The Importance of Ecumenical Dialogue

The Importance of Ecumenical Dialogue
"Oh PLEASE say I'm the Archbishop of Canterbury!"

Friday, 24 August 2012

Santo Subito! Fr Hugh Thwaites, Santo Subito!


Fr Hugh Thwaites at our wedding.
The great pro-life stalwart Fr James Morrow is behind him.

Father Thwaites died on the Feast of St Jane, which gave me the opportunity to tell my Mother of his death (she remembered him from our Wedding) and wish her a happy Feast Day! As an atheist/agnostic she tends to miss her Feast Day. As the next day was the Feast of Immaculate Heart of the Blessed Virgin Mary, we could not have a Requiem Mass for him at the Good Counsel Network's chapel. But when one remembers Father's great devotion to the Mother of God, it seemed right to have her Mass offered for him. You can view two brief clips from the Mass here and here, and the photo at the end of this post is from the Mass offered by Fr Whinder.

Here's what my Wife said over on The Good Counsel blog;

"A few years ago, about 10 actually, Fr Thwaites accompanied my husband Stuart and I to Youth 2000 in Walsingham. It was not exactly his scene, to say the least, but he had been tempted there by reports of mass confessions and vocations.

There were many things he did not like about the festival - as you might imagine. He was only saying the Old Rite Mass by that time and so he said Mass everyday at the friend's house he stayed at. And, while praying each day in the marquee, he said the general goings on - loud music, loud sermons and so on - meant it was the most distracted praying of his brieviary that he had ever experienced.

But Fr Thwaites was always a gentleman and always looking for ways to bring souls closer to Christ. He also said the whole festival was totally geared to bringing forth vocations, which he loved. And he made himself available for confessions morning, noon and night. Not a bad effort in a damp field for someone in his mid eighties and definitely out of his comfort zone!!!

The most amazing thing for me was to see how everyone knew him. Here he was, an old man, often saying the Old Rite Mass alone in a private chapel, and here we were with a load of youngsters, mostly New Rite Mass only ones at that, and everyone knew him. And if they didn't know him personally their mum knew him, he had converted their dad to the faith, he had married their aunty and uncle or I don't know what. And they flocked to him.

He was overjoyed to meet seminarians and his advice to them was, if you want to always have enough money, always buy rosaries and have them in your pockets ready to give out. That way, he said, Our Lady would always make sure you would have enough money for more :).

I remember when he used to stand at the back of the Church at the end of Mass in Spanish Place when he was there. He would have a table laden with bottles of holy water, a large handful of Miraculous Medals and would be given them out wholesale. And he was wonderful with children.

He was a really saintly person. Someone who succeeded in bringing hundreds, probably thousands, to the faith. I look forward to the first good biography of him.

I wish I had a better picture of him. We always thought that you could see heaven in his crystal blue eyes.

It's hard to imagine him being anywhere other than in heaven, but no doubt he would be the first to ask for prayers for the repose of his soul."

Wednesday, 15 August 2012

Where were you when......?


From time to time people will remember exactly where they were when something 'big' happened, first moon landing, shooting of JKF, death of Blessed JPII, etc. But other days may not be so easy to recall, for mere mortals. For example, Where were you 13 years ago today? Oh yes, now you mention it, I do remember. I was in Preston for a couple of days that weekend. Fr McMahon SSPX, had arranged for Joseph Pearce to come and give a talk, in a pub over dinner that Sunday, to a group of us who had read his book on Tolkien.

Mr Pearce was a bit surprised to find that Father was from the SSPX, as no one had told him that when inviting him. Anyway I'm sure we all had a great time. Joe, no doubt gave a very good talk, I don't remember what I had for dinner, but I'm sure it and the beer was good. At some point I produced my hardback copy of Joseph's first mainstream book, Wisdom and Innocence, A Life of GK Chesterton, and asked if he would mind signing it. He asked where I'd bought it? From Aidan Mackey said I, a GK Chesterton bookseller, at the time. "I've already signed it" he replied! Amongst a few laughs he took the book and a pen, and added 'The Assumption 1999' above his signature which was, as he said already there. I clearly had not read the book, and have still not! But I have quoted from it a number of times and now today, the Feast of The Assumption 2012 I have finally started to read it! Don't worry Sir Pratchett you can borrow it as soon as I'm finished.

Tuesday, 14 August 2012

Does The Holy Father Read This Blog?


Back in April, when I announced that, Pope Benedict XVI Reads This Blog and provided irrefutable proof, a number of people commented. One person gave me ideas of posts to put up which would be of interest to the Holy Father. A Priest later told me that when he read the headline he thought, "Stuart's finally flipped!", but he did not go on to read the post. What they both missed was that it was April Fools Day.

I do look at my site meter from time to time, just to check that my 3 readers are still reading! Sometimes the numbers go up, as it has at the moment, due to Chesterton and Fr Finigan (thanks Father). There I can also see the different Countries people are reading my blog in. And yes someone from the Vatican has looked at my blog again! So what wonderful piece of my writing did they log on to read? Nothing of mine, but Father Schofield's Sermon from the Mass on the 2nd Annual GK Chesterton Pilgrimage! (Please don't ask me how I got the screen shot above, the Wife did it for me!)

Prayer for the Beatification of GK Chesterton
God Our Father, Thou didst fill the life of Thy servant Gilbert Keith Chesterton with a sense of wonder and joy, and gave him a faith which was the foundation of his ceaseless work, a charity towards all men, particularly his opponents, and a hope which sprang from his lifelong gratitude for the gift of human life. May his innocence and his laughter, his constancy in fighting for the Christian faith in a world losing belief, his lifelong devotion to the Blessed Virgin Mary and his love for all men, especially for the poor, bring cheerfulness to those in despair, conviction and warmth to lukewarm believers and the knowledge of God to those without faith. We beg Thee to grant the favours we ask through his intercession, the end of abortion in this Country [and especially for……] so that his holiness may be recognized by all and the Church may proclaim him Blessed. We ask this through Christ Our Lord. Amen.

Wednesday, 8 August 2012

The 2nd Annual GK Chesterton Pilgrimage Has Finally Taken Place


After last year’s Chesterton Pilgrimage, I said, 'next year we'll walk'. The plan was simple, walk from St George's (c of E) Kensington, where GK Chesterton was Baptised in 1874, to Beaconsfield where this great man is buried. I planned to do this on 14th June the Anniversary of his death, this date had to be abandoned. And so we re-booked for 28th July, the nearest Saturday to the 90th Anniversary of GKC's Conversion to The Catholic Church. No doubt this was Chesterton's plan all along!

A few days before the Pilgrimage, I noticed that I had got the distances wrong! It was too late to change the start time, as 9am had gone out on posters, newsletters and blogs. So having allowed myself four and a half hours to walk nine miles from Kensington to Mass in Uxbridge, stopping for breakfast on the way, I now found that I had fourteen miles to do! So I started at 9am sharp, I read the first paragraph of GKC’s Autobiography out loud and said the GK Chesterton Prayer and 'we' were off.

I stopped to buy knee supports in Shepherd's Bush, as my knees have not been right since my Stroll on Rome 12 year's ago, Belloc's fault. Then I got a phone call from The Good Counsel office, "Stella, is outside Saint George's!" Stella was amazed to find that a Catholic event had started on time, as she was there by 9.10am. I called her with my location, she caught up and off we went. We walked in a straight line along the Uxbridge Road until we got Ealing where we turned into Mattock Lane to say the GKC Prayer outside that abortuary, and then on to Hanwell, where we joined the canal to Uxbridge. Fr Schofield kindly delayed the 1.30pm Mass, until 2pm and we arrived just after Mass had started! (You can read Father's excellent Sermon here)

My long suffering Wife had packed me a wonderful lunch. But as I had not announced a plan for lunch, we now headed back into Uxbribge to find a shop. I say 'we', for after Mass our Pilgrimage had doubled in size for the second time that day, as William and Lucy were joining us for the walk on to Beaconsfield. There were a number of others at the Mass (Old Rite) offered in thanksgiving for Chesterton's Conversion.

After we had eaten, we left Uxbridge following country foot paths, as many of these were overgrown, it was at times very slow going. William pointed out that, "All walk leaders are liars!" and then we lost the footpath! (Photo shows us re finding it). Each time we crossed a bridge we made William the walk leader, as he has a ritual for walking across bridges, which varied depending on what the bridge crossed. But I would remember that "All walk leaders are liars!" If you attend next year's Pilgrimage then you will learn these rituals as well as some of the songs from William's drinking songs book. We did say a Rosary at some point in the day.

And so finally we turned into Candlemas Lane in Beaconsfield, I put away my map, only to realise at the end of it, that we should have turned into the small lane on the left as entered Candlemas Lane. And so back we went! The gate to the cemetery was still open. I then remembered that Lucy had, a number of hours before, when I said my feet & knees were hurting, said something about getting to his graveside before me, so off I ran and won the race. 9.30pm! Next year we will start earlier and take a different route in the afternoon, all walkers cheer! But remember that, "All walk leaders are liars".

(On a 'silly' footnote, I've written this post over a number of days, but 'am finishing it at 4am while filling a hot water bottle for my Wife, who has toothache!)

So far I've raised £800 of my £1000 target from this walk, for Good Counsel.

Monday, 6 August 2012

"The English Will Have Destroyed England"


The English had missed many other things that men of the same origins had achieved or retained. Not to them was given, like the French, to establish eternal communes and clear codes of equality; not to them, like the South Germans, to keep the popular culture of their songs; not to them, like the Irish, was it given to die daily for a great religion. But a spirit had been with them from the first which fenced, with a hundred quaint customs and legal fictions, the way of a man who wished to walk nameless and alone. It was not for nothing that they forgot all their laws to remember the name of an outlaw, and filled the green heart of England with the figure of Robin Hood. It was not for nothing that even their princes of art and letters had about them something of kings incognito, undiscovered by formal or academic fame; so that no eye can follow the young Shakespeare as he came up the green lanes from Stratford, or the young Dickens when he first lost himself among the lights of London. It is not for nothing that the very roads are crooked and capricious, so that a man looking down on a map like a snaky labyrinth, could tell that he was looking on the home of a wandering people. A spirit at once wild and familiar rested upon its woodlands like a wind at rest. If that spirit be indeed departed, it matters little that it has been driven out by perversions it had itself permitted, by monsters it had idly let loose. Industrialism and Capitalism and the rage for physical science were English experiments in the sense that the English lent themselves to their encouragement; but there was something else behind them and within them that was not they -- its name was liberty, and it was our life. It may be that this delicate and tenacious spirit has at last evaporated. If so, it matters little what becomes of the external experiments of our nation in later time. That at which we look will be a dead thing alive with its own parasites. The English will have destroyed England.

GK Chesterton, Eugenics and Other Evils (1922)