Monday, 14 January 2019


St Peter Chanel, Hastings West, is - after that little jewel, St Patrick's Waipawa, and St Joseph's Dannevirke - the church I appreciate more than any other in Hawke's Bay,because the tabernacle is where it's meant to be: dead centre.

These three are the only churches I can think of in the Bay which meet the requirements of church law and the logic of faith. If the Eucharist is the source, centre and summit of our Catholic faith, where else could the Blessed Sacrament reside?

Last Sunday, the Feast of the Baptism of the Lord, must have been a Youth Mass. The young voices, both singing and speaking, were beautiful and well-rehearsed. 

But Holy Mass is not an entertainment. We are not there to be entertained, we're there to take part in the renewal and perpetuation of the Sacrifice of the Cross, the fountain of grace opened by Jesus on Calvary. The Victim is the same, the Priest is the same; the only difference is that in Holy Mass no Blood is shed. 

The Encyclical Mediator Dei tells us to "participate in the Eucharistic Sacrifice, not passively, carelessly and with distractions, but with such ardour and fervor that we shall be closely associated with the High Priest.
  • Pretty girls proclaiming the Readings are distraction enough.  (But thank you, St Peter Chanel girls, for wearing appropriate clothing, not just frills around your waists.) 
  • Choirs up front and centre are distracting. Choirs should be to one side, or even better, at the rear where they encourage the congregation to sing. 
  • The style of singing - Gospel chapel, invoking 'Gard' - was distracting.
  • Pretty coloured pictures, constantly changing, displayed on the overhead screens are distracting
  • Six 'Eucharistic Ministers' (actually Extraordinary Ministers of Holy Communion, EMHC for short) are, as well as distracting and probably themselves distracted - by worries about doing it right, and/or the people to whom they give Communion who might well walk away carrying the Host and what are they to do about it, and what if someone drops the Host etc - are completely beside the point. There's no need to offer the Chalice; everyone receives the Lord, Body and Blood, in the Host, and Father could well distribute the Host to everyone himself. Especially if everyone were lined up kneeling (or standing, seeing so many have apparently lost the ability to kneel) at an altar rail.

And oh, how I long for some Catholic content in the Sunday homily. Even dear Fr Nathaniel Brazil, a holy priest, delivered a sermon that would have gone down really well at St Matthew's (Anglican). Did he attend that 'dreadful' national gathering of Catholic priests in Christchurch and become infected by the Protestant malaise that has the NZ Bishops' Conference in its toils?

More likely Fr Nat's been bullied into toning down his beautiful piety, his honest and faithful Catholicism. I only hope and pray he can stick it out here in NZ, and resist any temptation to return to the Philippines as Fr Brian Buenger has been veritably forced to return the US, because we need him. We need faithful Priests.

Thursday, 10 January 2019


Shorn of all the persiflage, essentially the euthanasia debate comes down to a question of love - or love's opposite, which is fear. 

People who promote it, like convicted euthanasia advocate Suzy Austen, are afraid of suffering a painful death. 

People who oppose euthanasia are defending and protecting the vulnerable - the disabled, the mentally ill, especially youth, and the unwanted elderly. 

They do so out of love. They can face death themselves with equanimity, because mostly they are  people with faith in Jesus Christ, who teaches us that perfect love casts out fear.


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A nice old codger in Dannevirke is unhappy with his bishop (+Charles Drennan). Actually, with his bishops (plural).

What got him going was a question from Palmerston North's Bishop Emeritus, +Peter Cullinane: "Where were you last Sunday?"

He was elsewhere, at a Vigil Mass, because the Mass in Dannevirke was in Maori. He told me every fourth Sunday's Mass in Dannevirke is celebrated in Maori (by +Cullinane or Fr Earl Crotty). He said it hadn't improved Maori attendance on the other Sundays, and he believed that on the fourth Sunday attendance was down overall. 

He told +Peter, "I don't go along with that" (the Mass in Maori).  +Peter was not pleased. 

He wouldn't have been thrilled with what came next either, which was the question, "Where's the Bishop?" (meaning of course, +Drennan). He complained that "Dannevirke never sees him"

+Peter explained that Palmerston North is a large diocese. My new friend, who shall remain nameless and is obviously a fellow Rad Trad, replied that +Charles spends too much time overseas. What he added (to me I think, not to the bishop) I shall not repeat.

Palmerston North New Zealand is not the only Catholic Diocese in the world that is unhappy with its bishop. Yesterday I signed an international petition urging lay people everywhere to protest in person to their Ordinary (as a bishop is correctly called) about the crisis in the Church, the scandal of active homosexuality in the clergy (my elderly Rad Trad said an ex-priest of this diocese, now deceased, had told him 40% of priests were of homosexual inclination), confusion and division, and above all the silence of the bishops when it comes to defending the precepts of Christ and his Church.

Now, what
epiphets might be hurled at me for promoting an objection to the Mass being celebrated in Maori? Racist, of course. But  at least you can't call me politically correct. 

I had an experience of a 'Maori Mass' last October, at an Ecclesia Dei Retreat at the Home of Compassion in Island Bay, Wellington. It was a non-event.

Bishop Basil Meeking, Bishop Emeritus of Christchurch and definitely not one of the current episcopal in-crowd, led the Retreat with three wonderful conferences, the timing of the last of which had to be rejigged, actually during the Retreat I think, to accommodate a Maori Mass. 

Bishop Meeking is an old, frail, man. He patiently accepted the rejigging and gave his final conference at the time requested, having already celebrated the Traditional Latin Mass for the third time during the Retreat. 

I was in the chapel at the time hastily advertised for the Maori Mass, alone except for Jesus in the tabernacle. The altar as far as I can remember wasn't dressed for Mass. Then a group of half a dozen or so straggled in, not particularly identifiable as Maori. They chatted for a while and then they left. There was no Maori Mass that day. 

My one other experience of a Maori Mass was beautiful and 'right and just' in its setting, a historic little Maori church at Porirua, with its usual Maori congregation swelled by Pakeha from the Lay Carmelite Community of Palmerston North. We were celebrating the Final Profession in the Order of Our Lady of Mt Carmel of a dear friend of mine, who wore a magnificent korowai for the occasion.

So my participation in the Maori Mass, although on that day joyful and blessed, doesn't really make me well-versed in its mysteries. But having attended the Latin Mass in Latin all through my childhood and adolescence I know it well enough to compare it with the Novus Ordo (the 'New' Mass). 

Look at the fruits of the Vatican II hierarchy's decision to celebrate Holy Mass in the vernacular, which was a wonderful thing because we would all understand what was being said. The result was a spectacular downturn in Mass counts worldwide. So what do the local hierarchy decide to do now? To celebrate the Mass in the language of a tiny fraction of the congregation. 

You might well ask, so what about celebrating the Mass in Latin when no one understood it? 
  • None of the congregation spoke Latin, so everyone was on the same footing.
  • We'd celebrated the Mass in Latin since childhood.
  • We were taught what the Mass is: primarily the Sacrifice of the Cross, not a Special Meal to be eaten with grubby fingers. 
  • Many Massgoers - probably most adults - had a Missal, with the English translation provided.
The English translation never varied. The texts were not a smorgasbord,for the priest to pick and choose what took his fancy on the day, choose-your-own-adventure stuff. You became so familiar with the Latin and the English, you got to know it almost off by heart.

Remember that chilling movie, The Silence of the Lambs? What we have in the Church internationally now, it seems, is The Silence of the Shepherds

Go to LifesiteNews to find that petition asking the world's bishops to SAY SOMETHING, and sign. 

PC says: Keep up the great work. xx God's holy work.

Bruce Tichbon says:

Your nice old codger is not the only one who is confused by the bi-cultural agenda that seems to be getting rapidly integrated into our local Church, in many cases by seemingly unseen forces.  Bi-culturalism has profound political, cultural, spiritual and ecumenical implications for Catholic life, and NZ as a whole.
We welcome all groups and races into the Church, Christ told us to.  But in the context of bi-culturalism this becomes at least vexing, at worst dangerous.
The NZ Catholic Bishops Conference have stated they support both bi-culturalism and multiculturalism.  I've asked a lot of people about that dichotomy, they cant figure it either.
I hope someone is going to soon give us proper guidance on this challenging area of local 'doctrine'.

Monday, 7 January 2019


Andrew Tichbon extrapolates, from what may well be a public relations exercise, a faux backstory of “denial, secrecy, internal management of abuse” etc in the Catholic Church “for centuries”. 

The fact of the matter is, all that is noblest and best in our Western civilisation springs from those same centuries of what was rightly called ‘Christendom’.

The Catholic Church isn’t supposed to be popular. Christ said to his disciples, “the world will hate you” (Jn 15:18). So if the world loves the Church, the Church should be worried. The Catholic Church should have no truck with PR.

Notice that Tichbon doesn’t implicate Pope Francis in this “ attempt at a more survivable PR stance”. The world loves Pope Francis, and given the vagaries of this papacy, Tichbon’s could be a credible explanation for "the latest Papal ruling on sex abuse".

However, there have been bad popes before and there may be bad popes again, but there will always be a Church and a pope so Tichbon may as well get used to it.

I apologise for the poor lay-out of this letter but my machine is grumpy. To comment please open your gmail account or if you have my email address, feel free to use it. 

Saturday, 5 January 2019


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Bruce Tichbon says:

We were very grateful to get the following response from Bishop Dunn. We pray it points to an ongoing and meaningful dialogue on all the issues.
Dear Bruce

Thanks for your letter of concern.   The bishops have asked Bishop Drennan, as your own bishop, to meet with you to discus the matters you have raised.

As you have pointed out, this is a moment of great challenge for the Church.

But your letter does not take account of the fact that we are at a 'change of era' moment.   Pope Francis and Pope Benedict have tried to draw our attention to the fact that the old 'Christendom' model of the Church is in a state of collapse in our culture.   It has served us well for perhaps a thousand years but now no longer 'works' for our contemporaries.  This is not the 'fault' of anyone: it is just a fact of history.

Pope Benedict spoke of the need for a New Evangelisation.  Our secular society is the most challenging mission field for the Church in our time.   We need to present the treasures and the truths of our beautiful Catholic Faith in new ways to speak to the new secularised culture of many parts of our contemporary world.   It is the sort of work that St Paul did in his time, and St Thomas Aquinas in his time.

Every blessing for these beautiful Christmas days and the coming year.

+Patrick Dunn. [President NZCBC]  
I agree we are in a 'change of era' in a new secularised culture.  I agree with Julia it is a failing culture that we must not emulate.  I believe we must respond by building on the principles, Church and priesthood given to us by Christ.  I do not agree that we are talking about a thousand year model, it is the model given by Christ that we change at our eternal peril.
God Bless,
Bruce Tichbon

Linda says: 'Fraternal corrections', ha ha. But actually, I am horrified by his (Bishop Dunn's) response to Bruce Tichbon.  The paragraph starting "But your letter does not take into account....."   and then going on to 'change of era' showed me exactly where +Dunn is at.  

If he is our best hope in NZ for any return to orthodoxy, then all I can say is 'God help us!'    That was so disappointing.   I felt quite let down and unprotected by this, our 'Leader'.   The only place he is going to lead us is down the garden path.  

Bishop Patrick Dunn , President, NZ Council of Catholic Bishops (NZCBC), has responded to Palmerston North's Bruce Tichbon's Letter to the NZ Bishops, posted recently on this blog (scroll down to 'AN OPEN LETTER TO THE LEADERS OF THE CATHOLIC CHURCH IN NZ: FIXING THE CATHOLIC CHURCH').

So in fairness to all the bishops I post Bishop Dunn's response, written on their behalf, interpolating my responses to his responses. (Sorry people, I couldn't help myself.)

Bishop Dunn's letter begins:

"The bishops have asked Bishop Drennan, as your own bishop, to meet with you to discus (sic) the matters you have raised.

As you have pointed out, this is a moment of great challenge for the Church."

I say: 

It's hardly “a moment”. This crisis has been building for at least a century and accelerating since Vatican II, with rampant homosexuality in the priesthood exacerbated by the “disastrous” – to quote Cardinal Gerhard Muller – removal in 1983 from the Code of Canon Law of any mention of homosexual acts as an offence against the 6th Commandment incurring certain canonical penalties. 

The John Jay College of Criminal Justice report (referred to in Bruce Tichbon's Open Letter) revealed in 2004 that since 1950 over 10,000 children, mostly boys, had been abused in the US by over 4000 priests. ) Fr Paul Sullins, in a new report for the Ruth Institute, states that clergy sexual abuse peaked 35 years ago but today is still comparable with the early 1970s. He concludes that “the bishops have gotten complacent”. 

And why have the bishop 'gotten' complacent? Perhaps because they know the Pope protects and promotes pro-homosexual priests and bishops. Under this pope, their careers are in no danger on that account.  

A quarter of priests ordained in the late ‘60s report a homosexual subculture in their seminary. In the 2002 Dallas Charter, the US bishops stated the days of concealment of abuse were over, with stringent new standards for dealing with priestly abuse; but the bishops specifically excluded themselves from these standards, contending that only the Pope had authority to discipline them (as if!), and that peer pressure or what they referred to euphemistically as ‘fraternal correction’ would keep them in line. 

It didn’t. Since then there have been claims of abuse or harassment against more than 50 US bishops. Father Sullins says that "the (US) bishops, as a group, cannot be trusted to solve this problem.”

And the NZ Church can’t get away with saying, “oh but that’s the US”.  A recently ordained priest has told me of an overt pro-homosexual culture in the seminary here, and we lay people have been hurt for long enough by NZ priests charged with sexual abuse and found guilty.

+Dunn continues:

"But your letter does not take account of the fact that we are at a 'change of era' moment.   Pope Francis and Pope Benedict have tried to draw our attention to the fact that the old 'Christendom' model of the Church is in a state of collapse in our culture.   It has served us well for perhaps a thousand years but now no longer 'works' for our contemporaries.  This is not the 'fault' of anyone: it is just a fact of history."

I say:

Most people noticed that 'Christendom’ began to collapse with the  arrival of the heretical Protestant ‘Reformation’ (more aptly termed ‘Deformation’). The fact of history isn’t that Christendom "is in a state of collapse", but that Christendom no longer exists. That doesn’t mean, however, that the Church is in a state of collapse. 

It's our secular culture which is in a state of collapse, and the Church endangers herself by flirting with that culture and its values (that old whore, the world).

"Pope Benedict", writes +Dunn, "spoke of the need for a New Evangelisation. Our secular society is the most challenging mission field for the Church in our time."

Amen to that. As Cardinal Ratzinger, Pope Benedict stated that “to begin with, we (Catholics) will be numerically reduced. We must continue to be an open Church. (But) we cannot calmly accept the rest of humanity falling back into paganism. ... We must find the way to take the Gospel to nonbelievers.” 

So, Bishop Dunn suggests, "We need to present the treasures and the truths of our beautiful Catholic Faith in new ways to speak to the new secularised culture of many parts of our contemporary world."

Exactly. For example, by speaking "to the new secularized culture and witnessing to our beautiful Catholic Faith” in the sanctity of life, by taking part with 1200 pro-lifers in the second National March for Life on Parliament. 

This year the visible priestly attendance increased by 100 per cent, that is to say that - tragically - there was not just one priest present, but two. And they were both from the SSPX.

+Dunn goes on:

"It is the sort of work that St Paul did in his time, and St Thomas Aquinas in his time."

I say:

This may not be 'the sort of work' that +Dunn has in mind, but for example, St Paul publicly rebuked the first Pope (Gal 2:11), and St Thomas Aquinas, in support of St Paul, quotes Sir 4:27: Reverence not thy neighbour in his fall and refrain not to speak in the time of salvation. 

St Thomas continues: “Or to his face, i.e. not in secret as though detracting him and fearing him, but publicly and as his equal: Thou shalt not hate thy brother in thy heart: but reprove him openly, lest thou incur sin through him (Lev 19:17). 

"This he did" writes St Paul, "because he (Cephas, Peter) was to be blamed … subjects have an example of zeal and freedom, that they fear not to correct their prelates, particularly if their crime is public and verges upon danger to the multitude ... where danger is imminent, the truth must be preached openly and the opposite never condoned through fear of scandalizing others: That which I tell you in the dark, speak ye in the light (Mt 10:27) ... Them that sin, reprove before all (1 Tim 5:20). This is to be understood of public sins, and not of private ones.”

“Some bishops,” says Cardinal Muller, “unsettle the faithful because, in their statements, they follow only the mainstream. They allow themselves to be placed in the strait-jackets of political correctness, in which they can only move awkwardly and make fools of themselves.” Bishops should not “foremost act and think politically” because they are actually “servants of the Word of God, shepherds of their flock”.... We should risk and venture the new evangelisation instead of jumping on the train of demoralization and deChristianisation of the Western societies”. 

Such a renewal, says Cardinal Muller, would include “a renewal of the ethical conduct ... There are high-ranking representatives of the Catholic Church who, beyond measure, defend and promote people with such a (pro-homosexual) tendency. But when it is about questioning aspects of the Catholic faith, they are magnanimous and lack energy. He who follows their agenda may do what he wants. (But) he who does not participate in assisted thinking is being mercilessly persecuted, currently according to the motto ‘St Paul goodbye – Wucherpfennig, okay!’

Cardinal Muller is comparing St Paul’s public rebuke of St Peter, the first Pope, with the values of the pro-homosexual German Jesuit priest Ansgar Wucherpfennig. 

Wucherpfennig has been reinstated by the Vatican as rector of the Jesuit St Georgen graduate school, in spite of his stated refusal to adhere to his declaration of faithfulness to the Magisterium of the Church. 

Which, given the thorough revamping of the once-revered and mighty Order of Jesuits, and its impassioned embrace of the heresy of Modernism, is exactly what we'd expect from the Vatican and a Jesuit pope.

Wednesday, 2 January 2019


One Andrew Tichbon, of Green Bay (poor man, he's from Auckland) had a go at me in the NZ Herald yesterday, saying my "letter on religious healing" was nonsense. Even as a Carmelite, I had to refute that. Not in my own defence, of course, but in defence of faith in God.

As it turns out, I didn't need to write this. Gavan O'Farrell of Wellington took up the cudgels on my behalf - or rather, on behalf of faith in God.

In the interests of free speech, I uphold Andrew Tichbon’s right to extrapolate from my statements on ‘religiosity’ and mental health a conclusion that is misled and misleading. 

Happiness depends on a thousand and one factors, but people of all religious faiths report, in official UK stats for example, a higher level of happiness than atheists. Tichbon’s own insight, that “perhaps high quality government and social cohesion are more reliable generators of health and happiness”, only serves to support the argument for Christianity. 

Where governments are soundly based on the highest quality - love for one’s neighbour – social cohesion automatically follows.

That is of course with the proviso that such a government is not hijacked by dictators (as in Syria and Central America) who despite any profession of faith in God behave, like Tichbon, as if he does not exist.

Friday, 28 December 2018

BY NOW I'D BE IN A STRAIT-JACKET (Letter published in NZ Herald, Dec 29)

Well what do you know? The letter below was published word for word except for the last sentence, with its mention of God and (pardon me! the Catholic Church.

“What drives the increased demand for mental health services” is patently obvious. 

In our materialistic society, with its dire predictions of climate change and without faith in God, mental illness or at the very least unhappiness would seem inevitable.
I’d say the demand for beds in mental health units grows in inverse proportion to the demand for places in church pews. Higher levels of religious belief and practice (known, unflatteringly, to social scientists as ‘religiosity’) is associated with better mental health – specifically lower rates of depression, anxiety, disordered substance use and suicidal behaviours. 

Religiosity even means better phyical health. Recovery from severe mental disease such as schizophrenia is faster in countries with higher levels of religiosity (not, obviously and unfortunately, New Zealand).
The churches should be on to this. They should be advertising their doctrines and practice as preventing and healing mental illness. 

I know myself that with my family history of mental illness and without my faith in God and the Catholic Church, by now I’d be in a strait-jacket.