Thursday, October 24, 2013


St. Anthony's relics made their first visit to Cork last Sunday arriving for the 11.00 am Mass at Holy Trinity.  His relics were escorted by three Conventual Franciscans, one Irish and two Italians and they were welcomed by the Bishop of Cork and Ross John Buckley.  They remained with us until the following morning when they went to Limerick.  People qeued up for hours to venerate the relics and the stewards did an excellent job of keeping everyone safe and orderly.  We resckon somewhere between 20,000 and 30,000 people perhaps  more visited the relics over the day.  Some drove from the very ends of Kerry to visit.

Bishop Buckley incenses the relics.  Br. Jeremy is on the left and Br. Dermot, our Guardian, is in the middle.

The relics of St. Anthony 'Doctor Evangelicus'

Concelebrated Mass.

Bishop Buckley with some of his flock venerating St. Anthony.

Br. Dermot with the smaller reliquary before the huge crowd.

Thursday, October 17, 2013


The relics of St. Athony of Padua are on their way around Ireland having already visited the UK. They will be here in Holy Trinity Church, Fr. Mathew Quay, Cork from 11.00 am on Sunday October 20th till 8.00 pm that evening. All are welcome to come and venerate these relics of such a great saint. Bishop John Buckley will preside at the 11.00 am Mass and the Guardian of St. Francis Friary, Liberty St., will preside at the 12.30. Confession will be available continuously from 2.00 pm until 8.00 pm. Anthony, a Portugese, was inspired by St. Berard and his companions, the first Fracnsican martyrs, to leave the Augustinians and become himself a Franciscan friar. He quickly grew in holiness abd became a much sought preacher and theologian as well as a worker of miracles. He died at the age of 36 in Padua, Italy.

Tuesday, October 15, 2013


News that a Dublin priest Fr. Peter O'Reilly, co-parish priest of Lucan, has told Derek Keating TD that he can no longer function as a Minister of Holy Communion and that the Parish Hall is no longer available to him to use for his consultations with his constituents is to be applauded. One should not be able to publically vote for or participate in an intrinsic evil and continue in a public role in the Church. Now the Archbishop needs to show his backbone and support this clergyman and others who have the courage to tell those TDs who voted for the Taoiseach's pro-abortion law that they cannot minister in the Church and should stay away from Holy Communion until they publically repent of this evil. From what I've heard no clergy in Dublin are holding their breaths.

Thursday, October 10, 2013

28th SUNDAY YEAR C, Thoughts on Luke 17:11–19

Luke 17:11–19

As Jesus continued his journey to Jerusalem, he traveled through Samaria and Galilee. As he was entering a village, ten lepers met him. They stood at a distance from him and raised their voices, saying, “Jesus, Master! Have pity on us!” And when he saw them, he said, “Go show yourselves to the priests.” As they were going they were cleansed. And one of them, realizing he had been healed, returned, glorifying God in a loud voice; and he fell at the feet of Jesus and thanked him. He was a Samaritan. Jesus said in reply, “Ten were cleansed, were they not? Where are the other nine? Has none but this foreigner returned to give thanks to God?” Then he said to him, “Stand up and go; your faith has saved you.”

I suppose that unless one has lived among modern day lepers one has no real grasp of the damage this disease can do. I know it eats away at the body. I know it can attack the brain too. We also lack the absolute horror of leprosy that the Jews and many other ancient peoples had (right up until end of the Middle Ages in Europe). It was a living death. The leper was excluded from all society. He lived on the edges of society, the lowest and most despised. He was everybody's walking nightmare. For the Jews it was the physical equivalent of sin. The leper like the public sinner and idolator was 'unclean'.

Jesus cleanses these ten men and sends them to the Temple priests for verification of their healing and for fulfilment of the Law through thank offerings. Interesting that there is a Samaritan among them as if it took this awful disease to bring these two enemies togther. All are cleansed but it is the Samaritan who returns in gratitude and he gets the greater gift: salvation. Jesus has demonstrated His power both to heal the incurable and therefore also save the unsaveable.

We are those who have been cleansed of the leprosy of sin. Christ has blessed us but where is our gratitude? Where do we glorify Him if at all? Who are the lepers around us that we need to reach out to with Christ's healing truth?

Tuesday, October 1, 2013


One of the positives of being in limbo in Cork is that I have actually started to paint again - well at least practice painting. Cork Art Supplies is less than five minutes from me across the South Mall so that is an added incentive. This morning instead of abandoning my plans for lack of a ceramic mixing palette I headed over to them and bought a few; each is a different kind and also different from the palettes I somehow left in Dublin. I put it down to Divine Providence.

Although I will be in Dublin for the weekend and probably won't have to preach I'm still going to post my thoughts on next weekend's gospel. Hopefully it may be of use to some overworked priest somewhere or just anyone in need of some meditative material.

The gospel for next Sunday is from Luke (17:5–10):

The apostles said to the Lord, “Increase our faith.” The Lord replied, “If you have faith the size of a mustard seed, you would say to this mulberry tree, ‘Be uprooted and planted in the sea,’ and it would obey you.

“Who among you would say to your servant who has just come in from plowing or tending sheep in the field, ‘Come here immediately and take your place at table’? Would he not rather say to him, ‘Prepare something for me to eat. Put on your apron and wait on me while I eat and drink. You may eat and drink when I am finished’? Is he grateful to that servant because he did what was commanded? So should it be with you. When you have done all you have been commanded, say, ‘We are unprofitable servants; we have done what we were obliged to do.’”

Which of us could not do with more faith. Cyril of Alexandria tells us that the Apostles are asking the Lord to strengthen and increase the faith they already have. Faith, he says, partly depends on us and partly on God. We must put all our effort into maintaining our confidence in God and God will confirm and aid our efforts. To have faith then is to enter into an ever deeper relationship with God; to surrender more and more of our self to Him; to give ourselves away to Him so as to receive Him in return. To have this faith is to be able to do even what seems impossible (uprooting the Mulberry tree), to go beyond our own reach and powers.

Then Jesus puts in the condition of this relationship. The vast majority of us are unaccustomed to servants. We are served by our fellow citizens but that is their job and we are not their employers. The word Jesus uses means a slave. We do not have slaves. We might unwittingly buy goods that have been manufactured by people who are, for all intents and purposes, slaves but it is illegal and unacceptable to our society and culture. Yet they exist still in many parts of the world and they existed in great numbers in Jesus' day. His hearers knew exactly what He was saying. We do not belong to ourselves. We are bought and paid for. There are multiple ways for us to serve the Lord and while we are in this mortal life we must serve Him who hase served us by dying for us on the Cross. He put on the form of a slave and if we are His disciples we too must slave for Him, slave for our neighbour's welfare and salvation. Slavery is His image for the total self-gift that He asks of us. He asks us to obey Him as He does the Father. He asks us to give totally because He gives totally. He asks us to have faith so as to uproot the mulberry bush of our pride and self-seeking and cast it away. So let us remember the some of St. Francis' last words:

Let us begin again for up until now we have done nothing.


Sadly one of our friars, Martin O'Sullivan (above), died over the weekend and was buried this morning. He was in his seventies and had returned to Ireland from New Zealand because of bad health. He spent twenty-six years in South Africa working with the poorest of the people and another twenty-one years in New Zealand doing similar work as well as gardening, cooking etc. I remember him from my Novitiate days (he was home in Ireland for four years) when he was part of the main community and was always there to cheer us up and get some fun going; he was always full of good-natured mischief. May the Lord have mercy on his good soul.

Saturday, September 28, 2013


It being nearly a month since I last posted I feel obliged to give an update. I am in limbo awaiting the results of a process that will hopefully open the door to the post I have been sent to Cork to fill. This process is outside the control of myself and my Order. There may be 'politics' involved. My future co-workers await my arrival and are seriously under-staffed. In the meantime I say Mass, hear a few confessions and help out where I am asked. My prayerlife is getting a bit more attention but there is more free time than I was expecting. I may go back to painting if only to give me something to do that has measureable results. I wish I could be more concrete about my situation but I can't. I am growing tired of friars asking me how I am getting on in x. I am in limbo.
In the wider world the news that the Mater and St. Vincent's hospital, both in Dublin, have decided to comply with the Government's abortion legislation (by exstension any liberalization of that law) raises questions about the role of the Catholic Church in these institutions. The silence of our bishops is deafening. Perhaps they are busy working the back channels, hoping that networking will still find a compromise. I am beginning to think of them as ecclesiastical Chamberlains searching for a peace, a way of compromise that ultimately only feeds into the war that is here.

I mean it when I say war. The Government has declared war on the Catholic faith by naming and obliging Catholic institutions to provide abortions. I read somewhere that when war begins it takes time to find wartime commanders. Peacetime encourages the careers of managers, networkers and diplomats. Wartime demands commanders who can not only manage but sacrifice, who can strategize and command, who have the courage to engage with the enemy in deadly combat. Are any of our bishops wartime leaders? Have any the backbone to stand up and take action? What would happen if the Catholic Archdiocese of Dublin were to withdraw from the hospitals, instruct the other Catholic bodies to do likewise and sell any interest, if has any, in them? These institutions would no longer be Catholic but any future evil would no longer be done under the auspices of a Catholic institution. The bishops have dithered enough. The message needs to be sent to the politicians. It is not the Church that is 'politicizing the Eucharist' but the politicians who voted for abortion and then attempting to receive communion. Those who support the killing of the innocent have no place in God's house let alone in receiving communion.

Thursday, August 29, 2013


Over at the website of our General Curia in Rome one can download the latest edition of BICI an international internal Capuchin publication. On page three there is a report of an official visit by a number of Conventual Franciscans to Mount Athos with the blessing of the Greek Orthodox Patriarch. This was in response to an invitation from the Monastic Republic after two of its monks visited Assisi. The friars attended the Divine Liturgy, and engaged in discussions and meetings with the monks. The friars visited a number of monasteries and sketes (Monastic villages) in particular Simonospetros and Vatopediou as well as the capital Karyes. You can read the full story here.

Above are the friars with one of the monks. It brings back memories of my own visits back in 2005. Perhaps those days contributed in some way to this day?

I was taking the photo! I add here a few pics of Athos in celebration of these developments:

May these meetings flourish and the breach between East and West be healed. May our Holy Church breath again with both lungs!

Sunday, August 25, 2013


I keep promising to blog (even to myself) and then I find I don't! Tonight I start again. A lot has happened since I last put fingerS to keyboard. My Provincial and his council have decided I am of better use in Cork which is down at the bottom of Ireland. They hope I will be able to take on a post that is about to become available but I haven't got it yet so I can't say what it is. At the moment I am at something of a loose end, almost unpacked (but with quite a bit of stuff in storage in Dublin) and waiting for things to happen. This weekend I was acting as temporary chaplain to a local hospital which was interesting - school chaplains do not get to do many anointings. It will take a while to get used to the accent but at least when the Fota Liturgical conference comes around next Summer I will be nearby! It also means that I must abandon my twelve year ministry in Coolmine Community School, Blanchardstown. I will miss the staff and students. Still there is only so much one can do in a ministry before one goes stale and over the last year or two I felt that it was time to move on.

I am stationed now in Holy Trinity which is in Cork City centre and handy for almost everything. The house is old and feels like a 'real' friary. This brings its own adjustments. I've gone from a modern building where I was the first occupant of my (two) rooms to an old house that has many friars. Here there is no under floor heating but it has got atmosphere. Here the lights do not come on automatically if you walk down the corridor (for which I am thankful - I always found that annoying) but almost everything seems worn and old. Here there is need of a big injection of cash and energy to bring the house up to a standard that will serve the Province for the next fifty years. I guess there will be lots of things for us to discuss at our community meetings.Four of us are new to this house but myself and another friar came together from Raheny. So far it has proved to a community of genuine prayer and hospitality. If my job comes through though I will spend much of my time elsewhere.

One thing I failed to blog about was our visit to the new Benedictine foundaiton at Silverstream. I though know why I forgot to mention it. Perhaps I was embarassed and annoyed at myself for not taking more than one photo (my camera is on the blink anyway). Br.s Richard, Jeremy and myself took our free time out from the Chapter in Gormanstown to pop over and visit. Dom Mark and brother Benedict (if I remember correctly) gave us a warm welcome and kindly showed us around their home. Francis of Assisi would've rejoiced over their poverty and simplicity of their life. He would've said that here were monks who truely lived as the friars of his day. They have great plans though not only for their monastery but for their ministry. Apart from celebrating the Mass and Divine Office in the pre-1962 form in a devout and worthy way they hope to offer support and healing to priests struggling with various difficulties. I think Bishop Michael Smith of Meath has shown great wisdom and foresight in welcoming this foundation. With the help of the Holy Spirit and the intercession of Our Lady and the Saints great work may be done there for the healing and reform of the Irish Church. If you are passing by or are inspired to visit they are not far from the M1 - coming from Dublin you take the junction 7 turnoff for Gormanstown (Google Earth will tell you junction 6 but 7 is better). Once on the local road look out for the Huntman Inn where you turn right and just down the road turn right again to go past Gormanstown College and back over the M1 to Stamullen. On the far side of Stamullen you will come to crossroads where five roads/lanes meet where the main road splits but you will need to turn sharp right. Continue until you find a large stone wall and follow this to the end where the you will find the entrance gate to the Monastery. Dom Mark blogs here.

Tuesday, July 16, 2013


It has been quite a while since I blogged anything. It's not that I have been particularly busy but sometimes I just do not know what to blog about. I am also trying to get back painting. As a school chaplain I am on 'holidays' that is almost three months off from school (yes!) but I have some minor duties here in the house: Mass, confession etc. In June I took eight days away in a hermitage in Glendalough, Co. Wicklow which is about an hour and a half drive from where I live. Glendalough is famous for it's round tower and lakes but not many know about the hermitages near to the Parish church. They are in fact in the parish priest's garden. Each has a large bedroom-cum-sitting room, an en-suite bathroom and a kitchenette. The hermitages are self-catering. There is a prayer room with the Blessed Sacrament reserved, a small library of spiritual books and it's only about fifteen minutes walk to the monastic site. The National Park and a stretch of the Wicklow Way are nearby. I found it really quite (apart from the sheep) and a truly prayerful place. If one wants to be alone to pray I highly recommend it - it's where I will go in future.

In early July we had our Provincial Chapter. It was good to get together with the friars from around the Province and catch up. We elected our new Provincial and his four Definitors (I think the new term is counsellors). They are meeting at present to decide the placement and ministries of the brethren, an anxious time for all of us even those who are immovable. I have ideas about where I would to be and what I would like to do and I hope that is what God and our leadership want that too. It won't be easy for them for we have very few 'younger men' and a lot of posts to be filled. Please pray for them and us.

I had read Romano Amerio's Iota Unum during my retreat and I am reading Michael Davies' Liturgical Revolution series at the moment. I am now on the second volume 'Pope John's Council'. Iota Unum is a great read but it helps if one has some background in philosophy and theology. It complements the work of Davies as it charts and analyses the statements and decisions of Popes John XXIII, Paul VI and John Paul II, the Roman curia and the bishops (mainly European) before, during and after the Council. It can make for a shocking read. Davies' series begins with 'Cranmer's Godly Order', concerning the Reformation in England. It lays the groundwork for the final book 'Pope Paul's New Mass'. Pope John's Council charts the events and effects of the Second Vatican Council. Davies was a convert to Catholicism who devoted himself to defending the Church's Tradition against those who would wipe our history away. Some of his talks are on Youtube e.g. here. As a speaker he has a humorous and easy-going manner despite the seriousness of his topic. I liked what he had to say and his balanced approach in saying it - that lead me to read his books. I recommend you consider doing the same.

Friday, March 22, 2013


A certain person has attempted to make allegations against Irish Capuchin friars by means of this blog. This is not the place to make any such charges. From the Irish Capuchin website:

"By signing a Memorandum of Understanding with the National Board for Safeguarding of Children in the Catholic Church in April 2009, the Capuchin Order in Ireland has adopted the Board’s policy and procedures document Safeguarding Children : Standards and Guidance document for the Catholic Church in Ireland (2009), and the documents that may be added to it from time to time, as its basic regulation in all matters pertaining to the protection of children. Furthermore, in implementing of that document, we accept the auditing role of officials of the Board’s National Office and pledge our cooperation with them in their work.

Conscious of its grave responsibility to prevent the sexual, physical and emotional abuse of children and their neglect, the Capuchin Order undertakes to report all allegations made to it of such abuse to the civil and Church authorities without delay; we also urge all who disclose allegations of abuse against its members, or anyone else, to do likewise. Anyone making an allegation of abuse will be received with respect and listened to, will be informed of actions taken as a result of their disclosure and will have their need for counseling met, if required. Those against whom allegations of abuse have been made will be given every opportunity to vindicate their good name, but, without prejudice, will be asked to stand aside from all ministry, not wear the habit or clerical garb, until the civil authorities have completed their investigations. However, should a Garda investigation find that an allegation is false everything shall be done to restore the good name of the accused. Otherwise, the Order undertakes to cooperate fully with the HSE and An Gárda Síochána in assisting those who have abused children to live offense free lives."

The Child Safeguarding Designated Officer for the Capuchin Order in Ireland is:

Br. Paul Murphy OFM Cap
Capuchin Friary
Church Street
Dublin 7.
Telephone: 086 0610985

Anyone who wishes to allege abuse ought to contact Br. Paul Murphy at the address above or via the phone number provided.

Tuesday, March 19, 2013


An interesting and moving little interview made only six months ago. It gives a valuable insight into our new pope's spirituality.

Saturday, March 16, 2013


Firstly Rome Report's translation of the Holy Father's moto is wrong.  It means, according to CNS,   "because he saw him through the eyes of mercy and chose him" and which comes from St. Bede the Venerable's commentary on Matthew. 

The Holy Father's coat of arms: a blue shield with the emblem of the Jesuits (the Holy Name of Jesus within a radiant disk) above a white five-pointed star and a white bunch of grapes.  The explanation given by Rome Reports is that apart from the emblem of the Jesuits, the white star on the blue shield refers to the Mother of God and the grapes to Jesus as the grower of the faith.  I was wondering about that interpretation.  The first three letters of Jesus' name in Greek is familiar to all Catholics and that image surrounded by rays goes back at least to the Franciscan St. Bernardine of Sienna promoter of devotion to the Holy Name of Jesus.  But it can also represent the Eucharist as can the bunch of grapes.  A Jesuit pope who has devotion to St. Francis who himself promoted devotion to the Eucharist and Our Lady  - that made me think some more.   This pope has on his shield symbols of  Christ and Our Lady, symbols that are also eucharistic.  Could this be the pope St. John Bosco saw in his vision?  Just thinking....

Wednesday, March 13, 2013


So we have another Holy Father, a new Pope and someone from outside Europe!  Like everyone else I'm also putting in my few words of commentary.  You can check out John Allen's account of the new pope written before he was elected here.  

No matter what he may yet say in clarification (and pace the Jesuits) all Franciscans, and Italians everywhere, will believe he chose Francis as a tribute to the founder of the Franciscan family and the patron saint of Italy.  As Franciscans we will have the peculiar experience (for the first time in our history) I referring to our 'Holy Father Francis' meaning the Pope and 'our Holy Father Francis' meaning St. Francis.

I hope that he does have both the holiness and 'fire in the belly', the strength of character to lead the Church along the path our Lord indicates for us.  I got the impression watching him on that balcony that not only was he overawed and stunned at this outcome but also a little lost.  Perhaps he will be another John Paul I?  He is 76 so he will not likely hold the office for twenty or  more years.  All we can do is pray, fast and be faithful.

Tuesday, March 5, 2013


Christendom College of the U.S. is to launch the Columcille Institute this year from July 20 to August 7.  It will be held in our friary in Ards, i.e. Ard Mhuire, Donegal.  'Ard' means 'high' or 'height' in Irish and 'Muire' is the Irish for 'Mary' as in the Mother of God.  Other Marys are 'Máire'.  I hope they get the weather!  Ards is beautiful if the weather is good but miserable if it isn't.  The Institute will offer courses on Catholic Apologetics, The Rise of Western Culture and Christian Ethos and Christian Imagination and Prominent Continental Irish Writers.

Thursday, February 28, 2013


Well the Holy Father has gone.  Not quite as bad as when Bl. John Paul II died but still sad.  It hit me when I saw footage of his last appearance at the window of Castel Gandolfo.  He said he would now be a pilgrim on his final journey to the Lord.  That hit me.  This is a man preparing to die, a man who has quietly come to hold such an important place in the hearts of all true Catholics.  

 There is  the sadness of losing such a dedicated pastor and teacher and the uncertainty of who will take his place (please God not Dolan!).   He also said that he was not coming down from the cross but would remain with the Crucified Christ in another way.  That's one in the eye for a certain Polish Archbishop.  Now we must pray not only for the Holy Father in his retirement but more importantly for the upcoming conclave that the cardinals will elect a holy, wise, orthodox and strong pope!

So thank you Holy Father for your faith and loyalty.   Thank you for your witness to Christ, for sharing your learning and exhorting us to believe, to trust and to follow Christ.  Thank you for the years you have given to the priesthood and the sacrifices that involved, for taking on the demands, the cross of the  Papal ministry.  Thank you, Holy Father.  We will miss you.

Wednesday, February 27, 2013


I am a sinner myself.  I too have fallen short of the glory of God and on all too many occasions I have failed to live as a Christian.  Daily I struggle to be a Christian yet alone a priest.  My job is not to sit in judgment on anyone but I also have to stand up for the truth revealed in Jesus Christ.  I have read the report or rather article from the Polish priest Fr. Dariusz Oko.  It makes for disturbing reading when taken in conjunction with the rumours about the cardinals' report to the Holy Father and what they allegedly discovered.  There are always rumours.  It's part of how Satan stirs up evil in the Church and the world.  Go along to this blog post and then go down and read the comments to see how distorted and bigoted human thought can become when it listens to rumour and innuendo and refuses to give facts a chance.  Yet there also rumours that are pieces of the truth, warning rumbles of approaching trouble or hidden disorder.  Knowing the true from the false is not always easy.

I support and teach the Church's teaching on homosexuality.  I have been challenged by students and by members of congregations for doing so.  It's a painful subject for some and an uncomfortable one for many.  Family members, especially parents, often want to support their child and maintain that relationship with them while people who have same-sex attraction often want approval and not just tolerance.  They will settle for Church silence.

That said, as a priest for the past fourteen years, while I have heard rumours and innuendo, I have not personally met any openly homosexual clergy.  Maybe I live in some world of my own.  Maybe I just don't move in circles that intersect with such men but while I have come across homosexuals I haven't met clerical ones.  Too often effeminacy is equated with homosexuality which is an unjust and very ignorant supposition.    There is a secretive, furtive side to homosexuality as there is to many deviant forms of sexual behaviour that is part of the attraction, part of the buzz, the frisson, that goes with breaking rules.  Such secretiveness, coupled with the desire to avoid repercussions means that at least in Ireland any homosexual clergy will keep a low profile.  That said a priest had a heart attack and died back in 1994 in a homosexual sauna and was, allegedly, anointed by another priest on the spot!  The owner claimed that there were about twenty priests who used the sauna regularly.  I wonder how he knew they were priests?

I have no doubt there are homosexual clergy and if they are not living their vows they should ask themselves why they are still priests.  The same goes for heterosexual clergy who fornicate or commit adultery.  If any of them are part of a clique (however loose) that promotes other clergy or laity based on their support for or ambivalence to homosexuality or opposition to Church teaching on human sexuality then they should have the decency to desist or abandon the ministry.

What is frustrating is that one does not know what is true and what is false.  There are rumours but little evidence.  There is evidence of cover-ups of abuse, failures to act swiftly and effectively, and deviation from the doctrine of the Church.  There are those who teach heresy or fail to affirm the Church's teaching even in third level colleges and nothing is done to them.  There are no repercussions.  Priests grant 'general absolutions', tell penitents they need only tell a single (mortal) sin, hold penitential services during Mass, alter the text of the Mass, and give public support to groups and persons that oppose Church teaching and nothing happens.  One must ask why?

Why does it take Vatican intervention before clergy are challenged on their teaching?  Why does it have to go to Rome before liturgical abuses and other irregularities are confronted?  Why did it take so long to deal with the abuse of children when, as the Murphy report affirmed, the bishops already had enough power in canon law to stop the abusers from getting access to children?  I am not convinced that it was always concern for the image of the Church.  People rarely really care for the image of an institution.  People really care about their own image and the image of the group with which they are associated.  Perhaps there was some other threat to their image that encouraged bishops and religious superiors to turn a blind eye?  I cannot prove this but I now suspect it of some.

It is discouraging to deal with these issues but, as Mr. Voris, puts it it is better dealt with than not.  Better to bring the poison out into the open, to drain the puss from the abscess and to apply some healing remedies.  We will always have to deal with those who see in the sacred ministry not a path to God or a means to serve His Kingdom but a career choice or a place to hide from their demons.  Perhaps very few of us are entirely pure in our motives; we are all sinners but that does not mean we should tolerate our own sins or the sins of others especially when they harm the Church.

This Lent can be a new beginning, a return to the sources, a return to authentic Catholicism.  This Lent can be a re-appropriation of obedience to the whole teaching of Christ and an abandonment of the à la carte Catholicism of the last forty years.  I believe we are seeing the stirrings of a deep reform movement within the Church, a continuation of a stream that preceded the Council but got side-tracked or went underground and is now re-emerging to carry the Church into greater fidelity to her Lord.  We must choose whom we serve.

Thursday, February 21, 2013


Two videos from Catholic Focus on the Eastern or Greek Rite Catholics. Not many of them but they are part of the Church that must learn to breathe with both lungs again.


One of our friars commented recently about a certain priest that he thought him a prophet. I disagreed but I think Michael Voris is a prophet. He is definitely Catholic. I find it sad though that he finds he has to identify his country with the cultural rot spreading through the world. I do not think he is wrong just that the US being such a massive cultural influence, especially in the English speaking world, it's effect is more widespread. It is no surprise then that the 'barbarians' are appearing everywhere. Once people choose to deny the objective standard of Natural Law, indeed objective standards in anything, then the only path left is into barbarism. Down that path prejudice is masked as principle, reason is debased into rationalization and morality becomes the latest fashion in behaviour. Once the barbarians are in control the next step is tyranny and then chaos.

Tuesday, February 19, 2013


I am currently working my way through Henri Daniel-Rops (actually Henri Petiot,1901-1965) a French historian and member of the Academie Francaise.  There are about nine volumes in the series and I'm on the third dealing with the Middle Ages.

What strikes me the most is that we may be in a period not unlike that of the fall of the Roman Empire.  The Empire did not all of a sudden collapse.  There was a slow decay as it became less able to deal with challenges.  Its economy stagnated and the Emperors increased taxes.  It became more and more bureaucratic and less and less efficient.  It depended more and more on barbarian peoples to keep its borders safe, barbarians who were mostly heretical Arian Christians.  When these barbarian peoples migrated into the Empire there were nor the troops, nor was the will nor was there the local support to oppose them.  The Empire in the West collapsed.  

 Our Western civilization is collapsing.  It has within it problems so fundamental as to bring the whole system down but our leaders and intelligentia seem incapable of grasping the issues.  It is as if there were a collective blind-spot as regards both the problem and the solution.  Our governments are bureaucratic and unwieldy.  People are enduring heavier taxes while the wealth is hogged by a few.    Most seriously our fertility rate is below the average replacement rate.  We have surrendered our intellectual world to largely barbarian people.  That last statement may come as a shock.  We have traditionally thought of barbarians as pagans and intellectuals, i.e. civilised people, as being as far from barbarian as possible.  In this modern none but a few odd balls can be serious pagans.  That worldview simply does not thrive in a world as permeated with Christianity as ours.  But barbarism is always with us.  By barbarian I do not mean a wood or stone-worshipping heathen.  These barbarians, not unlike those of Roman days, are quasi-Christian.  Back then they were heretics now they are apostates.  Back then they came in vast migrations but now they have grown up amongst us.   

By barbarism I mean a mind for whom there is no objective moral law and where, ultimately, might is right.  By barbarism I mean a mind that neither recognizes nor respects the Sacred.  Such a mind might dabble in a kind of secular pantheism by which I mean not that God and the material world are somehow one but that the only kind of sacredness is the material world.  A sacred material world takes precedence over the needs of individuals, communities and the human race.  This barbarism allows the killing of babies in the womb and eventually after they are born.  It allows the killing of the sick, the weak and the disabled.  It does not just allow them it celebrates them.  It holds them up as acts of compassion, heroism, good.  This barbarism exalts the freedom, the autonomy of the individual.  The ruthless individual, the solo hero, is the true star of all its stories, its gore-filled sagas and spectacles.  

The barbarians are in control.  The West has once again succumbed to them.  Back in the days of the Empire though the barbarian people came with families, clans, traditions and a culture.  They came from outside, admiring the Empire they occupied and wanting to share in its wealth and security even as they brought it down.  Crudely and inconsistently they at least believed in a law that implied some recognition of the Natural Law.  These new barbarians, having grown up in the West, despise the very foundations it was built on.  To them there is no Natural Law, no truth save that which science can attest to and that only because science, for the moment, has such great cultural standing.  Yet the science is always selectively cited.  'Reason' is their banner but it is really rationalisation.   To them Christianity in particular, and religion in general, has no future.  To them only their hedonistic, amoral, materialist ethos has any validity and any right to allegiance.  They are as drunk on their new found power and influence as the ancient barbarians, and the pagan Romans before them, once were.  

Evidence of this can be seen in the popularity of people such as Dawkins and Hitchens, in the opprobrium to which the Holy Father is subjected in many places and the indifference to matters of faith and religion even in once Catholic countries such as Ireland.   Not only are these barbarians within our society they are within the Church.  Wherever the Divine origin of the Church and her Sacraments, or the sacredness of her Tradition, are denied, wherever the authority of her bishops and above all the Holy Father is flouted, wherever, whether explicitly or implicitly, the Divinity of Christ is denied there are the barbarians.  The loss of the sense of the sacred is everywhere.  Today at a eulogy at the end of a funeral Mass I heard a young man refer to the sanctuary as a 'stage'.  If ever that was an argument for the restoration of the altar rails it was that comment.   The sanctuary has become a stage, a place for a play that reflects back to the people their own glory and relevance but with no room for the living God.  It is a stage hired out, borrowed for a few hours, were rituals happen and words are spoken at important occasions: the naming of babies, marriages of lovers, and the burial of the dead.  These are the tame barbarians, generally indifferent if not positive towards the Church.  The power though is increasingly in the hands of the untamed, the wild, the true barbarians.  They are the people who have abandoned reason in the name of reason.  They have made a tool of it to demolish the very foundations of the civilisation that shields them.  They do not think of themselves as barbarians.  They are civilised, cultured, cultivated and intellectual.  They can often speak  two or more languages, have degrees, post-doctorates even, and move in the 'best' circles.  Yet they are barbarians because only barbarians will kill the innocent or attempt to justify it.  Only barbarians deny the ultimate civilisation of love, of reason, of truth that is based on the Natural Law and ultimately on God.  

It is as the Mother of God warned at Fatima.  If people did not listen Russia would spread her errors throughout the world and she has.  It was not Communism or Marxist-Leninism or any of those ideologies.  They were but vehicles.  Atheistic materialism was the central error, the poison of the snake that is turning people to barbarism.   

Monday, February 11, 2013


So the Holy Father has resigned. Hasn't happened since 1415 when a Pope resigned to end the Western schism. After eight years as Supreme Pontiff Benedict XVI siting failing health that cannot meet the demands of his office and the needs of the Church surprised us all and the cardinals gathered in consistory with the news he would step down at 20.00 hours on February 28th. That'll send conspiracy nuts running to their copy of St. Malachy's prophecies! It will also send papabile and their supporters, Vatican commentators and others into a frenzy of speculation. No one has had a chance to build up a case for their man, no one has had time to dig around for gossip. It's all up in the air and perhaps provides space for the Holy Spirit to act more freely. Now it is our task to pray for the upcoming consistory who, perhaps with the advice of the present incumbent, will choose the next Pope. We need to pray that the Holy Spirit will fulfil Christ's promise to the Church so she can pick another pastor to continue the work of Blessed John Paul II and the present Holy Father.

Ignore all the commentators and speculators; pray, fast and do penance.

Friday, February 8, 2013


One of the things that can stop us praying is that we swallow the idea that there is a special time and place and manner for prayer and that only at that place, time and manner can one pray. yet God is everywhere and ever ready to attend to us. Indeed we are ever the object of His love and mercy. Prayer then is a response to God's outreach to us. Prayer, like existence itself, is His gift to us. God wishes to hear us and answer our prayers with blessings. We are to be like the flowers that lift up their heads to the sun at every moment of the day, whatever the weather or wherever we are. To that end there are many ways to pray and while we ought to have a special place, time and manner of regular prayer each day that does not mean we cannot pray at another times, in other ways and places. After all, just because I eat my dinner in the evening does not mean I cannot eat at lunchtime or snack in-between.

Begin the day with prayer and end it with prayer, even short ones. Try to begin each activity likewise. Cultivate your spiritual life and keep at it. No garden ever becomes truly weed free. There is constant need to return to the basics: weeding, pruning, tending and feeding. Be attentive to the interior garden and it will bear fruit in good time.

No interior life will flourish if we do not feed it with the proper food. Above all there is the Sacramental life of the Church. Celebrate the Sacraments of Reconciliation and the Eucharist often. Live from and for the Mass and do not leave Confession off until you have a long list! But also read the scriptures especially with the Church: follow the readings as they occur in the Liturgy. Read good spiritual books especially those by saints and put them into practise wisely.

(i) Meditative walking: this involves strolling along but not attending to one's surroundings but to one's heart. In Zen buddhism they use a very slow pace which allows stillness - we can use a similar method but turn our heart and mind to the God who walks with us and gives us each step, each breath, each heartbeat.

(ii) Alternatively if it also happens to be a walk for fitness one can use the rosary or some other repetitive prayer and 'walk with Mary' through the mysteries. One can also use music and listen to Christian music to turn your attention to divine things.

(i) Once one could call these 'ejaculations' but the drift of language has given this word an entirely different emphasis. Short prayers are invaluable. Whether our own or composed by others, whether we stop to say them or say them in the midst of our actions as long as we lift up our heart and mind to God calling down His help then it is prayer. They help us sanctify the day. The Irish of old had prayers for all sorts of jobs and thus brought their faith into their daily lives.

(ii) Being mindful of and turning to the intercession of those saints who lived a similar life to our own, who had similar struggles, can also help. Remember that to offer up the difficulties of the day, to endure what comes trusting in Divine Providence while striving to do our duty well is itself a great prayer and a means to evangelisation. We also talk to God by talking to His servants in heaven. The Lord hears all our requests.

(i) I have already mentioned the rosary. It can be used anywhere, it's relatively short and it has tremendous power. I often pray it while driving to work and say each mystery for a particular intention. It can be used wherever we are waiting or have something to do that does not involve a lot of concentration. The Jesus prayer (Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy upon me, a sinner) beloved of the Eastern Church and now quite popular in the West is also a powerful way to bring prayer into the day.

There is no reason why we cannot sanctify the day and grow closer to God even in the midst of a busy schedule. Every breath is a reason for gratitude and even our sufferings can be of help to us if we unite them with Christ's sufferings. God does not create rubbish and wishes us to waste nothing!t

Tuesday, February 5, 2013


It's either a feast or a famine but I am fascinated by this icon-painting onto canvas. I've heard it's not uncommon in Greece where the painting is done on canvas in the studio and then pasted to the wall of a church. Not as permanent and more easily damaged but cheaper for the client and more convenient for the artist. Oil gilding canvas is something new to me (don't think water gilding would work) but the effect looks good. What would our churches look like if they were covered with pictures of the mysteries of our faith? Why are white walls or brick work so common now? Is that another effect of the Reformation?


This is well put. The path of the vows is a path of conversion of heart and a setting free to pursue union with God. It is freely chosen so that one can be free to love God and one's neighbour with a truly free love. That is the goal, to love as God loves; to let God love through our love. First one must become free. As John of the Cross put it one must go by the path of 'nada', nothing. Nothing but God.

Friday, February 1, 2013


Beannachtaí Lá Fhéile Bríde! (or Lá ‘le Bríde) -see the interesting post over at the Irish Language blog.

I am not a fan of 'Celtic Spirituality' unless it is Celtic Christian (as in Catholic) spirituality. Those were orthodox people and Brigid no less than the rest of them. The above cross is one of those traditionally associated with her. The story is that she wove it while tending her pagan father is his last illness, a man who had cost her no end of grief. So this simple straw cross is a symbol of the power that the Christian faith brought to Ireland: the grace of Christ which enables to forgive and truly love our neighbour. Perhaps that is why Christianity took such deep roots so quickly in Ireland. Perhaps our ancestors had already come to realise the shallowness and impotence of paganism. Perhaps that is why Irelands first official martyrs on Irish soil were to be those of the Reformation?

Any way I post today because as I was praying the Office of Readings, there being as yet no official texts for the Feast save the prayer, I was reading the passage in the Common from St. Cyprian when it struck me that the numbers of religious in general, and the women religious in particular, are an indication of the spiritual and religious health of the nation. St. Patrick himself wrote:

So, how is it that in Ireland, where they never had any knowledge of God but, always, until now, cherished idols and unclean things, they are lately become a people of the Lord, and are called children of God; the sons of the Irish and the daughters of the chieftains are to be seen as monks and virgins of Christ. And there was, besides, a most beautiful, blessed, native-born noble Irish woman of adult age whom I baptised; and a few days later she had reason to come to us to intimate that she had received a prophecy from a divine messenger [who] advised her that she should become a virgin of Christ and she would draw nearer to God. Thanks be to God, six days from then, opportunely and most eagerly, she took the course that all virgins of God take, not with their fathers' consent but enduring the persecutions and deceitful hindrances of their parents. Notwithstanding that, their number increases, (we do not know the number of them that are so reborn) besides the widows, and those who practise self-denial.
(verses 41-42 of the Confessio)

The abundance of vocations in the past and the collapse in vocations in the last forty years should cause us to pause. I have written on this recently here. In this Sunday's Gospel (Luke 4:21–30) Jesus reads a passage from Isaiah and then enters into conflict with the people he grew up with. The issue is obedience to God as an expression of faith. Faith is only faith when it is obedient. That is why Jesus sites two examples, both of pagans who showed their faith by obedience to the great prophets of Israel. The Sidonian widow shared her last food with Elijah in faith and was saved, Naaman the Syrian bathed in the Jordan in obedient faith and was cured and converted to Judaism. Their obedience brought them a blessing. Likewise the disobedience and lack of faith of the Jews in Nazareth denied them the blessing of Jesus. He would work no miracle because they would not believe, they would not acknowledge God by their actions.

Is the collapse in vocations a sign of a profound disobedience in Ireland? Are we deserving of a curse because at heart because, despite the generosity of some to the poor, our hearts have wandered away from the path our ancestors took when they chose to abandon paganism and embrace Christ? I believe it is. I believe that in embracing contraception, Ireland has made a deeper commitment to an alternative faith. We have erected in our land the idols of self-indulgence and self-centredness. This has not been done consciously. Like the Israelites of old we have not thought it strange to bow down both to God and Baal. Other Christians over the centuries have bowed both to Christ and to Jupiter, or Wotan or Liberty or the State. This unreflected, passive idolatry is poisoning us. It has seeped into every corner of our land. It comes not just through the TV, radio or the net but in conversations, films, books, and through the more direct workings of the enemy. What Cyprian calls the 'joy of the Church' is dying because the Church no longer puts her entire hope in Christ. We have watered down our faith and made it soft and bland. We like the fuzzy pantheism of 'Celtic Spirituality' and not the raw demanding self-sacrifice of the real, Christian thing. God help us if we ever go back to paganism - human sacrifice anyone?

Monday, January 28, 2013


When I chose to try out this life what attracted me most was the prayer life of the brothers and brotherhood - the life in common. I wanted a life that would both provide a support for my prayer and yet not leave me on my own. I already prayed a lot - it was a big emphasis in the charismatic prayer meeting I attended. I wanted something more and felt a draw to that. Somehow along the way I forgot that priority. Studies, student life, ministerial demands, meetings, and the distractions of TV and the internet meant that prayer often took a back seat. Now I am trying to find my way back.

It isn't easy.

There are always distractions and the problem is not with things but with me. Each of us has within us, because we are fallen, the illusion that we are the centre of everything and that everyone else ought to orbit around us. This is not a conscious idea for most of us otherwise we'd all be megalomaniacs. It's there all the same and becomes visible in our sins and our sinful attitudes, in our tendency to always put our own interests first. The only way to peace is to acknowledge that the only centre of everything is God. I cannot be God. We cannot be God. Only God can be God. God must take central place in our lives if they are to be at peace.

Somehow I let prayer slide into the background because I wanted to be the centre instead of God. Not that I never prayed but I never prayed as regularly as I could. There was always something that would interfere. What I have discovered is that it cannot be packed it at the last moment. It has to be planned and given priority. I have to intentionally live with as the centre if I wish to live a prayerful and peaceful life.

Needless to say it is not done overnight but re-establishing habits that will last takes not just time but commitment. It takes a continual returning to the source, a starting over each day. It means that as long as one is seeking one will eventually find.

Therefore I have discovered these basics:

Regularity: same place, same time and preferably early rather than late.

Spiritual Reading: dump the novels and feed your imagination with sacred images not with junk. Remember: 'Junk in junk out'.

Avoidance of the unnecessary and not just the sinful: it's not enough merely to seek to avoid evil one must seek good and do good. So much time is wasted on what is not important and not urgent. Prayer is important.

Perseverance: don't give up. Start again. If you fail, start again.

Make the Sacramental connection: nothing is possible without the grace of God. All good comes from Him. Draw on Him for support. Focus on attending Mass and draw on Christ truly present - worship Him! Use the Sacrament of Reconciliation for healing and help.

Suggested reading:

An Introduction to the Devout Life

The Practice of the Presence of God

Though I might point out that illustration given at the front of the pdf above is not of Brother Lawrence but of a Franciscan. Lawrence was a Carmelite.


The icon - a bridge between East and West!

Tuesday, January 15, 2013


I started this article last year and recently finished it and then submitted it to our Provincial Bulletin. I've decided to make it more widely available!

Some time ago I watched the documentary ‘Demographic Winter’ and its grim warning on the future of Western civilisation made a deep impression on me. In essence Ireland, along with all the Western, the former Eastern Block nations and indeed most of the world outside the Middle East and Africa, is in decline. We’re not having enough babies to sustain our population.

This is not a new discovery. Demographers (a branch of sociology that studies how human populations grow and decline) have been aware of this for a long time. I remember reading about this back in the 80’s before I joined the Order. Back then in Europe only Ireland and Poland had Net Fertility Rates that were above what is called ‘Replacement Rate’. The Net Fertility Rate is the number of babies born relative to the number of women of child-bearing age. It should come out at or just above 2.1 or 2.2 babies per woman for a Western population to stay stable (neither growing nor declining). This is the Replacement Rate. Ireland’s Net Fertility Rate is about 2 but that is a very recent figure - a recent but un-sustained upward surge. It is not clear if the surge is due to an increase in births to natives or to the ‘new Irish’. For a long time it has been under 2.1 and as low as 1.85.

How did we get here? In 1978 the Fianna Fail government with the assistance of the opposition parties succeeded in legalising the sale of contraceptives (A). Ireland’s Net Fertility Rate had at that time stabilised at about 3.3. About ten years later (B) we were under Replacement Rate and, even with the recent rise (C), it has remained below it. Contraception was not the only factor – the impact of a local recession, changing expectations on the part of women etc., may have played a part, but contraception was the technical means that allowed our fertility rate to fall. Simply put we are not replacing our population. Our people, our society and therefore the Irish Church are in decline. Like a ship that has been holed we are sinking. The Government must know this but little, if anything, is being done to reverse the process. They simply do not plan that far ahead – there are no votes in that and they won’t be standing for election then.

The concerns of the demographers do not stop with the decline in certain populations. There are other implications to being below the Replacement Rate. The population profile ages. There are fewer young people generating the wealth and paying the taxes to sustain the rest of the population. There are also fewer young people to police society, nurse the sick and maintain the infrastructure. This situation worsens if there is also emigration. On the other hand immigration, unless it is on a massive scale with all the attendant problems, only slows the process and it negatively impacts on the demographics of the source countries. The economy of the declining country stagnates and eventually collapses. If the Net Fertility Rate reaches 1.1 then the society cannot recover and it collapses too. Imbalances between countries with declining populations and those with expanding ones can lead not just to massive migration but to social and cultural instabilities and wars. ‘Youth bulges’ in some populations could reshape the political and social and even religious map of the world. Perhaps this is why the US is aggressively promoting contraception and abortion in third world countries.

Once the Net Fertility Rate drops below 2.1 that society has about forty-eight years to reverse the process before it becomes too late. It is around the age of forty-eight that people generally begin to stop spending except on necessities and begin to save for their old age. Japan just passed that point. Already its economy is in decline. Despite her huge population she is going down. Japan and Russia are paying women to have babies. The Japanese, Russians and Swedes are among those trying to save their respective populations with little success. The French have had a campaign for a number of years to try to get their Net Fertility Rate up with some success but not yet enough to reach Replacement Rate. While populations have collapsed before this is a new kind of crisis, an entirely new situation created by human technology.
I was born in 1964 when Ireland’s net fertility rate was about 4. I joined the Capuchins in 1988 around the time we dropped below the Replacement Rate. Back then we had large crowds of young men attending vocations days. The vast majority did not join of course. Still there were six of us in postulancy and seven in novitiate of which only Joe Nagle and myself remain. Many of those young men were born in the mid to late 60’s. Richard, our youngest solemnly professed, was born in 1973 when our Net Fertility Rate, although in decline already, it was about 3.7. It is interesting that, so far, our native vocations have come from that era.

As a specialist group within society clergy and religious depend on the extra .3, .4, .5, who are conceived and are born to the mothers of our nation. When the Net Fertility Rate falls below the Replacement Rate of 2.1 there simply aren’t enough babies being born to both supply the Church with clergy and religious and the next generation with parents. I was twenty-four when I joined and if you go back twenty-four years from 2012 to 1988 you find why there are so few vocations; they simply weren’t conceived. If they don’t exist they cannot be called.

Just as Ireland has contracepted herself onto the road of decline and collapse so she has contracepted us to decline and annihilation. What is tragic is that our nation did this with the approbation of some of her Catholic clergy even if only in the secrecy of the confessional. This was with little or no correction from the hierarchy. How do I know this? Apart from anecdotal evidence there are those who have documented the campaign at that time within Irish society and the Irish Church for the acceptance of contraception. Just check out the work done by the blogger at Lux Occulta. This should be no surprise. After all would any Irish Government of the time, especially Fianna Fáil, have considered such a policy without some support and encouragement from within the Catholic Church? No one realised such a catastrophic fall in our fertility rate would be the result. No doubt there were expressions of disappointment when contraception was legalised and talk of ‘pastoral realities’ etc., but in the end we are here because there was a failure of both oversight and foresight. These rocky shores could’ve been avoided but now the ship is sinking and who has the courage to go down and plug the holes?

This situation also places all religious and clergy in a ‘prophetic position’ vís a vís Irish and Western society. We are where they will be. Thanks to Jeremy (one of our friars) I have these charts.

The first chart above shows the age distribution in the Province. The sad reality is that in ten to fifteen years a majority of our friars will be deceased or no longer capable of ministry and perhaps even community life. This is where Ireland is eventually headed too.

While not definitive the second chart above clearly shows how we will probably decline in numbers. As I write there are ninety-four Irish friars and of them there are only forty-two friars under 70. In ten years time only thirteen and in twenty years time only six will be under seventy. Union with the British Province, though it may bring other benefits, will not solve this problem. They have their own sinking ship. Two sinking ships will not keep one another afloat. On this point all union will do is spread the same problem over a wider geographical, cultural and social area. Either way our future does not present a pleasant prospect.

On a national scale it means that there will come a time when there will be too few young people both to generate the wealth and pay the taxes as well as run the system that supports the elderly and needy. Perhaps that is really why there are moves to introduce both assisted suicide and euthanasia.

So there are other considerations besides the impact on vocations. As for society so for us: there will be fewer friars to provide and care for the greater number who are elderly. There will be fewer friars to maintain ministries. Let me be more direct: many of our ministries and communities will no longer be viable. How can nine communities and their ministries be sustained with these declining numbers? It’s not possible.

For our province and for the Irish Church there is a hard and bitter task ahead. If Irish society and therefore the Irish Church are to be saved from the deep we must brace ourselves for the icy days ahead. The waters of conflict must be braved and a great effort made to reverse that most dreadful and fateful decision of 1978. Is it not time for a re-appropriation of the Church’s teaching on contraception? Is it not time that Catholics are clearly and consistently told why contraception is morally wrong? That will not go down well! No doubt even among the clergy there are those who will not assent to this teaching. Perhaps we are where the Roman Republic once was and,if I may quote the Roman historian Livy, “We can bear neither our vices nor the remedies.” Perhaps there are those who have no stomach for the task ahead but if we do not strive to do something we will not survive.

It is also true that the Church has lost her moral authority. Perhaps that is no great loss. Surely the people should be convinced by the rationality of our arguments not the moral authority of the institution? At least, if we are successful, we might save Irish society, restore some life to the Church and even to vocations. If the rest of society sinks then the Church in Ireland could be a lifeboat for the Irish. If we shirk this task we will go down together.

Br. Tom Forde OFM Cap


Resource for statistics:

Population Research Institute:

CIA concerns:

Demographic Winter:


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