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!


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!


Click HERE for the excellent video, with good interviews, which is on the EWTN Facebook page.


Once again members of the Grand Priory and British Association assisted with the 5th Annual Corpus Christi Procession between our two friendly parishes of St James Spanish Place and Our Lady of the Assumption Warwick Street, in which churches most of our Masses are offered during the year.

About 20 Knights and Dames processed – helping carry the canopy alongside the Knights of the Holy Sepulchre, carrying banners and other duties. As in previous years, we were pleased to be joined by some knights from other Associations visiting London. Countless Companions helped the Parishes with serving, singing, marshalling and the organisation. This really is a wonderful outreach of our noble Order of which we can be truly proud. As one of our confreres has written to the organisers afterwards: "I was immensely grateful for the privilege of taking part, an experience which occasionally brought me close to tears." About 1,500 faithful processed in lovely sunshine, and the closing Benediction at Spanish Place was given by Monsignor Newton, following the rousing tones of Mendelssohn's Lauda Sion. The lovely video below captures this sublime moment. This procession responds directly to Cardinal Nichols' desire to promote Eucharistic Devotion in the Diocese, to which end he has also established the Diocesan Shrine of the Blessed Sacrament at Corpus Christi Maiden Lane, where Cardinal Arinze celebrated Pontifical Mass at the Throne last Thursday, in the Extraordinary Form. The Bishops conference website has photographs HERE.   Several members of the Order were present in the congregation.

EWTN were filming the Procession, so look out for their report.


This Pentecost a group of 18 young (well, 80% so) Knights, Dames and Companions, together with our chaplain Fr Edmund Montgomery, set off at Pentecost on the annual Pilgrimage between Our Lady's ancient shrines.  We joined our French brethren in the chapter of Notre-Dame de Philerme.

Due to the devastation at Notre-Dame in Paris, the opening Mass, celebrated by Fr Julian Large of the London Oratory, was held in the renaissance and baroque splendour of Saint Sulpice.
fresh and keen in Paris...

a long road of prayer...

pious feet of a professed knight!

Holy Mass for the pilgrims in the crypt at Chartres on the day of departure.

As some readers will know, one of our pilgrims has a stoke during the pilgrimage, wonderfully looked after by the French Order of Malta hospitaller teams. Holy Mass was offered at his hospital bedside by Fr Montgomery.  Please pray for his recovery.

Those who have not come with us should seriously think of doing so next year, and we look forward to seeing again many old friends.

Notre-Dame de Philerme, priez pour nous!


Tomorrow, 23rd February, is the third Feast of our beloved Patron, the First Finding of the Head of Saint John the Baptist, given in the Martyrology, but sadly not observed as a Feast in our Missal.

The story is by nature complicated, but in a nutshell, following his Martyrdom, Herodias forbade the burial of the Saint's body and Head together. Tradition relates that Saint John's body was buried in Sebaste, near Mount Nablus. Herodias is thought to have thrown the Head onto a dung heap at Machaerus, Herod's Palace where her harlot daughter danced. Some then recount that the wife of Herod's Steward took the head and reburied it on the Mount of Olives. Other stories exits, that it was buried in Jerusalem.  Some time in the 5th century it was found through the working of miracles around it, and Holy Mother Church is of the view that this Head is now in Rome, at the Church of San Silvestro in Capite. The Orthodox believe the head was taken to Constantinople, where it was again lost during wars. It was found a second time, around 450, translated to Constantinople, and in some accounts Walter de Sarton bought it thence to Amiens Cathedral during the Fourth Crusade, where it is still venerated. In 850 Patriarch Ignatius reportedly saw a vision of the resting place of the Head, and again took it to Constantinople, where it remains. Catholics are free to believe whatever part of all this they wish. Scepticism of conflicting historical records should not however diminish our duty of veneration to our Holy Patron, whose life and witness is clearly attended in Holy Scripture and by Tradition. It is perfectly consonant with doctrine and piety to venerate all three Heads, each is a sacred object, the subject of long veneration.

As our readers will most probably know, from early times, certainly by Rhodes, the Order had a relic of the Hand of Saint John. This survived Napoleon, and was taken to Russia by 'Grand Master' Tsar Peter, but was lost during the Second World War. It had accompanied, throughout the 19th and 20th centuries, the Icon of Our Lady of Philermo, now discovered in Montenegro. Again, we may believe what we wish.

The Church of San Silvestro in Capite is five minutes' walk from the Grand Magistry of our Order in Via dei Condotti. All members of the Order with their heads screwed on straight would do well to visit it regularly when they are in Rome, it will bring Order to our crazy world.

Saint John the Baptist, pray for us.

The painting above is Caravaggio's 'Salome with the Head of Saint John'


John Henry Newman by Sir John Everett Millais
We should all be overjoyed in England that the Holy Father has announced that Blessed John Henry Newman is to be raised fully to the altars as a Saint later this year. Thank you, Pope Francis! Today we rejoice with him also on the Feast of the Chair of Peter.

Newman's influence on the Church far surpasses the boundaries of England in the 19th century, though he single-handedly removed all intellectual justification for the continuation of Protestantism in this land, and left the Church of England merely an empty husk of customs and the relics of Christian buildings.

Indeed Newman may fairly be described as the Doctor of the 21st Century, for his writings address precisely the problems and ailments which Holy Mother Church suffers in our own age.

It is easy for malicious people, whom the Church has never lacked, to distort the meaning of the writings of the Saints to their own end if people have never read them for themselves, and certain progressive elements in the Church have, certainly around the time of his beatification, misrepresented his teaching by selecting passages from Newman's writings to imply support for relativist and modernist positions.  Nothing could be further from the truth, Newman warns us of the danger of what he called "the liberalisation of Religion", and his writings, based upon immemorial Tradition, read as freshly today as when they were composed.  For all the progress of the 20th century, liberal thinkers are still stuck in the mire of outdated modernism, condemned by, and outside the mind of, Holy Mother Church - the moral horrors we see today are merely developments of the errors Newman saw and condemns so clearly. One uses 'condemns' in the presest tense quite intentionally, as his writings are now to last as a gift to the Church forever.

In order that members of the Order of Malta may not feel themselves unarmed for the battle of Tuitio Fidei in which they are by joyful obligation engaged, we publish here an article from the Times of London, May 1879, which gives the famous Biglietto speech in full, the day of our new Saint's elevation to the Sacred Purple.

On Monday morning, May 12, Dr. Newman went to the Palazzo della Pigna, the residence of Cardinal Howard, who had lent him his apartments to receive there the messenger from the Vatican bearing the biglietto from the Cardinal-Secretary of State, informing him that in a secret Consistory held that morning his Holiness had deigned to raise him to the rank of Cardinal. By eleven o'clock the rooms were crowded with English and American Catholics, ecclesiastics and laymen, as well as many members of the Roman nobility and dignitaries of the Church, assembled to witness the ceremony. Soon after midday the consistorial messenger was announced. He handed the biglietto to Dr. Newman, who, having broken the seal, gave it to Dr. Clifford, Bishop of Clifton, who read the contents. The messenger having then informed the newly-created Cardinal that his Holiness would receive him at the Vatican the next morning at ten o'clock to confer the birretta upon him, and having paid the customary compliments, his Eminence replied in what has become known as his "Biglietto Speech" as follows:—
Vi ringrazio, Monsignore, per la participazione che m'avete fatto dell' alto onore che il Santo Padre si è degnato conferire sulla mia umile persona—
And, if I ask your permission to continue my address to you, not in your musical language, but in my own dear mother tongue, it is because in the latter I can better express my feelings on this most gracious announcement which you have brought to me than if I attempted what is above me.


With apologies to our gentle Readers for the late notice, but we append below some information about the visit of Our lady of Walsingham to St George's Cathedral, Southwark,  this weekend, beginning this evening.

This is part of the preparations for the Rededication of England as Dowry of Mary by our Bishops in  2020.

The Tour begins with Rosary at 6pm this evening, Mass is at 7pm, followed by devotions.  The full programme may be read HERE.

For those for whom this is too short notice, Our Lady's Statue will be returning to London on 29th March, and indeedthe Order of Malta Monthly Recollection on 30th March at the Assumption Warwick Street will take place in Her presence.

This is Your Dowry, O Pious Virgin!

In 1399 Thomas Arundel, Archbishop of Canterbury, wrote to his suffragan bishops:

“The contemplation of the great mystery of the Incarnation has drawn all Christian nations to venerate her from whom came the first beginnings of our Redemption. But we English, being the servants of her special inheritance and her own dowry, as we are commonly called, ought to surpass others in the fervour of our praises and devotions.”

So, the title of England as ‘The Dowry of Mary’ was definitely in use by the end of the fourteenth century, but Archbishop Arundel’s letter seems to indicate that at the time of his writing it was already in common use, indicating an earlier origin.


Today is the feast of the Dedication of our Mother Church in Valetta. It is also kept here in London as the feast of our own Conventual Church of Saint John Jerusalem, as it was of our former eponymous church in Clerkenwell. This is the first Order feast of the calendar year, and we hope that you have entered the others in your diaries, it is the privilege and duty of all members of the Order to give thanks for, and to ask the intercession of, our Patrons. 

O GOD, who year by year renew for us the day when this your holy temple was consecrated, hear the prayers of your people and grant that in this place for you there may always be pure worship, and for us fullness of redemption. Through Christ our Lord. Amen.


And so begins the new Year after Christmastide!

To our our readers, and especially our Chaplains, we wish them a very Happy Feast of the Asses, the Festum Assinorum. (Google it.)
In fine Missae sacerdos, versus ad populum, vice ‘Ite, Missa est’, ter hinhannabit: populus vero, vice ‘Deo Gratias’, ter respondebit, ‘Hinham, hinham, hinham.


This post refer to things a long way away. But we are all united in the Cross of Christ, which makes the world small.

The first and principal function of the Order of Malta is the defences of the Cross. Without this, all our good works fall, as they do for each of us in our individual lives.

So it with no apology that we commend this petition in the United States of America to your attention, with a request that you follow your conscience, and take the time to respond should you feel this is the right thing to do.

We adore Thee O Christ and we bless Thee :
For by Thy Holy Cross Thou hast redeemed the world.


It is true to say that, in our modern world with its many diversions and demands, you cannot wait for the world to beat its way to your doorstep. You must go out into the world and show what you can offer others. This is even true of vocations to a religious life. Works, worship of God and public prayerfulness attract vocations which can be seen clearly in this article concerning vocations in the diocese of Shrewsbury.

How the Diocese of Shrewsbury is creating a springtime of vocations (Click here)
Father, we are your people, the work of your hands.
So precious are we in your sight that you sent your only Son, Jesus Christ.
Jesus calls us to heal the broken-hearted,
to dry the tears of those who mourn, to give hope to those who despair,
and to rejoice in your steadfast love.
We, the baptized, realise our call to serve.
Help us to know how to answer your call.
Call forth from among us priests,
Call forth from among us religious brothers and sisters;
Through their hearts you continue to show your love to your people.
We ask this through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son,
who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit,
one God forever and ever.


On the last day of the Christmas Season, the Grand Priory of England, and this Blog in particular, extends to its estimable Readers all good wishes for Christmas, for the Epiphany, and for a New Year 2019.  Equally apologies for silence and lack of posts, for various reasons.

People repeatedly and tediously talk of New Year's resolutions. Silly egocentric ones in the newspapers, better ones from the pulpit. The Editors of this blog ask you for only one, and ask that, should you fail in all the others, this be the one you keep.  Please, in this critical year of 2019, pray  regularly for our Order of Saint John – for its charitable work among Our Lords the Poor and Sick, for its Religious Life, and for its future. None of these is certain.

The Grand Prior, Fra' Ian Scott, sends his good wishes from Rome, and extends greetings and prayers to you all.


(The painting shows the Nativity by Caravaggio, formerly in Palermo, possibly destroyed)