‘Catholic News’ is a podcast carrying interviews with a diverse range of people – lay people, religious and clergy – involved on the front line of the Catholic Church’s work in England and Wales.
15th June 2022
In December 1916, deep in the Sahara, an unknown French hermit was shot through the head and dumped in a ditch. He was 58.
An accomplished geographer, linguist and explorer, in youth he had been a disillusioned soldier and aristocratic playboy.
Why at 30 did he abandon family, career, everything, to search for ‘the last place’, close to the poor and suffering?
This audiobook describes his epic pilgrimage from misery to love and of silent witness to Christ among the Tuareg of the Sahara, including his writings and prayers, and the work being done today by Little Brothers and Sisters of Jesus.
This now out-of-print title offered by the Catholic Truth Society (CTS) was written by the late J. Fawley in 1999 and published a year later. But, fear not, this excellent book has not been lost. You can listen to this audiobook version for free. Read by Monica Nash.
Duration: 1 hour 21 minutes
13th May 2022
Bishop Thomas Neylon, Lead Bishop for Asia for the Bishops’ Conference, has recorded a short reflection on Blessed Lazarus, also called Devasahayam, an 18th-century Indian martyr. He was a married Hindu man who converted to Catholicism and suffered much persecution for his faith.
A Catholic for only seven years, he was shot dead in the Aralvaimozhy forest on January 14, 1752.
Statue of Devasahayam Pillai, St. Francis Xavier Cathedral, Kottar, Nagercoil
Kumbalam on Wikimedia Commons
CC BY-SA 3.0
12th May 2022
As an important part of our resources for the Day of Prayer for the Survivors of Abuse, we have produced an audio reflection on Psalm 121. We listen to an introduction before hearing a reading of the Psalm. Then a survivor offers her personal reflection on the psalm before we offer prayers for survivors of abuse, their families, friends and communities.
Psalm 121, I lift up my eyes to the mountains, is given the title of ‘A song of Ascent to Jerusalem’. The psalmist looks at the journey ahead of him, through mountains and hills, and seeks God to help him.
Survivors of Abuse are, unwillingly, thrust into to this journey, that for every moment of life after abuse, will always be mountainous at times, sometimes steady and more settled and also near on impossible at others.
The survivor journey can often feel lonely and isolated, and whilst always trying to move forwards, that sense of loneliness, of feeling fragmented, facing that steeply impossible mountain is often accompanied by a silent cry of ‘Who will help me?’
This question is often left unanswered, as the very nature of abuse can make it impossible to trust anyone to have your best interests at heart, to want to help you with your heavy load. Life lived in a paradox of needing help, but not being able to trust enough to accept it. This paradox means that the psychological impact continues to be perpetuated long after abuse ends.
12th May 2022
Bishop Paul Swarbrick, Bishop of Lancaster, introduces us to Charles de Foucauld, a former soldier and Trappist who will be canonised by Pope Francis on Sunday 15 May 2022.
Photo © Jean-Louis Zimmermann (CC BY 2.0)
11th May 2022
Titus Brandsma was a Carmelite friar who was killed in the Dachau concentration camp on 26 July 1942.
The Nazi invasion of Holland took place on 10 May 1940. Their persecution of the Jews is well known. Titus defended the Jewish people – especially Jewish children who attended Catholic schools. He said: “the Church in carrying out her mission makes no distinction between sex, race or people.”
In late 1941, Dutch Catholic media outlets were ordered to carry Nazi Party advertisements. The Catholic hierarchy asked Titus to intervene, which he did with great courage, writing to all editors of Catholic publications and pleading with them to defy the order. He was betrayed to the Nazi authorities.
He was arrested on 19 January 1942 and spent seven weeks at the prison in Scheveningen, before being transferred with a hundred other prisoners to Amersfoot concentration camp.
He spent nearly two months there, before being sent back to Scheveningen for further questioning. The head of the secret police called Titus “that dangerous little friar”. When it became clear that Titus would not go against his conscience and give in to the demands of the Nazi party, he was sent to Dachau.
He was taken to the camp ‘hospital’, in reality an experimental laboratory, where he suffered more degrading treatment. Finally, on 26 July 1942, an SS nurse administered the injection that would kill him.
Titus Brandsma was beatified by Pope Saint John Paul II on 3 November 1985 and was canonised by Pope Francis on Sunday 15 May 2022.
This audiobook, produced in collaboration with the Catholic Truth Society (CTS), was written by Hugh Clarke and is read by Pierpaolo Finaldi.
It is taken from a collection of texts, published by CTS in ebook form, titled: Edith Stein, Marcel Callo, Titus Brandsma: Victims of the Nazis.
10th May 2022
Cardinal Vincent Nichols spoke to journalists, remotely, about the Bishops’ first plenary meeting in Wales for 18 years.
The Cardinal, President of the Bishops’ Conference, looked back on the five-day meeting and talked about their discussions.
The meeting took place in Cardiff from 2 – 6 May 2022. Cardinal Nichols gave a briefing on the deliberations of the bishops, including Ukraine and refugees, the synodal process and challenges following the pandemic.
27th February 2022
The Most Reverend John Wilson spoke passionately to the Ukrainian Greek Catholic community in the UK about the disastrous consequences that war has brought to Ukraine.
The Archbishop of Southwark was invited to preach at the Divine Liturgy at the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Cathedral of the Holy Family in central London on Sunday 27 February.
He spoke to us afterwards:
“The gospel today in the Ukrainian liturgy is the gospel of the Last Judgment. Whatever you do to the least of my brothers and sisters, you do it to me, said the Lord Jesus. We must hear these words. They must cut into our hearts.
“They’re not just words for Christians, they’re words for any decent person, that what we’re doing to others, we’re doing to Christ. We are misusing the gifts that we have to build up for peace by destroying through war. And so this must cease.
“This is the message of Christ, this is the message of every right thinking person – every right thinking nation. We must say no to war, we must say yes to peace and we must pray. We can feel powerless when we look on. We can give material support. We need to do that individually and as nations and governments, but as believers, as disciples of Christ. We must pray.”
25th February 2022
In a pastoral letter to the Catholic faithful of his diocese, Plymouth, Bishop Mark O’Toole has urged the community to pick up the spiritual weapons of prayer, fasting and almsgiving this Lent for the people of Ukraine.
This follows Pope Francis’ call to observe Ash Wednesday, 2 March, as a Day of Prayer and Fasting for Peace.
“We all feel somewhat impotent,” said the Chair of the Department of Evangelisation and Discipleship at the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of England and Wales in a Pastoral Message being sent to parishes in the Diocese of Plymouth today. The disciplines of Prayer, Fasting and Almsgiving “have a particular focus for us,” he said, “as we link these spiritual weapons to the reality of what we are living through in Europe at this time.“
7th February 2022
Speaking at a Mass in Brixton, South London, a week before Racial Justice Sunday, Archbishop John Wilson has talked about how important it is we use the occasion to affirm the dignity and place of every person in the life of the Church.
Stating explicitly that there is no place in the Church for racism and racial injustice, the Archbishop of Southwark said:
“One of the challenges for us is to think not just about the ‘heart’ in this question of appreciating people of different cultures and nationalities, but also to think about the ‘mind’. In a sense, we could say, ‘yeah, we’ve got to love everyone.’ I mean, that’s true. It comes from the Gospel. It’s the commandment of the Lord Jesus. But we also need not just to broaden our hearts, to love, but we need to broaden our minds to understand and to recognise that in the cultures of others, in the languages and traditions of others, there is something enormously enriching for the whole of the world.
“What none of us should do, I think, is live with a very narrow focus, that the world is about ‘me’ and where I live, my town, my country – it’s not – the world is about all of us. We should actually broaden our minds through education, to learn about different traditions.”
Racial Justice Sunday is celebrated in parishes throughout England and Wales on Sunday 13 February 2022.
25th January 2022
Pope Francis has called for a day of prayer for peace in Ukraine as the threat of Russian troops invading the Eastern European country continues to rise.
Catholics around the world will join in prayer on Wednesday, 26 January.
The Right Reverend Kenneth Nowakowski is the Eparchial Bishop of the Ukrainian Catholic Eparchy of the Holy Family of London.
We spoke to Bishop Nowakowski about the alarming situation in Ukraine, the various prayer initiatives and live streams, the history, how we can respond in England and Wales and the long-term pathway to peace.
“We can pray along with the Ukrainian people and people of goodwill throughout the world for peace because it will not only be Ukrainians or Ukrainian citizens who will suffer in this, it’ll also be Russian citizens whose fathers, brothers, husbands will be involved in the fighting and will also be suffering…
“Any form of peace starts at home, in your own heart, in the community that you live in. If we live in a country of peace, if we live in a community of peace, if we live in our homes in peaceful ways, this will affect the way the world also lives. So I think the first thing is to make sure that we are a peaceful people, a peace-loving people, a people that know how to cooperate with each other, that respect each other – that is an example for the world.”
22nd December 2021
Providing a hot meal and friendly conversation is an act that sits well with those of a Franciscan persuasion. The Franciscan Friars of the Renewal are known for embedding themselves alongside the poor, the homeless and the destitute.
Saint Fidelis Friary, in Canning Town, London, was established in 2000. As part of their work of ‘making all things new in Christ’, the friars provide material and spiritual care to those in need at Friar Benet’s Kitchen.
Listen to Father Christopher McBride CFR and, ‘Clare’, one of the soup kitchen’s volunteers, talk about this vital ministry of service and support.
29th October 2021
Pope Francis has given BBC Radio 4 his ‘Thought for the Day’ reflection focussing on the environment and climate change ahead of the COP26 UN climate summit.
Used with kind permission of BBC Radio 4.