As we embark on the blessed season of Advent, a time of joyful anticipation, I greet you with a heart filled with hope and love. This sacred season holds a dual significance for us, as we prepare to commemorate the glorious Nativity of our Lord and also reflect upon the solemn reality of the Last Judgement.
Advent is a time of preparation, a call to humbly and eagerly await the coming of our Savior. We are reminded of the profound mystery of the Incarnation, where the Almighty God, in His infinite love and mercy, humiliated Himself to become a weak and vulnerable baby. This act of self-emptying demonstrates the depth of His love for us and invites us to embrace and manifest His love in our lives.
However, Advent is not only a time of joyful expectation; it also urges us to consider the Last Judgement. Just as Christ, in His humility, embraced our humanity, He will one day come to judge the living and the dead. This sobering reality calls us to examine our lives and ensure that we are living in accordance with God’s will.
We cannot ignore the deepening crisis of faith that plagues our Church and society. The prevailing culture of nihilism and greed, coupled with apathy and indifference to righteousness, has led many Christians to relegate their faith to the private sphere. It is crucial that we deliberately manifest the life of Christ in our own lives, becoming beacons of hope and love amidst the darkness.
In these troubled times, where conflicts between nations such as Russia and Ukraine, and Israel and Hamas in Gaza persist, let us remember that our call as Christians is not only to pray for peace but also to actively promote true justice. We must resist the temptation to adopt an “eye for an eye”1 approach, and instead, embrace the path of reconciliation and understanding.
While the number of voices seem to rise, with more and more people talking about the “end times”, discussing signs and portents, prophecies and visions, it is important for us to remember and reflect upon Our Lord’s own teaching2. In the midst of all these discussions and speculations, He reminds us not to worry about these things, but rather to focus on what truly matters – our salvation.
As we embark on this journey of Advent, I urge each one of you to engage in prayer and discernment. Let us open our hearts to God’s voice and seek His guidance in all aspects of our lives. It is through prayer that we find strength, clarity, and the wisdom to navigate the challenges that lie ahead.
In the midst of the busyness and distractions of this world, let us remember that our primary aim is to surrender our lives to God’s will, just as our Lord Jesus prayed in the Garden of Gethsemane, “Not my will but thine be done.”3 This surrender requires humility, trust, and a willingness to let go of our own desires and ambitions in order to align ourselves with the divine purpose for which we were created.
During this Advent season, I invite you to engage in fervent prayer, seeking the guidance of the Holy Spirit to discern God’s will for your lives. Let us also be attentive to the Word of God, allowing it to shape and transform us into vessels of His love and mercy. May we imitate the prophets, St. John the Baptist, St. Joseph, and the Blessed Virgin Mary, who humbly submitted themselves to God’s plan and became instruments of His grace.
As a family, let our apostolate embark on a journey of discussion and discernment in the coming year. Let us establish a Task Force to develop a pastoral strategy for the renewal of our mission communities, so that we may better embrace and manifest the love of Christ to all whom we encounter.
May this Advent season be a time of profound transformation and renewal for each one of us. May we prepare our hearts to welcome the Christ child with humility and joy, and may we always be ready to stand before Him with confidence when He comes again.
My dear brothers and sisters, let us hold onto the message of hope that Advent brings. Christ’s coming into the world reminds us that even in the midst of darkness, there is light. As we prepare for the commemoration of His birth, let us embrace this light and allow it to shine through us, manifesting the love and mercy of Christ in all that we do.
In conclusion, my dear brothers and sisters, let us approach this Advent season with hearts filled with hope and anticipation. May we prepare ourselves for the commemoration of the Nativity with joy and gratitude, while also heeding the call to humble ourselves before the coming of our Lord in judgement. May we surrender our lives to God’s will and strive to become vessels of His love and mercy.
May the grace and peace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you all.
Brichtelmestunensis In Vigilia S. Andreæ Apostoli MMXXIII A.D.
Excita, quǽsumus, Dómine, poténtiam tuam, et veni: ut ab imminéntibus peccatórum nostrórum perículis, te mereámur protegénte éripi, te liberánte salvári: Qui vivis et regnas cum Deo Patre, in unitáte Spíritus Sancti, Deus, per ómnia sǽcula sæculórum. Amen
Put forth Your power, O Lord, we beseech You, and come, that with You as our protector we may be rescued from the impending danger of our sins; and with You as our deliverer, may we obtain our salvation. Who livest and reignest with God the Father, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, God, world without end. Amen.
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An ad hoc journal/newsletter by His Grace, ✠Jerome Seleisi, providing informative news and thoughtful reflections to enlighten, educate, and inspire action.
The Christian Institute
On Tuesday, 21st I attended a presentation by The Christian Institute entitled “Love thy neighbour” hosted at our local Elim Pentecostal Church. In these “culture wars” it is amazing the diversity in partnership that is available to us!
The Christian Institute was established with the purpose of advancing and advocating for the Christian faith in the United Kingdom and beyond. As a non-denominational Christian charity, it is dedicated to upholding the principles and teachings of the Bible, receiving support from individuals and churches across the United Kingdom and Ireland. The Christian Institute firmly affirms the Bible as the ultimate source of authority in every aspect of life and remains steadfast in its belief in the infallibility of Scripture and the protection of the sanctity of life from the moment of conception.
The presentation was centered around the profound concept of how to love our neighbor, delving into the depths of what it truly means to embrace this virtue. It emphasized that loving our neighbor goes beyond mere superficial gestures, but rather encompasses a genuine desire for their ultimate good. This resonates with the divine nature of God, who is our ultimate good, the supreme source of all that is righteous and just. Through the teachings of Our Lord Jesus Christ, we are called into a profound relationship with God, where we are invited to partake in His divine love.
The essence of the Gospel was beautifully encapsulated in the presentation, highlighting the importance of loving our neighbor as an integral part of our faith. It shed light on the fact that this love extends beyond individual acts of kindness and charity, but also encompasses a responsibility to address the broader societal issues that affect our neighbors. This includes engaging with the public sphere, both pragmatically and politically, in order to bring about positive change and promote justice and righteousness for all.
The presentation highlighted the diverse dimensions of demonstrating care for our neighbors, illustrating how The Christian Institute is actively addressing these concerns through a range of political and legal campaigns. These efforts encompass safeguarding the rights to religious freedom and freedom of expression, as enshrined in the laws of the United Kingdom, and engaging in advocacy and lobbying with Parliament, MPs, and the Government to advocate for changes in policies that pose significant negative consequences for our society.
Current campaigns include addressing Assisted Suicide, Religious Liberty (Conversion Therapy Ban), the Online Safety Bill, Abortion, Relationships & Sex Education and many others. The Christian Institute is concerned about any legislation, public policy, benefit or tax requirement that undermines marriage and Christian family patterns, the legalisation of narcotics, promotion of transgender ideology, etc. As Christians we are to speak the truth in love, applying biblical principles without compromise but with compassion (Ephesians 4:15); ultimately pointing them to life-changing repentance and faith in Christ.
In conclusion, the presentation served as a powerful reminder of the significance of loving our neighbor. It highlighted the divine origin of this virtue and its inseparable connection to our relationship with God. By embracing this concept, we are not only fulfilling our spiritual duty, but also contributing to the betterment of society as a whole. Through our actions, both big and small, we have the power to make a positive impact and create a world where love and compassion reign supreme. Being faithful to God means not just caring for our neighbour’s temporal needs, but also their spiritual and ultimate good.
Blessing of a New Chapel in Cebu
I was delighted to receive news of the blessing of a new chapel on Mactan Island in Lapu-Lapu, Cebu where Fr Harold and the Old Roman apostolate caters to the underprivileged, assisting a total of 8,481 households. Bishop Joash blessed the newly established Mission Chapel in Likuan, Marigondon, dedicated to San Pedro Calungsod. San Pedro Calungsod was a Filipino-Visayan migrant, sacristan, and missionary catechist who, alongside Spanish Jesuit missionary Diego Luis de San Vitores, endured religious persecution and martyrdom in Guam in 1672 due to their missionary efforts. Blessing this chapel is a testament to the enduring power of faith and the importance of religious spaces in fostering a sense of community and spiritual growth.
I am filled with great excitement and anticipation as I eagerly look forward to the upcoming opportunity to visit and join the devoted members of our apostolate in the beautiful country of the Philippines in the month of February. It is with great joy that I will be making my main residence in the bustling city of Manila, immersing myself in its vibrant culture and connecting with the local community. However, my journey will not be limited to just one location, as I have also planned to embark on a meaningful and enriching trip to the enchanting city of Cebu. In Cebu, I am eager to explore the various chapels that are an integral part of our apostolate and to engage with the dedicated individuals who selflessly serve and are supported by these sacred places of worship. This visit will provide me with a unique opportunity to witness firsthand the incredible impact our apostolate has on the lives of the people in the Philippines, and I am truly humbled and grateful for this chance to connect with our devoted members in such a meaningful way.
I’m excited to share that I have recently embarked on my fifteenth year as the Musical Director of the esteemed Rottingdean Drama Society’s annual pantomime. This long-standing tradition brings together a talented group of individuals who are passionate about the performing arts and dedicated to delivering exceptional entertainment to our community. As we kick off this year’s production of Aladdin, the air is filled with anticipation and excitement.
As the Musical Director, my role is to guide and inspire the cast and crew, ensuring that the music seamlessly integrates with the storyline and enhances the emotions conveyed by the actors. The rehearsals are a collaborative effort, with everyone involved bringing their unique skills and talents to the table. From the dedicated actors who bring the characters to life, to the choreographers who choreograph the intricate dance routines, to the set designers who create the visually stunning backdrops, every individual plays a crucial role in the success of the pantomime. It requires definite commitment and fidelity by all involved to realise the common vision.
The pantomime preparation process presents its fair share of challenges, demanding extensive hours of practice, meticulous attention to detail, and a profound comprehension of the intricacies inherent in the pantomime genre and musical composition. I consider myself lucky to collaborate with skilled musician colleagues, engaging in brainstorming sessions and music arrangements together. Yet, the ultimate gratification lies in witnessing the immeasurable delight and laughter that our performances elicit from audience members of all ages.
This year’s pantomime is Aladdin, which tells the story of a young boy named Aladdin who discovers a magical lamp containing a powerful genie. With the help of the genie, Aladdin embarks on a thrilling adventure to win the heart of Princess Jasmine and overcome the evil sorcerer Abanazar. The pantomime is filled with enchanting music, dazzling dance numbers, as the talented cast brings the beloved characters to life, from the mischievous Aladdin to the wise-cracking Genie, creating a magical and unforgettable experience for audiences of all ages.
The pantomime also incorporates elements of comedy, with hilarious moments provided by the bumbling antics of Aladdin’s sidekick, Wishee Washee, and the larger-than-life personality of Widow Twankey. The story of Aladdin is a timeless tale of love, bravery, and the power of wishes, and this year’s pantomime promises to bring it to life in a truly spectacular way. So, gather your family and friends and prepare to be transported to a world of magic and wonder as you join Aladdin on his extraordinary journey. Don’t miss out on this enchanting production that will leave you spellbound and filled with joy.
I was deeply saddened to receive the heartbreaking news from Father Robert Wilson, informing me of the passing of his beloved mother, Elizabeth, after a courageous battle with cancer. It is with a heavy heart that I extend my condolences to Father Robert, his father and his family during this difficult time.
Father Robert, whom I had the privilege of ordaining last year in Bratislava, has been an invaluable asset to our Old Roman apostolate. His dedication and commitment as a chantry priest have been truly remarkable, and his prayers have played a significant role in the spiritual growth and well-being of our community. Father is a librarian at the prestigious Bodleian library at Oxford University.
Elizabeth, at the age of 83, lived a life filled with love, kindness, and grace. Her presence will be deeply missed by all who had the privilege of knowing her. She leaves behind a legacy of strength, resilience, and unwavering faith that will continue to inspire and uplift those who were fortunate enough to have crossed paths with her.
Let us pray together and offer our support, love, and prayers to Father Robert and his family. May they find solace in the cherished memories they shared with Elizabeth and find comfort in the knowledge that she is now at peace, free from pain and suffering. Let us also remember the importance of cherishing our loved ones and embracing each moment we have together. May her memory serve as a reminder to us all to live each day with gratitude, compassion, and a deep appreciation for the precious gift of life, demonstrating our fidelity to God’s Will in our lives.
March against Antisemitism
Sunday 26th, will be a significant day that will forever be etched in my memory, for after Mass and fellowship with the Brighton Oratory, I made haste to the bustling city of London. The purpose of my visit was not merely to explore the iconic landmarks or indulge in the vibrant culture, but rather to participate in a momentous event that hopefully would shape the course of our nation’s history. With unwavering determination and a profound sense of solidarity, I joined forces with the British Jewry and their allies to take a stand against the alarming rise of antisemitism in our beloved country.
The catalyst for this collective outcry was the series of pro-Palestinian marches that had been taking place every weekend since the horrific atrocities committed by Hamas on October 7th. These marches, while purportedly advocating for a cause, had inadvertently fueled a dangerous wave of hatred and discrimination against the Jewish community. It was a dark cloud that had cast its shadow over our nation, threatening the very fabric of our society.
The march itself was a sight to behold. Thousands of individuals from all walks of life had come together, bound by a common cause. The sea of faces, each reflecting a unique story and a shared determination, was a testament to the strength of our unity. We marched shoulder to shoulder, our voices raised in unison, echoing through the city streets. It was a symphony of resilience, a resounding message that we would not be silenced.
In that moment, I felt a profound sense of purification. It was as if the collective weight of the past month’s hatred and discrimination was being lifted off our shoulders. The streets, once tainted by the poison of antisemitism, were being cleansed by our unwavering resolve to stand up against injustice. It was a cathartic experience, a moment of redemption that would forever be etched in my heart.
But it was not just a march; it was a source of inspiration. As I looked around, I saw individuals who had been touched by the darkness of hatred, yet had emerged stronger and more determined than ever. Many spoke of their relatives, family friends, and friends of friends who had been adversely touched by the events of October 7th. Their stories, etched on their faces, served as a reminder that resilience and unity could triumph over even the darkest of times. It was a beacon of hope, a testament to the indomitable spirit of humanity.
In retrospect, the march was not merely an act of penance, but also an act of absolution. It was a collective acknowledgment of the pain and suffering endured by the Jewish community, and a commitment to ensure that history would not repeat itself. It was a solemn vow to confront the demons of antisemitism head-on, to dismantle the walls of prejudice and discrimination brick by brick.
Above all, the march was a unifying and edifying experience. It brought together individuals from diverse backgrounds, united by a shared belief in the fundamental principles of justice and equality. It transcended political affiliations, religious beliefs, and cultural differences, reminding us that in the face of adversity, our common humanity binds us together.
As I reflect on that momentous day, I am filled with a renewed sense of hope. The march was not just a fleeting event, but a catalyst for change. It sparked conversations, ignited a fire within the hearts of many, and served as a wake-up call for our society. It reminded us of the importance of faithfully standing up against injustice, of speaking out against hatred in all its forms.
In conclusion, the march in London on that fateful Sunday was a transformative experience. It was a testament to the power of unity, resilience, and the unwavering commitment to justice. It was a day that will forever be etched in my memory, a day that reminded me of the strength that lies within each and every one of us to create a better, more inclusive world.
The Vatican is concerned about the reform ideas coming from Germany’s “Synodal Path” project, which seeks to address the abuse crisis and implement changes in the Catholic Church. The Synodal Path, launched in response to the loss of credibility caused by the sexual abuse crisis, has proposed reforms such as optional priestly celibacy and Church blessings for same-sex unions. While the Synodal Path cannot change fundamental Catholic teachings, it can vote on these issues and present its votes to the Vatican. However, tensions have arisen between Germany and Rome due to differences in mentality and approach. The Vatican fears that the Synodal Path could threaten the unity of the Church, while some Germans accuse the Vatican of not understanding their approach. The relationship between Rome and the German Church is currently strained, and the chances for actual change depend on goodwill from the Vatican.
Pope Francis has expressed his apprehensions regarding the reform dialogue occurring within the Catholic Church in Germany. In a letter dated November 10th, which was directed to four German Catholics, the Pope voiced his criticism of the several concrete measures implemented by certain factions of the local church, which could potentially deviate from the established path of the universal church. Specifically, he highlighted the formation of the Synodal Committee, whose purpose is to facilitate ecclesiastical reforms. The Pope emphasized that such endeavors are incompatible with the sacramental structure of the Catholic Church. Furthermore, he referred to a previous communication from the Vatican dated January 16th of this year, which clearly stated that the Synodal Way, along with any associated entity, lacks the authority to limit the bishops’ jurisdiction.
The response to the letter from the German Bishops’ Conference and the Central Committee of German Catholics was characterized by a professional tone. The Central Committee affirmed that the establishment of the Synodal Committee adheres to the relevant provisions of canon law and acknowledged the Pope’s support for greater synodality. Both organizations expressed their dedication to fostering unity and striving for the official recognition of a synodal council in Rome. The Vatican has warned that the Synodal Way does not have the power to compel bishops and the faithful to adopt new forms of governance or doctrines without an agreement at the universal Church level. The Vatican has emphasized the need to safeguard the freedom of the People of God and the exercise of the episcopal ministry.
It is concerning to note that several bishops in Europe, including those in Germany, Holland, and Belgium, have expressed views regarding Church discipline that are considered heretical. Despite this, none of them have faced any disciplinary action such as being deprived, deposed, threatened, or excommunicated. In contrast, Bishop Strickland, who previously held the position in Tyler, Texas, has been deprived of his role without any clear reason or justification. It appears that his disagreement with the Pope on maintaining the Church’s existing magisterium may have been the sole cause? How is his treatment equitable let alone comparable at all with that of the heresy promoting, dissenting bishops in Europe? Rather, the Pope’s failure to act unilaterally with these other bishops in contrast to his treatment of Bishop Strickland perhaps proves that the good bishop was indeed simply dismissed for his difference of opinion.
Throughout this week, I was presented with a recurring notion that was used to rationalize the Vatican’s immunity from responsibility in the clergy abuse scandal within the United States. According to this notion, it was argued that bishops did not hold the position of “employees” of the Vatican, which consequently implied that the Pope did not possess unrestricted authority to dismiss them at his own discretion. However, it is worth noting that Pope Francis himself has recently taken the independent action of dismissing a US bishop from his position, thereby demonstrating his personal volition in the matter… Was this being faithful to the faithful of America?
CNA: Full Text: Pope Francis’ letter expressing concern about German Synodal Way Catholic Conclave: Papal letter stuns German Church
Pope not saying Mass
“A priest who without an urgent reason omits to say Mass robs the Trinity of glory, the angels of joy, sinners of pardon, the just of divine assistance, the souls in purgatory of refreshment, the Church of a benefit, and himself of a healing remedy.”
St Bede the Venerable, Confessor & Doctor of the Church
During my recent visit to Rome, I had the opportunity to meet with a former coworker who validated the claims made by MessaInLatina from multiple sources. It appears that Pope Francis no longer conducts daily Mass in his Vatican residence. Instead, he chooses to observe the liturgical activities from the front pew at Santa Marta, the guest house, where Vatican curial staff and visitors participate in concelebration.
This observation could provide a plausible explanation for the peculiar ambiance I perceived in Rome, particularly at the esteemed St. Peter’s Basilica. Rather than resembling a typical place of worship, it felt like a mausoleum. Despite the presence of devout pilgrims amidst the predominantly tourist crowd, and the occurrence of two concurrent Masses (one in English and one in Italian) in separate locations, the grand structure somehow felt devoid of spiritual essence. It appears that the Pope seldom conducts Mass at the altar, not even within the confines of St. Peter’s, opting instead to engage in the contemporary equivalent of pontification from the throne, donning a liturgically-appropriate cope – which is not the appropriate vestment for concelebration.
It is deeply concerning that the leader of the Church on earth, the Vicar of Christ, does not regularly participate in the holy sacrifice of the Mass in the persona of Christ. This lack of connection between the divine presence and the head of the Church during such a sacred ritual is a matter of great reflection and should be of significant concern to the faithful. As the central act of worship in Catholicism, the Mass holds immense significance and serves as a vital source of spiritual nourishment and guidance for believers.
The Pontiff, as the embodiment of Christ on earth, assumes a crucial responsibility in guiding the believers and exemplifying unwavering dedication and respect. Consequently, the Church inevitably encounters a profound crisis when this vital connection is not consistently nurtured. The lack of this profound harmony between the earthly leader and the divine essence can instigate feelings of detachment and doubt among the faithful, resulting in a diminishing of faith and a gradual erosion of the Church’s impact. It is through this unity with Christ during the Mass that the Church finds comfort, resilience, and guidance.
Anyone who knows me, knows how important offering daily Mass is to me, and certainly those who have been ordained by me know this to be true if only because I’ve drummed it into them almost as a condition of their ordination! In 2008 on the feast of the Assumption I started the first daily Mass broadcast for the Traditional Latin Mass anywhere in the world and this apostolate still continues – although at the moment the Masses aren’t live, though they will be again soon. It seems unconscionable to me that the Holy Father, the priest of and for the world, the ultimate “alter Christus” who governs the Church “in persona Christi” should not offer Mass daily and be united with the high priest! It certainly makes me wonder if the deepening crisis in the Church, most especially in the last few years, is not as a direct result of this distance between the Vicar of Christ on earth and Our Lord Jesus Christ in heaven. Surely a priest offering daily the holy sacrifice of the Mass for the needs of the world is the sine qua non of the Catholic understanding and spirituality of the priesthood? Semper fidelis?
P.S. I would like to address any seeming lack of generosity towards Pope Francis. I am fully aware that the Holy Father is nearing 87 years old, enduring various chronic illnesses, having undergone multiple abdominal surgeries in the past three years, and making several visits to doctors outside his regular schedule. However, as the Romans say, “Er papa nun è malato sinché n’ è morto” — meaning, the pope is not considered sick until he is deceased. We should remember the image of Pope John Paul II offering Mass with great difficulty during his final years while battling Parkinson’s disease...
Bishop Josh Jaime, who serves as the episcopal administrator for the Old Roman apostolate in the Philippines, recently embarked on a journey from Manila to Cebu, a different island from the capital, to bestow his blessings upon a newly constructed and restored chapel. This significant undertaking was carried out by the devoted members of the community who have put in their time, effort, and resources to ensure the completion of this sacred space.
The island of Cebu holds significance as the birthplace of Christianity in the Far East. Presently, the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Cebu, officially known as Archidioecesis Nominis Iesu o Caebuana, stands as the largest archdiocese in the Philippines and Asia. On Mactan Island in Lapu-Lapu, the Old Roman apostolate caters to the underprivileged residing in the urban sprawl, assisting a total of 8,481 households. Bishop Joash recently bestowed his blessings upon the newly established Mission Chapel in Likuan, Marigondon, dedicated to San Pedro Calungsod. San Pedro Calungsod was a Filipino-Visayan migrant, sacristan, and missionary catechist who, alongside Spanish Jesuit missionary Diego Luis de San Vitores, endured religious persecution and martyrdom in Guam in 1672 due to their missionary efforts.
The act of blessing this new chapel serves as a testament to the unwavering faith and devotion of the community, as they continue to uphold their religious traditions and strengthen their spiritual connection. The construction and restoration are a testament to the resilience and perseverance of the faithful, who have come together to create a sacred space that will serve as a beacon of hope and inspiration for generations to come. Blessing this chapel is a testament to the enduring power of faith and the importance of religious spaces in fostering a sense of community and spiritual growth.
Bishop Joash had the opportunity to visit not just one, but two Old Roman chapels in Cebu. The first chapel, which is part of a trio, has been meticulously restored and blessed. Additionally, a new priest’s convent has been added to enhance the spiritual atmosphere of the chapel. The second chapel, known as the Nuestra Virgen de la Regla Mission Chapel, is located in Ilaya, Marigondon, Lapu lapu City. This chapel holds great significance and has been a place of worship for many faithful followers. Bishop Joash’s visit to this chapel allowed him to witness the devotion and love that the community has for their faith. The restoration and blessing of the chapel, along with the addition of the priest’s convent, serve as a testament to the dedication and commitment of the people involved in preserving the religious heritage of the area. The Nuestra Virgen de la Regla Mission Chapel stands as a symbol of faith and spirituality, providing a sacred space for worship and reflection.
The revered depiction of Nuestra Virgen de la Regla holds great significance among the Cebuanos, who firmly believe that their prosperity is a divine blessing attained through the powerful intercession of the Virgin Mary. The veneration of Our Lady of the Rule originated from the actions of St. Augustine, the bishop of Hippo in Northern Africa. With his own hands, he skillfully carved an image of the Virgin Mary, which became one of the few relics to withstand the destruction of the city of Hippo. Following Augustine’s passing, the monks sought refuge in Spain, safeguarding the image during their journey. In Spain, the image continued to perform miraculous acts and persevered through the devastation caused by the Moors, leading to a swift proliferation of devotion to Our Lady.
In the year 1330, an Augustinian monk had an encounter with the Virgin Mary, who directed him to travel to the city of Cadiz and locate a concealed cave. Within this cave, he was instructed to excavate and discovered a hidden underground altar. It was at this sacred site that the statue of Our Lady of the Rule was permanently placed for reverence. Over the course of many centuries, this revered figure was honored under various names, including Virgen Libica, Virgen del Sagrario, Estrella de los Mares, and La Virgen Morena, or Morenita.
The devotion to the Virgen de la Regla was introduced to the Philippines during the 18th century by the Augustinian Order, who were granted authority over the parish of Opon, now known as Lapu-Lapu City in Cebu. In 1735, the parishioners were first exposed to an image of the Virgen de la Regla by Francisco Avalle, the initial parish priest and an Augustinian monk. Father Avalle, a devoted follower, had resided in the Monastery of Nuestra Señora de la Regla in Chipiona, Andalucia, Spain for a decade.
Upon hearing the story of the Virgin of Chipiona, the people of Opon chose Our Lady of the Rule to be their patroness. They had a big picture made and placed it on the altar. Miracles began to happen and the devotion flourished.
Cruz Lauron, an Opon resident, was bedridden due to a disease causing blood loss. When Fr. Avalle placed a picture in the church in 1735 and lit two candles before it, Lauron was immediately healed.
In 1736, Opon was spared from locust attacks that only ate harmful insects infesting crops. This happened multiple times.
Maria Ramos, who had cerebral palsy, suffered from severe seizures but was saved from dying in one episode.
In 1912, a woman crawled up the altar to kiss the statue of Our Lady in the Opon church. After doing so, she stood up without support and walked out, astonishing everyone.
In 1920, a woman with an acute abdominal disorder promised to give a large amount of tithes if her child was cured through Mary’s intervention. Her wish was granted, and the donated articles became part of Our Lady’s decorations.
Pilgrims used to crawl through a maze as penitence and would emerge on the other end with spiritual relief and granted favors. One Cebuana matron, who was childless and paralyzed for 15 years, was able to walk after her Opon pilgrimage and gave birth to a child with a dark complexion.
The church received a cloth relic believed to have belonged to the Blessed Virgin Mary as a gift from Fr. Ambrosio Agius, Apostolic delegate to the Philippines in 1909. Pilgrims venerate the relic by kissing it.
On Nov. 27, 1954, Archbishop Julio Rosales crowned the Virgin during the Archdiocesan Marian Congress, making it the first image from Visayas to receive such recognition.
Devotion to Nuestra Señora de la Regla, the revered Virgin, continues to thrive and grow, as her followers passionately express their unwavering faith and devotion. The shrine dedicated to her serves as a sacred space where countless miracles have been reported, drawing devotees from far and wide who seek solace, guidance, and blessings. These faithful pilgrims embark on a spiritual journey, visiting the shrine with hearts filled with supplication and gratitude, as they pour out their prayers and express their deepest desires.
The profound impact of Nuestra Señora de la Regla is felt throughout the year, but it is on the momentous occasion of her Feast Day, celebrated with great reverence and joy on November 21, that her devotees come together in unity and celebration. This special day is marked by vibrant processions, heartfelt prayers, and acts of devotion, as the faithful gather to honor and pay homage to the beloved Virgin. The Feast of the Virgin serves as a powerful reminder of the enduring presence and influence of Nuestra Señora de la Regla in the lives of her devoted followers, who continue to experience her divine intercession and experience the transformative power of their unwavering faith.
An ad hoc journal/newsletter by His Grace, ✠Jerome Seleisi, providing informative news and thoughtful reflections to enlighten, educate, and inspire action.
The previous edition of this informal newsletter covered a two-week period, including a vacation and subsequent events. Likewise this edition will cover a two week period as various events in the life of the wider Church occurred simultaneously during this period, and I was in Rome during some of these revelations.
Synod on Synodality
During the month of October the infamous “Synod on Synodality” took place with much anticipation the whole Catholic world waited for news. Would the synod approve the ordination of women or the blessing of same sex unions? Well the jury is still out as the synod won’t be finalised until next year, October 2024. But there is plenty to be concerned about until then. The following presentation by British journalist Ed Pentin is well-worth viewing as he provides some deep insights into the organisation and implementation of the synod and the initial preliminaries of this intriguing development in the fight for the faith.
RorateEdward Pentin Exposes the Synod on Synodality The PillarBroglio, Pierre spar on synodality in the US Church
Cavite New Chapel Building Project
Our Old Roman apostolate serves one of the poorest populations in Bacoor City, Cavite, Luzon Province, Philippines, confronting a range of social problems. Poverty is one of the most pressing issues, affecting a significant portion of the population and leading to malnutrition and food insecurity. The lack of access to basic healthcare services and education further compounds the challenges faced by these communities. Moreover, unemployment and limited job opportunities exacerbate the situation, making it difficult for people to break out of the cycle of poverty.
The Old Roman mission in Bacoor runs several clinics and regularly distributes food throughout the year. But to really tackle these interconnected issues, comprehensive efforts are needed to improve access to healthcare and education, create sustainable employment opportunities, and alleviate poverty in the area. By addressing these challenges, we can help the impoverished communities in Bacoor to lead better lives. A community centre to host, coordinate and focus such efforts is desperately needed.
So I was delighted to be informed by ✠Joash Jaime. episcopal administrator of the Old Roman apostolate in the Philippines, that our new chapel and community centre building project in Bacoor, Cavite is beginning to advance. Already several people have signed and pledged funds toward the project and now the land next to the current plot and chapel, has become available. ✠Joash is meeting with the landlord to discuss the possibility of paying down a deposit to secure the plot.
The following are initial drawings created by an architect assisting the project. These have since been modified to take into account the possibilities the further plot of land may provide. A campaign will be launched soon for others to donate to this worthwhile cause.
The Deprivation of Bishop Strickland
Perhaps one of the most shocking developments in this week was the announcement of the deprivation of Bishop Strickland of his see by Pope Francis from the diocese of Tyler, Texas.
Following a visitation conducted by Bps. Kicanas and Sullivan of Camden earlier this year, concerns about “administration” were initially suggested as cause to question Bishop Strickland’s leadership of the diocese. Subsequently, a meeting was held in September in Rome between the Prefect of the Dicastery for Bishops and the Apostolic Nuncio to the USA with Pope Francis. On November 9th, Bishop Strickland was invited to resign, he refused and now on November 11th an edition of the Vatican’s Bollettino announces his deprivation.
Various canonical commentators have opined that the deprivation is without grounds, certainly the decree seems light on actual charges. It would appear that the main reasons are a lack of fraternity regarding other bishops, probably put out by Bishop Strickland being labelled “America’s bishop” and his denouncement of progressivist trends, most notably of Pope Francis’s own confusing commentary on theology and the Church.
National Catholic RegisterBishop Strickland Saga: Ousted Bishop Speculates on the Reasons the Vatican Removed Him RorateCardinal Müller on Strickland’s Sacking: “It’s an abuse of the Divine Right of the Episcopate.”
Emotionalism in the academy
I already reflected on the Pope’s new Motu Proprio Ad theologiam promovendam indicating how theology today “is called to a turning point, to a paradigm shift.” The pope signalled how this shift must foster a “fundamentally contextual theology” based on a nexus between relationships, experience, and no longer being self-referential. It is of course highly problematic, but it also gives an indication of the Pope’s way of thinking – or at least of those he listens to and who ghostwrite his texts.
The rationale presented here aligns with a prevailing pattern in academia, as elucidated during my attendance at the inaugural national conference of Academics for Academic Freedom on November 11th at City University, London. At this event, scholars from diverse fields and universities across the UK deliberated on the prevalent issue of emotions and sentiments being accorded equal significance to scientific approaches, analysis, and methodology within the academic sphere. Together with the prevailing zeitgeist of identity politics and wokeism, freedom of speech and enquiry are being threatened in our academic institutions.
The keynote speakers at the conference were James Murray, Legal Director at Doyle Clayton, and one of the architects of the Higher Education (Freedom of Speech) Act, who explained the Act and its ramifications, and Baroness Claire Fox, Director of the Academy of Ideas, who chaired a panel debate on ‘What is the way forward for free speech and academic freedom?‘ Members of the excellent panel discussion were, Dr Bryn Harris (Chief Legal Officer, Free Speech Union); Professor Dennis Hayes (Director, AFAF); Omar Mohamed (joint founder of Speak Easy) and Akua Reindorf KC (Cloisters Chambers). There was ample opportunity too to hear from branches and members around the UK sharing experiences and ideas.
There was a major announcement at the conference, AFAF proclaimed May 20th 2024 as the first “International Academic Freedom Day“. The 20 May is the birth date of John Stuart Mill (pictured) the author of On Liberty (1859) which is still essential reading for all lovers of freedom today. AFAF asks all relevant organisations and universities to support this initiative and to organise lectures, seminars and debates on that date every year.
Armistice Day chaos
The remembrance of the fallen of war was considerably marred this year by the prospect and subsequent realisation of protests and counter protests in London. The solemn occasion, which is traditionally marked by a sense of unity and reverence, was overshadowed by the presence of opposing groups expressing their divergent views.
This predictable turn of events added a layer of complexity and tension to the commemoration, as emotions ran high and conflicting ideologies clashed in the heart of the city. The significance of honoring those who made the ultimate sacrifice was momentarily overshadowed by the discord and division that unfolded on the streets. Nevertheless, amidst the turmoil, there were still individuals and organizations who remained steadfast in their commitment to pay tribute to the fallen heroes. They persevered in their efforts to ensure that the memory of those who gave their lives for their country was not forgotten, despite the disruptions caused by the protests.
Attending the AFAF conference (above) required me to embark on a journey that involved traveling to and through the bustling city of London. Fortunately, I was able to navigate a route that skillfully circumvented the problematic areas, ensuring a smooth and hassle-free commute both to and from my destination. However, despite successfully avoiding any potential disturbances, I couldn’t help but feel a sense of unease when it came to traversing the streets of London itself.
This uneasiness stemmed from the countless videos that inundated social media platforms, showcasing ordinary citizens falling victim to unprovoked attacks or being subjected to distressing anti-Semitic remarks. The power of these visual narratives, captured and shared by individuals from all walks of life, served as a stark reminder of the challenges and dangers that can lurk within the urban landscape. It was disheartening to witness such incidents unfold, as they highlighted the unfortunate reality that even in a city as diverse and cosmopolitan as London, prejudice and hostility can still rear their ugly heads.
Despite my reservations, I remained determined to fulfill my professional obligations and attend the conference, but the lingering concern for my personal safety cast a shadow over my otherwise exciting journey. Nevertheless, I pressed on, hoping that my experiences would serve as a catalyst for change and a reminder of the importance of fostering a society that embraces diversity and promotes inclusivity.
The events of this year’s remembrance serve as a stark reminder of the ongoing societal divisions and the need for dialogue and understanding. As we reflect on the significance of this solemn occasion, it is crucial to remember that the remembrance of the fallen should transcend political differences and serve as a unifying force, bringing people together in a shared commitment to honor and remember those who gave their lives for our collective future.
Visit to Rome
From November 13 – 17 I had the opportunity to visit the eternal city, Rome. Although primarily a personal pilgrimage, I also had some informal meetings arranged. During these critical times for the Church I embarked on a journey to the heart of Catholicism to pray at the four major basilicas. This visit marked my first time returning to the city in several years. Sad to say, the atmosphere in the city is changed, more tourists than pilgrims in the once popular places of pilgrimage, many closed and disrepaired churches and a sense of fatigue from the clergy. I will report on my trip and impressions in a separate post.
Bishop Meikle’s Letter
An Old Roman bishop in Florida, ✠Edward Meikle caused a storm this week over a pastoral letter expressing support for Bishop Strickland over the injustice inflicted upon him by Pope Francis. Initially picked up by traditional Catholic social media, the letter was perhaps misportrayed as having been written by a member of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops who were meeting in Baltimore this week. Resulting in a “pile on” of ad hominem polemic by neo-Conservative Catholic commentators berating the messenger and entirely missing the message i.e. the content of the letter.
Needless to say, I expended a significant amount of energy and effort in addressing and confronting the naysayers who were spreading false information and misconceptions about Bishop Meikle and the Old Roman tradition. It was crucial for me to set the record straight and correct their ignorance and deliberate misrepresentation of our beliefs and practices. Throughout this process, I encountered numerous strawman arguments that were aimed at defaming the good bishop and discrediting our venerable tradition. These individuals intentionally conflated us with the apostate Old Catholics, despite the clear distinctions between our respective doctrines and theological positions. It was disheartening to witness the deliberate misrepresentation of our doctrinal stances, as well as the false accusations labeling us as schismatics. Despite these challenges, I remained steadfast in my commitment to defending the truth and ensuring that our tradition was accurately portrayed.
Bishop Meikle expressed his concerns about the dismissal, stating that a bishop should only be removed for grave moral failings, not for defending the faith. He also criticized Pope Francis’s stance on transgenderism, stating that it fails to uphold Catholic teaching on sexual morality and the nature of the sacraments. Additionally, Bishop Meikle argued that Pope Francis is promoting the adaptation of theology to modern cultural trends, which he believes goes against the firm foundation of Scripture, Tradition, and Magisterium. He emphasized the importance of faithfully presenting the liberating Truth of the Gospel and urged the church to call all people to encounter Jesus Christ on His terms
The term “pater familias,” alternatively spelled as “paterfamilias” (plural “patres familias”), denoted the leader of a Roman household. It typically referred to the eldest surviving male, who possessed the legal authority to wield absolute control over his extended family. This term has its roots in Latin and translates to “father of the family” or “owner of the family estate.” In the early days of Christianity, the episcopi, or “overseer,” of a local church also held the status of “pater familias.” As a result, the term “papas” or “pope,” signifying “father,” became linked with this role.
The word “pope” has its roots in Church Latin “papa,” signifying “bishop” or “pope” (in classical Latin, “tutor”), and is derived from the Greek “papas,” originally denoting “patriarch” or “bishop,” and subsequently “father.” The designation “Pope” was initially employed for bishops in Asia Minor and subsequently embraced by the Bishop of Alexandria around 250 AD. In the Western Church, it became closely linked with the Bishop of Rome, particularly during the time of Leo the Great (440-461).
It is important to explore the historical roots of the term “pope” in order to gain a deeper understanding of the overarching roles of the Pope and bishops. Throughout history, the Bishops of Rome were often seen as authoritative figures, akin to monarchs, until the establishment of the Vatican State. But their papal title originated from their primary spiritual responsibility as the earthly representative of God, the “paterfamilias” of the Church on earth. Such a role may be likened to the representation of God the father in the parable of the Prodigal Son, as well as Christ’s instruction to Peter, the first Pope, to “feed My sheep,” and his directive to his successors and all the successors of the apostles, namely the bishops, to “confirm the brethren.” This underscores the significant role of the principal pastors as exemplifying fatherliness, mercy, and compassion.
Published in 2017, “The Dictator Pope: The Inside Story of the Francis Papacy” is a highly critical biography of Pope Francis by historian Marcantonio Colonna, a pseudonym for H. J. A. Sire. The book presents Pope Francis as a tyrannical and unprincipled pontiff, claiming that he manipulates the Church for his own power and has obstructed reforms. It also explores allegations of financial corruption and the influence of certain Vatican figures. The book has received mixed reviews, with some praising its insights and others questioning its claims. The author, Henry Sire, faced suspension and expulsion from the Knights of Malta due to his critique of Pope Francis.
One of the speculations about Bishop Strickland’s deprivation suggests his criticism of Pope Francis’s pontificate may be the real reason rather than any – as yet unsubstantiated, misgovernance of the diocese of Tyler. Certainly, Bishop Strickland at the recent Roman Forum seemed to lend support to a negative appreciation of the validity of the Pope’s reign when he read from a letter sent to him by a sedevacantist. However, Bishop Strickland has repeatedly stated his acceptance of Francis’s papacy. For example, he tweeted the following after Patrick Coffin’s promotion of the Beneplenist thesis, ‘Please allow me to clarify regarding, “Patrick Coffin has challenged the authenticity of the Pope Francis.” If this is accurate I disagree, I believe Pope Francis is the Pope but it is time for me to say that I reject his program of undermining the Deposit of Faith. Follow Jesus.’
Canon is the Greek word for rule, norm, standard or measure, canon law is how the Church organizes and governs herself. It was the first modern Western legal system and is the oldest continuously functioning legal system in the West. Canon law includes divine law prescriptions that no pope can overturn (see cc. 330, 925, 849, 864, and 1024 in the 1983 Code). The Code’s ecclesiastical law applies to the universal Church, and the pope must set a good example by following it. The pope can change ecclesiastical law by officially abrogating or derogating from it. However, if the pope were to decree something that violated existing ecclesiastical law without expressly derogating from it, canon law states that such an action would have no effect, even if done by a competent authority like the pope (c. 38, 1983 Code; c. 46, 1917 Code).
“During the clerical sex abuse crisis in the Catholic Church, the Holy See deftly escaped direct criminal liability in US courts — for potentially $hundreds of billions — by arguing, amongst other things, that a pope doesn’t have the power to remove a bishop against his will. This was necessary to demonstrate that bishops aren’t employees of the Vatican. Many years later and [Francis ] has just done precisely that by sacking the holy Bishop Strickland.”
The Italian magazine Il Regno reported in 2017 that Pope Francis had issued 50% more legislation than Benedict XVI, and in half the time. However, the Pontifical Council for Legislative Texts has effectively been sidelined and reduced to an “office,” with no mechanism in place to ensure that new rules align with the existing legislative framework. Francis has taken to a new level the concept of the Pope being “above” the law, i.e. by acting unilaterally without reference to canon law, setting aside decisions made by other legitimate bodies, and imposing new legislation without reference to previous precepts. He has closed down religious orders, e.g. the Friars of the Immaculate, Familia Christi, intervened in trials, e.g. Cardinal Becciu, Fr Rupnik, and protected accused clergy, e.g. Bishop Juan Barros Madrid, Bishop Gustavo Zanchetta, and Fr Grassi or those involved in the abuse at the Provolo Institute School for the Deaf, and famously the former cardinal, Ted McCarrik.
I don’t say that Pope Francis isn’t the Pope, but I do say that his words and actions do not “confirm the brethren” Luke 22:32 or “feed My sheep,” John 21:17 nor do they adhere to “let your yes be yes and your no, no” Matthew 5:37.
So in these challenging times, characterized by uncertainty and questioning, it is only natural for us to grapple with the words and actions of our Holy Father, Pope Francis. We recognize the concerns raised about his leadership and the impact of his statements on our faith, and it’s important to acknowledge the unease that some of us may feel. However, amidst these concerns, we must remember that our faith is not solely based on the actions of one individual. Our Catholic faith is deeply rooted in the teachings of Jesus Christ and the rich traditions of the Church, which transcend any one person and stand as enduring pillars of our belief system.
Let us remember that our faith is not solely dependent on human leadership, but on our unwavering devotion to Christ and His teachings. As we navigate these challenges, let us hold fast to the principles of love, humility, and grace that are at the core of our faith, and may the grace of God sustain us, and may our commitment to the Catholic faith remain unshaken in the face of adversity.
An ad hoc journal/newsletter by His Grace, ✠Jerome Seleisi, providing informative news and thoughtful reflections to enlighten, educate, and inspire action.
Apologies for the delay in sending out this second edition newsletter, as I had promised to provide a weekly review. It was due to the fulfillment of two remarkable items on my bucket list – a trip to the awe-inspiring Grand Canyon and a visit to the vibrant city of New Orleans. These experiences allowed me to immerse myself in the beauty of nature and the rich cultural heritage of a city that has captured the hearts of many and has a rich and vibrant cultural history.
Standing on the edge of the canyon, I couldn’t help but feel a sense of insignificance in the face of such grandeur. The layers of rock, carved by the forces of nature over centuries, including the Great Flood, told a story of Earth’s history and the power of time. From the towering cliffs to the rushing Colorado River below, every aspect of the Grand Canyon was a testament to the wonders of nature and God’s awesome providence.
After my time at the Grand Canyon, I made my way to New Orleans, a city known for its vibrant culture and rich history. From the moment I stepped foot in the French Quarter, I was enveloped in a sensory overload of sights, sounds, and smells. The streets were alive with the rhythms of jazz music, and the air was filled with the tantalizing aroma of Cajun and Creole cuisine. I wandered through the historic neighborhoods, admiring the colorful architecture and soaking in the unique atmosphere that can only be found in New Orleans.
One of the highlights of my visit was exploring the city’s rich cultural heritage. From the historic plantations along the Mississippi River to the vibrant art scene in the Warehouse District, New Orleans offered a glimpse into the diverse influences that have shaped its identity. I visited museums and galleries, immersing myself in the works of local artists and learning about the city’s African, French, and Spanish roots. The blend of cultures was evident in the architecture, the music, and the cuisine, creating a tapestry of traditions that make New Orleans truly one-of-a-kind.
Overall, my experiences at the Grand Canyon and in New Orleans were nothing short of extraordinary. They allowed me to step outside of my everyday routine and immerse myself in the wonders of nature and the vibrant tapestry of human culture. These experiences have enriched my life and provided me with a deeper appreciation for the beauty and diversity that exist in the world around us. I hope that by sharing my journey with you, I can inspire you to seek out your own adventures and embrace the magic that awaits.
Together with the other co-founders of PSHEbrighton, I attended a conference in London hosted by the Lesbian, Gay, & Bisexual Alliance concerned about modern conversion therapy and the manipulation of young people in our schools by transgender ideologues. We were there to support one of our affected parents who was speaking at the event. Her powerful testimony sharing the experiences of four different families in Brighton affected by transgender ideology both moved and shocked the audience and drew media attention directly after she had spoken.
The conference was told how different children had been impacted by transgender ideology from being secretly supplied with chest binders by activist teachers, to being prescribed cross hormone treatment by GP’s without parental knowledge and consent. Both national and local papers took up the news and we have been inundated at PSHEbrighton with emails of support and more information from other affected parents, children and families.
We are currently undergoing a listening exercise with these families to gather their stories. This exercise aims to provide a platform for affected individuals to share their firsthand accounts, ensuring that their voices are heard and their perspectives are taken into consideration. Through this process, PSHEbrighton hopes to gain a deeper understanding of the challenges faced by these families and to advocate for their needs and rights.
March for Life
I had the incredible opportunity to join a remarkably diverse group of individuals hailing from various regions across the United Kingdom in the historic and symbolic setting of Parliament Square. It was a solemn and poignant gathering, as we came together to silently mark and pay tribute to the 56th anniversary of the Royal Assent given to the 1967 Abortion Act. This significant legislation, often misunderstood by the general public, did not, in fact, legalize abortion outright. Rather, it served to shield individuals involved in terminations from prosecution under specific and carefully delineated conditions.
Regrettably, over the years, these conditions have been subject to widespread abuse, leading to a situation where, despite subsequent revisions and the introduction of new legislation since 1967, a staggering 99% of abortions performed in the UK today do not technically align with the very specific circumstances originally permitted by the Act. This sobering reality underscores the complex and evolving nature of the legal framework surrounding abortion in the UK, prompting ongoing discussions and debates about the ethical, moral, and legal dimensions of this deeply sensitive issue.
It was a joy to meet again some people I met at the SPUK Conference and to meet new friends in the cause of right. Particularly three religious sisters originally from Spain, who’s order cares for some 10 million alzheimer and dementia patients in 27 countries across the world! We prayed a decade of the rosary together and they asked a blessing with the intention for a vocations discernment day they were participating in the next day. Sadly. I was the only cleric present for the last hour of the vigil and understand only one other cleric had been present during the first hour.
Battle of Ideas
I recently had the opportunity to attend an event that I’ve been wanting to go to for about ten years. In the past, I always had prior commitments that prevented me from attending. However, this year, as soon as the conference was announced, I made sure to clear my schedule and book myself out for the dates. I am so glad I did!
The event was absolutely incredible. It was a wonderful experience to be surrounded by over 600 attendees who were all passionate about open thought and free speech. People from all walks of life and from different parts of the world were in attendance. We had the privilege of listening to some of the most intelligent and respected speakers of our time, who discussed the real issues that impact the lives of ordinary people.
The conference was held at Church House, the headquarters of the Church of England’s General Synod. It was somewhat ironic that some of the topics we were discussing have recently been used to justify the growing apostasy within that denomination. These topics included everything under the euphemism Equality, Diversity and Inclusion, e.g. gender identity, the roles of men and women, etc, and other topical subjects including AI, IT, Israel/Hamas conflict, education, work place practices, etc. Just too many good topics and too many excellent speakers, it was difficult to prioritise and choose which debates to attend! Overall, it was a truly memorable and enlightening experience.
PSHEbrighton recently created a petition on change.org to challenge Brighton & Hove City Council regarding their Trans toolkit and activism in local schools. However, change.org decided to cancel the petition within hours of it being posted, citing “community values,” despite the petition’s intentionally innocuous and non-sensational language.
We are now challenging change.org regarding their decision with a legal Letter Before Action. For the following reasons: a) the petition is a protected act (s.27 (2) Equality Act 2010, because it is “doing any other things for the purposes of the Act, namely drawing public attention to breaches of the Equality Act and alleging a breach of the Act. These are two of the four categories of protected act at s.27(2) Equality Act 2020. b) The petition is a protected act (s.27 (2) Equality Act 2010. Taking it down is a detriment done because of the protected act and it is therefore an act of unlawful victimisation.
A new Slovakia Mass centre
I was thrilled to receive the news from Revd Dr Sykora in Bratislava that the City authorities have officially approved our apostolate’s regular use of the chapel located in the historic Primatial Palace in the city center. The chapel is stunning, with breathtaking architecture and a rich history, making it the perfect setting for our religious activities and gatherings.
The historic Archbishop’s Palace itself holds great significance in the city’s history and culture. As a central landmark, it has witnessed countless events and played a vital role in the development of Bratislava. Including the first ordinations in the Tridentine Rite to be held in the Chapel for almost a century by ✠Jerome last year! The fact that our apostolate has been granted permission to utilize the chapel within this historic building further adds to the honor and privilege we feel.
With this new development, we can now plan and organize our religious activities with greater ease and efficiency. The regular use of the chapel allows us to establish a sense of continuity and familiarity for our members and attendees. It provides a dedicated space where they can come together, find solace, and strengthen their faith. We are grateful for this privilege and look forward to utilizing this remarkable space to further our apostolate’s mission.
On Saturday, November 4th I was able to attend the priestly ordination of the Revd Calvin Robinson in London. Fr Calvin is a well-known if controversial media personality and social commentator. Until recently he was a presenter on GB News, but was fired for making a principled stand for free speech. We first met at the SPUC Conference earlier this summer.
Fr Calvin was ordained by Bishop Roald Flemestad of the Nordic Catholic Church, a daughter church of the Polish National Catholic Church itself formerly of the Union of Utrecht Old Catholic Churches. The PNCC and NCC between them form a more orthodox theologically entity called, the Union of Scranton. Like the Old Romans, the PNCC share apostolic succession ultimately derived from the See of Utrecht, via their founder ✠Franciszek Hodur who, like ✠Arnold Harris Mathew, was consecrated by ✠Gerardus Gul, these orders and sacraments are recognised by Rome.
Although the Union of Scranton represents a more conservative polity than its former colleagues in the Union of Utrecht, i.e. they do not ordain women, the Old Catholic tradition that it represents is not wholly in sympathy with that of the Old Romans. Whereas the Old Roman position is one of continuity pre-Vatican I, the Union of Scranton is one of divergence post-Vatican I that later embraced modernist tendencies. For example, in the Union of Scranton, Mass is primarily offered in the vernacular, using the Novus Ordo Missae, whereas Old Romans retain the Tridentine Mass primarily in Latin, etc.
Ad theologiam promovendam
The Catholic faith is a living Tradition, which means it is not characterized by constant change or evolution, as some modernists might suggest. Instead, it endures across time, remaining unchanged despite the passage of ages. Our faith is both eternal and incarnational, and these aspects are inseparable. This is evident in the evolution of liturgical vestments over the centuries, where the same liturgy, representing the eternal dimension, is re-presented in different material forms, reflecting the incarnational dimension. This enduring nature of the faith, with its dual eternal and incarnational dimensions, serves as a testament to its unchanging essence throughout history.
The same is true in the way Catholics live themselves, timeless piety yet incarnational customs, e.g. the way in which we pray the rosary – the spirituality (eternal) hasn’t changed, but the number and arrangement of beads (incarnational) has. This illustrates the enduring nature of spiritual practices, where the core beliefs and principles remain constant while the outward expressions may evolve over time to adapt to changing circumstances and cultural influences. It’s a testament to the resilience and adaptability of faith, as it finds new ways to connect with believers across generations and cultures.
Likewise then, of people. We have changed, contemporary humanity in the incarnational aspect, we live longer, eat better, are more comfortable, etc, and yet spiritually, eternally, humanity experiences life, i.e. living, in much the same way as we have throughout the centuries, e.g. needing shelter, needing food and water, pro-creating, etc. This highlights the dichotomy of human existence, where technological advancements and societal progress coexist with fundamental human needs and experiences that have remained constant throughout history. Despite the advancements in science and technology, the basic human needs and desires persist, emphasizing the timeless nature of human existence and the enduring relevance of fundamental human experiences.
The latest Motu Propio by Pope Francis, titled “Ad theologiam promovendam,” introduces a new approach to theological reflection. In this document, the Pope suggests placing emphasis on utilizing an inductive method in theological development. He suggests commencing the theological reflection process from diverse contexts and specific real-life situations in which people are immersed. This approach encourages theology to be profoundly influenced and shaped by the challenges posed by reality itself. At first glance, this directive may seem to align with the sentiments expressed in my preceding paragraphs above. However, upon closer examination, it becomes evident that this new approach represents a significant departure from traditional theological methodologies. The emphasis on grounding theological reflection in the lived experiences and contextual realities of individuals marks a departure from the partnership with the eternal dimension inherent in traditional theology. The change in perspective indicates a significant reorientation in the approach and comprehension of theology.
This shift represents a fundamental transformation in the way theology is approached and understood. Instead of placing primary emphasis on the contemplation of the eternal truths of our Faith and considering their application to our lives, the focus now shifts to first considering our subjective context and then interpreting the rest accordingly. This approach would lead to the concept of “truth” becoming relative, which in turn could result in the emergence of multiple individual gospels, each subjectively pertinent to specific individuals within particular contexts. Consequently, this could lead to a loss of universality, as opposed to a single Gospel that is applicable to all. In other words, instead of one faith, many faiths, instead of one true religion divinely revealed by God, many different religions.
An example of relativism is moral relativism, which encompasses various aspects of human behavior and beliefs. For instance, it includes the acceptance of different dietary practices, punctuality norms, attitudes towards money and consumption, and other cultural-specific behaviors and values. Moral relativism considers the diversity of moral standards across cultures, making it challenging to determine a universal right or wrong. This concept emphasizes the influence of cultural context on ethical beliefs and behaviors. What the is “wrong” for you may be “right” for me. Very worryingly this attitude was prevalent at the “Synod on Synodality” with advocates for the blessing of Same Sex Couples, basically suggesting that if two people of the same gender commit monogamously to each other that should be celebrated – despite the fact that such an intimate union is itself contrary to the precepts of the divine Will.
The 2005 conclave was a significant moment in the history of the Catholic Church, marked by Pope Benedict XVI’s delivery of a now-famous homily denouncing the “dictatorship of relativism.” In his address, Pope Benedict XVI cautioned against the growing trend of relativism, stating, “We are moving toward a dictatorship of relativism which does not recognise anything as definitive. The Church needs to withstand the tides of trends and the latest novelties.” This powerful message resonated with many within the Church and beyond. Yet now Pope Francis and Cardinal Ferdinand of the DDF advocate for a theology rooted in a populist understanding of the sensus fidelium, based upon the lived experiences of “average people”, meaning whatever the majority think is right, is right. This would mean the continuous capitulation by the Church to the zeitgeist, forever changing moral teaching to reflect the contemporary age, instead of maintaining steadfastly to the constancy of morality derived in relation to God and His eternal Will for us.
In a recent interview, Pope Francis said, “Since the Second Vatican Council, John XXIII had a very clear perception: the Church has to change. Paul VI agreed, just like the succeeding Popes. It’s not just changing ways, it’s about a change of growth, in favor of the dignity of people. That’s theological progression, of moral theology and all the ecclesiastical sciences, even in the interpretation of Scriptures that have progressed according to the feelings of the Church.” The operative word here is “feelings” the ultimate betrayer of modernism.
As we observe the feast of All Saints’ Day and commemorate All Souls’ Day, our hearts are filled with both joy and solemnity. These holy days remind us of our ultimate goal as Catholics and our longing to be united with our Heavenly Father. It is a time to honor the saints, known and unknown, who have gone before us and are now in the presence of our Lord Jesus Christ.
Amidst the various challenges that we encounter in our present-day society, one of the foremost concerns is the enduring conflict in the Middle East involving Israel and Hamas. This protracted dispute has resulted in widespread anguish, leaving countless individuals with a sense of despair and hopelessness. Nevertheless, it is imperative to bear in mind that despite the prevailing unrest, our faith in the Lord Jesus Christ endures as the ultimate wellspring of hope and consolation.
As believers, we should find our comfort in Jesus as our King who reigns above, in our hearts, and through our lives. His presence reminds us that we are not alone in our struggles and that there is always hope. The expectation of His Coming strengthens our faith and fills us with anticipation for when He will establish His kingdom of peace and justice on earth. Trust in Jesus Christ’s power and sovereignty. He is our unwavering support, keeping us grounded and guiding us through difficult times.
Our faith is deeply rooted in the concept of incarnation, which calls us to embody the principles and values of heaven in our everyday lives here on earth. This means that we are called to live as subjects of heaven, allowing the divine to guide our thoughts, actions, and decisions. By striving to be saints in this earthly existence, we can nurture the hope of becoming saints in the eternal realm of heaven.
To fully embrace this incarnational faith, we are encouraged to surrender ourselves completely to Jesus Christ, recognizing Him as our King and the ultimate authority in our lives. Through this surrender, we open ourselves up to the transformative power of His love and grace, allowing Him to shape us into the truest versions of ourselves as children of God.
This surrender is not a passive act but an active choice that requires constant effort and commitment. It involves aligning our wills with the divine will, seeking to discern and follow God’s plan for our lives. It means living with integrity and authenticity, striving to embody the virtues and values that Jesus exemplified during His time on earth.
In this way, our faith becomes a lived experience, permeating every aspect of our existence. It shapes our relationships, our work, our choices, and our priorities. It calls us to be compassionate, forgiving, and merciful, just as Jesus was. It challenges us to be agents of positive change in the world, working towards justice, peace, and the common good.
Living as subjects of heaven in the republic of our wills here on earth is not always easy. It requires us to resist the temptations of selfishness, pride, and materialism that can distract us from our true purpose. It demands that we constantly examine our hearts and minds, seeking to root out any attitudes or behaviors that are contrary to the teachings of Jesus.
Yet, in this ongoing journey of faith, we find hope and inspiration. We are reminded that we are not alone in our pursuit of holiness. We are part of a larger community of believers, united by our shared commitment to following Christ. Together, we support and encourage one another, drawing strength from our collective faith and the wisdom of those who have gone before us.
Ultimately, our faith calls us to embrace the fullness of our identity as children of God. It invites us to live with purpose, meaning, and a deep sense of belonging. Through our surrender to Jesus Christ as our King, we can experience the transformative power of His love, allowing it to shape us into the saints we are called to be. In this way, our faith becomes a beacon of hope, guiding us towards the eternal realm of heaven.
Let us seek the intercession of Jesus, our exalted Lord, that our prayers may be perfected by His prayer. Through Him, we can find the strength and grace to live as true disciples, shining His light in a world that is in desperate need of His love and mercy.
May the observance of All Saints’ Day and All Souls’ Day, inspire us to reflect on the importance of leading holy lives, fostering unity and peace, and offering fervent prayers for the souls in purgatory. These solemn occasions serve as a reminder of the communion of saints, the interconnectedness of all believers, and the power of intercessory prayer.
All Saints’ Day, honors all the saints, known and unknown, who have attained the beatific vision and now reside in the heavenly realm. It is a time to commemorate the exemplary lives of these holy men and women, who, through their unwavering faith and virtuous actions, have become role models for us on our spiritual journey. Their lives serve as a testament to the transformative power of God’s grace and the potential for holiness that resides within each of us.
All Souls’ Day is a time to remember loved ones who have passed away and offer prayers and sacrifices for their souls. Our prayers for the deceased can make a difference in their spiritual journey, aiding their purification process and leading them to our Heavenly Father. Purgatory is a state of purification, not punishment, where souls are cleansed of attachment to sin. Our prayers and acts of charity can alleviate their suffering and hasten their journey towards eternal life.
In light of these holy days, we are called to reflect on the brevity and fragility of human life, recognizing that death is not the end but rather a transition to a new and eternal existence. It is a time to ponder the mysteries of life and death, to contemplate the meaning and purpose of our own existence, and to strive for holiness in all aspects of our lives. Remember these words of St Thérèse of Lisieux, “I want to spend my heaven doing good on earth.”
As we honor the saints and pray for the souls in purgatory, let us be inspired to emulate their virtues, to seek unity and peace in our relationships and communities, and to offer fervent prayers for the eternal repose of the faithful departed. May these days of remembrance and prayer deepen our understanding of the communion of saints and strengthen our commitment to living lives of holiness, love, and compassion.
May the reign of Jesus Christ as King in our hearts be a beacon of hope and a source of transformation in our lives. Let us surrender ourselves completely to His loving rule, allowing Him to guide and direct us in all that we do. In doing so, we will not only find true fulfillment and purpose, but we will also become instruments of His peace and love in the world.
May the blessings of All Saints’ Day and All Souls’ Day be upon you and your loved ones. May the intercession of the saints and the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ bring you comfort, hope, and the assurance of eternal life.
Da, quǽsumus, Dómine, fidélibus pópulis ómnium Sanctórum semper veneratióne lætári: et eórum perpétua supplicatióne muníri. Per Dóminum nostrum Jesum Christum Fílium tuum, qui tecum vivit et regnat in unitáte Spíritus Sancti, Deus, per ómnia sǽcula sæculórum. Amen
Grant Your faithful people, we beseech You, O Lord, ever to rejoice in the veneration of all the Saints, and to be protected by their unceasing prayers. Through Our Lord, Jesus Christ, Who liveth and reigneth with thee in the unity of the Holy Ghost, God, world without end. Amen.
Please note that all material on this website is the Intellectual Property (IP) of His Grace, the Titular Archbishop of Selsey and protected by Copyright and Intellectual Property laws of the United Kingdom, United States and International law. Reproduction and distribution without written authorisation of the owner is prohibited.
The role of the Archbishop encompasses both pastoral and spiritual responsibilities towards the clergy under his charge. In order to fulfill these duties, he frequently engages in the practice of writing pastoral epistles that are specifically addressed to the clergy as well as others addressed to the faithful. These epistles serve as a means of providing guidance, support, and encouragement to those entrusted to his care.
The epistle discusses the dedication and sacrifices made by priests within the Old Roman apostolate. These priests have chosen to embrace the sacred ministry and become “alter Christus” – another Christ. They understand that true priesthood requires continuous self-sacrifice and a shedding of personal desires. Despite facing challenges and criticism, these priests remain committed to their calling and the teachings of the Church. They do not receive the same recognition as other members of the clergy, but they persevere with unwavering determination and a commitment to their beliefs. Their unique position as the “offscouring of all things” only strengthens their resolve to uphold their values and serve their communities with integrity and compassion.
The epistle discusses the increasing polarization of society and the negative consequences it has on politics, economics, social interactions, and mental health. It emphasizes the importance of maintaining a rational and balanced mindset in order to navigate the complexities of the modern world. It also highlights the need for emotional intelligence and resilience to respond to emotions in a constructive way. The document warns against individuals who are driven by emotions and lack commitment, particularly in the sacred ministry and religious life. It emphasizes the importance of discernment and reflection in understanding the commitment and sacrifices required in these roles. The document also criticizes the conflation of emotion with religion, which can lead to a shallow understanding of faith and a disregard for the transformative power of religious practice. It warns against individuals entering the ministry or religious life based solely on temporary emotions rather than a genuine calling.
The epistle emphasizes the importance of self-denial and mortification of passions in order to serve God and His Church. It warns against the dangers of self-love and modernism, which prioritize personal interests over the needs of the flock. Obedience to God and His commands, as well as to the authority of the Church, is emphasized. The document reminds priests that they were ordained to serve others, not themselves, and that their focus should be on fulfilling their calling and sacrificing for God. It warns against the preoccupation with self and the promotion of personal interests, which are signs of a modernist mindset. Overall, the document emphasizes the need for priests to prioritize their duty to God and His Church above all else.
Introducing a fresh, weekly journal/newsletter by His Grace, ✠Jerome Seleisi, providing informative news and thoughtful reflections to enlighten, educate, and inspire action.
On Sunday, in response to the distressing Hamas incursion into Israeli border towns and villages on Saturday, October 7, coinciding with the observance of Our Lady of the Rosary, ✠Jerome issued a formal Statement expressing unwavering solidarity with the Israeli people. The attack, widely condemned as one of the most egregious assaults against Jews since the Nazi pogroms of WWII, surprised the world with its barbarity and desecration of innocent men, women and children.
On Monday ✠Jerome expressed solidarity with the local Jewish community in Brighton & Hove at a vigil held outside Hove Town Hall. Several hundred members of the local community gathered to hear local Rabbi’s express sadness yet offer consolation for the atrocities. Many have friends and family in Israel, some had lost loved ones, others were waiting anxiously for news. ✠Jerome introduced himself to individual attendees to commiserate with them.
On Tuesday, ✠Jerome, former Chair of the City Faith Council, expressed his sincere concern and empathy for the local Jewish community. Recognizing the importance of fostering unity and understanding, he took it upon himself to personally reach out to the local Rabbis. This gesture aimed to convey his unwavering solidarity and offer any support that they may require during these challenging times.
During his conversations with the Rabbis, ✠Jerome expressed his willingness to provide any assistance deemed necessary. Whether it be through organizing community events, or addressing specific concerns, he assured the Rabbis that his support and resources were at their disposal. By extending this offer, ✠Jerome aimed to strengthen the bond between religious communities and create an inclusive environment where everyone feels valued and supported.
On the same day, ✠Jerome took the initiative to voice his concerns to the Chief Constable of Sussex regarding the pro-Palestinian rallies that had taken place in the city center on Sunday. It was disconcerting to witness the actions of several speakers who openly praised, applauded, and glorified Hamas during these gatherings. It is important to note that in the United Kingdom, Hamas is designated as a proscribed terrorist organization. Consequently, promoting Hamas can lead to severe legal consequences, including a custodial sentence of up to fourteen years.
✠Jerome brought attention to the fact that there appeared to be a lack of police presence at these rallies, and sought assurances from the Chief Constable that the law would be upheld during any similar events in the future. It is essential to maintain public safety and ensure that the principles of the law are respected and enforced, particularly when it involves the promotion of organizations implicated in acts of terrorism.
The email, which served as the means of communication for the letter, was thoughtfully copied to two prominent figures within the Brighton & Hove community. Councillor Bella Sankey, the political Leader of Brighton & Hove City Council, and Chief Superintendent Justin Burtenshaw, the Brighton & Hove Divisional Commander, were both included as recipients of this important message.
By including these notable individuals, ✠Jerome sought to ensure that the concerns expressed within the letter would reach the highest levels of authority within the city. With their inclusion, he aimed to emphasize the importance and urgency of the issues raised in the letter, hoping to garner attention, support, and ultimately, positive action in response to the concerns put forth.
His Grace received the following reply:
On Tuesday evening, Jerome, along with his co-founders of PSHEbrighton, convened to address the growing concerns raised by parents regarding the implementation of the PSHE/RSE curriculum in local schools. The meeting served as a platform to discuss the progress made thus far and to devise strategies to address these concerns effectively.
One of the key topics on the agenda was the development of a public petition. Recognizing the importance of garnering community support, the team brainstormed ideas to craft a compelling petition that would resonate with parents, educators, and other stakeholders. By leveraging the collective expertise of the co-founders, they aimed to create a petition that would clearly articulate the need for comprehensive reform of PSHE/RSE education in schools and highlight the positive impact it can have on students’ well-being.
In addition to the petition, the meeting also focused on an upcoming press campaign. Recognizing the power of media in shaping public opinion, the team discussed strategies to effectively communicate their message to a wider audience. They explored various avenues such as press releases, media interviews, and social media engagement to ensure maximum visibility and impact.
On Thursday, ✠Jerome, issued a pastoral epistle Ad Populum (to the people) to the Old Roman apostolate internationally entitled “Rogate”, an exhortation to “Pray for the peace of Jerusalem”. The letter was a response to that issued by the Assembly of Catholic Ordinaries in the Holy Land, encouraging a day of prayer and fasting for Israel and the conflict on October 17.
To encourage a deeper sense of compassion and understanding, ✠Jerome implored the readers to engage in critical thinking, heartfelt prayer, and purposeful action. The central focus of his epistle was to emphasize the importance of expressing unwavering solidarity and providing essential assistance to the Jewish communities at a local level.
Later on Thursday, ✠Jerome had the pleasure of meeting with the devoted parishioners of the Old Roman apostolate in Brighton. Together, they embarked on an inspiring mission to create a unique and meaningful Christmas experience – the “pop up” Chapel concept. This innovative idea aims to temporarily transform a vacant retail space in the heart of the bustling shopping district into a sacred haven, where passersby and shoppers alike can pause and reflect on the true essence of the holiday season: the Nativity.
The envisioned “pop up” Chapel would offer a range of spiritual services to nourish the souls of those who enter its doors. Daily Mass, Exposition, and Benediction would be conducted, providing an opportunity for individuals to deepen their connection with their faith. Additionally, the Chapel would serve as a haven for the sale of religious items, such as exquisite rosaries, thought-provoking tracts, and beautifully crafted religious-themed Christmas cards. By offering these items, the hope is to inspire a sense of reverence and gratitude during this joyous time of year.
Yet, the Chapel’s purpose extends beyond its spiritual offerings. It also aims to be a beacon of compassion and generosity within the community. Acting as a collection point, the “pop up” Chapel would gather essential items to be distributed to the homeless, providing them with much-needed support and comfort during the cold winter months. Furthermore, it would serve as a hub for collecting toys, bringing a glimmer of joy to the lives of underprivileged families who may otherwise struggle to provide presents for their children.
However, as with any endeavor, there are challenges to overcome. One of the initial hurdles is finding a suitable property to rent, one that can accommodate separate spaces for the sanctuary area, reception, and sales. This separation is crucial to ensure that the sacred atmosphere of the Chapel remains undisturbed, allowing visitors to fully immerse themselves in the spiritual experience while also facilitating the smooth operation of the sales and collection activities.
With determination and an unwavering commitment to their cause, ✠Jerome and the parishioners tirelessly seek out the perfect location that will make this visionary undertaking a reality. Their hope is to create a temporary sanctuary that not only provides solace and inspiration but also serves as a reminder to all who encounter it of the profound significance of the Nativity – the true reason for the season.
On Friday, ✠Jerome attended to a range of correspondence and conducted personal conferences with members of the clergy.
Later in the evening, ✠Jerome had the pleasure of joining parishioners for an early supper followed by a delightful evening at the theater. The production of choice was a beloved film adaptation called “The Ladykillers,” skillfully brought to life on stage by the talented playwright, Graham Linehan. Linehan’s recent gender critical views have sparked some controversy, adding an interesting layer of discourse to the evening’s entertainment.
Despite any controversy surrounding the playwright, it must be acknowledged that the amateur cast involved in the production delivered an exceptional performance. Their dedication and commitment to their roles were evident, captivating the audience and drawing them into the story. Furthermore, the lighting and staging of the play were executed with a level of professionalism that one would expect from a seasoned theater company. The combination of a well-loved story, a talented cast, and high production standards made for an evening that will be remembered fondly by all in attendance.
On Saturday, ✠Jerome commenced his preparations for a well-deserved vacation. In the evening, he acted as the host for the Old Romans Unscripted panel. After a prolonged break, the panel members reconvened to deliberate on the recent news in Traditional Catholicism and the Synod on Synodality which had just completed its inaugural week. Furthermore, they shared their insights and reflections on the persisting Israel/Palestinian conflict, pondering whether peace will ever be achieved.
Despite the alarming and distressing reports coming out of Israel, which provide harrowing details of the relentless brutality perpetrated by Hamas terrorists against innocent Israeli citizens, it is disheartening to witness the resurgence of anti-Semitism. As the Israeli retaliation on Gaza unfolds before our very eyes, there has been an explosive surge in pro-Palestinian support, further exacerbating the tensions in the region.
It is deeply concerning that amidst the ongoing conflict, some individuals are succumbing to prejudice and hatred, targeting Jewish communities and perpetuating anti-Semitic sentiments. It is crucial to distinguish between legitimate criticism of Israel’s actions and the dangerous propagation of anti-Semitism, which seeks to dehumanize and demonize an entire group of people based on their religious or ethnic background.
One of the most vexing aspects of political discourse lies in the tendency of many to confuse support for Palestinians with endorsing the heinous acts committed by Hamas. It appears that certain individuals struggle to grasp this crucial distinction. Those who advocate for the Palestinian cause, exemplified by their display of placards bearing the words “Free Palestine,” should explicitly clarify that their objective is to bring about the removal of Hamas in Gaza, as this remains the sole pathway towards achieving peace with Israel.
“Pray ye for the things that are for the peace of Jerusalem: and abundance for them that love thee.”1 The Psalmist fervently urges us to offer our prayers for the wellbeing and tranquility of Jerusalem. Jerusalem in the Bible refers both to the holy city but also often as a synonym for the holy land of Israel, as well as our eternal home with God.
Throughout history, individuals who follow a divine path have sought solace and inspiration in the Psalms during moments of jubilation and periods of immense tribulation. The eloquent and jubilant expressions found within the psalms provide us with the means to extol an indescribably marvelous deity. In times of distraction or anxiety, the Psalms serve as a poignant reminder of the immense power and unwavering love of the God we dedicate ourselves to. Moreover, when grief overwhelms us to the point where words fail, the lamentations of the psalmists articulate our anguish with profound clarity.
In this humble plea of the Psalmist, we are reminded of the profound significance this sacred city and the land in which it rests holds in the hearts of those who cherish it. The Psalmist implores that abundance be bestowed upon those who hold Jerusalem dear, emphasizing the importance of supporting and uplifting those who devote their love and dedication to this cherished place. These sentiments are so apt for our time, as we reel from the atrocities perpetrated by Hamas terrorists on Israel’s soil last weekend.
We might find ourselves disheartened by the images and reports of innocent Israeli men, women, and children being slaughtered, as well as the terrible indignities forced upon them by the terrorists. Nevertheless, these words from the Psalmist act as an enduring reminder of the efficacy of prayer and its profound ability to influence the lives of others. In a world frequently marked by strife and disharmony, the Psalmist urges us to channel our thoughts and intentions towards cultivating peace in Jerusalem, Israel.
We may think of the Psalmist’s call for abundance to be granted to those who love Jerusalem as a testament to the deep connection individuals have with the Holy Land. It maybe thought to speak to the recognition of the tireless efforts made by countless individuals who work tirelessly to preserve and protect the rich history and cultural heritage there and in Jerusalem itself. May God shower them with abundance, and bless their unwavering commitment and dedication to preserving those places and artifacts that speak to the peace from above promised to us below.
The Psalms provide solace by redirecting our focus towards our compassionate and trustworthy Shepherd. They serve as a reminder that He reigns supreme, with no force surpassing Him or lying beyond His dominion. Throughout history, the Psalms have shaped our liturgies, guided our worship, and anchored our daily lives, particularly for those who pray the Prayer of the Church. Indeed, much of the New Testament’s teaching on Christ’s continued work as our Prophet, Priest, and King in his state of exaltation is founded firmly upon the book of Psalms. These sacred songs offer reassurance that, regardless of our emotions or circumstances, God stands beside us unwaveringly and with benevolence.
Remember, this is the land where the Holy Family dwelt, where Our Incarnate Lord walked and talked exampling His Gospel of God’s love and where He gave His flesh and outpoured His sacred blood for the redemption of the whole of humanity. Our faith is incarnational – the material as well as the spiritual matters. The Holy Land is so-called because of the significance it has for us, where “the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we saw his glory, the glory as it were of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth.”2 Christians cannot and should not be ambivalent to the fate of the Holy Land and all who dwell therein.
The Holy Land is not just an abstract concept or an ideal; it is a tangible reality. The Psalmist’s words serve as a reminder of the lasting significance of Jerusalem and its importance to people from diverse faiths, cultures, and backgrounds today. Jerusalem is a city that has stood the test of time, symbolizing hope and serving as a unifying force. As we respond to the call of the Psalmist, let us come together in prayer, seeking peace and prosperity for Jerusalem and the Holy Land, and offering unwavering support to all those who hold it close to their hearts.
As members of the Old Roman apostolate, it is our responsibility to exemplify the principles of love, peace, and reconciliation found within the Gospel. With this in mind, I strongly encourage you to carefully consider the request presented by the Assembly of Catholic Ordinaries in the Holy Land3. They urge us to observe a day of fasting and prayer on Tuesday, October 17, dedicated to the pursuit of peace and reconciliation. It is our Christian duty to respond in solidarity with our Christian brethren, as well as with Israeli citizens from all walks of life and Jewish people all around the world.
During our period of fasting, we might think of those too grief-riven to eat, and those unable to access food and water. We might think about those sacrificing themselves to defend their country and the families anxious about their fate. We might remember those praying for the return of loved ones held hostage, children wickedly separated from their parents. We might think about those living in terror, fearful their homes may be attacked again, or those not knowing where to find shelter from violence. We might remember those oppressed and misrepresented by a heartless regime who cares nothing for their plight as they plow their agenda of terror.
As we offer our prayers for peace, it is crucial to distinguish between Hamas terrorists and the Palestinian population they oppress, and to express our concern for innocent Palestinians impacted by the Israeli military response Hamas has wrought upon them. Equally important is extending our heartfelt sympathy to the Israelis and members of the Jewish diaspora who have been profoundly affected. Additionally, let us encourage fellow Christians to exhibit empathy and provide support to their Jewish and Palestinian neighbours. The peace of God is intended for all. Let us all be ambassadors for His peace.
May the Lord grant us the wisdom and courage to work towards peace and reconciliation in the Holy Land and throughout the world. Rogate quae ad pacem sunt Jerusalem.
DEUS, cui soli cógnitus est númerus electórum in supérna felicitáte locándus: tríbue, quaésumus ; ut, intercedéntibus ómnibus Sanctis tuis, universórum, quos in oratióne commendátos suscépimus, et ómnium fidélium nómina, beátae praedestinatiónis liber adscrípta retíneat. Per Dóminum nostrum Jesum Christum Fílium tuum, qui tecum vivit et regnat in unitáte Spíritus Sancti, Deus, per ómnia sǽcula sæculórum. Amen
O God, Who alone knowest how many souls are destined to enjoy the happiness of heaven, grant, we pray Thee, that by the intercession of all Thy saints, the names of each and every person who has been commended to our prayers, with those of all other faithful souls, may be found written in the book of blessed predestination. Through Our Lord, Jesus Christ, Who liveth and reigneth with thee in the unity of the Holy Ghost, God, world without end. Amen.
Please note that all material on this website is the Intellectual Property (IP) of His Grace, the Titular Archbishop of Selsey and protected by Copyright and Intellectual Property laws of the United Kingdom, United States and International law. Reproduction and distribution without written authorisation of the owner is prohibited.
It is with a heavy heart that I write to you today, as we witness the tragic reports and images following the murderous invasion by Hamas terrorists in Israel on the Jewish feast of Simchat Torah, and for us the feast of Our Lady of the Rosary.
During this challenging time, it is crucial that we express our sincere thoughts and prayers to all those Israelis and members of the Jewish diaspora who have been affected by recent events. It is with great sadness that we acknowledge the possibility of lives lost, the lasting trauma of unspeakable acts of violence, and the pain of families with missing or kidnapped loved ones. In the face of such adversity, it is our duty to extend our deepest sympathy and unwavering support to our Jewish neighbors. Let us stand united in compassion, offering solace and strength during their time of immense sorrow and turmoil.
As Christians, it is not only our duty but our calling to denounce and oppose all forms of terrorism and violence. However, in doing so, it is crucial that we also extend our sympathy and concern towards the innocent Palestinians who will inevitably suffer as a result of the Israeli military’s response to the heinous acts of terrorism committed by Hamas supposedly in their name. We should seek the intercession of Our Lady for them all, commending ourselves too to her intercession and mantle of protection in these turbulent times.
In today’s world, where social media and alternative news sources often blur the lines of truth and intentional propaganda prevails, it becomes all the more important for us to maintain clarity and discernment, charity and the commensurate virtue, humility. We must remember the distinction between the Hamas terrorists who exert control over Gaza and the oppressed Palestinian people who reside there. Among these individuals are Christians, and people of various faiths and ethnic backgrounds as well as Muslims.
It is only through empathy and understanding that we can truly grasp the complexity and depth of the situation. By recognizing the diversity within the Palestinian community, we acknowledge that they are not a monolithic group but a mosaic of different individuals with unique experiences and perspectives. Their suffering and pain should not be overshadowed by the actions of a few, but rather, our hearts should be moved by their plight and yearn for a just and peaceful resolution.
In our heartfelt expression of concern and compassion for both the Israelis who have been affected and the innocent Palestinians who will suffer, let us truly embody the teachings of Christ, who showed us the importance of loving our neighbours. Through this deep empathy, we have the power to build connections, encourage meaningful conversations, and strive for a world where peace and fairness reign. As we take a firm stance against terrorism and violence, let us always remember to recognize the inherent humanity and dignity of every individual trapped in the midst of conflict.
Let us fervently pray for peace and stability to be restored to the region, for an end to the violence and bloodshed that has plagued both Israelis and Palestinians alike. May God’s healing touch bring comfort and solace to those who mourn, and may His wisdom guide leaders towards a just and lasting resolution.
Let us remain steadfast in our faith, reaching out with love and understanding to all those affected by this conflict. May our collective prayers and gestures of support bring hope and enlightenment, playing a part in the healing and restoration of the Holy Land, where Our Incarnate Lord shared and demonstrated His message of God’s love to bring about the Redemption of humanity.