Friday, 22 June 2018
The Communion of Saints versus the Cult of Celebrity
Nothing is actually known about St Philomena, there are no historical records. She is the only saint to have become known by her intercession, from which there has been an endless flow of miracles. These powerful intercessions have continued during the last two centuries, so powerful that many Popes had a great devotion to the little miracle worker, particularly Pope Gregory XVI, Leo XII, Pius IX and Leo XIII. But let us go back to her discovery.
In 1802 in the catacombs of St Priscilla the remains of a young woman were found. It was covered in stones and had symbols that indicated it was the body of a martyr named St Philomena. But why wait almost 1700 years before she became known? There were many factors which could give us good reasons why God waited until this point in time to reveal this particular saint. The Napoleonic wars were raging, the result of the French Revolution and in turn the result of the so called Enlightenment. Philosophers in France and Germany were putting man at the centre of the Universe and not God. In the 19th century materialism was becoming ever more prevalent and people were being led away from the Church. After the discovery of her remains and the symbols which accompanied her she was catalogued and forgotten. However, In 1805 Canon Francis de Lucia of Mugnano, Italy, was in the Treasury of Relics in the Vatican and as he approached the relics of St Philomena he was struck with spiritual joy. He was allowed to erect a shrine to her in a chapel in Mugnano. There then followed miracles and cures and her fame spread throughout Italy and abroad.
One of St Philomena’s strongest devotees was St John Vianney who gave her constant praise for the numbers of cures achieved at her intercession. Another was the Ven. Pauline Jaricot who was miraculously cured by the intercession of St Philomena and named her as Patroness of the Living Rosary.She is perhaps more than anything needed today. A youthful saint for today’s youth led astray by the media, the television and pop culture celebrities who believe that virtue is outmoded, and that childhood innocence must be destroyed. O glorious St Philomena, pray for today’s young people who are often given a poor start in life by the bad examples of rock and pop celebrities
During the last half of the twentieth century and continuing into the new millennium one of the most powerful influences on youth has been rock and pop stars. This is very sad for by their example, living lives of dissipation and excess, they have proven themselves to be the least qualified to be leaders and teachers of the young. Many believe that with the TV they have created havoc for many youngsters. The songs were often banal, sometimes ‘clever’, but hardly ever had any Christian reference. It’s almost as if the last two thousand years never happened. Their songs were to drugs, sex, materialism and even paganism. The Rolling Stones wrote a hymn to Satan calling it Sympathy for the Devil in 1968. They had a number of hits like Jumping Jack Flash selling millions around the world. There music and images were brought into homes by the TV with shows like Top of the Pops. The Beatles at the height of their fame produced their influential Sergeant Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band LP which had a picture of the Satanist Aleister Crowley among the celebrities on the album cover. Jimmy Page of Led Zeppelin was a devotee of Crowley’s and even bought his Boleskine House on the shore of Loch Ness where he performed Crowley’s magical rituals.
The three bands named above were possibility the biggest in the history of rock and pop music. Their influence was immense, sidelining Christian values with a heavy beat and a rife from their guitarists. They were heavily into drugs, the occult or eastern mysticism.
As sixties pop turned to the rock of the 1970 Sadomasochism raised its ugly head with Alice Cooper (a man) whose stage act involved being hanged. When TV campaigner Mary Whitehouse complained she was ridiculed by the large majority of the youth of the day; led by rock bands like Deep Purple whose song Mary Long mocked her attempts to restore common decency along with Lord Longford.
It no comfort to a Christian that many of the rock and pop stars died from their lifestyles with drugs and alcohol taking its toll of many leading stars
Today the rock and pop industry continues its glittery round of dissipation with their own award ceremonies on MTV. These days it’s the turn of women stars to flout convention and cause scandal and lead young girls astray. The Madonna and Britney Spears kiss on stage at the MTV award ceremony reverberated around the world, more with admiration for their bravery than admonishment.
Even where Christianity does exist in mainstream rock and pop it is so heavily diluted as to be dangerous leading many astray rather than affirming the faith. One would expect that a so called Christian band from Ireland, U2, would be able to withstand the onslaught of materialism and politically correct liberalism but no, for although three-quarters of them were baptised Catholic, U2 are more in tune with liberal Protestantism than the healthy disciplines of Catholicism. Constantly wearing their hearts on their sleeves they champion Amnesty International, now a leading supporting of abortion.One cannot write a piece on the pop world without mentioning the biggest star of today, Lady Gaga whose promotion for her latest CD Born that Way involves fetish laden and sexually explicit photos of herself. Power without responsibility – you bet yah
Sunday, 13 May 2018
The Babylonian Captivity of the Papacy
Part One - Pope St Uriah Heap.
Babylon and the Vatican
Vatican endorsed fashion show!
The very first time I heard of Cardinal Jorge Bergoglio was, like most Catholics, just after he had been elected Pope. Perhaps I should have but how many of us have the time to make a list of Cardinals, orthodox or not. However, alarm bells went off almost immediately, he came out on the balcony without the mozetta, the red shoulder cape that symbolises the rank of bishop and that he is prepared to be martyred for the Church. I just felt cold as I saw him there on the balcony of St Peter's I just knew immediately that this was not going to be a good papacy. Worse still, instead of blessing the crowed he asked the crowd to bless him, this type of nonsensical false humility has continued throughout his lamentable pontificate.
Pope St Uriah Heep.
The pope goes out of his way to being seen as humble and merciful, and as long as there is a camera and a microphone to record his humility he'll do all the gestures necessary. Washing the feet of Muslims, kneeling before Muslim "refugees" as Italy is swamped by Islam, the very same Muslims who have made such mess in their own countries that they seek a better life in the West. In watching this pope, Uriah Heep came to mind. Heep is an apparently pathetic Dickensian character from David Copperfield, who ultimately turns out to be very nasty and full of false humility.
Very Umble pope meets and honours Katy Perry.
Just when you thought things can't get much worse or sillier Katy Perry is invited to meet the pope and give a "lecture" on Meditation at the Vatican. Sounding like the silly Hollywood bimbo she is, she only just managed to string a few pathetic words together at a time. But there she was lecturing the bishops, priests and journalists at the Vatican on Transcendental meditation. Katy Perry, whose first big hit was "I kissed a girl", just recently forced aging nuns to sell their convent; one nun died last month in court trying to stop this siren of hedonistic paganism from getting their convent. The Vatican and the Archdiocese of Los Angeles were on Katy Perry's side in the dispute of course. They saw the dollar signs rather than the plight of the nuns. You couldn't make this up if you tried.
|Pope St Uriah Heap and Katy Perry|
(is he about to kiss her hand?)
Pope St Uriah Heep to Ms Perry
"Oh, indeed you must excuse me, Ms Katy, I am greatly obliged, and I should have liked you to sing your song here in the Sistine Chapel, but I am far too umble to be worthy of it"
|Katy Perry as Kitsch Angel|
So there you have it, the Babylon that is the modern secular media has captured the Church, with raunchy pop stars, Hollywood actors, and that homosexuals now populate the Vatican. And what about Cardinal Dolan and the Vatican supported Catholic themed fashion show? Words fail me! It just brings to mind the Federico Fellini film Roma, Fellini the prophet heaven forbid - please.
|Fellini's film Roma|
Vatican fashion show
complete with flashing light
Friday, 27 April 2018
BBC Scotland say Holy Communion
"tastes like cardboard and smells like Hate"
The BBC are once again bashing the Catholic Church this time it's a video made for BBC Scotland's Facebook page. And once again it's that non word, Homophobia that's being levelled at the Church claiming that we are hate inspirers. And yet faithful Catholics are the only ones showing true love towards those who have active same-sex relationships, for they are trying to save them from eternal damnation. The vile video has been criticised by Bishop John Keenan of Paisley as it states that Holy Communion "tastes like cardboard and smells like hate" I think the only ones trying spread the stench of hatred here are the BBC and their homosexual henchmen.
Anti-Catholic is anti-Life - in media and law
The left-liberal pro-gay media and the left-liberal pro-gay judiciary appear to be out to kill little Alfie Evans. Alfie Evans a toddler of 23 months has been bedridden in Alder Hey Hospital Liverpool for well over a year and now the judge has ruled he must be taken off life support and left to die, despite the fact that a Roman hospital want to treat him, the Italian government has granted him Italian citizenship and there is an aircraft waiting a Liverpool airport to take him to Rome. However, the judge has now ruled he cannot leave the country - why when there may be a chance of curing him? Could it be that because they are Catholics and there is a chance of saving the little boy that the judge does not want the Catholic Church being seen in a good light? Why you ask do I make this assessment, well the judge in question is a member of the BLAGG Bar Lesbian and Gay Group and has co-authored a book titled Children and Same Sex Families.
The Main Stream Media became quite hysterical once they realised the Evans family are Catholics. Janet Street-Porter of the Daily Mail states "poor Alfie, a tragic pawn in a religious war," Religious war! What nonsense! We just want to save a little boy's life, she goes on "his parents' fight ... hijacked by the Catholic Church." Here we go again once you mention the Catholic Church, poor little chap he doesn't stand a chance. This smells like hate to me!
To read more of Street-Porter's tripe click here: Janet Street-Porter
Saturday, 14 April 2018
Is the BBC pushing us into a War with Russia?
Just a few questions every Prayer Crusader should ask and pray about:
- Why does the fanatically anti-Russian BBC take every opportunity to attack Russia and her allies?
- The BBC hates the Syrian Government but why are they favouring militant Islamic groups that are simply terrorists. It's simply not proven that Syria is using chemical weapons - why should Syria, they are winning?
- The Government are doing the BBC's bidding and so are the other ridiculous main stream media newspapers such as the hideous Sun and Daily Mail which support the illegal action by Britain the US and France!
The answer is quite simple, Russia is one of the few Christian countries that still regards homosexual acts are sinful and are not afraid to say so. And the homosexual led western media will do anything to get at Russia - anything! Even to the point of bringing us to a world war!
By Prayer Crusader St Philomena
By Prayer Crusader St Philomena
Friday, 13 April 2018
St Bernadette a true Role Model
In her complete and unquestioning acceptance of God’s will Saint Bernadette Soubirous can be a guiding example to us all.
Born in 1844 to a miller and his wife, François and Louise Soubirous, who were already on a downward path caused by their own fecklessness. At nine months she was sent to a wet-nurse at Bartrès, a few miles from Lourdes. She was nineteen months old when she returned home.
When she was ten her parents were evicted from their mill because of failure to pay the rent. At eleven Bernadette was sent to live with her godmother, her Aunt Bernarde, to help with the housework. When she returned home two years later her parents and brothers and sisters were living in the damp, disused town jail. Soon she was sent away again – back to Bartrès – to help her foster mother Marie Langrès with her children. In return she was to be taught her Catechism. As it turned out, she was not taught her Catechism but was sent to work minding sheep. In all this Bernadette never complained. It was God’s Will. It must be right. However, she deeply missed the family she loved so much. She was almost fourteen when she was allowed to return home.
Soon after her return she saw, several times, a joy-bringing Apparition of a young and pure Heavenly Girl. She was forbidden to return to the cave behind the rubbish-tip at Massabielle. She wept, but did not complain. She managed to wring the longed-for permission from her father in the end. She was invited to stay in the comfortable home of a pious lady, but soon chose to return home, to be with her family. Eventually, at fifteen, she was sent regularly to school, and afterwards lived with the Sisters who ran it, the lowest of the low among them. Yet there was never a complaint from her lips. All around her the Lourdes we know today was germinating, despite bitter opposition from the authorities. They even threatened Bernadette with prison if she did not admit she was mistaken about the apparitions.
In 1864, at the age of 22, Bernadette entered the Noviciate of the Sisters, miles away in Nevers. We are told she was always afraid of being sent away. Finally the day of her Profession made this impossible. She who had so often been “sent away” was now safe. Bernadette was happy in the convent in spite of constant ill health through her asthma, and persecution by the Novice Mistress, who of course was out of her depth before such simplicity and unquestioning acceptance. Bernadette said she liked to make a little chapel by drawing her veil close around her face. Inside that private space she could be alone with her beloved Lord.Her health deteriorated. To her asthma were added tubercular abscesses. Yet she was always cheerful. She was obedient and respectful, but sometimes ready with a shrewd or pithy comment too. She said the work God had given her was to be ill and that the healing power of Lourdes was for others, not for her. She died in 1880, aged 36. Her final agony lasted four months. She never complained. It was God’s will. Bernadette’s life was given, from beginning to end. Given – for us. What a role model!
By Prayer Crusader St Bernadette
Madonna a false role model
|Madonna and the fires of hell on stage.|
To close for comfort, or am I being judgemental?
Many celebrities seem to live their lives in a way that are the diametrically opposite to those of the saints. This cult of celebrity has great influence because their lives are communicated by the mass media to the rest of the world. This can be very corrosive particularly as role models for vulnerable and young. Below we discuss the influence and career of the pop singer Madonna, who has had enormous influence on young girls and women.
Madonna Louise Ciccone Ritche was born is Bay City, Michigan, United States in 1958. In the late 1970s she moved to New York to work as a dancer. By the early 1980s after working with two pop groups she released her first solo album Madonna. It was her second album Like a Virgin that propelled to international success and notoriety. By the time this album was released she had honed her own very stylised and subversive blend of Catholic imagery with sexual themes. These themes and images became ever more outrageous as the decade wore on, with subsequent albums called True Blue and Like a Prayer. Her styles of dress became very popular with young girls and women.
By the time she embarked on the Who's That Girl Tour in 1988 the Vatican became so concerned by her antics, that Pope John Paul II urged Italian fans not to attend her concerts. It is sad fact regarding the media and celebrity culture that they thrive on controversy gleefully amplifying any scandal which make protecting the young and innocent extremely difficult. However, the intervention of the Pope was very timely for in early 1989, Pepsi, the soft drink manufacturer withdrew from endorsement deal with Madonna. She had produced a commercial for Pepsi in which she debuted her new song Like a Prayer. The commercial and subsequent music video exploited many Catholic images such as the stigmata, and also showed burning crosses. Pepsi tried to convince the public that the commercial was not inappropriate but failed.
In 1990 Madonna drew even more criticism with her Blond Ambition World Tour. Especially her very controversial performance of "Like a Virgin" during which two male dancers caressed her body before she simulated masturbation. When the tour reached Italy a lay association of Catholics, called Famiglia Domani, campaigned for a boycotted. Also in 1990 Madonna released her first greatest hits compilation album, The Immaculate Collection, which included two new songs: One was released as a single and like most of her songs reached number one. Its music video featured scenes of sadomasochism, bondage, same-sex kissing and brief nudity.In October 1992 she produced a glossy coffee table book called Sex the content of which is so pornographic and spiritually deadening that I have decided not to list the perversions depicted in it. Sufficed to say that it featured many other celebrities who entered into the books spirit of depravity, one of which was Naomi Campbell Madonna’s record company Warner brothers who were to release the book through their Warner Books brand made her sign a contract that it would not include any photographs depicting religious imagery or bestiality etc. Madonna of course ignored the contract for she then formed her own multi-media company Maverick, over which she negotiated a contract with Warner Books that gave her full artistic control. She then ignored the earlier contract and demonstrated her nefarious power by including two photos that the first contract would have excluded and Warner executives could do nothing. Warner restricted books release to the English, French, Italian and Japanese languages. While the Japanese authorities quickly moved to ban the book, in the West the book sold out without even lifting an establishment eyebrow. Here we see Christendom gagged and bound by the Media. Even if any Western country had banned this book the dictatorial liberal exponents in media conglomerates like the BBC would have led the howls for free speech etc.
Madonna’s personal life is just as dissolute (and public) as her show business one. After divorcing her husband actor Sean Penn in 1989 she had a string of affairs and also speculation about Naomi Campbell and Sandra Bernhard. Madonna met fitness trainer Carlos Leon, in Central Park in September 1994. In 1996, she gave birth to their daughter Lourdes Maria Ciccone Leon. Madonna met director Guy Ritchie, in 1999 through mutual friend, Sting. In August 2000 she gave birth to their son Rocco who was baptized by Church of Scotland Minister Susan Brown, who also presided over the marriage ceremony of Madonna and Richie at Skibo Castle the next day. Madonna is a divorced Catholic and Ritchie is a Protestant, Ms Brown is well known for her ‘progressive’ views. In October 2008 a spokeswoman announced the Madonna and Richie are to divorce.
Madonna has been a devotee of the Kabbalah Centre in London since the late 1990s. The Kabbalah is a form of Jewish mysticism with overtones of the Occult. Madonna has donated $21 million towards a Kabbalah school for children.Madonna has had enormous influence over many impressionable young women, she is very rich and powerful. Together with many other celebrities they continue to lead society away from Jesus. We must pray for Madonna and the poor souls she may have influenced that they may repent and return to Jesus.
By Prayer Crusader St Philomena
Saturday, 31 March 2018
The Irish Referendum
What is the referendum in Ireland about? Well, it is about light v darkness. How did it come to this? What course did it take? I will try to answer.
In 1983 Ireland had a very divisive - I mean very, very divisive - referendum and referendum campaign leading up to the referendum. I remember it well as I campaigned on the pro- life side, with a truck load of pro-aborts hurling abuse at us when they came across us. The two main pro-life groups at the time were the Society for the Protection of Unborn Children (S.P.U.C.) (which I campaigned with) and the Pro Life Amendment Campaign(P.L.A.C.). There were many liberals who wanted to introduce abortion to feel ‘with it’ among the nations that had introduced abortion. Thankfully Ireland was a more Catholic country then than it is now, and there was a sizeable amount of politicians who were against abortion. There was at that time scant protection for the unborn in the law, only an English law dating back to 1861 which was somewhat vague. So it was decided to put it to the people and to hold a referendum. As I said, it was a very acrimonious debate. And no surprise, with the media constantly against us slinging mud at every turn.
Despite this the people through the grace of God decided that they did not want abortion and said a big NO with two thirds of the people voting against abortion. Thank God. The people had spoken. The constitution was amended and article 40.3.3 was inserted into the constitution, that ‘the state acknowledges the equal right to life of the unborn with due regard to the right to life of the mother’. I’m quoting this from memory. To put it basically the unborn child was seen as a person with equal rights. The only time when a pregnancy could be terminated was if the mother ‘s life was in danger, as this was not the direct intentional killing of the unborn but giving the mother the necessary life saving treatment that she needed where the unfortunate side effect of this is the death of the baby. So this became law and it could not be removed by politicians (praise God) as the constitution can only be changed by the people in a referendum. So basically the whole thing backfired on the pseudo liberals. They could not change it now. From the pro-life point of view Ireland was the jewel in the crown with its prominent protection of unborn children. And a lot of people didn’t like this.
This was the 8th amendment to the constitution. And is known as the 8th amendment or in current debates is commonly referred to as the 8th.
It was going to be hard for the pro-aborts to change this law. They didn’t go away. They constantly criticised and challenged this law (via the media) and sought for every opportunity to undermine it. Many pseudo liberal politicians, media and medical practitioners and others sought for loopholes. Some opportunities came in 1999 and in 2003 when the people were again asked to vote on certain issues, such as: should women have the right to information about abortion abroad and have the right to travel to the UK to have an abortion, to which the people voted yes. (Sadly the commitment to life was beginning to wane somewhat as Ireland was being de-Catholicised most notably through sex abuse scandals and being constantly exploited by the media). Though the people still voted no to abortion in Ireland, thank God. Then there arose cases known as the x case and the c case where there was rape of minors. Here is a particular point of case which the media exploited non stop.
Here entered the European courts. They did their dirty work and told Ireland they had to change their pro-life laws, though they had no right to do so, to interfere in the laws of an individual nation. The politicians only too readily wanted to respond willingly to their bloodthirsty desires; only one small problem: article 40.3.3 of the Irish constitution stood between them and cruelly executing young Irish children. From this point onwards steam was building, with Ireland being now a member of the EU and them giving us our money (I say 'our' money as it’s not their money. Where do they get their money? Only from the people of the individual nations). Their viceroys, Irish politicians, are getting somewhat hot under the collar, when they’re getting rapped across the knuckles and being asked why they are not introducing abortion. This was to become more pronounced when Ireland needed a bail-out and Ireland had to receive bail-outs from ECB and IMF. From this point onward the EU pressure was really on and Ireland was at their bidding. Hence Irish politicians introduced in 2013 the so called ‘protection of life during pregnancy act’, a point in case of evil being called good (I won’t go in to the ins and outs of all these different scenarios and legislations) where abortion was introduced if the woman claimed she was suicidal. From here there was the referendum on ‘gay marriage’; sadly this was passed by the people in a referendum with unrelenting support by the media.
From here it was a free for all. They were emboldened. They were going to go all out to get their debauched way. Next on their list was the constant thorn in their flesh: the jewel in the pro-life crown. That which is standing between their bloodthirsty desires and the cruel slaughter of the most vulnerable innocents. That which rouses their greatest ire. That which is preventing them from fully rejoicing in depravity (no matter how they dress it up otherwise, like compassion), article 40.3.3 of the Irish constitution. They have set their sights on it for a long time from within Ireland and around the world. Billionaires such as George Soros and Chuck Feeney and many others have been funding its destruction for a long time. It is the holy grail (or unholy grail). With subterfuge, spurious arguments, downright lies and arrogance they have got around to putting it to the people once again. Even that which has happened i.e. the political process, in the last sixteen months is surreal. All the events that led to the setting up of what is known as the citizens assembly (C.A.). The politicians, afraid to make the decision to have the referendum, off loaded it to the C.A. which was loaded. Loaded in many ways. Loaded with pro-aborts . Overseen by pro-aborts. Pro-aborts brought in to address it. The outcome, surprise surprise; they advocated abortion on demand up to 22 weeks. The government rubber-stamped this decision save only that they would reduce it to 12 weeks (knowing that 22 weeks was too radical. For now). It saved them the messy business of these controversial decisions. I’m just dealing with this whole process very fleetingly. It would cover a book in itself. The whole thing was a travesty. A farce from beginning to end.
The plot thickened about three weeks ago The supreme court heard a case in exceptional circumstances. The case was rushed through. It was a case appealed by the state. A case heard by the high court which stated that the unborn child had other rights apart from the right to life. It was taken by a Nigerian man who was to be deported. He claimed that he should not be deported because he was the father of an unborn child and the child had a right to a father. The government disagreed (most likely because it would have scuppered the chances of the government to have a referendum to have their way to introduce abortion. The government and all political parties are campaigning for abortion, except one very small party) and challenged the high court decision. Seven judges of the supreme court ‘reflected’ on the issue and said no, the unborn child does not have any rights except the right to life as stated in article 40.3.3. This contradicted many judgements handed down by the courts over the decades. This appeal was rushed through in a matter of months where it normally takes years for an appeal to come before the high court. The head judge of the supreme court who was one of the seven is a known public advocate of abortion.
So the government is doing everything it can to have the referendum on May 25th, before all the students go off for the summer break and before the Pope comes to Ireland (there is the danger that he could influence people towards being pro-life). The Church has been very quiet. It is being pushed through the Dail stages at break neck speed. Now the campaigning is on. (The latest Irish times opinion poll puts the repeal, to give them a polite title, side at 56% while the retain the 8th gets 26% if you believe the Irish Times). It is up to the people of Ireland to decide, to see through all the lies. It is an uphill battle. The last comparable poll put the repeal side at 60% and retain at 20%. So the gap is closing due to much hard work by pro-life people and the grace of God.
These are just some bullet points on the situation regarding the referendum at the moment. If anyone reading this has a vote in Ireland, please strongly consider coming home and casting your vote for life. Or if you know anyone who has a vote please encourage them to come home and vote for life. Pray that Ireland once more witnesses to the dignity of life in all its stages from conception, that Ireland could be a beacon of light to all the pro-life people and unborn around the world. The stakes are so high it cannot be overestimated.
I remain optimistic. Most of all I trust in God from whom all help comes. If God is for us, who can be against us? The battle is mine, says the Lord.
By Prayer Crusader St Rita, Dublin
Friday, 16 March 2018
- A warning to TV Licensing that I will video and post their visit.
Dear TV Licensing,
Please understand that I do not watch TV nor do I have one. In fact I would not watch TV if you paid me! As a Catholic I am disgusted by the TV particularly the BBC with its amassed history of bigotry, indecency, pro-abortion, pro-homosexuality, and all your neo-Nazi, pagan tactics, that you thinly dress up as an being even handed when you are the most biased organisation on earth.
If your inspector does call let me warn you that I will video the event and post it on line on the blog and on You Tube, I will attempt to convert the poor brain wasted inspector to give up his heathen job.
Friday, 2 March 2018
One finds St. Michael in the most unlikely places
… such as on the wall of an abortion clinic.
I was alerted to this fact by a prayer leaflet from the GoodCounselNetwork, left in the church I attend. The full story, plus a photograph of the plaque showing St. Michael, below the Marie Stopes signboard, can be read here:
Briefly, it appears that the building, in Mattock Lane, Ealing, was originally a house with a private chapel. Both chapel and house were bought in the 1930s by Dorothy Kerin, a devout Anglo-Catholic who had herself experienced healing, judged miraculous, from complications of tuberculosis. Having previously rented a house in Ealing called St. Raphael's as a House of Spiritual Healing, Dorothy Kerin needed a bigger venue as St. Raphael's was proving inadequate for the number of people coming to it. She bought both the chapel (St. Michael's) and the house, and they were used for healing until 1948, when she and her ministry moved to Kent. The buildings came into the possession of Middlesex County Council, and it seems that St. Michael's was run as a maternity home (though this is not entirely clear from the story on the website), until in 1993 it was bought by Marie Stopes International since when it has been run as an abortion clinic.
From maternity home to abortion clinic, how ironic is that? The leaflet asks that we pray for the closure of the clinic, saying one Our Father, three Hail Marys, and the prayer to St. Michael, daily if possible. St. Michael is still powerful, and he is still there. Indeed, his plaque seems to be incorporated into the wall, whereas the Marie Stopes board is an add-on and could easily be removed if and when the clinic ceases to function.
By Prayer Crusader St Teresa of Avila
By Prayer Crusader St Teresa of Avila
Friday, 23 February 2018
The final part of Our Proposals for the
Future of British Broadcasting
An Alternative to the Alternative
If CUT's recommendations for new services are not adopted and a decision is made to retain a broadcasting platform on approximately the current basis with regard to broadcasting content, there is no reason why it should produce any of its content 'in house'. The dissolution of the drama, factual and light entertainment sections of the BBC, allowing for the formation of more independent companies than exist at present and the sale of movables to them, may be accomplished within a framework preserving current broadcasting structures if it is thought desirable to maintain those structures, although the purpose of doing so becomes ever less clear. If commissioning and production remain within one organisation, it will always be inclined to produce 'in house' in order to reduce costs (or apparent costs), making the quota process necessary if it is to be obliged to buy in programmes, but what is the purpose of that obligation if there is no intention to make a transition? Separation between content and delivery systems is standard across the utilities sector; why should television be different from gas or electricity in this respect? The delivery platforms may be privatised at some convenient point when H.M. Government thinks fit.
By Prayer Crusader St Philip Howard
Saturday, 10 February 2018
Independence and impartiality
The BBC exploits the ambiguity of its position, claiming independence or public status as it pleases to its own benefit; its attitude toward the licence fee is an example of this. Whether or not any other aspects of our reform proposals are accepted, what is necessary is a clear statement that the public sector broadcaster is an executive agency of H.M. Government whose employees should observe the standards usual across the Civil Service with particular reference to the relationship with H.M. Government and any particular administration. At present 'impartiality' is interpreted in terms of independence from H.M. Government, manifested in displays of antagonism towards the administration of the day whichever Party might be in office, but impartiality is readily understood across the Civil Service. This redefinition is necessary if the work of the public sector broadcaster is to be integrated with that of other agencies and Government Departments.
The status of the public sector broadcaster should be reflected in its governance structures. There should be a management board answerable to a board of governors who should be civil servants drawn from relevant Departments. The public sector broadcaster should be accountable to both H.M. Government and Parliament in precisely the same manner as any other public office or agency.
Terms of the next Royal Charter
The media landscape has been transformed by technological advances over the course of the last decade so there could be no possible justification for the grant of a Royal Charter that would be almost certain to leave the BBC several years behind the times when it expires.
If, at the Mid-term Review, the Secretary of State indicates an intention to replace the current service with one more appropriate to modern conditions, the present Royal Charter might be succeeded by another for a two year term, followed by others for one or two year terms as necessary. If no indication is given at the Mid-Term Review, the next Royal Charter should be for a term of no more than four years again followed by successive shorter terms. This will allow the necessary reforms to be implemented without undue delay as and when they become pressing.
An Alternative in Clear Vision
The BBC achieved incorporation by making essentially fraudulent claims, and retained its status by deceit, scaremongering and self-serving propaganda campaigns. It has now become so much an established part of national life that abolition is considered unthinkable, yet a phased abolition is clearly desirable to attain the balanced media landscape necessary in the 21st century.
We set out below a set of alternative proposals for public sector broadcasting with public purposes of broadcasting in support of public policy, and acting as an organ of accountability by making the work of Parliament and H.M. Government visible to the general public.
Our proposals are as follows:
✗ A Royal Charter of no more than four years, extended by one or two years at a time should be granted to achieve a smooth transition within twelve years. Because it is dependent upon the Royal Charter, the BBC is legally incompetent to contract for goods, staff or services beyond the Charter term; but it might well have done so, and a short Charter will enable possible litigation to be avoided as any such contracts would come to light and most would be able to run their course within the transition period, redundancy payments may also be avoided.
✗ BBC News and Sport, with which news reporting has close connections, should be privatised as a single company. Retention of the news service within the public sector makes it difficult for audiences overseas to regard the BBC News as anything other than the opinion of H.M. Government; it also contributes to the confusion between independence and impartiality that has sometimes led the BBC to see its rôle as being to oppose whichever administration happens to be in office. The DDCMS might find it desirable to have a certain amount of sport broadcast in the public sector when the nature of the sport in question, or the level at which it is played, make the competitions at issue unattractive to commercial broadcasters.
✗ Responsibility for and management of the BBC Monitoring unit should pass to the FCO.
✗ All properties held by the BBC should be transferred to a new agency operating under the auspices of the DCLG's Local Government and Public Services Group. We would envisage most leases being allowed to lapse, or being passed to successor organisations in the private sector. It is likely that a privatised BBC News would wish to continue to occupy a large part of New Broadcasting House as a permanent tenant. Other properties owned by the BBC should be sold, leased to successor companies, or handed over for community or academic use. Movables should be sold unless desirable for display in museums. At some point, the new agency might have its work conducted by a private sector contractor, or else be privatised outright.
✗ There can be no justification for providing drama, light entertainment or the majority of factual and documentary programming within the public sector. It must be noted that there is no category of television programme in which the BBC has not been bested in the relevant industry awards, and even in radio where there is little competition, there is no qualitative difference between independent productions and those made in house; there would, therefore, be no loss of breadth or quality by closing these BBC departments. There might be some justification for the public sector broadcaster's commissioning programmes about the public sector; but they would have to be produced independently, and even then there would still be a significant danger of their degeneration into propaganda in support of maintaining the status quo.
✗ Intellectual property and income from archives should be used to provide an income stream for the Arts Council. It is likely that popular series, serials and formats would continue to be produced under licence agreements, and that existing recordings would continue to be broadcast both in the UK and abroad.
✗ The impartiality required of the public sector broadcaster should be that of other public bodies and of the Civil Service; it should support the broad objectives of HM Government e.g. to promote British exports and invisibles. The extent to which it should support specific policies is more contentious; we recommend that it should not promote Government policy, but should act in support of it – a distinction readily understood across the Civil Service.
✗ The principal purpose of the public sector broadcaster should be to serve as an organ of accountability enabling the general public to see and hear what is done on their behalf with their taxes. If this option is taken, the service should be paid for from general taxation without additional charge. We would envisage two services: one to broadcast (over several television and radio networks) on the work subsidised by the Arts Council; the other to broadcast parliamentary proceedings, public information films and, perhaps, documentaries about public services or other publicly funded activities (as noted above, any such programmes should be commissioned from independent companies) as required by H.M. Government.
✗ The Arts Council should be expanded by the addition of a new section to handle the work currently performed by the BBC in identifying, developing and promoting talent in popular genres of music; it should also take on the BBC orchestras and the whole or partial sponsorship of music or literary festivals where that is desirable. On the other hand, broadcasting readily available and well publicised recordings produced by large companies amounts to free advertising and is not a suitable activity for a public sector broadcaster but should be left to commercial broadcasters. We would envisage an arts and culture broadcasting service administered by the Arts Council, with content – plays, concerts, readings etc. - from those in receipt of subsidies, but also broadcasting on items and properties 'given to the nation' in lieu of taxes, and on museum or gallery collections, archives, libraries and any other aspect of our national heritage or the creative industries in which public money is invested.
✗ We would envisage a World Service administered by the British Council with the advice of the Commonwealth Institute. The content would be drawn principally from the arts and culture service described above. In addition, the World Service would maintain the language services, which would continue to produce educational and edifying drama; however, as all journalists would be transferred to the privatised news service, they would translate news for broadcast rather than originating news content. The World Service would contract for the provision of an impartial news service from a British provider i.e. BBC News, ITN or Sky News, all of which are generally regarded as equivalent in quality and impartiality. Funding should come from a combination of Government grants (mainly from DfID with smaller amounts from the FCO and DBEIS) and advertising.
✗ There is a crisis in plurality in the radio market with particular respect to news and other non-music broadcasting. The abolition of the BBC should ensure that content providers are available for documentaries, light entertainment and drama made for broadcast if broadcasters find sufficient audiences to make these economically viable. Restrictions as to the nature of broadcasting licences should be reduced to a significant extent with particular reference to cross-media ownership and religious broadcasters. Other efforts should also be made to draw new entrants into the market. Consideration might be given to allowing news broadcasting to be accurate but not impartial with explicitly editorial material interleaved amongst journalistic reports if that would persuade newspaper publishers to be amongst those new entrants.
✗ A schools/homeschooling and universities service broadcasting via the internet is clearly desirable, but it is uncertain whether any public sector involvement would be necessary. It is likely that the World Service would wish to broadcast material supplied by such a service.
✗ It is likely that broadcasting in the indigenous minority languages will have to continue to be funded publicly, although it might well be commissioned from independent companies. We would recommend that responsibility for funding these services should be remitted to the devolved administrations with the exception of Cornish language broadcasting, decisions regarding which should be taken by the DDCMS in consultation with the DCHLG and local authorities in the Duchy. In all cases, news content should not be provided by the public sector. We recommend that where a decision to subsidise is made, the subsidy should be payable to any broadcaster capable of providing audited listening or viewing figures, and should generally be paid on a basis proportionate to the size of that audience. We would envisage Cornish, Irish, Ulster Scots and Scots programmes appearing alongside English programmes, with separate Welsh and Gaelic services as at present. All such services should strive to attract advertising (as S4C already does) both as a source of revenue and to normalise use of these languages. Abolition of the BBC would increase opportunities at the local, regional and national levels as well as on a UK-wide basis, and that should favour a growth in the availability of IML programming when required.
✗ In commissioning programmes for broadcast at home or abroad the Arts Council and British Council should have a duty not simply to 'support' indigenous minority languages, as the BBC has (BBC Charter 14(5)), but to promote their use. In fulfilling this obligation they will be advised by the relevant ministers in the devolved legislatures or their nominees and those nominated by the DCLG in consultation with local authorities in the Duchy of Cornwall to ensure that adequate provision is made. The British Council-administered international service should ensure that diaspora communities are assisted in learning their ancestral languages, and receive regular, varied and interesting broadcasts in those languages to strengthen their cultural identity and forge links with their forebears' historic homes. Examples might include Welsh broadcasts to Argentina, Cornish broadcasts to Australia, and Scots, Ulster Scots and Irish broadcasts to North America. IML broadcasting on the Arts Council-administered service would be in addition to any programmes directly commissioned for broadcast elsewhere and would consist of theatre pieces, popular and classical music and readings from the publications of subsidised presses. Cornwall clearly requires a regional Arts Council separate from that covering the South West of England if administrative matters relating to its language and culture are to be handled efficiently, knowledgeably and sensitively.
✗ Under the Belfast Agreement H.M. Government is obliged to guarantee subsidised broadcasting in the Irish language, but there is no obligation to do so via a public sector broadcaster rather than through an open offer to any broadcaster for general interest programming or a tendering process for specific commissions. Irish language broadcasting subsidised by United Kingdom taxpayers should concentrate largely on matters concerning the United Kingdom.Authority for media regulation should be a devolved matter in Scotland and Wales, and treated as a devolved matter in Northern Ireland although treaty obligations noted above preclude complete devolution. When H.M. Government or one of the devolved administrations decides to sponsor or subsidise programming of a particular type or on specific subjects any broadcaster should be eligible to receive the payment. Examples might include programmes featuring the application of new legislation; or, as detailed above, programming in one of the indigenous minority languages. In each case the administration responsible should specify whether the payment is to be made irrespective of audience figures, or whether it should be related to independently audited viewing/listening figures. In the former case there must always be at least some minimum audience figure, even if it is very small indeed, rather than having a payment made absolutely irrespective of viewer or listener numbers. Where there is to be a single contract it should be subject to competitive tendering with considerations of quality as well as cost and social factors.
By Prayer Crusader St Philip Howard
Saturday, 3 February 2018
Time to scrap the licence fee
Public purposes: Re-evaluation and reform
Several attempts have been made to define the 'public purposes' of the BBC, beginning with Lord Reith's historic formula, but what is necessary now is not a new statement of purposes or values amplifying or clarifying that formulation, but an objective re-evaluation of what should continue to be produced and broadcast by the public sector broadcaster. A brief look at the historic formula reveals how deep that re-evaluation needs to be.
The provision of entertainment for its own sake is a legacy of monopoly, but what kind of a country needs a quango to entertain it? The BBC Charter 6(4) states that “The BBC should bring people together for shared experiences and help contribute to the social cohesion and wellbeing of the United Kingdom.” A modern turn of phrase, perhaps, but the notion of strengthening national identity through enjoyment of publicly-provided amusements belongs entirely to the pre-War era in which the Corporation was founded. In any case, the dignity of our country is somewhat impugned by the suggestion that our social cohesion and wellbeing are affected by the trivialities of soap opera cliffhangers and celebrity contests. National unity is the result of celebrating the local heritage of each of the various nations and regions of the United Kingdom as elements of a common patrimony.
The BBC Charter demands excellence across the range of its services and talks about breadth of provision:
6(3) To show the most creative, highest quality and distinctive output and services: the BBC should provide high-quality output in many different genres and across a range of services and platforms which sets the standard in the United Kingdom and internationally. Its services should be distinctive from those provided elsewhere and should take creative risks, even if not all succeed, in order to develop fresh approaches and innovative content.
Creativity is not the child of bureaucracy, and it does not flourish in the public sector; furthermore, variety is the fruit of plurality of provision rather than a monolithic corporation's attempts to provide a genre mix or grow new markets. It must, however, be acknowledged that, as with an annual income of some £3.7bn from the licence fee (minus somewhat less than £80m for S4C) the BBC is by far the best funded British broadcaster, it should have the highest production quality from a technical standpoint. In entertainment, and in news journalism, the BBC sets the standard by narrowing the field. Modern technology allows for the creation of a wide variety of broadcast material, and for British audiences to have access to material created overseas, but broadcasting to television sets and radios remains highly circumscribed. Expectations as to what should be broadcast, and who should be involved in the process, are often derived from BBC norms rather than the public interest, just as BBC investment steers creative economies to its own requirements rather than those of the people at large.
Due to the breadth of provision in visual broadcasting/television there can be little justification for the public sector broadcaster's continuing to provide television drama or light entertainment. Radio, however, appears to require regulatory reform to encourage an expansion in the market before the provision of made for broadcast audio entertainment can be dropped. The option of encouraging production companies that currently supply the BBC with entertainment and non-journalistic factual programming to form a consortium or consortia to replace the existing broadcasting platform should be explored. Plurality, and with it diversity, variety and creativity, can only be enhanced by first a reduction and then a replacement of BBC services.
The BBC Charter requires its news broadcasting to demonstrate “the highest editorial standards” of accuracy and impartiality: “To provide impartial news and information to help people understand and engage with the world around them: the BBC should provide duly accurate and impartial news, current affairs and factual programming to build people's understanding of all parts of the United Kingdom and of the wider world. It should offer a range and depth of analysis and content not widely available from other United Kingdom news providers, using the highest calibre presenters and journalists, and championing freedom of expression, so that all audiences can engage fully with major local, regional, national, United Kingdom and global issues and participate in the democratic process, at all levels, as active and informed citizens” 6(1). This insults other news providers, and threatens to poach their staff, using the BBC's budget and pay/pension structures to lure 'the highest calibre' people away from their employers.
The quality of BBC news broadcasting is widely recognised and it is generally believed to be impartial on many issues, although those who examine it more carefully find biases towards social liberalism at home and abroad, and domestic policies favouring maintenance of large-scale public sector institutions. There is also a significant level of concern regarding cross-departmental collaborations enabling the Corporation to set an agenda for public debate and to shape social attitudes; close links between reporting, commentary and discussion do nothing to alleviate those concerns. Its dominant position allows the BBC to determine the boundaries of public discussion; so its 'championing' of freedom of expression amounts, in effect, to its judging which forms of expression should have freedom. Where a decision is made to show impartiality it is demonstrated by inviting spokespeople to make contributions on behalf of particular positions on the subject in question, but norm-setting means that the entire context of the discussion will presuppose that one position is usual and other viewpoints are deviant. This is most noticeable with respect to life issues and traditional morality.
It is the BBC's status as a news broadcaster that is the basis of its claim to independence from H.M. Government, and enables it to avoid support for Government policy. There is, however, no reason why a public sector broadcaster that did not produce news programming should become more politicised than the current service, especially if neither drama nor factual/documentary programming were made in-house, nor what politicisation would entail in that context. In any case, it is entirely natural and normal that the policies pursued by the public sector should be those promoted by the elected Government.
We note that the FCO values the provision of an impartial news service as part of our country's engagement with other nations, but listeners and viewers abroad often regard the news provided by the BBC World Service as representing the opinions of the British Government because of the BBC's position in the public sector. Many people overseas are unfamiliar with the concept of a State broadcaster with editorial independence, and many other people both at home and abroad fail to see the point of such a broadcaster.
It is worth noting that the BBC Charter states “Its international services should put the United Kingdom in a world context, aiding understanding of the United Kingdom as a whole, including its nations and regions where appropriate” in the same subsection 6 (5) as that in which broadcasting news to international audiences is mandated. This strongly suggests that international news broadcasting as well as general or broadly educational programming should give due weight to all the home nations and their regions in a way which it does not at present. There might even be said to be an implicit call for the use of the indigenous minority languages in news and other international broadcasting at least in broadcasts to appropriate regions. It would be natural that news broadcasts in the minority languages would focus on the relevant places and on cultural issues relating to use of the language in question. The Council of Europe has commented adversely on the BBC's failure to give adequate broadcasting time to the Cornish language, which it limits to a single weekly news broadcast. There is also a recommendation from the Welsh Assembly that the Welsh language should be promoted across Britain as having been the historic tongue of large areas of England and lowland Scotland; the BBC's omission of any of the IMLs from its national digital platform does nothing to advance that. Failure to reflect the entirety of the United Kingdom even in national, let alone international, broadcasts indicates structural weaknesses within the BBC at both editorial and management levels. That half its employees are based in London suggests something of the nature and scale of those weaknesses. Within the provisions of the current Charter it would be possible to address the problem by making more specific demands of the BBC through addenda to the Framework Agreement. In the future a similar approach can be used to ensure that geographical balance is delivered when news broadcasts are commissioned for international programming.
The BBC is not only crowding out commercial competition in an unjustifiable manner, but shapes the media landscape and culture as a whole in ways that reduce audience choice and narrow possibilities. The expansion of the BBC leads to reductions elsewhere. The most recent expansion, described as forming partnerships with regional media, amounts to acting as a press agency for local news; this will inevitably lead to staff reductions in local newspapers and the news websites related to them (a sector already facing considerable pressure).The BBC's employing reporters under the auspices of local publications and broadcasters will achieve little to improve the situation for regional media outlets; it can only compromise their independence, and provide a framework under which the BBC may take their place swiftly should they fail. We do not have recent figures giving the balance between direct and graduate entrants into journalism in the BBC's regional offices, but local newspapers have traditionally provided opportunities for direct entry into the profession consonant with H.M. Government's policy of promoting apprenticeships. It is also inevitable that, as it proceeds, this partnership will result in a close relationship with Trinity Mirror and other regional news publishers. It is unclear how far the regional media partnership will include direct cooperation with the new local television stations; in any case they will certainly be affected by the reduced availability of news from other sources.
We recommend the privatisation of BBC News. Whether or not this recommendation is adopted, it should be entirely separated from the rest of the Corporation at the earliest opportunity and should have separate management structures. Retention of the news service within the public sector has led to inefficiency and perceptions of a lack of impartiality, it cannot be regarded as necessary in the context of today's media landscape, and it reduces the ability of the public sector in broadcasting to serve public purposes as defined by the democratic process.
Education in a broad sense provides justification for public sector broadcasting even under today's circumstances. There are three aspects to the educative function of public sector broadcasting, of which the BBC Charter addresses only the first: education of the audience, education of performers, and education of those involved in technical and creative aspects of programme-making.
Technical education can be provided via an academic route, or else in any production company through an apprenticeship system. The system could easily be formalised to allow for the award of accredited qualifications. We would envisage a significant growth in the number of companies if the public sector is radically reduced in scope, and that would lead to an increase in opportunities for creative experience. Academic approaches to creative education would become more meaningful with increased opportunities for students to broadcast even while their studies are still in progress. The BBC aspires to employ 'more than 400' apprentices 'by 2018' out of a total workforce of nearly 20,000 but does not specify their distribution across the Corporation.
Education and professional development of performers constitutes the most important aspect of the work currently performed by the BBC, and provides something of a justification for continuing to maintain a public sector broadcaster. This work is principally carried out in the field of audio (radio) rather than visual (TV) broadcasting, where ample opportunities exist in the commercial sector for talent shows and competitions of various kinds. The BBC provides work and some professional development for actors, but is not a significant contributor to their education as such. It provides rather more training and professional development for its journalists through its academy, but hires very many of them from other news providers or as graduates rather than as direct entrants to the profession. However, the Corporation should certainly be congratulated for its work across a wide variety of music genres, identifying and fostering new talent through several competitions and award schemes as well as through BBC Introducing; providing work and professional development for orchestral musicians; and giving élite mentoring opportunities through the New Generation Artists scheme. All of this work could continue under the auspices of the Arts Council.
Education of audiences may be divided between the general education of broadcasting documentary and factual programmes, and the specific education of programmes for schools and the Open University. There is no reason to suppose that fewer factual or documentary programmes would be made if they were not made by the BBC. Commercial broadcasters and websites make, commision and transmit more factual programmes, drama and light entertainment than the BBC. It is clearly necessary that programmes are made in support of specific academic curricula, but the value of the programmes depends upon their being tailor-made to the requirements of the course; they should, therefore, be commissioned by the examining bodies and educational institutions involved. If they are to appear on television or radio it is likely that a public sector broadcaster would need to carry them.
There is, however, no reason why such programmes should appear in those media rather than exclusively on the internet, nor is there any reason why they should not be commissioned by course providers or examining boards and made available on a commercial basis. It must be noted that the Massive On-line Open Course (MOOC) model has proven popular in adult education and can easily be adapted for tutoring children.
By Prayer Crusader St Philip Howard
Note: 3.5 Million Brits have ditched the licence fee in favour of streaming sides like Netflix and Amazon Prime https://www.thesun.co.uk/tvandshowbiz/5167904/licence-fee-amazon-prime-netflix-bbc/