The Best of British Christmas

Allow me on this Boxiing Day to say that England tops USA for Christmas. Hands down. No debate. No question. Not even a possibility of a question. Here’s why: 1. English radio stations do not play nauseating Christmas music like Frosty the Snowman, Rudolph the red nosed reindeer chestnuts roasting by the open fire jack [Read More...]

St Mary Help of Christians, Aiken SC


Fr Renuard West has posted some pictures of the new St Mary Help of Christians church being built in Aiken, South Carolina. This church along with St Paul’s Spartanburg and the new Our Lady of the Rosary is helping to put the Diocese of Charleston on the map for innovative traditional architecture. Here are some [Read More...]

Idol Speculation

Toppling Idols

Did the pagans really worship idols? If so, what was going on? To be precise, they did not worship idols as such, but they worshipped the gods who they believed the idols represented. But it was more than that. They also believed that the idols became the channels for the invisible god. If you like [Read More...]

Ugly as Sin?

Michael Rose’s book Ugly As Sin:  was read by the members of our building committee when they began planning the new Our Lady of the Rosary Church in Greenville, South Carolina. They studied the trends in modern architecture and did their homework. When I arrived in the parish four years ago they already had a modest, [Read More...]

Ten Ways to Battle Gossip


Have you ever really stopped to consider how ugly gossip is? Working in school, family and parish life you experience time and again how colossally stupid, destructive and therefore sinful gossip can be. The reason gossip is stupid is because it almost invariably deals in half truths. A person gets one side of the story [Read More...]

The Terrorism of Torture

Torture Wall

How can you counter terrorism with torture when torture is a form of terrorism? Here’s why I mean by that radical statement that “torture is a form of terrorism” The power of terrorism is that it is completely lawless. The terrorist believes that his cause condones outrageous cruelty. His cause not only threatens to kill [Read More...]

Romance of Religion for Christmas

Romance of Religion cover

Why not order a signed copy of my book The Romance of Religion as a Christmas gift? Here’s an excerpt In a world of useful things it might seem absurd to write a book in praise of romance. Who needs romance in a world that has been rationalized, economized, mechanized and computerized? Can romance survive in [Read More...]

Mother Mary and Calvinist Me

Notre Dame de la Brune

On this busy Solemnity there has been no chance to share my thoughts about the personal effect the dogma of the Immaculate Conception has had on me. Coming from an Evangelical background with a strong Calvinist slant, I was taught the doctrines of Total Depravity and Eternal Security. The subtleties of these beliefs, their nuances, [Read More...]

Did John the Baptist Really Eat Grasshoppers?


On the second Sunday of Advent I am always intrigued by John the Baptist’s diet of “locusts and wild honey.” The locust is a large grasshopper common in many places of the world. Known for swarming and devouring huge swathes of greenery and causing famine, it could be that the people of the Middle East [Read More...]

A Post for Slap A Heretic Day


In commemoration of St Nicholas who famously slugged the heretic Arius I publish this piece written a few months ago for The Catholic Thing website: There was an odious man named Frank in our fundamentalist church when I was a boy who had a brood of badly behaved children. When one of them would act [Read More...]

The Coming Demographic Winter

What, Me Worry?

Catholic convert Charles Moore write in today’s Daily Telegraph about the coming demographic winter. This is the term for the plummeting birth rate in developed world and the catastrophic economic and social effects. He highlights P.D.James’ novel The Children of Men–a dystopian novel that, I predict, will become increasingly famous as her predictions prove true. James [Read More...]

Frankenstein…not the Monster….the Church

East End, Our Lady Help of Christians, Frankenstein

One of the delights during my recent visit to Missouri was an afternoon tour of some of the country churches of the Diocese of Jefferson City. This church in the tiny town of Frankenstein was a delight Built in the Romanesque style, it is a delightful version of Romanesque scaled down for a small country [Read More...]

Here’s Why You Hate Round Churches


Have you noticed that nobody loves modern churches? Nobody. I mean NOBODY. Seriously. Have you ever met anyone who sees a church like this and and heard them whisper, “I just love that church! It is so inspiring!”. No. Never. Have you ever gone into a “worship space” like this and heard someone say how [Read More...]

Catholic Churches Bouncing Back from Wreckovation


I have written several posts this week about the brutal iconoclasm that took place in American Catholic churches over the last fifty years. I was therefore delighted this afternoon to be taken on a tour of some central Missouri country churches where pastors and people are restoring beauty and dignity to their old churches. The [Read More...]

Death, Judgment, Heaven and Hell?….So What.

Memento Mori

Deacon is busy publishing parish letters on the Four Last Things for the Sundays of Advent. Death, Judgement, Heaven and Hell. But it seems to me that the response of most people in our society and our church is a careless shrug of “So what.” Not long ago I was looking at a picture of [Read More...]

Two Arms of the Church: East and West


This week’s article at Aleteia comments on the Pope’s recent visit to Turkey and quotes Patheos blogger Billy Kangas on what the East can learn from the West and vice versa. Both Pope Francis and Patriarch Bartholomew would agree that the Christian faith is more than simply helping the poor and working to end war [Read More...]

Atheists Promote Belief in Santa?


Last year there was some wisecracking atheist Christmas billboard which also featured Santa. This year’s edition is now out. It is pictured here, and features a kid writing to Santa saying that he doesn’t want to go to church because he’s too old for fairy tales. This is a hoot. The kid’s too old for [Read More...]

The Root of Restlessness: An Advent Hope


What is it that makes us so restless and so unhappy? Some say it is desire. The root of all unhappiness is desire. We desire what we do not have, and we desire more what we cannot have. But what is at the root of that desire? I think it is something else. It is [Read More...]

Saints and Angels: Out of Sight Out of Mind

Unused Catholic Statues in a Warehouse

Yesterday I commented that when the statues of the saints were removed from the churches in the Protestant Revolution of our time (i.e. post Vatican II wreck-ovation) the communion of saints also vanished. The more I think about this, the more true it becomes. Where, in your experience, have you come across a Catholic church [Read More...]

Stripping the Altars is Ripping the Heart Out of Catholicism

Proposed Restoration of Chapel at Josephinum Seminary

This before and after photograph of the St Turibius chapel of the Pontifical Josephinum seminary illustrates what was done to Catholic architecture across the world in the wake of the Vatican 2 revolution. A vital break in the sacred tradition took place which is rightly called a new stripping of the altars. As I travel [Read More...]

A Married Priest on Married Priests – 3

Greek Catholic Priest and Wife

In my earlier posts here and here I discussed the practical aspects of having married priests. There is a basic flaw, however in only discussing this issue with a regard to the practicalities. This is because there are simply too many variables to make a strong case one way or the other for or against [Read More...]

On Being a Missionary


In the Evangelical Fundamentalist world in which I was raised our heroes were the missionaries. These courageous men and women gave up everything to go live in the jungle or some other God forsaken, rat infested place to preach the gospel. They went to the desert of North Africa, the jungles of Burma and countered [Read More...]