Where's your rope ladder? Something to consider in the wake of the Grenfell Tower tradegy.

I didn't see the Grenfell Tower go on fire;  I smelt it. I live a relatively short distance from there and the morning after the inferno raged I was out for my early walk when I was met with wafts of smoky air which were just too fetid and too thick to be usual, even if it has been a hideously hot summer. Since then my mind has been turning over and over a piece of advice that an older chap took trouble to give me some years back. He was quite a brilliant wordsmith who was occasionally mentioned in the 3rd person by The Times Literary Supplement, we sold something together and he let me have all the profits for the care of a homeless pregnant young woman. So all in all he was a good egg. One day I was having a tot of sherry with him and he asked me, "Mary, do you have a rope ladder?" "A rope ladder? Hello? No, I'm not an army recruit!" "I'm serious," he replied, "you should get a rope ladder.  You might wake up some night and that …

A thoughtful review of Drunks and Monks

Bonnie Rodgers of Boston Catholic TV left an astute review of Drunks and Monks on Amazon, so good I feel it deserves a wider audience:

"I read this book in anticipation of an interview. But I was drawn to request the interview because of the title. It's cutesy but heavy, everyone loves a funny drunk and certainly cartoon monks always draw a smile. In reality though drunks make for messy, emotionally strained lives and the lives of monks are austere and contemplative, focused on profound relationships with the Divine - traits we may aspire to in our daily lives.

Several of the reviewers mentioned that they couldn't put this book down, for me the experience was different, at some of the more intense, raw experiences with his parents and coarseness of the marriage I had to turn away, such painful encounters are tough to witness, particularly when you so desperately want the relationships and situations to be healed and then thrive.

The author's faith was drained for a numbe…

For a marriage to be of God

I've always felt called to marriage and down through the years I received some marriage proposals. There were the good, decent Catholic men who I did not feel called to marry, also my temperament clashed with theirs which was one reason I would not have made a good wife to any of them.  There were also a few non-Catholics who were kind men but resolute they would never convert. A successful man about London town said to me, “I' have no problem with you staying Catholic but I´d never convert.”  It's hard enough for two parents who are Traditional Catholics to raise kids who are devout, but on my own I wouldn´t fancy my chances. There was also one who was adamant he didn´t want kids and for that precise reason, I broke it off. Regrettably there were also a few bullies. Experience can be a pitiless teacher and in such relationships I learned that we brought out the worst in each other and were we man and wife we would have found it hard to keep the other in a state of grace a…

My interview with Aurora Griffin, author of How I Stayed Catholic at Harvard. How was Aurora a devout Catholic going to Harvard?

It was nothing short of providential that I would meet Aurora, a rising star when she was in Boston at the headquarters of the Catholic TV station to promote her book, How I Stayed Catholic at Harvard. John Carmichael and I found ourselves in the studio of Boston Catholic TV at the exact same time as Aurora; we were there for filming; John and I were interviewed in studio for a show called The Gist that will be broadcast next fall.

After a few minutes of chatting, Aurora and I joined the dots and found that we had several people in common; I had co-hosted Episode 2 of Extraordinary Faith a show showcasing a dynamic group of Harvard students where I interviewed on camera some of Aurora's college friends. Prior to meeting Aurora, I had been curious about her, knowing of her from afar as someone steely and spunky who stood up to satanists in Boston when they attempted to hold a Black Mass.

Aurora ascertained I would be going to Los Angeles for an extended period, and that we would be…

The precise reason Padre Pio refused absolution to a woman who had an abortion and why he eventually granted her absolution

Throughout my adult life I've been surrounded by young female friends who tell me that they view me as a Latin Mass Catholic who takes sin and the sin of abortion in particular too seriously. They wear rictus smiles and claim it's not really so dire a sin when a woman employs a doctor to slaughter the little one inside her because she wants to prioritise her career or doesn't want a child with her current boyfriend. Or they reiterate the reason that I heard from the lips of hundreds of women when I was with them during their crisis pregnancies: that they can have a baby and provide for one, but they do not feel ready. 

In response I have often tried to defend the Church's teachings on the gravity of abortion as a mortal sin by reminding my coffee companions and colleagues that Padre Pio took the sin of abortion so deathly seriously that he was known to have refused absolution if a penitent confessed to having had an abortion.
While this has led to the smiles melting fro…

We are living during the unfolding of the Third Secret of Fatima

Today, the feast of the Most Holy Rosary, I'd like to share with you my latest column for The Latin Mass Society Magazine.  HAPPY FEAST!

On my tombstone, I'd like the inscription At Fatima Our Lady asked us to offer a daily Rosary, please do so in my memory.

Now we are in Autumn 2016, we are beginning a vital year of preparation: Autumn 2017 will be the month dedicated to the Holy Rosary one hundred years after Our Lady appeared at Fatima. How can we use the coming 12 months to ensure that Our Lady's requests at Fatima are better observed?
I think we are living during the unfolding of the Third Secret and I wonder if we are meant to spend our time making better known the theories that surround the ThirdSecret. The Third Secret, of course, is one of the distinct revelations granted to Fatima visionary Sister Lucia in connection with Our Lady of Fatima's Church Approved Apparition in Fatima Portugal. 
One of the great controversies in the Catholic Church and in the world in …