Saturday, 24 March 2018

Fr. Damian Sturdy O.S.B. Requiescat in Pace

Of your charity pray for the soul of
Monk of Prinknash
who died on Monday, 19th March 2018
aged 70
eter Sturdy was born on 23rd September 1947 and brought up as an Anglican, in which Communion he thought of taking Orders. As a young man he worked for the BASF recording company in London, a city whose social life he much enjoyed.  At length, after a stay in Rome, he decided to enter full communion with the Catholic Church and was received by the late Monsignor Miles at St James's, Spanish Place.  Shortly afterwards, in 1980, he joined Prinknash as a postulant.  After making his Temporary Profession on 15th August 1982, and his Solemn Profession on 15th August 1985, he went forward for the Priesthood, and studied for a couple of years at St Benet's Hall, Oxford, being ordained priest, alongside Abbot emeritus Dom Francis Baird, on the Feast of Our Lady of the Rosary, 7th October 1989 by Bishop Mervyn Alexander of Clifton.  Damian worked principally in the Sacristy (a task to which he brought great flair) and as Master of Ceremonies, Cellarer and Stipendiary (Mass Offerings).  His unforgettable charm meant that he was much in demand socially, had a wide circle of friends, and brought several people into full communion with the Catholic Church.  He will be particularly lamented by Prinknash's faithful group of lay Altar Servers (which he founded) and by devotees of the Extraordinary Form Mass, which he reintroduced to Prinknash on a regular basis in 2002.  The last 15 months of his life were spent at Nazareth House, Cheltenham, where he was devotedly cared for by the sisters and lay staff.


ather's funeral will take place at Nazareth House, 344 London Road, Charlton Kings, Cheltenham, on Wednesday, 4th April at 10am followed by a private burial at Prinknash.  All are welcome, but those wishing to attend, or concelebrate at, the Funeral Mass, are asked to inform:-
or text 07821 754243

It is intended, at some later date, to celebrate a Requiem Mass in the Extraordinary Form.

Open Day at Douai Abbey 30 June at 9:00–17:00

A day hosted by the English Benedictine Congregation for young adults (18 yrs +)
Join us for a day exploring the depth of our monastictradition. Come and discover a wisdom that helps you make better choices and offers a way to God.

For more details see the Facebook group:-

Friday, 23 March 2018

ASK FATHER: Effect of Sacrament of Anointing in someone in mortal sin

From Fr. Z


"If a hospital patient that is able to confess still gets the sacrament of the sick does it just forgive venial sins or mortal ones too?

First, let’s be clear about something.   The sacrament of anointing is not to be given to just anyone.  There are conditions for reception of this sacrament.  I’m afraid it is poorly understood and sometimes abused.

The Sacrament of Anointing, is one the sacraments “of the living”, that is, they are to be received by one who is in the state of grace.

If a person is compos sui and can make his own decisions and understand what is going on, he must be given a chance to make his confession before being anointed.   Even if his communication is impeded, he should indicate by signs and respond to the priest’s questions.

If a person is not sui compos, cannot respond, and isn’t aware of what is going on, such a person can be anointed and, in that case, the sacrament can also impart forgiveness of mortal sins.

If a person in the state of mortal sin – who is able to confess and receive absolution – receives the sacrament of anointing, the sacrament will not be effective in them in the way Christ and the Church intend.   If a person is NOT able to confess, then the sacrament also forgives mortal sins so that the sacrament can be effective.

Also, it is good to review the law for the administration of this great sacrament:

Can.  1004 §1. The anointing of the sick can be administered to a member of the faithful who, having reached the use of reason, begins to be in danger due to sickness or old age.

This doesn’t say execution or about to engage in battle or some other activity like driving in a NASCAR race.

And there is the Catechism of the Catholic Church:

1514 “The anointing of the sick is not a sacrament for those only who are at the point of death. Hence, as soon as anyone of the faithful begins to be in danger of death from sickness or old age, the fitting time for him to receive this sacrament has certainly already arrived.”

Common points?  Danger of death… sick and old age.

One can be in danger of death for many reasons.  For example, someone who is about to undergo surgery requiring a general anesthesia could be in danger of death.  People about to be executed or go into battle are in danger of death. Those are not really occasions for the sacrament because they are external to the person.  Once damage is inflicted through a wound and danger of death is obvious, that’s another matter.  Of course some people who are in need of surgery are in danger of death from the condition that requires the surgery.  However, if I need to have surgery to set a bone from breaking my wrist, I’m am not in danger of death.


Danger of death… sick and old age.



You don’t know when it is going to be your turn"

Young Catholics in the European Continent - the Shocking Truth by Dr. Stephen Bullivant

From the Catholic Herald:-

"The proportion of young adults identifying as Catholics varies wildly across our sample of countries: from four out of every five in Poland to too few to appear in the sample in neighbouring Russia (yes, Twitter pedants: Kaliningrad counts). Similar extremes exist elsewhere in post-communist Europe: Lithuania and Slovenia up near the top, Estonia and the Czech Republic down at the bottom.

While none of these cases are exactly surprising, the placing of a number of Western countries ought to be. That only seven per cent of Dutch young adults identify as Catholics, in a country that once had a strong and influential Catholic community, is certainly striking.

So too are the relatively small percentages of Catholics among Belgian, French and German young adults. At the other end of the scale, note the presence of Portugal and Ireland as the only western European nations to make the top five. (Not every western European country is included in the sample. Malta and – one hopes – Vatican City would also rank high.)

Religious identity is one thing. Its having some observable effect on a person’s life is, however, quite another. Accordingly, the second chart shows the proportion of Catholic young adults who say they attend church either weekly (or more), or never, outside of special occasions such as weddings and funerals. Only 15 countries are included here, owing to sample sizes.

Again, it is the sheer variation that is most notable here. Europe is not all that big as continents go, but to speak of “European Catholicism” as though it were a uniform thing is evidently mistaken.

In geographical terms, the distance from Brussels to Warsaw is about a thousand miles. In pastoral and evangelistic terms, it is more like a million. A Polish Catholic twentysomething is roughly 24 times more likely to be a weekly Mass-goer than is a Belgian one. The Belgian, vice versa, is 10 times more likely never to set foot in church than is her Polish co-religionist.

Poland and Belgium are, admittedly, extreme cases. By and large, though, the majority of countries in our sample are rather closer to Belgium than to Poland. This is true even of several countries where Catholic affiliation is very high.

Measured by identity, Lithuania and Austria are among Europe’s Catholic strongholds. But measured by young adults actually turning up at Mass on a regular basis, they’re as much mission territories as swathes of the rest of the continent (our little north-west corner – where one in 10 Catholic young adults is a weekly Mass-goer – included).

Once again, though, there are signs of genuine hope. Czech young adults, for example, have a strong claim to being the world’s least religious: fully 91 per cent say they have no religion, and 70 per cent say they never attend religious services. This religiously bleak backdrop does not, however, seem to deter the country’s young Catholics, a quarter of whom attend Mass at least weekly."

The whole article can be found at:-

Monday, 19 March 2018

ASK FATHER: Absolution at Gaol through Glass, Phone in Visitor’s Room

From Fr Z :-


I’m a priest who occasionally gets asked to hear confessions in a gaol where the only way to speak to a person is through glass and a telephone headset. Without using the phone, one can barely hear the other talking through the glass. It got me thinking about the validity of the sacrament. Is this valid, given the situation, to hear confession through the phone, with the person right there in front of me behind the glass?

Yes, it is valid.

Absolution long-distance via technology is invalid.  Many years ago there was a response given to a question about absolution communicated via telegraph (which shows how long ago it was).  Such an absolution would be invalid.  Some time later, I don’t have the reference, there was a question about telephone.  The answer was the same.  Invalid.

In your case, however, even though a telephone was used, you were face to face.  You were both physically and morally present.  The phone was only a means to amplify your voices to each other across the glass barrier.   You weren’t sending your voices across town.

The principle, however, is important: you cannot give or receive absolution via skype or internet chat or video phone calls, etc. That includes text messages.  INVALID.

There is a possibility of contracting marriage long distance, or even via proxy, but not any other sacrament.  And that is another and more complicated question which we will not delve into here.

No confession by long-distance.  It must be a real, and personal meeting of penitent and confessor.

Of course there are situations where people who are physically present to the confessor may have to use some artificial means to speak, as in the case of the jail meeting.  Also, a priest could use a sound amplifier for a person who is present who is also hard of hearing.  That’s not a problem.  Many old confessionals had hearing/speaking devices like phones. It also could be that the person is not immediately close to the confessor, but is still within view or earshot.  In that case the person is still “morally” present and absolution is valid, even by bullhorn.

However, it a penitent is both physically and morally completely separated from the confessor, artificial means cannot be used validly to impart absolution.

So, all things being equal, your absolution at the jail is valid.

For the rest of you out there, don’t wait until you are in jail… again…


Wednesday, 14 March 2018

Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI Letter - the Real Story. UPDATED !

From Mark Lambert's blog - :-

"So yesterday's weird story about Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI writing to the prefect for secretariat for communications, Mons. Dario Edoardo Viganò stating his pontificate and that of Pope Francis have an "interior continuity," albeit with "differences in style and temperament" has rapidly fallen into complete disarray....Key to developments is the fact that Vatican News only published a couple of lines of the full letter. This has turned out to be very selective quoting as everyone has rapidly discovered as soon as the full text of the letter has been released.

In short, it seems to me that what has gone on is quite clear. On 12th January, mons. Viganò sends Benedict XVI a series of booklets written by various theologians who have attempted to offer an appologia for Pope Francis "paradigm shift" of accompaniment and discernment. ....Benedict replies on February 7th, giving a little smile at the beginning, a slight doff of the cap if you like, but not in any way defending the theology of Bergoglio, rather only in compliance with the fact that "it is foolish" to compare the two. And then the icing on the cake: Viganò must have asked him to make a PREFACE to the operetta and here Ratzinger tells him NO! first because he did not read them, second because he took other commitments.

The Italians are all over this. Under the headline "The Half Fake News on Benedict....
The minimum professional correctness requires that if you publish a document, publish it in full. But this has not happened either on the website of the Holy See Press Office, nor, as we have seen, on Vatican News.Tosatti correctly asserts that the portal published the first two paragraphs of the message, but omitted the third one, which begins with "However ..." and says that Benedict has NOT read the eleven volumes, he does not intend to read them or write them down. And that consequently empties the kind sentences of the previous paragraphs, and the attempt to credit the endorsement. he closes his piece by asserting that this exercise is, in reality, the epitome of fake news... Moreover, Magister asserts the Pope Emeritus' true meaning is clear to anyone who bothers to read the full text of the latter."


Vatican admits blurring letter from Benedict XVI 

From the Catholic Herald:-

"The Vatican has admitted that it altered a photo sent to the media of a letter from Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI about Pope Francis’s theological background. The manipulation changed the meaning of the image."

Countering Anti-Catholic Propaganda - the Myth that Dead Babies were Thrown into a Irish Septic tank 

The atheist editor from "Spiked" Brendan O'neil, writes about a false story about nuns fromTuam, in the Republic of Ireland, which hit the headlines a while ago, but keeps resurfacing :-

"For proof of the maxim that ‘A lie will go round the world while truth is pulling its boots on’, look no further than the Tuam 800 dead babies story. Courtesy of a modern media that seems more interested in titillating readers with gorno than giving us cool facts, and thanks to a Twittermob constantly on the hunt for things it might feel ostentatiously outraged by, the story about babies being dumped in an old, out-of-use septic tank by nuns at a home for ‘fallen women’ in Tuam in Galway made waves in every corner of the globe."

He continues:-

"On almost every level, the news reports in respectable media outlets around the world were plain wrong. Most importantly, the constantly repeated line about the bodies of 800 babies having been found was pure mythmaking. The bodies of 800 babies had not been found, in the septic tank or anywhere else. Rather, Corless had speculated in her research that the 796 children who died at the home had been buried in unmarked plots (common practice for illegitimate children in Ireland in the early to mid-twentieth century) and that some might have been put in the tank in which two boys in 1975 saw human remains. The septic tank or the grounds of the former home have not been excavated. No babies have been ‘found in a septic tank’, as the Washington Post, Guardian and others claimed. The claim that the babies were ‘dumped’ into some kind of sewage system is wrong, too. Corless says the nuns ‘made a crypt out of the old septic tank’. She now says her research has been ‘widely misrepresented’ and that she ‘never used the word “dumped”’ to describe the possible placing of some dead children into a makeshift crypt (‘possible’ being the operative word).

More to the point, it’s actually not possible that all 800 dead babies are in this tank-cum-crypt, as pretty much every media outlet has claimed. Mainly because, as the Irish Times reports, the septic tank was still in use up to 1937, 12 years after the home opened, during which time 204 of the 796 deaths occurred - and ‘it seems impossible’, the paper says, ‘that more than 200 bodies could have been put in a working sewage tank’. Also, the Irish Times spoke to one of the men who in 1975, when he was 10 years old, disturbed the former septic tank and saw skeletal remains, and he says now that ‘there was no way there were 800 skeletons down that hole. Nothing like that number.’ He says there were ‘about 20’. Maybe his memory is fuzzy, but so far he is the only eyewitness we know of to this alleged pit of 800 dead babies in a tank in Tuam.

So the widely made claim that the bodies of 800 babies had been found in Tuam is not true; no excavation has taken place. The claim that the babies were ‘dumped’ in a tank is not true, according to Corless herself. And the notion that the babies were hurled in with sewage is not correct - apparently the tank had been turned into a crypt. Yet none of these recent revelations, or Corless’s public angst at the widespread warping of her findings, has put a stop to the Heart of Darkness-style coverage of Tuam’s evil, mysterious tank. Martin Sixsmith, former New Labourite hack turned author of The Lost Child of Philomena Lee, the story of a former inhabitant of a severe nun-run home in Ireland who was forced to give up her child for adoption, says the Tuam story reminds him of the ‘mass graves in far-flung locations in Eastern Europe and Russia’ that he once wrote about. In Tuam, ‘an ugly place’, we can see that ‘Western Europe [is not] immune from such horrors’, he says. A hysterical piecein the Irish Independent compared the Tuam home to the Nazi Holocaust, Rwanda and Srebrenica, saying that in all these settings people were killed ‘because they were scum’. You can almost hear the sound of the whip as yet another self-loathing member of the Irish chattering class makes an artform of public self-flagellation."

He concludes:-

" But the unhealthy obsession over the past 10 years with raking over Ireland’s past has little to do with confirming such facts and instead has become a kind of grotesque moral sport, providing kicks to the anti-Catholic brigade and fuel to the historical self-flagellation that now passes for public life in Ireland. There’s a terrible irony here: in desperately searching for demons that they can hate, in obsessing over evil and its capacity to destroy lives, in frequently substituting speculation for evidence, these history-combing Catholic-bashers employ the very same irrational tactics of demonology and mythmaking once beloved of Ireland’s old Catholic establishment."

For the full story goto:-

Wednesday, 7 March 2018

Jesuit Amerika Magazine laments: “Where are the millennial Catholic activists?” Answer at Latin Masses

Fr Z writes:-

"Jesuit-run (hence confused) Amerika Magazinehas posted a lament: “Where are the millennial Catholic activists?”
The head-scratching writer is bumfuzzled. Protests for favored lib causes are drawing people with lots of gray hair. Where are the young, social media savvy protesters?
First, the young generation of Catholics don’t feel the need to relive the halcyon days of yore, with the draft card and bra burning, dope smoking and guitar strumming, altar smashing and whitewashing. They don’t have that baggage. They aren’t triggered by protest signs and gray ponytails.
Demographic studies suggest that in a few years the numbers of people in pews will drop dramatically as boomers go to their frightening judgment and the “nones” get a little older and just leave.
In the next few years, dioceses will lose a high percentage of priests. Where I am, three priests have died in the last week.
It’s a war of attrition now as the Biological Solution really kicks into it’s ineluctable gear.
However, last Sunday at the TLM I celebrated it was like day-care in the church.
In these still small but growing traditional groups, there are lots of young families with lots of kids and more on the way.
TLMs are alive all over the place now and there are more and more of them. Since Summorum Pontificum in 2007 the number of TLMs has grown from around 200 to over 500. A couple years ago in France, traditional ordinations accounted for over 20% of all the ordinations.
I suspect that were there to be general permission to use the older Pontificale Romanum for ordinations to the diaconate and priesthood, well over half the men to be ordained would rather have the traditional form than the newer.
My sense is that this can’t be stopped, not without moves that would probably tear the unity of the Church to pieces.  This is so, because the “gravitational pull” or “mutual enrichment” or “knock-on effect” really is taking place.  The Ordinary Form is also being purified of dross in many places because of what priests learn at the TLM altar.  A synergy is building.
Of course the seats of ecclesial power abound with prelates who would rather burn down struggling parishes and watch Satan disco dance in the ashes than do the slightest “traditional” thing to revitalize our identity and evangelical mission.
Hence, because this is also spiritual warfare, YOU, dear readers, need to buckle it on and get to work.
The storm is almost here.
Polish that armor, sharpen that sword, mend that shield, square that gear, do those drills.  Pray for specific intentions.  Practice mortifications for reparation for sins.  Contribute at the parish.  Examine your conscience.
I post the above and then find an article about parish closures in Europe.  HERE
The Diocese of Trier in Germany will reduce its number of parishes from 172 to 35 by the year 2020
The details provided by the CNS of some of the other diocesan reorganizations planned or currently underway in Europe makes for sobering reading:
– Berlin: 105 parishes to be reduced to 35 “pastoral spaces”, with unused churches to be sold off and 40% of clergy and lay staffers reassigned, thereby alleviating some of the Diocese’s $140 million debt
– Vienna: 660 parishes to be merged into 150 hubs served by a handful of priests
– Luxembourg: 274 parishes reduced to 33
– Clogher, Ireland: 37 parishes cut to 14 “pastoral areas” coordinated by teams of just two priests and six laypeople
– Utrecht: 326 parishes to just 48 hubs in which only one church will serve as a “eucharistic center”
Some will spin this as a greater opportunity for lay people in the Church. Riiiiight."

Monday, 5 March 2018

Cheltenham Young Catholic Adults - March Events

March is traditionally the
month of St. Joseph

Wednesday 7th Mar - Low Mass at 7pm St. Gregory's Church, Cheltenham (GL50 3PR) -  Rosary and Confessions before Mass. The Rosary and serving are organised by Cheltenham YCA.

Saturday 10th Mar - Party. Text 07908105787 for more details.

Thursday, 1 March 2018

My Conversion Story: Why I Became Catholic - by a Young Catholic
My conversion by Amy Thomas. H/t to      
"I was raised as a Protestant.  I am so grateful and thankful for the loving foundation in Christianity that my parents laid.  When I look back on my upbringing at the Disciples of Christ Church in Bonner Springs, Kansas, I recall it as mostly a positive experience.  One of the holiest men I have ever known, was our pastor, John Walker.  For nearly all of my most important early life events, he was an active participant:  My baptism, my marriage, and the blessing of our first daughter, Rhianna.  When asked who is a major player in my religious formation, I always say his name.  He is such a good, loving, Christ-like man and I am blessed to know him.
During my childhood, the only exposure I had to Catholicism was through my best friend, Annie.  Every once in a while, when I spent the night at her house on Saturday, I would attend Mass with her family the following morning.  It seemed to me, as a young child, that Catholics liked to exercise–I had a hard time keeping up with all the kneeling, standing, and sitting.  I didn’t get too involved as I was told that Catholics were a cult, that they worshiped Mary and statues, and that they didn’t let their people read the Bible.  I didn’t fully understand these things, but through idea osmosis, I adopted these beliefs.  But, God has a sense of humor, doesn’t He?  At 21-years old, I deemed myself all wise in Protestant and Catholic departments.  I believed there was nothing new anyone could teach me–I knew all.  Yet, “If any one among you considers himself wise in this age, let him become a fool so as to become wise.” 1 Corinthians 3:18.
So, I went and fell in love with a Catholic.  When we were first together, I gave it no thought.  In college, both of us had fallen away from going to church and we didn’t really speak about it much, so it was a non-factor until we married.  Having Rhianna started to change our lukewarm hearts and we felt the need to go to church.  But what church to go to?  Dustin wanted to remain Catholic, I wanted to remain Protestant.  And so, we fought.  Correction–I fought.  I spewed out all the things I thought were true about the Catholic Church at Dustin and he remained calm, patient, and loving.  He countered every single one of my baseless untruths.  Soon, there was nothing I could say.  He had an answer for everything.  I was so frustrated, but I refused to concede.  That would mean that I was wrong.  That would mean that I had believed in untruths and that thought was humiliating.  Pride is a strong sin.
So, we tried church shopping.  One week we would go to a Protestant church, the next week a Catholic church.  This grew old quickly.  Eventually, I made a deal with Dustin, since it was so important to him that he remain Catholic.  I agreed that we could attend a Catholic Church, but I would under no condition convert.  So, in Ohio, we started going to St. Helen’s.
It took nine years into our marriage for me to desire to become Catholic.  Believe me, the desire became overwhelming.  Never once did Dustin ask or pressure me to convert.  The changing of my heart came slowly, but now looking back I can see how little-by-little God chipped away at the hard barrier around my heart.   I learned that everything I had once believed about Catholicism was wrong.  Sadly, I had never taken the time to really explore the truth.  I had just gone along with the tidbits of misinformation that I had picked up in my life.  It was a very real lesson in the importance of striving to search for truth.  It was embarrassing to know that I had been so very wrong, but I am grateful for the humbling experience.
There are three main reasons I wanted to become Catholic:
1.  It is the first Church.  The Church that Jesus built upon Peter.  The history is there and I can’t dispute it.  If this was The Church founded by the apostles at the very beginning than that is where I want to be.  The history is rich, intriguing, mysterious, and supernatural.  Again and again, I am left in awe as I continue to explore the only Christian church that has been around for over 2,000 years.
2.  It has ignited a flame in me.  The beauty of Catholicism has brought me closer to Jesus in numerous ways.  Never before have I engaged myself in a relationship with Jesus to this degree.  I see now that I cannot simply limit this relationship to Sunday mornings at church.  Where once I thought the call to holiness was lame and outdated, I realize that it is God’s will for my life.  It is the greatest challenge in this life and it gives purpose.
3.  The Eucharist.  Mass is not about the homily.  It’s not about the singing.  It’s not about who’s there or who’s doing what.  It’s all about that moment that I come forward and get to be united with Him.  It provides my strength for the week.  I can tell when I have missed it.  It is why, when on vacation, I cannot miss church.  When I was a Protestant, attending a Catholic Church, I couldn’t partake in it and I longed to receive it.  There is a difference.  Trust me, as a Protestant who used to receive communion as a symbolic gesture, to a Catholic who now receives it as the body and blood of Jesus, there is a difference.  It is supernatural, life-giving, and my food for the journey.
....  One of my favorite Catholic writers says often, “There is genius in Catholicism.”  I couldn’t agree with him more and I am therefore compelled to share it.  There are three major events in my life that have changed me for the better:  The births of my children, marrying Dustin, and the day I became Catholic.  So this is me dropping the veil.  Kyrie Eleison (Lord, have mercy)."
“There are not one hundred people in the United States who hate The Catholic Church, but there are millions who hate what they wrongly perceive the Catholic Church to be.”
― Fulton J. Sheen

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...