Cogito, ergo sum – a conference on perspective and reality

Transcript of the Domestic Church conference broadcast LIVE on Tuesday November 29 2022 on the Old Roman TV YouTube channel.

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So, lets recap briefly…

Beate mundo corde blest are the pure in heart

God is love and that love which binds the Trinity in Unity is made manifest in Creation

Thus, we are extensions of God’s love – created in His love, to share in His love and to become His love

His love should reside in our hearts, influence our minds, and direct our behavior

Sal terrae salt of the earth

That rather than judging others in sin we are to have compassion for them, loving them to righteousness

Just as Jesus, having compassion for our human condition, loved us to death on the Cross for our redemption – not losing our “savor” for the sake of our Savior!

So then should we love one another as Jesus loves us

Vos estis lux mundi you are the light of the world

By radiating the brightness of Christ’s Truth into our world of confusion and ignorance

Living CHRISTIAN lives bearing testimony to the restoration to perfection begun in our salvation

Proving that CHANGE – even radical change – IS possible and true happiness

verbum reconciliationis the word of reconciliation 2 Cor 5:17-20

[17] If then any be in Christ a new creature, the old things are passed away, behold all things are made new. Si qua ergo in Christo nova creatura, vetera transierunt: ecce facta sunt omnia nova.

[18] But all things are of God, who hath reconciled us to himself by Christ; and hath given to us the ministry of reconciliation. Omnia autem ex Deo, qui nos reconciliavit sibi per Christum: et dedit nobis ministerium reconciliationis,

[19] For God indeed was in Christ, reconciling the world to himself, not imputing to them their sins; and he hath placed in us the word of reconciliation. quoniam quidem Deus erat in Christo mundum reconcilians sibi, non reputans illis delicta ipsorum, et posuit in nobis verbum reconciliationis.

[20] For Christ therefore we are ambassadors, God as it were exhorting by us. For Christ, we beseech you, be reconciled to God. Pro Christo ergo legatione fungimur, tamquam Deo exhortante per nos. Obsecramus pro Christo, reconciliamini Deo.

Cogito, ergo sum – I think therefore I am

We reflected last week on what it means to be an ambassador of Christ – that as Christians we have a mission to speak words of reconciliation to the world – to speak the truth of the Gospel which is the objective truth, the reality of things – seeing through the eyes of Faith we can perceive the reality of the state and condition of the world around us.

St Paul prayed a powerful prayer for the Ephesian Christians — a prayer I encourage you to pray for yourself and your loved ones:

[18] illuminatos oculos cordis vestri, ut sciatis quae sit spes vocationis ejus, et quae divitiae gloriae haereditatis ejus in sanctis, [19] et quae sit supereminens magnitudo virtutis ejus in nos, qui credimus secundum operationem potentiae virtutis ejus,

[Ephesians 1:18-19]

[18] The eyes of your heart enlightened, that you may know what the hope is of the glory of His inheritance in the saints. [19] And what is the exceeding greatness of His power towards us, who believe according to the operation of the might of His power, [Ephesians 1:18-19]

There’s an important principle here, for in order for faith to rise in your life, you need to have the eyes of your heart enlightened to God’s calling and “the surpassing greatness of His power.” When you see things through the eyes of faith, God always is bigger than your problems. Fear, anxiety, and hopelessness melt away in the light of His glory.

The reason why so many fall despairingly into sin, is that without Faith – without the knowledge of God and without the understanding of life, the universe and everything – that God’s Word enables together with God’s grace – people are unable to cope with the cruel and harsh reality that is living in a fallen world. If you have no idea about The Fall, if you have no concept of Redemption, if you have no knowledge of God’s love and the Saviour He gave us in Jesus – then you have no actual hope – you cannot conceive of possibilities beyond the limitation of your mind, experience and existence.  Most of the people we know are experiencing life in this way.

So many seemingly turn to science because they think science explains the limitations of their mind, experience and existence – after all, science only deals with observable facts – things are limited to cause and effect. Yet any true scientist knows, science is not limited by subjective appreciations of limitations and observability – quite the opposite – science works on a system of logic that yes, observes facts, the cause and effect of things, but is certainly not limited nor constrained by them – experimentation for example, deliberately pushes the boundaries of “what’s what” in order to discover more – this is sometimes the problem with science – as much as it has discovered good things, its also discovered not so good things – Small Pox vaccines are great – atom bombs not so much. Science is not of itself “objectively moral” – how it is applied determines whether it is ethical or not.   

But this faux appreciation for science – the limited appreciation – is how the majority of people perceive it – and this is the cause of the pseudo-scientific attitudes so prevalent in our society today. Because we generally benefit from the inventions and discoveries of science, most people think it something “good” for society – but of course, this isn’t always the case. Few know that the advances in genetic science today were founded upon knowledge gleaned from Nazi experiments.

To say that identity politics are dangerous for perspectives on reality is an understatement. Identity politics have long been a tool of oppression, and they’re not going away any time soon. In fact, they’re coming for you—and your children.

This is what history tells us.

The Nazi party used genetics as part of their plan to create a “master race.” They started with the idea that Jews were inferior, but then they went further: they wanted to make sure that Jews couldn’t reproduce by sterilizing their women and killing off their men.

This was called “racial hygiene,” and it wasn’t just limited to Jews: it also included people with mental illness, people with disabilities, and other groups deemed “undesirable.” Genocide was a way of life for the Nazi regime until they were defeated in World War II by Allied forces. But the legacy of their work lives on today in our society’s attitudes toward gender identity. The Nazis were not the only ones who believed in the idea of a “master race.” Many other countries have attempted to create their own. The United States had its own eugenics movement, which was popular in the early 20th century. Eugenics is a social philosophy that encourages people to select mates based on their genetic traits. It also supports sterilization and abortion for people with disabilities or mental illnesses.

In the 1920s to ’40s, the Nazi Party launches the racial hygiene movement to try and ensure they cleanse the human race of genetic infirmaries. They try to identify anyone who has a suspected hereditary infirmity: the deaf, the blind, or those with congenital illnesses of various sorts. There’s a whole series of propaganda films, in which they try to describe how horrible the lives of these people can be, in order to justify that the right thing to do is to exterminate them. This forms the training ground for the much wider extermination program of the Holocaust. By the 1930s, Jewish men and women are already disproportionately being targeted as part of this racial hygiene movement.

The pseudoscience of eugenics reached its apotheosis in Nazi Germany. But much of the groundwork was actually done in America. Carrie Buck was one of the first women in the U.S. to be sterilized by court mandate. She was suspected of having hereditary mental illness and, in the 1920s, in order to cleanse the population of her genes, was confined to a place called the Virginia State Colony. One of the superintendents of the colony was a man named Albert Priddy, who was one of the great proponents of eugenics through selective sterilization. Priddy applied to the Supreme Court, and Oliver Wendell Homes’ very important judgment said, “Three generations of imbeciles are enough,” and thereby mandated the sterilization of Carrie Buck. We now know that the chances of Carrie Buck having the kind of hereditary mental illness Priddy was trying to eradicate by sterilization were actually pretty slim.

More and more, we are sequencing the genome of eggs and embryos and beginning to use technology that will potentially allow us to alter the human genome. The potential benefit might be to eliminate diseases with strong genetic components, like Huntington’s disease.

The dangers are that there will be unintended consequences. All of a sudden we may find ourselves making decisions about which human genes are more preferable than others. In doing so, we risk making wrong decisions about what variations are and are not allowed to exist. Though human genome technologies are highly regulated, it is unlikely that there’s going to be a government mandate that says, “You are only allowed to have this kind of baby.” And when individuals make that decision it is still, ultimately, a eugenic decision.

We’ve seen the danger of such applied science as this before. Take the founder of Planned Parenthood, the eugenicist Margaret Sanger, who – though many deny she was a racist – developed Planned Parenthood and deliberately placed her “clinics” (which later became abortuaries) in inner-city areas populated mainly by non-white populations.

In promoting birth control, she advanced a controversial “Negro Project,” and wrote in her autobiography about speaking to a Ku Klux Klan group and advocated for a eugenics approach to breeding for “the gradual suppression, elimination and eventual extinction, of defective stocks — those human weeds which threaten the blooming of the finest flowers of American civilization.”

In an article titled “A Better Race Through Birth Control,” she wrote, “Given Birth Control, the unfit will voluntarily eliminate their kind.”

“Birth Control does not mean contraception indiscriminately practised,” Sanger wrote. “It means the release and cultivation of the better elements in our society.”

In the 1970s, when the Supreme Court’s Roe V. Wade decision legalized abortion, polling showed that Blacks were “significantly less likely to favor abortion” than whites. Yet in New York City, more black babies are aborted than born alive each year. And the abortion industry think tank, the Guttmacher Institute, notes that “the abortion rate for black women is almost five times that for white women.”

Like everything in this life – it’s the decisions we as people make about our use of knowledge rather than things – that determines whether something is right or wrong – not necessarily the knowledge itself… Nazi scientists, Margaret Sanger and the scientists who used their knowledge to explore and develop the science that now allows the manipulation of the human genome, DNA and prevention and the termination of life inside the womb – it is the application of such knowledge that is potentially evil. Likewise, an inanimate object e.g. a gun, is not of itself “evil” its just metal fashioned into a weapon – it takes the knowledge a human may possess to create it, use it and apply it as a killing instrument that will create “evil”.

Few people know that it was an Augustinian monk in the 19C who the acknowledged “father” of genetics is – Gregor Mendel discovered gene traits in peas! By experimenting with pea plant breeding, Mendel developed three principles of inheritance that described the transmission of genetic traits, before anyone knew genes existed. But see how this knowledge was subverted and manipulated in the ways just described…

Now, if those who possess actual knowledge, effective knowledge, can do incredibly evil things with it, what about those with only a little knowledge… Consider the pseudo-science behind so many trends in contemporary society that has and is altering the way people think and perceive truth. For example, how often have you heard reference to a “gay gene” or that there are differences in brains between “normal” people and trans people?

Siddhartha Mukherjee is a professor of medicine at Columbia University who wrote the Pulitzer Prize-winning The Emperor of All Maladies about cancer and The Gene: An Intimate History. He says, “We know that genetics has a powerful influence on sexual identity. We also know that there is no single gene that determines most sexual identity. Much remains undiscovered about the exact genes that influence sexual identity but we know that there is an influence, based on twin studies. There is no such thing as a “gay gene,” though. There may be multiple genes that interact with environment to produce different variants in human sexual identity. But no single gene has been identified as the “gay gene.”

Nearly half a million genomes reveal five DNA markers associated with sexual behaviour — but none with the power to predict the sexuality of an individual. The findings, which are published on 29 August 2019 in Science and based on the genomes of nearly 500,000 people, shore up the results of earlier, smaller studies and confirm the suspicions of many scientists: while sexual preferences have a genetic component, no single gene has a large effect on sexual behaviours.

“There is no ‘gay gene’,” says lead study author Andrea Ganna, a geneticist at the Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard in Cambridge, Massachusetts. “This is a solid study,” says Melinda Mills, a sociologist at the University of Oxford, UK, who studies the genetic basis of reproductive behaviours.

The idea that children are born with an innate ‘gender identity’ which develops pre-natally and is impervious to environmental influence is not supported by any credible science either.

Body and brain are interconnected; scientists have found no separate innate ‘gender’ area of the brain which is fixed at birth. Children’s brains are very plastic; they develop through interaction with people and the environment and they are constantly absorbing information and influences which shape them.

Research in neuroscience consistently confirms that although sex-based differences exist in regions of the brain, there is no 100% ‘male’ or ‘female’ brain and that all children are born with the potential to develop their own unique characteristics of behaviour, interests, talents and personality, regardless of their biological sex.

Although we often hear that transgender people are trapped in the wrong body this is a myth and not based on any credible scientific evidence. There is virtually no clear or reliable difference between male and female brains structurally, let alone evidence that transgender people have a brain that does not match up with their natal sex. It is currently unknown whether there is a biological basis to the transgender phenomenon.

You’ve probably heard the phrase, “A little knowledge can be a dangerous thing” and that is precisely the situation today with the pseudo-science prevalent in contemporary ideologies politicized to affect change in the way society appreciates those living alternative lifestyles.

In Biblical theology two terms, “exegesis” and “eisegesis” refer to how you read the Bible. At the most basic level, exegesis relies on the original context of a biblical passage to determine that passage’s meaning, while eisegesis uses things other than the original context of a biblical passage to determine that passage’s meaning. Exegesis tries to listen to the text and let meaning come from the text itself in its original, historical context. Eisegesis brings meaning to the text and does not concern itself with the original historical context of a biblical passage. Likewise, this subjective proof reading of information is prevalent among those seeking to justify progressive societal attitudes – bringing subjective meaning to data and research that will suit their theory, like progressive theologians do with the Scriptures.

This of course distorts and obfuscates the truth – indeed, it relativizes it – so that we hear the phrase “well that’s your truth” as if anyone is the final arbiter themselves of what is or isn’t true – and this leads of course to confusion. We all subjectively respond or react to things we’re told or things we read, etc, even when reading Scripture, there will be insights and appreciations that differ between anyone of us – but those subjective appreciations aren’t necessarily true simply because they are own responses – its not until we study the Scriptures through the lens of 2’000 years of scholarly study and collective appreciation – that we may come to know the actual truth. That’s why for centuries theologians have studied Biblical languages, and indeed Latin, to read the commentaries and explanations of the earliest Christians who may themselves have received knowledge from the Apostles and those who immediately followed them, so that we can get to the objective truth and meaning of a passage or teaching.

Cogito, ergo sum – I think therefore I am

Descartes’s statement became a fundamental element of Western philosophy, as it purported to provide a certain foundation for knowledge in the face of radical doubt. While other knowledge could be a figment of imagination, deception, or mistake, Descartes asserted that the very act of doubting one’s own existence served—at minimum—as proof of the reality of one’s own mind; there must be a thinking entity—in this case the self—for there to be a thought.

Today of course, for certain ideologists, the meaning of these words has been altered to mean “anything I think is true” – and by thought is meant the subjective appreciation – what I perceive, what I see, what I conceive, what I believe – held together with the pseudo-scientific approach we’ve already discussed – this brings about the very dangerous situation in which we find our society today.

Consider transgenderism – because somebody feels, thinks, believes they are the opposite gender to their biology and physiology – they are supposed now to be considered and accepted by everyone else as they identify themselves – so a man, as a woman, and vice versa, etc. Whereas social convention generally is that for everyone to believe or accept something is a fact – it has to be objectively verifiable and proved to be – on the balance of probability – true. Now remember we reflected before how humanity is a social species. That we experience life collectively – no man is an island etc? The issue then here is about TRUTH held collectively not personally.

A way to understand transgenderism is to look at detransitioning testimonies: the stories of people who have transitioned from one gender to another but then changed their minds. It’s easy for us to forget about these people because we hear about celebrities who transition from male to female, but we rarely hear about people who transition from female to male. This trend makes it easy for us to assume that transgenderism is a one-way street: transgender people can only transition from male to female or vice versa but never back again. But this is not true. In fact, many transgender people do detransition and then transition back again. And these people have a lot to teach us about the way we understand gender identity. But these testimonies reveal that this assumption is false. More and more people are detransitioning from one gender to another because they realize that transitioning was a mistake. For example, in August 2018, the Australian journalist Patrick Strudwick published an article titled “I thought I was transgender but now I know it was all just a phase” (Strudwick). This article features interviews with seven detransitioners who transitioned from female to male and then back again. The detransitioning testimonies are very important for several reasons:

1. They provide a counter-narrative to the stories of celebrities who transition from one gender to another and then publish books about it. This can make it easier for us to see transgenderism as something that is not inevitable, but rather a choice that people make based upon their own life experiences. But detransitioners are a real phenomenon and their testimonies should be taken seriously. They challenge our assumptions about transgenderism, and they provide a powerful counterpoint to the rhetoric that surrounds the topic.

2. Their stories can provide hope for those who are currently struggling with gender dysphoria or are considering transitioning. They show that people can have their dysphoria alleviated through other means, like therapy and medication. They help us to see that gender dysphoria is a real phenomenon and should be taken seriously. This can be especially helpful for parents whose children are experiencing it, as well as those who are being pressured by trans activists to affirm the feelings of children with gender dysphoria (even though there is no evidence that doing so helps these kids).

3. Their stories can help us understand the factors that lead to transgenderism. The accounts of detransitioners provide a window into what is going on inside the mind of someone who has gender dysphoria and is considering transitioning. They can give us insight into why these people have this condition, as well as how it affects them emotionally and mentally. These stories also show that not everyone who has dysphoria will transition. Some people find ways to cope with it and still lead happy, fulfilling lives. 

4. Detransitioners can provide a voice for those who are currently being excluded from the conversation about transgenderism and its effects on our society. In many cases, detransitioners have been silenced by the trans community, which doesn’t want them to provide any information that might challenge the idea that transitioning is always an appropriate response to gender dysphoria. Their stories can also provide hope for those who are currently struggling with gender dysphoria or are considering transitioning. They show that people can have their dysphoria alleviated through other means, like therapy and medication.

5. Detransitioners challenge us to consider the role of socialization in determining our identities. It’s more than just hormones: it’s also about how we learn from parents, teachers, peers and others how to behave as boys or girls from a very young age. They also offer reassurance that it’s possible to live a happy, healthy life without taking drastic measures like hormone therapy or gender reassignment surgery.

Finally, detransitioners can help us understand what actually causes transgenderism in the first place so that we can better serve those who are experiencing dysphoria. They also show that gender dysphoria can be alleviated without transitioning, which is an important point for those who are considering making this difficult decision. After all, studies show that 60-90% of young people suffering with gender dysphoria change their minds before they reach adulthood.

Detransitioners also provide a different perspective on the issue of gender identity. Instead of being told that trans people have always existed and have always been persecuted, they show us that this is simply not true. In fact, there is no scientific evidence that anyone has ever existed who was born male but identified as female from birth (or vice versa).

The detransitioners’ stories show us that we need to be careful when using the label “trans.” We need to recognize that there are a number of different ways people can experience gender dysphoria, and not all of them involve transitioning from one gender identity to another. There are many people in the world who have been diagnosed with gender dysphoria and who believe that they need to transition. These people deserve our compassion and support, but detransitioners can help us understand why so many people struggle with their gender identity. They also show us that there are ways to alleviate this painful condition without making permanent changes to one’s body.

In short, detransitioners offer hope for those suffering from dysphoria while also helping prevent others from making a decision that may cause more harm than good. The fact that detransitioners exist is powerful evidence that transgenderism is not a one-way street. It shows us that gender dysphoria can be alleviated without transitioning, which is an important point for those who are considering making this difficult decision.

It is also worth noting that detransitioners are often demonized by the transgender movement and their stories are often ignored or dismissed as lies. Some of them even receive death threats for speaking out about their experiences. This is because the transgender ideology has become so powerful in today’s culture that it can silence anyone who challenges its narrative.

Detransitioners are also important because they show us that the transgender narrative is incomplete. It’s one thing to talk about how difficult it can be for a person to come out as transgender, but it’s another thing entirely to acknowledge that there are people who regret their decision. This reality flies in the face of those who insist that transitioning is always the best course of action for someone suffering from gender dysphoria.

It is also important to note that detransitioners are not at all a new phenomenon. In fact, there have been many detransition stories throughout history, including one of the first transgender people ever written about in literature. This was Thomas Jakob, who lived from 1812-1882 and was born as Charlotte Doberman. Detransitioners also help us understand why transitioning may not be the best option for everyone. While some detransitioners are happy with their decision to transition in the first place, others regret it. It’s important that we listen to these people and learn from them so we can better serve those struggling with gender dysphoria.

Let’s face it: identity politics are dangerous.

They’re dangerous because they don’t take into account the fact that reality is objective and constant, and that what we perceive as “real” is simply our perception of it.

And they’re dangerous because they encourage us to accept a world that is constantly changing, rather than to see the world as it really is—and then change ourselves accordingly.

I think a lot of people don’t realize how much power they give up by adopting this approach to life. If you believe that your ideas are inherently right just because they’re yours, then you’ve surrendered all responsibility for making sure they match up with reality. You’ve given up your ability to critically evaluate your own thoughts and beliefs in order to make sure they’re consistent with one another and with outside sources of information. And so when something comes along that challenges those beliefs—like detransitioning testimonies or Nazi experiments in genetics—you have no way to respond other than by denying those testimonies or dismissing those experiments.

You can’t say, “Oh, my gosh! My beliefs don’t match up with reality after all! I need to change my mind.” You’re stuck defending an idea that doesn’t work anymore because it’s your idea. And so you twist and distort the evidence until it fits this new version of reality that you’ve constructed. If you’re not willing to examine your own beliefs and see whether or not they are consistent with reality, then you will never be able to effectively argue against the damaging pseudoscience that’s currently making its way into mainstream politics. You’ll just end up doing what most people do when they hear a new idea that contradicts their current worldview: feeling threatened by it and attacking it instead of trying to understand it.

What makes something true is that it can be recognized collectively; if enough people agree to it, then it must be true.

When I look at the world around me, I see that there are many things that are not true but are widely accepted as true. For example, when a person says something, they have no way of knowing whether or not they’re telling the truth, because they cannot read minds. The only reason why we would believe someone when they say something is because we know them and trust them—and even then we might be wrong!

So how can we tell whether someone is lying or not? We don’t know for sure until we find out who else said the same thing and whether or not their story matches up with our own personal experiences. That’s why it’s so important to listen to other people’s stories: if we listen carefully enough and empathize with what they’re saying, then maybe—just maybe—we’ll start finding commonalities between our own experiences and theirs. And then maybe—just maybe—those commonalities will lead us closer towards discovering what’s actually going on in this crazy world of ours.

It’s easy for me to see this type of recognition happening all around me. For example, I know that if I ask my friend “Should we go out tonight?” and they respond with “Yes” then we will go out together. We have shared values and goals which cause us to make similar decisions. These decisions are just two examples of how we can come together as a collective group and create an understanding of what truth is in our lives.

But when these types of decisions are not being made collectively they become dangerous because they allow people’s personal perspectives on reality take hold instead of what is actually happening in the world around them. This can lead people down paths where they believe things about themselves or others that aren’t true because those beliefs don’t match up with what other people think about themselves or others either.

I think that contemporary identity politics are dangerous for perspectives on reality. If we look at things from a perspective of the collective, then we can see that our current system doesn’t work. Our society is built on the idea that individualism is the way to go. But what if we were all more connected? What if we could recognize each other as equals and treat each other with kindness and respect? It might sound like a dream, but I believe that it’s possible.

We live in a world where people are separated by race, gender, sexual orientation and many other factors. We see these divisions everywhere: in our workplaces, our schools, even our families! But how do these divisions help us? I don’t think they do anything positive at all—they just make people feel like they don’t belong because of something they can’t control. In fact, I think this feeling of not belonging can actually cause some pretty serious mental health issues—like depression or anxiety—for some people who feel like they don’t fit into this system at all (even though there are plenty of people who do).

I am a person who is constantly aware of the reality that I live in. My sense of reality is shaped by my relationships with my friends and family, my work, and the media. I am also a person who is constantly aware of the fact that I live in a society that is shaped by its relationship to power. My sense of reality is shaped by my relationships with my friends and family, my work, and the media. This awareness causes me to question whether or not my reality is real—because it’s not possible for me to see everything that exists in this world at once (a very basic concept).

So I am constantly aware that my perception of reality is not the same as reality itself. This means that when I interact with others, there is always a chance for me to be wrong about what they are saying or doing.

The reality that I live in is constantly evolving. It changes from day-to-day and year-to-year based on the decisions that I make and the actions of those around me. My relationships with other people are fluid—they change depending on who I’m talking with and what’s happening in our lives at any given moment.

The Gospel helps us to recognize this dilemma seeing with the eyes of faith – to understand ourselves within the context of lived experience and collectively as the human race – by showing to us why the world is confused, chaotic, unpredictable, etc, because of The Fall and by helping us to rely not on our own intuition and judgement, but on God’s. For sure the Gospel can’t explain every minute of why I feel the way that I do – nor even why I think the way that I think – but it can tell me how I should think, what I should feel from the larger perspective of God’s plan for the universe and me in it.

My perception of reality is constrained by myself – the Gospel enables me to perceive, through the gift of Faith that assures me of God’s love for me and for others – that there is an objective standard, an objective morality, an objective way of being – outside of myself, that if I follow it, trust in it, allow myself to be guided by it, will enable me to cope with this crazy world we live in. From this perspective I can have compassion, begin to understand the prison others are experiencing trapped within themselves and their self-perspective.

Descartes’ dictum was not to prove his own existence but God’s – realizing that he had existence helped him to realise that God must exist objectively – because existence is better than non-existence – it necessarily follows that God must exist – and if God exists, so must Descartes because he has consciousness, perception. The Cogito was not about his own existence being dependent upon himself – he had deconstructed his own perception of his existence by stripping away all that he knew about himself – he knew he hadn’t created himself, or had the knowledge to create himself, let alone the ability – in doing so he effectively deconstructed the universe to come to the singular point that God must have created it all and therefore must exist.

Now the rights or wrongs of Descartes ontological argument for the existence of God aside – the point here in contrast to contemporary concepts of perception of reality – is that our existence is ultimately dependent on external forces from ourselves – so it follows our perception of reality then is only “real” if it is held by others too who can objectively verify what we perceive.

Whether we think or feel that we are attracted to the same sex, or that we are the opposite sex to our biology and physiology – we see in the Scriptures that the reality of our existence is dependent upon a pattern for living that God has revealed that desires what is ultimately good for us. As we said last week, just because something appears “natural” doesn’t mean that it’s inherently good – much that is “natural” in our fallen world is not good but disordered, chaotic, confusing. We can’t appreciate from our self-perspective the bigger and wider picture of existence – and we shouldn’t dictate the situation of our existence to others from our own self-perspective.

The Gospel then is itself something that cannot be limited nor constrained by our own subjective perspective – it is something instead that must be appreciated and understood from a collective experience. Yes, we are individually saved, redeemed, just as we are in one sense uniquely created as individuals by God to exist – but our existence is dependent not on ourselves, our salvation is dependent not on ourselves. We receive Faith and salvation from the Church collectively – we don’t baptize ourselves, we don’t instruct ourselves – we receive these from the Church and ultimately of course from God. We exist not because we think we do – but because objectively the world around us affirms that we do – our perception of the world around us should influence the way we think – not the other way around!

With regard to those suffering from exclusionary self-perception – unable to comprehend reality – we need to be patient, kind, forbearing, gentle, even long-suffering and definitely compassionate – if we are to make a positive impact on their realization and self-acceptance of reality. We need to ensure “the eyes of our hearts are enlightened” allowing God’s mercy and kindness to work through us, enabling our perception on reality to be worked on theirs that they may come to “know what the hope is of the glory of His inheritance in the saints” – meaning us, the mystical body of Christ, who “though we are many, we are one body” by virtue of our confession in the “one Lord, one Faith and one baptism” that enables us to live “the way, the truth and the life” God desires for all those He has created and calls into true knowledge through relationship with Him.

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Lumen Gentium: Advent study conferences

A repeat series of conferences by His Grace for Advent exploring the Sunday liturgies, the themes, Scripture lessons, Propers and customs of the Traditional Latin Rite. Titled “Lumen gentium” (light to the nations) the series will continue after Advent into the New Year through Christmas and Epiphany to Candlemas.

What is it Holy Mother Church wants us to experience, to believe, to live from the worship she has developed and offered over two thousand years to adore and glorify God? What is she asking us to believe about God, about ourselves in relationship with Him and what does this mean for our lives and how and why we should worship Him and manifest this belief in our lives?

Taking the Proper (Latin: proprium) of the Mass i.e. those variable parts of the liturgy reflecting the liturgical season, or of a particular saint or significant event; the Archbishop will explain the Scriptural derivation, context and thus relevance to the theme of the liturgy. From the Introit through to the Communion Antiphon, the Archbishop will explain the origins of the verses and the “anamnesis” i.e. what we are supposed to remember or recall of God’s saving deeds.

His Grace will also take us through the lections i.e. the readings of the Mass, using exegesis to explain the context and thus the relevance of the reading to the theme of the liturgy. Part bible-study and part spiritual reflection, the Archbishop will draw out the themes Holy Church wishes us to understand from the Scriptures.

Finally, His Grace will explain how all this information may be relevant to our lives as Christians; what it means for worship, what it means for our understanding and knowledge, what it means for our lives and the application of these lessons to our living out of the Faith. If there’s time… His Grace will take questions live from viewers in the comments!

Watch the series every Sunday 18:05 GMT/UTC
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EPISODE I The first week of Advent

  • Background and history to the development and observance of the season of Advent.
  • The context of the Mass liturgy within the structure of the liturgical office i.e. the connection between the Mass and the Breviary.
  • The First Sunday of Advent liturgy.

“Veni Emmanuel”: a pastoral epistle for Advent 2022


“Veni Emmanuel” (Come Emmanuel) these now ancient words in the Scripture repeated for centuries in the liturgy, will become our anthem in the season of Advent, but what do they mean to us in the contemporary context?

The season of Advent speaks to us of both the commemoration of the first coming of Our Lord in the Incarnation at Bethlehem, but also too of His second coming, when He will come again “to judge both the living and the dead” as we recite in the Creed. But as always with our faith, the import of these words has not just a memorialised meaning – the past – and a prophetic meaning – the future, but also too of the present. For when we pray these words in the liturgy recalling the Incarnation and looking forward to the end of the world, we realise them in the miracle of the Eucharist when Our Lord comes to us at the consecration.

Remembering the admonishment of St Paul “Qui enim manducat et bibit indigne, judicium sibi manducat et bibit, non dijudicans corpus Domini” [i] in fact judgement comes to us in the moment of Holy Communion. Hence the Church’s discipline has always been to insist that we approach the Eucharist prepared and properly disposed, possessing as much grace as we can in that moment of reception, so that we may avoid damning our souls! To this end, in the ancient liturgy, we make an act of confession and should always strive to avail ourselves of the Sacrament of Penance before hearing Mass when we intend to communicate. Likewise, then, we should take a similar approach to our observance throughout Advent, and by extension to the living of our lives.

Several times Our Lord admonishes us in Scripture to be vigilant and ready for His return [ii]. In St Mathew’s Gospel, in the Parable of the Ten Virgins [iii] we are taught to be like the five wise virgins who were prepared and ready for the Bridegroom when he arrived at the feast. Similarly in St Luke’s Gospel, “Sint lumbi vestri praecincti, et lucernae ardentes in manibus vestris,” [iv] to be ready when the Master returns. The chaste state referred to in both instances may be appreciated figuratively as that condition we receive in baptism, pure and free from sin, and the burning lamps of the theological virtues of faith, hope and charity; the lamps being faith, their light our hope, and the oil, charity.

As in Lent for Easter, so the season of Advent is a preparation for a salvific event – Christmas, traditionally the two times required of all the faithful to receive the Eucharist. They are preparatory seasons, an opportunity for us to review and amend our spiritual lives, in order that we may celebrate with thanksgiving (Gk, eucharistía) and meet the Messiah. We prepare ourselves by fasting, by penance, by daily examination of conscience in order to receive grace, that should Our Lord return, He will find us ready for Him.

In our daily living, it is commendable to perform an examination of conscience and make an Act of Contrition, to prepare ourselves for Our Lord’s second coming. The saints have long commended taking the opportunity to hear Mass daily or indeed receive Holy Communion which is “our daily bread” as Our Lord taught us to pray [v]. If we are not able to attend nor hear Mass daily, we may make an Act of Spiritual Communion for which the Lord’s Prayer is a wholly suitable prayer with that very intention – to be in communion with God. We should strive every day to be found ready and waiting for Our Lord’s return, whenever it may be.

When we prepare ourselves to attend Mass, we should do so with the same diligence and care we would be going to another important event e.g., a job interview, a wedding, a party! For when we come to church, we enter a place set apart specifically to meet God almighty, His Son, Our Lord, and our king, and the Holy Ghost Who enables us to do so. We should take care to present ourselves appropriately, modestly, wearing suitable clothing reflecting the importance of the occasion. We should not present ourselves less than we would to honour a relative, friend or employer at an important occasion.

Consider well whether you will arrive at the banquet of the king suitably attired [vi], physically, and spiritually, or whether He will cast you out! Let us dread to hear the words spoken by the bridegroom to the foolish virgins, “Nescio vos” when we come to meet Him, now or in heaven, “I know you not.” [vii]

With my prayers for you all this holy season


S. Petri Alexandrini Martyri MMXXII A.D.

i 1 Corinthians 11:29 For he that eateth and drinketh unworthily, eateth and drinketh judgment to himself, not discerning the body of the Lord.
ii Cf Mark 13:33; Luke 12:35-40; Luke 21:36; Luke 12:45-48;
iii Matthew 25:1-13
iv Luke 12:35, 36 Let your loins be girt, and lamps burning in your hands. And you yourselves like to men who wait for their lord, when he shall return from the wedding; that when he cometh and knocketh, they may open to him immediately.
v Cf Matthew 6:9-13
vi Matthew 22: 1–14
vii Matthew 25:12

Verbum reconciliationis – a conference on compassion

Transcript of the Domestic Church conference broadcast LIVE on Tuesday November 22 on the Old Roman TV YouTube channel.

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So, lets recap briefly…

Beate mundo corde blest are the pure in heart

God is love and that love which binds the Trinity in Unity is made manifest in Creation

Thus, we are extensions of God’s love – created in His love, to share in His love and to become His love

His love should reside in our hearts, influence our minds, and direct our behavior

Sal terrae salt of the earth

That rather than judging others in sin we are to have compassion for them, loving them to righteousness

Just as Jesus, having compassion for our human condition, loved us to death on the Cross for our redemption – not losing our “savor” for the sake of our Savior!

So then should we love one another as Jesus loves us

Vos estis lux mundi you are the light of the world

By radiating the brightness of Christ’s Truth into our world of confusion and ignorance

Living CHRISTIAN lives bearing testimony to the restoration to perfection begun in our salvation

Proving that CHANGE – even radical change – IS possible and true happiness

verbum reconciliationis the word of reconciliation 2 Cor 5:17-20

[17] If then any be in Christ a new creature, the old things are passed away, behold all things are made new. Si qua ergo in Christo nova creatura, vetera transierunt: ecce facta sunt omnia nova.

[18] But all things are of God, who hath reconciled us to himself by Christ; and hath given to us the ministry of reconciliation. Omnia autem ex Deo, qui nos reconciliavit sibi per Christum: et dedit nobis ministerium reconciliationis,

[19] For God indeed was in Christ, reconciling the world to himself, not imputing to them their sins; and he hath placed in us the word of reconciliation. quoniam quidem Deus erat in Christo mundum reconcilians sibi, non reputans illis delicta ipsorum, et posuit in nobis verbum reconciliationis.

[20] For Christ therefore we are ambassadors, God as it were exhorting by us. For Christ, we beseech you, be reconciled to God. Pro Christo ergo legatione fungimur, tamquam Deo exhortante per nos. Obsecramus pro Christo, reconciliamini Deo.

You may have noticed, particularly regarding last week’s episode, I have not yet used any of the words or phrases commonly associated with the alternative lifestyles and opinions that orthodox Catholic Christians regard as sinful – why not? Because an individual should not be defined by “what they are” or “by their inclination” or “predilection” or even by necessarily what they do – but rather by “who they are” – which as we covered in the first episode of this series is someone who is either destined to become or – by virtue of having been baptized – IS a “Child of God”. I should add – that these talks are about how we interact as individuals with others – not about political campaigning nor activism – different tactics are required for public debate – but that said, these thoughts should help to frame our participation in those debates.

For us as the “pure in heart” i.e. of God, to be the “salt of the earth” by our way of living and be a “light of the world” radiating God’s Truth about us; it’s necessary that we  remember we have placed in us the “word of reconciliation” and that we have a “ministry of reconciliation” to strive to be “ambassadors of Christ” to the world around us. We have a duty NOT to judge and condemn, but to “reconcile” through sharing true knowledge, those who would be the children of God by bringing them to baptism having shared with them the Truth. In other words, we must enlighten those who dwell in the darkness of ignorance and who are enslaved to sin. Compassion means for us to help those who are unable or incapable of helping themselves out of the misery that is their earthly existence, to rise with us toward that heavenly existence in which we share and are destined to.

So in our dealings with others – the “unchurched” both those who have never known and those who have walked away from the body of Christ – our approach should be one of compassion toward reconciliation – we should in our interactions always be conscious of our responsibility as representative of Christ – to manifest God’s love and example to them the way to know the Truth and so come to have true life. The crisis in the Church has led to an even greater crisis in our world – where once in the west certainly, so influenced by Judaeo-Christian ethics and values – there is now almost complete ignorance – so few today have any knowledge about God as He has revealed Himself in the Scriptures and in Christ – they have snippets, soundbites, “ideas” but not the whole and complete picture of the Gospel. From kindergarten so-called Nativity plays to fundamental concepts of morality – most people today have little or no idea of “why” they exist, “who they are” really and why their lives lack meaning and purpose other than what they think pleases themselves.

For us them to be effective ambassadors of the Gospel, we have to know and understand ourselves what others do not! It is not enough simply to say, “go to church” and think that a) you are saved or b) you are spared from the task the Great Commission challenges us with! We ALL have a responsibility – simply by being Christians by virtue of our baptism – to engage and evangelize with everyone around us. And this should not be the daunting task that everyone likes to make out it is – if we truly believe in God and the Gospel and truly appreciate and understand the difference living as a Child of God should be – we should desire with all our heart for everyone we know to experience and enjoy what we do! And that does mean that WE ALL have a responsibility to know and be able to communicate i.e., to explain that “hope which is in” us.

Much is made in our contemporary politics of “self-identity” so-called “identity politics” which is all about how one’s understanding of oneself should determine how society should perceive, relate and interact with oneself. Though often presented as a “radical” or even “anarchic” concept – supposedly breaking “societal stereotypes” – in fact this ideology relies on both existing societal norms with which to compare itself in radical contrast to – AND it’s about creating a “new normal” ie  establishing new societal norms that will allow these new varieties of self-identification to be accepted or treated in the same way as pre-existing social concepts – ref gender, sex, gender stereotyped behaviors, attitudes, etc. but have the benefit of law. The whole matter is very confused because of course, some of those advocating for this new normal – wish to present themselves as “normal” clearly adopting pre-conceived stereotypes of behavior and identification – for example, those who are physiologically and biologically of one sex, wishing to be regarded and treated as the opposite sex, tend to adopt stereotypical behaviors and attitudes of their elected sex!

But such a heightened understanding of “self” is antithetical to the Gospel – where in fact the denial of self through humility is the suggested “norm” for those who would follow Christ and mirror His incarnation to become that restoration and perfection of humanity that the Cross enables us to realise through salvation i.e., the pursuit of holiness and communion with God. That after all IS the purpose of our existence – to become “children of God” which means to realise through Christ the restoration of humanity to its original state and condition as God had originally conceived and intended before the Fall.

Here too, in this modern phenomenon of “self-identity” and determination – is the heresy of “dualism” implied – the suggestion that “the self” is somehow distinct and separate from “one’s body” or mode of existence. In contemporary and sometimes progressive Christianity this is revealed by those who separate the “spiritual” from the “physical” – forgetting that the restoration of salvation is about achieving once more the balance exampled in the Incarnation of the material WITH the physical – God made man – should be mirrored in us who strive to become “man made god”- i.e. who were conceived and created in His image and destined to be one with Him for eternity.

This dualistic heresy is seen in contemporary identity politics and ideologies, which suggest the “self” is distinct from the body such that the body can and ought to be manipulated to reflect the “self” image that the individual conceives or perceives themselves to be. The whole concept of “gender fluidity” for example, separates the biological self from the conceptual self and tries to create a new physiological self – but which of course is doomed to failure and largely disappointing and doesn’t achieve the sense of “happiness” with oneself that its protagonists would like – hence the higher rates of suicidal ideation in those suffering from gender dysphoria or body dysmorphia.

The Latin word persona was originally used to denote the mask worn by an actor. From this it was applied to the role he assumed, and, finally, to any character on the stage of life, i.e., to any individual. But this individual, this person – who did not will his own existence – is to be properly understood as a creature Divinely willed into existence, for a purpose and will not his own – but which through discernment can become his own – and through that bring about true knowledge of oneself that will best achieve in this life, some real happiness and fulfilment. A person who understands himself in relation to God, who recognizes his skills, talents and abilities came from God to be realized for God’s Will, who applies himself and all that he is and has to the realization of that purpose, will realize in this life something of the next i.e., union with God. One who does not understand himself – who has no appreciation of where he came from or why he exists – is doomed to pursue his own sense of happiness and fulfilment which will ultimately be disappointing and end, probably, with little to show for all his energy and effort and without God, be utterly pointless and end in annihilation.

So, we need to begin first by understanding “who we are” in order that we can tell others “Who they are” in order that they can understand themselves to become truly themselves as they were conceived by God from all eternity to be…

A man’s personality is that of which he has cognizance under the concept of “self”. It is that entity, substantial, permanent, unitary, which is the subject of all the states and acts that constitute his complete life. An appeal to self-consciousness shows us that there is such a subject (entity) – of which thought, will, and feeling are modifications. It is substantial, i.e., not one or all the changing states but the reality underlying them, for our self-consciousness testifies that, besides perceiving the thought, it has immediate perception in the same act of the subject to whom the thought belongs.

Every act of intellectual memory implies a recognition of the fact that I, thinking now, am the “self” as the one who had the experience which is being recalled. My former experiences are referred to as something which has not passed as they have passed, but to my own self or personality. From this permanence springs the consciousness of self as a unitary principle. The one to whom all the variations of state belong is perceived as an entity complete and distinguished from all others. Unity of consciousness does not constitute but manifests unity of being. The physical principle of this permanence and unity is the simple, spiritual, unchanging substance of the rational soul. This does not mean, however, that the soul is identical with the personal self. There are recognized as modifications of the self not merely acts of thought and volition, but also sensations, of which the immediate subject is the animated body. Even in its own peculiar sphere the soul works in conjunction with the body; intellectual reasoning is accompanied and conditioned by sensory images. A man’s personality, then, consists physically of soul and body. Of these the body is what is termed in scholastic language the “matter” the determinable principle, the soul is the “form”, the determining principle. The soul is not merely the seat of the chief functions of man — thought and will; it also determines the nature and functioning of the body. To its permanence is due the abiding unity of the whole personality despite the constant disintegration and rebuilding of the body. Though not therefore the only constituent of personality, the soul is its formal principle.

In other words – our thoughts that we perceive with our consciousness i.e. our mind, – and our sensory experiences which we perceive and experience through our bodies, – make up together our “personality” which relates to our “soul” – meaning that our soul is not something separate from our physiology but intrinsic to it – it is that “self” that has being despite and in spite of – all the various ways in which we may or may not experience “being” i.e. consciousness, sensation, body and mind, will and action, etc.

Now the modern contention – and it is modern in the sense of theories around the makeup of personality – have only been considered since the so-called Enlightenment and formulated through intellectual speculation and observation of abnormal behavior – none of which have proven the existence of actual multiple personalities within one physiology, only abnormal consciousness and unusual behaviors exhibited by individuals. But the speculations of these intellectuals have been taken to form the basis of contemporary ideas about “personality” and “identity” etc. and formed the pseudo-science now prevalent among some practitioners both clinical and psychological that fuel the confusion endured by those suffering from dysmorphia, dysphoria, and severe mental health disorders. The unfortunate development of which has been the influence such ideas have been taken up with by those, even less qualified, seeking to diagnose or understand the predicament of their confusion. That is without reference to the “soul” or only in as much as their ignorance allows them to conceive of their “self” as something separate from themselves!

Now here, it is necessary to explain once again – and as Scripture attests – that no one is “perfect” – we are all laboring under some disorder or another by virtue of the imperfection that creation experiences due to sin and evil. No one is born “normal” – whether by appearance or not – we all of us have some propensity toward sin and evil – whether we call this “original sin” or “ancestral sin” it is an “inclination towards sin, a heritage from the sin of our progenitors”. For in theology, we understand all humanity to derive from Adam and Eve – and thus we are all tainted by the effects of Adam and Eve’s sin – for we are all united to one another by virtue of our created human condition and our spiritual state as having been created and conceived by God to become His children. There is no room here for understanding distinct human persons from the whole of created humanity – except for those Divine Revelation tells us were preserved from the effects of this disorder by God’s grace e.g., the Blessed Virgin Mary and St John the Baptist. Bear in mind, that this concept of humanity as being commonly derived is borne out in biology, genetics, DNA analysis, etc. – we are all – one way or another – irrespective of place, time, and space – and by varying degrees – related to each other!

Now remember in “sal terrae” episode 2, we reflected that “no man is an island” – they are foolish who think that what they think, do or say has little or no effect on another – for sure, by varying degrees of proximity, influence and tangibility – but no one exists without effecting another in some way, shape or form. So, it is then in understanding ourselves – our sense of “self” is not constrained to nor limited to our own appreciation of ourself – but influenced by our perception of the perceptions and interactions of others with us – so that, even those who claim to want to baulk against “the norm” are in fact just as socialized and dependent upon “society” as anyone else. Only God sees us objectively and uniquely for who we are – nobody else is capable of doing so, however well they know us – for only God can know and read our hearts, perceiving that which we can never perceive of each other – which is why Our Lord tells “do not judge” for we cannot judge!

So often people living alternative lifestyles will say “it doesn’t affect anyone else” but truthfully of course, it does. Its impossible for their existence not to affect anyone else. It effects their neighbors, those they meet, the people who see them, their family, friends, anyone in fact with whom they will interact with in the ordinary course of their lives. It effects “society.” Most especially when, such lifestyles require public approbation i.e., legality, legal protections, legal concessions, or advantages, etc. In the present situation for example, the clamor for so-called “civil rights” demanding the protection of the State for all sorts of unconscionable behaviors and life options – unconscionable that is to the authentic Christian.

Now here is the rub – and something we’ve got to appreciate whether we like it or not – such has been the demise of the Church’s witness today – and by the Church I mean us – secularism has been able to control and influence the nature of our society in ways that are – by historical standards in the west and the Gospel – deplorable and tragic for the lives of those who succumb to the prevalent ideologies. But there is no point us raging and as it were “beating against the goad” when all we must do – the simplest solution – is to be more faithful ourselves to Christ, His way, truth and life.

As we noted earlier, most people today have no idea what the Gospel actually teaches and the great shame of it is, that their ignorance is due in large part to the diminished witness of Christians who have themselves succumbed to and adopted worldly values.

I said earlier, I have not and still will not – for the avoidance of the censors – mention using the usual references for all the myriad different alternative lifestyles etc. abounding in the world today. And I would suggest that neither do you in your interactions – in your attempt at compassionating with – those who live them. To do so play into the polemics and polarizing ideologies that plague our public discourses and debates – and achieve nothing. We have no need to mention them by name – if we instead focus on the Gospel and what is righteous.

For example, let us take the concept of Marriage and the family. We do not need to discuss alternative forms of so-called “family” – whilst recognizing that the ideal is not the experience of many, we do not have to concede that therefore alternatives are equitable – we have only to point out that all of creation as well as the Scripture points to the right ordering of our natures and behaviors.

Let me quickly here remind you that not everything that is “natural” is necessarily commendable i.e. we may well have inclinations that appear “natural” to us i.e. that we seem to have a propensity toward certain behaviors with no conscience acquiescence on our part – we haven’t consciously sought them, they just occur to us – but not everything that our mind prompts us to is necessarily right just because its “natural”. Most of us have the capacity for example to murder – to take another life – consider the hundreds of insects you have killed over the years – and sometimes intentionally, willfully even – with not a moment’s consideration of the impact of that action – not thought to the insect’s life, family etc.! Now I am not going to go all Buddhist on you here! But just think for a moment – is it always necessary to kill an insect just because it is in our way? Some insects we kill for a justifiable need e.g., mosquitos that might cause harm to us or another in spreading disease etc., that is “justifiable” – but a little ant crossing our path in the middle of a forest? Do we really need to kill it? So not everything that is seemingly “natural” or that nature would seem to make us capable of – is necessarily right.

Many today argue for the justification of all sorts of activities, behaviors and attitudes using these very arguments – “it’s only natural” or “it’s not effecting anyone else” – consider promiscuity for example especially among the young – just because young adults have the capacity to be physically intimate with each other, does that justify such behavior? Of course not! Just as we do not say because it is an observable “natural” trait in monkeys for them to have more than one mate, so we should copy their behavior! Imagine if we took the example of lions as a model for our family and societal norms – male lions killing the offspring of their predecessors in a pride! Most especially because as humans we have the ability – a much higher ability than most other creatures on the planet – to rationalize and think conceptually outside the limitations of our experience and even knowledge – just as we control the behavior of our pet dogs, so we should control our own.

God in His infinite wisdom – knowing the predicament of our human condition – set for us a pattern for our living, Divine Revelation i.e., the Old and New Testaments – and coming as a man in Christ, He exampled and explained to us further “the way, the truth and the life” so that we might live happier lives.

When we look at marriage – what is better is surely, that biologically suited couples able to procreate, are monogamous in order to protect, provide and nurture their children? The sexes – male and female – compliment each other and as Scripture teaches us – including Our Lord Who references Genesis – the man and the woman becoming one unit, cooperating in the living of their lives and their children. What could be more “natural” but at the same time “ordered” toward the benefit of the couple, their children and by extension, society? For sure, we could just let chaos reign and let everybody do just what they want with whoever they want – but the truth is, such would benefit nobody – we know all too well the result of excessive behaviors that end in tragedy, sadness, loneliness, and isolation – that’s not happiness.

When we think of our young people for example – do we really mean that we would be happy for them to run around sharing intimate experiences, breaking hearts, spreading diseases, causing unwanted pregnancies, increasing abortions, and generally upsetting themselves and everyone else around them? Of course not! And what is good for them of course is generally good for adults too! Imagine then if we as Christians did not then acquiesce to political pressure and held our ground? We have as much right as anyone else to our opinions and preferred lifestyle – to its protection and advantage – as anyone else! The difference is, however, our way – God’s way – is ultimately ordered to the benefit and betterment of everyone in society – if only we’d example it better ourselves!

Another trap to be wary of is the “legal” argument – there are laws enacted in various countries now that are not in sympathy with God’s law – and it’s interesting how many equate morality with legality – after all, those pushing for the societal concessions required for alternative lifestyles, campaign for laws to be changed in order to effect the societal approbation they seek. But just because something is legal does not mean it is ethical – look at Tax laws for example – just because loopholes in the law allow certain ingenious business accounting practices – that doesn’t make them ethically “ok”! Likewise, just because something is legal doesn’t make it right and certainly not if it is ultimately contrary to God’s law.

Hence why it is necessary for us as ambassadors of the Gospel charged with a ministry of reconciling people to their creator God for their ultimate good and the benefit of all – to be ourselves witnesses to the Gospel in our own lives. WE should not only example the ideal in our lives, and in our communities – but with compassion assist those who have – whether by fault or ignorance – fallen along the way – demonstrating compassion, understanding the human condition, knowing no one is perfect – showing them the mercy and love of God that they may be reconciled to Him. There’s no need for condemnation nor judgement – God ultimately will decide all that – but there is a need for us to demonstrate the goodness and rightness of His Will and appeal to the higher reasoning ability of our interlocutors that the truth may set them free!

The Domestic Church Season 5

In this latest series of The Domestic Church, Archbishop Jerome discusses “how” faithful orthodox Catholics should engage others about the Faith, by compassionating with them to alleviate them from their sin.

In the first three episodes, “Beate mundo corde”, “Sal terrae” and “Lux mundi”, His Grace explains the fundamental principles of this compassionating approach, reminding viewers that it is not our place to judge but to teach by word and by example. From episode four “Verbum reconciliationis” onwards, His Grace will discuss approaches to addressing the ignorance of the world from Divine Revelation and authentic Christian praxis…

Broadcast LIVE weekly every Tuesday from 21:00 UTC/GMT on the Old Roman TV YouTube channel.

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Tagapo Mission Chapel Restoration Project

The Old Roman Mission Chapel of St Dominic, Rizal Blvd, Santa Rosa, Laguna, Philippines

The old Chapel has been in an awful state for quite some time. Years of neglect have taken their toll on the building, leaving it in dire need of repairs and general restoration. Every Sunday, the members of the congregation who gather to celebrate the traditional Mass hardly notice the broken roof tiles, the flaking paint, the faulty wiring, or the crumbling plaster. To them, it is more than just a building; it is a place of refuge, a sacred sanctuary that reminds them of their faith and the love of God.

But now, the Chapel needs help. Its roof needs to be replaced, its electrical system needs to be repaired, its plaster needs to be patched up, and its walls and statues need a fresh coat of paint. Furthermore, the sanctuary needs to be completely renovated and a new altar and gradine need to be installed.

However, the congregation have one major problem—they simply don’t have the funds to pay for all the repairs and restoration. The Chapel is more than just a place to celebrate Mass; it also serves as a focal point for local poverty relief activities and a chaplaincy for the Marian Hospital next door. It is essential to the community, yet the congregation are unable to cover the expenses.

And so, the congregation pray for a miracle—for a way to repair and restore the Chapel matching the limited funds from their collection plate. Their prayers have already been partially answered by a generous anonymous benefactor and initial repairs have begun. But more is needed, especially if the Chapel is to be re-dedicated by Archbishop Jerome of Selsey (UK) during his visitation in February 2023.

We would be grateful if you would show your support for this devoted religious community by giving a gift, regardless of the amount. The people who donate will be acknowledged with a prayer of thanks, and if the gift is made in memory of someone, their name will be written in a Chantry book for an annual commemoration during the months of the holy souls in November.

Click below to make a safe and secure donation to this appeal!

Guild of Holy Souls

This November (2022), the month of the holy souls, when holy Church remembers the faithful departed with a particular focus, the Titular Archbishop of Selsey has approved the creation of a Guild of Holy Souls for the benefit of the faithful attached to Old Roman missions and oratories.

By the sweat of your brow you shall eat bread, until you return to the ground, from which you were taken; For you are dust, and to dust you shall return.

Genesis 3:19

Purpose of the Guild

The Guild of Holy Souls exists to encourage and facilitate prayer for the repose of the souls of all the faithful departed and to provide assistance to Old Romans desirous of a traditional Catholic burial.

In today’s contemporary society where cremation and other forms of disposal have become common place, a need exists to provide assistance for those who would prefer a traditional Catholic burial for themselves or their loved ones. The Guild of Holy Souls seeks to provide advice, guidance and practical assistance to such persons as well as pray for the souls of their loved ones.

A traditional Catholic funeral consists of three main parts: the Vigil (sometimes called the “Wake”), the Requiem Mass, and the Burial and informal after-burial gatherings. If anyone wants to eulogize the deceased, the Vigil or, especially, the after-burial gathering are the times to do it; eulogies are not permitted at the traditional Requiem Mass.

It is a Spiritual Work of Mercy to pray for the dead

We do not want you to be unaware, brothers, about those who have fallen asleep, so that you may not grieve like the rest, who have no hope. For if we believe that Jesus died and rose, so too will God, through Jesus, bring with him those who have fallen asleep.

1 Thess 4:13-14

If Catholics pray for those still on earth, why not continue to pray for them after they die? Some Christians would reply that immediately after death, you go directly to heaven or to hell. If you’re in heaven, you have no need of prayers. If you’re in hell, prayers will do you no good. In short, they don’t pray for the dead because they don’t believe, as Catholics do, in purgatory.

Sacred Scripture and Tradition affirm that God’s ultimate intention is for us to become perfect, as He is perfect, to become like Him so that we can know, love, and enjoy Him fully in heaven forever (see Matthew 5:48, Hebrews 12:14; 1 John 3:2–3). In fact, heaven simply wouldn’t be heaven unless those who lived there had been perfected. If we were to bring along with us all the sins and weaknesses we have in this life, we would be just as miserable in heaven as we are on earth — for all eternity!

Yes, Christ died to forgive us our sins and save us. But even those who have escaped, through His infinite merits, the penalty of hell — an eternity without God — find that sin has countless other consequences. It disorders our souls, injures others, and leaves us overly attached to things we love more than we love God.

If we’re to live with God forever, then, we must be healed and make amends. If we’re selfish, we must learn to love. If we’re deceitful, we must become truthful. If we’re addicted, we must break the addictions. If we’re bitter, we must forgive.

Whether in this life or the next, however, God doesn’t wave a magic wand, bypassing our free will, to fix us. Instead, we must cooperate with His grace to undo what we have done: paying our debts, letting go of whatever binds us, straightening out whatever is crooked within us.

This process has already begun in our lives on earth. Through doing penance and accepting in faith the inescapable sufferings of this life, we can be purged of sin’s effects and grow in holiness. Nevertheless, few seem to be perfect when they leave this world. They still need some purification, a painful but purging “fire,” as Scripture calls it (see 1 Corinthians 3:14–15).

That’s precisely why we pray and offer Masses for those in purgatory. As Scripture tells us, our intercession helps them: “For it is . . . a holy and wholesome thought to pray for the dead, that they may be loosed from sins” (2 Maccabees 12:46, Douay).

It is a Corporal Work of Mercy to bury the dead

My son, shed tears for one who is dead, with wailing and bitter lament; As is only proper, prepare the body, and do not absent yourself from the burial.

Sirach 38:16

For Christians, burial is not the disposal of a thing. It is caring for a person. In burial, we’re reminded that the body is not a shell, a husk tossed aside by the “real” person, the soul within. To be absent from the body is to be present with the Lord (2 Cor. 5:6–8; Phil. 1:23), but the body that remains still belongs to someone, someone we love, someone who will reclaim it one day.

Our father Abraham did not “dispose” of the “container” previously occupied by his loved one. Moses tells us that “Abraham buried Sarah his wife in the cave of the field of Machpelah east of Mamre (that is, Hebron) in the land of Canaan” (Gen. 23:19, emphasis mine). His burial of his wife, returning her to the dust from which she came, honored our foremother, in precise distinction from the shamefulness with which our God views the leaving of bodies to decompose publicly (Is. 5:25).

The Gospel of John tells us that “Lazarus had already been in the tomb four days” (John 11:17). The Holy Spirit chose to identify this body as Lazarus, communicating continuity with the very same person Jesus had loved before and would love again.

The bodies of the dead must be treated with respect and charity, in faith and hope of the Resurrection. The burial of the dead is a corporal work of mercy; it honours the children of God, who are temples of the Holy Spirit, the body of its deceased member. The perennial tradition of the Church is unequivocal in its insistence that the body, in its entirety, be returned to the earth, in a way that allows for the natural process of its decomposition and re-integration with its primordial source – the soil of which it was formed. It also insists that in the interim between death and interment, the integrity and dignity of the body be respected and preserved.

How the Guild of Holy Souls helps

Each Old Roman mission or oratory will have a Guild, and local members will contribute regularly, and as they are able, to the Guild Fund, holding monies in common that may be used discretionarily to provide financial assistance for bereaved relatives to cover the cost of a traditional Catholic burial. If cremation is necessary for financial reasons, as is increasingly common, or because of the threat of disease, the remains must still be interred; they can’t be scattered.

The members of the Guilds will meet regularly, at least once a month, to pray for the faithful departed and assist at the offering of a Requiem Mass. The Guild members will also be responsible for maintaining a Chantry Book for their mission or oratory, in which the names of the associated faithful departed will be inscribed by month of their passing, in order that they may be remembered at the appropriate monthly Requiem to their anniversary of death.

Traditional Catholics may apply to the Guild Treasurer of the local Old Roman mission/oratory, or be referred by the priest, detailing the costs/shortfall required. Applications may be made for assistance to cover the cost of embalming, coffins(/caskets), burial plots, burial clothes, and the traditional funeral rites. All applications will be considered discretionarily and amounts granted will be dependent on the reserves of the local Guild’s common fund.

Details about the erection of the Guilds and their constitutions will be made available soon on website.

Please note that ALL material on this website in the Intellectual Property (IP) of the Titular Archbishop of Selsey and protected by Copyright and Intellectual Property Law of the United Kingdom, United States of America and international legal treaties. Reproduction and distribution without written authorisation of the Titular Archbishop of Selsey is prohibited.

(©)The Titular Archbishop of Selsey 2012-2022 All rights reserved

The Archbishop’s Apostolate

APOSTOLATE The work of an apostle, not only of the first followers of Christ but of all the faithful who carry on the original mission entrusted by the Savior to the twelve to “make disciples of all nations” (Matthew 28:19). The apostolate belongs essentially to the order of grace. Its purpose is not temporal welfare, however noble, but to bring people to the knowledge and love of Christ and, through obedience to his teaching, help them attain life everlasting.Fr. John Hardon SJ “Modern Catholic Dictionary”

The Titular Archbishop of Selsey, ✠Jerome’s particular apostolate is to serve the Catholic Church by maintaining, preserving and continuing the Apostolic Faith i.e. “that which has been believed, always, everywhere and by all” (ubique, semper, et ab omnibus)[1]. He is the Old Roman regional episcopal administrator for Europe, Africa and Asia, coordinating and overseeing the apostolates in those territories where missions, cells and oratories have been formed, bringing together Catholics confused by the liturgical and doctrinal changes in the Church of the 20C.

Working together with the territorial episcopal administrators in various countries, ✠Jerome oversees the sacramental administration, liturgical functioning, doctrine, mission and governance of the Old Roman apostolates. This includes overseeing the discernment and formation of vocations to the Sacred Ministry as well as the spiritual direction, education and guidance of the faithful, and outreach ministries proclaiming the Gospel.

The oratories, missions and cells of the Old Roman apostolates are places of refuge and sanctuary for orthodox Catholics where traditional teaching, devotions and fellowship encourage the faithful in deepening their love for Jesus Christ and their pursuit of personal holiness. His Grace travels extensively to facilitate and encourage the clergy and lay faithful who give themselves voluntarily to the Old Roman apostolate’s mission to perpetuate the traditional Catholic faith, devotional way of life and the sacraments. His pastoral visitations to Confirm the faithful and to ordain clerics are important celebrations, not just for the individuals concerned but for the communities they were nurtured in and will serve.

To facilitate the international Old Roman apostolate, ✠Jerome broadcasts the Traditional Latin Mass and other devotional programmes via social media and the YouTube channel, Old Roman TV, where he gives regular conferences on the spiritual and missional life, and hosts panel and interview programmes with other Old Roman and traditional Catholic clerics. He was one of the first to broadcast globally via the internet the Traditional Latin Mass, beginning that ministry long before the Covid19 pandemic inspired others to do the same!

✠Jerome is also currently Servant Superior of the Congregatio Divinae Caritatis[2], an umbrella organisation that exists to regulate, facilitate and promote traditional Catholic religious life. The CDC acts as a centre of focus, administration and governance that the clergy and faithful may have confidence in the discernment and governance of religious life and those societies of apostolic life which they may desire to join or form for the furtherance of the Faith, their personal sanctification and acts of collective piety, and in which to engage in common charitable works and collective acts of corporal mercy.

For the clergy and territories overseen by His Grace visit The Old Roman Directory

Organisation of the Old Roman apostolate

The Old Roman apostolate is organised globally into regions and territories with episcopal administrators who oversee the work and life of the clergy, missions, cells and oratories of the faithful. It is a completely voluntary endeavour, the faithful and clergy give of their time, talents, skills, abilities and monies as they feel inspired to, and as may be necessary for the fulfilment of the mission.

Cell: two or three individuals living in close proximity to each other, who meet together on a regular basis to pray and enjoy fellowship. Cells are foundation stones of the Old Roman apostolate and the kernel of the missions.

Mission: several Cells and individuals, motivated by prayer and fellowship, desiring to live out their Christian mission as orthodox Catholics, who form together a definite apostolate for mission and outreach in their locality. Visited regularly by, or served, and directed by a traditional Catholic priest, the Mission may be the basis for the foundation of an Oratory.

An Oratory: when a significant number of Old Roman Cells and individuals have formed together a mission, and desire a regular sacramental life sustained by the sacraments administered according to the traditional rites and liturgies of the Church, and are able to sustain sacrificially the subsistence of a priest, and provide what is necessary for the worthy and proper offering of the liturgies, and a place of regular public worship.

Territory: a country wherein an Old Roman apostolate is present and functioning with cells, missions and oratories served by clergy, and requiring, and able to support the ministry of an episcopal administrator to oversee the apostolate.

Region: generally the designation of a continent(/s) or significant geographical area encapsulating several territories and Old Roman apostolates, overseen by a senior episcopal administrator in collaboration with the territorial episcopal administrators.


[1] “Moreover, in the Catholic Church itself, all possible care must be taken, that we hold that faith which has been believed everywhere, always, by all.” Vincent of Lérins (1894). “The Commonitory of Vincent of Lérins” . In Schaff, Philip; Wace, Henry (eds.). A select library of the Nicene and post-Nicene fathers of the Christian Church. 2. Vol. 11. Translated by Heurtley, Charles A. (American ed.). Buffalo: Christian Literature
[2] Congregatio Divinae Caritatis – Congregation of the Divine Charity

Please note that ALL material on this website in the Intellectual Property (IP) of the Titular Archbishop of Selsey and protected by Copyright and Intellectual Property Law of the United Kingdom, United States of America and international legal treaties. Reproduction and distribution without written authorisation of the Titular Archbishop of Selsey is prohibited.

(©)The Titular Archbishop of Selsey 2012-2023 All rights reserved