On Tuesday, September 26th, His Grace delivered a speech to the Brighton & Hove branch of the Free Speech Union, accompanied by the co-founders of PSHEbrighton, entitled “All protected characteristics are equal, but some protected characteristics are more equal than others” a paraphrase of a quote from George Orwell’s “Animal Farm”. The purpose of the speech was to introduce a support group for parents and allies who have concerns regarding the implementation of Personal, Social, Health, and Economic Education, as well as Relationships & Sex Education, in Brighton & Hove schools.
Drawing upon his extensive experience and profound understanding as a trustee of local charities, His Grace eloquently delineated the challenges associated with the Public Sector Equality Duty (PSED). He shed light on the intricacies of its interpretation and implementation by officials at the Brighton & Hove City Council (BHCC), particularly in relation to the directive of “advancing equality” as mandated by the PSED. This duty encompasses the protection of nine fundamental characteristics: age, disability, gender reassignment, pregnancy and maternity, race, religion or belief, sex, and sexual orientation. In summary, those subject to the equality duty must, in the exercise of their functions, have due regard to the need to:
Eliminate unlawful discrimination, harassment and victimisation and other conduct prohibited by the Act.
Advance equality of opportunity between people who share a protected characteristic and those who do not.
Foster good relations between people who share a protected characteristic and those who do not.
However, the interpretation of the equality duty has been excessively broad, leading to its misapplication to the extent that BHCC officers perceive it as their responsibility to advocate for ideological concepts, rather than solely prevent and address instances of discrimination. In conjunction with the concept of intersectionality, this has led council officers to unilaterally assess and prioritize protected characteristics, sometimes favoring certain characteristics over others, which ultimately undermines the concept and the legal protections that are mandated by the Equality Act. As a result, the implementation of PSHE and RSE in local schools has been impacted, with BHCC officers including ideological concepts such as Critical Race Theory, Identity politics, and Transgenderism in their instructional guidance.
The lack of professionalism was particularly noticeable in the Trans Toolkit for schools, which was created by the All Sorts Youth Project, a local LGBT charity, and a BHCC employed consultant for PSHE/RSE implementation. This Toolkit was widely distributed with ideological claims but without proper professional citations and has since its first edition, been widely copied and employed by other local education authorities, winning acclaim from LGBT lobbyists like Stonewall. His Grace had the opportunity to provide feedback on the fourth edition of this Toolkit in 2020 (see Trans Toolkitfeedback). He expressed his concerns, substantiating them with extensive footnotes from pedagogical academically peer-reviewed sources. These sources highlighted the discrepancies between the guidance provided in the Toolkit and the principles outlined in the Equality Act 2010 as well as the consensus among academic and medical professionals.
During his address, His Grace discussed the recent update to the Technical Guidance for Schools by the Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC), which now aligns with the Equality Act 2010. The revised guidance aims to eliminate any ambiguity and provides a clear definition of the protected characteristic of Gender Reassignment, which safeguards individuals who have legally altered their gender identity. It has become evident that transgender activists have caused confusion by misrepresenting the application of protected characteristics to children. It is crucial to differentiate between ideology and the law, acknowledging that the Equality Act does not impose ideological rules. Terms such as gender identity, gender affirmation, and preferred pronouns do not fall under the purview of the Act. The well-being of children must always take precedence, and it is inappropriate to apply protected characteristics to children as if they were adults.
PSHEbrighton is currently providing professional assistance to parents in Brighton & Hove whose children have been affected by the current social phenomenon of transitioning and navigating the entrenched ideology within BHCC services. A parent anonymously addressed the meeting to share their case involving a pupil who is receiving support from both the school and social services, despite the objections raised by the parents to transition, including the prescription of puberty blockers and a fundraising campaign for a surgical intervention. This case unequivocally demonstrates the unwavering commitment of these professionals to their principles, regardless of the existing legal framework. Furthermore, recent inquiries made by PSHEbrighton members to the Council have uncovered the steadfast dedication of local politicians to these ideologies, as their responses contradict the growing awareness among professionals and wider society regarding the harmful impact of these ideologies on children.
The individuals expressed their genuine gratitude for the insightful knowledge shared by the presenters and were deeply troubled upon discovering the magnitude of the issue affecting the city. PSHEbrighton is actively striving to unite parents and allies, with the aim of tackling these concerns and advocating for the prioritization of “safeguarding first” as the primary principle in addressing the Trans phenomenon in educational institutions. His Grace remains optimistic that the group will provide not just moral and emotional backing, but also valuable guidance to those impacted.
His Grace, ✠Jerome had the privilege of attending the conference hosted by the Society for the Protection of Unborn Children in Milton Keynes last weekend. It proved to be an incredibly encouraging and inspiring experience. The passionate speakers effectively communicated the remarkable efforts undertaken by the charity in their dedicated pursuit of the goal to “make abortion unthinkable”.
We were delighted on the first evening to hear in person one of the UK’s most courageous spokesmen for the gospel and orthodox Christianity, culture warrior Deacon Calvin Robinson. He gave an inspiring talk about the importance and relevance of the pro-life campaign for the sake of women and unborn children and some great words of encouragement to all present. We took the opportunity to thank him for his efforts online and in the media “to speak the truth to power” and assured him of our support and prayers for his work.
Deacon Robinson was the sole “keynote” speaker this year, as the Executive Committee judiciously deemed it preferable to update the members on the charitable campaigns and advancements since the previous in-person conference in 2019, prior to the Covid outbreak. Diverse members of the SPUC staff shared their expertise through informative presentations, interactive workshops, and engaging showcases, illuminating the remarkable achievements and ongoing endeavors of the organization.
SPUC National Conference 22-24 September 2023. Kents Hill Park Training and Conference Centre, Milton Keynes. Photo by and copyright of Paul McSherry 07770 393960 @Paulmcsherry2 L-R SPUC CEO John Deighan with Deacon Calvin Robinson, and addressing conference; His Grace ✠Jerome with Deacon Calvin.
The conference commenced with a formal address delivered by the esteemed CEO. John Deighan, a distinguished Papal knight, brings an extensive history of political campaigning and media involvement on ethical matters, spanning nearly three decades in both the Scottish and Westminster Parliaments. He initially pursued a career in engineering and teaching before dedicating sixteen years as the Parliamentary Officer of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of Scotland. In 2021, he assumed the role of CEO of SPUC UK, succeeding veteran pro-life campaigner, John Smeaton. John delivered an eloquent and compelling speech at the conference, leaving the audience deeply inspired.
We were thoroughly impressed by the extensive range of projects currently in progress. These include ongoing initiatives to engage with schools, as well as the development of RSE curriculum support materials, theatrical productions, and even a feature film with globally recognised actors. Additionally, efforts are being made to provide support for pregnant students and offer after-abortion recovery care and support services for women. The talks and showcases proved to be highly informative in a professional setting.
The opening presentation was given by Alithea Williams, the Public Policy Manager at SPUC, titled “An Historical Aberration? A Comprehensive Look at 55 Years of Abortion in the United Kingdom.” During her talk, she meticulously examined the legal history of abortion, both in ancient times and specifically in our own country and the beginnings of the pro-life movement. It wasn’t until the 20th century that the concept of the fetus as a non-human entity gained traction, influenced by ideologies such as Communism, National Socialism, and eugenics, before eventually being adopted by feminists.
Advocates for abortion rights consistently endeavor to contest this notion by utilizing language and terminology that diminishes the significance of the fetus and the act of abortion. Nevertheless, the fundamental principle of acknowledging the humanity of the Unborn remains the cornerstone of British law, as exemplified by recent case law.
Carla Foster was convicted for performing a late-term abortion during the Covid pandemic. Initially sentenced to 28 months in prison, her sentence was later reduced to a 14-month suspended one. She was convicted under the Offences Against the Person Act 1861, Foster in Stoke-on-Trent Crown Court by Justice Edward Pepperall “for administering drugs or using instruments to procure an abortion”.
Presented by Margaret Akers, SPUC Services Co-ordinator, the informative discussion on “Changing Narratives: How SPUC’s Impact on Women Can Drive Positive Change” shed light on the impact of abortion on women. A new initiative called Her Voice was introduced, which allows women to share their personal experiences of abortion and its effects. The website provides a platform for women to record their testimonies, which can be shared with others seeking to understand the impact of abortion.
Margaret also shed light on two ongoing initiatives. The Alma Mater Fund, which extends financial assistance to university students facing unplanned pregnancies, and The Abortion Recovery Care & Helpline (ARCH), SPUC’s affiliated organization, dedicated to supporting women, men, and families in rebuilding their lives and relationships post-abortion. Both these initiatives are making a huge difference to the lives of the women and families they help.
We also learned about the SPUC petition on Abortion Coercion, calling on the Health Secretary to commission research into the area of abortion coercion, and in doing so, to make this “insidious problem” a priority for health and social policy moving forward. Ideas about “choice” and “autonomy” are central to the abortion industry, however, many abortions take place because a woman feels she has no choice – either because of her circumstances, or because she has been forced by her partner, family, or even medical professionals. Highlighting the insidious problem of abortion coercion is one of SPUC’s current major campaign concerns.
The problem of abortion coercion is backed up by recent research. A BBC poll found that 15% of all British women had experienced pressure or coercion to have an abortion that they did not want. In addition, 3% (33) of respondents said they had been given a substance or tablet to induce an abortion without their knowledge or consent. 5% (54 women) said they had experienced physical violence with the intent to end their pregnancy.
Michael Robinson, Executive Director of SPUC (Public Affairs and Legal Services), delivered a presentation titled “Making abortion unthinkable.” During the session, he delved into the successful advocacy efforts that have led to changes in abortion laws in various countries. It was especially enlightening to gain insights into the strategic approaches employed by abortion advocates and similar activists, and to explore how we can leverage those same tactics to bring about positive change ourselves.
President of Texas Right to Life, Dr. John Seago’s interview provided a comprehensive explanation of how strategically shifting the conversation around the Unborn to emphasize their inherent humanity proved to be a highly effective approach in influencing public opinion and driving legislative change. Through his groundbreaking Texas Heartbeat Act, Senate Bill 8 (SB 8), Dr. Seago played a pivotal role in the momentous overturning of Roe V Wade in the United States on June 24, 2022. This remarkable accomplishment solidifies his status as a trailblazer in the pro-life cause worldwide.
We also saw presentations from other SPUC staff highlighting other areas of the charity’s work from Fundraising, Communications, Policy & Legal through Advocacy & Development, Creative Cultural & Youth Development and SPUC’s Video Producer and Content Creator. From these we learned that grass roots membership of the charity had grown since the previous conference from 37’000 to 40’000 members and nine new branches have been formed in the past eighteen months.
We also gained knowledge about the remarkable initiatives undertaken in collaboration with schools, “LifeVoice” including partnering with a theatre company to create and stage compelling plays. Furthermore, the SPUC team has successfully executed a prestigious film project that has already garnered recognition and received an award at the esteemed Cannes Film Festival. In addition, SPUC is diligently working on producing comprehensive materials and resources for the Relationships & Sex Education curriculum, which will be implemented nationwide across Scotland in the upcoming academic year.
SPUC National Conference 22-24 September 2023. Kents Hill Park Training and Conference Centre, Milton Keynes. Photo by and copyright of Paul McSherry 07770 393960 @Paulmcsherry2
Conference workshops and sessions gave delegates opportunity to ask and share knowledge
The workshops proved to be highly educational, providing valuable insights for the delegates. The interactive nature of these sessions allowed participants to not only learn more about each other but also gain a deeper understanding of their collective endeavors in the pro-life movement. The SPUC staff skillfully facilitated branch development, engagement with local clergy, ARCH initiatives, and youth work, exhibiting utmost professionalism throughout. There were also stalls providing information and resources for various SPUC pro-life partners, campaigns and projects.
As the first in-person conference since 2019, there was a remarkable sense of camaraderie and fellowship among the delegates. Interestingly, two-thirds of the attendees were attending for the first time, reflecting the significant growth in membership and activism in recent months. The conference capacity had to be expanded three times to accommodate the overwhelming interest from those who wished to attend with the final total numbering 180 delegates from across the British Isles. Moreover, financial assistance was able to be provided to all those who needed help to attend. In addition to ✠Jerome other clergy were also present, including diocesan priests, the FSSP and Marian Franciscans.
Despite being a non-religious organization, SPUC brings together Christians from various denominations who share the pro-life cause in common. Throughout the event, attendees had the chance to participate in Masses and prayer services, including the Traditional Latin Mass with many delegates expressing their gratitude for the opportunity to experience the traditional Catholic liturgy for the first time. Meal times and evenings provided moments for fellowship and enjoyable entertainment. On the first evening, the audience was delighted by CEO John Deighan’s daughter’s singing and guitar performance, while the second night featured a lively Ceilidh with a live band and dance caller. Both the staff and delegates thoroughly enjoyed these occasions, allowing them to relax and engage in meaningful conversations.
The upcoming Youth Conference is scheduled for February, and there are plans to organize two or three one-day conferences in different regions. Additionally, many hope there will be another three-day conference in the near future. Delegates thoroughly enjoyed the chance to connect, engage in prayer, share meals, and catch up with one another, as well as interact with the SPUC staff. The conference venue proved to be exceptionally suitable for this kind of event. Overall, everyone expressed their satisfaction with the high quality and diverse food options provided during mealtimes, as well as the comfortable accommodations and helpful, friendly venue staff.
As the oldest and largest pro-life organization in the world, SPUC unequivocally demonstrated its professionalism and unwavering commitment to its charitable objectives. The caliber of their campaigns and projects, along with their flawless execution, left a lasting impression on all who attended. The Executive Committee, CEO John Deighan, and the entire SPUC staff deserve heartfelt congratulations for orchestrating an extraordinary event that will be etched in the memories of those fortunate enough to attend.
For more information about SPUC and its efforts for the pro-life cause, or to become a member visit www.spuc.org.uk
✠Jerome will be discussing this matter at a Free Speech Union event on Tuesday, September 26th, at The Sussex Pub, St Catherine’s Terrace, Hove under the title, “All protected characteristics are equal, but some are more equal than others” together with fellow co-founders of PSHEBrighton, a support group for parents and allies concerned about the delivery of Personal Social Health Education (PSHE) and Relationships & Sex Education (RSE) in local schools.
Update July 2023
The Archbishop has instructed solicitors Doyle Clayton of One Crown Court, Cheapside, London to address a related matter concerning his “cancellation” as an elected Faith Representative for a Third Sector organisation in Brighton & Hove.
Doyle Clayton represents parents, students, teachers and professors in claims regarding discrimination, misconduct and bullying. Practice head Simon Henthorn is ‘professional, knowledgeable and kind – he can be robust when needed, but shows great compassion‘. Peter Daly, who joined from Slater and Gordon in early 2021, has represented clients in some high-profile cases regarding alleged harassment and intimidation over philosophical beliefs. Associate Amara Ahmad focuses on children’s law, specialising in advising on special educational needs and safeguarding.
✠Jerome welcomes and regards with interest the latest statement in Parliament made by the Rt Hon Michelle Donelan MP, the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, of the UK Government’s intention to once more attempt to introduce legislation to ban “conversion therapy”. He particularly appreciates the concluding paragraph of the statement; “The legislation must not, through a lack of clarity, harm the growing number of children and young adults experiencing gender related distress, through inadvertently criminalising or chilling legitimate conversations parents or clinicians may have with their children.” He sincerely hopes that unlike last time, the new legislation will be clearer in language and terminology concerning the need to protect victims, prevent abuse and yet permit the normal course of authentic (i.e. harmless) religious praxis.
At the end of 2021, ✠Jerome together with ‘Over 2500 Christian Ministers and Pastoral Workers’ signed a public response to the UK Government’s consultation on the then proposed ban of Conversion Therapies.
The “Ministers’ Consultation Response” (MRC full text in footnotes) took the form of a letter with an accompanying ‘background and analysis’ report. The letter expressed a concern that the then proposed Conversion Therapy Ban would (perhaps inadvertently) have the effect of criminalising some ‘normal practices of religion’ which many Christians follow regarding Biblical moral teachings.
At the conclusion of the consultation process in February 2022 and delivery of the MRC letter to Government offices, over 5000 signatories representing a wide spectrum of Christian denominations and ministries had signed it.
After the MRC letter was made public, several censorious comments regarding its content and notions were voiced, which led to the slanderous vilification of its authors as well as many of the Christian pastors and supporters who had signed it. Unfortunately, this has involved incorrect information about the objectives and motives of the signatories.
To counter misinformation, ✠Jerome would like to make the following points clear:
He wholeheartedly supports a ban of “conversion therapy”.
He signed the MRC letter because it represented a broadly traditional Christian perspective.
It was his considered opinion that the proposed draft legislation was “not fit for purpose”.
He did not sign the letter as Chair of Brighton & Hove Faith in Action. [See image below]
Ref Conversion Therapy
✠Jerome is a firm believer in one of the core values of Christianity, which is the capability of individuals to voluntarily embrace the religion, its teachings, and practices. He strongly believes in the concept of “the primacy of conscience”, which is the principle that an individual should act in accordance with their own conscience. To sum up, ✠Jerome does not approve of “conversion therapy” because it would be in conflict with his conscience and his faith, and he advocates for the banning of it.
Ref traditional Christian teaching
✠Jerome, as an orthodox Catholic bishop, holds to the traditional Catholic belief that the Sacrament of Marriage can only be shared between a male and female and that sexual activity is meant only for those who are married and for the purpose of having children. He does not pass judgement on those who have a different opinion or live a lifestyle that is not in line with traditional Christianity, or on other lawful types of partnerships. The Equalities Act 2010 gives ✠Jerome the right to uphold his beliefs and express them in public.
Not fit for purpose
When discussing the banning of “conversion therapy”, ✠Jerome expressed genuine apprehension about the draft legislation. The legislation could be interpreted in an imprecise manner and could be used to prosecute those educating Sunday School, Madrasa or Chinuch children, hosting homegroups or Bible Studies; providing pastoral support, relationships and marriage counselling; and providing confessional advice or conversion to Christianity or any other religion. ✠Jerome felt these concerns were addressed by the MRC letter while still condemning “conversion therapy”.
Other voices were also critical of the proposed legislation, among them LGBTQ+ charity Stonewall, it stated “A ban on conversion practices that doesn’t cover both sexual orientation and gender identity protects nobody.” A concern echoed by Jayne Ozanne, a former Government adviser on LGBTQ+ issues who stated the Bill would create a “loophole of consent” which will continue to put “many lives” at risk. ✠Jerome was concerned that any new legislation should be properly and comprehensively devised. Weighing up the criticism from all ‘sides’ of the debate and considering the feasibility of the draft legislation, particularly with regard to implementation, he concluded that in his opinion it was “not fit for purpose”.
Ref Brighton & Hove Faith in Action
✠Jerome put his name to the letter in his capacity as a Christian pastor, it had nothing to do with his position with BHFA. His action did not breach the organization’s Equality & Diversity Policy nor any existing laws on equality and diversity, such as the Equalities Act 2010. BHFA is a multi-faith organization and does not represent the opinion of any one faith or all faiths. Its primary purpose is to promote good relations between faith groups and statutory agencies in the delivery of social action and community initiatives. ✠Jerome’s actions as a Christian pastor are independent from and should not be conflated with BHFA on any matter.
✠Jerome would highlight the emphasis in the second paragraph of the letter which stated and reflects his own attitude, approach and praxis pastorally;
“In our churches we welcome and show love to many people who have different experience and views, including same-sex attraction and forms of gender transition. We always seek to act in love, with gentleness and respect, for the good of all, and never with any form of coercion or control.”
The Ministers’ Consultation Response 2022
✠Jerome has a personal understanding of the kind of coercive control that is known as “conversion therapy” since he has experienced it himself. He shows true empathy and compassion for others who have been subjected to this kind of manipulation and cruelty, and would never support such practices or allow them to be done to anyone else. He knows that there have been, and still are, a number of destructive and harmful approaches that are considered to be “Christian ministry” and that are rightly considered to be “conversion therapy”. He recognizes the damage that these approaches can cause, and he is firmly against them continuing.
✠Jerome is adamant that people who have undergone “conversion therapy” should be given the opportunity to speak out about any emotional or mental abuse they may have experienced. He also implores other Christian leaders to give due attention to these stories and not fault the victims for the psychological pain they have endured. Additionally, he is of the strong opinion that any “Christian ministries” that attempt to disguise their damaging practices with euphemisms should be exposed and reprimanded.
All his life, ✠Jerome has been a passionate advocate of civil rights and freedoms. As a former student activist and trade unionist, he has been engaged in struggles for equality and diversity for over three decades. In his ministry, ✠Jerome has been particularly conscientious about applying these principles. In 2009, he walked an 80ft tightrope above the Zippos Circus Big Top to draw attention to The Sussex Beacon, a local HIV/AIDS hospice. Over the years, he has raised money for a variety of charities that attempt to reduce the stigma associated with HIV/AIDS and other challenges faced by the LGBTQ+ community, such as mental health and sexual wellbeing.
Previously holding the position of Chair of Churches Together in Central Brighton and presently acting as Chair of Brighton & Hove Faith in Action, ✠Jerome has been striving to bring together people from different religious affiliations and denominations, particularly to work together to tackle social issues. He was an original founder of the Upstanders Network formed to enable people to detect and handle circumstances of prejudice and intimidation in public spaces. Additionally, he is a trustee of the Brighton & Hove Racial Harassment Forum, contributing significantly to creating solutions to assist victims of hate crimes based on faith or ethnicity.
✠Jerome has devoted his life to uniting various kinds of people to further the progress of society. He understands that differing backgrounds and outlooks are to be respected, not relativised. His long-standing commitment to inclusion, and to producing holistic answers to societal issues, is evident to those who have seen him in action. He is demonstrative of the fact that it is possible to hold traditional Christian values and still accept aspects of today’s world without being judgmental and bigoted.
✠Jerome hopes that this explanation would aid those who may have misinterpreted or mistakenly misjudged his purpose for signing the Ministers’ Consultation Response, to understand his stance on the issues and his repeated desire to see a clear and comprehensive legislative ban of “conversion therapy”.
The text of the Consultation document may be read here and a critique of it by the Evangelical Alliance here
An objective appraisal of the letter may be found here in response to criticism by the Anglican Bishop of Oxford
The actual text of the letter, information about the authors and the arguments sent to the Secretary of State may be read here:
Right in the heart of Bratislava is the neoclassical Primate’s Palace (Primaciálny Palác), built for Archbishop József Batthyány, from 1778 to 1781 after the design of architect Melchior Hefele. This architectural jewel is where Napoleon signed the Peace of Pressburg in 1805 in the Palace’s Hall of Mirrors after the Battle of Austerlitz. As a result of the Peace of Pressburg, the Holy Roman Empire was dissolved, and Emperor Francis II proclaimed himself Emperor Francis I of Austria.
The Old Roman apostolate in Slovakia is privileged to offer Mass regularly including on Sundays in the chapel of the palace and has already made history for hosting the first ordinations in the Tridentine Rite since the Second Vatican Council, conferred by ✠Jerome. There are few options for Catholics to attend the traditional Latin Mass and the work of our apostolate is hopeful to draw those perturbed by the current attitude of the Roman hierarchy.
The palace also contains a rare collection of English tapestries from the 17th century. They were produced at the royal tapestry works in the English town of Mortlake, but were only rediscovered during a reconstruction in 1903. The exquisite fountain of St George, depicting the legendary knight slaying the dragon, stands in the square inner courtyard of the Primate’s Palace. According to one legend the figure of St George represents the archbishop, and his fight with the dragon symbolises the efforts of the Catholic Church to banish the Reformation from the city.
Recently the pastor of the apostolate in Bratislava, Revd Dr Adam Sýkora sung a Requiem Mass & Absolution in the chapel for the repose of the soul of Andrej Kovarik with family and friends in attendance.
“Who is going to save our Church? Not our bishops, not our priests and religious. It is up to you, the people. You have the minds, the eyes, and the ears to save the Church. Your mission is to see that your priests act like priests, your bishops act like bishops, and your religious act like religious.”
Archbishop Fulton J. Sheen, in an address to the Supreme Convention of the Knights of Columbus, June 1972
The Old Roman apostolate and its Operation Fidem Servare seeks to serve the current diaspora of Traditional Catholics across every nation and continent of the world who are disaffected, or who feel isolated or alienated from their local parishes due to the Modernist crisis prevalent in the Church today.
The Old Roman apostolate emphasises the importance of lay involvement in the Church and strives to empower the laity to actively participate in the faith. Operation Fidem Servare encourages lay Catholics to embrace their Christian vocation and contribute to the renewal and restoration of unity in the Church and an end to the current crisis.
Trusting in Christ’s promises
Trusting in the promises of Our Lord Jesus Christ, the foundation of the Old Roman apostolate anywhere is the Cell, a small group of at least two or three individual Catholic Christians committed to the principles of Operation Fidem Servare or “preserving the faith.”
“For where there are two or three gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them.”
St Matthew 18:20
Each cell serves as a foundation locally for a wider apostolate, acting as an initial unit of support, teaching, and fellowship. These cells are typically formed by individuals who share a common commitment to the Catholic faith, its realisation in traditional devotion and praxis, and a desire to spread its teachings. By meeting together, they strengthen their own faith and unite in their mission to live and preserve authentic Catholicism.
The idea of the cell system is rooted in the early Christian communities, who would gather in small groups to worship learn, and support one another (see Acts 2:42-47). This model provides for a more intimate and personal form of spiritual growth, fostering a strong sense of community among its members.
And they were persevering in the doctrine of the apostles, and in the communication of the breaking of bread, and in prayers… Praising God, and having favour with all the people. And the Lord increased daily together such as should be saved.
Acts of the Apostles 2:42-47
Within each cell, members engage in various activities aimed at nurturing their faith and passing it on to others. These activities include regular prayer meetings, Bible studies, discussions on Catholic doctrine, and outreach programs to share the message of the faith with others through acts of corporal and spiritual mercy.
Most importantly the members will meet socially together regularly, to pray, share meals and through their conversation receive support and encouragement to develop individually and collectively their faith and its realisation; to build a family of Christians.
Rebuilding the Church: living stones
Amidst wars, moral corruption and materialistic pursuits, St. Francis received a divine message from Christ Himself. He heard the command, “Francis, go and rebuild my Church.” This call resonates with our present time, mirroring the challenges and chaos that surround us.
Yet St Francis had invaluable advice, “Start by doing what is necessary, then what is possible, and suddenly you are doing the impossible.” These words offer a guiding light, inspiring us to make a difference and initiate change, however daunting the task may seem.
Through the establishment of cells, the Old Roman apostolate aims to create a network of interconnected communities that collectively work towards the preservation and perpetuation of the Catholic faith. By nurturing individual faith and fostering fellowship, the cells play a vital role in ensuring that the Catholic faith continues to thrive and inspire generations by relaying a firm foundation upon Christ (Ephesians 2:19-22).
“Be you also as living stones built up, a spiritual house, a holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices, acceptable to God by Jesus Christ.”
1 Peter 2:5
The term living stones in 1 Peter 2:5 is used as a metaphor to illustrate the secure and intimate relationship believers have with Christ, Who is described in the previous verse as the “living Stone” (1 Peter 2:4). Together, these two verses picture how Christ and His followers are joined by God Himself, the foundation of God’s building is His Son, Jesus Christ, the “living Stone.” The “living stones,” in turn, are believers who come to Jesus and place their lives upon this foundation.
Believers, then, are the “living stones” of the church that Jesus promised to build upon (Matthew 16:18). As living stones, we have new life in Christ (2 Corinthians 5:17). As integral parts of the building of God, we have security in Christ (John 6:37). As the Master Builder, God places His living stones just where He wants us to be (1 Corinthians 12:18). As living stones, we are connected to one another in the body of Christ (Romans 12:5). Our Lord, the foundation Stone, is alive forevermore and will never crumble. He will support us eternally.
The Old Roman apostolate in its effort toward the restoration of the Church regards each “living stone” founded upon Christ by baptism as integral to its mission, and each group of “living stones” as a foundation upon which to build “a spiritual house” a worldwide oratory that will glorify God, make reparation to Jesus, and bring souls to salvation.
“Other Sheep I Have”
In addition to the cell system, the Old Roman apostolate also emphasizes the importance of evangelization and spreading the message of Catholicism beyond the confines of the cell groups. This can be achieved through various means, such as organizing retreats, hosting public talks, engaging in charitable activities, and utilizing modern communication platforms to reach a wider audience.
The Old Roman apostolate sees itself as of ancillary service to the Church, not an alternative, and to this end, any Catholic minded toward Tradition as the answer to the current crisis is welcome to join a cell and participate in the activities of the wider apostolate. Whether they belong to a conventional parish, a Traditional Catholic mission or parish or attend an Old Roman mission or oratory. All are welcome who are willing to work toward the restoration and unity of the Church.
Cells may be supported by an Old Roman priest who will visit as often as may be practicable or members may travel regularly together to an Old Roman mission to receive the sacraments. It is not required that members receive the sacraments exclusively from Old Roman priests. Ultimately cells belong to an administrative area of the apostolate, a territory or region overseen by a traditional Catholic bishop who both guarantees the provision of sacraments according to the traditional rites, and assures the orthodoxy of teaching and praxis.
The principles of Operation Fidem Servare together with the Cell system, and through evangelism, the Old Roman apostolate seeks to create a vibrant and resilient Catholic community that remains faithful to its mission and actively works towards preserving and spreading the faith. Through the dedication and efforts of individual cells, the Catholic faith can continue to flourish and inspire future generations to embrace its precepts and values.
In this way the great work envisioned by Pope Leo XIII may be realised;
This good and great work requires to be helped also by the industry of those among the laity in whom a love of religion and of country is joined to learning and goodness of life. By uniting the efforts of both clergy and laity, strive, Venerable Brethren, to make men thoroughly know and love the Church…
Pope Leo XII, encyclical “Humanum genus” April 20th,1884
Are you a traditional Catholic seeking to deepen your faith and engage in Christian outreach? Look no further!
Join the Old Roman Apostolate and our Operation Fidem Servare, be part of a sacred mission to preserve and promote traditional Catholic doctrine and praxis. Embrace the opportunity to deepen your faith, engage in Christian outreach, and experience the richness of traditional Catholic culture.
As an apostolate, we are dedicated to upholding the teachings of our Lord Jesus Christ and spreading the Good News to all nations. By joining us, you will have avenues to actively participate in spreading the Gospel, showing God’s love and mercy to those in need. Together, let us revive the missionary spirit and save the Church.
The Old Roman Apostolate is inviting you to join us on a journey of personal holiness and authentic Catholic culture. At the Old Roman Apostolate, we cherish the timeless traditions of the Church and promote traditional piety. As a member, you’ll have the opportunity to experience and grow in the richness of traditional Catholic doctrine and praxis.
Our communities foster fellowship, providing a supportive environment for your spiritual growth. Through our various avenues for service, you can actively participate in Christian outreach, making a positive difference in the world. Whether it’s within your family, neighbourhood, local community, one of our Mission parishes, or territories we offer opportunities or support for you to utilize your talents and passions in service to others.
Join us in preserving and promoting the beauty of the Catholic faith. Together, we can develop our personal holiness, strengthen our understanding of Tradition, and impact the world with the love of Our Saviour, Jesus Christ.
Contact us today to embark on this inspiring journey with the Old Roman Apostolate!
Organisation of the Old Roman apostolate
The Old Roman apostolate is organised globally into regions and territories with episcopal administrators who oversee the work and life of the clergy, missions, cells and oratories of the faithful. It is a completely voluntary endeavour, the faithful and clergy give of their time, talents, skills, abilities and monies as they feel inspired to, and as may be necessary for the fulfilment of the mission.
A Cell: two or three individuals living in close proximity to each other, who meet together on a regular basis to pray and enjoy fellowship. Cells are foundation stones of the Old Roman apostolate and the kernel of the missions.
A Mission: several Cells and individuals, motivated by prayer and fellowship, desiring to live out their Christian mission as orthodox Catholics, who form together a definite apostolate for mission and outreach in their locality. Visited regularly by, or served, and directed by a traditional Catholic priest, the Mission may be the basis for the foundation of an Oratory.
An Oratory: when a significant number of Old Roman Cells and individuals have formed together a mission, and desire a regular sacramental life sustained by the sacraments administered according to the traditional rites and liturgies of the Church, and are able to sustain sacrificially the subsistence of a priest, and provide what is necessary for the worthy and proper offering of the liturgies, and a place of regular public worship.
A Territory: a country wherein an Old Roman apostolate is present and functioning with cells, missions and oratories served by clergy, and requiring, and able to support the ministry of an episcopal administrator to oversee the apostolate.
A Region: generally the designation of a continent(/s) or significant geographical area encapsulating several territories and Old Roman apostolates, overseen by a senior episcopal administrator in collaboration with the territorial episcopal administrators.
The community outreach work undertaken by the Old Roman apostolate sets it apart from other Traditional Catholic movements. This work is considered crucial in expressing our identity as Christians and serves as a testimony of our faith through both corporal and spiritual works of mercy.
By engaging in community outreach, the Old Roman apostolate emphasizes the importance of compassion, empathy, and selflessness, aiming to make a positive impact on the lives of those in need. Through these acts the apostolate strives to bring the love and teachings of Christ to the wider community.
The Old Roman Mission Chapels at Cebu City under the direction of Fr Harold Plaza had a Medical, Optical and Dental Mission and Brigada Eskwela on Saturday, August 19th held at Marigondon Elementary School, Marigondon, Lapulapu City, Cebu.
Brigada Eskwela is an activity undertaken in public schools a week before classes begin, where people voluntarily help to clean up and repair classrooms and school environs to prepare schools for the beginning of the new academic year.
✠Gerhard, Cardinal Müller has called it a “hostile takeover” of the Catholic Church. The late ✠George, Cardinal Pell termed it a “toxic nightmare”. Now, ✠Raymond, Cardinal Burke has written a foreword to a new book denouncing the Synod on Synodality as a “Pandora’s Box” that threatens to unleash grave harm on the Mystical Body of Christ.
The Synodal Process is a Pandora’s Box, co-authored by José Antonio Ureta and Julio Loredo de Izcue, presents readers with a series of 100 questions and answers aimed at informing the general public about a debate they say has been “largely limited to insiders” despite its “potentially revolutionary impact.”
In the foreword, Cardinal Burke says that “a revolution is at work to change radically the Church’s self-understanding.” The American cardinal expresses his fear that the Synod will be heavily influenced by the German bishops, “spreading widely confusion and error and their fruit, division.” He notes that the negative results have “already begun to happen through the preparation for the Synod at the local level.” Cardinal Burke’s foreword appears in the book The Synodal Process as a Pandora’s Box, which uses a question-and-answer format to persuade readers that the Synod will have a “potentially revolutionary impact.” The book’s publication was announced August 22.
Announced by Pope Francis in 2021, the Synod on Synodality is being held in three phases: local, continental and universal. In October, the universal stage will begin with the sixteenth Ordinary General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops, which will bring together 300 bishops and laity at the Vatican. A second assembly is to be held in 2024. Earlier this year, Pope Francis took the unprecedented step of granting equal voting rights to both episcopal and non-episcopal members.
The Archbishop’s annual visitation to France and the Dordogne apostolate (August 1-8th) concluded this year with a pilgrimage to Notre Dame de Rocamadour a renowned pilgrimage site in France. Nestled within the stunning cliffs above the medieval city, this ancient sanctuary draws pilgrims from all over the world.
The Archbishop’s visitation served as a symbolic gesture of faith and unity, as he led the clergy and faithful on a spiritual journey to pay homage to the Virgin Mary. The pilgrimage not only strengthened the bond between the Church and her followers but also provided an opportunity for reflection, prayer, and renewal of faith. It beautifully portrayed the concept of the “pilgrim Church” for those recently Confirmed and for the faithful of the Old Roman apostolate.
The Sanctuary is composed of a cluster of seven chapels and churches. Above them higher up the cliff face is the castle that was built to protect the Sanctuary and below is the town that grew up to accommodate the pilgrims who came to visit.
The 12th to 13th centuries marked the town’s apogee, when much of the building work took place. Royalty and religious and military leaders were among the visitors. But this highpoint was short lived. A combination of wars, epidemics, climate change and consequent famines considerably reduced the population and prevented people going on pilgrimages. Protestant mercenaries sacked the town during the Wars of Religion, and despite sporadic attempts to rebuild it, Rocamadour remained largely forgotten until the 19th century.
The impressive task of restoring the sanctuaries in the 19th century can be attributed to the efforts of two individuals, the Abbot of Caillau who had been miraculously cured by the intercession of Our Lady of Rocamadour, and Bishop Bardou of Cahors who organised the fundraising. The Abbot of Chevalt of the Montabaun diocese directed the restoration works. These men particularly are to be credited with the restoration of the old buildings filled with so much passion and feeling.
Legend has it that Rocamadour was home to a hermit, Zaccheus of Jericho, who is said to have personally spoken to Jesus. He died in 70AD and was buried at Rocamadour. The Virgin Mary was worshipped in Rocamadour from the 9th century but in 1166 a perfectly preserved body was found which was said by some to be Zacchaeus and by others to be Saint Amadour, a hermit who lived in the caves. The Abbot of Mont Saint-Michel, Robert de Thorigny a chronicler of the time wrote;
“In 1166, an inhabitant of the area at the end of his days, ordered his family (perhaps by Divine inspiration) to bury his body at the entrance to the shrine. Hardly had they begun digging, when the body of the blessed Amadour was found in its integrity. It was placed in the church, close to the altar for the worship of pilgrims. In this spot, so many extraordinary miracles occurred through the power of the Most Holy Virgin that King Henry II of England, who was at Castelnau de Bretenoux, came himself to worship.”
Either way the discovery caused the pilgrims to come flocking and Rocamadour became a major pilgrim destination. The body was found with a black wooden statue which has since been linked to many miracles and the Black Madonna attracts many pilgrims including, in the past, King Louis XI of France and King Henry II of England.
During the Middle Ages Rocamadour was the third most important pilgrimage destination in the world after the Holy Land and Santiago de Compostela. It still receives around one million pilgrims each year, some of them on “the Camino”.
Between the town and the Sanctuary is a steep staircase called the Grand Escalier which is composed of 216 steps. Pilgrims once climbed these steps on their knees as an act of penance with heavy chains around their necks that were taken off when they reached the top.
The pilgrimage to Notre Dame de Rocamadour was a deeply spiritual experience for both the Archbishop and the pilgrims. As they made their way up the steep winding path to the sanctuary, they were reminded of the challenges and sacrifices that come with their faith and the courage and persistence of previous pilgrims who for centuries had trod the same path. The views of the surrounding landscape served as a constant reminder of God’s creation and the beauty of the world.
At the centre of the Sanctuary is a small square called the Parvis des Eglises. Surrounding this are the different chapels and churches which have been built in a beautiful ornate style with towers, arched windows, crenellated walls and many more decorative features.
The Basilica Saint-Sauveur is an 11th to 13th century church built in Romanesque-Gothic style. It was designated a basilica in 1913. The basilica is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Next to the basilica is the Chapel of Notre-Dame which is home to the statue of the Black Madonna.
The Black Madonna is linked to many miracles and especially to the saving of lives at sea. Because of this there are many ex-votos (offerings) of ships hung on the walls and hanging from the ceiling is a bell which is said to ring each time a miracle happens. Women came to pray for her intercession, especially to grant them fertility.
Above the chapel is a sword called the Durandel sword. According to legend when Roland, the nephew of Charlemagne was badly injured in battle he begged the Archangel Michael to save his sword from the enemy. He threw it into the air and it miraculously landed in the rock face at Rocamadour 300 km away.
Upon reaching the sanctuary, the Archbishop lead the congregation in prayer and reflection. The pilgrims offered their intentions and sought solace in the presence of the Virgin Mary. The atmosphere of the chapel is filled with a sense of peace and serenity, allowing pilgrims to connect with their inner selves and deepen their relationship with God.
During the pilgrimage, individuals had the chance to interact with clergy members and fellow believers. They shared their faith stories, participated in discussions, and enhanced their sense of community. The Archbishop’s presence symbolized guidance and support, reminding everyone that they are not alone on their spiritual journey.
Throughout the pilgrimage, the pilgrims were encouraged to engage in acts of self-reflection and repentance. The chance to confess their sins, seek forgiveness, and renew their commitment to living a life of faith. This process of introspection allowed them to shed their burdens and emerge with a renewed sense of purpose and devotion.
The pilgrimage Notre Dame de Rocamadour is not just a physical journey, but a transformative experience for the pilgrims. It is a time for them to step away from distractions of everyday life and focus on their spiritual well-being. The serene and sacred atmosphere of the sanctuary provides the perfect setting for this introspection and renewal
As the close of the pilgrimage, the Archbishop addressed the congregation, offering words of encouragement reminding the importance of their faith. He emphasized the need to carry the lessons learned during the pilgrimage into their daily lives, spreading love, compassion, and understanding to encounter.
The annual visitation and pilgrimage to Notre Dame de Rocamadour served as a powerful symbol of faith, unity, and devotion. It was a time for the clergy and the faithful to come together, reaffirm their commitment to their beliefs, and find solace in the presence of the Virgin Mary. The pilgrimage offered an opportunity for prayer and renewal, leaving the pilgrims with a strengthened faith and a deeper connection to their spirituality.
This year, the South East of England summer retreat was held at the Monastery of the Holy Trinity, located on sixty acres of the picturesque Sussex countryside in Crawley Down. The focus of the retreat was on “The Tangibility of God,” emphasizing our capacity to encounter and recognize the presence of God in a concrete and genuine manner.
In our fast moving car, rushing past traffic on the M23, the slow drive through the beautiful green forests’ tunnel of trees was like passing from the noisy wild world into a haven of peace…
The monastery provided a perfect environment for prayer, as it is home to a community of religious contemplatives. The entire place exudes a peaceful atmosphere that is ideal for deep reflection and meditation. During their stay, the retreatants enjoyed delicious meals in silence, except on the feast of St James the Great when they were encouraged to engage in conversation!
We came seeking the tangibility of God and in those first few moments I became very aware of how tangibile He is in nature…
During the three-day retreat, participants were led by Archbishop Jerome in a series of informative sessions and devotional activities. Each day started with the Traditional Latin Mass and ended with Holy Hour and Benediction of the Blessed Sacrament, creating a peaceful atmosphere in the midst of nature. Additionally, attendees had the chance to receive the Sacrament of Penance and seek spiritual guidance.
Our discussion times were both interesting and thought provoking. Holy Hour, through silence, music, candles, brought me to the realisation that I could touch God through all my senses. Then @7am Mass each day, as the Host was placed on my tongue, this was the exact moment in which God touched me as my tongue touched Him in Jesus…
A particular favourite of the retreatants was a “Rosary Walk” through the woods surrounding the property, during which Archbishop Jerome gave meditations on the Sorrowful Mysteries incorporating the surroundings, referring to the flora with Scriptural and cultural references to deepen participants’ understanding of Christ’s Passion and the cosmic dimension of the Cross’s centrality to the restoration of creation. The Archbishop encouraged the participants to consider the Mysteries and Christ’s Passion in relation to their own lived experiences and openness to the awareness of God’s Presence in their lives.
There was a deeply moving and beautiful walking meditation in the woodland surrounding the monastery praying the holy Rosary. The presence of God was clearly tangible on this walk.
Conferences centred on the theme of the retreat and explored the different ways God is present to us, encouraging and enabling the retreatants to recognise and be open to acknowledging that God is “… Father of all, who is above all, and through all, and in us all” [cf Ephesians 4:6]. The Archbishop facilitated discussions on how the participants themselves could enable others to become similarly aware of God in discussions about God’s existence regarding nature and their own life experiences.
Our Rosary Walk I found extremely moving – standing as it were in an environment similar to the garden of Gethsemane, thinking of the “bitter cup” facing Jesus and “not my will but Thine” – I asked myself would I have the courage? Or would I be asleep too? Then in the holly tree grove linking Christmas Incarnation with Lent Crown of Thorns. Praying at the crossed pathways and imagining the narrow pathway ahead of me, I confess made my eyes leak…
The Archbishop explained that the very nature of God is love, and that creation is the great outpouring of the love and creative energy that the three Persons of the Holy Trinity generate and have for each other, and by extension that we are gifts of God’s love to each other. Through an exposition of the Divine Economy of Charity and the Commandments, the Archbishop discussed the meaning of life, intimate love, marriage and chastity. He reflected on contemporary ideologies with God’s revelation of Himself and how to understand the real purpose of our lives.
Time was given to allow the participants to ponder their connection with God and reflect on how they perceive His existence in their daily lives. Many took the opportunity to explore the beautiful grounds to think and meditate. When reassembled, they were encouraged to exchange personal anecdotes and instances where they had felt God’s palpable presence. The retreatants were encouraged to open themselves up to the possibility of experiencing God’s love through prayer, worship, service and fellowship.
The final conference reflected on “the tangibility of evil”. How evil manifests itself through the negative actions of people, with or without the suggestion of dark spiritual forces. How evil spirits affect those who, without awareness of God, are open and susceptible to demonic obsession, oppression and possession through suggestion and manipulation of the will. But those aware of God’s presence, who avail themselves of His grace through the sacraments, who keep His commandments and manifest charity, have nothing to fear.
Summing up – it was like an oasis of calm, a relaxation of normal duties, but also an intense time of focussing on God. How significant that it was three days. It helped me to remember how regularly Jesus withdrew to be alone with His Father. It was a time of renewal for me too.
At the end of the retreat, participants were filled with a renewed sense of awe and appreciation for the gift of God’s manifestation within His creation, of His abiding presence. All participants said they felt they had grown spiritually and had a deeper understanding of the tangible presence of God in their lives. They left with a deeper understanding of how to recognize and be open to the presence of God. As one participant remarked, “I now have a much clearer understanding of the Scriptures, and I have been given the tools to better recognize God’s presence in my life and explain it to others.” Through this retreat, participants were able to experience tangible moments that affirmed their faith and relationship with God.