From 'Mementoes of the Martyrs' : "...which provoked a Frenchman who was there to comment on the strange ways of the English, "those who are for the pope are hanged, those who are against him are burned:"                                               Saint John-Paul II wrote: "The fact that one can die for the faith shows that other demands of the faith can also be met."                                                 Cardinal Müller says, “For the real danger to today’s humanity is the greenhouse gases of sin and the global warming of unbelief and the decay of morality when no one knows and teaches the difference between good and evil.”                                                  St Catherine of Siena said, “We've had enough exhortations to be silent. Cry out with a thousand tongues - I see the world is rotten because of silence.”                                                  Chesterton said, “The Christian ideal has not been tried and found wanting. It has been found difficult; and left untried.”                                                Brethren, Wake up!


A Happy Feast to all our friends across the Pond. What a joy this month is, with its succession of great Marian feasts, beginning for us in the Order, of course, on the 2rd December, with Our Lady "Causa nostrae Laetitia", the bringer of our Holy Joy, Who comes to us in His fullness at Christmas.

Please today pray the Rosary of Reparation called for by our Cardinal Patronus, Raymond Cardinal Burke, in yesterday's post HERE.

Have no fear, they forces of evil will be conquered, but we must each play our part.

O MARIA sine labe concepta, ora pro nobis, qui confugimus ad te!


The Cardinal Patronus of our Order has, in an interview with French television on the Feast of the Immaculate Conception, called on all Catholics to pray a Rosary tomorrow, 12th December, the Feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe, Our Lady of the Americas, in reparation for the diabolical acts carried out in Rome during the Amazon Synod. The Cardinal calls for the dark forces unleashed by these acts to be vanquished. It is our duty, as soldiers of Christ fighting under the sign of the Cross, to rise to this challenge.

His Eminence said, "Something very grave happened during the special assembly of the Bishops’ Synod for the Amazon region. An idol was introduced into St Peter's Basilica – the figure of a demonic force... Therefore reparation is necessary and also prayers, so that the diabolical forces that entered with this idol are vanquished by the grace of God, by Christ who wants St Peter's Basilica to be purified of the sacrilegious act that took place during the Synod."

"All should pray and make this act of reparation for the scandal that was caused, especially because God was offended by this act... I want to encourage you in every way to go ahead with this initiative."

Again, this pious work is one of the charisms of the Order of Malta, Tuitio Fidei, and all should find time to pray for this intention tomorrow. We respond through love of God, we respond through love of His Holy Church, and we respond through love of our Order, and attachment to its spiritual encouragement. We are encouraged to offer five Decades of the Holy Rosary, in company with many thousands of people around the world. A great army of prayer for Christ and His Holy Mother.
O Most Holy Virgin, and Our Mother, we listen with grief to the complaints of your Immaculate Heart surrounded with the thorns placed therein at every moment by the blasphemies and ingratitude of ungrateful humanity. We are moved by the ardent desire of loving you as Our Mother and of promising a true devotion to Your Immaculate Heart. 
We therefore kneel before You to manifest the sorrow we feel for the grievances that people cause You, and to atone by our prayers and sacrifices for the offenses with which they return your love. Obtain for them and for us the pardon of so many sins. Hasten the conversion of sinners that they may love Jesus Christ and cease to offend the Lord, already so much offended. Turn you eyes of mercy toward us, that we may love God with all our heart on earth and enjoy Him forever in Heaven.  (From devotions to Our Lady of Fatima's apparition to Sister Lucia.)
An image of idolatrous evil unleashed in the heart of the Church.
Pray for these poor souls who were tricked into doing this wickedness.
Our Lady conceived without sin, pray for us who have recourse to Thee.


In all the bustle of daily life it is easy to forget or overlook that a group of exorcists have called for tomorrow to be kept as Fast Day in reparation from some of the events at the Amazon Synod which we have covered elsewhere (HERE and HERE). Here is a very fruitful work of Tuitio Fidei which all healthy members of the Order, Companions and Friends can offer for the good of the whole Church.

This means omitting one full meal, and taking only a small meal or snack to keep you energy up.  You may drink whatever you wish, even unto the finest vintages. It is, obviously, anyway a Friday and thus a day of abstinence from meat.

We are encouraged, if we are are able, to fast on bread and water, that is, only sufficient bread to sustain you as you go about your normal activities, and abstaining from all other more pleasurable food. Having said that, it is perfectly legitimate for it to be nice bread, fasting is not an exercise in making life unpleasant, but an act of prayer and adoration. It is the joy of offering, not the degree of hardship, which is supernaturally efficacious.

For a full explanation and suitable prayers to the Sacred Heart, see Fr Z's article HERE, and the LIFESITE News article HERE.

Finally, a picture to remind you why you would want to do this.

Most Sacred Heart of Jesus, have mercy on us.
Most Sacred Heart of Jesus, have mercy on us.
Most Sacred Heart of Jesus, have mercy on us.
Our Lady conceived without original sin, pray for us who have recourse to Thee.


We have been asked to support the appeal by the Benedictine monks of the Monastère Saint-Benoît in La Garde-Freinet in the South of France, of whom our dear friend and erstwhile liturgical collaborator Dom Alcuin Reid is Prior; the buildings they are seeking to buy were once a Commandery of our own Order. This we are overjoyed to do, and firmly encourage all members of the Order and Companions to help in whatever way they can, small, or large. See the appeal notice below.  For GiftAid information, please email HERE.  To make a simple donation, click HERE. To donate with JustGiving, click HERE.  

One of their young English monks is receiving his first minor Orders this month, on 21st December, Dom Ildephonse Swithinbank - please pray for him.

Please pray also for our friend Monseigneur Dominique Rey, bishop of Fréjus-Toulon, who will ordain Dom Ildephonse, and for all the vocations he encourages.

Please visit the Monastery's website HERE.  They are also very happy to receive you, with customary Benedictine hospitality, should you wish to visit in person.

Above all, please pray for this young community. Make it yours.


The editor of this blog thoroughly commends to you, during this election period of hyperbole, hollow rhetoric and vitriol in the Brexit battle (whichever side you have adopted), the wonderful new book by Lady Antonia Fraser - "The King and the Catholics - the Fight for Rights 1829", a history of Catholic Emancipation. Whether as a grotesque sense of parliamentary déja-vu, or as a welcome diversion from our present equally unending (but less erudite) debates, this volume is un-put-downable.

It has been observed by some commentators in recent weeks that, just short of the 2nd centenary of Emancipation, Catholics are again being excluded by the Establishment (which perhaps we never truly rejoined) from the political realm, and this lends this volume a further piquancy.

Antonia Fraser is a friend from childhood of many members of our Order, and one of the most delightful historical story-tellers of the modern age. Every Catholic residing in Britain and Ireland should read this book.


Following our post HERE, and in response to several email enquiries from within the Order, we post the following follow-up videos. It is not the place of this organ to provide commentary, merely to offer information in a spirit of Tuitio Fidei.

Firstly, herewith a video of the protagonist, which offers a fulsome apologetic presentation. (We offer this video in a version from a respected Italian news site, with a short introduction in Italian.)

Secondly an act of reparation from one who should know, a faithful priest of the Amazon region.

Readers are invited to draw their own conclusions, and to act according to their consciences. Above all the correct response is prayer and conformity to the mind of Holy Mother Church.

Our Lady of Philermo, pray for us.


Bust of Newman by our confrere Neil Weir, 2019 
We are deeply indebted to Father Mark Elliott-Smith of the Ordinariate for his inspiring talks on Newman, given at last month's Recollection. They are given here for the benefit both of those who could not attend, and those who heard them and wish to reflect further, a study which they greatly merit.
‘Thy sacred body vibrating under the heavy flail as trees under the blast.’ Newman was a poet, and that phrase shows it. But he was also an unflinching poet. He looked reality square on. The first part of the Dream of Gerontius describes the dying of a faithful devout sinner. It chronicles the fear, the terror in the face of the bodily disintegration that is dying: ‘this pouring out of each constituent... this natural force by which I come to be...’ So Newman was not afraid to confront his reader with the graphic, and the depiction of Christ’s sufferings that we have just heard gives us an insight into his understanding of the Mass.

Of course, Newman was very much a product of his age: suffering was very visible around him: poverty and sickness and death were very visible, and very close by. We, by by contrast, live in a very anaesthetised society. Thank God, although people still suffer greatly, medical progress has meant longer pain free living, and end of life care to, very often, pain free dying. In the progress we have made, we have also rather airbrushed death out of the picture, and prefer not to think about it until we have to. Victorians thought about it all the time, the death of little Nell springs to mind, and the use by Victoria of deep mourning, an example followed by the general population, kept death very much in the forefront of Victorian society. Newman cannot have been any different from his countrymen in this regard. 

Indeed, I would contend that his vivid imagination, with which he was born, was one of the most significant factors in his Eucharistic understanding. His ability to enter so deeply into the wounds of Jesus, to shelter in his wounds, you might say, provided the fuel for his argument: ‘Such a sacrifice was not to be forgotten. It could not be a mere event in the world’s history. If that great deed was..what we know it is, it must remain present.a standing fact for all times.’ This, surely, was no new insight for Newman. It was not something that came to him after 1845, when he implored Dominic Barberi to reconcile him to the Catholic Church. This was a reflection that was long in the making: ‘our own careful reflection upon it tells us this.’

Here again, we see what Newman is doing. He is not, repeat not, telling us anything else about the Church’s teaching that we don’t already know, or what Catholics have always believed and taught. It is part of his assent, his docility, to the authority of the Church, ‘and her teachings as her own.’ His creativity, his imagination, his poetry, his intellect, are directed towards one end: to elucidate that teaching, to enable us to enter more deeply into it, not merely by way of the intellect, but by way of imagination and love: Heart speaks unto Heart. So the news of the Sacrifice is ‘most touching and joyful’ and ‘carries with it the full assent and sympathy of our reason.’

And the heart’s response? ‘My Lord, I offer thee myself in turn as a sacrifice of thanksgiving.’ Traces here of his former Anglicanism? These words, from the prayer book Communion service will have imprinted themselves on his formidable memory:

“And here we offer and present unto thee, O Lord, ourselves, our souls and bodies, to be a reasonable, holy, and lively sacrifice unto thee;” from the prayer of oblation.

But also Newman, more than anything else, draws our attention, first and foremost to the Sacrifice of the Mass. Such was the almost unimaginable suffering of Calvary, the suffering of the God Man, that its significance and its reconciling power are not confined to time, but present at every Mass throughout eternity, and the mark of Jesus, a Priest for ever after the order of Melchizedek, is indelibly conferred on those whom he calls to be another Christ.

Newman’s canonisation has been very timely: his writings are still so fresh and so vivid that they speak to us today as powerfully, if not more so, than when written. In a society so different in so many ways to the one in which he flourished, that vivid, graphic language jolts us awake in a way that much modern prose fails to do.

Talking of which... “The Church aims, not at making a show, but at doing a work. She regards this world, and all that is in it, as a mere shadow, as dust and ashes, compared with the value of one single soul. She holds that, unless she can, in her own way, do good to souls, it is no use her doing anything; she holds that it were better for sun and moon to drop from heaven, for the earth to fail, and for all the many millions who are upon it to die of starvation in extremest agony, so far as temporal affliction goes, than that one soul, I will not say, should be lost, but should commit one single venial sin, should tell one wilful untruth, though it harmed no one, or steal one poor farthing without excuse.” Certain Difficulties Felt by Anglicans in Catholic Teaching (1850) (Lecture 8)

Now, I know that Newman knew all the rhetorical tricks, and used them, and he exaggerated for effect; and I am equally sure that he would be just as concerned for the fate of the earth, and how we are responsible for its well being as any, but I could wish, in the fever of his canonisation, we remembered just how passionate was Newman’s understanding of what the Church is, and what its task is, namely to call souls back from the brink of destruction and, through her sacramental life, to lead them to Heaven. Perhaps I shouldn’t, but I can’t help wondering out loud what he would have to say about the present ecclesial craze for environmental friendliness.quo

In the Mass, we are brought, disgusted by our own sin, to Calvary, and confronted by the horror, the wonder, and the beauty of our redemption. 

From the sermon The Religion of the Pharisee, the Religion of Mankind (1856)
“It is the sight of God, revealed to the eye of faith, that makes us hideous to ourselves, from the contrast which we find ourselves to present to that great God at whom we look. It is the vision of Him in His infinite gloriousness, the All-holy, the All-beautiful, the All-perfect, which makes us sink into the earth with self-contempt and self-abhorrence.”

Although I yield to no one in holding to the principle that the beauty of liturgy should capture the heart and make us fall in love with God, or that it should, in the very best sense, be fun, so too it should make us ever mindful that, “Domine non sum dignus...” it is at his word, that is to say, the Incarnate Word, that we are ransomed, healed, restored, forgiven.

We are contented with ourselves till we contemplate Him.It is only when we have a sense of sin, as Newman so clearly had, that we can have a true sense of forgiveness. Not just of our individual shortcomings or tendencies or habits, but how those individual shortcomings, tendencies and habits are related to our primordial separation from God. Only so, can we recover the sense of wonder at how wonderfully, and yet how simply, we are reconciled: through the Cross, by the power of the Resurrection, made present each time we go unto the Altar of God.

Part Two

Quote: the Food of the Soul

One thing we should never forget about Newman. Although he had travelled extensively in Italy, and although he was undoubtedly undergoing the process that would ultimately bring him into the full communion of the Catholic Church, he studiously avoided, while still an Anglican, going to Catholic acts of worship.

He wrote this to a close friend: “When I have been in Churches abroad, I have religiously abstained from acts of worship, though it was a most soothing comfort to go into them – nor did I know what was going on; I neither understood nor tried to understand the Mass service...” Don’t you love that? The Mass service! It almost feels slightly naive. 

But what is perhaps even more remarkable is that it was the presence of the Tabernacle in Catholic Churches that, more than anything else, impressed itself upon him. He wrote about it constantly; indeed, he was to assert that he had not understood what worship actually was until he entered the Catholic Church. To an Anglican friend, (how good he was at keeping his Anglican friendships in good repair!) he wrote this:

“I am writing next room to the Chapel – It is such an incomprehensible blessing to have Christ in bodily presence in one’s house, within one’s walls, as swallows up all other privileges … To know that He is close by – to be able again and again through the day to go in to Him …”

(We must might pause to observe, yet again, how Newman’s devotion to the presence of our Lord in the Tabernacle, and its role in his conversion might speak to today’s Church. The prominence, the pre-eminence of the Tabernacle, its distant glimmering lamp, was undoubtedly a kindly light that led him on).

For all the romance of Newman’s nature (indeed, ‘unromantic’ was occasionally used by him as a criticism: his teachers, Jesuits actually, though gifted academically, were described by him as ‘plodding, methodical, unromantic’), he was a realist, both practically and theologically. Even as an Anglican, his view on the Eucharist pointed towards a belief in the Real Presence:
“The bearing, then, of our Lord's sacred words would seem to be as follows, if one may venture to investigate it.  At Capernaum, in the chapter now before us [John 6], He solemnly declares to His Apostles that none shall live for ever, but such as eat and drink His flesh and blood; and then afterwards, just before He was crucified, as related in the other three Gospels, He points out to them the way in which this mystery of grace was to be fulfilled in them. He assigns the consecrated Bread as that Body of which He had spoken, and the consecrated Wine as His Blood; and in partaking of the Bread and the Cup, they were partakers of His Body and Blood.” (Newman, 1842/1869, online, 139).
It is the same Chapter 6 that underlies his meditation: ‘to whom should I go but to Thee? Who can save me but Thou?” And here the romance, the love affair with God truly kicks in. All the gifts of intellect and reason, his passionate search after truth, the argument, the satire, are all fuelled by that beating heart, that senses the presence of another Heart, beating with love for humanity, and from whom streams a grace that draws those who respond like a moth to a flame. ‘I come in great fear, but in greater love.’ 
In all this, I want to make a very simple point: Newman’s own understanding of the Mass very naturally changed as he moved towards, and eventually embraced, the Catholic Church. But even as an Anglican, while not assenting to the doctrine of Transubstantiation, he accepted that the presence of our Lord in the bread and wine was real, that the gift of the Eucharist was a high mystery, even if celebrated on what he then described as a lowly table, and that those who approached received the precious Body and Blood of the Lord. As a Catholic, and a Priest, he became even more aware of that Presence, at once both homely and mysterious and divine, made present on the Altar, living in the Tabernacle, and feeding the deepest hunger and meeting the deepest thirst. Newman’s Faith, for all its rigour, is essentially a homely faith, arising from a homely nature. When Newman made his famous remark about converts, that his old friends think him good riddance, and his new friends are cold and strange, he speaks to the experience of all those who make this journey, even if old friendships are eventually repaired, and new friendships become warm. But that remark tells us much about Newman, his desire for warmth, and a love of hearth and home. In later life he would write: “I am so much the creature of hours, rooms, and of routine generally, that to go from home is almost like tearing off my skin...”
I mention it, because I think it shapes his faith, and has something to say to us today, about a God who is not remote, but a God who is homely, and makes His home among us, tabernacles with us, because his Heart is such that he cannot bear to leave us. To do so would be to tear his skin off, and so He is always present, He cannot leave us alone, and so the light will always glimmer over the Tabernacle, to the comfort of all those who, whatever their state of life, enter the Church where he is found. Always present, because he has left his indelible mark on men who stand at the Altar and offer the Sacrifice that takes away the sins of the world. Always at home with us, and wanting us to be at home with him. Newman did so much for the Church, and we can hope that one day, he will be declared its next Doctor, but I hope that one of the things that we will give thanks for is that he shows us that faith, the Mass, the Church, her teaching, is all about our home, and our heavenly homeland, to which Newman’s kindly light leads us.
Saint John Henry, pray for us.


Do not, pray, miss out on the opportunity to fulfil the greatest act of charity possible, to release faithful souls from Purgatory. Every day this week, from today, 1st to 8th of November, a Plenary Indulgence may be obtained, as below. There are 309 members of the British Association, so together we could release 2,472 souls, one each every day. Not to mention the Companions and OMV. It is hard to imagine a more fruitful work, with lasting benefits.
For the faithful departed 
§ 1. A plenary indulgence, applied exclusively to the souls in Purgatory, is granted to the Christian faithful who:

1° on each single day, from the first to the eighth day in November, devoutly visit a cemetery and, even if only mentally, pray for the faithful departed; [Note: one plenary indulgence for each day, if the usual conditions are met]

2° on the day of Commemoration of All Faithful Departed [November 2] (or, according to the Ordinary, on the preceding or subsequent Sunday, or on the day of the solemnity of All Saints) piously visit a church or oratory and there recite the Pater and the Credo

(Reference: Enchiridion Indulgentiarum, 4th edition, al. concessions.)

Requiem æternam dona eis, Domine;
Et lux perpetua luceat eis.
Requiescant in pace.


We are greatly honoured that our friend Dr Michael Cullinan has allowed us to reproduce his homily for the Feast of Christ the King, delivered at St James's Spanish Place last Sunday.
For those members of the Order and Companions who seek to ennoble their immortal souls though the service of Our Lords the Poor and Sick within the traditions of our Order, this homily will have most fruitful resonance. In the light of the present battles which many face within the Order and the Church, we can only benefit, in our journey to Heaven, from Dr Cullinan's prophetic words.
Holy words are often rather worn-out. Tired, faded words. Like an old, once beautiful piece of furniture, they have knocked around for so long that the shine has worn off. Once they were bright, vivid, and striking. Now they’re just part of the furniture, unnoticed for most of the time.

Most of the words we use in the Mass have become worn, tired, and faded, because we hear them so often that we take them completely for granted. It’s only when you have to try to explain some of these holy words to a stranger that you realise just how worn they have become.

When I explain the liturgy of christening, I always feel a bit awkward about the anointing with chrism. It’s done because every Christian is called to be prophet, priest, and king. The oil of chrism is still used to anoint priests and kings, as it was in Israel three thousand years ago. Aaron was anointed high priest. Nathan the prophet anointed Solomon king. The word Christ and the word Messiah both mean the anointed one. So we anoint tiny babies with chrism and tell their parents that they are now prophets, priests, and kings.

The trouble is that we have forgotten what real prophets, priests, and kings are. There aren’t many prophets around today. Catholic priests aren’t at all like the priests of Our Lord’s day. And there are very few real kings around today. Figureheads and tyrants, but few kings. Sometimes I wonder whether if I changed ‘prophet, priest, and king’ to ‘ace, jack, and king’ would anyone really notice? Tired words, worn away by years of sanctity and over-use.

Today is the feast of Christ the King. In some ways it’s a bit like Ascension Day. It would be easy to celebrate it as something that honours Our Lord but has nothing to do with us. Just as we believe that he ascended to the Father a long time ago, so we believe that he will come back to rule the universe, a long time in the future. Very nice, very holy, and totally unrelated to where we are now. A feast day for him, not for us.

Ascension Day must have left the disciples living in the past, reminiscing about the Lord they had known, lost, found again, and who had now left them, this time for ever. Living in the past. Reliving old glories. Longing for the good old days. Hating the future. Despising the present. No hope or confidence in the here and now. Just like many people today. Longing for the old days, the old ways, the old order. Until Pentecost came.

Christ the King could also make us do the opposite. Go to the other extreme. Live entirely in the future. Long for the day when it will all come right. When the new world will come. Put all our hopes in heaven. Worship all change and everything new, whether it’s any better or not. Long for the new age. Hate the past. Despise the present. Have no hope or confidence in the here and now. Just like many other people today. Longing for new days, new ways, a new order.

But we don’t celebrate feasts because we want to live in the past or in the future. We celebrate them to make us live more in the present. Christ the King is about how to live in today’s world. We celebrate today to give us strength, hope, and confidence to live as followers of Christ in today’s world. Not just in private life, but in public life too. Not just as individuals but as a people. A Church. Part of His glorified body. Christened, anointed to be prophets, priests, and kings.  Those words again. Holy words, tired words. What on earth do they mean?

I think they mean freedom. Freedom from depending on others to do your praying for you. Freedom from depending on others to do your thinking for you. Freedom from depending on others to do your deciding for you. 

A priest can pray to God directly. He is free from false religion. He isn’t a slave to money, power, or sex. He makes himself holy by developing his conscience and following it, by God’s grace. He doesn’t need a Temple. He criticises corrupt religion. Even within the Church. Even when that leads him to Annas and Caiaphas.

A prophet speaks God’s message. He is free from falsehood and propaganda. From conventional wisdom and from fashionable ideas and from political correctness. He tries to find out the truth. By God’s grace. He doesn’t take his opinions in packages from the media or the blogosphere. He doesn’t depend on experts to do all his thinking for him. Even when other people don’t like what he says. Even people within the Church. Even when it leads him to Pilate.

A king is free from being forced to do things. A king isn’t a tyrant or a figurehead. He has dignity and honour. He decides what to do and takes full responsibility for it. He does and says what he thinks right. By God’s grace. He isn’t cowed by others. By peer group pressure. By the powers that be. Even by spiritual powers. Even when that leads to the Cross.

Today we celebrate the feast of Christ the Prophet, Priest, and King. And remember that we too are christened. As prophets, priests, and kings. Called to be kings. Called to find the truth. To bear witness to the truth in the world out there and in the Church. Wherever it leads us. Even as far as Annas and Caiaphas. Even as far as Pilate. Even as far as the Cross.



A week ago today the Church and the world celebrated the raising to our altars of a great English saint, the first post-Reformation English confessor, a saint not a martyr, to be canonised.  This is a joy for England, and an honour for the English Church.

The day of the canonisation was the feast of another great English saint, and a very significant anniversary, which passed almost unnoticed. It was the feast of St Edward the Confessor, the last of the great Anglo-Saxon kings, and the 750th anniversary of the translation of his holy relics to Westminster Abbey, and the dedication of his shrine behind the high altar on 13th October 1269, at which time King Henry III’s rebuilding of Edward’s Abbey was also consecrated.

The feast is kept as a solemnity by the Catholic Church within the City of Westminster, and this replaced the Sunday Mass in these parishes.  

Edward had build the Abbey, dedicated then, as now, to Saint Peter, and lived to see it consecrated, lying in the church on his deathbed for the long (but in the circumstances necessarily truncated) ceremonies on 28th December 1065, two days before he went to his eternal reward.  Little did he know that two centuries later it would become his shrine, and remains to this day one of the few shrines in Britain which has not been desecrated, but retains his hallowed remains in the original feretory, still greatly venerated.  Indeed few such shrines survive intact in Europe.

St Edward was responsible most particularly for encouraging Marian devotion of this Land, gaining special privileges from the Pope for Her veneration in his Abbey at Westminster, a work continued by many kings, most notably Edward III and Richard II, who formally dedicated England as Our Lady's Dowry at Her shrine in this very abbey church, within sight of St Edward's relics. At his conversion Newman said that at last he was free to honour Mary – he was restored fully to the birthright of every Englishman.

Newman cannot have imagined, when he left Rome for England as a newly ordained priest in 1847, having sacrificed all his worldly goods and status, that one day he too would be raised so gloriously to our altars, nor can such an idea have seemed even possible as he celebrated his First Mass in England at the former Bavarian Embassy chapel of the Assumption Warwick Street at the close of that year, the church now in the care of the Ordinariate, under his patronage.
Most certainly he could not have known that he would follow so closely in the footsteps of St Edward and that the great church and Oratory he was to found in the Hagley Road Birmingham would one day become his shrine. At a worldly level it was indeed sad that Saint John Henry did not live to see the rebuilding and dedication of his beautiful church around the first smaller Oratory church which he had himself built, again so uncannily redolent of the architectural history of Westminster Abbey (albeit on a much shorter timescale), but none of that matters now. He is a saint for all Eternity.

Let England rejoice in her two great saints, both of whom spent their lives serving the spiritual needs of this people beneath Our Lady's mantle, and who between them span the whole modern era of our country. Let us never cease to implore their powerful intercession for our land and our Church. In the words of HRH Charles Prince of Wales, a kinsman of St Edward, following last week's canonisation, "(Newman) gave the Catholic Church renewed confidence as it reestablished itself in a land in which it had once been uprooted." Amen to that.

Saint Edward the Confessor, pray for us.
Saint John Henry Newman, pray for us.


His Eminence Raymond Cardinal Burke, Cardinal Patronus of our beloved Order, and together with Bishop Schneider, has called all Catholics to a Crusade of Prayer and Fasting for 40 days leading up to the controversial Amazon Synod –
"to implore our Lord and Saviour, through the intercession of His Virgin Mother, for the following intentions: that the theological errors and heresies inserted in the Instrumentum Laboris may not be approved during the synodal assembly; that particularly Pope Francis, in the exercise of the Petrine ministry, may confirm his brethren in the faith by an unambiguous rejection of the errors of the Instrumentum Laboris and that he may not consent to the abolition of priestly celibacy in the Latin Church by introducing the praxis of the ordination of married men, the so-called “viri probati”, to the Holy Priesthood."
They have issued an 8-page document as a commentary upon the Synod's agenda, from which the above quotation is taken. See their document HERE. See a full article explaining their concerns HERE.

The Prayer requested is one Decade of the Holy Rosary daily for this intention, and fasting from one full meal one day per week, a similar fast to Fridays in Lent.  This could be on Friday in addition to our weekly abstinence, or on another day to suit our busy lives.  For those able to fast for the day on bread and water only, the Cardinal and Bishop Schneider would request this addition penance too. The Crusade actually began at the end of last week (our apologies), but it is never too late to start!  You have not yet missed a fast!

His Eminence has also this week given an in-depth interview on the current state and responsibilities of the Church, with Riccardo Cascioli, which may be read in English HERE.  Original in Italian HERE.


Pray to our Holy Patron Saint John the Baptist, whose whole life was one of Prayer and Fasting, to assist us in this work for Holy Mother Church!


Choose your battle - and stand firm!

"O Lord, may your Church ... be filled with joy at the birth of the Virgin Mary, who brought the dawn of hope and salvation to the world. Through Christ our Lord. Amen. (from the Postcommunion of the Victory Mass)

H/T the inestimable Fr Z.


We have had occasion before on this blog to raise matters of freedom of speech and censorship, and our dear readers were then very supportive in their active responses, which bore real fruit.
This time it is the very diffusion of the teaching of Holy Mother Church which is threatened. LIFESTYLE NEWS has been banned by the online news agency Apple News for alleged intolerance.  We have seen this sort of thing coming for some time, and that is good reason why we should fight hard. Apple are after all doing no more than many Government agencies have already done in schools, town halls and other places. We know these people's agenda; this is the sort of the thing the Order of Malta was founded for.

Please sign the PETITION HERE, and diffuse this among your friends. It seems from this afternoon's update from LIFESITE NEWS that this campaign is already working!

This is real Tuitio Fidei. For those of you who think it is some vague Latin principle which has nothing to do with you, think again!

Apple News has just banned LifeSite, the world's largest and most-popular pro-life and pro-family news website, from its Apple News platform. 
Without any prior warning, Apple News informed us in an e-mail today: "Your channel has been disabled, and your content has been removed from Apple News." 
This unfounded decision seems to be designed to silence LifeSiteNews. But, we will not be silenced, and we are not taking this lightly. 
We are URGENTLY calling on our readers and supporters - and on all freedom-loving people - to SIGN THIS PETITION, demanding that Apple reinstate LifeSite's Apple News channel immediately. 
Apple claimed that LifeSite's channel, "shows intolerance towards a specific group," but Apple did not state which "specific group" the site allegedly showed intolerance towards, and provided no specific examples of offending content. 
“It goes without saying that LifeSite would never promote intolerance or hatred against any group," said LifeSite's Editor-in-Chief John-Henry Westen. 
"Unfortunately, however, in our divisive political climate, even mild expressions of common Christian and conservative viewpoints are now often dismissed as de facto 'hatred' and 'intolerance'. We certainly hope that this is not what Apple is doing. But at a time when there is growing evidence of left-wing censorship by the tech juggernauts, this decision is frightening. 
"We are awaiting Apple's response providing further details on their decision," added Westen. "But at face value, this decision looks like just another case of a tech company using their power to quietly censor conservative opinions, simply because they don't agree with them." 
Unfortunately, Apple's e-mail provided LifeSite with no opportunity to appeal their decision. 
Apple News is an app that is available on all Apple devices. It aggregates news content from thousands of publishers. Apple users can “follow” their favorite news sites and receive customized updates. 
Apple News first approved LifeSite's channel earlier this month, after a six month delay. Since then, thousands of people have read LifeSite's news content on the platform.
LifeSite is by far the largest pro-life and pro-family news site on the Internet. Over 22 million people have visited the site so far this year, viewing over 57 million pages. The site employs a team of over a dozen professional journalists and editors.
"We urge our readers, and any concerned citizen, to tell Apple that this kind of censorship is unacceptable," said Westen. "If anybody is 'showing intolerance' here, it is Apple that is showing intolerance towards the millions of people who rely on LifeSite for our news reporting, and who support our pro-life and pro-family values."


Today is the day upon which every year we may gain the Portiuncula Indulgencefrom the afternoon on the 1st August to sunset on the 2nd.  This plenary indulgence may only be applied to the Souls in Purgatory, by the act of visiting a church following Confession and receiving Holy Communion. It is thus one of the greatest Acts of Charity we can perform, to release a soul from Purgatory. Why would one not do this?

The Indulgence was granted miraculously to Saint Francis on a night of great temptation, in which he is said to have rolled as mortification in a briar-bush which became a bush of sweet thornless roses.  Originally it required a visit to the cell where he died, now in the basilica at Portiuncula (see photo above) about a mile from Assisi, but by successive Popes, in their great mercy, has been granted more and more liberally until today any church may be visited to gain this indulgence. (This privilege has been finally established for an indefinite time by a decree of the S. Cong. of Indul., 26 March, 1911 (Acta Apostolicae Sedis, III, 1911, 233-4), and reformed and confirmed by Pope Paul VI in "Indulgentiarum Doctrina" (1967). This Apostolic Constitution established that a Plenary Indulgence may be gained only once a day.)

The obligations are the usual ones of Confession and Holy Communion, ideally on the day, and recitation of the Lord's Prayer and the Creed, and prayer for the Holy Father's intentions, carried out with the will to gain the indulgence, and a detachment from sin. That is all. The indulgence may be gained on each of the two days, thus twice, assisting two souls.

Please make the effort to do this wonderful charitable work today!

For more information see HERE.


Since our beloved and noble Order has as its immemorial charism to live the life of perfection in the world – in the world but not of it – we could do far worse than to take as inspiration this charming example of detachment from the new Prime Minister of the British realms, for those who have not seen it (courtesy of Fr Z HERE).

Much good may be gained in our spiritual life by standing back and seeing the world of our day (and the Church, and indeed our Order) within the context of a long history.  Much anguish and annoyance may thereby be avoided.

One would like to think that there may be a few members of our Order who can follow, and compete. (It is perhaps worth pointing out that this video comes from Australia, the Melbourne Writers Festival, about which some Englishmen may be inclined to be snobbish!)


So wonderful is this article, published in OnePeterFive by David Mitchell HERE, so deeply imbued with the true spirit of Hospitaller Charity, underlining our duty first and foremost to save the souls of all our fellow people by bringing them to the light of the Truths taught by Holy Mother Church, that we print his article in full here.  Never let us forget as we care for the bodily needs of Our Lords the Poor and the Sick this this work, however worthy, is only a mean to our true work, the work for which God has made us, to strive for the salvation of our immortal souls and theirs.  Then, and then alone, can we rest as knights who work is well done.

David Mitchell

It is a truth revealed by God that there is absolutely no salvation outside of the Catholic Church. The Catholic Church is the true Church of Jesus Christ, instituted by Jesus Christ for the sanctification and salvation of the souls of men; how could there possibly be salvation outside the society instituted by Jesus Christ for our salvation?

The Catholic Church is not an invisible society, but a visible one, and there are not two Churches, one visible and the other invisible. It follows from this that it is necessary for salvation to be a member of the visible Catholic Church. There is no invisible Catholic Church. However, it is possible that a person could be, invisibly, a member of the Catholic Church, which is visible. Thus, a person in invincible ignorance of the true Faith who does not know of the necessity of membership in the Church for his salvation would not be held by the Almighty as guilty of a sin that he is not responsible for. Such a person might be, by grace, a member of the Catholic Church.

It is extremely dangerous, to say the least, to remain outside the Catholic Church, when the Catholic Church is the divinely instituted means of our salvation. One becomes a member of the Catholic Church either by baptism or by grace, and, visibly speaking, one becomes a visible member of the Catholic Church by baptism, because that is precisely the visible ceremony that makes men members of the Church. But Protestants, who do have a valid baptism, are not Catholics; for the Church is defined as the visible society of those who profess the faith of Christ, partake of the same Sacraments, and are united under the government of their lawful pastors under one visible head (that is, the pope). Protestants are, however, in an imperfect but real (or, to put it the other way, a real but imperfect) communion with us, and they are Christians, but they are not per se members of the Catholic Church. Catholics have used the phrase “separated brethren” to denote Protestants (and, I suppose, Orthodox and others) for two hundred years or so. The Second Vatican Council uses the phrase “fratres a nobis sejuncti” — the brethren separated from us. The word “separated” denotes the imperfection of the communion; the word “brethren” denotes the real communion that is, nevertheless, imperfect.

To state “there is no salvation outside the Catholic Church” does not mean that no Protestant, Jew, Muslim, etc., could be saved, but if he were saved, it would be by virtue of the Catholic Church and not his erring sect or religion. If he were saved, it would be because he was, by grace (or in the case of Protestants, by baptism), a member of the Catholic Church. Everyone who is in heaven is a member of the Church Triumphant and, ipso facto, a Catholic.

I do not think many people will deny that there are good and holy people in other religions. But this does not lessen the importance of the fact that all the graces in the world enter the world through the Catholic Church.

A person who knows that the Catholic Church is the true Faith, and refuses to enter it, cannot be saved. This is the perennial teaching of the Magisterium and is affirmed by the Second Vatican Council in the document Lumen Gentium.

The Catholic Church is the Church. It is not a part of the Church, or a denomination of the Church; it is the religion instituted by Jesus Christ, outside which there is no salvation. It is the only religion instituted by God Himself, and it is the only religion pleasing to God.

It is the duty of all men on Earth to enter the Catholic Church and to submit to her authoritative teaching. It is God who speaks to men, not through Scripture only, but also through the Sacred Tradition and the universal Magisterium of His Church. We must believe what Christ teaches us through His Church; faith that is at least implicit, in all that God has revealed, is necessary for salvation (and there are certain truths also that must be believed explicitly).

It is a great sin against charity to encourage people to persevere in their errors. Error will not save anyone. The truth of Jesus Christ — which includes the truth of His Church, which is His Immaculate Bride and His Mystical Body — will save people. People have a right to the full truth of the Gospel and should not be denied any part of it. They therefore have a right to know the truth: that Catholicism is the true religion; that the Catholic Church is the Church of God, which is endowed with authority, infallibility, and indefectibility, and will teach the true Faith and preserve the sacraments instituted by Jesus Christ until the end of time. Membership in it is necessary for salvation.


It was an especial joy this year that, exceptionally, the Holy Mass of Saint John's Day, the Feast of our heavenly Patron, was celebrated by a young priest, Father Gary Dench, ordained last Saturday, who was for several years an altar server in our Conventual Church, and who assisted with the Easter Triduum retreats there for a few years. Thus we are privilege to glimpse the flowering of the fruits of our sacred charism of Tuition Fidei.

Father Dench is a priest of Brentwood Diocese, and was ordained by Bishop Alan Williams. He was assisted at the altar by our Chaplain Fr Richard Biggerstaff and Fr Christian de Lisle, and the Assistant Priest (a privilege of First Masses) was Fr Luke Melcher, a colleague in Washington our former confrere Monsignor Andrew Wadsworth. The Mass was served by Father Dench's successors at our altars, Companions of our beloved Order, and it was impressive to see that, with only one exception (just), all on the altar were under 40 years old! Fr Biggerstaff preached a kindly and fraternal homily for his new brother priest.  It was a joy to see all these old friends of the Order with us on our Feast Day.

It was particularly delighted that we were joined by some of the new Dames and Knights who entered the Order at the Investiture Mass at the London Oratory last Friday, as well as by some of Fr Dench's priest friends.

The Mass was celebrated in the Forma Ordinaria of the Roman Rite, the music being Palestrina's Missa Brevis, and Descendit Angelus by Victoria. We are extremely grateful to the Choir and Director of Music, Mr Edward Tambling.

Mass was preceded by Veneration and Benediction of the Relic of St John the Baptist, given by Monsignor Keith Newton, Ordinary of the Ordinariate of Our Lady of Walsingham. Father Dench gave First Blessings after the Mass.
The Mass was followed by a reception in the Challoner Room, with the obligatory delicious cake! 

We are very grateful to Fr Dench for the honour he pays us in bringing us the graces of his First Mass. Ad multos annos!