Friday, 31 January 2014

St. John Bosco: Patron of Youth

St. John Bosco, apostolic priest of modern times, is hailed as the patron of youth.

He was born in Castelnuovo, Italy, on 16th August, 1815. As a youngster he was employed for a time as a shepherd, and this leisurely work gave him opportunity for prayerful union with God which was so evident in the years of his labour for souls.

As a young priest in Turin, Don Bosco was under the guidance of Don Joseph Caffasso, now a saint. An act of kindness towards a poor boy in 1842 began the work of charity associated with his name thereafter, the care of needy youth.

For them he organised clubs and night schools, giving them recreation and training. Despite obstacles and difficulties from all sides, the endeavour, which included technical schools and workshops, grew until he had to found a society, the Salesians, to perpetuate it. The work for boys gradually branched into a work for needy girls, for whom a Community, Daughters of Mary, Help of Christians, was inaugurated.

Don Bosco was beatified by Pope Pius XI in 1929. The same pope, who had known the saintly priest, canonised him five years later. St. Dominic Savio, canonised in 1950, was one of the early pupils of the Salesians.

Reflection - A personal love of Christ developed in his own youth was the source of the deep zeal for the young which characterised St. John Bosco's work. There is nothing as precious as a soul. St. John Chrysostom asks: "What is equal to that profession which is concerned with directing the soul and forming the mind and character of the young"?

Thursday, 30 January 2014

Some Child Abuse Facts

Today is the Feast Day of St. Martina, one of numerous martyred virgins of the Church.

Prominently reported sexual abuse cases have been rife throughout the mass media in recent weeks, so it might be appropriate on this holy Feast of one of the Church's glorious Virgin Martyrs to relate some little known academic facts regarding the prevalence of child sexual abuse that's taken place in structures of the Catholic Church in recent decades compared to that which is recorded as taking place in secular society.

First of all, the Catholic Church has always traditionally treated grave sin against children, and sin against nature, as the most heinous of all sin and has acted against malefactors accordingly. Our Blessed Lord, Himself, taught that "But he that shall scandalise one of these little ones that believe in Me, it were better for him that a millstone should be hanged about his neck, and that he should be drowned in the depth of the sea".

Pope St. Pius V formally decreed, and the Fifth Lateran Council confirmed, that:

"Therefore, wishing to pursue with the greatest vigour that which We have decreed since the beginning of Our Pontificate, We establish that any priest or member of the clergy, either secular or regular, who commits such an execrable crime, by force of the present law be deprived of every clerical privilege, of every post, dignity and ecclesiastical benefit, and having being degraded by an ecclesiastical judge, be immediately delivered to the secular authority to be executed as mandated by law, according to the appropriate punishment for laymen plunged into this abyss".

Even with the destructive liberalisation process and resulting apostasy that has decimated the Church Militant in recent decades the facts recorded by academia are quite astounding.

In the USA, an academic study published in 2004 that focused on Catholic institutions revealed that 10,667 cases of child sexual abuse were recorded over a 42 year period. 81% of that abuse was suffered by boys under 18 years of age. When we consider that approximately half the population of the USA is nominally Catholic - 70 million people - and they attended Catholic institutions of one sort or another during that period, it gives a prevalence rate of 0.03% of Catholic children suffering sexual abuse in a (at least nominal) Catholic institution - a school, a church or so on.

In the USA as a whole, the rate of prevalence of child sexual abuse was recorded by academics in 1998 to stand at 22-23%. That figure consists of 17% of boys and 28% of girls. In another study it was found that nearly 10% of students suffered sexual abuse in non-Catholic schools.

In Ireland, over a 34 year period, more than 170,000 children passed through Industrial and Reformatory schools run by the Catholic Church. Of these 170,000 children a total of 369 people - 242 males and 127 females - made complaint of sexual abuse to the Irish Child Abuse Commission during its 9-year investigation. The prevalence rate is 0.2%.

In secular society in Great Britain and Northern Ireland it's recorded that 16% of children under sixteen years of age suffer sexual abuse.

These and similar facts, giving the academic sources, are presented in a leaflet that Carmel Books has some supplies of entitled The Catholic Church and Child Abuse: The Facts.

If customers and friends would like copies to distribute to help make the facts more widely known please just get in touch.

Wednesday, 29 January 2014

Honey Better Than Vinegar - St. Francis de Sales

Francis was born of noble and pious parents, near Annecy, 1566, and studied with brilliant success at Paris and Padua. On his return from Italy he gave up the grand career which his father had marked out for him in the service of the State, and became a priest.

When the Duke of Savoy had resolved to restore the Church in the Chablais, Francis offered himself for the work and set out on foot with his Bible and breviary and one companion, his cousin Louis of Sales.

It was a work of toil, privation and danger. Every door and every heart was closed against him. He was rejected with insult and threatened with death. But nothing could daunt or resist him, and ere long the Church burst forth into a second spring.

It is stated that he converted 72,000 Calvinists. he was then compelled by the pope to become Coadjutor Bishop of Geneva, and succeeded to the See in 1602.

At times the exceeding gentleness with which he received heretics and sinners almost scandalised his friends, and one of them said to him, "Francis of Sales will go to Paradise, of course; but I'm not so sure of the Bishop of Geneva: I am almost afraid his gentleness will play him a shrewd turn".

"Ah," said the saint, "I would rather account to God for too great gentleness than for too great severity. Is not God all love? God the Father is the Father of Mercy; God the Son is a Lamb; God the Holy Ghost is a Dove - that is gentleness itself. And are you wiser than God?"

In union with St. Jane Frances of Chantal he founded at Annecy the Order of the Visitation, which soon spread over Europe. Though poor, he refused provisions and dignities, and even the great See of Paris. he died at Avignon, 1622.

Reflection - "You will catch more flies," St. Francis used to say, "with a spoonful of honey than with a hundred barrels of vinegar. Were there anything better or fairer on Earth than gentleness, Jesus Christ would have taught it us; and yet He has given us only two lessons to learn of Him - meekness and humility of heart".

Carmel Books Website Currently Offline

We apologise to customers and friends who have been trying to access the Carmel Books website which has been offline since yesterday. Gremlins in the works! God willing it will be back up soon.

In the meantime please just email or phone with orders and enquiries.

Tuesday, 28 January 2014

The Life of The Blessed Virgin Mary - Retreat Conferences CD

Our initial stock of the wonderful CD Box Set of retreat conferences given on the subject of The Life of The Blessed Virgin Mary has sold out and pre-orders are being taken now for the production of a second batch.

Please just phone or email if you would like to reserve a copy (contact details can be found in the sidebar), or pre-order from the Carmel Books website.

More information about the CD Box Set here.

Monday, 27 January 2014

Tradition and the Church

Scripture and Tradition are the two sources of the Catholic Faith.

We know where the Catholic Church is found by Her Four Marks - One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic - and by Her constant appeal to Sacred Scripture and Holy Tradition.

The Catholic Church cannot ever not have Tradition, just as She cannot ever not have Sacred Scripture. If one or the other is missing from a body that claims to be the Catholic Church, or a part of it, then Catholics know that whatever it is that claims to be Catholic is not - it is a false claim, something counterfeit, an imposition.

In his valuable book, Tradition and the Church, first published in 1928, Msgr. George Agius provides important distinctions and explains the relationship of Tradition to Sacred Scripture, the means by which Tradition is safely transmitted, the reasons for the incorruption of Catholic Tradition, the basis of the Church's dogmatic definitions, the authority and dominant role of the Fathers of the Church regarding what is included in Tradition, the necessity of Apostolic Succession, the inability of the Protestant churches to transmit Christian doctrine and many other points.

The author shows that Tradition precedes Scripture - both historically and theologically - that the early Church was inexorably hostile to new doctrines, how the modern idea of religious unity becomes a temptation against the Catholic Faith, and that Divine revelation was completed with the death of the Apostles.

This book, reappearing at a time of great Crisis for the Church, helps clarify understanding about the nature of Catholic Tradition and of the entire Deposit of Faith, and how we should all revere and cherish the Tradition of the Catholic Church..... that Church which is the only means of our salvation.

Saturday, 18 January 2014

St. Peter's Chair at Rome

St. Peter having triumphed over the devil in the East, the latter pursued him to Rome in the person of Simon
Magus. He who had formerly trembled at the voice of a poor maid now feared not the very throne of idolatry and superstition.

The capital of the empire of the world, and the centre of impiety, called for the zeal of the Prince of the Apostles.

God had established the Roman Empire, and extended its dominion beyond that of any former monarchy, for the more easy propagation of His Gospel. Its metropolis was of the greatest importance for this enterprise. St. Peter took that province upon himself, and, repairing to Rome, there preached the Faith and established his ecclesiastical chair.

That St. Peter preached in Rome, founded the Church there, and died there by martyrdom under Nero, are facts the most incontestable, by the testimony of all writers of different countries who lived near that time; persons of unquestionable veracity, and who could not but be informed of the truth in a point so interesting and of its own nature so public and notorious. This is also attested by monuments of every kind; by the prerogatives, rights and privileges which that church enjoyed from those early ages in consequence of this title.

It was an ancient custom observed by churches to keep an annual festival of the consecration of their bishops. The Feast of the Chair of St. Peter is found in ancient martyrologies. Christians justly celebrate the founding of this mother-church, the centre of Catholic communion, in thanksgiving to God for His mercies to His Church, and to implore His future blessings.

Reflection - As one of God's greatest mercies to His Church, let us earnestly beg of Him to raise up in it zealous pastors, eminently replenished with His Spirit, with which he animated His apostles.

Friday, 17 January 2014

St. Antony, Patriarch of Monks

St. Antony was born in the year 251, in Upper Egypt. Hearing at Mass the words "If thou wilt be perfect, go, sell what thou hast, and give to the poor," he gave away all his vast possessions. He then begged an aged hermit to teach him the spiritual life. He also visited various solitaries, copying in himself the principled virtue of each.

To serve God more perfectly, Antony entered the desert and immured himself in a ruin, building up the door so none could enter. Here the devils assaulted him most furiously appearing as various monsters, and even wounding him severely; but his courage never failed, and he overcame them all by confidence in God and by the Sign of the Cross.

One night, whilst Antony was in his solitude, many devils scourged him so terribly that he lay is if dead. A friend found him thus, and believing him dead carried him home. But when Antony came to himself he persuaded his friend to carry him, in spite of his wounds, back to his solitude.

Here, prostrate from weakness, he defied the devils, saying, "I fear you not; you cannot separate me from the love of Christ". After more vain assaults the devils fled, and Christ appeared to Antony in glory.

His only food was bread and water, which he never tasted before sunset, and sometimes only once in two, three or four days. He wore sackcloth and sheepskin, and he often knelt in prayer from sunset to sunrise.

Many souls flocked to him for advice, and after twenty years of solitude he consented to guide them in holiness - thus founding the first monastery.

His numerous miracles attracted such multitudes that he fled again into solitude, where he lived by manual labour. He expired peacefully at a very advanced age. St. Athanasius, his biographer, says that the mere knowledge of how St. Antony lived is a good guide to virtue.

Reflection - The more violent were the assaults of temptation suffered by St. Antony, the more firmly did he grasp his weapons, namely, mortification and prayer. Let us imitate him in this if we wish to obtain victories like his.

Thursday, 16 January 2014

Saint Marcel

Today is the Feast Day of St. Marcellus I, Pope and Martyr.

During a time of great slackening and falling away from the Faith, Marcel, the Catholic Bishop (of Rome in the year 308), was persecuted and exiled by the lukewarm under the influence of apostates.

To commemorate this Feast Day of St. Marcel a lay initiative was launched just a few days ago to make today a Day of Holy Hours offered on behalf of priests of the Society of Saint Pius X that they remain true to the mission entrusted to them by their founder, Archbishop Marcel Lefebvre (who was named after the holy saint), and that they are showered with graces to enable them to make the right decisions and take the right steps in these troubling times that have caused great dissention even within that priestly society.

Please try to make a Holy Hour today for this intention. Heaven will surely bless you for it.

Wednesday, 15 January 2014

On the Streets Again

Received by email from the Winchester CVM

Carmel Books staff have met Brian before on the (very) few occasions when we've been able to trudge around the streets helping the good souls of our local Catholic Volunteer Movement tend to the needs of the homeless in Winchester, so please do try and spare a prayer for him.

"Dear friends in Christ,

Please pray for one of our guests, Brian.

He was the very first homeless person we helped and has become known as our parish priest's double, due to his resemblance to Fr. S. in a photo in one of my earlier posts.

When we saw him last Saturday (for the first time in nearly a year) he certainly didn't look like Fr. S., or even Brian. I didn't recognise him, even when one of his friends called him Brian. He was mostly incoherent but we did learn that he is suffering from liver failure and has a bad case of water retention. He looked very pale and very unwell. He was discharged from hospital, the one place he really needs to be, and is currently homeless.

He may not have very long to live. we have requested a Mass to be said for him. We now ask for your prayers: for his recovery or a good death".

Tuesday, 14 January 2014

St. Hilary of Poitiers

"St. Hilary was a native of Poitiers in Aquitane. Born and educated a pagan, it was not till near middle age that he embraced Christianity, moved thereto mainly by the idea of God presented to him in the Holy Scriptures.

He soon converted his wife and daughter, and separated himself rigidly from all un-Catholic company. In the beginning of his conversion St. Hilary would not eat with Jews or heretics, nor salute them by the way; but afterwards, for their sake, he relaxed this severity.

He entered Holy Orders, and in 353 was chosen bishop of his native city. Arianism, under the protection of the Emperor Constantius, was just then in the height of its power, and St. Hilary found himself called upon to support the orthodox cause in several Gallic councils, in which Arian bishops formed an overwhelming majority.

He was in consequence accused to the emperor, who banished him to Phrygia. he spent his three years and more of exile in composing his great works on the Trinity. In 359 he attended the Council of Selencia, in which Arians, semi-Arians, and Catholics contended for the mastery. With the deputies of the council he proceeded to Constantinople, and there so dismayed the heads of the Arian party that they prevailed upon the emperor to let him return to Gaul.

He traversed Gaul, Italy and Illyria, wherever he came discomfiting the heretics and procuring triumph of orthodoxy. After seven or eight years of missionary travel he returned to Poitiers, where he died in peace in 368.

Reflection: - Like St. Hilary, we, too, are called to a lifelong contest with heretics; we shall succeed in proportion as we combine hatred of heresy with compassion for its victims".

Monday, 13 January 2014

Fatima: A Message More Urgent Than Ever

Crusaders of the Immaculate Heart have asked Carmel Books to help promote a Crusade of Rosaries launched on the Feast of the Epiphany that will run for an entire 12 months.

"Dear Crusaders,
The Crusaders of the Immaculate Heart will begin a Crusade of Rosaries for the Consecration of Russia to the Immaculate Heart of Mary as she requested at Fatima and in the manner requested; that the Pope in union with all the bishops of the world consecrate Russia to Her Immaculate Heart.

This Crusade of Rosaries, this collective effort of prayer on our part, will begin January 6th 2014, the birthday of our dear Patroness Saint Joan of Arc and the Blessed Feast of the Epiphany, it will conclude on the evening of January 5th 2015.
We will present our spiritual bouquet of rosaries and Masses offered to Our Heavenly Mother after Mass on January 5th 2015 via the priest who will be offering the Mass that day for this intention.
This event will remain open for the entire year and anyone can join at anytime.  You can also submit rosaries for friends or family who are not Crusaders but who would like to join in this prayer crusade.
*In union with this crusade of rosaries 50 Masses will be offered for this intention as well.  May the Heart of Our Divine Lord and His Most Holy Mother be moved to pity upon the Church and the world and grant us the great gift and grace of the consecration which will mean so much to all.

This Crusade under the patronage of Saint Joan of Arc".

The Crusaders can be contacted at

Tuesday, 7 January 2014

Some Good Counselling !

Received in the post recently, from The Good Counsel Network:

"Each Christmas we send our newsletter to our supporters to ask for continued support, but also to say 'thank you'. On the front page of the Christmas newsletter we list the babies born that year. Through God's grace and your support, this year for the first time, the list runs over to the second page. This is because the number of women we have reached has gone up considerably, meaning many more women have been offered real alternatives to abortion.

The number of abortions nationally has also begun to drop over the last few years. In 2011 there were 196,082 abortions in England and Wales. In 2012 this dropped to 190,972, the lowest figure since 1997 (the year Good Counsel was founded). In London the figures have also been dropping. In 2003 there were almost 52,000 abortions in London. In 2012 this was down to just over 45,000.

As the number of abortions drops and the number of babies saved from abortion goes up, we need to see a large increase in our income, but we have not. At the moment, we need to raise £15,000 just to keep our heads above water. The last few months have been a real struggle. We never want to see a woman go for an abortion because we could not provide the help she needed to continue her pregnancy.

There are many charities asking for money. many may be worthy causes, but not many of them can send you a list of people's lives you have helped save. thank you for the lives you have helped to save so far this year, and please donate as much as you can so that we can save even more next year, with the help of God".

Monday, 6 January 2014

If the World Hate You

The leader of the Church of England has publicly named his 'Person of the Year'.

No prizes for guessing who!

"He has changed the sense of direction and purpose of the Catholic (sic) Church", Mr. Justin Welby told the BBC.

Mr. Welby was joined in his accolade by The Financial Times who wrote in their editorial of 29th December, 2013, 'The Remarkable Figure of Pope Francis', that "Pope Francis has initiated a remarkable overhaul in the direction and management of the papacy".

The Grand Orient and The Rotary Club, LGBT, Time Magazine, The Church of England and The Financial Times constitute quite a remarkable representation of worldly movers, shakers, and opinion formers praising the leader of The Church of Vatican II. But just for good measure Esquire magazine, Vanity Fair and GQ magazine can be relied upon to promote the worldly appeal of Francis to the more down-market sections of the populace.

"If the world hate you, know ye, that it hath hated Me before you. If you had been of the world, the world would love its own".
   -   John. 15: 18-19.