St.Titus Brandsma, new Carmelite Saint and Martyr

Anno Brandsma was born to Tjitsje and Titus Brandsma on February 23rd,1881, at Wondseradeel in Friesland, Holland. He was the second youngest in a family of six, four girls and two boys. Five of the six would later enter religious life. He received his secondary education at a Franciscan school but attracted by the Carmelite Order’s devotion to Mary Mother of God and their prayer spirituality, he opted to pursue his priestly vocation with them. After Joining the Carmelite order, … Read More

A GLANCE INTO THE PAST

John D. Sheridan was known to older generations of Catholics for the many writings that spanned the years from the 1940s to the 1970s.  In “The Hungry Sheep” his analysis of changes brought to Ireland in the wake of the Second Vatican Council are deeply insightful. If this book had been widely read by Catholics at the time, it is likely that lay people would have been alerted and prepared for what was to come. They would also have had … Read More

Comparing the Cost and Benefit of Resistance

A major factor considered by ‘Western’ Governments in responding to the Russian attack on Ukraine has been the question of whether this or that type of action would hurt the ‘West’ more than it would hurt Russia. Seemingly that has been considered primarily with regard to stopping importation of Russian gas and oil. The Ukrainians’ top priority is to defeat the invasion, and they point out that it is being financed from the proceeds of gas and oil sales. The … Read More

THE VINE, THE SPIRIT AND THE CHURCH

On the night before he died, in referring to himself as the “true vine” Jesus was using a potent image. Vines were familiar to the apostles as part of their lives but they had also learned in scripture about the false vines of the past. The Old Testament recounts tales of Israel like a vine that had been planted and looked after by God but due to the people’s infidelity, the vine failed to deliver its fruit and became corrupt. … Read More

Pal of my cradle days – an ode to mothers

INFAMOUS for the ridiculous, mothers can often be heard saying “There’s enough dirt in those ears to grow spuds,” or “Close that door. You’d think you were born in a field.” And they’re also partial to claiming the down-right-impossible: “If you fall of that wall and break your legs – don’t come running to me.” Yet, few would doubt a mother’s well-meaning intent. They are the ones who love us when the rest of the world doesn’t. The ones we … Read More

THE GOSPEL ALIVE!

Attempting to deal with the perennial problem of passing the Faith on to the next generation engages many of us and taxes our own creativity to the utmost.  It has been said that it is much harder to bring the new evangelization to a Christian nation than to those people who have never heard of Christianity. What about our country? The deeply held belief that Ireland is still fervently Catholic can be reinforced when we see the crowds at pilgrim … Read More

The Light of St Benedict

St Benedict lived at a crossroads in the history of Europe, at the beginning of the so-called dark ages, yet shines as a light for our faith and for European culture over a thousand years later. This saint has had a profound impact on the religious and monastic life in the west like no other, and consequently on the whole culture of our continent. Pope Paul VI declared St Benedict to be a principal patron of Europe in a beautiful … Read More

THE GREATEST PROBLEM

Only a society which has embraced relativism could possibly accept works of art such as bunny rabbits and basketfuls of eggs displayed in our churches during the Easter season. According to the creed of relativism, each church is entitled to decorate the sacred space in an individual way and in whatever manner is deemed “meaningful” for the people.  Of course “meaningful” only really applies to those in charge of liturgy whether they are the members of the liturgy group, the … Read More

Eagles in Sacred Scripture

The Eagle, the king among the birds of the air as the lion is king among the beasts of the earth, graces more than a few pages of the Sacred Scriptures. The swiftness and height of the eagle’s flight is often referenced by the Sacred Authors. Sometimes the eagle represents sin, death and destruction. Other times he represents the love of God for his people, and the saints for God. As the eagle is the king of birds, it is … Read More

BAPTISM OR NAMING DAY?

It is surely without precedent in the tradition of Catholicism that people who still call themselves Catholic can attend a Naming Day ritual in place of Baptism. If this occurs it must certainly be only because the sacraments of the Church, which were instituted by Jesus Christ, are not recognised or understood. This leads to the conclusion that the nature of grace acting on the soul of the individual is also not acknowledged or understood. We most often encounter the … Read More

Is it futile to fight overwhelming force?

That question (among others, of course) is raised by the recent Russian invasion of Ukraine and has wider importance than might be realised. Our Lord seemed to advise that when military forces are significantly unequal and the weaker side seems unlikely to win, the stronger one should be appeased (Luke 14:31-32). British Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain has ‘gone down in history’ as an exponent of that policy. Nobody seems to have advocated its adoption by Ukraine, even though prima facie … Read More

HOW TO REVITALISE THE CHURCH

As preparation for the Church Synod, Catholics across the world are being asked for their opinion on how the Church can be revitalised.  Has it been completely forgotten that this was one of the aims of the Second Vatican Council?  It is to be lamented that the practice of the Divine Office has not become established as part of the liturgical life of a parish, as the Fathers of the Second Vatican Council had envisioned. For the most part, the … Read More

The Truth Shall Set You Free

NB – Parents be warned! This article contains material that is not suitable for children. – NB We live in what is known as a media age where much of what is communicated to us comes by way of various different screens – the television – mobile phones – tablet devices – computers and laptops. These screens are being used very effectively to promote propaganda. This amounts to an artificially constructed narrative that the governing powers want you to believe … Read More

How To Practice A Good Lent – Part 3

There is one means more whereby we are to secure ourselves the great graces of Lent; it is the spirit of retirement and separation from the world. Our ordinary life, such as it is during the rest of the year, should all be made to pay tribute to the holy season of penance; otherwise, the salutary impression produced on us by the holy ceremony of Ash Wednesday will soon be effaced.The Christian ought, therefore, to forbid himself, during Lent, all … Read More

How To Practice A Good Lent – Part 2

But it will be asked: ‘Are there, then, no lawful dispensations?’ We answer that there are; and that they are more needed now than in former ages, owing to the general weakness of our constitutions. Still, there is great danger of our deceiving ourselves. If we have strength to go through great fatigues when our own self-love is gratified by them, how is it we are too weak to observe abstinence? If a slight inconvenience deter us from doing this … Read More

How To Practice A Good Lent – Part 1 

Having spent the three weeks of Septuagesima in meditating upon our spiritual infirmities and upon the wounds caused in us by sin, we should be ready to enter upon the penitential season which the Church has now begun. We have now a clearer knowledge of the justice and holiness of God, and of the dangers that await an impenitent soul; and, that our repentance might be earnest and lasting, we have bade farewell to the vain joys and baubles of … Read More