Feast of St Margaret Mary Alacoque

This is the anniversary of the death of Hamish Fraser who died on this day in 1986. Your prayers are requested for the repose of his soul and for the repose of the souls of all deceased Approaches and Apropos readers, subscribers and benefactors. Thoughts for the Day Divine Wrath ‘When the Pharisees gave Him no reply to His question, “Is it lawful to do good upon the Sabbath?” He looked at, them full of anger. It was holy wrath. The man who does not in his heart protest against obvious baseness and does not passionately try to suppress it whenever he can, is not a moral man. The more purely and intensely someone is sensitive to good and evil, the more sharply and decisively his feeling will, be expressed. So Jesus’ infinitely pure and high-minded spirit more than any other would react to every baseness and wickedness with a bitterness without like or … Read More

Feast of St Linus, Pope and Martyr

The Pope and Charity Traditionalists have rightly been concerned by recent papal acts and opinions. These appear to lack, towards traditionalists, the charity accorded to others within and outwith the Church.  In the following essay we cite Cardinal Newman’s views regarding the expression of charity as it has been voiced since Vatican II and in particular by the present Holy Father. Newman’s critique of Vatican II (This article has been posted on the Apropos website, www.apropos.org.uk  In an essay on religious tolerance written for the feast of St Barnabas(1), John Henry Newman, then not yet a Catholic, made some very cogent observations concerning the Apostles and their defects; observations, which in this particular case might easily apply too to the Second Vatican Council. Defects in Popes and Apostles It was the late Fr Calmel OP who warned us against papolatry –  a frame of mind, alas, which has blinded many to the … Read More

Vigil of the Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary

Syria The Pope has requested that today, the vigil of the Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary, has been designated as a day of fasting and prayer for peace in Syria, a request we are sure that all Catholics will willingly comply with – that is, if they managed to hear about it.  The Syrian question is undoubtedly complex and the responsibility for the recent chemical weapon attack remains subject to dispute. Those responsible for that mass-murder and for any other deliberate attacks on unarmed civilians will ultimately have to answer to a higher authority than the United States.   Civil wars invariably lead to the most horrific atrocities; the legacy of Cain’s sin is indeed severe. But the responsibility for the current war and its atrocities lie not only with those combatants directly engaged in that war, but also weighs more heavily upon those who support the destabilisation of nations … Read More

St Louis of France

In its introduction to this feast, the St Andrews Missal advises us that St Louis ‘introduced into his chapel the custom of genuflecting at these words of the creed:  Et homo factus est, and bowing down at the passage in the Passion when Jesus expires. Both these pious practices were adopted by the Church.’ The New Mass, to all intents and purposes, put an end to the former and although a bow has been reinstated following the changes ordered by Benedict XVI, it is observed more in the breach. In addition, the use of the Apostles’ Creed at the New Mass, rather than the Nicene Creed, bypasses the need for even this pared practice and perhaps also enables one to avoid the use of ‘consubstantial’ and the ‘filioque’ if one is so inclined. It was of course Benedict XVI who confirmed that it is ‘permitted [for priests] to celebrate the Sacrifice of the Mass following the … Read More

Commemoration of SS Abdon and Sennen, Martyrs

Thought for the Day ‘It must not be concluded that the parental right in education is absolute and despotic; it is closely subordinated to man’s last end and subject to the natural and divine law. Leo XIII explains this in his memorable Encyclical on the principal duties of the Christian citizen, where he thus summarises the rights and duties of parents: “Parents have by nature the right to instruct the children they have begotten; but they also have the duty to ensure that the child’s education and training shall conform to the purpose for which God gave them offspring. They must therefore energetically resist any invasion of their rights in this sphere, and absolutely insist on having it in their power to bring up their children in a Christian manner, in accordance with their duty; above all they must be able to keep them away from schools in which there … Read More

Feast of St Martha

Canonisations The recent announcement that Pope John XXIII and Pope John Paul II are to be canonised, the former without any miracle in his favour, merely increases one’s anxiety regarding the modern process of canonisation. There appears, at least to this simple layman, an undue haste and a lack of due examination of the reasons why such persons might not be canonised – an examination which  used to be undertaken by  the devil’s advocate, (http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/01168b.htm) an office which was abolished by John Paul II in his Constitution Divinus Perfectionis Magister  in 1983. It appears today that favourable acclamation is sufficient to begin and sustain the whole process with gainsayers as popular as a fox in a henhouse. Would one be entirely cynical to suggest that, in these cases, the canonisations are not only directed at the pontiffs concerned as towards the fruits of their labour, the Second Vatican Council and the Post … Read More

 Feast of Our Lady of Mount Carmel

  A Salutary Lesson from the Same-Sex ‘Marriage’ Bill In the spectator of 14th June, 2013, Anne Applebaum, commented that she is often asked if her books on Stalinist Russia are a sort of metaphor for Obama’s USA.  She replies that it is not so and would only change her mind were the government’s opponents routinely arrested, beaten and imprisoned without trial, and were scoutmasters, newspaper editors and symphony conductors appointed only by permission of the State.   On a similar theme Peter Hitchens posted an interview of him by Nigel Farndale in which the latter noted:   ‘But when I suggest that he [Hitchens,] sometimes exaggerates his case to win an argument, I am given a glimpse of his darker, more bullying side. He glowers at me and asks that I give him some examples. Well, I say, comparing the liberal revolution in Britain to the Cultural Revolution in China. It … Read More