. Let both grow until harvest-time, and then I will tell the reapers to gather the weeds and … Read More

Assessing The Contra-Catholic Scene Candidly – Part 2

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The contra-Catholic scene is worsening because bad trends are not being even halted but extended. That is especially evident in abortion. Britain and Ireland differ in the lengths of time during which it has had public and statutory approval, but its opponents in both countries face some similar questions. No answers have made a significant difference to the status quo in Britain. ‘How we stand’2019: “… one woman, one baby at a time, we are stopping abortion.” That is true … Read More

Assessing The Contra-Catholic Scene Candidly – Part 1

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“The contra-Catholic scene” is a broad-to-the-point-of-vague expression, but its breadth is appropriate for the breadth of subjects on which Catholic principle is manifestly and diametrically defied by law and public policy. Anyone to whose mind examples do not come immediately, effortlessly, and regretfully will not find much interest in this essay, so if you are such a person your time would be better spent on something else. If “the contra-Catholic scene” means something to you, you may have noticed some … Read More

Candour, Minimalism, and the ‘Wineskins’ Factor

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“No-one puts new wine into old wineskins,” said Our Lord,[1] because the old skins are too weak to hold it; new wine needs new skins. So a receiver (the skin) must be ready to receive what is received (the wine); a message must not put too great a strain on people. If, of course, the message is weaker than the minds to which it is expressed, there should not be a problem with its absorption/acceptance. This is a credible metaphor … Read More

Christ’s Kingship – “on Earth as it is in Heaven”

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Part 2 A prayer well-known to traditionally-formed Catholics asks the Holy Ghost to “fill the hearts of thy faithful and enkindle in them the fire of thy love,…and thou shalt renew the face of the Earth.” Because what happens in this world matters to God (if it did not, why would He have prescribed rules by which we should live?), the Catholic Church has always striven to carry out the task which He gave it: to teach all nations to … Read More

Christ’s Kingship – “on Earth as it is in Heaven”

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Part 1 According paragraph 9 of a “Doctrinal Note on Some Aspects of Evangelization,” published in 2007 by the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, “The growth of the Church in history, which results from missionary activity, is at the service of the presence of God through his Kingdom: one cannot in fact detach the Kingdom from the Church.” It seems to follow from that inseparability that the Kingdom of God arrived on Earth when Our Lord founded the … Read More

Revitalising Or ‘Writing-Off’ Routine And Rare Relationships (a Christmas-inspired idea)

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The ‘festive season’ will begin soon, illustrating the dominant ‘understanding’ of its significance. Will you be making a cards-list, or is that unnecessary because it is the same every year? Among the most indicative aspects are songs played by radio-stations and through the customer-announcements facilities in shops. Most of them focus on tangential topics such as Santa and snow. On the barometer of gregarious joy, they range from Andy Williams’ “Most Wonderful Time” to Roy Orbison’s “Pretty Paper.” At the … Read More

Fact, Fantasy, and Films (with some reference to music).

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Recent news-reports have included ones about heat and fire. Climatic heat is regularly in the news because of the regular flow of information about ‘global warming’ (do you get ‘hot under the collar’ about that?). Increased atmospheric temperatures are said to cause, among other things, fires (although the fires may result also from accident or arson). So-called “wild-fires” have been presented as increasingly-frequent events, and predicted to continue as such. Fear of fire is justified (although seemingly-nobody shows fear or … Read More

Does Vagueness Have Value?

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That question, which first occurred to me decades ago, came into my mind again after the death of Queen Elizabeth II.  I suspect that the event did not bring it into many other people’s minds, and I did not hear the question debated. There was instead plenty of factually-correct and merited acknowledgement of Her Majesty’s unwavering dedication to her role.  It is, however, neither unreasonable nor deliberately disrespectful to mention that the applause was for seventy years of public platitudes … Read More

Low Birth Rates

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Perhaps most Christians can be assumed confidently to know that God’s instruction to the human race was to be fruitful, multiply and fill the Earth.[1] It is common knowledge that in the twentieth century the governments of the world, with the acquiescence of their populations, decided that (even if God still existed) compliance with His instruction had gone far enough, and made it their policy to encourage defiance of it and to provide people with every known means for that … Read More

‘EXTREMISM’ and PROGRESS

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Are you inhibited by fear of being regarded as an ‘extremist’? If so, is your fear based on emotional aversion to unpopularity, or on a strategic belief that unpopularity thwarts progress? Consider the following analysis. Pro-life attitudes can be (and probably very often are) described as ‘extreme,’ and therefore their adherents as ‘extremists’. Incidentally, it is unwise to draw many conclusions when someone is described as, or claims to be, ‘pro-life’. Unreliability lurks beneath vagueness. An experienced pro-life campaigner once … Read More

COMPROMISE v. ABSOLUTISM

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[“Whatever the current difficulties may be, Christ’s disciples must assert the demands of faith in Christ without reticence and without compromise, in theory and in practice, because they are the demands and precepts of God.” Cardinal Robert Sarah, “God or Nothing,” Ignatius Press, 2015, p.276.] In religious and political contexts we often hear references to, and recommendations of, “dialogue” as a means of ‘managing’ differences of belief and of objective. The theory is that the participants in dialogue will state … Read More

Evangelising in a Desert

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Well-meaning people sometimes say, to ease disappointment from an unfulfilled hope, that ‘results aren’t important’. Common sense, however, tells us that the importance of something extends to what happens to it. So someone who attempts an important task will want it to succeed, and someone who loses a valuable possession will rejoice in its recovery. Our Lord confirmed this.[1] He does not want any soul to be lost, and came into the world to avert such losses,[2] so results in … Read More

Respecting Democracy More Than God

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Editors Note: an earlier version of this article was inadvertently missing two consecutive paragraphs. They began with “When members of the Church…” and “No genuine Catholic…” Their omission may have altered the coherence of the article. They are now included. St. Thomas More said that he was “the King’s good servant, but God’s first.” Today there are few Kings, or Queens, and they are merely symbolic of supreme national authority. Supremacy is held (theoretically) by the (voting) public, whose wishes … Read More