An open letter to David and Samantha

Dear David and Samantha Cameron

Your family continues to be an outstanding example of a loving marriage. I am sure it must be an inspiration to many people, as indeed it is to me. And I would like to invite you to think about how you, David, might encourage strong marriages and secure families in Britain. I suggest that the duty you have taken on to govern in the best interests of society includes the duty of promoting the benefits of marriage.

I am not writing specifically as a Christian, and I am confining myself to the facts of the situation. Naturally we would expect many people to reject the promotion of an institution on the basis of religious belief. We are no longer, in any everyday sense, a Christian country.

Since the 1960s, which saw the introduction of the contraceptive pill, there has been a substantial change in attitudes. The integral connection between sexual expression and pregnancy has largely disappeared. Sexual intercourse is treated as a natural way of expressing a heterosexual relationship – whether it be casual or committed. In particular we see the growing phenomenon of cohabitation. While you would certainly be criticised for interfering with sexual practices in general, cohabitation has become a feature of significant social change in society. And it is one that has important consequences for society’s welfare.

I know that you value long-lasting, stable relationships as key to the stability and happiness of society. The breakdown of long-term relationships – whether marriage or cohabitation – is usually a source of tragedy for one or both partners. But even sadder is the experience of breakdown for the children, who undergo the loss of their emotional security and parental care through no fault of their own. You will be aware, since you have to balance the books, that such breakdown is immensely expensive in terms of welfare and support. The annual cost is estimated at £46 billion – not a negligible sum for someone concerned to reduce a deficit.

You should be aware that cohabiting couples make up only 19 per cent of today’s parents yet account for half of all family breakdowns, and that couples who were not married at the time of the child’s birth are more than twice as likely to split up in the following 15 years, even if they married at a later stage. A contributing factor here is that cohabiting couples tend to “get together” at an earlier age than those who commit themselves to marriage, and thus are more vulnerable to making immature choices. You will recall Jack Straw, when he was home secretary, saying that “the most important thing is the quality of the relationship, not the institution in itself”. But experience has taught us that the institution of marriage is more than a piece of paper: it is the protector of families.

So what should you do? May I respectfully make some suggestions. While it might be counter-productive to disapprove of cohabitation, it would be important for you to exercise your leadership by championing the advantages of marriage as the preferred option for the stability of families. No doubt some would criticise you for this, but the evidence is unequivocal. Such a position would undoubtedly bring great benefit to the society whose welfare you have undertaken to promote.

But words alone would not suffice. You would need to back this up by looking for ways in which you could improve the tax situation for marriage. You will be aware that around a quarter of a million cohabiting couples choose to conceal their status, and thus can get (depending on precise circumstances) tax advantages of several thousand pounds a year over an equivalent married couple. Our society is, in effect, rewarding people for avoiding the commitment of marriage through simple tax evasion.

A practical step would be to appoint a Minister for Families. What aspect of society has greater need for the direct attention of a senior minister? It would provide a facility for supporting all families, and have the brief of developing tax and social policies which encourage the most stable relationships, by contrast with the less stable. Such a ministry would supervise prospective policies in terms of its impact on the family, in line with the criteria introduced by the last government.

The remit would include devising ways to encourage larger families. You will be aware that our population is not reproducing itself, and that this will eventually lead to an increasingly disproportionate cost for the care of the elderly. This will be a motive for ensuring that people welcome good-sized families.

I am sure that your ambition is that, by the time you stand down from your post, you will have increased the sum of happiness in our society. The promotion of marriage and the family will surely do that.

Yours sincerely

Quentin de la Bédoyère

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About Quentin

Portrait © Jacqueline Alma
This entry was posted in Bio-ethics, Catholic Herald columns, Moral judgment and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.

164 Responses to An open letter to David and Samantha

  1. milliganp says:

    We have just had a budget in which there is an implicit assertion that anything more than 2 children is a luxury which implies that people MUST resort to contraception and abortion if they are not sufficiently well off to afford these children not just now but even in the event of future sickness, disability or unforseen unemployment .

    • St.Joseph says:

      No Minister of the family or anyone else can say it is a MUST to use contraception or abortion against their conscience!
      Birth control or family spacing is a different subject!

  2. Nektarios says:

    If this `open letter’ was indeed sent to David and Samantha Cameron, I trust you will get a reply and that you will place it on the blog for us all to read?

  3. Alasdair says:

    “We are no longer, in any everyday sense, a Christian country”.
    Did you intend to ignore or contradict the PM’s own much-quoted statements?
    To quote BBC News 16 Dec 2011 for example:-
    “David Cameron has said the UK is a Christian country “and we should not be afraid to say so”.
    In a speech in Oxford on the 400th anniversary of the King James Bible, the prime minister called for a revival of traditional Christian values to counter Britain’s “moral collapse””.

    • Vincent says:

      Mgr Knox, several years ago, compared Christianity in this country to an empty perfume bottle. No perfume left, but the scent still lingered.

  4. St.Joseph says:

    Her Royal Highness is the head of the Anglican Church, the PM ought to respect her position and remember it still .is.
    It would be good to know her thoughts on it and as you say the PM’s too!

    • milliganp says:

      Ted Heath was probably the last Prime Minister to be a mainstream adherent of the Anglican Church so the poor Queen is probably well used to the dilemma of a constitutional monarch.

    • Alasdair says:

      My Turkish barber, a very erudite young man, says Britain is a christian country, and that’s good enough for me!
      The present PM and his two predecessors have all given christian witness to some extent or other. Our lovely queen always refers to “Our Lord Jesus Christ” in her christmas TV speech.
      Much was made (in Scotland at least) of the late Charles Kennedy’s oposition to the Iraq war being underscored by his Catholic faith.
      When the Premier League footballer collapsed on field with heart failure, some time back, I distinctly remember hard-bitten football managers, players and fans saying that their prayers were with him.
      So on and so forth.
      Although we don’t “do God” in this country, due to some misplaced belief that that would be elitist, illiberal, uncool whatever, He’s still around somewhere.

  5. Brendan says:

    While we pour over claims and counterclaims about its impact on the poorest in society – including important reports by the independent OBR ( Office of Budget Responsibility ) and IFS ( Institute of Fiscal Studies ) – it seems clear already that The Chancellors ‘ show stopping ‘ announcement of big increases in the ‘ living wage ‘ ( stealing The Labour Party’s clothes ) and other benefits to the public , will be seriously offset by £12 billion of benefit cuts over time. This will hit hard at the position of ‘ non-productive ‘ families ( units ) financially overtime.
    Quentin’s well- crafted letter gets to the very heart of the ‘ problem for the Government and the country ; how to raise the profile and importance of the ‘ married state ‘ and with all the responsibilities attendant with it for us its peoples , and to secure a financially proper system of tax against benefits . This Conservative administration in the words of George Osborne is about setting a ” new contract ” for Britain by forcefully sending out the message that if one wants to stay single have children ( a lifestyle family unit ) and expect to be housed and have yourselves and your children looked after by the public purse for the greater part of your life …. then this type of culture which now pervades British life is at an end ! This is firstly a budget aimed at working people. No wonder Ian Duncan Smith ( Work and Pensions Sec. ) a prominent Catholic and main architect of these ‘ cuts ‘ , could not contain himself in The Commons.
    We all agree I think in taking responsibility at least, for our own lives. Whether we agree with the way they are going about it the right way or see it as a ” scandal ” ; it will change – as the last five years of coalition government has – the social fabric of Britain . I’ll rest at that.

    • Brendan says:

      Quentin – I really hope you will receive a personal reply from David and Samantha Cameron , together. I will be interesting.

    • milliganp says:

      While on a visit to York last year I found myself in the lift with two single mums, both with two children; the first had a boy and a girl, the second two girls. The conversation went:-

      First mum: “I’m entitled to a 3 bedroom house as I have a boy and a girl and they aren’t supposed to share a bedroom”.
      Second mum: “that’s not fair, both my girls would like to have their own room and I’m not entitled to a bigger house”.

      I’ll leave it at that for now other than asking “how did we get here?”

      • St.Joseph says:

        Where is the father.
        Otherwise their parents who are responsible for their upbringing shoud look after them and their grandchildren.
        Or am I living in’ cuckoo land’!

      • milliganp says:

        St Joseph, we’re all in cuckoo land at the moment; and the cuckoo is an interesting analogy since the cuckoo expects another to raise its young..

      • St.Joseph says:

        You are a quick thinker!.

    • milliganp says:

      The significant problem, from a Catholic viewpoint, of the state reducing support for children born to single parents is that it will, in all probability, not change their sexual behaviour – there will just be a rise in abortions.

      • St.Joseph says:

        A baby is a human person from conception, the size does not make it any less a sin!
        Something to be understood by couples (the church) who are getting married whilst using abortafacients!
        I will always think that makes what is supposed to be a truly’ Sacramental’ marriage invalid no matter what the book says!.

      • milliganp says:

        St. Joseph, if you are doubting that a marriage not fully open to life is not sacramental I would tend to agree.

  6. Geordie says:

    I was pleased to read your letter, Quentin. It states the situation in this country with clarity and accuracy. Politicians don’t like too much evidence which goes against the tide of accepted opinion but we should still provide them with it.
    My long held concern has been the feeble defence of marriage given by the bishops and the clergy. There should be a sustained support for marriage from the Church. It should be a continuous and persevering teaching. It needn’t be authoritarian. It should be given with love. They should be telling Catholics, particularly young Catholics, cohabitation is wrong; adultery is wrong; sex outside marriage is wrong. They should also say why it is wrong. You have been able to say why stable marriages are best for children and adults, so why can’t they? It should start in our schools. They should be prepared to take whatever insults are thrown at them. I know they do defend marriage from time to time but it is weak and spasmodic.
    If the young walk away, at least they will know what they walking away from.

    • St.Joseph says:

      Your long held concern has been mine too, would they listen!!
      Reading a comment on Life Site News this morning, really says it all.
      Washington DC July 9th 2015 (short version but applicable)

      After the Supreme Courts ruling that same sex ‘marriage’ is a constitutionally guarenteed right, many Americans asked ‘How did we get here’. Last months opinions tells us the road stretches back more than 50yrs.
      Same sex couples have the same right as opposite sex-couples to enjoy intimate association. Like choices concerning contraception, family relationship,procreation and childbearing.

      We can ask the Bishops where was Humanae Vitae preached in the last 50 years’
      Can we really say Catholic marriage in lots of cases were Sacramental as The Lord made us.How much damage did the Soho Masss do to peoples conscience.
      Without being negative it seems to me a bit like closing the gate when the horse has bolted. Let us pray we can catch it in time to give future marriages proper instruction.
      And now it is said that those who have divorced can not receive Holy Communion.
      I think that to be hypocritical.When they were not properly instructed with having the right intention.

      • milliganp says:

        As I understand it, the US supreme court is established to interpret law in light of the US constitution which was written by men, every one of whom (as far as I’m aware) was a committed Christian. However they were mainly protestant and couldn’t agree on any specific point of faith so they wrote a constitution that was religion agnostic to allow for a broad concept of religious tolerance. As they didn’t specifically include any moral concepts abortion, pornography and homosexual marriage have all been declared ‘rights’ under the constitution. None of this, I suspect, was the intent of the founding fathers, but we can’t blame the supreme court or modern liberalism.

    • Alasdair says:

      If you so much as suggest opposition same-sex marriage in some quarters these days you can seriously damage your career prospects. If you don’t agree with the establishment and the herd, you’d best keep your mouth shut. That’s what living in a “liberal” society means, don’t you know?
      Let’s extrapolate a few years into the future. Suppose I want to solemnise my loving polygamous relationship (which I don’t have) and enter into matrimony. I will expect those who expected me to muzzle my misgivings over same-sex marriage, to wholeheartedly support me and be happy for us. “Here’s to the happy triple!”
      Then what next–?

      • St.Joseph says:

        Rightly you say what next?, We will pray that The Holy Spirit will work in the Heirarchy-to lead their flock, then it really doesnt matter what the rest of the world is up to,as long as we are following in the foot steps of The Good Shepherd and be witness’s to the ‘whole
        world’ upholding marriage the way the Lord made us in the beginning.
        The example of the Holy Family

  7. Brendan says:

    While British society is patently and unabashedly not in the ‘ mood ‘ for suggestions by politicians on how to run their lives – indeed , what a sin – as in the ‘ same -sex marriage ‘ vote; most politicians seeing it as political suicide! The political measures in the Budget to ‘ force ‘ people to change their lifestyles by reducing their benefits would be a better way under this ‘ guise ‘.rather than leaving oneself open to interference ( Nanny State politics ) the secular liberal agenda , hysterically driven by the ‘ equality agenda .’
    I’ll have to leave it there … I’m off to Mass , put it up later !

  8. Brendan says:

    Following on from above – and the astute political manouevring ( some would say chicanery ) in by this government in the Budget ; I think it would be a good follow up to take Quentins suggestion of a ‘ Minister for Families ‘ to show the importance our politicians base on the core unit of society – family life . Even if they can’t bring themselves to overtly support measures to encourage ‘ traditional marriage.’
    After all we have a Minister for Civil Society – no doubt a very important office of state!

    • St.Joseph says:

      I can see the point you are making and Quentin’s,
      It seems to me it would be more for the benefit of ‘same sex marriages’ who would most probably rule the roost,when they begin to have surrogate children for the sake of benefits..
      I said a few posts ago ‘tongue in cheek’ that it looks as though we are ‘evolving’ into.
      ‘same sex’ marriage’ in the future-it is certainly looking towards that in other countries.
      Seems to be more attractive now, within that community especially males as it indo’ s any responsibility for marriage with a female by preferrinng the ‘lifestyle’.
      Being attached but unattached. in other words can do what they like ‘males together’
      having fun .Understanding each others moods, not having to put up with females who would be having ‘mood swings’ monthly , having children without the female wife!
      Perhaps I am just looking way far into the future, but birds of a feather stick together!
      So if we did have a Minister for marriage,how would ‘marriage’ as God made it benefit other than financial benefit,it would have to be for security as well and not another fly in the ointment for more divorce in the years to come.
      Marriage is a Sacrament not a matter of convenience.

  9. Iona says:

    St. Joseph (July 10th, 11.30 a.m.)

    “And now it is said that those who have divorced can not receive Holy Communion.
    I think that to be hypocritical.When they were not properly instructed with having the right intention.”

    If they were not properly instructed, and consequently married without having a true understanding of what they were taking on, – for example, with mental reservations about long-term fidelity, or about caring for each other “in sickness or in health” – then it’s possible the marriage was not a true marriage and could therefore be annulled. In which case, having got a civil divorce, they would be free to remarry. And to receive Holy Communion.

    • milliganp says:

      I fear that, having lost the battles on contraception, homosexuality and extra-marital sex, some conservatives in the church are trying to make the reception of communion by the divorced a last-ditch line in the sand.

      In the Catholic church, before the priest receives communion he says the following prayer:
      “May the receiving of your Body and Blood,
      Lord Jesus Christ,
      not bring me to judgement and condemnation,
      but through your loving mercy
      be for me protection in mind and body
      and a healing remedy.”

      As I heard the priest says these words on Friday I thought “can the Eucharist, throght God’s loving mercy, not heal all sinners?”

      • John Nolan says:

        Paul, leaving aside the fact that the priest should not recite this prayer audibly, it is a useful corrective to the view that the Eucharist is a reward for the righteous. Incidentally, the Church’s teaching on contraception, homosexuality and extra-marital sex is quite explicit, so to suggest that ‘conservatives’ have ‘lost the battle’ on these issues and see the indissolubility of marriage as a ‘last-ditch line in the sand’ is nonsensical. No pope can overturn what is in Scripture and Tradition, and if any bishop attempts to teach contrary to this he is ipso facto a heretic and any Catholic has a duty to forswear obedience to him on all issues regarding faith and morals.

        This is not a question of ‘conservatism’ although it doesn’t square with relativism; nor does the constant teaching of the Church. This is difficult for ‘liberals’ to accept – for fifty years they have, if they stayed in the Church, clung to the idea that Vatican II put everything up for grabs. It didn’t and couldn’t.

      • milliganp says:

        John, the reason I heard the priest say the words is because I’m a Deacon and, in our tiny chapel, stand 2 feet away from him.
        Secondly, I’m not a liberal nor do I disagree with our teaching on human sexuality and life matters. I’m guilty of using popular speak, I’m talking about how the church is perceived by the world (including many if not most Catholics).
        The issue is not the indissolubility of marriage but the admission, under certain circumstances, of those in a second union to the sacrament of the Eucharist. The position of the “conservative” lobby is that the admission to Communion of a single remarried divorcee represents the total abandonment of our teachings on marriage. There is an alternate argument that, if a person is not actually “excommunicated” they should be admitted to communion – and, unlike the early church – we do not excommunicate adulterers. In the middle is a theory of mercy proposed by Cardinal Kasper. The Holy Father has declared a Year of Mercy which will start after the Synod on Marriage and Family life; it is entirely possible that the timing of the Year of Mercy is directly connected to the theme of marriage breakdown.
        I know few people who are in a second relationship who feel themselves living in defiance of Divine Law; most will admit some personal failure in the breakdown of their first marriage, some are entirely innocent and have been abandoned or had to separate because of violence or gross deceit. Many will admit that they are sinners in need of compassion and mercy – and that is supposed to be a mark of the church.

    • St.Joseph says:

      You say ‘many will admit they are sinners in need of compassion and mercy and that is a mark of the church’.
      If the breakdown of marriage is a sin’ when it was not their fault as you say’ where does sin come into it.?
      Is it re-marrying or the reception of Holy Communion?

  10. St.Joseph says:

    Is what you say includes receiving the Sacrament of Matrimomy when in the state of mortal sin,by living together, using abortificants and contraception I believe that can be included as having an impediment and the wrong intention to make a vow in marriage and to continue in that state.
    They are still living in the state of sin and ought not to receive Holy Communion without going to confession.
    What is the difference?
    This is something that ought to be taken into consideration by the Church.
    Divorce is not taken lightly by’ serious catholics’. So understanding would not go a miss when an annulment is not applicable. Counciling and confession ought to be acceptabe and a firm amendent not to do the same again.
    My thoughts. Of course it might empty the pews!!! Or more couples not getting married, never mind as they would still living in sin anyway!

  11. Iona says:

    Milliganp – in what sense has the Church “lost the battle” against homosexuality and extra-marital sex? The Church still regards sexual contacts outside marriage as sins, though recognising that in our present culture they are widely accepted, homosexual as well as heterosexual.

    St. Joseph – you ask (above) “What is the difference?” but I am not sure what two things you are asking me about the difference between.

  12. St.Joseph says:

    If a couple who have an impediment through putting their selves forward to receive the Sacrament of Matrimony,knowingly that they are in the state of serious sin without repentance and after the wedding continue living in that same sin, with the priest giving them his blessing not knowning the situatioin,they have’ I would think’ and I will repeat ‘I would think’ committing a more serious sin bordering on a sacriligious cermony with returning ‘vows’. seems to me that will make a marriage invalid.
    If the marriage breaks down, and ends in divorce,.then if the marriage is invalid,there is no reason for them not to marry again,
    Where I see the hypocricy is when others who have been fortunate to have a marriage that is succesfull, make their voice heard about ‘No Communion for the Divorced’,,perhaps examine their own conscience and think if their marriage is valid!!
    I am not writing this in stone, however I have spoken to enough married couples coming off the pill and other abortfacient contraceptives. to realise their is some misunderstanding that needs sorting.and to bring them’ back to the Sacrament’ and their family which may have lost out on the faith through lack of knowledge. Even if it is just ‘one’.that is lost!
    I am sorry if this seems complicated,but it the best I can do!

    • milliganp says:

      It is not necessary to be in a state of grace for the sacrament of matrimony to be valid. The marriage is effected by the exchange of vows and the priest (or deacon) is a witness on behalf of the church. Unlike Orthodox marriage where the priestly blessing effects the sacrament, in Catholic theology it does not. The church recognises as valid civil marriages of those who have no faith and the religious marriages of other Christian denominations.
      For a marriage to be invalid, and thus capable of being annulled, there has to be a definite defect of form, a lack of freedom of will, or a sufficiently grave mental reservation on the part of one of the parties. Being on the pill is most certainly not an impediment to marriage, per se.

      • St.Joseph says:

        Using an abortfacient device that kills ones child is not an impediment to marriage, however getting married to an unbaptised person is.

      • milliganp says:

        For the sake of completeness, I forgot to mention impediments to marriage (age, consanguinity or affinity, previous valid marriage, holy orders, disparity of cult etc. some of which can be dispensed by the Ordinary (Bishop) or his delegate.)

      • milliganp says:

        St Joseph, it is possible to validly marry an unbaptised person with a dispensation from disparity of cult – this is rarely refused. If one of the parties is not baptised the marriage is valid but not sacramental. If the unbaptised person, at a later date, is admitted to the church through baptism the marriage becomes sacramental with the baptism of the second party.

      • St.Joseph says:

        Millignanp.Who lives by the rule of the book nowadays
        As what I said ‘It is not written in stone’
        We all know the Rules You are not telling me anything new.!
        You miss the point!.
        As you say Mercy is the point not accusations!
        Judge not and Ye shall not be judged.
        We are supposed to go through life for the good of our neghbour and help them through their distress!
        The Golden Rule.

  13. Vincent says:

    Divorce and remarriage seems to involve two issues. The first is whether marriage is a sacrament which, once consummated, is binding for life. I rarely hear of any Catholic who denies that this is so.

    The second is the pastoral question of whether, taking into account certain conditions, a divorced and remarried Catholic may return to receiving the Eucharist. The answer to this second issue does not affect the first issue.

  14. Martha says:

    As far as I understand the definition, consummation means open to life. Consequently, the marriage can be annulled if the couple have always used contraception. This seems to be “rewarding” sinful behaviour, probably by the more circumspect and worldly wise, though also an indication that they did not have a proper understanding of true sacramental marriage.

    • St.Joseph says:

      I dont know the theological ‘law’ surrounding the use of ‘condoms’ for instance.
      Although I never resorted to them. At least one can go to confession before marriage , however an abortfacient is more of a permenant ‘device.One could be aborting their child at the altar. and ot know it.
      I got pregnant on my honeymoon, I knew absolutely nothing about babies.
      I thought it was Gods will when one got pregnant. How naive is that. I would not change it for the world,even though we were in a furnished flat, then an unfurnished flat with food in carrier bags until we saved for a 30pound kitchen cabinet,.
      The rest was second hand or on ‘tick’ as we called it!
      Then 2nd baby 14 months after, then 3 miscarriages.
      So I do understand hard and difficult times!
      A proper understanding of the Sacrament is important.Although I had no instructios, my husband did.
      I understood that and went to Confession on the day. to receive the Sacrament,which was probably not essential.( with rollers in my hair), no Nuptial Mass, it was not allowed,
      But it was a lovely ‘white wedding’.

    • milliganp says:

      Contraception only invalidates a marriage if there is a permanent intent not to have children. Sterility does not invalidate marriage, however if one party knew they were sterile and witheld the information from the other party that would be grounds for nullity. This is not about consummation but children as a good of marriage. There are several articles on the internet about contraception invalidation marriage but I can’t find one by a canon lawyer.

  15. John Nolan says:

    Paul Milligan

    The issue is surely that being in unconfessed mortal sin means that one cannot receive Holy Communion; that adultery is a mortal sin; and that those who remarry after divorce are committing adultery if they have sexual relations. It’s nothing to do with excommunication as a penalty. If all sinners were automatically excommunicated then everyone from the pope downwards would be excommunicated.

    Mercy is not a get-out-of-jail card for those who for various reasons wish to exempt themselves from the Church’s definitive teaching which is based on Scripture and Tradition and which is immutable.

    Those in irregular relationships (including homosexual ones) routinely receive Communion anyway; they see the Mass as a communion service and a celebration of community. Yes, it’s a Protestant understanding but it has been resolutely pushed for the last 50 years, and few Catholics of the last two generations know any better.

    • Vincent says:

      No, adultery is not mortal sin. It is grave matter but how, or if, an individual is committing mortal sin in a particular instance is not known to us.

    • milliganp says:

      For a sin to be mortal it requires grave matter, full knowledge (both of the gravity of the offence and of the consequences of the act) and deliberate and complete consent. It is also the doctrine of the church that someone who dies in a state of mortal sin automatically goes to hell. Given this we would serve people better by enforcing excommunication for, by admitting these people to the community, we present a false hope. The fact that these people want to come to church also indicates that they are open to God’s grace which means it is unlikely their sin is mortal.
      I know few modern Catholics who have you would call a “Protestant” understanding of the mass and indeed, if they didn’t know any better they would not be guilty of sin.

      • Vincent says:

        Can we imagine a divorced and remarried Catholic concluding that it is more loving to live out the second marriage than to, in effect , enforce abstinence on his present, and innocent, partner — and so endanger the marriage? We might not necessarily agree with that person but it is their conscience not ours which is to be considered.

      • John Nolan says:

        Presumption of God’s mercy is one of the sins against the Holy Ghost. We can but hope. ‘A custodia matutina usque ad noctem speret Israel in Domino: quia apud Dominum misericordia, et copiosa apud eum redemptio’.

        Excommunication is remedial. It doesn’t exclude anyone from the community (whatever that might mean) and the excommunicate is still obliged to hear Mass.

    • St.Joseph says:

      John Nolan.
      I was of the understanding that if a person committed a mortal sin,they could receive Holy Communion as long as they went to confession as soon as possible!

  16. Iona says:

    Vincent – your divorced Catholic (5:18 p.m., above) might have been expected to consider the situation before going ahead with his/her second marriage, rather than entering into the second marriage and then facing the question of whether it is more loving to “live out” the second marriage than to enforce abstinence on the innocent partner.

    • John Nolan says:

      We often hear euthanasia defended because it is the ‘more loving’ thing to do. It’s still objectively wrong.

    • Vincent says:

      Yes indeed. But do we not sometimes find ourselves in tricky situations related to our past choices? We have to make our decisions from the point where we are at.

  17. Brendan says:

    I find the discussion very stimulating from the point of view that I seem to have led something of a different ‘ Catholic ‘ path, but with very similar focus and understanding on that path ( The Catholic Way ? ) compared to most of my fellow contributors , perhaps for a number of reasons. For much of my teenage / young adult life being slavishly preoccupied ( life- imposed ) with personal issues /problems mostly ( but not of course entirely ) directly unrelated to Catholic moral issues ; my Catholic schooling ended at age eleven in a strong Catholic family setting ; not having joined any Catholic organisations/ sodalities , except church music groups in many different parishes ( once in an Anglican Cathedral setting – my wife’s influence ) and performing for two seasons in a parish Lenten Passion Play; I have found myself not often in long term company with ‘ Catholic ‘ groups ; all of my closest friends through life have been non – Catholic perhaps even non- believers ; have had many jobs mostly with non – or non- observant Catholics ; I have mixed freely with non- Christians and non-believers , muslims, sikhs , hindu etc, in latter years mostly with my wife through the course of our business. My wife ( baptised and confirmed Anglican ) have no children and have lived for the past forty years at a long distance from the obvious influence of my very ‘ Catholic ‘ family . Like many of my generation my ‘ faith ‘ weakened during the ’60’s and 70’s . Organisations I have actively supported long term ( secular ) if any , have always been on a national basis . With my wife I can single out SPUC which always had that ‘ catholic ‘ ethos but of course has wide support nationally. ‘ Abortion ‘ or ‘ contraception ‘ has never featured in mine or my wife’s personal life experiences. We have occasionally struggled with married life , sometimes with precious little ‘ wiggle-room ‘ – with only prayer.
    Given my own God-given uniqueness I had not really sought this way of life – it just ‘ was ‘ and ‘ is ‘. Why am I mentioning all this ? The one real , consistent factor in my life has been the constancy of The Catholic Church and Its Teaching. What my life has told me so far is that ‘ IT ‘ is fit for all in every diverse pilgrimage/ seeking in life. One cannot change constancy , one can only seek and discover its fruits by the grace of God. To this end next October there is a global ‘ pastoral ‘ job to be realised in Christs ( our ) Church to draw in those who feel estranged for whatever reason ( eg. broken marriage ) by the active witness of The Church , so that the mercy of God penetrates through their state of life whatever it may be.
    For within Christs Church …. ” to live is to change, to be perfect is to have changed often. ” – John Henry Newman.

    • St.Joseph says:

      Thank you for your post,I found it very interesting, also your comment on John Henry Newman. ‘to live is to change, to be perfect is to have changed often.
      That say’s so much.
      It would be good to put old heads onto young shoulders.We hopefully learn from our mistakes.

      Quentin in your letter to the PM ,you show him an example’ in pct’ of couple’s whose marriage breakdown,married or unmarried. I am wondering if we know how many of these are Catholics or other denominations. That might show us as to how much christian values and Church weddings can hold a marriage together.This seems to me to be an important aspect of family life,,other than civl marriages or other than co-habiting or married before the birth of a baby.
      I also think that children brought up in an atsmosphere of non loving parents, violence etc as someone made the comment, I say ‘perhaps are better off if the couple seperate’
      We who have a good marriage, should not judge those who don’t itcan be a living hell It is alright to preach platitudes, as quotet often by my ‘If you make your bed you must lay in to say ‘think before you do it’.
      This is why it would be helpful to know,how many are religious or not.
      Perhaps the PM might take that into account!

  18. St.Joseph says:

    I meant to say also, maybe there are not that many catholic marriages breaking down, we could be jumping to conclusions!

  19. Geordie says:

    John Nolan could we have a translation, please.
    ‘A custodia matutina usque ad noctem speret Israel in Domino: quia apud Dominum misericordia, et copiosa apud eum redemptio’.

    • Vincent says:

      Roughly: from morning to evening Israel hopes in the Lord. With him there is mercy and copious redemption..
      I suspect that John uses Latin because he knows it teases.

  20. Geordie says:

    Thank you Vincent. I can’t see the sense in stating your opinion in a language some people can’t understand. I am fluent in French but I wouldn’t write my posts in French. It’s just showing-off, which is rather a puerile (from puer meaning boy) activity.

    • John Nolan says:

      I thought all Catholics knew the De Profundis (Ps 129) : ‘From the morning watch even until night, let Israel hope in the Lord. For with the Lord there is mercy, and with him plentiful redemption’. Not my opinion, Geordie; were it so I would have stated it in English, a language that many people cannot understand. Latin is the universal and sacred language of the Western Church and occasionally Catholics need to be reminded of this.

      Were you to quote (say) Voltaire in the original French or Goethe in the original German it would not be regarded as puerile, so quoting the Vulgate is hardly so. I do find it somewhat amusing when otherwise well-educated Catholics are all at sea when confronted with some elementary liturgical Latin and I seem to have provoked the desired response.

      • milliganp says:

        Malice and arrogance in combination, wonderful.
        Even before Vatican II it was normal to say the De Profundis in English.

      • milliganp says:

        For those unfamiliar with the subject, the Psalms were written in Hebrew and the New Testament in Greek, the language of the western church for nearly 4 centuries before Greek declined and Latin became the dominant language. Thus quoting a psalm in Latin in England is the equivalent of quoting Goethe in Spanish to a Frenchman. Latin was the universal language of the Catholic Church from the fourth to the mid-twentieth centuries especially for worship and is thus venerable but not sacral since it is not the language of Christ nor of his Apostles.
        We now have the absurd situation where Pope Benedict wrote his Encyclicals in German which were then translated into Latin, the Latin translated back into German for final correction and re-translation.
        Those who fret about these things are still waiting for the official Latin text of the Apostolic Exhortation Evangelii Gaudium to find the definitive Latin for:
        “The other is the self-absorbed promethean neopelagianism of those who ultimately trust only in their own powers and feel superior to others because they observe certain rules or remain intransigently faithful to a particular Catholic style from the past. A supposed soundness of doctrine or discipline leads instead to a narcissistic and authoritarian elitism, whereby instead of evangelizing, one analyzes and classifies others, and instead of opening the door to grace, one exhausts his or her energies in inspecting and verifying.”

      • St.Joseph says:

        John Nolan.
        I ask this in good faith.
        Do you believe that the Latin language will make catholics more faithful to Church teaching. I dont doubt it, just would like your opinion.
        WhenI thought the Church had gone very liberal from experience in my parish years ago
        If one was ‘traditional’ so to speak, one was practically excommunicated by the liberals because of their ‘so called misunderstanding’ of Vat 2.
        Consequently my husband and I went to the Pope Pious X Mass 14 miles from where we lived.
        In conscience we went back and fought for our faith, but lost, then went to a catholic church that did not have any ‘novelties ‘Because we understood it was not the language but ‘modernism’. feminism and an influence of Creation Centered Spirituality , Catholic for a Changing Church.etc.
        I am pleased you are able to go to Holy Mass in Latin or Triddentine’ but often think if it had not been stopped, we would have had not so many lapsed!

      • St.Joseph says:

        John Nolan.
        I also believe that removing the Tabernacle from the High Altar was not theologicaly correct as many beleived.
        It was supposed to place the attention on Holy Mass.
        What is Holy Mass only the Sacrafice on Calvary! We dont forget that when we are at Mass and put that from our mind, ‘Jesus is’,there is’ no time’ in His existence.
        The descecration of the Churches! Then the desceration of our faith.
        It is not all about numbers! Or language as I said however different in Cathedrals with a Blessed Sacrament Chapel
        I am not trying to open a hornets nest here just making a comment for Catholicism’

  21. Brendan says:

    Thank you Quentin for the statistics on American divorce and the site .
    From it, Monsignor Charles Pope ( who also writes fortnightly for ‘ Catholic Voice ‘ , from Ireland ) confirms in real terms the ‘ Catholic Path ‘ when he reflects…. ” the Faith lived seeks
    Gods help . ”… more evidence given to… the glory of our Faith !
    With obviously no room for complacency ; it is heartening – among’st the avalanche of bad news – that Catholic marriages ( whether mixed or not ) come out significantly the lowest regarding divorce than any category of marriage status among’st couples in the US. I believe 22-23% of Americas pop. are recorded as Catholic ? Do we have figures for the UK , Quentin ?

    • Quentin says:

      Brendan, do you have time to do an internet search? I fear I am a bit pressed today.

    • St.Joseph says:

      Than you Quentin.

      Brendan, it was interesting to read that a catholic marrying a catholic were less likely to divorce! I can agree up to a point,and that is I would say’ it is more difficult to remain faithful to the teachings of Holy Mother Church if one marries a non catholic.
      Marriage can break down because of this, and I know of some that have, and I sympathise with them, marrying a non-catholic myself.
      However this does not make the marriage applicable for an annulment. Unfortunately!

      I was interested to see on there that there is a’ An outstanding online Marriage Preparation Programme, advertised, for couple. With info for many countries.
      Adamus Adamus UK. .
      Why have we not heard of this from our Bishops and in our parishes. I ask (not you personally) but our priests.

      • St.Joseph says:

        The above should read Edmund Adamus UK.
        Aslo it may not make a difference. But the web site is a link to NFP.

  22. Brendan says:

    Milliganp – There must be a lot of ‘ fretting ‘ going on in the Vatican . Sounds like ‘ counting angels on the head of a pin ‘ job to me…….. some people must just try and get out a bit more !

  23. Brendan says:

    P.s. Like our Pope.

  24. Martha says:

    Regarding Quentin’s request to David Cameron that he should introduce financial incentives to try and encourage marriage, this would no doubt have to include the changed definition of marriage which he has been so determined to achieve.

  25. Brendan says:

    Saint Joseph – I too have come across Edward Adamus – in the Catholic Herald – in connection with Westminster Diocese where I believe he is director of some pastoral service or other , probably marriage.
    Your point is well met about ‘ mixed ‘ marriages. It certainly does help enormously when one partner is a ‘ strong ‘ Catholic. Of course if the other partner is at least a fair- minded committed Christian all the better. This is where I want to see action out of the October Synod ; where every Diocese should have a solid marriage preparation course with direct links to all its parishes to form a blueprint for every couple entering into sacramental marriage.
    The parish priest cannot possibly be omnipotent or have the time to confront every situation that couples present to him ; society is too complex . But we do know and understand much more about each other , today. To that extant I do believe that …’ marriages are made in heaven .’ starting right here in our parishes where something of a revolution needs to take place , first in ourselves and then in society at large in revealing in tangible and empirically demonstrable way in His Church ….. Gods Kingdom on Earth.
    That is the miracle that Pope Francis is asking us to pray for to come out of The Synod ; preparing for and demonstrating Gods Year of Mercy ahead.

  26. Brendan says:

    Martha – At least for the foreseeable future, this new legislation on marriage like abortion is here to stay. To use a nautical term ; SPUC realised some time ago that instead of sailing into the wind and face defeat after defeat it had to change tack and change ‘ sheet ‘ by zig-zagging for minor pro-life victories , and by education changing the abortion mentality of the country by increments.
    The benefits of traditional marriage to the country are well documented ( if largely ignored ) and speak for themselves. ‘ Same -sex ‘ marriage forms a very small proportion of married couples ; ‘ real ‘ marriage especially in today’s socio-economic climate needs to demonstrate to Britain that it at least pays to get married and of course will bolster this Institution. This can be done by finaNcial incentives and will encourage cohabiting couples at least to consider entering into marriage ; the best circumstance as we know for family life for their own children or for those to come. This as you say will also inevitably encourage other forms of ‘ marriage ‘ under the law.
    God as we know often brings good out of palpably bad decisions or not very favourable circumstances , if we can realise the situation.

    • Martha says:

      Brendan, it will still be very difficult. I think that marriage is now even more of a lost cause than abortion, since it has become so impermanent, and so separated from procreation. Also, cohabiting couples deciding to marry for financial reasons, will certainly need a proper understanding of real marriage to have any prospect of success, and where will most of them get this?
      I certainly agree with your last sentence as it affects our personal lives.

      • St.Joseph says:

        I remember when people used to choose their wedding day to coincide with the Tax Year, I think it was April 1st or before the 1st.. I married in August 1962, I dont seem to remember if it was after that.
        More marriages will mean more divorces, maybe those are amongst the numbers who married because they were expecting a child. I think for catholics that is cause for an annulment, I also think that one has to wait until the baby is 6months old before getting married…
        I seem to think it is the ‘materialistic’ world and not the spiritual that is the danger, including catholics, I know many non-catholics as I am sure we all do,that stay together. and family life is still important to them,
        A priest told me once that a couple got divorced after an argument over a game of cards!!
        As for catholics it is essential that the proper meaning of a Sacramental marriage (as you and Brendan says) and annulments explained to them properly, as I am sure most dont realise that when they are in love , that God is in their marriage 3 in one, It would make couples understand the Sacrament being a part of the Blessed Trinity
        I dont think it is that difficult .Starting in our catholic schools!

      • milliganp says:

        Just as a comment, my experience in doing Catholic marriage prep is that co-habiting couples marry as part of the decision to start a family so for those marrying in church procreation tends to be part of the plan. The downside is that almost everybody marrying in church is already cohabiting but there is a real sense that children need or deserve married parents.

      • milliganp says:

        St. Joseph, when I was in training for the diaconate we had a lecture and contemplative session on the Trinity. I have to say that, at the time, the idea of “the internal life of the Trinity” was entirely novel to me and something I had never considered before. I don’t think my level of knowledge and faith experience was unusual and I think it would be unwise not to presume this is a topic we can easily introduce to a Catholic community which primarily sees “going to Mass” as the primary definition of being Catholic.

      • St.Joseph says:

        In todays age with so many breakdown of marriage, co-habitating probably makes sense to many young peoples ‘catholic conscience’, if they know marriage is for life.
        What you say is true as they wish to start a family, then ready to settle down.
        It does not solve the problem for the use of contraception.(abortafaciants) in the future.
        Marriage goes hand in hand with pro-creation(God Willing) But it is on the right road and you do good work in Marriage prep. It would be better if NFP was taught.
        Sorry my drum is getting worn out. In my time of’ life’ I dont think I will replace it.
        But to late to change my tune now at my age!

      • St.Joseph says:

        All the more reason to read the CCC. .
        I would have thought that would have been one of the conditions of all Catholics for Confirmation let alone the Diaconate’

  27. Brendan says:

    I know Martha , the situation looks very bleak. The latest figures from the ONS for all marriages in 2012 ( the latest available ) shows that 70% were civil contracts. Although exact figures on ‘ same-sex ‘ marriages cannot be determined because they haven’t been going that long; using that figure and extrapolating quarterly figures for early 2014 , I have come to a figure perhaps currently running at 2.4 % of all marriages in England and Wales ?
    We have our Faith Martha – for us it is enough. A few weeks ago my Bishop related to us through our parish priest … ” the way now is to continue to strengthen our individual parishes ” ,.. by implication our families.
    I’m glad you agree that that last sentence of mine is the only way forward in this endeavour.

    • Martha says:

      “We have our Faith Martha – for us it is enough.”

      Brendan, I am sure you do not mean to imply that we can leave it at that. We have to spread Christ’s teaching in every way we can to those who do not accept or understand it. Quentin’s open letter which we are discussing is one way, Strengthening our parishes and families, as you say, is another, and the example of good Catholic marriages, though sadly, that does not always extend even to our own children. They need better explicit teaching than has usually been available recently, and the support of their companions.

      • Brendan says:

        Quite so – the doctrines of our Faith are the bedrock on which we live our lives ; as expressed in the Encyclical ‘ Lumen Fidei ‘ – started by Pope Benedict and completed by Pope Francis.
        They become the vehicle by which we…. ” grow and enlighten the present, becoming the star to enlighten the horizon of our journey at a time when mankind is particularly in need of light .” (LF,4)

  28. St.Joseph says:

    I wonder if the Catechism was taught more fully in Ireland many years ago, .
    My parents moved to Eire when I was just 9yrs old, and I went to a Convent for about 5 months,
    The Irish Catechism was as I remember a’ large’ green Catholic Doctrine book.Not the penny catechism!
    It was taught to my class ‘religiously’ every day to know off by heart .
    I always remember the ‘question and answer one on marriage-the longest one in the book, I struggled with, impediments, null and void etc,it seemed like torture to me, as all the others, I somehow understood as far as one ‘can’ at 9yrs old.
    I was petrified that when I made my Confirmation at just 10 that the Bishop would ask me that question as he went around the whole Church of 400 children at that time. He asked me what Amen meant, My prayers were answered!!.
    We were told that we were then ‘soldiers for Christ- as we marched playfully in our new clothes.that made a big impression on our souls. and remained with me for the rest of my life.
    I dont know if that is why Ireland kept their faith in the past!

    • Brendan says:

      St. Joseph – My ‘ Irishness ‘ goes back to my great- grandparents on both mum and dads side. As a family history researcher I have only managed to find on my mothers side , a cousin four times removed living in Cork City – such is the hit or miss tortuous nature of Irish genealogy!!! .. But I love it !
      I know nothing of how they had the Faith engendered in them ; but I suspect such as you described it was very much like over here – by rote with a touch of barely disguised fear , in places . But you are making an interesting point about .. ” keeping their faith in the past .” in a settled culture. Culture or national identity with religion ( Catholicism ) proving pivotal to countries like Ireland – intertwined with their history , language and literature – and that’s why to destroy or make a ‘people ‘ forget their Culture you first discredit and finally destroy their religion.
      That’s what happened throughout history and that’s whats happening in the European family of Nations now ! The enemies of The Faith in Ireland appear to have gone quickest down the road in that respect than most countries. A Country cannot stay as a ‘ child ‘ forever … as St . Paul cocnludes ; one must grow up in ‘ faith ‘ . Even with Irelands forebears glorious ‘ Catholic ‘ history , perhaps more emphasis was put on the other elements of ‘ culture ‘ in its latter days and the’ child ‘ never quite grew or was prevented from reaching full maturity. Great Britain is no different in that respect but with a more complicated history.

      • St.Joseph says:

        Brendan. Thank you.
        I understand what you say. But our faith is universal or ought to be.
        I was not long enough in Ireland to have much of an Irish culture as I was considered to be British,being a British Subject. My family history goes back to greatgrandparens, Spanish and French.
        My faith I’ believe’ was not through fear but the love of Jesus and His Church, from my mother and grandmother.,although the fear of God was a reminder to respect Him’ and always remember Who He is! Marriage who ever we are as Catholics remains the same.
        Even David and Samantha Camerons. If the Anglican’s is a Sacrament.?
        Someone will correct me if I am wrong!

      • Nektarios says:

        Quite so!

  29. John Nolan says:

    Paul Milligan, Ignatius et al.

    How you wriggle and squirm regarding the Latin language! Despite the fact that it has been the liturgical language of the Western Church since the fourth century, and the western liturgy and its proper music (Gregorian Chant) is inseparable from it, to suggest that it not a sacred language is absurd. Your attitude is also based on a feeling of guilt in that you are largely ignorant of it (perhaps you are familiar with Aramaic and Greek which are also liturgical languages, but I don’t know). You have been ordained to the diaconate and wear the dalmatic but can you chant the Exsultet , surely the high part of the deacon’s year? Do you chant the gospel at Mass? If not, why not?
    I can do both, but do not claim to be in Holy Orders.

    • milliganp says:

      John, as per you correspondence on education you deliberately avoid or misrepresent what others say. I fully admitted that Latin has been the language of the church for 1600+ years and merely stated that it is venerable rather than sacred because it is not the original language of either Christ or his Apostles. As a boy I learnt the Latin responses verbatim in order to assist at mass (not reading from cards the way serving is done at my local LMS mass), and sang both Latin plainchant and Latin polyphony in the Junior Seminary choir, I have even preached at an LMS Mass (as a married deacon, I was not asked to assist!). I ran courses on the New Translation of the mass with parallel Latin/ English text to highlight how the English reflects Latin structure. I have chanted the Exsultet (badly) as formal chant training seems, generally, a thing of the past. I have led Latin benediction, again for a local LMS group. I have no quarrel with Latin but find its obsessive adherents often frustrating (again at an LMS event two priests spend 10 mins arguing over a minor issue of vesting while the Blessed Sacrament was reposed nearby.) I recognised your Latin quote from the De Profundis but since you freely admitted you quoted it with the intent of irritating an accusation of malice and arrogance, while a bit strong, was not entirely inappropriate.
      The sad reality is that, largely because of the existence of the LMS, Latin is almost only used in the Tridentine form of the Mass. In practical terms 99%+ of Catholics have no exposure to the language, I hear more Latin sung on Classic FM than in any church and I do feel the loss of this part of our liturgical heritage, but I am not inclined to an elitist desire to place any burden on the faithful which is not necessary.

    • milliganp says:

      Personal correction, having studied and reviewed a number of resources. The wikipedia definition of a sacred language is ” is a language that is cultivated for religious reasons by people who speak another language in their daily life” and on that definition Latin is a sacred language (I would also admit that the language is made sacred by use in a similar way to the sacred vessels used at mass).

      • G.D. says:

        No. Latin is not a sacred language. The USE of Latin for the above sacred purpose might be sacred. But the language itself is just a language like any other.
        Just goes to show how ‘definitions’ can hide Truth. Written by the ‘victors’ no doubt, along with history!

      • John Nolan says:

        Personal correction: In arguing from the general to the particular, I fear I have done Mr Milligan a disservice for which I apologize. However, to suggest quoting liturgical Latin (which includes the Vulgate) in England is equivalent to quoting Goethe in Spanish to a Frenchman is decidedly far-fetched. I remember a lecture on sacred language given by Fr Guy Nicholls Cong. Orat. who observed that Latin was being spoken in this island even before Julius Caesar landed in 55BC and since then not a day has gone by when it has not been spoken. Indeed its continuation has greatly influenced English, which has borrowed extensively (and deliberately) from Latin.

        When the Novus Ordo Missae was introduced in 1970, following five years of confusing change and excessive creativity in some countries, the E&W bishops recommended it be celebrated regularly in Latin – Bishop Ellis of Nottingham wanted it for one Sunday Mass and one weekday Mass. The reasons for its not happening are too multifarious to go into here, but it can hardly be blamed on the LMS. One effect of the vernacular (at least since 2011) is that congregations are familiar with accurate English versions of liturgical texts. They are hardly likely to be flummoxed by the Gloria in excelsis, virtually every word of which has an English cognate. Their German co-religionists do not have this advantage and have used the vernacular for a lot longer, yet far more than one in a hundred Mass-goers are exposed to some Latin at Mass, and don’t have any hang-ups about it.

      • St.Joseph says:

        John Nolan.
        On a lighter note.
        Holidaying in Spain with my daughters family about 6 years ago.
        My eldest grandson then 18, said to me during Mass, ‘Nan we are saying the Creed now’
        I didn’t say. ‘Yes I know’ Just thank you!!

      • milliganp says:

        It is important to not make cause the same as blame. The fact that water runs downhill does not make mountains responsible for floods. The LMS became a rallying cause for those Catholics disaffected by changes in the church (not merely the liturgy but also catechesis, the religious life, the role of women in church and some other post Vatican II changes). The fact that “the Latin Mass” became synonymous with “the Tridentine Mass” may be incorrect but it had causes. It is also important to note that the LMS did not merely oppose the poor English translation of the Missal of Paul VI they actively denied the right of the Pope to change the liturgy and opposed even use of the revised Latin texts.
        However, the general reality was that, by the mid 70’s, those who “wanted a Latin Mass” tended to want the old rite. In my own parish the Sunday celebration in Latin of the mass in the new missal continued to the mid 80’s when our elderly PP retired. A Mass celebrated in Latin is obviously a more appropriate setting for plainchant and polyphony settings of the Mass.
        However it is necessary to accept that the teaching of Latin in seminaries was widely abandoned and there is certainly little enthusiasm amongst our bishops for any sort of Latin restoration. Against this backdrop advocating Latin becomes a source of division rather than the unifying spirit of a single language of worship. Talk to any priest and they will talk about divisions in the ranks of clergy with a sense (for whatever reason) that those who favour Latin consider themselves superior to those who see themselves as “just doing what the church has told us to do”.
        Perhaps what we need is a church movement that sees greater use of Latin as a project of restoration rather than a rejection of the movement to the vernacular.

      • milliganp says:

        G.D. I don’t think there were any victors in the use of Latin. The western church turned to Latin when there were few with facility in Greek, so it was, originally, a change to the vernacular. That most British of documents, Magna Carta was written in Latin at a time when Latin was no longer a vernacular tongue anywhere. Latin only became a source of argument and division at the time of the reformation.
        I suspect the defence of Latin as a sacred language based on Pilate’s proclamation above the head of Jesus on the cross might be a case of post hoc ergo propter hoc (a search of the internet shows this was the official title of the second episode of the first series of The West Wing; US law continues to have a number of Latin definitive phrases).

    • ignatius says:

      Hi John,
      Greetings to you too.
      Didn’t realise I was wriggling and squirming during liturgy, hadn’t noticed it at all in fact; I’ll ask my wife if I am, she generally keeps a good eye on me. I’m pleased you can do all these things John…how many press ups can you still manage?

  30. John Nolan says:

    St Joseph
    An elementary understanding of Latin (and we’re not talking about proficiency – I do not claim to be a Latinist) makes one more Catholic; that is a matter of fact. it does not, however, make one a better Catholic.

    If to quote from the Vulgate implies arrogance and malice, then that says a lot about the person making the implication. He knows who he is; he doesn’t like his own nostrums challenged but rather than engage in intelligent debate prefers to hurl brickbats. A sure sign of a lost argument.

    • St.Joseph says:

      John Nolan.
      Over the years ‘Sticks and Stones may break my bones, but names will never hurt me’
      I am sure like me it wont bother you too much!

  31. Iona says:

    Perhaps we could simply agree that if quoting a text or phrase in Latin we follow it up with an English translation? Some of us, after all, did not grow up with Church Latin, being post-Vatican II converts.
    In the church I attend there is a Tridentine Rite Mass once a month. But even in the other Masses, some Latin is used sometimes, e.g. we sing the Missa de Angelis once a month, a cantor intones the Exultet, the choir sometimes sings pieces in Latin.

    • St.Joseph says:

      Yesterday;s Gospel reading began with the sentence Jesus said to His Apostles’Do not think I have come to bring peace upon the earth- I have come to not bring peace but a sword!

      We dont expect it to be amongst family and friends. There will always be disagreements
      Even between His Apostles..

      • milliganp says:

        There is a Jewish expression “he who argues about the law serves the law”.
        However to quote George Herbert “Be calm in arguing: for fierceness makes
        Error a fault, and truth discourtesy.” Part of the nature of the blogsphere is that it does not encourage a high level of reflection and the particular nature of this blog comment system, where we type our thoughts directly, is inclined to an immediate impressions and emotions.

  32. Quentin says:

    Long term users of this Blog will be aware that I discourage aggression, and in particular suggestions that another contributor is in some way in bad faith. It does not enhance our search for truth and can lead to wrangles which distract us from the matter in hand. I mention this because a new study, published today, on how this operates between children may remind us that, whatever our age, the child may still be hidden somewhere inside us. A brief description of the study can be found at

  33. Geordie says:

    John Nolan, I love liturgical Latin but it is nearly sixty years since I studied Latin and my memory doesn’t retain a clear understanding of all that I sing or say. I do my best to translate quotes but it doesn’t always work. I should therefore be grateful if you would translate your quotes so that I can follow your contributions to the debates.
    The Catholic Church cannot claim that Latin liturgy is its own. This year on the feast of Corpus Christi (Thursday) at Durham Cathedral there was an Anglican Eucharistic service. The liturgy was the almost the same as Mass. The Gloria was sung in Latin, as was the Agnus Dei. After the service the Host was taken in procession to the altar of reserve as the choir sang the O Salutaris and the Tantum Ergo in Latin. It created a much more meaningful Corpus Christi than the Sunday effort in Catholic churches. The only disappointment was that Catholics present could not partake in Holy Communion.
    No doubt you have read Virgil. He wrote in Latin and some of it is anything but sacred but it was classical Latin.

    • John Nolan says:

      Geordie, indeed. If the Anglicans can present a more traditionally Catholic liturgy (at least on the surface) than Catholics can, and on the Feast of Corpus Christi which is not in the official Anglican calendar, then we should hang our heads in shame. I was at Durham University from 1969 to 1972 and some Catholics used to attend Anglican liturgies because the alternative was a deliberately trendy Catholic Mass or joining Cathsoc and sitting on beanbags strumming guitars.

      The situation nowadays is less dire, but remember that Anglican cathedrals before the War were not allowed to sing anything in Latin. Beethoven’s Missa Solemnis was not allowed to be performed at the Three Choirs Festival even as a concert performance as late as 1930. Regretting not being able to receive Communion in an Anglican church shows a commendable respect for canon law, but the Anglicans would welcome you to do so.

      Meanwhile we Catholics had our own (Latin) liturgy which we took for granted and there was no desire to change it until the changes were imposed from above in the years 1964 to 1967; the wholesale exodus of Catholics from Catholic worship took place soon afterwards. Post hoc ergo propter hoc? (apologies for the Latin). Believe this if it gives you comfort, but it doesn’t negate cause and effect.

      • St.Joseph says:

        John Nolan.
        You say ‘regretting not being able receive Holy Communion in a Anglican church shows a commendable respect for Canon Law, but the Anglicans would welcome you’.I dont think High Anglicans do
        Can you explain what you mean by that.

      • milliganp says:

        John, despite sitting on a bean bag at Sussex at the same time you were at Durham, I still managed to keep my faith; our chaplain later became a trendy Bishop. In nearby Lewes they burned an effigy of the Pope every Guy Fawkes’ night. I was bemused when the Catholic Seminary sent a coachload of students down for the event as if it were entertainment.
        I do agree that there was not a popular call for the vernacular Mass (we saw Latin as part of what made us Catholic) but I would still say that the majority of Catholics welcomed the change when it happened.
        I don’t subscribe to the popular presumption about the fall in Mass attendance. The argument by Cardinal Heenan was that (poor, ignorant) men would abandon a liturgy that forced them to join in (he called it feminisation). The reality is that men abandoned Mass at a rate higher than women, but most of those men only had to move the three feet from standing at the back of the church to standing outside. I think the fault line was that once you no longer felt that you would go to hell for missing Mass, the church lost the temporal power associated with guardianship of the immortal soul.
        To use an example under discussion elsewhere, Ireland did not suffer the same losses as England in the immediate aftermath of Vatican II. Irish Catholicism declined with social change in the 80’s and was accelerated by the abuse scandals.

    • milliganp says:

      I may be wrong but my understanding is that Anglo-Catholicism was a largely Victorian movement which turned to Roman Catholic liturgy as the Anglican book of common prayer was in English, so the similarity of their liturgy is not an historic recovery but what was in effect an inovation within Anglicanism based on Catholic practice. Given the 39 articles it is unwise to see these practices as “more Catholic than the Catholics”.

      • John Nolan says:

        Paul, you are not wrong. Had Edward VI lived, it is likely that Cranmer would have moved away from the 1552 Prayer Book towards a non-liturgical Genevan model. It was said of the pre-Oxford Movement Church of England that it had ‘a Calvinist doctrine, a Catholic liturgy and an Arminian Creed’. Rome was seriously looking at an accommodation when William Laud was Archbishop of Canterbury (1633-1645).

        Sadly by ‘ordaining’ women to the presbyterate and more recently to the episcopate the Anglican Church has not only divided itself but sundered itself from both Eastern and Western Christendom.

        The CofE recognizes a wide variety of liturgical practice, but since at least 1967 so has the Church of Rome. it means nothing.

  34. Alan says:

    My education and upbringing were not at all Catholic. In the many years since I was at school I have not felt the choice of sciences and modern languages over Latin more keenly than I have since reading these boards.

    It’s an interesting challenge to take a stab at what people are talking about when they don’t use English though!

  35. Brendan says:

    Indeed my brothers , the fruits of ecumenism are everywhere in the Reformed Christian Churches I am no expert on liturgical change , but sometime in the 80’s I noticed while occasionally attending Anglican services with wife , how closely their revised Book of Commmon Prayer followed our Mass. Certainly many Anglicans are ‘ discovering ‘ their ‘ Catholic ‘ roots. In that respect ecumenism has done its work.
    In my parish ( average 450 attending Sunday Masses ) there is an Extraordinary Form Latin Mass ( Pope Benedict’s term for the Universal 1962 ‘ Tridentine Rite ‘) – which I with joyous memory remember singing in choirs ( Missa de Angelis ) and as an altar server , 1950’s-60’s. This is on a weekly basis. Also , there are Polish Masses and I believe monthly ( as I rememeber ? ) A Mass in Malayalam for the Keralese Community . Vigils and other Catholic devotions are conducted from time-to-time depending on the liturgical calendar of the various ethnic groupings The parish In every sense is .. .Catholic. I can’t begin to describe the social life of our parish and the various parish groups ; with work also undertaken in the wider community. Integration in our parish is also at a high level. Last week 22 young people were Confirmed by our Bishop … all of Phillipino and Indian extraction.
    We have a home-bred Pastor and a permanent Polish assistant priest. Next January we are expecting a Maltese order of nuns to set up a permanent presence in the parish . We are truly blessed . – Deo gratias.

  36. John Nolan says:


    In a parish as diverse as yours (and you are indeed blessed) the Vatican II instruction (SC 54) is particularly apposite. It envisages the use of the vernacular but adds: ‘However, provision should be made (provideatur) that the faithful are also able to say or sing together in Latin those parts of the Ordinary of the Mass pertaining to them (quae ad ipsos spectant).’

    • milliganp says:

      I have had to conduct baptisms and funerals with few English speakers and have on a couple of occasions at the appropriate moment started Pater Noster… resulting in more engagement than would otherwise have occurred.

    • Brendan says:

      I agree John. What pleases me ; is that now in my latter years , I see slowly emerging before my eyes – from the proverbial ‘ mustard seed ‘ – a Church that IS something that Vatican ii envisaged for the future … like an exquisite, vibrantly coloured butterfly emerging from a chrysalis . The Spirit of God has more to reveal through us…..Laus Deo!
      Thanks boys , for reviving my moribund Latin !

  37. G.D. says:

    milliganp … ‘ so it was, originally, a change to the vernacular. ‘ …… As is now the case.
    Seems that the church is catching up on itself.

    Could there be a proposition there making ‘the vernacular’, of any country, if used at mass, a ‘Sacred Language’?

    • milliganp says:

      It seems the rule only applies to ancient religions or time honoured use, so perhaps in 1000 years time, when thw whole world is speaking Mandarin (or whatever culture takes over) our current liturgy might gain that status. I suspect many conservative Anglican’s may well see the English of the 1662 Book of Common Prayer as ‘more apropriate for worship’ than modern English. There are also many in the world who hold that the King James Version of the bible should be retained against modern innovations.

  38. G.D. says:

    Oh, and thanks for ‘post hoc ergo propter hoc’. Explains a lot!

  39. ignatius says:

    “…An elementary understanding of Latin (and we’re not talking about proficiency – I do not claim to be a Latinist) makes one more Catholic; that is a matter of fact. it does not, however, make one a better Catholic…..”

    Ah, glad to have that clearly stated. Lets have it in capitals:


    Phew, good, well done….for a moment then I thought collective insanity had broken out and begun to run amok.

  40. ignatius says:

    John, One more thing:

    “You have been ordained to the diaconate and wear the dalmatic but can you chant the Exsultet , surely the high part of the deacon’s year? Do you chant the gospel at Mass? If not, why not?
    I can do both, but do not claim to be in Holy Orders….”

    Do you really think we get ordained in order to wear something pretty and sing or chant in latin? What a strange view of Holy Orders you seem to have.

    • John Nolan says:


      If you regard liturgical vestments as wearing ‘something pretty’ and regard liturgical competence as of no importance, then it is you who have a skewed idea of Holy Orders, not I. What exactly do you do which has repaid years of study?

      • St.Joseph says:

        What can deacons do more than what women could do.?
        WE can baptise (in an emergency) we read the Gospel to our children, I see no reason why we could not bless a married couple, ( we bless our children.

      • milliganp says:

        St Joseph, holy orders, as a sacrament, is about much more than “what you can do”. The Diaconate is part of the threefold ministry of Bishop, Priest and Deacon. When an ordained person performs a blessing they bless not merely in the name but the person of Jesus Christ. The proclaimation of the Gospel at Mass is not the same as reading scripture outside Mass, it is a solem task reserved to the ordained and particular to the Deacon, where present, As previously stated the Priest or Deacon validates a marriage by witnessing on behalf of the church but the sacrament is conferred by the married couple (a marriage is invalid if a validly ordained priest or deacon is not present).
        We are about to have a new translation of the marriage rite and there is a version for a marriage witnessed by a lay person (despite this being contrary to canon law) which I presume is for use in those communities that only see a priest rarely and where communities are run by catechists.
        There is debate (argument!) about whether those women described as Deaconesses in the early church were ordained and exactly what roles they played (we know they prepared women for Baptism and took Communion to women who were sick).
        The church did not restore the permenant Diaconate to create glorified lay-people or half-priests, it restored a distinctive order established by the Apostles at the very start of the church to minister to the people of God.

      • ignatius says:

        Sorry John, its not what we wear its what we become. You are right to correct me regarding ‘liturgical competence’ because I appear ( erroneously)to give the impression I care not for the visible liturgy. But your last sentence betrays either a lack of comprehension of or a wiful opposition to the order of permanent Diaconate. Yet this ordination is the mind of the Church. As to what do I do now that has repaid the years of study John…well you’d have to come to prison with me to see that John..or listen to me preach on Sundays, John. Or else be close to death in a hospice John and receive a blessing on those days when a priest is not always available.

      • St.Joseph says:

        Following you life in the past on SS. I am not surprised you are doing the work you describe.
        You are very Blessed in that vocation and I will pray for you.
        The prisioners are in very good hands.
        It is greatly needed.

  41. St.Joseph says:

    So why are we females not Deaconess,?

    • St.Joseph says:

      Reply to myself.
      One thing we would have more time than males as we would not have to work ,our husbands would provide for our welfare! Although I suppose wives could provide for their Deacon husbands! Giving them more time to do their duties.! Maybe they could both become Deacons!.

      • St.Joseph says:

        Thankyou our posts crossed,
        I thought deacons were not married in the past (correct me if I am wrong), so I felt that having married priests from the C of E was one step up for deacons to have catholic married priests- then women priests!! Maybe ‘Jumpimg’ to conclusions).
        How are Deacons a part of the Priesthood, as we know it as celibacy?

      • milliganp says:

        St Joseph, before the restoration of the permanent diaconate after Vatican II, diaconate was a stepping stone to Priesthood. There were other minor-orders including the sub-deacon. The vow of permanent celibacy was taken before ordination to the Diaconate.
        Today, married men may become permanent deacons but a single man becoming a deacon still takes a vow of celibacy and may not marry and married men take a vow not to remarry in the event of the death of their wife. A bishop may dispense a married deacon who wishes to remarry where there is a need such as where a deacon has a young child. However, I personally know of no such second marriage taking place (it’s bound to have happened in the USA).
        In the early church Deacons and Priests were entirely separate and there was a tradition that a bishop had 7 Deacons; there was also a tradition that married men who took orders withdrew from the marriage bed and took a vow of chastity. This pre-dated the current practice of celibacy.

    • Quentin says:

      I can see no reason for not having women deacons. And, in our better understanding of womens’ role in society, I believe the Church should be actively moving towards this. It would of course threaten the ‘die-hards’, but you can’t make an omelette without breaking eggs. There is a clear separation between a deacon and a sacrificing priest, so the one does not lead to the other..

      • milliganp says:

        The women “deacons” of the early church seemed to have been consecrated widows established for purposes of propriety (anointing the bodies of catechumens before baptism and taking Holy Communion to women who were sick). This does not argue against women deacons today, but, the admission of women to the diacontate, as currently constituted, would not necessarily be an act of restoring something of Apostolic origin but an innovation in light of development in the church. This doesn’t imply it would be wrong, but it would, essentially, be a different decision.

      • John Nolan says:

        ‘There is a clear separation between a deacon and a sacrificing priest, so the one does not lead to the other.’ This is belied by what happened in the Anglican Church – women who were ordained deacons were the most vociferous in pushing for ordination to the priesthood and it took a mere seven years to achieve this.

        Those who don’t want women altar servers are not obliged to have them. There will be many – call them die-hards if you must – who will not accept that the Church has the authority to ordain women to the diaconate and will as a consequence not regard their Orders as valid. This is a very different kettle of fish. Rome would be both reckless and foolish to provoke what would be a serious internal schism simply out of a desire to conform to secular mores.

  42. St.Joseph says:

    Perhaps it would undermine the male Deacons, one thinks !And that wouldn’t do, would it?

    • milliganp says:

      It is not about undermining, all ministry is service; sadly some turn ministry into an excercise of power. We know the Apostles instituted the Diaconate in Acts 6 by choosing 7 men. There are a number of notable and important women in Acts but none of them seem to have formal roles which we can identify as precursors to the modern roles of Bishops. Priests and Deacons.

  43. G.D. says:

    milliganp. “….there is a version for a marriage witnessed by a lay person (despite this being contrary to canon law) ” …… invalid or valid?
    The sacrament is conferred by the couple in all seriousness before God, and a respected, good old ‘God fearing witness’ … but not valid?
    Or is it similar to baptism in particular circumstances ‘of need’ lay minister participation is sanctioned.

    Does this ‘rule’ of thumb stretch to other Sacraments? God forbid! Or not … ?

    It’s the above (and similar ‘double speak’) it seems to me, where the legitimacy – of conferring the external sign of internal grace – via Apostolic succession (almost said progression!) can be brought into question.

    ( I am aware baptisms (and marriages?) of non-catholic origins are recognised).

    It seems to depend on a particular bishop (or Pope!), say of liberal persuasion, sanctioning a.n.other as minister; where another bishop ( more traditional) would not see a.n.other as a valid minister.
    (Of the grace given freely by God: but that’s another subject).

    Or could there be a case made for a ‘Pauline Privilege’ escape clause in canon law for that too? Him being directly ‘commissioned’ so to speak.

    The traditional teaching of the church cannot ‘change’, just ‘develop’ – what’s the difference?

    Scientific proof is needed by many for something to be ‘real’; is doctrine the ‘scientific proof’ needed by ‘religious’ people before they can act?
    And can God get a look in? Seems ‘science’ has shut the door on God in other areas. Would be a shame for ‘doctrine’ to shut God out of religion.

    ‘God is dead’ he said, but not because he doubted God’s existence, he just couldn’t see God in God’s followers!

    (Sorry to ramble! But the posts have raised those concerns for me.
    Hope you can join the dots between the separate issues raised – it’s a whole, and logical, process).

    • milliganp says:

      My understanding is that the canonical requirement for an ordained minister at a marriage was instituted to prevent clandestine marriages. The minister also witnesses, on behalf of the church, that the correct form of vows is used. Given the problems of marriage breakdown it is obviously important that the church does everything reasonable to ensure that there are no defects of form in the wedding service.
      Another sacrament which allows delegation is Confirmation, where the ordinary minister is the Bishop but he can delegate it to a Priest. To hear confession (other than in danger of death) a priest requires faculties (permission) from the Bishop with jurisdiction over the place in which the sacrament is administered.
      Anointing of the sick is reserved to priests but this is probably capable of change.
      There are certain things the church can change and other that must remain unchanged. There are arguments over some of these more than others. Thus no Catholic argues over the form of words used for baptism but many argue for women Priests or married priests or general absolution or the use of artificial contraception.

      • St.Joseph says:

        There is a difference here by ‘Authority’
        A Priest is a priest because he is a male.
        Contraception does not enter into the subject, it is not ‘opinions that make the matter’
        I see contraception against the Natural Law.
        Deacons (male) married cling to their wives and become one flesh, why can your wife not become a Deacon if she wished to.?? She is not a Priestess as you are not a priest..
        We are all as laity a part of the priesthood of the Laity including Deacons.
        Just my thoughts.. Not written in stone .

      • milliganp says:

        St Joseph, A priest (and Bishop or Deacon) is male because Christ was male and chose men as his Apostles and successors. -Just to clarify from the CCC 1577 “The Church recognizes herself to be bound by this choice made by the Lord himself. For this reason the ordination of women is not possible”. As to become a Deacon requires ordination, the same restriction applies as to priesthood and Episcopacy.

        As an ordained person I am no longer part of the Laity, I share in the ministry of my Bishop, not the priesthood of the laity. Ordination produces an ontological change that a blessing or taking of vows in a religious order does not. It doesn’t make the ordained person better but it does make them different.

        I suspect that if the church did decide to institute a form of ministry for women it would not be to a ministry of altar, word and service but would differentiate it, both in role and the form of the ministry. This might well not satisfy the expectations of many and this alone, I believe, makes it less likely it will happen in any timescale to which we can relate.

  44. St.Joseph says:

    I understand what you are saying (by the book)
    However, Deacons are of the’ extradordinary Ministry’ If I am right. as the extradordinary Ministers of the Eucharist both male and females,.
    It would be good to hear a female give a homily, (not a femmenist on the priesthood) she may be able to preach on NFP!!! Where males fail to do!!

    • milliganp says:

      St Joseph, sorry if I rant. No, No, No, deacons are ordinary ministers, not extraordinary ministers.
      As part of “churches together” I have preached in the local Methodist church which has a woman minister; she preaches wonderfully. It saddens me that we don’t have an ‘ordinary’ way in which women could contribute particularly as they are often the first educators of our children in the faith.
      Similarly, much ‘male’ teaching may seem insensitive or out of touch; we all bear the scars of our history and upbringing.

  45. John Nolan says:

    ‘No Catholic argues over the form of words used for baptism’. Not so. I have heard trenchant criticism of the revised form of the sacrament from priests who are by no means ‘traditionalist’. This includes the changes to the Questioning. Older form: What do you ask of the Church of God? Faith. What does faith bring you to? Life everlasting. Newer form: What do you ask of God’s Church? Baptism. Also the removal of all the exorcisms – the so-called prayer of exorcism isn’t an exorcism at all.

    There is a lot of arguing over the merits and demerits of the new rite of Mass, yet I find the Novus Ordo easier to accept than the new ritual books, to the extent that I would not be happy to have them used in my own particular case. Fortunately I have the right to insist on the Rituale Romanum, and keep a copy at home.

    St Joseph, I can but refer you to Dr Johnson: ‘Sir, a woman’s preaching is like a dog’s walking on his hind legs. It is not done well; but you are surprised to find it done at all.’

    • St.Joseph says:

      John it is how we preach it as well as content. A women can explain it better than a male.
      Our mothers didn’t do a bad job in the past.
      Was Dr Johnson a ‘male’?
      I have read many brilliant female speakers in the past as well as males.
      Anyway why would a priest be so pushed with Baptisms and Weddings, Confessions, Confirmations, Extreme Unction, or Holy Orders.
      Extraordinary Ministers, mostly female bring Holy Communion to the sick in hospital and at home.
      People I would think would like to hear a priest give a Homily
      A Deacon studying for the Priesthood is different. Then they will be a help. husbands)can help the priest more then just pushing furniture around.
      Marriage life is supposed to sanctify a person! Hence the need for them to preach on marriage as the Church teaches.If it is going to benefit the Church. With more vocations.
      One has to get marriage right first! I say this to all married Deacons!
      And pray that those training now will take this into account.

      • St.Joseph says:

        Not my Catholic Encyclopedia, but the Computer,
        I will check my book shelf for the Canon Law then tell the ‘web site’ if they are wrong.
        Check it yourself on the web There is lots on the ministers of the Sacraments.
        If wrong it ought to be right!.

      • St.Joseph says:

        milliganp You said’
        ‘When Jesus appears he speaks,the church is conformed to the Church,not St Joseph’..

        ST Joseph is the foster father of Jesus, spouse of Mary, defender of the faith.
        without his ‘Yes’ as well as Our Blessed mother, none of us would be here.(as we know it now!. St Joseph ought to be an example to some husbands today! We might have a holier Church!
        I am entitled to say what ever the Church teaches, and believes in Mary’ appearinces with Her concern for Her children as Jesus gave Her to us when She stood at the foot of the Cross,sufferings Jesus’ pain ‘Our Lady of Sorrows!
        You are now accusing me of erroneous statements when you ar just now doing what you accuse me of.
        They say ‘attack is the first form of defence..
        When I make a erroneous comment which you accuse me of, please dont jump in ,when the comment is to someone else,
        My comment was to Vincent, when I remarked about St Joseph,nothing to do with you!.

        BTW I would get on my bike, cycling over a 100 miles every week, I am not able to now.
        I found your comment unecessary rude, childish,,outrageous’ rant’ and offensive!

        I apologise Quentin for ‘speaking my mind’


    • Vincent says:

      Dr Johnson was an intellectual bully. He preferred the clever phrase to the truth.
      I can see, and accept, the argument for not ordaining women as sacrificing priests, but their refusal to consider their ordination as deacons is simply a relic of their fear of women over 2000 years. We can ignore women, we can knock them about, we can keep them quiet by making them pregnant. But we remain terrified because they can stimulate passions in us which we fear we can’t control, and because we were born from their bodies. We owe them too much to repay.

      • St.Joseph says:

        Well said.
        Maybe God sents His Mother around the world to ‘preach’ to us and not St Joseph ‘!
        The times he appeared I dont think he spoke.!

      • milliganp says:

        St Joseph, get off your bike. When Jesus appears he speaks. The church is conformed to Christ, not St Joseph.

      • St.Joseph says:

        So do you not believe in our Blessed Mothers Visitations.,which Holy Mother Church has accepted.

        I will ignore your last remark as something’ not becoming from a gentleman’ least of all as a deacon.It does not do your vocation or the Church credit

      • milliganp says:

        St Joseph, I said nothing about Mary, you made the specious comment about St. Joseph to which I objected; however Mary always points us to Jesus. On a point of theology no Catholic is bound to believe in ANY Marian apparition, even those approved by the Church as our theology says that all revelation was completed in Christ. I accept those in the calendar and have been to Lourdes a number of times.
        Quentin has had to remind us twice recently about not making accusations about other contributors to the blog. In the course of this blog you have made a number of silly and erroneous statements but I do not attribute them to anything other than way blog posts tend to be written. John Nolan has corrected one of my “not fully thought through” comments and I don’t take it as a personal attack but filial correction.

    • milliganp says:

      John, sorry – I forgot the exorcism of the salt. However the idea that a newborn need exorcism is reprehensible, we are not born possessed but fallen.
      On a sadder note, I officiated at a baptism at which the mothers reply to the question “what do you ask of God’s church” was unpublishable and I found myself wanting to end the ceremony when the 4 year old (in need of entry to the local Catholic school) objected to having water poured and the mother said “do we have to do this?”.

  46. John Nolan says:

    Paul, the practice of exorcising the catechumens before baptism goes back to patristic times and does not imply that they were possessed or obsessed, merely that as a consequence of original sin (and actual sins in the case of adults) they were in a greater or lesser degree subject to the power of the devil, whose ‘works and pomps’ they were shortly to renounce. It is a symbolic anticipation of one of the chief effects of the sacrament of regeneration. The Church has never suggested, nor could ever suggest, that the practice was ‘reprehensible’.

    On a lighter note, could the wife of a married deacon be regarded as a deaconess, in the same way that the wife of a mayor is a mayoress?

    • milliganp says:

      All clergy are, in some way, subject to human failings. A priest colleague, who had the assistance of a Deacon with a formidable wife used to refer to him as “the husband of the Deacon’s wife”. On a more serious note Deacon’s wives can find themselves in an ecclesial no-mans-land in a church that has no history or culture of married clergy.

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