Wednesday, 28 September 2011

Good Counsel Network Ball

Good Counsel Network Fundraising Ball

Date: Saturday November 19th, 2011

Time: 6.30 PM

Location: 55 Exhibition Road, London, SW7 2PN. (nearest tube station is South Kensington)
This will be a fun evening with a delicious 3 course dinner,
live music and great dancing.
Price: £70 per person
Special Offer: £630 for table of 10.
Dress: Ladies Evening Dress, Gentlemen Black Tie

Further details are here.

We are putting together a Juventutem London table. If you would like to come, please send me an email.

Tuesday, 27 September 2011

Impromptu Mass + Social

1830hrs Monday 3rd October

Missa Cantata of St Teresa of the Child Jesus (St Therese of Lisieux) at Corpus Christi Catholic Church, Maiden Lane, London, WC2E 7NB. Closest station is Charing Cross. Embankment, Covent Garden and Leicester Square are all also within walking distance. Map

Followed by Social at Cecil Court Piazza, 92-93 St. Martin's Lane, WC2N 4AP. Map


Join Juventutem London as we pray to end abortion with 40 Days for Life London

I've posted (on my blog, Smeaton's Corner) before about London being the geo-political epicentre of the culture of death. But it is important to remember that it is also a place with an incredibly rich Catholic history and where in a few places the faith still burns brightly.

In England there are more than five hundred and seventy abortions every day and there are more in London than anywhere else in the country. One abortion is a tragedy. The tragedy of today is difficult to comprehend.

It is important to remember that we also have at least one hundred and five Catholic martyrs in London, at Tyburn alone. How many cities can boast that? That's not including Saint Thomas More and Saint John Fisher who departed this vale of tears on Tower Hill.

I say at least one hundred and five because no doubt the exact records are open to question in the tumultuous period of the so called Reformation. I've heard people say that there are almost certainly more.

Many of the Tyburn martyrs were included in the Forty English Martyrs canonised by Pope Paul VI in 1970. One of the Tyburn martyrs is Saint John Houghton. Richard Marsden has written an excellent account of Saint John's final moments.
St John Houghton is the protomartyr of the English Reformation. He was the first faithful Catholic in a long line to the gallows. The description of his execution is particularly excruciating to read. He was cut down whilst suspended in the air by his neck, agonisingly choking. He was cut down whilst still alive and after a brief moment to recover his senses, his body was ripped apart. The executioner had difficulty ripping out his heart, digging about in Fr Houghton’s body. When finding it (still beating), the executioner tore it from his body and held it in the air. The almost dead John gasped: “Sweet Jesus, what will you do with my heart?” 

Saint John Houghton
The Site of the Tyburn Tree is located at the southern end of the Edgware Road, just north of Hyde Park and west of Oxford Street. For those who don't know London, that's pretty much plonk in the middle of the West End. That's less than two miles from the 40 Days for Life London vigil in Bedford Square. These Saints who made the ultimate sacrifice of love are our patrons and defenders. What shall we fear?

The Forty English Martryrs

Tyburn as it looks today, in the middle of a busy traffic island. It's about the  size of two or three regular paving stones.
London is my family home. Regular readers of this blog will know that, having lived there for three years, I also have something of a soft spot for Australia and Sydney in particular. Naturally, I often think of the differences between both life generally and between the Church in England and in Australia. One of the differences is that Australia is home to a single canonised Saint - Saint Mary of the Cross.

In a country with only a single canonised Saint I have seen remarkable things happen and experienced moments of life changing grace. The Church in Australia experiences many of the same problems as we are experiencing throughout the Western world, but in a few places the faith is inspiringly strong. One such place is the regular Helpers of God's Precious Infants vigil outside the biggest abortuary in Sydney. For the past two years the Sydney Helpers have organised a 40 Days for Life campaign of their own, which has provided a great boost to their regular vigils.

Bishop Julian Porteus attends the final hour of the 2011 Sydney 40 Days for Life vigil. Fr Wong FSSP holds a relic of the True Cross, as young Australians pray outside the biggest abortuary in Sydney.
So if Australia can manage that - how much can we manage in England with the assistance of the London martryrs?

You might say that there is no obvious correlation between the number of Saints and the vitality of the Church in a particular area. I would say that there jolly well should be! Certainly the witness of the sixteenth and seventeenth century Saints is not sufficient for the making of Saints today. Those of us who by the grace of God have been called into His Church need to cooperate with His will. We are called to follow the heroic example of the English martyrs and burn with the faith of our fathers. In London we cannot complain of a lack of examples of how to do this.

While the evil faced by my generation may appear vast and terrifying, what we can be certain of is that the incomprehensible situation we find ourselves in today is nothing compared to the infinite love of God. Jesus Christ, King and Redeemer, the abyss of virtue, has conquered the world with love. In these times we are called, as all men have been called, to turn to Him. The first and most important challenge for us is that we assist Him in conquering us. Turning our vices into virtue, allowing Him to comfort us in our sufferings and beseeching Him to inspire us to be heralds of His kingdom.

One way to do all those things is to support the 40 Days for Life campaign which begins in London today. The launch event is at 7pm outside the bpas abortion facility in Bedford Square, WC1B 3HP. What follows is forty days of prayer, fasting and continuous witness outside of a London abortion facility. 40 Days for Life joins in solidarity with our unborn brothers and sisters and offers women, men and all those involved with the abortion procedure genuine hope, and a better choice than abortion.

Remember that Monsignor Philip Reilly, the man responsible for beginning prayerful witness and counselling outside abortion facilities, told the London pro-life community in May that the primary purpose of these vigils is not to save lives, but to save souls. The most important way you can assist the 40 Days for Life campaign is to pray and fast for the conversion of abortionists, for those considering aborting their children, for those who have already done and for those who will do so.

To make the campaign work there need to be people prepared to give up their time and pray outside the abortuary in Bedford Square. Juventutem London will be doing this as a group on Saturday.

We will be attending the 8am Traditional Latin Mass at the Brompton Oratory and then catching the tube to Bedford Square to pray with the 40 Days for Life campaign. We will stay at the vigil until 12.30pm and then go for lunch nearby. Weather permitting we'll be grabbing (or packing) sandwiches and heading to Russell Square. Individuals may stay longer at the vigil if they wish.

If you can't make it to the Oratory by 8am you are still very welcome to join us at Bedford Square.

Priests and religious would be particularly welcome to join us at the vigil!

8am Mass is early and you probably don't live near the Oratory, but remember that your sacrifices contribute to the salvation of souls.

Oh and if the London martyrs aren't enough to inspire you to come along then remember that when you take the hand of Our Lady and pray the Rosary, as is done throughout the forty day vigil, the entire celestial court of Heaven intercedes for you.

~ Originally posted on Smeaton's Corner

Saturday, 24 September 2011

Meeting of the Superiors of the FSSPX

Following the meeting in Rome between Bishop Fellay and Cardinal Levada, Bishop Fellay has called a meeting of the superiors of the Society to discuss the Doctrinal Preamble given to them by Rome on October 7-8th in Italy. More details here. They should be assured that Juventutem London are praying that the holy and immaculate will of God is made manifest to them, and that they are given the fortitude to follow it - whatever it transpires to be.

Juventutem on EWTN

Not Juventutem London, I'm afraid. Though Fr de Malleray, FSSP, has a telephone interview on there.

Juventutem London September 2011 Match Report

This September Mass went very well indeed. Juventutem London would like to thank the sacred ministers, Fr de Malleray, FSSP, Fr Irwin and Fr Foster. We would also like to thank Fr Pereira OP for hearing confessions and Fr Sherbrooke for the use of his church.

Thanks are also extended to Mr Dimon and all the servers, and to Cantus Magnus for providing the music. If you appreciated the music, please consider contributing to our music fund. 

After the Mass, and convoluted route (which, on reflection, could not have been my fault as everyone had maps and iPhones!) we had our usual social.

The next Juventutem London event is a slot we are taking in the 40 Days For Life vigil. We're going to the 8am Mass at the London Oratory before going over to the abortuary. Here is the facebook. Our next 'main' event is a Solemn Mass of Ss Simon & Jude, 6.30pm 28th October at St Patrick's, Soho.

Monday, 19 September 2011

Details for September Mass & Social

Juventutem London
Solemn High Mass
Ember Friday in September
1830hrs Friday 23rd September
St Patrick's Church, Soho
Followed by Social (for ages 18-35)

Sacred Ministers:
Celebrant: Fr Armand de Malleray, FSSP
Deacon: Fr David Irwin
Subdeacon: Fr Stewart Foster

MC: Mr Gordon Dimon

Confessions will be heard through Mass from 1800hrs by Fr Leon Pereira, OP. Absolution will be given using the traditional Latin form.

Polyphony and chant provided by Cantus Magnus:

Orlande de Lassus Missa secundi toni (K, S, A)
Orlande de Lassus Benedic anima mea
Antonio Lotti Salve Regina

Due to a lack of responses to auditions for our own Juventutem Schola, October's Mass will be a Low Mass unless more men come forward to audition. Auditions will possibly be after Mass. If you are interested you MUST email this address.

Men who are serving should be at the sacristy by 1800hrs with their own cassocks and cottas.

Please assemble outside the Church after making your post-Mass thanksgiving. Please note that though the Mass is open (and welcomes) those of any age, the social is strictly for those aged 18-35 (clergy and religious excepted).

If you are attending the social, it would be very helpful indeed if you registered as 'attending' on this facebook page (or emailed us)

Friday, 16 September 2011

Is Eating Meat on a Friday a Mortal Sin?

Nice juicy steak - save it for Saturday

And I'm only talking about for those who are baptised here (though of course, baptism itself is a grave obligation).

Today, Friday 16th September 2011, is the day appointed by the bishop's conference for the reintroduction of the traditional Friday abstinence from meat. This is great news, as it marks a return to aspects of life that for centuries defined the Catholic Faith given to us by Our Lord. It gives us a chance to unite a meagre sacrifice to his Holy and Exalted Cross, in a gesture of sorrow and reparation for our innumerable sins, offences and negligences. Juventutem London thanks the Bishops for this restoration (and encourages the restoration of the Holy Days of Obligation).

But is it now a sin to eat meat on Fridays? And if it is, isn't it totally arbitrary to say that something that was licit last week is now a sin - even a mortal sin, requiring sacramental confession? But certainly in the past, it would have been understood to be a mortal sin. Fr Heribert Jone in Moral Theology writes:
The laws of fasting and abstinence [much, much stricter at his time of writing - JL] in themselves oblige gravely.
Ever reasonable, Fr Jone also says that "slight violations of them are only venial sins" - and then talks about very small quantities of meat/food over and above the prescribed amount.

Q&A Document from Fr Stock

Unfortunately, the Q&A document released by Fr Stock, the general secretary of the episcopal conference, is a little confusing. The last sentence in this document on this topic reads:
Failure to abstain from meat on a particular Friday then would not constitute a sin.
But, the footnote to Q11 contains, in tiny print, this:
The "substantial observance" of the penitential discipline of Fridays and Ash Wednesday, Pope Paul VI wrote, "binds gravely." Interpreting this statement authoritatively, the Sacred Congregation of the Council (now the Congregation for the Clergy) decreed that this grave obligation does not refer to the individual days of penance, but to "the whole complexus of penitential days to be observed... that is, one sins gravely against the law, who, without an excusable cause, omits a notable part, quantative or qualitative, of the penitential observance which is prescribed as a whole.
Claims that are floating about that this means that one may have a few Fridays off are ludicrous. This obligation binds gravely on every baptised person, as it is an obligation to 'substantially' (and that does not mean 'partially' or 'mostly') observe the whole annual cycle of penance. This hopefully illustrates the point that doing penance on Fridays was always a grave obligation, though what constituted as fitting penance was left up to the individual (having been given a range of options). Now, the Bishops of England and Wales have decided to define what that penance should be. This is the same obligation to do penance and obey our pastors. The only difference is now they have a more restrictive definition of what penance we are to do.

If one is not bound by mortal sin to abstain from meat on Friday, that means that the law does not bind gravely. If the law does not bind gravely, in what way does it bind? How many Fridays can we get away with eating meat on? These are not questions that Catholics should be asking, but this ambiguity really does lead to the question.

Obedience to Lawful Authorities

If this document is saying that it is not a sin to eat meat on a Friday because one has (in good conscience) forgotten the obligation, then this is old news. Sin requires knowledge and consent. If this document is saying that a grave reason may justify eating meat on a Friday - sickness, grave obligation in terms of work, pregnancy - then clearly it would displace the obligation. Nothing new there either. If it is saying that the consumption of meat on a Friday is not, of itself, an intrinsic evil, there's nothing new there either.

But the grave obligation, binding by sin, not to eat meat on a Friday arises not from the intrinsic evil of the act itself, but the obligation of obedience that we owe to the hierarchy in matters such as this. Each bishop has jurisdiction over all of the baptised in his diocese, and Canon 1251 gives the authority to all of the bishops in a geographical area to agree to implement a certain interpretation of the law in their dioceses. We are not their slaves, but in matters such as this obedience must be given.

This is because our obligation to obey our Bishop in a matter such as this is rooted in our obligation to obey Peter, to whom Our Lord gave the keys to the kingdom of heaven, and whatsoever he shall bind upon earth, it shall be bound also in heaven: and whatsoever he shall loose on earth, it shall be loosed also in heaven (Matthew 16.19). And Our Lord says to those who he has called and sent, "He that hears you hears me: and he that despises you despises me: and he that despises me despises him that sent me" (Luke 10.16)


Also never forget the binding force of tradition. Let's not fall into pharisaism* and legal positivism where, in the absence of an explicit instruction from a bishop, we feign ignorance of how this has been understood from time immemorial.

Conclusion and a Pun

I hope that I have illustrated that there is more at stake hear than the morally neutral act of eating a nice little bit of steak on a day which happens to be a Friday. The sin here is not eating meat on a Friday (though that would be the best way to formulate the accusation in Confession), it is a matter of 'grave' disobedience to Almighty God (Pope Paul's word!) and a despising of that authority that he himself gave and 'delegated' firstly to Blessed Peter and his successors, and then apostles, and their successors. So, I'm coming down on the side of 'yes it is a mortal sin'.

So just don't do it.

If you disagree and have a reasoned argument, please, let's talk in the combox!

*And yes, I suppose I'd better counter the inevitable accusation of pharisaism. This is not about righteousness. The argument is not that abstaining from meat justifies us, or makes us righteous or holy. Of itself it is a tainted sacrifice to God, as it comes from finite humans. That said, through his grace Our Lord does deign to give value to our works. But the issue here is obedience to God via the Pope, via the Bishop of our diocese, via the Bishops' Conference (in that order). And, of course, it's no good to abstain from meat whilst depriving the worker of his pay and despising the widow and the orphan etc. This, Isaias 58, is the goal.

Thursday, 15 September 2011

Patron Saint

St Alban Psalter, University of Aberdeen

We are putting Juventutem London under the patronage of St Mary Magdalene. At some point in the future, this may be done formally.

Our reason for doing this is that we feel that St Mary epitomises everything that we are trying to do with Juventutem London. This passage from the Holy Gospel of St John may illustrate this:

Mary therefore took a pound of ointment of right spikenard, of great price, and anointed the feet of Jesus and wiped his feet with her hair. And the house was filled with the odour of the ointment. Then one of his disciples, Judas Iscariot, he that was about to betray him, said: Why was not this ointment sold for three hundred pence and given to the poor? Now he said this not because he cared for the poor; but because he was a thief, having the purse, carried the things that were put therein. Jesus therefore said: Let her alone, that she may keep it against the day of my burial. For the poor you have always with you: but me you have not always. 
John 12.3-8
Juventutem London, however inadequately, attempts to emulate the service of love and adoration this great woman rendered to Our Lord. Of course, the intrinsic value of the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass, however it is offered, is infinite. We can do nothing to augment that. The Holy Mass is none other than an un-bloody re-presentation of the sacrifice of Calvary - through his human instrument, the same divine Priest offers the same divine Victim.

Nonetheless, the extrinsic value of the Holy Mass is something finite and contingent. United to his once-and-for-all sacrifice, Our Lord deigns to give value to our meagre sacrifices, our latest struggles, and our feeble attempts to raise the beauty of the finite 'Accidents' of the Holy Mass to that of its infinite 'Substance'. Like the poor of the past - sneered at now by modern men for building beautiful churches at great cost - we too are pursuing something beautiful, to be shared by all.

Under the patronage of St Mary, may we be drawn into that 'one thing necessary', that 'better part' chosen by St Mary, in the contemplation of Almighty God in the Mass. May we ensure that, like St Mary's extravagant gesture in the passage above, we give Our Lord the best and most magnificent service we can.

In the eyes of the World, the silent contemplation of the faithful at the Traditional Latin Mass is foolish. In the eyes of the World, the use of beauty and fine things in the Liturgy is scandalously wasteful.

But though our poor efforts to love our Lord may never reach the dizzying heights of our holy patroness, we can give it a go.

If you would like to help with this:

Tuesday, 13 September 2011

Ely-Walsingham 2011 Sermon in a Saloon

We all greatly miss the jolly good bishop chaplain, Fr Bede Rowe. Come back soon!

Video from Smeaton's Corner!

Novena IX





You may or may not be aware of this.

On 14th September - the feast of the Exaltation of the Holy Cross - Bishop Fellay, FSSPX, and a bunch of others are being received by Cardinal Levada of the CDF. Anything could happen - it could be good news, it could be bad news.

I propose a novena for a propitious and peaceful outcome to this meeting, one that will benefit the whole Church. I also propose that we take on some sort of extra penance for this intention, starting tomorrow.

This will be the novena, in Latin with English below it. The Latin takes a little over 2 minutes. The English takes a little over 1 minute 30 seconds. Not a big deal.



To Pope St Pius X

Deus, qui ad tuendam catholicam fidem, et universa in Christo instauranda sanctum Pium, Summum Pontificem, caelesti sapientia et apostolica fortitudine replevisti; concede proitius; ut, ejus instituta et exempla sectantes, praemia consequamur aeterna. Per eumdem Dominum nostrum.

In Honour of the Holy Cross

Deus, qui unigeniti Filii tui pretioso sanguine, vivificare Crucis vexillum sanctificare voluisti: concede, quaesumus; eos, qui ejusdem sanctae Crucis gaudent honore, tua quoque ubique protectione gaudere. Per eumdem Dominum.

For Peace

Deus, a quo sancta desideria, recta consilia, et justa sunt opera: da servis tuis illam, quam mundus dare non potest, pacem; ut et corda nostra mandatis tuis dedita, et hostium sublata formidine, tempora sint tua protectione tranquilla. Per Dominum nostrum.

For people in authority and those under their charge

Omnipotens sempiterne Deus, qui facis mirabilia magna solus: praetende super famulos tuos, et super congregationes illis commissas, spiritum gratiae salutaris; et ut in veritate tibi complaceant, perpetuum eis rorem tuae benedictionis infunde. Per Dominum.


Memorare, O piisima Virgo Maria, non esse auditum a saecula, quemquam ad tua currentem praesidia, tua implorantem auxilia, tua petentem suffragia, esse derelictum. Ego tali animatus confidentia, ad te, Virgo Virginum, Mater, curro, ad te venio, coram te gemens peccator assisto. Noli, Mater Verbi, verba mea despicere; sed audi propitia et exaudi. Amen.

Through thy cross and passion - deliver us, O Lord.
Immaculate heart of Mary - pray for us.
Pope Saint Pius X - pray for us.
Saints Benedict and Joseph - pray for us.
Saint William - pray for us.
Saints Marcel, and Anthony of Padua - pray for us.
Saints Bernard, Richard and Alphonsus - pray for us.
All ye holy Angels and Archangels, all ye holy order of blessed Spirits - pray for us.

Fidelium animae per misericordiam Dei, requiescant in pace.



To St Pius X

O God, who for the defence of the Catholic faith and to restore all things in Christ, filled saint Pius, the supreme Pontiff, with heavenly wisdom and apostolic strength; mercifully grant that following his teaching and example we may attain to our eternal reward. Through our same Lord.

In Honour of the Holy Cross

O God, who by the precious blood of thine only-begotten Son wast pleased to hallow the standard of the life-giving Cross: grant, we beseech thee, that those who rejoice in honouring that same holy Cross may likewise rejoice in thy protection, wheresoever they may be. Through the same Lord.

For Peace

O God, from whom all holy desires, all right counsels and all just works do proceed; give to thy servants that peace which the world cannot give; that our hearts may be disposed to obey thy commandments, and the fear of enemies being removed, our times, by thy protection, may be peaceful. Through our Lord.

For people in authority and those under their charge

Almighty and everlasting God, who alone workest great wonders, pour down upon thy servants and upon the flocks committed to their charge the spirit of thy saving grace, and that they may truly please thee, pour down upon them the continual dew of thy blessing. Through our Lord.


Remember, O most gracious Virgin Mary, that never was it know that anyone who fled to thy protection, implored thy help or sought thy intercession was left unaided. Inspired with this confidence, I fly to thee, O Virgin of virgins, my Mother. To thee do I come; before thee I stand, sinful and sorrowful. O Mother of the Word Incarnate, despise not my petitions, but in thy mercy hear and answer me. Amen.

Through thy cross and passion - deliver us, O Lord.
Immaculate heart of Mary - pray for us.
Pope Saint Pius X - pray for us.
Saints Benedict and Joseph - pray for us.
Saint William - pray for us.
Saints Marcel, and Anthony of Padua - pray for us.
Saints Bernard, Richard and Alphonsus - pray for us.
All ye holy Angels and Archangels, all ye holy order of blessed Spirits - pray for us.

May the souls of all the faithful departed, through the mercy of God, rest in peace.

Tuesday, 6 September 2011


Hat tip.

Good Counsel Network's Day of Prayer & Fasting

This week is becoming awfully penitential.

In addition to the prayer and penance for the doctrinal talks between Rome and the FSSPX, there is also this.

Our friends at the Good Counsel Network have called a national day of prayer and fasting, to take place today or tomorrow when the debate about these amendments take place. It's important to note that according to the moral philosophy wing of SPUC (Dorries-Field, Mensch), the pro-life cause stands to gain almost nothing from these supposedly pro-life ammendments. In fact, they could cause some serious problems.

This is possibly why - in a similar vein to our novena for the FSSPX - GCN's intention for the prayer and fasting is simply "God's will will be done and that the bill and any amendments to it, will do nothing to hinder the pro-life movement and that it will also not lead to an increase in the number of abortions". Both these issues are so complex that it's not possible to offer an intention like 'That X will succeed/fail'.

All we can do is pray and do penance, and humbly trust in the brutally beneficent hand of divine Providence.

Monday, 5 September 2011

Ely-Walsingham 2011: Day 4


Day 4

Readers would be justified in wondering, "Why is this guy still writing? What a windbag. He just likes the sound of his own fingers tapping a keyboard, and thinks that bad jokes like that contained in the earlier clause of this very sentence are clever and funny". Nonetheless, this day was an important part of the pilgrimage as it illustrated the value of undertaking such an adventure. So, I shall begin.

I awoke to the sound of Bones and Smeaton the Grey whispering. I was half asleep, and unaware that they had been being quiet for my sake. I groaned, with an early-morning voice about an octave deeper than usual, "Guys, why are we whispering?" I never got an answer, but I didn't need one because I soon worked it out. I lay in bed trying to work out what was going on. I told the other two that what we really needed was a nice greasy fry-up. Someone suggested that we begin the day with a decade of the Rosary, which prompted Smeaton the Grey to stagger to the kitchen like some sort of ape-thing to fetch a statue of Our Lady of Fatima.

Smeaton the Elder and Mrs Smeaton returned from Mass and wished us a good morning. Smeaton the Elder informed us that he was going to cook us breakfast. This was great news. It was about 1000hrs, and I realised that I should probably get out of bed.

I ventured into the kitchen of Minas Smeaton and poked around for some coffee. I was under the impression, given the last time I had visited the fortress, that the Smeatons didn't drink coffee. I was bracing myself for the chemical monstrosity that is instant coffee. To my surprise and joy, Smeaton the Elder produced a cafetiere and some proper coffee. "This place is great", I thought.

We brewed and fried and drank and ate and discussed the current state of play of the siege against the forces of evil. One would hope that our pilgrimage to Walsingham may have achieved something for our poor country, harried by the scourges that afflict her. We discussed how no-one, least of all those who should, knew "what was down the road". Mrs Smeaton embarrassed me by asking me about Lenny the Lion.

Ronan and I were about to part company, so I asked him politely and he made me temporary custodian of the relic of the True Cross. Smeaton the Grey had vanished, and so Bones and I venerated it - what an incredible blessing it was to have that with us on the pilgrimage. 

Somehow, Smeaton the Grey bullied Eve into piercing and squeezing his blisters. He had always led me to believe that he disapproved of male piercings. I have video footage and photographs - but this is a family-orientated blog, and the board of governors and myself agreed that posting this disgusting footage would be inappropriate. On the plus side, the grit Eve showed under such strenuous circumstances clearly merited her to join the illustrious Mrs Shaw in the Hall of Mulier Fortis Fame.

Smeaton the Grey took me to the station and sent me on my way. As I reached the platform, I realised he'd taken my ubiquitous man-bag with him. He obviously realised that at the same point, as I saw him running back to return it to me. He probably didn't want to be seen out with such a gauche accessory.

When I got onto the platform and found that I now had my huge rucksack, manbag, my head was screwed on and I was remembering to inhale after each exhalation, I was shocked. I was not back in the real world. I looked around. There was a gang of youths looking threatening. There was a very strangely-dressed lady. I realised that I'd forgotten all this stuff happened in the real world.

The train pulled into Euston, and I wandered about waiting for my brother to come pick me up. I saw some seedy billboards. "Oh", I thought. "I'd forgotten that that happens". Walking on the pilgrimage in that twilight world had restored some sort of degree of innocence. I'd forgotten all about so many horrible things, that at times I was genuinely shocked by what I saw (obviously don't want to go into too much detail!).

So what does this mean? Don't go on pilgrimage, because if you do you'll become naive about the state of the world we live in? Don't go on pilgrimage, because you'll be scandalised by what you find when you return?


Go on pilgrimage. When you leave, you're covered in the grime and filth of the world to such a degree that you don't even notice it.

Go on pilgrimage. While you walk, the holy immaculate Mother of God will offer each of your blisters, cuts, aching joints and pained but persevering steps to her divine Son, who will not despise them but will instead use them to open your eyes, to show you yourself - not to mention these sufferings being used in the conversion of England and the liberation of the Holy Souls. He will use these sufferings and the holy sacrament of Penance to purge you of the muck you have accumulated in your long sojourn amongst the inhabitants of Cedar. He will pour oil and wine in your wounds, and restore your sight by anointing your eyes with his spittle.

Go on pilgrimage. When you return, you will have been, even if only a little, purged. You will be surprised, but you will see injustice, sin and evil where and for what they really are. How can you scour the Shire if you think that dirty great mills and chimneys are good things?

Go on pilgrimage. Your body will be weary and ache, perhaps for a while after - but, it will strengthen you, and as a noble and wise Deacon said to me this very week: "Satan hates pilgrims".