Saturday, May 27, 2006

Campaign to Stop World Cup Prostitution

An email from a friend, led me to the Coalition Against Trafficking in Women's Website


From June 9 - July 9, 2006, 12 German cities will host the World Cup Games. Approximately 3 million football fans – mostly men – will attend. It is estimated that 40,000 women will be "imported" from Central and Eastern Europe into Germany to "sexually service" the men.

Germany legalized pimping and the sex industry in 2002. However, it is predicted that the legal red light districts will be too small for the thousands of sport/sex tourists in attendance. In preparation for this influx, the German sex industry has erected a massive prostitution complex for the "booming business" expected during the games.

"Football and sex belong together," claimed the lawyer of the newly opened 3,000 meter mega brothel in Berlin, built next to the main World Cup venue to accommodate 650 male clients. Wooden "sex huts" called "performance boxes" that look like toilets have been built in fenced-in areas the size of a football field, with condoms, showers and parking for the buyers and a special focus on protecting their "anonymity."

• Buying sex is not a sport. It is sexual exploitation in which women are physically and psychologically harmed, and women’s bodies are treated as commodities to be bought and sold.

• Treating women’s bodies as sexual commodities violates international standards of sport that promote equality, mutual respect and non-discrimination. FIFA President J.S. Blatter, "acknowledges the prominent role of sport, and especially football, as a vehicle for delivering clear and firm messages to eradicate the huge blights undermining society around the world." How will the World Cup Games help eradicate the blight of trafficking and sexual exploitation?

• Honorable men do not buy sex because they respect the dignity and integrity of all human beings.

• No to the organization of prostitution for the World Cup Games.
Sign the Petition
Forward this to your friends
and check out the CFAM website, where the original email came from

Thursday, May 25, 2006

Exciting upcoming sporting fixture...

I found some great images, but blogger seems to be temporarily broken, so here's the links, look if you like

Happy Feast of the Ascension!

I thought I would use the (rather limited) readership of my blog to advertise another marvellous feast, which my mad uncle is organising, and as he is ever so slightly self obsessed, I'm sure he will serch for it, and come up with this blog, and feel touched that I've actually read his ridiculous emails :)

so without further ado, I bring you....

The World Egg Throwing Championship!

To be held from 10:30 am on Sunday June 25th at The Park, Thorpe Latimer, Nr Sleaford, Lincs. This is situated between Helpringham and Swaton.

1. John Prescott MP, Deputy Prime Minister, had been invited to present the prizes at the forthcoming World Egg Throwing Championships but has unfortunately had to cry off the event due to other diary commitments..

World President of the Federation Andy Dunlop said, “It’s a great pity. He clearly wanted to come but cant do so because he has been committed elsewhere. His staff sounded quite upset. We have now got in early and invited him to next years event.”

He went on to say, “In recognition of Mr Prescott’s own personal battle against improper egg throwing we have decided to offer him honouree membership of the federation”

2. The World Egg Throwing Championships is continuing to gain attention. People in the following Countries have expressed an interest, thus truly making this a greater World Championship than the World Series Baseball tournament by a considerable factor.

USA, Canada, UK, Ireland, Australia, New Zealand, Singapore, Brazil, Japan, Chile, Germany, Libya, Italy, Uruguay, France, Thailand, Mexico, Guatemala, Netherlands, South Korea, Dominican Republic, Switzerland, Belgium and Finland

Players are invited to register early and told not to worry if they aren’t part of a national team as we have a number of Foreign Egg Throwers seeking representatives to play on their behalf.

3. Following the NatWest decision to concentrate its generous sponsorship on hosting the Swaton Vintage Day. We have sponsorship vacancies for the primary events. Do you want to offer sponsorship in aid of numerous good causes?

Notes to editors.

Please use the link in any coverage.

The World Egg Throwing Championship this year will comprise of;

The Egg Cup

2 person throw and catch event. Dressed in protective clothing, teams of two throw an egg between themselves at ever increasing distances. Knockout event.

The Relay Cup

11 person egg speed relay. 12 eggs are passed along the 100-metre line at 10 metre intervals. Timed knockout event.

Early registration recommended. How to enter and all other details at

To be held in conjunction with Swaton Vintage Day. Over 200 Vintage, Veteran and Classic Tractors, Cars, Motorbikes, Commercial Vehicles, Stationary Engines, Cultivators & Shire Horses are expected to be on show.

Plus… Terrier Racing. Bring your own. Non-terriers invited as guest runners.
Plus…. Craft Tent, Bar, Hog Roast & other Refreshments and Games
Plus…. Rides for the Children.

Proceeds are to be donated to local causes, The Red Cross, L.I.V.E.S and Radio Lincolnshire’s ‘Go for Gold’ Appeal.

Show entry is detailed on the attached web link

NatWest Bank is sponsoring the Swaton Vintage Day.

For further information contact

Andy Dunlop
07900 26 78 70

Monday, May 22, 2006

Praising God for Priests!

From the Friars (or the Sisters)
May 20, 2006

The greatest blessings of my life have come to me through the hands of a priest. At an Easter Vigil Mass in 1974, I was held in the arms of a priest and incorporated into the Body of Christ at my Baptism, beginning my personal relationship with God. Seven years later, when I had my first conscious encounter with the Mercy of God in my first confession and then received the Body and Blood of Jesus for the first time in Holy Communion, it was by the power of the priesthood. In 2004, 30 years after my Baptism, it was a priest who placed the wedding band of espousal to Jesus Christ on my hand at the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass at which I made my Perpetual Vows.

Because there are still men in this world who have said "yes" to the Father, are willing to lay down their lives, and by His mercy have been incorporated into the Priesthood of Jesus Christ, I am able to know God in the most intimate ways possible on earth. Because there are priests, I can be present at the Last Supper 2000 years later. Because there are priests, I can stand with our Lady at the foot of the cross at every Mass, every day. Because there are priests, I can touch Jesus, taste Jesus as I consume His living, resurrected Body and Blood in the Holy Eucharist. Because there are priests, I can hear the sound of Jesus' voice saying to me, "I absolve you from your sins," every time I go to confession.

Three of our friars were
ordained to the Priesthood of Jesus Christ last weekend and I am still reeling from the awesome wonder and power, the mystery and majesty of what has taken place - for the three of them, for our Church, indeed for the whole world.

My gratitude has deepened and my awe has increased. The gift of the priesthood is not to be taken for granted. The line from the Psalms comes to mind: "What nation has gods so near to it as our God is to us." It is so because we have priests. Let us pray for all our priests everywhere! Let us support them and encourage them and thank our Merciful Father in Heaven for the gift of the Holy Priesthood.

Sr. Clare Matthiass, CFR

May God give you His peace!

Saturday, May 20, 2006

2 photos

one is the one I promised to send Annabelle, but I quite liked it, so I thought I'd post it here:

And the other is Our Lady of Guadalupe Convent in the Bronx... which I found totally by mistake because I'm making last minute preparations for my trip on the 29th, and one of these was to print a sheet with train times to the airport, the address of the sisters (you have to write where you're staying on your form at immigration... I didn't know that the first time, but the guy told me to write the Holiday Inn...!) Anyway, when I pasted the address onto the Word document it came up with a wee purple underline, and when I clicked on it, it took me to Windows Local Live, which is SO much more fun than Google Maps (which my friend Ronan Wall waxes lyrical about) because not only does it have a satalite picture of Edinburgh (which google maps doesn't) but also has a birds eye view of OLG. Get in.

Anyway, here it is.
Should be writing my dissertation. pray for me!


This is a post all about the unfortunate experiences that one comes across when sleeping in a ground floor room in manchester's student ghetto.

The first of such was waking up at 2.30am, propping myself up to look out my window to see what woke me up, and looking straight into the eyes of a young man. Now, I have some thing like net curtains, which you can't see through from the outside at all (I've checked!) so I wasn't quite sure what he was doing looking in the window... until I realised he WASN'T looking in the window, he was relieving himself on the wall directly underneath. EURGH. I thought about knocking on the window, but I have a huge Divine Mercy poster in the top frame, and I didn't want his enduring memory of Our Lord to be linked with him being disturbed mid-flow. nice.

Anyway, that's all fairly irrelevent, what happened a few months later is the purpose of this (rather rambling) post. Again I was awoken in the early hours by loud obnoxious studenty types, this time one of them was hanging by his arms from the lovely wee tree in front of our house, eventually, after many drunken grunts of exertion he succeeded in his dastardly goal of breaking the tree off half way down it's trunk. I was so upset, it's such a mindless thing to do to a little tree that was peacefully growing up without disturbing anyone. The next day we found what they were doing as a house a few doors down had been barricaded with 3 bits of tree trunk, a shopping trolley, a couple of fence posts and some (big metal) flower pots.

The point of all this long story of woe is found in the arrival of spring. illustrated in this photo. God is good...

Thursday, May 11, 2006

Da Vinci Code, an email from a friend...

Instead of expressing disapproval at blasphemy by protesting and boycotting, (and thereby falling into the trap of creating free front page hype and lead story controversy for Sony Pictures to sell more tickets) some Christians who know how Hollywood works have a different suggestion. What reads below came by way of Barbara Nicolosi at Act One, an organization for Christians in Hollywood.

pass this on!


May 19th is the date the Da Vinci Code movie opens. A movie based on a book that wears its heresy and blasphemy as a badge of honor.What can we as Christians do in response to the release of this movie? I'm going to offer you the usual choices -- and a new one.Here are the usual suspects:

we can ignore the film. ........
The problem with this option: The box office is a ballot box. The only people whose votes are counted are those who buy tickets. And the ballot box closes on the Sunday of opening weekend. If you stay home, you have lost your chance to make your vote heard. You have thrown your vote away, and from Hollywood's point of view, you don't count. By staying home, you do nothing to shape the decision-making process regarding what movies will make it to the big screen.

or we can protest...
The problem with this option: It doesn't work. Any publicity is good publicity. Protests not only fuel the box office, they make all Christians look like idiots. And again, protests and boycotts do nothing to help shape the decisions being made right now about what movies Hollywood will make in the next few years. (Or they convince Hollywood to make *more* movies that will provoke Christians to protest, which will drive the box office up.)

or we can discuss the film.
We can be rational and be ready with study guides and workshops and point-by-point refutations of the lies promulgated by the film. ........The problem with this option: No one's listening. They think they know what we're going to say already. We'll lose most of these discussions anyway, no matter how prepared we are, because the power of story always trumps the power of facts (why do you think Jesus taught in parables?!). And once again: rational discussion of history does nothing to affect Hollywood's choices regarding what movies to make.

But there's a fourth choice.On May 19th...

Just go to another film!

Save the date now. May 19th, or May 20th. No later than Sunday, May 21st -- that's the day the ballot box closes. We'll get a vote, the only vote Hollywood recognizes: The power of cold hard cash laid down on a box office window on opening weekend.

Use your vote. Don't throw it away. Vote for a movie other than DVC.

If enough people do it, the powers that be will notice. They won't have a choice.The major studio movie scheduled for release against DVC is the DreamWorks animated feature Over the Hedge. The trailers look fun, and you can take kids. And your friends. And their friends. In fact, let's all go see it.

Let's rock the box office in a way no one expects -- without protests, without boycotts, without arguments, without rancor. Let's show up at the box office ballot box and cast our votes. And buy some popcorn, too.May 19th.

Mark your calendars now: Over the Hedge's opening weekend. Buy a ticket.And spread the word. Forward this e-mail to all the Christians in your address book. Post it on your blogs. Talk about it to your churches. And let's all go to the movies.

Monday, May 08, 2006

Not more Da Vinci Nonsense...

This topic has totally been done to death, so I have two comments about which to blog.

The first is a website by the
Catholic Agency to Support Evangelisation, they've made a great page with loads of information about aspects of the DaVinci code... also on this vein, the more people who link to it, the higher it's Google rating will be, and so the more likely it is that people who Google will find it! So link!

The second is a
Screwtape on the Da Vinci Code post, which is fairly great. Apologies for the picture, not only is it probably breaching copyright, but it's also rubbish... I only have access to Paint on the Uni computers! ...might change it later... oh well.

May God give you His peace!

Sunday, May 07, 2006

To veil or not to veil...

Browsing the net I came across this rather acerbic response to a lady who is trying to decide whether or not to wear a mantilla to mass. The trads are commenting on her role as an Extraordinary Minister of Holy Communion, as if her descision to do that is somehow based on a desire to be important... rather than to serve in a way that she may have no idea is in anyway questionable. Unless the Church makes it clear that women should not serve in any way on the sanctuary then I feel that you can complain about it if you like, but you can't dismiss the women as disobedient liberals... having said this, the author of the trad blog does print some more charitable comments on her posting itself... and the comments are helpful, because her concerns about wearing a mantilla are similar to mine... I'm not an Extraordinary Minister of Holy Communion, although I was last year... I'm not sure if I would be now, the church I've begun to go to doesn't do any of that(!) so I don't need to worry about it! But I am very well known, I do a lot with Youth 2000, which I think is a marvellous stepping stone to the heart of the Church, and if I started wearing a mantilla it would be noticed, and I think would reflect on y2k... Also we have issues in Manchester between the chaplaincy (where I used to go to mass) and the Holy Name (where I now go to mass)... my moving there seems to have already caused a host of problems, I don't want to make it worse by getting a reputation as an extremist.

At a recent Y2k festival I noticed a couple of the girls wore white scarves, which they used to cover their heads when in the presence of the Eucharist, it was a lot less noticable than a black lacy mantilla, but has the same effect, and was still feminine and humble... and all the things I see the mantilla as, but less ostentatious in that atmosphere.

The final reason I don't want to wear the mantilla is really the same reason as I don't want to start praying the office in Latin... because (please God) this September I'm going to enter the
Franciscan Sisters of the Renewal, who don't wear a veil as candidates or postulants (and don't pray the office in latin!) so there's not much point in getting used to it, anyway, if I can find a (fairly inexpensive... saving for my visa) plain headscarf on my travels I guess I'll take it as a sign that God wants me to, and if not I don't think it's sinful not to.

A couple of comments I found from the RC Mommys post

What are the reasons for wearing a head covering? Modest, and respect for our Lord in the Blessed Sacrament.

What are the reasons against? I don't want the world to think ill of me, and I'm too with it for something so backwards.

Which seems the better mindset?
(I'm not sure what is the polite way to reference people on Blogs, maybe someone will put me straight...)


Here's a little thought from St. Philip Neri and Francis de Sales. What if you wore a mantilla because you want to do honour to Our Lord in the Blessed Sacrament and people thought a lot of nasty spiteful things about you? What if, furthermore, some small seed was planted in the hearts of some young girl about modesty, womanliness and the sacredness of the Mass? What if by this your own devotion grew and you began to inwardly more closely conform to the outward appearance (we often become on the inside what we try to look like on the outside, it's mysterious but true.)

You cannot do anything but win. When you are unkindly gossiped about, you win because you are suffering persecution for the love of Christ. If you go a step further and do not try to respond or correct of defend, you have an opportunity to climb up on the Cross next to Christ and whisper your love for Him directly into His ear. By being taken for a holierthanthou type, you suffer one of the great spiritual gifts, being misunderstood for your love of Christ. An enormous privilege.

I've often felt sorry for men who cannot wear one. Thinking of it as a privileged custom custom reserved for women is a bit of a turn around, but it certainly is descriptive of how I feel about it.
And something from the Latin Mass Society's website:

The woman who covers her head in the presence of the Lord Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament is reminding herself that she must be humble before God. As with all outward gestures, if it is practised enough it filters down into the heart and is translated into actions that speak volumes. The “veil” covers what the Lord calls, in Holy Scripture, “the glory of the woman”, her hair. Covering her hair is a gesture the woman makes spiritually to “show” God she recognises her beauty is less than His and His Glory is far above hers.

In doing this she is reminded that virtues cannot grow in the soul without a great measure of humility. So she wears the veil to please God and remind herself to practice virtue more ardently.

There is no other piece of clothing a woman may wear to serve this function. The veil symbolically motivates the woman to “bow” her head in prayer, to lower her eyes before the great and mysterious beauty and power of God in the Blessed Sacrament. By the bowing of her head and lowering of her eyes, she is more able to worship God in the interior chapel of her heart and soul.

The veil or head covering a woman wears gives a beautiful sense of dignity to a woman. When she wears it, she identifies herself with God’s greatest creation, the Blessed and Immaculate Virgin Mary, Mother of God. There was none on earth that loved and loves the Lord Jesus more than the Blessed Virgin Mary. In her love, her humility breathed forth like sweet scented incense before God. The veil she wore symbolised her purity, modesty and of course her profound humility and submission before and to God Almighty.

Those women who love Jesus must come to realise the imitation of His Mother in wearing a chapel veil (head covering) and in other virtues is a small sacrifice to make in order to grow in spiritual understanding of purity, humility and love.

The covering of a woman’s head in Church is a striking reminder of modesty, something old but lost in the society of today. Modesty and purity walk hand in hand.

When a woman veils her head she is shielding her heart to be wooed by the love of God in the Blessed Sacrament. This is a mystical ‘country’ that only the Eternal Father may enter. Her veil is like the lighted lamps of the virgins waiting for the Bridegroom, an indication that she is prepared to receive Him at a moment’s notice; an aureole of her spiritual love for the Bridegroom. Wearing the veil is an act of love of God.
Why should a woman wear a head covering or veil in church? Not to be praised, not to go along, not for tradition’s sake, not to stand out in the crowd, not because you say or I say or anybody says…But because she loves our Eucharistic Lord Jesus and it is another small sacrifice she may offer for her soul’s sake and for the sake of many souls who have no one to offer for them.
may God give you His peace!
by the way, the picture at the top is at a friends party on Saturday, where Holy Granny singled me out for looking unchaste and leaking skin and hair, and decided to make me look more modest... hence the unconventional mantilla.

Tuesday, May 02, 2006

St Athanasius: Pray for us!

I got into a conversation with a lovely nurse from my ward, who tried to convince me that I shouldn't be Catholic, and sent me an email exaplining the reasons why, I thought I would post my response here. Comments welcome

Hello Christine,

may God give you His peace!

Thank you for emailing me so quickly, I appreciate you taking so much time. I understand that you are saying this out of a love for God and for me. Some of my (Catholic) friends get irritated by other Christians who try to convince us that the Church is in opposition to the Gospel, but I have a lot more respect for these Christians than people who say that it's all the same whatever Christian tradition you belong to. After all, if I believed that someone was commiting the sin of idolatry I hope I would have the courage to tell them so.

I hope you don't mind, but I've shared your email with a friend of mine who's studying theology at the university, who has helped me with some of the points I was unsure about, let me first begin by explaining where I stand.

My primary intention is not so much to change the way you worship the Lord, but to explain the beliefs of the Catholic Church. One of our deceased archbishops, Fulton Sheen, said that very few Americans hate the Catholic Church, however very many hate what they believe is the Catholic Church. I think, Christine, that your understanding of the Church is inaccurate, and that in trying to serve the Lord, you are in fact driving people away from Him, and the main reason I would like to explain my understanding of my faith to you is becuase I'm sure that in your life you will come across very many Catholics who don't know and love the Church, and so will be convinced by what you say to leave her, and I think that would be tragic.

I'd also like to mention that I think we share the belief that Jesus is everything. He is my breath and heartbeat, the centre of my life, and if I believed that what you said was true I would not hesitate to leave the Church.

The first verse you quoted was from Psalm 138 (thou hast magnified thy word above all thy name.) This brought to mind two things, obviously there is the Word of God, as spoken about in the begining of John's Gospel, and I imagine this psalm could be refering to Christ, who is magnified above all things.

In addition to this, the Catholic Church has never, and will never, deny the unique importance of Scripture. This quote from the Catechism is quite long, but is only a part of the sections of the Catechism dedicated entirely to the importance of Scripture in our faith.
Catechism of the Catholic Church (CCC) 104 In Sacred Scripture, the Church constantly finds her nourishment and her strength, for she welcomes it not as a human word, "but as what it really is, the word of God". "In the sacred books, the Father who is in heaven comes lovingly to meet his children, and talks with them."


CCC 105 God is the author of Sacred Scripture. "The divinely revealed realities, which are contained and presented in the text of Sacred Scripture, have been written down under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit."

"For Holy Mother Church, relying on the faith of the apostolic age, accepts as sacred and canonical the books of the Old and the New Testaments, whole and entire, with all their parts, on the grounds that, written under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, they have God as their author, and have been handed on as such to the Church herself."

CCC 107 The inspired books teach the truth. "Since therefore all that the inspired authors or sacred writers affirm should be regarded as affirmed by the Holy Spirit, we must acknowledge that the books of Scripture firmly, faithfully, and without error teach that truth which God, for the sake of our salvation, wished to see confided to the Sacred Scriptures."
2 Timothy 3:16,17
All scripture is given by inspiration of God,and is profitable for doctrine,for reproof,for correction,for instruction in righteousness: That the man of God may be perfect thoroughly furnished unto all good works.

The Church agrees with this entirely, and the Holy Scriptures are seen as exactly that, but nowhere does the bible state the doctrine of Scripture ALONE. Again, if you read these sections of the Catechism, which is the official teaching of the Church, I don't think you will find anything you disagree with in the exalted position the Church gives to Scripture.

It is true that many Catholics don't know and love the Bible as they should, but the Church continuously tells her members that the Bible is the inspired word of God, and should be read and studied and loved. Every day when I go to mass 3 passages (4 on Sundays) of Scripture are read, one from the Gospels, a psalm, and one other, and it is my practice (as many Catholics do) to read and study and pray with these passages, so that when I attend mass later in the day, these scriptures are alive for me, and should be further explained in the sermon the priest gives. Infact, these scriptures are on a 3 year cycle, so if someone attends mass every Sunday for 3 years they will hear all of the Gospels read to them, and if they attend every day, they will hear almost all of the Bible (I think it's all of the New Testament, and most of the Old). Sadly, many Catholics don't obey the Church, as you will know from Catholics you've met, or those you see in the media, but many Christians do not follow the Bible, and this doesn't mean that the Bible is not the inspired word of God. Likewise, the refusal of Catholics to listen to the Church does not mean that the Catholic Church is not the Church Christ institued, and protects from error (Matthew 16:18 ...And I say also unto thee, That thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it)

Next, adding to Scriptures, my friends Adam has just written an essay on this, so he's answered, he tends to go on a bit, so this is quite long, but I think it's clear?

Rev 22:19 And if any man shall take away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God shall take away his part out of the book of life,

Deut 4:2 Ye shall not add unto the word which I command you neither shall you diminish ought from it

The quote from Revelation is clear: "from the words of the book of this prophecy" surely you dont believe that all the New Testament is a prophecy?

The quote from Deuteronomy is speaking specifically of the Deutronomical Covenant, that given to Moses and the Isrealites at that time, we don't follow all of the prescriptions of that covenant, I'm sure you know many examples, such as Deuteronomy chapter 12:23 "Only be sure that thou eat not the blood: for the blood is the life; and thou mayest not eat the life with the flesh.", in addition to this the New Testament adds to the Old, Jesus Himself said: "a new commandment I give unto you" (John 13:34). Was He disobeying God in this?

None of these arguments you present refer to anything specific on sola scriptura, how can John be referring to the Bible as a whole, when he wrote there was no such thing as the New Testament canon? The first new testament canon was formed in 160AD by a heretic called Marcion who formed a heavily edited Luke and 10 of Pauls letters, at least 60 years after Revelation was written!

And even this isn't the one we use now, it was only after that when orthodox (representing the Church as it was at the time) canons of NT scripture began to appear. And what measure was used to decide which books were suitable for the New Testament? It was how far they followed the orthodoxy of the Church, which had been defined, not by sola scriptura but by following sacred tradition, which is completely biblical in itself "Therefore, brethren, stand fast, and hold the traditions which ye have been taught, whether by word, or our epistle" (2 Thess. 2:15). "Now I praise you, brethren, that ye remember me in all things, and keep the ordinances, as I delivered them to you" (1 Cor. 11:2).

And who were the main characters invoved in forming these canons? The first person to declare the canon of scripture which we follow today was Athanasius in Ad367; his canon was accepted by the Eastern Orthodox Churches and formally defined by the institutional Church at the Council of Rome in 382. Before this, there was all sorts of argument over what went in to the New Testament canon, some wanted the Didache to go in, and the Corinthians wanted the first letter of Pope Clement I (which advocates apostolic tradition) to go in it.

Athanasius, also accepted the role of tradition, "Again we write, again keeping to the Apostolic Traditions, we remind each other when we come together for prayer; and keeping the feast in common, with one mouth we truly give thanks to the Lord. Thus giving thanks unto him, and being followers of the saints, "we shall make our praise in the Lord all the day," as the Psalmist says. So, when we rightly keep the feast, we shall be counted worthy of that joy which is in heaven". (Festal Letters 2:7 [A.D. 330])


"But you are blessed, who by faith are in the Church, dwell upon the foundations of the faith, and have full satisfaction, even the highest degree of faith which remains among you unshaken. For it has come down to you from Apostolic Tradition, and frequently accursed envy has wished to unsettle it, but has not been able." (ibid., 29)

So who was it who decided what stayed in the Bible and what didnt? There were so many different canons, most agreeing on the 4 gospels and maybe 5 of Pauls letters, but the final word of the rest came from the Catholic (universal) Church. It was only when it defined what was scriptural and what wasnt that people stopped arguing.

I also discussed that passage from 1 Timothy with Adam, and he was able to explain to me the context it was written in, at that time the Church was being attacked by gnosticism. The belief of gnostics is that the body is evil, and the spirit is good, and we need to use knowledge to enlarge our minds and so work our way to heaven. Clearly this is in opposition to the Gospel, and Paul writes to couter this tendancy which was spreading. Many of the gnostics, in their idea that the body is evil, believed that sex is also evil, and it follows that marriage is evil. They therefore forbid their followers to marry, and it is this that Paul is speaking against.

In another of Paul's letters, to the Corinthians, he advocates remaining unmarried: "For I would that all men were even as I myself. But every man hath his proper gift of God, one after this manner, and another after that. I say therefore to the unmarried and widows, it is good for them if they abide even as I." (1 Cor 7:7,8) clearly he felt it was not wrong to abstain from marriage, what was wrong was to forbid people to marry.

The Church forbids no one to marry. I could marry if I wanted to, I would not be able to be a nun, because being a nun is about that total gift of self to God that Paul also lived in his life. But I could be just as blessed, and just as close to God in the eyes of the Church, indeed, the vocation to marriage, to be a wife and a mother is so beautiful, and the Church never seeks to undervalue it, but as everyone has their proper gift of God, if it is your gift to be a priest or a monk or a nun, you will not marry.

Incidentally, the idea of a celibate priesthood is not an unchangeable teaching, the Church may at some point choose to allow married men to become priests, and Anglican priests who become Catholic can become Catholic priests even if they are married. It's a custom because of the beautful gift of celibacy, I'd love to talk more about that, but this email is already very long!

I'll have a look at those websites you mentioned, and if you would like to raise any more questions please do, I would really love to talk more about this with you. If you feel anything I have said opposes the bible please let me know. I don't think it does, but maybe I haven't explained properly.

Anyway, let's pray for each other.

God bless you,

Monday, May 01, 2006

Vocation Vocation Vocation...

I posted a response to someone having a vocation crisis on
xt3, and figured that seeing as I'd spent so much time explaining how I thought discernment is, I'd post it here, incase I never get my act together to write from scratch!

In the past 3 years I've gone from hating the idea of religious life... to realising God wanted me to be a nun (or sister) and being over the moon... to deciding to visit the
CFRs... to thinking He wanted me to be a cloistered Poor Clare... to feeling called to the CFRs... to meeting a lovely young man and thinking maybe it wasn't Gods will for me to be a nun... to realising very quickly that it was... to feeling even more called to the CFRs... to applying to enter (CFR again)... to feeling drawn to St Cecillias (enclosed Benedictines)... to where I am now, that I am so excited that God seems to be calling me to the CFR. And all these transitons came with long periods of waiting and prayer, and most of them with a great deal of suffering. The cross is always with us. However I am so peaceful now, because I've realised that what God wants is so simple: For us to try to do His will at every moment. So with me, at the moment, I am so peaceful in the knowledge that God's Will is for me to apply to the CFRs, I still don't know if He's calling me there, and I wont know for sure until I make final vows, but as Fr Luke (the vocations director for the Friars) said in his vocations e-letter:

When it comes to discerning a vocation, I am under the impression that we all want God to take our free-will away. "If only I could have one apparition of Our Lady so that she could tell me my vocation! Then I would get on with it in total peace!" An authentic calling always comes in the form of an invitation. We must freely respond. Your free-will must always remain intact (this is a sign that you are encountering the grace of God). There will always be a "leap in faith" element to answering your vocation. Do not fall into the trap of waiting for absolute certainty. Do not be afraid to give everything to Jesus Christ! NOW!

He said the same thing to me last time I visited when I was sobbing like a lunatic in confession because I wasn't certain that God was calling me there, even though I loved it so much.

So the point of this all is, as long as we pray, frequently recieve the Sacraments, get a spiritual director, and try to live God's Will at every moment, He will tell us, and He might wait a year... or two... or ten... or make it clear next week. As my SD says, "God's not a joker" He isn't trying to trick us, or catch us out, or make us miserable, if He calls us to something we will know because we have joy and peace... we'll want to do it! People are always stressing... don't! God loves us.

Also, with parents, they can be so hard, my relationship with my mother hasn't been the same since I told her about my vocation 18 months ago, and I can't begin to tell you how hard losing that close bond has been. God does demand sacrifices, but it would be impossible for me to say, "ok, I'm destroying my mother with this vocation, I'll just give it up and get married", because even leaving God's plan out of it: I would be miserable, my husband would be miserable, and eventually Mum would be miserable.

The CFR have some
suggested reading on their vocations page, some of which will be relevent for people considering all vocations, some of which (Their constitutions, for example!) will only be useful to those considering a vocation specifically to them.

The last thing is: this Easter, when I began considering St Cecilias some of my friends were like: "that's great, I think you'd be much better off with them" and I thought, "that must be it, God's calling me to an enclosed order", after all it is harder, I would only see my family once or twice a year, and then through a window, I would only see those of my friends who loved me enough to come all that way for an hours visit (through the window), I would never get to go to another Youth 2000 festival, or visit the Holy Name, or walk through the streets of my home town... it's a greater sacrifice, so it must be better. Plus, as I understand it, an enclosed vocation is a "higher" vocation (not better, the best thing is to do God's Will, but higher, kind of as a Bishop is higher that a Priest). I posted the correspondance I had with Sr Mary David (St Cecilias) on my blog, and almost immediately a girl from America, who I don't know, posted a comment:

I'm so glad that I came across your lovely blog! I understand your vocation crisis, as I went through a period of discernment last fall.

I thought, "great... she's going to say that she had thought about entering an 'active' order, and then realised that God was calling her to be a contemplative, and she'll be telling me to take courage and follow God however hard it is... I went to
her blog and actually she had felt drawn to the contemplative life, but after prayer realised that God was actually calling her to marriage. What God wants is just for us to be happy, and that could be as a priest, if it's His Will then that will make you happy, or it could be as a husband and father, the same applies. But the thing which seems harder is sometimes but not always the best.

I think that's all, time to go to bed :)

may God give you His peace!