Wednesday, January 6, 2016

Time to Canonize More Irish Saints

Sorry folks, my blogging partner and I have been away for a while.

But this caught my attention today at the Silverstream Priory Blog Vultus Christi :

On the need for more Irish canonisations

An Initiative
In an age when the fashion in the Church has turned to organising national task–forces for all sorts of causes — peace,  justice, environment, communications, and a myriad of other things — would it not be suitable to constitute a task–force for the public recognition of Irish holiness? Could not a central office for the Causes of Saints be set up, suitably funded, and directed by an articulate and zealous layman of the calibre of Pat Kenny? This initiative alone would go a long way in teaching Ireland to say once again: “And I will go in to the altar of God: to God who giveth joy to my youth” (Psalm 42:4).

This great idea was originally floated by Pat Kenny at the Father William Doyle site:

There were dozens of other martyrs from the penal times that deserve recognition, in addition to candidates like Venerable Matt Talbot, Mary Aitkenhead, Catherine McCauley, Nano Nagle, the three Legion of Mary candidates Edel Quinn, Alfie Lambe and Frank Duff; Venerable John Sullivan SJ and of course Fr Doyle himself. There are of course, many other worthy causes besides these that have yet to be considered. One thinks immediately of Fr James Cullen SJ, founder of the Pioneer Total Abstinence Association (Fr Doyle was a friend of his who served on the Council of the Pioneers) and Archdeacon Cavanagh, the parish priest of Knock at the time of the apparitions there, as well as Fr Henry Young, a holy priest who served the poor in Dublin and Fr Matthew Theobald who did so much to encourage temperance in the 19th Century. There are other worthy causes for holy lay people that deserve consideration also.

On twitter, followers of the Monks at the Silverstream Priory ( @cenacleosb ) are suggesting that Catholics support the cause of beatifying the Irish Hunger Martyrs.  read more at

Father William Doyle should also be high on the list:

Monday, December 29, 2014

The Canon: The Canon's 2014 Catholic Hipster Checklist

The Canon: The Canon's 2014 Catholic Hipster Checklist: So, you want to be a Catholic Hipster but don't know where to get started?  Our 2014 Catholic Hipster Checklist is here to help! ...

Thursday, December 25, 2014

The Burning Babe

The Burning Babe

As I in hoary winter's night stood shivering in the snow,
Surprised I was with sudden heat which made my heart to glow;
And lifting up a fearful eye to view what fire was near,
A pretty babe all burning bright did in the air appear;
Who, though scorched with excessive heat, such floods of tears did shed,
As though his floods should quench his flames, which with his tears were fed.
"Alas," quoth he, "but newly born, in fiery heats I fry,
Yet none approach to warm their hearts, or feel my fire but I!
My faultless breast the furnace is, the fuel wounding thorns,
Love is the fire, and sighs the smoke, the ashes shame and scorns;
The fuel justice layeth on, and mercy blows the coals,
The metal in this furnace wrought are men's defiled souls,
For which, as now on fire I am to work them to their good,
So will I melt into a bath to wash them in my blood."
With this he vanished out of sight and swiftly shrunk away,
And straight I called unto mind that it was Christmas Day.

Robert Southwell (1561-95)

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Loving the Stanek Report

From over at the Margaret Sanger blog a great piece on the valuable niche the Stanek Report now fills:   

If You Like Drudge, You Will Love the Stanek Report

A powerful pro-life internet presence has evolved over the years in response to the repulsive pro-abortion news coverage we have come to expect from the left-wing, mainstream media.

As we outline below, there are countless great pro-life blogs, pro-life news sites, pro-life organization websites, and pro-life activist sites out there. But now we have The Stanek Report.  The Stanek Report  serves as an invaluable, prolife news aggregation website pulling many of these resources together on one user friendly news site.  If you like the Drudge Report, you will love  The Stanek Report.



Earlier this year, we highlighted many of the great pro-life sites out there:

There are some great prolife websites and we visit many of them daily and link to a lot of the top ones.  Of course, Life NewsFoundation Life Pro-life NewsProLife Unity News and LifeSiteNews are must reads every day;  our tremendous national organizations all have very helpful websites, Priests for LifeHuman Life InternationalAmerican Life LeagueNational Right to LifeSisters of Life, the tremendously effective Life DynamicsOperation Rescue, our personal favorite Forty Days for Life, and of course Lila Rose and her wonderful organization Live Action

The Margaret Sanger Blog always relies on  Klanned Parenthood, TooManyAbortedBlack Genocide,  and Abort73 which are great.  Students for Life is an invaluable site.  We love Life Decisions International and its effort to defund the bloodthirsty haters at  Planned Parenthood - same with STOPP Planned Parenthood. The quite useful, yet underrated site at ProLifeAmerica, is a favorite.  The Center for Bio-Ethical Reform is a definite life-saver.

A few more must visits are Maafa 21180 Movie, and The Culture of Life Review.   Unique and innovative efforts are also our favorites, so we are big fans of Save the Storks.  You will also want to keep an eye on Grace Daigler, a forward thinking Franciscan University student, and her new effort Equipped to Engage.  Online for Life is another brilliant new effort.  Heartbeat International is also doing some good work.  On the local level, there are great organizations across the country, way too many to mention, but a special shout out this year goes to the gutsy folks at Cleveland Right to Life.  

We also find it useful to check the pro-life articles on the conservative activist site on a daily basis.  We also follow pro-life articles at the and  

Countless men and women are clearly doing heroic work and we are surely missing a bunch of sites worthy of mention.  And that is why we can not even begin to list all the great bloggers who each and every day make the case for life and bring to light profound and meaningful pro-life stories.  With so many valuable and informative blogs having one central prolife blog that pulls them all-together is extremely useful -that blog is Pro-Life Blogs

We also highlighted not long ago some of the great up-and-coming blogs:

Top 10 up-and-coming ProLife Blogs

It is always heartening to see the vast number of voices speaking up for the innocent and voiceless unborn.

We never cease to be amazed by the vast array of profile ministries in this country.  One excellent gauge for the passion of our cause is simply the number of websites and blogs out there selflessly trying to win hearts and minds to the pro-life cause.

We could make a list a mile long of all the pro-life sites out there, but today we just thought we would highlight some of the great up-and-coming blogs and organizations.   We still love and read Jill Stanek daily, but here are some other blogs to keep an eye on and bookmark.

10.  Generations for Life is the Pro-Life Action League‘s outreach to the new pro-life generation.Generations for Life empowers teens to be effective pro-life leaders by inspiring and helping them to establish lively pro-life clubs within their own high school communities and youth groups.
The Generations for Life Blog is great.  We love the Prayer Challenge and video recently posted and organized by high schoolers. 

9.  Save the Storks  Want to be inspired?  This group is doing something fresh, innovative and extremely valuable every day...follow this blog and you will be filled with hope.  The pro-life cause certainly has genius on its side!

8.  The Quick and the Dead: Planned Parenthood's Brazen Legacy of Debauchery, Defilement, and Death is an always informative blog that has been a round for a while.  But it really caught our attention again recently with the news that George Grant was re-releasing his epic Margaret Sanger biography, Killer Angel.

7.  The Prolife Youth Blog  is another marvelous, youth led blog that just fills one with hope when one reads it.  With bright minds like this on our side, one can imagine a day when abortion will become unthinkable.

6.  Rightly Wired  is more of a Libertarian leaning Conservative news site, than a pro-life blog, but it consistently has very high quality, right to life articles.  Youthful and inspired, if it is not yet on your radar, we encourage you to link to Rightly Wired , check it daily, and can thank us later.

5. Students for Life  is the best.  We can never find enough good things to say about Students for Life. Would have been number one, but it's not really up-and-coming.  It's already there.  The Students for Life site is great, the organization is even better, and the work they do is invaluable.  God bless Students for Life.

4. LiveActionNews is another group that has accomplished so much and that is so valuable to the pro-life movement that it doesn't really belong in the up-and-coming category.  But it is a site we visit daily, and even though Lila Rose already seems like she belongs in the ProLife Hall of Fame, she is only 26!  If we were unborn, we would want these guys on our side. 

3. is written by the young members of he Society for the Protection of Unborn Children a UK organization.  It is great to see that the hope, ingenuity and energy we are increasingly seeing is not just a US phenomenon.
2.  Equipped to Engage is an effort by students to help train other students to become leaders in the pro-life cause.  This is a very important effort with an incredible amount of promise.  

1. 40 Days for Life is certainly one of the most important efforts to come along.  A powerful, prayerful effort that has won hearts and minds daily, and closed abortion clinics weekly - it is an answer to all of our prayers.  Reading updates on 40 Days for Life fills us all with Hope!

That's our list.  Sure it's not perfect, and some of these sites aren't even blogs, and some of them aren't up-and-coming they are already there!  But who cares.  We just hope you check out some of these sites and get involved however you can. 

And if that's not enough pro-life blogs for you, be sure to check out for an exhaustive list of the all pro-life blogs you will ever need to read.


And now there is  The Stanek Report  .  If you haven't already, go check it out!

Sunday, December 21, 2014

Fundraising deadline looms for Silverstream Priory

An update on traditional monks at the Silverstream Priory from Catholic Ireland.

Fundraising deadline looms for Silverstream priory

By Sarah Mac Donald - 21 December, 2014
Ireland’s newest monastery - the Benedictine monks of Silverstream Priory in Co Meath - need €150,000.
Benedictine monks of Silverstream priory (l to r) Dom Elijah, Dom Mark Daniel Kirby, Dom Finian and Dom Benedict Andersen.
The fundraising deadline for Ireland’s newest monastery is just four days away and the Benedictine monks of Silverstream Priory still need €150,000.
The community of five was founded from its parent community in the diocese of Tulsa in Oklahoma in the US and ended up coming to Ireland when the house the community was renting in Tulsa became too small.
Prior, Dom Mark Daniel Kirby, explained that they need to purchase the Victorian-era monastery to make their future secure and to do major work to stem its descent into further decay.
Silverstream Priory was built around 1845 on 15 acres of countryside near Stamullen.
It had been owned by the Visitation Order of nuns from 1955. They moved out four years ago when their members needed nursing home care and they sought to sell the property to raises these funds.
The price tag for the property was €750,000 including a chapel that is crumbling and in bad need of repair.
The Benedictine monks intend to offer retreats to priests and religious and self-fund itself but it can’t do that until this financial hurdle is overcome.
“For a monastery to really flourish, there has to be that security that we can say this is home,” Dom Mark Daniel Kirby said and he explained, “We don’t own anything personally but the monastery has to be rooted in a place.”
He said the way of life they were living as Benedictines was the same since the 6th century and that as Ireland had once been covered with monasteries, they were trying to keep that memory alive.
“We are here to stay – we are planted here and we’ve already put down roots. I believe that God called us to Silverstream and that this is where we are supposed to be.”
“The Second Vatican Council taught that a local church is incomplete until it has a contemplative monastery. So it is important that we remain and that we continue to flourish because we are getting vocations and there are more on the way. But we must secure the monastery first,” he said.
Speaking at the Stamullen priory, 34-year-old Dom Benedict Andersen told, “Our monastery began in Tulsa in 2007. We were founded by the Bishop of Tulsa, Edward Slattery and we took root there.”
“I joined the monastery when we were in Tulsa and we were in a rented house in Tulsa – sort of looking for a property to move on to so that we could grow. We couldn’t really find anything adequate in Tulsa so we asked the bishop would he allow us to look outside the diocese. He said where are you thinking of, and we said maybe Ireland, and he said well if it is Ireland that is ok.”
“We came into contact with Fr John Hogan who is the parish priest of Rathkenny in the diocese of Meath. He said that there was a monastery in Stamullen of the Visitation nuns and they are thinking of leaving. So we got in contact with the bishop of Meath and he said you are very welcome to come here.”
Dom Benedict from SilverstreamSilverstream Priory is currently the only contemplative monastery in the diocese of Meath. Though it has been in Ireland less than four years and is already attracting new candidates.
One of these is novice Dom Finian who is from just outside Navan.
The 34-year-old was prior to joining the monastery an instrumentation technician who worked in calibrating scientific instruments such as gas turbines.
He was living in Bedford in the UK before he embarked on his vocational journey.
“It was something I was thinking about for years. For myself, it was a matter of coming to the monastery and not just staying for a day or a week but over the course of time when you live this life you begin to see the wisdom and the life in action… it is something you have to try to see.”
The novice said his family would “always have been supportive of anything I tried to do” and that they “always knew that vocation was a possible life decision for me”.
For the youngest member of the community, 27-year-old Bro Elijah, his family were not supportive.
“My family is not catholic, they are Lutherans. I became a catholic in high school and it was early college when I made the decision to join a seminary.” It was a source of rupture and even to this day a source of grief.
However, he told, “I am in regular conversation with my parents and my family; they know I love them and I know they love me but it is very difficult when a family isn’t on the same page.”
Dom Elijah like Dom Finian is a novice. He will make his vows next year. “I have taken no vows – I could walk out if I wanted to and if something went wrong I could be dismissed. Right now everything is going well and I’m happy and planning to stay.”
The Tulsa native originally became a seminarian for his home diocese but thanks to the amount of time he spent “going back and forth” between the monastery in Tulsa and the university he “became part of the furniture” and was drawn to contemplative cloistered monastic life.
The Benedictine monks of Silverstream live their vocation under the Patronage of Our Lady of the Cenacle and have a special dedication to the sacred liturgy.
When Dom Benedict, who was a member of the Tulsa community, pronounced his vows last year, he was the first Benedictine monk to be professed in Meath since the dissolution of the Abbey of Fore by the commissioners of Henry VIII in 1539.
Dom Mark Daniel KirbyThe monks have a number of young men both from Ireland and the US interested in joining the community but the monastery is badly in need of renovation in order to accommodate more men.
Dom Benedict was born into a Danish-Irish-American family which were culturally Catholic. “I came from an unchurched catholic background. I was baptised but I was never brought back to church. Through a lot of study and many trials and tribulations I came back to the catholic faith.”
For many years, he was a member of the Eastern Orthodox church. “I was an eastern orthodox seminarian and studied at the Russian orthodox seminary of St Vladimir’s in New York. Through the discovery of this monastery I came back to the faith of my baptism and just became enchanted with the Benedictine life – and that is how I came to join,” he explained.
See rest here:  

Thursday, November 27, 2014

Prayers and Help Needed for Silverstream Priory

It seems our favorite Irish monks are in need of some prayers and charity.

From Father Z:

From a reader:
Fr Mark Kirby, of Vultus Christi blog, who with a small community is trying to save and revive Silverstream Priory, is in hospital. Would you pray for him? Would you ask readers to pray for him? And give him the material support he needs to keep warm and fed, along with his flock of five.
The thing is, Fr Mark needs to be encouraged, forced even, to ask for material help. He endured two winters in his fledgling monastery with no heating system. Now he has a heating system, could we support him to put fuel in the boiler? Warm soups on the table? I do not exaggerate his material needs. The conditions he lives in are improving but truly shocking.
Fr Mark recently had the joy of seeing one of his little community ordained to the priesthood. He has novices and postulants. He is a holy man and has many apostolates in keeping with his habit. But he needs to be able to turn on the heat and eat warm food!
On Monday, Father Kirby reported on the Silverstream Priory that he was doing better:

Dear friends, I was released from hospital late on Friday and was able to return home to the monastery the same evening. I am profoundly grateful for the messages of loving support and the assurance of prayers that flowed in from all sides. Many of you sent donations: a tangible sign of the unfailing Providence of God. Heartfelt thanks to all of you. “And he said to me: My grace is sufficient for thee; for power is made perfect in infirmity. Gladly therefore will I glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may dwell in me » (2 Corinthians 12:9).

Read more about the Silverstream Priory in a wonderful Regina Magazine article :  

St Benedict’s Sons in Ireland

Sunday, November 23, 2014

4 Things to Remember & Cardinal Burke

Four things for all of us (Popes, Bishops, Priests, folks in the pews, and folks who should be in the pews) to always remember before reading this great article on Cardinal Burke:

1)  Christ was unpopular.  He was crucified.  The New York Times, MSNBC, Time Magazine, and 60 Minutes would have hated and sought to destroy  Jesus Christ had they been around at the time of Christ's crucifixion.

“If the world hates you, know that it has hated me before it hated you.   If you were of the world, the world would love its own; but because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, therefore the world hates you."

2)  St. Augustine:   'Right is right even if no one is doing it; wrong is wrong even if everyone is doing it.'

3)  Christ forgave the adultress, but then told her: Go and sin no more.

4)  Our Lady of Fatima:  More souls go to hell for sins of the flesh than for any other reason.

Cardinal Burke: Church teaching on sexuality must be clarified, and only Pope Francis can do it

In an interview with Ireland’s state broadcaster, RTE, one of the Catholic hierarchy’s most outspoken defenders of life and family and the Church’s sexual moral teachings again indicated Pope Francis needs to “clarify” that divorced and remarried Catholics, and active homosexuals, cannot be admitted to the sacraments.
As he did during the course of the contentious Extraordinary Synod of Bishops in Rome last month, Cardinal Raymond Leo Burke told RTE in a video interview, “I believe very strongly that – I’m not the pope, and I’m not in the business of telling him what to do – but in my judgment this needs to be clarified, and there’s only one person who can clarify it at this point.”
The possibility of the Church in any way accepting sexual immorality, whether in the form of divorce, “second marriages” or homosexual acts, he said, must be taken “off the table” for next year’s Synod in a definitive way that only the pope can accomplish.
The cardinal denied that this was an instance of “defying” the pope’s authority, saying that Pope Francis would agree that Church teaching is immutable. But he added that he cannot see how the Church’s teaching is being clarified by the Synod process of protracted discussion and debate. He said that he has heard from lay people that “there’s really just a growing confusion about what the Church really teaches, and we’re not coming to any clarity.
“And the impression now is given that this will now go out to the dioceses and they will express their opinions and the bishops will come and vote on this. But that isn’t the way Church doctrine is formulated. And that’s not the way Church discipline is formulated. The Church is not a democracy,” Burke said.
It is “not helpful that people have this idea now that we’re going to have this broad discussion” on these issues that will be brought to the next session of the Synod in 2015, and put them to a vote, “and somehow this will be the direction.”
“In the end, the Holy Father is the only one who can set the direction, and he will have to pronounce on the matter.”  

Read rest here:  

Cardinal Burke: Church teaching on sexuality must be clarified, and only Pope Francis can do it