Latest Craziness: “Ashes To Go”!

Latest Craziness: “Ashes To Go”!

Two churches in the north-east of England will take to the streets on Ash Wednesday, encouraging people to repent and return to God.

080206-N-7869M-057 Atlantic Ocean (Feb. 6, 2008) Electronics Technician 3rd Class Leila Tardieu receives the sacramental ashes during an Ash Wednesday celebration aboard the amphibious assault ship USS Wasp (LHD 1). U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Brian May (Released)

On Wednesday St Mary’s Catholic church and Sunderland Minster, an Anglican church, will be working together to offer “Ashes to Go” – a new approach to a centuries-old Christian tradition.

The initiative will take place around Sunderland city centre beginning with a 10am service in the Minster Church of St Michael and All Angels and St Benedict Biscop, after which two local bishops and other Church leaders will enter the city’s streets and the Bridges Shopping Centre to mark the foreheads of interested passersby with ashes.

They will invite them to turn away from the past and seek God’s forgiveness and renewal.

“Ashes to Go” will end with Mass at 12.05pm in St Mary’s church.

The bishops taking part are Bishop Seamus Cunningham of Hexham and Newcastle and the Anglican Bishop of Durham, the Rt Rev Paul Butler.

Fr Marc Lyden-Smith, parish priest of St Mary’s and chaplain to Sunderland AFC, said: “This will be a tremendous witness in our city, with Catholics and Anglicans working together to start the season of Lent, perhaps reminding those who have fallen away from the Church, or have never been before, that the Christian faith is alive and active in Sunderland.”

He added: “I hope it will remind everyone that we have a loving and Merciful God, who welcomes all no matter what.” Source

Comments invited – from those who can keep a straight face… 

Comments (55)

  • diamhuireduit

    Don’t quite see the ED objection to this one.?

    February 14, 2016 at 9:36 pm
    • Lily


      Are you joking? Handing out ashes on the streets, Anglican “Bishop” and Catholic Bishop, and calling it “Ashes To Go” just as if it was a takeaway? I can see the objection. I think it makes a mockery of Ash Wednesday.

      February 14, 2016 at 10:16 pm
      • Josephine


        I agree. It’s pathetic, in fact.

        February 14, 2016 at 10:17 pm
    • editor


      I’m surprised that you see nothing objectionable in the trivialising of a sacramental of the Church. I find it utterly objectionable.

      the Roman Missal prescribes that: “The blessing and imposition of ashes should take place either in the Mass or outside of the Mass. In the latter case it is to be part of a Liturgy of the Word and conclude with the prayer of the faithful.

      Clearly, “Ashes To Go” was just that: no ceremonial, just a gimmicky handing out of ashes to those who were willing (or tolerant) enough to humour the dispensers of what they clearly consider to be the religious equivalent of a Coffee 2 Go… I’m sure the conversations of the people on the street would have been most enlightening for those involved in this disgraceful project.

      Did I just say “disgraceful”? I’m in danger of getting to be the mistress of understatement.

      February 14, 2016 at 11:36 pm
      • Sean P

        Almost certainly The Ashes used by Bishop Seamus were blessed in a valid, and licit, Liturgy, and that, in itself, is a sign it is an act in Communion with The Church. The other Bishop presumably blessed his own ashes in a similar way.

        Further, it is not uncommon for the Sick, and housebound, to ask that they “receive” the ashes, at home or in hospital, and only the imposition, and not the whole Liturgy, would be repeated. Likewise, it has not been unknown for people who cannot attend The Service, whether it be a Mass or another type of liturgy, to ask for the imposition of Ashes, if they visit The Church at some other time during the day.

        Anyone who approached either Bishop for the imposition of Ashes, outside a Church, would, most probably, do so with the right motive, and knowledge, as the plan was probably well trailed in the media beforehand.

        February 15, 2016 at 7:58 am
      • editor

        Sean P

        Nothing you mention in your comment equates with or justifies a Catholic bishop walking up and down the street offering ashes to anyone and everyone, most of whom will rightly treat the exercise with the utter contempt it deserves, but some of whom might be too polite to refuse.

        We’re not supposed to force the Faith on anyone. To go into the streets to evangelise, to offer to tell passers by about Christ is one thing… er… one thing that is forbidden, by the way, since “Holy Father Francis” thinks that is “solemn nonsense”. There is no coercion in offering to speak to someone, but to risk making passers by feel compromised, that’s wrong.

        And all that I’ve said is quite apart from the requirement to give ashes in a Church and within a liturgy. Obviously the sick and housebound are exceptions which have nothing to do with this issue – they are given Holy Communion at home, that is quite a different matter. Unless you think it’s acceptable for a Bishop or priest to go into the streets offering Holy Communion to anyone and everyone?

        There’s no justification for this clownish behaviour.

        February 15, 2016 at 10:31 am
      • Sean P

        The report you cite was published a week before in The Catholic Herald, and, no doubt, they picked up on it from local media. Hence, it received much prior publicity.

        Their act is not much removed from the work of the The Catholic Evidence Guild, or other such activities.

        It is sheer nonsense, and folly to equate The Blessed Sacrament/Holy Communion with Ashes, at any level. They are of a different order altogether. And, if an unbaptised person, prior to a planned or anticipated future baptism, or a person of another faith, approached to receive The Ashes in a Church, within an actual Liturgy, they would not be refused, and would, indeed, be welcomed.

        Have you ever read this from Romans 10:

        “12There is no difference between Jews and Greeks. They all have the same Lord, who gives his riches to everyone who calls on him. 13So then, “Whoever calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.”

        14But how can people call on him if they have not believed in him? How can they believe in him if they have not heard his message? How can they hear if no one tells [the Good News]? 15How can people tell the Good News if no one sends them? As Scripture says, “How beautiful are the feet of the messengers who announce the Good News.”

        16But not everyone has believed the Good News. Isaiah asks, “Lord, who has believed our message?” 17So faith comes from hearing the message, and the message that is heard is what Christ spoke.

        18But I ask, “Didn’t they hear that message?” Certainly they did! “The voice of the messengers has gone out into the whole world and their words to the ends of the earth.”

        February 15, 2016 at 10:47 am
      • editor

        It was your good self who chose the example of the sick and housebound receiving ashes at home – I pointed out that they also receive Holy Communion at home, so it doesn’t equate with going out into the street to offer ashes to one and all, as a gimmick. Please do not equate this nonsense with the work of the Catholic Evidence Guild. I have friends who were part of that project and they stood at Hyde Park in London and explained the Catholic religion to passers by (often with a Bishop in the crowd to make sure they were teaching orthodox Catholicism – a far cry from the watered down, anything-goes ecumenical mish mash on offer today.)

        Yes, of course, go out into the streets to preach the Faith, despite the Pope’s dislike of such activity which he considers to be “solemn nonsense”. Preaching the Faith is an elementary Baptismal and Confirmation duty – that is NOT the same as ecumenical activities such as this one, actually specifically designed to blur the Gospel message.

        Did Christ exhort us to enter the C of E? Is there one true Church or not?

        Those of you going along with the current modernist madness get yourselves tied up in knots trying to work out what is right and what is wrong, in the matter of evangelism as in everything else. Gerragrip.

        February 15, 2016 at 11:11 am
      • Sean P

        Every Pope, including the present one, exhorts us to evangelise, which is different to proselytising and/or targeting specific individuals or groups.

        From recollection, we began this new century with a decade of evangelisation.

        February 15, 2016 at 11:17 am
      • Sean P


        It is you not I that equated this act with giving Holy Communion on the streets, and you actually wrote “Unless you think it’s acceptable for a Bishop or priest to go into the streets offering Holy Communion to anyone and everyone? “

        February 15, 2016 at 11:20 am
      • editor

        That is correct. But I wrote that in response to the fact that YOU used the example of the sick and housebound receiving ashes at home. I then pointed out that they also receive Holy Communion at home, but that doesn’t justify going into the streets to offer either ashes and/or Holy Communion to passers by. It’s an analogy. If you don’t get it, forget it.

        I’m going to be away from my computer for a bit – er, visiting the sick, would you believe, but I’ll take only some sweets, maybe some fruit, not Holy Communion or ashes. Thankfully, my friend is a traditional Catholic so she won’t report me to the Bishop!

        February 15, 2016 at 11:21 am
      • Sean P

        I never mentioned Holy Communion once, and I also said that people who visit a Church, at a different time to any Liturgy, sometimes ask for the impostion of ashes. I wasn’t using an analogy but countering your claim ashes can only be imposed during a Liturgy. If you don’t get it, forget it.

        February 15, 2016 at 11:29 am
      • Athanasius

        Sean P

        You obviously missed the bit where joint Catholic/Protestant services are forbidden by the Church under pain of mortal sin. Perhaps this truth has become somewhat obscured since Vatican II but it nevertheless has always been, and remains, the teaching of the Church. Regardless of all else, then, the fact that this was a joint ecumenical service is enough to nullify it for all true Catholics.

        The infallible dogma is ‘Outside the Church no salvation’. Catholics either believe this divine truth and remain truly Catholic, or reject it and become religiously indifferent nominal Catholics. It’s a simple choice.

        As for proselytism, the Church has always proselytised. That’s how she saves souls, by preachiing the truth and the true religion to them, including the above dogma. If the Catholic Church ceases to proselytise then she ceases to fulfil her mission on earth and becomes stagnant. Evangelisation is exactly the same as proselytism, there is no difference whatsoever, despite all the con claim to the contrary.

        February 15, 2016 at 2:09 pm
  • Athanasius

    For a start, it is forbidden to Catholics to participate in any way in the services of non-Catholics. So there’s heresy and mortal sin right away. Secondly, the “initiative” appears not to distinguish between creeds or even baptised and unbaptised persons. In fine, it is one of those innovative side shows expected of the likes of the Mormons and Jehovas that is more likely to turn people away from Christianity than encourage them to embrace it. Just another meaningless ecumenical sideshow that further mocks and degrades the solemnity of the true religion!

    February 14, 2016 at 10:32 pm
    • Sean P

      In Unitatis Redintegratio we read: “In certain circumstances, such as prayers ‘for unity’ and during ecumenical gatherings, it is allowable, indeed desirable that Catholics should join in prayer with their separated brethren”.

      February 15, 2016 at 2:30 pm
      • Athanasius

        What we actually read in the document you cite is: In certain special circumstances, such as the prescribed prayers “for unity”…, which then goes on to say: “Yet worship in common (communicatio in sacris) is not to be considered as a means to be used indiscriminately for the restoration of Christian unity…”

        In addition to these qualifying words, it should be stated that Unitatis Redintegratio from a pastoral Council cannot be cited to overturn the infallible dogma and teaching of the ages to justify religious indifference, which is precisely what ecumenism has proved to be since Vatican II.

        February 15, 2016 at 2:56 pm
      • Sean P

        Forgive me, I quoted from one document not the entire teaching of The Church on this matter. Any random check of any secular, or religious, media outlet, and indeed from The Holy See itself, will list actual examples of clerics from The Pope down praying, and preaching, at such Services, and such services are a standard part of any Papal Pastoral visit to any nation.

        In April 2015 when interviewed on this topic, Cardinal Koch, President of the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity, it was reported was asked if ecumenism had the same high priority for Pope Francis as it had had for his predecessors, Koch replied, “Ecumenism has the highest priority for Pope Francis as it has had for all popes since the [Second Vatican] Council. Perhaps Pope Francis approaches it with a slightly different emphasis. He continually underlines that we cannot wait until we are one [Church]. We must work together now; we must walk along the same path, bear the same witness and pray together. Sisterliness and friendship between the different Christian Churches and church communities as well as bearing witness are very high priorities for Pope Francis.”

        Asked to explain the way that “the emphases in ecumenical dialogue appeared to be shifting”, Koch replied: “Something is changing in so far as new doors for dialogue are being opened which have been closed up to now and that is most significant.” He went on to say that relations with Pentecostals were particularly important. “There were those among the Pentecostals and Evangelicals who were pretty prejudiced against the Catholic Church and the papacy,” he recalled. “If these groups meet the Pope personally and see that he is a good Christian, that can overcome many prejudices and open doors for new dialogue.”

        February 15, 2016 at 3:08 pm
      • Athanasius

        Sean P

        “…Any random check of any secular, or religious, media outlet, and indeed from The Holy See itself, will list actual examples of clerics from The Pope down praying, and preaching, at such Services, and such services are a standard part of any Papal Pastoral visit to any nation.

        Not prior to Vatican II. In fact, it was forbidden before Vatican II. So why has the teaching of the Church changed, and who dared to change it? The Pope doesn’t have the power or authority to alter what has been handed down, but clearly someone has changed things back to front. Could it be something to do with that non-doctrinal pastoral Council called Vatican II? There is a definite confliction in teaching here.

        February 15, 2016 at 3:23 pm
  • LindainPA

    What’s next – drive through ashes?

    February 15, 2016 at 12:28 am
    • editor


      Don’t go giving them ideas!

      February 15, 2016 at 10:25 am
  • RCA Victor

    …perhaps reminding those who have fallen away from the Church…

    Oh, you mean like the Anglicans?

    …that the Christian faith is alive and active in Sunderland.

    No, it appears to be quite dead, having been replaced by the “New Evangelization,” of which this is clearly an application.

    What next? A Confession-mobile? Drive-through Communion? General Absolution Mercy kiosks? Bottled Holy Water vending machines?

    February 15, 2016 at 12:28 am
  • RCA Victor

    A suggested saying for the priest as he (or she, as the case may be) imposes ashes-to-go:

    Remember, O man, thou are dignified, and straight to Heaven thou shalt go.

    February 15, 2016 at 12:37 am
  • diamhuireduit

    Ok I get it! I didn’t realize from the article that it was deliberately provoking. Thought that was just the news spin that called “to go”.
    Athanasius, a question, forbidden to participate in anyway? What about baptism we recognize theirs, don’t we?

    February 15, 2016 at 1:54 am
    • editor


      I’m sure that those who dreamt up this latest novelty don’t think of it as provocative. They are desperately seeking gimmicks all the time to try to fill their churches. It’s taking a long time to get the message through to them that gimmicks will never work. Most people have the intelligence to see through such nonsense. No, not provocative – just the latest silly idea to make the Church seem “relevant” and going for flexi-time, to save folk having to go to church for the liturgy and to “outreach” to those who have lapsed or don’t believe, shows the Church to be “with it” and “relevant” . That’s their skewed thinking. Brainless.

      February 15, 2016 at 10:36 am
    • Athanasius


      We don’t instantly recognise Protestant baptism as many have changed the form of the Sacrament rendering it invalid. Oftentimes, when Protestants convert to Catholicism they have to be conditionally baptised to cover for any invalidity that may have taken place originally. Anyway, even if Protestant baptisms were valid all of the time, Catholics would not be permitted to participate in them, as to do so would be to approve a heretic religion.

      February 15, 2016 at 2:00 pm
      • Sean P

        Conditional Baptism is very, very, rare. It usually only takes place where no documentary evidence takes place. The Catholic Church, in many and various documents, recognises baptism undertaken by Ministers of other denominations, as it has always when a lay person has done in danger of death.

        In The “Directory for the Application of Principles and Norms on Ecumenism” we read:

        Baptism by immersion, or by pouring, together with the Trinitarian formula is, of itself, valid. Therefore, if the rituals, liturgical books, or established customs of a church or ecclesial community prescribe either of these ways of baptism, the sacrament is to be considered valid unless there are serious reasons for doubting that the minister has observed the regulations of his/her own community or church. (DE 95.a)

        February 15, 2016 at 2:26 pm
      • Athanasius

        Sean P

        Quite often Protestants converting to the faith are uncertain about their baptism and have no immediate record to prove that it was done correctly, so conditional baptism is still a very common event in Traditional circles. It may be different for the post-Vatican II Catholics, who now generally ignore the teachings and prescriptions of their forebears. At any rate, it is forbidden for Catholics to participate in a Protestant baptism, even if said baptism is valid, because to do so would be to sin against faith and would constitute the worst possible act against the virtue of divine charity. We must always try to save our non-Catholic neighbour’s soul by telling him the truth he needs to embrace to be saved. Participating in his Protestant services would be contrary to that duty and consequently an evil act borne of human respect.

        February 15, 2016 at 2:43 pm
      • Sean P

        Nonsense. As noted elsewhere, in the quote from Unitatis Redintegratio, we can worship with other Christians, and The Church recognises that ” baptism by immersion, or by pouring, together with the Trinitarian formula is, of itself, valid. Therefore, if the rituals, liturgical books, or established customs of a church or ecclesial community prescribe either of these ways of baptism, the sacrament is to be considered valid”. Exactly why we would insult someone who invited us to such a baptism, as a friend, by not going would be hard to fathom.

        February 15, 2016 at 2:52 pm
      • Athanasius

        Sean P

        If you insist on this, then what becomes of the infallible dogma extra ecclesiam nulla salus and our Catholic duty in faith and charity to preach it with fidelity? And what becomes of all the contrary Church teaching of nearly two thousand years, that teaching which forbids interaction with non-Catholics. I mean, even St. John the Apostle, “the Apostle of love,” to whom it Our Lord revealed the secrets of His Sacred Heart, stated that the faithful must have nothing to do with those who preach a different Gospel from that preached to us. Is this all to be tossed out of the window to satisfy human respect?

        As Archbishop Lefebvre once so wisely observed: “The martyrs sacrificed their lives for the truth. Now they sacrifice the truth

        February 15, 2016 at 3:04 pm
      • Athanasius

        Sean P

        Just to give some example from Traditional Church teaching, I quote the following:

        From the Syllabus of Errors of Pius IX, the following propositions are condemned and proscribed:

        “Good hope at least is to be entertained of the eternal salvation of all those who are not at all in the true Church of Christ.” (Encyclical Quanto Conficiamur, August 10, 1863.)

        “Protestantism is nothing more than another form of the same true Christian religion, in which form it is given to please God equally as in the Catholic Church.” (Encyclical Noscitis, December 8, 1849.)

        “In the present day it is no longer expedient that the Catholic religion should be held as the only religion of the State, to the exclusion of all other forms of worship.” Allocution Nemo Vestrum, July 26, 1855.

        “Man may, in the observance of any religion whatever, find the way of eternal salvation.” Encyclical Qui Pluribus, November 9, 1846.

        From the August, 1832 Encyclical Mirari Vos of Pope Gregory XVI:

        “…With the admonition of the Apostle that there is “one Lord, one faith, one baptism” (Eph. 4:5), may those fear who contrive the notion that the safe harbor of salvation is open to persons of any religion whatever. They should consider the testimony of Christ Himself who said “He that is not with me, is against me” (Luke 11:23), and that they disperse unhappily who do not gather with Him. Therefore “without a doubt, they will perish forever, unless they hold the Catholic faith whole and entire…”

        “…Now we consider another abundant source of the evils with which the Church is afflicted at present: indifferentism. This perverse opinion is spread on all sides by the fraud of the wicked who claim that is possible to obtain the eternal salvation of the soul by the profession of any kind of religion, as long as morality is maintained. Surely, in so clear a matter, you will drive this deadly error far from the people committed to your care. With the admonition of the Apostle that there is “one Lord, one faith, one baptism” (Eph. 4:5), may those fear who contrive the notion that the safe harbor of salvation is open to persons of any religion whatever. They should consider the testimony of Christ Himself who said “He that is not with me, is against me” (Luke 11:23), and that they disperse unhappily who do not gather with Him. Therefore “without a doubt, they will perish forever, unless they hold the Catholic faith whole and entire.”

        “…This shameful font of indifferentism gives rise to the absurd and erroneous proposition which claims that liberty of conscience must be maintained for everyone. It spreads ruin in sacred and civil affairs, though some repeat over and over again with the greatest impudence that some advantage accrues to religion from it. “But the death of the soul is worse than freedom of error,” as Augustine was wont to say…”

        Quanta Cura – Pius IX – December 8, 1864

        “…they do not fear to foster that erroneous opinion, most fatal in its effects on the Catholic Church and the salvation of souls, called by Our predecessor, Gregory XVI, an insanity, viz., that “liberty of conscience and worship is each man’s personal right, which ought to be legally proclaimed and asserted in every rightly constituted society”…But, while they rashly affirm this, they do not think and consider that they are preaching liberty of perdition…”

        The 1917 Code of Canon Law states: that: “It is not permitted at all for the faithful to assist in any active manner at or to have any part in the worship of non-Catholics.” [Canon 1258]

        “How does a Catholic sin against faith? A Catholic sins against Faith by Apostasy, heresy, indifferentism and by taking part in non-Catholic worship.” (Catechism of the Council of Trent, Catechism of Pope St. Pius X and The Baltimore Catechism).

        “St. Anthony the Abbot would not speak to a heretic, except to exhort him to the true faith; and he drove all heretics from his mountain, calling them venomous serpents.” (St. Athanasius on the life of St. Anthony the Hermit).

        There is much more evidence than this, if you require it. Or do you insist that Vatican II’s Unitatis Redintegratio overturns this teaching, as well as the infallible dogma already cited?

        February 15, 2016 at 3:16 pm
      • Sean P

        Am I right,The Archbishop you quote died as an excommunicate, and that the organisation he founded has no canonical status in The Church? I think The Pope and Cardinal Koch are still in full members of The Church.

        February 15, 2016 at 3:23 pm
      • Athanasius

        Sean P

        Never mind the semantics, demonstrate that Cardinal Koch and his fellow ecumenists are in conformity with the Church’s immemorial, infallible and immutable teaching, and then you may have the answer to who is truly in communion with the Church and the Holy See and who is not.

        No one who fully understands Canon Law can assert in truth before God that Archbishop Lefrbvre died a genuine excommunicate, even if to perpetuate the lie does represent an escape route from the doctrinal evidence that clearly confronts them and exposes their errors.

        Remember, Archbishop Lefebvre was not the one who altered the Catholic faith. He merely stuck rigidly and with fidelity to what has been handed down, nothing more or less. The innovators, whose ecumenism you cannot doctrinally justify, are the ones in question before the tribunal of Church teaching.

        February 15, 2016 at 4:26 pm
      • Sean P

        It is not semantics as Bishop Fellay said he asked The SSPX to pray the excommunications be lifted. To quote him: “As I announce in the attached press release, ‘ the excommunication of the bishops consecrated by His Grace Archbishop Marcel Lefebvre, on June 30, 1988, which had been declared by the Congregation for Bishops in a decree dated July 1, 1988, and which we had always contested, has been withdrawn by another decree mandated by Benedict XVI and issued by the same Congregation on January 21, 2009.”’ It was the prayer intention I had entrusted to you in Lourdes, on the feast of Christ the King 2008. Your response exceeded our expectations, since one million seven hundred and three thousand rosaries were said to obtain through the intercession of Our Lady that an end be put to the opprobrium which, beyond the persons of the bishops of the Society, rested upon all those who were more or less attached to Tradition. Let us not forget to thank the Most Blessed Virgin who has inspired the Holy Father with this unilateral, benevolent, and courageous act to. Let us assure him of our fervent prayers. ” Why pray for something you don’t need, or earnestly desire?

        I think the onus is on you, not me, to prove a man you claim to acknowledge to be The Pope, The College of Bishop, The members of an Ecumenical Council, and The CDF were or are all heretics. To explain too why your interpretation of Holy Scripture and Tradition is sounder and wiser than that of the aforesaid persons.

        Explain too why for The Year of Mercy, alone, confessions within The SSPX have been declared valid and licit.

        February 15, 2016 at 4:48 pm
      • editor

        Sean P,

        Your final sentence should be sufficient to make you about-turn and realise the total nonsense of this Year of Mercy “exception” showing, in microcosm, the lack of credibility of the “official” view of the SSPX. In a word – crackers.

        Do you think that schismatics could be given faculties to hear confessions at any time, in any “Year of this or that” – do you?

        The fact that the Pope has made this “exception” shows his own utter confusion of mind, to say the very least.

        Anyway, I’m about to post a thread on Archbishop Lefebvre and what one NON-SSPX priest claims is Our Lord’s opinion of him.

        Watch this space…

        February 15, 2016 at 6:23 pm
      • Sean P

        Excommunication is the penalty for an act which may not be an act of schism, I believe.

        For the celebration of a Sacrament to be valid and lawful the cleric has to have the necessary faculties to celebrate the Sacrament. Without the faculties the Sacrament may be valid but not licit. No-one in the SSPX has the authority to give the necessary faculties. That is, until now, with the exception of Confession during The Holy Year, as The Pope has granted them the faculties.

        February 15, 2016 at 6:38 pm
      • Athanasius

        Sean P

        First of all, Archbishop Lefebvre was not the Pope, John Paul II was. Now, you’re making a fool of yourself by quite obviously and deliberately detracting from the main subject. So, here’s the deal.

        Demonstrate to us that ecumenism is consistent with Church teaching before Vatican II, rather than condemned by it, as I have shown, and then I’ll debate Archbishop Lefebvre with you till the cows come home. Does that sound reasonable?

        Now, I’ll be out for a while tonight but will check in later. Don’t disappoint me with further evasion, Sean, please.

        February 15, 2016 at 6:51 pm
      • editor

        Since this thread is not about Archbishop Lefebvre, and since I’ve just posted a thread about Archbishop Lefebvre, would Sean P and Athanasius continue this conversation on the new thread: Faith Is Greater Than Obedience.

        Thank you!

        February 15, 2016 at 7:06 pm
      • Sean P


        To repeat, it is you, not I, that is claiming to be able to interpret Holy Scripture, and Tradition, in a way inconsistent with The Pope, The College of Bishops, The CDF, and in fact the whole of The Roman Curia, The wider Magisterium, and an Ecumenical Council, and I stand with them, and so the onus is on you, not me, to show how you have a better understanding of that same Holy Scripture, and Tradition, is better than, and sounder than, those specifically entrusted to lead and guide The Church, and, in the case of The Pope, “affirm the faith of his brothers”.

        The fact that you can quote encyclicals etc, ad nauseam, when The Pope and College of Bishops, and an Ecumenical Council, and The wider Magisterium, and The Roman Curia, read them, and interpret them, in a different way proves nothing at all.

        I am not dissenting from the unbroken Tradition of The Church, as I follow Peter, and the Successors to The Apostles. It is you, not I, that claim the current holders of those Offices are wrong.

        To repeat, the onus on you to do other than quote documents The Church interprets in a different way.

        February 15, 2016 at 7:07 pm
      • Athanasius

        Sean P,

        Thank you, it is clear that you cannot answer. No point extending this exchange.

        February 15, 2016 at 7:30 pm
      • Sean P


        I am not sidestepping anything you are! The onus is on you to prove that you can better interpret Holy Scripture and Tradition better than The Pope, The College of Bishops, The wider Magisterium, The Roman Curia, and an Ecumenical Council.

        Further not only do the documents of The Church run counter to your opinion so does the practice of The Church.

        You cite encyclicals which The Church itself does not interpret in the same way as you do, and ignore the The Magisterium and the practice of The Church.

        February 15, 2016 at 7:36 pm
      • Spiritus

        No. You are wrong.

        February 15, 2016 at 8:42 pm
  • Andrew Paterson

    It may be unorthodox, or even crazy, but what if it works? Even one soul coming to God gives this value does it not? Let us please separate the flip language from the fact. Ashes are a devotion and reminder, not a sacrament. If members of the public are engaged on a serious level, can that be bad? Is it not our duty to promote Catholicism? Doing this in conjunction with the Anglicans is not good, however it takes some courage to go out there. Christ did most of His work in the streets, whereas we mostly pretend to ourselves that typing on keyboards has some value.
    We are losing the battle and every day more and more is lost. It is perfectly fine to say that we will be reduced to a small core of orthodox Catholics keeping the Faith, but we are called to do more than be complacent and quiescent about the evaporation of Catholics from the Western Church.

    February 15, 2016 at 10:43 am
    • editor


      This “even if it helps one soul” is the same cry that we hear from the Medjugorje fanatics, one of whom I met yesterday. When I told him that the jacket he was wearing sporting a large picture of the “phenomenon” lady, might draw a comment from our priest since we don’t promote unapproved apparitions, he replied that, in that case, if the priest didn’t approve of Medjugorje, he wouldn’t be back. Flabbergasted, I pointed out that surely the Mass was more important that Medjugorje, he shooed me away. Diabolical. For the record, the priest didn’t speak to him, as far as I know. So consider this as moi being a busy body as usual.

      Thus, the argument that if Medjugorje helps one soul, that is all that matters. Wrong. This man thinks Medjugorje is helping his soul, but it clear isn’t if he would give up Mass so readily. God’s grace is not restricted to Medjugorje or to a couple of ecumaniacs handing out ashes in the street. The fact is, huge injections of grace would follow if the Catholic hierarchy and clergy would simply do what they were ordained to do – teach and promote the Catholic religion.

      February 15, 2016 at 11:18 am
  • diamhuireduit

    The argument of “if it helps one soul” makes me think of the oft quoted GKC “if a thing is worth doing it’s worth doing badly.” However, unless mistaken in an instance where unorthodox methods are deliberately chosen the good derived is God’s intervention not the fruit of man’s efforts. To pursue wrong for the sake of good is to provoke or tempt God no?
    About this change of form in Baptism – In the name of Father Son and Holy Spirit : they changed THAT?!

    February 15, 2016 at 2:15 pm
  • Athanasius

    Editor & Diamhuireduit

    You are both absolutely correct. It is forbidden “to do evil that good may come of it”. I borrow the line from the Scriptural ban on such indifference to truth.

    February 15, 2016 at 2:20 pm
  • crofterlady

    Strange expression that. “to go” I mean. I often wonder what, for example, “coffee to go” means. To go where, I ask myself. And then there’s “bespoke sandwich to go”. What on earth does that mean, I wonder. And to where “go” the ashes? I know of one place where there are also some bright red coals……

    February 15, 2016 at 5:15 pm
    • editor


      It means that you are going to take the coffee or whatever it is away, not having it in the café. Daft, of course, but then that’s modern life… Everything has to be a sound bite. No longer do we say “I’d like a coffee to take out, thank you” but “coffee to go”! Mad.

      Like you, if I worked in a café and was asked for a coffee to go, I’d say “sure, where do you want me to send it?” and “There’ll be an extra charge for postage”! 😀

      February 15, 2016 at 7:25 pm
  • Therese

    Crofterlady and Editor

    Don’t be so hidebound – how about “bishop to go”? I like the sound of that and would pay good money for it!

    February 15, 2016 at 9:55 pm
    • editor


      I’ve been heard saying, often, that I’d just LOVE to tell the bishops precisely where to go!

      February 16, 2016 at 9:29 am
  • Vianney

    I actually saw a report about “Ashes to go” on the Mystery Worshipper web site where Episcopalian ministers in Phoenix, Arizona where offering ashes at a train station. My first thought was “only in America” and my second thought was that you could’t expect anything better from a Mickey Mouse Church. I forgot about the saying “if it happens in American today, it will happen in England tomorrow and in Scotland the day after.” Well it’s happened in England so next Ash Wednesday we’ll probably see it taking place on Princes Street or Sauchiehall Street. Nothing surprises me with the Piskies but I am surprised that a Catholic priest should do this.

    February 15, 2016 at 11:04 pm
    • editor


      It strikes me that this is yet one more examples of the diabolical disorientation gripping the Church today. These same priests and bishops won’t participate in a pro-life event outside an abortion clinic, wouldn’t think of going into the streets with or without some Legionaries of Mary to offer to explain the Faith to passers-by, assuming the Legion still engages in such apostolic work, but they’ll think up daft gimmicks like this – do they really think anyone is impressed? Is anyone fooled?

      February 16, 2016 at 9:32 am
  • gabriel syme

    The source link says the event ended with mass in the Catholic Church.

    Presumably that means a host of Anglicans attended and likely took Holy Communion as well.

    After all, which novus ordo priest would – after spending the day larking around with Anglicans – have the courage to stand up and remind them not to take communion (or indeed remind Catholics only to come forward if in the state of grace)?

    Given the Anglican church is circling the plug-hole, I am dismayed to hear of any Catholic priest hitching his wagon to that outfit.

    The Catholic Church has beautiful spiritual, intellectual and cultural treasures – these are what it is supposed to use to draw people to itself, not schemes which smack of desperation and equate the Church with Anglicanism.

    February 15, 2016 at 11:30 pm
    • editor

      Gabriel Syme,

      Your description of this gimmick as a “scheme which smacks of desperation” hits the nail on the head. Big time. Crackers.

      February 16, 2016 at 9:32 am
  • RCA Victor

    I keep thinking of Bella Dodd’s famous warning in the early 1950s: “In a few years you will not recognize the Catholic Church.” No, we can no more recognize the Church in this era of surrender, compromise, perfidy, secularization – and downright embarrassment – than I suspect we could have recognized Our Lord as He walked to Calvary, bloody, beaten and bruised beyond recognition.

    February 16, 2016 at 3:22 pm
    • editor

      RCA Victor

      “In a few years you will not recognize the Catholic Church.”

      That must rank as the understatement of the century!

      February 17, 2016 at 10:31 am

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