Priest Poem

Lenten Incense The boy kneels as the Father prods the coalsthat glower in the thurible. The grayash sticks, then crumbles, shifts and falls away.The embers surge orange before the granules,like tiny jewels, are spooned onto the fire.It is a simple ritual—almost quaint–done with ancient courtesy and restraint.In the burnt brass bowl, like a little pyre,the [Read More...]

The Night is Far Spent

If you love C.S.Lewis, T.S.Eliot, J.R.R.Tolkien and all that gang, pick up Thomas Howard’s latest book. It’s a collection of essays and talks that he has given over the years. In his witty, inimitable style, Howard takes you into the imagination of Lewis and Tolkien. He shows you what they thought, why they thought it, [Read More...]

Great Hat

Go ahead. Tell me Catholics don’t have the best headgear. (Hat tip to Dappled Things) Captions please… [Read more...]

Hype Headlines and Hypocrites

The last time one of my books came out my wife read the blurb about the author and burst out laughing. The blurb was the usual bookseller’s blather trying to puff me as ‘the next Chesterton’ or as ‘well known author, apologist, speaker, broadcaster…blahblahblahblah. None of it was untrue, but neither was it an accurate [Read More...]

Prayer Poem

In the GardenIn the yard I discovered a rose bedGrown over with creepers, thistles and weeds.I looked for a time; considered its needs,then started to work, digging up the deadbushes, and the brambles with thorns that pluckand cling. The roots were deep and dark and cameup almost like a mandrake with a scream.At last I [Read More...]

Mad Cows and Englishmen

You’ve heard of the epidemic of mad cow disease in England a few years ago? It seems the disease has not finished, and has, in fact, passed into the human population. The happy result of this worrying trend is that there seems to have been a quantum leap in the intellectual capacities of both the [Read More...]

Poem for Lent

Confiteo While running the race I stumbled and fellWent flat on my face, and spitting up dust,got up on my knees as others ran past.I’m down and out, and for all I can tell,the race is over. I’m finished. I’ve lost. Then another runner reached down and tookmy hand. He gave me a smile and [Read More...]

The Task of Catholic Art

What is art supposed to do, and I don’t mean Art Garfunkel. In a world obsessed with practicality, efficiency and the bottom line, does art have a function? First what do I mean by art? I mean any human activity where we are creative. Art would therefore include everything from cooking and gardening and crafts [Read More...]

Truly Catholic Deeply

If you want to see a truly Catholic movie watch Hardball with Keanu Reeves. It’s not about a saint. It’s about a sinner. Reeves plays Connor O’Neil, a young guy with just about every problem you can get: unemployed, gambling addict, drink problem, drugs problem, truth problem…you name it. To avoid the guys with the [Read More...]

Like the Birds of the Air

The birds have no bordersthey call no country ‘home’.Their range is the wide skyboundless in blue and calm.They travel light, withoutpassports or visas signed.Checkpoints and border guardsnever stop their kind.They have no roads or traffic;their routes remain unplanned,except by the stars and sun,the seasons and the wind.The birds fly free over land,and widely they roam.they [Read More...]

Learning from the Liturgy

  There’s been a fair bit of comment about fine liturgy and the lamentable state of liturgical practice. I’m on the side of those who want to improve things, and have enough Catholic liturgical horror stories to write a book. Top of the list was the old Irish priest in Northern England who used to [Read More...]

Getting Grumpy

  I can tell that Lent is starting to bite because I am getting grumpy. Part of it is the fasting. I always get grumpy when I’m hungry. But there is more to it than that. I’m determined to engage in the spiritual battle. I’m trying to pray more, and I believe when we really [Read More...]

The Church Mediocre

Among converts and those thinking of converting and those who are thinking of converting but denying it, there is a lot of talk about how awful the Catholic Church is when you actually stop reading books of apologetics and visit the local branch. Here you thought it was the Church Militant and it seems like [Read More...]

The Hypocrite

Words unspokensound loudest for those who hearwith the inward ear. A smile unbrokenby kindness is knownto maim, wound and kill. For those who feel,it’s a cut to the bone.When one smiles in silence, it is sharp, polished steel,or perfect benevolencecarved in stone. [Read more...]

Newman in Canterbury

Fr Newman has a new website and blog. Under the link Divine worship you can go through a cool slide show of High Mass at St Mary’s. How blessed we are to have been brought to such a vibrant parish! For Ash Wednesday the place was packed, the liturgy was splendid and the spirit truly [Read More...]

Immaculate Conception

In a recent comment a reader asked about the Immaculate Conception: about the Immaculate Conception. As a mere Anglican I still wonder ‘why?’. It may be so but surely Our Lady would still be unique in creation even if she were not immaculately conceived?Good question. May I humbly recommend my book Mary: A Catholic-Evangelical Debate? [Read More...]

Feast or Fast?

Every year this argument comes up in our household: I’ve heard that every Sunday is a feast day of the resurrection so you can break your Lenten fast on Sundays. Sure enough, if you count the ‘forty days’ from Ash Wednesday to Easter Sunday there are actually 46 days, so if you take out the [Read More...]

Holy Hunger

St Augustine says that by asceticism we empty ourselves to make room for God. If you have a sack that is already full there is no room for anything else. If you have a life that is already full you have no room for God. Empty the sack to re-fill it. Empty the life to [Read More...]


Incarnation Why should a single object—one small stone,a rose, a picture or a Chinese vasesummon strong passions? Why should onechild singing high and clear lift you to the stars,while a leaden sky hurls you down to hell?How literal. And yet, what other wordshave you? With what language can you tellof your silent discourse with another [Read More...]

Relevant Radio

I’ll be on Relevant Radio’s morning show tomorrow 9:00 EST talking about the crisis in Anglicanism. Tune in! [Read more...]

I am the Immaculate Conception

Roving Medievalist posted this picture of Bayeux Cathedral, and it brought back a memory. As an Anglican priest I was travelling in France, and took some time to stop at Bayeux. It’s a quaint town with this neat little cathedral, and a great museum where you can view the famous Bayeux tapestry. I had been [Read More...]

Bearded Lady

Being a married Catholic priest has made some readers curious and they have asked to see photographs of my wife. This is Alison. You can see she has a slight facial hair problem, but I love her anyway… [Read more...]