Thursday, December 17, 2009

Through snowy countryside... Goring in Sussex, for a well-attended gathering in the comfortable barn hall attached to the church with the most magnificent of ceilings...

I was there to give a talk about English saints, and was warmly welcomed with hot soup and hugs and good cheer. It was a very happy evening. Organisers were the wonderful Bevan family, whose DVDs are proving a great success...the whole evening was fun, including a good discussion session at the end of the talk, and over tea and (home-made) cakes...

On the way there, through Surrey and Sussex, the countryside was grey with scudding snow, and bright windows glowed through the gathering dusk, an agreeable scene as the train whooshed along...everything felt Christmassy and rather enchanting. Yet there is a deep feeling of sadness over things at the moment: this Christmas sees us, as a nation, so very broken somehow. And the discussions, mentioned above, included a recurring theme "Do you not feel that there may be open oppression of Christians here at some stage? It all feels as though things are moving that way...that it will become unacceptable to voice the orthodox traditional Christian message, especially on things connected to marriage and family life..."


Jacobi said...

I think you may be right. In this country, we suffered state persecution from the sixteenth century until Catholic Emancipation in the nineteenth century and it seems that after a brief respite we again face persecution this time by the new state religion of Secularism.
As well as direct imprisonment, it will use law to permit financially crippling litigation by individuals. Schools and our very churches are in danger and I do not think that Catholics and other Christians yet realise the danger.
The success of the Secularists so far has relied on the ignorance and passivity of Christians - and the instinct of conformity which is now so much a part of Catholicism in Britain.

Unless the Catholic and Christian voice is now heard loud and clear by our polititians I am not at all optimistic about the outcome.

Perhaps we need a new "Pilgrimage of Grace", but carried through this time, unlike the last time, to a successful conclusion.

Jennifer said...

Dear Joanna,

I was just now enjoying today's show of "Feasts and Seasons" on EWTN.

The episode covered Christmas biscuits, and you mentioned that, in Britain, you can't get tin biscuit cutters in Christmas shapes.

I wanted to share with you a favorite tinsmith of mine here in the States. Foose Tinsmiths of Pennsylvania has been part of our Christmas tradition for over a decade. They have many Christmas shapes, include the Babe in the Manger, and their service is always cheerful and prompt. They can be found online at

I hope you find this helpful, and that the rest of your Gaudete week is truly joyful.


ps - I'm not affiliated in any way with the Foose family; I'm just a very happy customer.

Tom Mottershead said...


You recently spoke at a event called 'the evolution of the family' at the University of Manchester. One of my friends asked you a question about what you called the pragmatism of family relationships to a child. He questioned whether this was of primary importance; and suggested love was the most important thing for a child. Your reply was people who talk about love often do not understand it.

My question is would you say the same if Shakespeare, for example, had presented the same question to you?



Malcolm McLean said...

What Joanna meant was that many people say "all children need is love" to justify bringing them up without a father. However if a couple choose to impose that sort of family lifestyle on a child, they don't have love for each other, and they don't have love for the child.
Exceptions are extremely rare. We often hear that Dad is a moral or physical danger to the children, but these are usually the words of an embittered ex-partner.

However "all children need is love" isn't always uttered as a lame justification. Shakespeare or another great mind would have easily seen through the pretence with which the claim is often made, but might have come to a rather different conclusion to Joanna. So of course when someone of weight makes a statement, ypu treat it a bit differently.

Anonymous said...

It is just as scary in the US...this clip will explain why

Anonymous said...

Hurray for the Catholic League