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St. Mary Magdalen's
Catholic Church
Willesden Green
London NW10
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Friday, October 31, 2008
Cf. Hamlet Act 3, Scene 2
One week after cheering the HFE Bill fashionable Media and M.P.s cry “evil”.

What happened? 18th October last, post- 9p.m. pre-recorded Radio Two comedy show involved a 30 minute indecent taunting of Andrew Sachs (the actor who played Manuel in Fawlty Towers) on his ansa-phone concerning his granddaughter.
Who are the culprits? Two very popular and witty DJs, who spend a lot of their time humorously challenging moral limits – successfully attracting millions of viewers & listeners. Russell Brand has resigned from the BBC, Jonathan Ross, who is paid £6m/yr, seems too valuable to the BBC to go.
What are the previous examples of them pushing back limits? On the internet one can see the text of increasingly lewd and crude interviewing of celebrities by the clever Jonathan Ross over the last few years- for example with David Cameron, Jo Brand, Joanna Wilkinson, Jo Brand, Gwyneth Paltrow, etc. etc. And last April Russell Brand appeared making jokes about Jonathan Ross’s daughters which were extremely similar to those he made on 18th October.
What’s special about this case? It went even further – putting ‘likely to offend’ messages on a personal ansa-phone of someone of an older generation, whose values probably pre-date the relentless pushing back of limits by our modern cultural icons.
Isn’t this a bit like Tabloid reporting of celebrity relationships, or in-your-face soft-porn adverts on the back of buses, or on very large bill-boards? Yes, but this incident goes beyond currently fashionable limits. Its intrusion into privacy and its sexual inuendoes are of an even more personal and insensitive nature.
Is this a clear-cut, set-in-stone, moral limit? Current ways of thinking reject absolute limits. The values concerning relationships and reporting of the generation of Andrew Sachs have changed greatly - we are a lot more sexualized and intrusive. And the incident which has caused all this cultural furore is only a little worse than currently accepted celebrity interviewing & reporting
What has been the furore? Our Prime Minister, Opposition Leader, numerous other M.P.s and 27,000 others have formally complained, the BBC Director General has come home from hol.s, etc
Might some of these people have a short fuse, if they find previous interviews and tabloid reports OK but this incident horrific? Quite possibly. After all there certainly wasn’t such an outcry last week when the Human Fertilization and Embryology Bill pushed the anti-life culture forward yet another step, allowing human embryos to be created (and even brought to birth) as primarily a means to an end, and natural fatherhood to be removed from the life of a child.
Might modern psychology help us to understand this sudden angry outcry? Maybe. Certainly at moments of deep moral corruption humans have a tendency towards noisy denial.
What can we do? Repent, pray and work for healing and for the conversion of England.

posted by Sinead Reekie at 1:55 pm

Wednesday, October 29, 2008
Last Wednesday the government’s Human Fertilisation and Embryology Bill was passed by MPs by 355 to 129. It allows human/animal embryos to be created by cloning and used in experiments.
Besides allowing the creation of cloned human/animal embryos for experimentation, the bill will enshrine in law all the individual permissions given in the last 16 years by the UK’s Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority. It will allow homosexual partners to have children created for them in IVF labs given that it abolishes the requirement that doctors consider the “need for a father” in artificial procreation treatments. It allows the creation of children, called “saviour siblings,” to be used as tissue donors for siblings, and permits the genetic manipulation of embryos for eugenic purposes. Earlier this week, it was also revealed that the government plans to use the bill to allow the creation of human clones from tissues taken from mentally incapacitated patients who cannot give consent.
Thousands of people across the country had joined a concerted campaign against the bill, including Catholic bishops and scores of doctors, lawyers and academics. Our M.P. voted against it.
Amendments directly concerning abortion, including its extension to Northern Ireland (where virtually all the local political leaders were against it) were not debated.
Let us be aware of the increasing drift of our culture towards a post-Christian phase. Let us pray for the healing of the even deeper wounds, obvious and subtle, upon the social, psychological and spiritual fabric of our nation that this latest anti-life legislation will inflict.

posted by Sinead Reekie at 9:54 am

Friday, October 17, 2008
Whatever the result of the voting on the Embryology Bill on Oct 22nd (see white A5 leaflets at back) we will still be in a legislative and increasingly moral ‘culture of death’, in Pope John Paul II’s phrase. It would be good then to observe the 4th National Day of Prayer & Fasting for Life- Tues 28th Oct

A Reflection on the title of Pope John Paul II’s 1995 Letter “Evangelium Vitae": The Gospel of Life, from a talk by Fr Stephen Wang, lecturer at Allen Hall Seminary, to the Catholic Medical Association

“We take this term for granted now; it's part of our Catholic vocabulary – but it is a bold term to use. We might normally think that life is one of many moral issues. Human life might be a single chapter in a moral theology textbook, alongside telling the truth, sexual ethics, politics, etc. But Pope John Paul goes much further and says that the question of the value of human life is not just one of many moral issues, it's not even just a moral issue – it is the meaning of the very Gospel itself. He doesn't just put the question of abortion and euthanasia in the context of the larger gospel message, he turns it inside out and says that the gospel message, in effect, can only be understood in the context of an understanding of the value of human life. 'The Gospel of Life' is something concrete and personal, for it consists in the proclamation of the very person of Jesus. Jesus made himself known to the Apostle Thomas, and in him to every person, with the words: "I am the way, and the truth, and the life" (Jn 14:6)' (para. 29.2 of Evangelium Vitae)."

“To go against life is to go against the Gospel itself, which is the Good News that the Son of God came to share our human life and to give that life its deepest possible significance."

“Abortion and euthanasia are not just random items in the index of a moral theology textbook, they are defining issues, since there can be no morality without a foundational belief in the innate value of human life, and there can be no Christian gospel without an appreciation of the dignity of Jesus's own human nature.”

posted by Sinead Reekie at 2:10 pm

Monday, October 13, 2008
Many thanks for your great help that you have given in our difficult moments. Our gratitude goes to all you our fellow Christians who have given of yourselves to help us in our apostolate. We carry you in our prayers. Thank you for everything. Therese Mukandaliyo

Utilization of the 2714,000 Rwandan Francs (FRW)
(our £1195 at good exchange rate + offering at Cricklewood meditation eve & Gift Aid) to help the rebuilding following the earthquake.
“It has been impossible to put back that which was destroyed.
But we have built a small dormitory 8 metres by 5.”
Construction of the dormitory building FRW 1.700.000
• 12 beds, 4 tables and benches FRW 180.000
• 11 sets of bed clothes FRW 57.000
• Mattress protectors FWR 45.000
• 12 school uniforms FRW 60.000
• Purchase of a dairy cow for milk FRW 250.000
• Purchase of ½ acre of grass-land for cow FRW 400.000
TOTAL: 2,692,000
Remaining: 22,000

I would like to say a very sincere thank you for your monthly food collection for our clients here at CHC. We rely on charitable donations to provide food for our many homeless clients, and I can assure you, the food you donate to us every month really does help to provide meals for the less fortunate here in Cricklewood and surrounding areas. I thank you for your generosity in the past, and hope that we can rely on your continuing support in the future. If you would like to visit our newly built community centre, it would be a pleasure to show you round.
Thank you so much, Danny Maher CEO.

posted by Sinead Reekie at 9:31 am

Monday, October 06, 2008
It’s important today to keep our knowledge of what we believe up to scratch – and to do this in a prayerful, loving atmosphere. There’s a lot of questions and confusions out there … which probably affect most of us. Believing and charity are the two pillars of our relationship with God and with each other. To learn a bit more about what God in Christ through the Church has done and is doing for us all will help our loving.

People today are rightly searching for ‘self-improvement’ and ‘stress-release’ and ‘positive thinking’ techniques. The heart of the effectiveness of any technique is experiencing the truth about love. For instance the key to improving oneself is allowing God to. This involves knowledge of Him as well as love of Him.

“Golden Threads” explores the foundations of the Catholic faith in a style that is both informative and easy to understand. You do not have to speak and will not be asked questions! It will be run on Thursday evenings for anyone who wants to find out more about the Catholicism either for themselves or to pass on to others. You do not have to be a catechist to attend – ALL ARE WELCOME. If you attended last time, now is the opportunity to catch up on sessions you missed. If you enjoyed the course, please tell others.

The topics and dates are:
October 16, What Is the Holy Trinity?
October 23, Who is Jesus Christ?
November 6, How Does Christ Save Us?
November 13, How Do We Fit Into God’s Plan?
November 20, Why Does The Church Exist?
All sessions will take place in the annexe from 7.30 – 8.45pm.

posted by Sinead Reekie at 9:52 am

October is the month of the Holy Rosary. Perhaps now is the time for us all to redis-cover this beautiful prayer – where we say a “decade” of an Our Father and Ten Hail Mary’s whilst reflecting upon a particular moment of “mystery” of Our Lord’s life, death and resurrection, using beads to count, usually repeating such a decade five times.

Some of us may not know it. Some of us may not have figured out what it is all about.

In the Rosary we contemplate the life of Jesus. We ask Our Blessed Mother to help us to truly see her Son. She is Our Mother, there is no other hand which guides us so well to Jesus. By repeating the Hail Mary we enter into a meditation where our minds and our hearts are open to God.

For instance when we think of the Transfiguration of Our Lord on Mount Tabor (one of the “Luminous Mysteries”) do we see it as a dry bible story which has little meaning or will we allow Our Blessed Mother to break open the mystery and show it to us.

Pope John Paul II spoke about the great treasure of the rosary in the Apostolic letter he wrote on the rosary in 2002; “It is not just a question of learning what he taught but of ‘learning him’. In this regard could we have any better teacher than Mary?” (Rosarium Virginis Mariae no.14)

It is tradition to pray five decades each day. But some people find this too hard. Why don’t we try and pray one decade each day (1 Our Father, 10 Hail Marys, 1 Glory be) and make this part of our daily prayer in this month. Perhaps even slipping the rosary into our pocket and praying it as we are on the tube or out walking the dog. Who would have thought that walking the dog could have such a great effect on our spiritual lives?!

Our Lady of the Rosary, Pray for us.

posted by Sinead Reekie at 9:45 am