Sunday 6 September 2015

Minor crimes in Eire

From Mary Kenny's column in the Catholic Herald, 21.8.15:
When sentencing for minor offences, Irish judges may order the convicted to pay a fine into a charity of the judges' choice; and the list of charities in question has now been made public.
The St Vincent de Paul comes out tops, receiving €129,000 last yer; Sightsavers came second with €120.400; the Christian Blind Mission, next (€120,000);then Ethiopia Aid (€90,000); the Simon Community for the homeless (€53,000); the Society of African Missions (€52,400); the Cappuchin [sic] Day Centre, which provides free meals to the needy (€49,815); St Patrick's Missionary Society (€44,000); and Oxfam Ireland (€38,559). Smaller charities also benefitted adding up to €2m in all. County Kerry paid the highest amount into the "court poor box".
It's an admirable system as it helps charities and also allows a miscreant to feel that he has literally "paid back" something to society.
Isn't that wonderful?

Friday 28 August 2015

The Carthusian Salve

Friday 31 July 2015


What a lot of nonsense is being posted about these supposed Catholic relics at Jamestown! The fact of somebody being buried with some bones in a silver box means very little more than that someone was buried with some of the bones of someone he loved. We could perhaps speculate that this was a beloved relative who died (with the initial M) and for whatever reason these were the only remains recovered. It seems a long stretch to me to conclude from the available evidence that this person was a secret Catholic pretending to be a Protestant in a very severely Protestant community. I'm sure there were better places to be a Catholic than Jamestown.

Thursday 26 March 2015

Lest there be any doubt……

My name does not appear among the signatories of the letter supporting Catholic teaching concerning marriage and family life. I'm not really sure what happened: probably it was my fault by putting a reply on the long finger in a period of busyness. Nonetheless nobody should infer that I thereby disagree with it. I wholeheartedly support it, in fact.

Thursday 19 February 2015


Today I went to the Requiem Mass of a remarkable woman. Her name was Maria Jesusa Gutierrez y Rodriguez, but I and everyone else always knew her as Conchita.

Born around 1926 in rural Spain, the Civil War therefore was the dominant fact of her childhood, and indeed of her life. She came from a profoundly Catholic family; two aunts were Carmelite nuns, and two or three uncles belonged to a men's order, which I forget. It was told today at her Requiem how the communists took her aunts with the rest of the community out of their convent, raped them and shot them in front of the little girl, her family and the village. The memories of her aunts' bare shaven heads, stripped of their wimples, and the look of horror on their faces after the rape stayed with Conchita all her life.

Shortly after that, her uncles were hanged from the town bridge, again in front of Conchita, her family and the other villagers. Their bodies were left to rot on the ropes until wild animals disposed of their remains.

The next to be executed was the parish priest, who was merely shot. The young Conchita, brave girl, managed to get into the sacristy of the church, where she found a box of unconsecrated hosts. She also found the tabernacle key, and went to the tabernacle. She removed the Sacred Hosts, pushed them up her sleeve, and substituted unconsecrated breads, closing and locking the tabernacle, and leaving things as she found them.

Rounding the corner, she ran into a communist band coming to desecrate the church. 'Where are you going?' she was roughly asked. 'Off to play with my friends', she calmly replied, and they let her go.

She took the Hosts to a young priest of her acquaintance—one Fr José Maria Escriva de Balaguer—who gave them in Communion to those with him. Though she was never a member of Opus Dei, she and he continued to correspond for many years, though in later years, her mind failing, she lost his letters.

In later life, she made her way to England where she married and then, when widowed relatively young, and left very well-off, settled on the South Coast of England. There, living simply herself, she spent her fortune on others—for instance she paid for the education of a priest. She was very kind to me, too. And she loved to entertain.

There were six priests today at her funeral (including the priest whose education she had supported, and a representative from Opus Dei), a testament to the strong power of her faith. I think she would have been surprised, for she never thought herself anything special.

Rest in peace, Conchita. I count it a privilege to have known you.

Friday 16 January 2015


Anyone else notice this?

Pope Francis in the Philippines:

The Wizard of Oz:

I'm encouraged that, like Pope Benedict, he encouraged us to have devotion not of the Pope, but of Christ.