What IS this site, anyway?

With warm gratitude to Bellator Dei for the graphic.

Dear Friends, Known and Unknown,

Not so long ago, I took the decision here to occasionally write very personally about myself.

This is one of those exceptions where I want to speak very personally and frankly. And I mark it now as a “personal exception” in order that those interested in less personal fare can easily leave and return when things are “back to normal”.

One thing prompting me to write this letter is that this site has recently taken on a more obviously commercial orientation. Although I think this is in a way that is non-obtrusive and non-aggressive.

In fact it is so non-obtrusive, that I suspect few have noticed yet. To be clear: I am referring to the UK Amazon Store and the US Amazon Store now listed at the top left.

And with taking this move, I wanted to offer reasons for any of you who cared to listen.

For Kim and myself this site represents not a hobby or a sideline, but a central work we have felt called to in our prayer life.

I am well aware that outwardly this work may appear meagre to some. That it may appear little more than two glorified blogs – which countless people DO offer as a hobby and it may appear too self-congratulatory to suggest then, as a work to be supported.

But inwardly, self-congratulatory or not, I confess that to Kim and myself this site does appear as a work which is serious. And although much of this work is still almost invisible, we are seeking support for it.

To illustrate, I will give but one small example of what I mean. We recently took the decision to put on this site an Amazon Wish List of books we cannot afford (and we are grateful for the help we have already received through this!)

Now there is at present an item on that Wish List that I will cite simply as an example – as one example that can illustrate what I mean by an almost invisible work.

It is a book called The Easternization of the West and anyone who knows our site and clicks on the Amazon link may readily grasp what I want to illustrate by citing it here.

But for those who may not know what I mean, let me be clear. I spent twenty years in the New Age milieu – a milieu that I genuinely believe now is serving to rob people of Christianity and even destroy Christianity.

Certainly I was deprived of the Church for decades, because New Age ideology had served to completely obscure for me the true nature of the Church.

And I believe that countless people’s understanding of the Church is being obscured and malformed by New Age thinking. (As well as much of secular thinking, scientific materialist thinking and so on).

But it is not enough for Catholics to cite ignorant platitudes about why “the New Age is bad”. Or even sound theological reasons.

This tragic obscuration of Christianity – and worse – is serious and it must be pondered, prayed about, studied, understood as deeply as possible.

And even though I spent twenty years in the New Age scene, I feel that I still do not understand it sufficiently. I actually feel that I am called to penetrate what this movement is and how it is affecting our world much more profoundly than I think any of us readily realise.

Thus study of books like Easternization of the West and others comes into this. Now personally I lack huge enthusiasm for reading much of this material. I would rather be reading old encyclicals by say, Ven. Pius XII or St Pius X for example. These would be richer and more edifying for my soul.

But nonetheless I consider really understanding the New Age movement and its impact on the world as part of my vocation, my work. And part of the invisible work of our site. Although as my understanding grows, this will become more visible through what I write here.

Mentioning the book above is not a hidden plea, begging someone to please buy it for me! Again I chose it simply as one example to illustrate one kind of thing I am striving for – which involves getting far more to grips with what Eastern and New Age spiritualities are really doing to Christianity in the West. And how real people are being deprived of the Church …

Many Catholic sites of a traditional orientation are scarcely concerned with the New Age at all. And it may well be the exclusive and true vocation of such sites is to focus attention and generate understanding of issues such as the post-Vatican II demolition of Tradition.

This IS an important task to be sure and one to which Kim and I aspire to, as well. But the work of this site, we see as broader than that as well.

The work of this site. What is this work, anyway?

This for myself is a profound question. I keep coming back to it in my prayer again and again, of course.

But at one level, at any rate, this site exists to generate awareness and understanding around a number of issues.

It includes of course, the concerns central to Catholic Traditionalists who see that the so-called Spirit of Vatican II has caused so much LOSS. Of course, it includes that.

But it includes more as well. The Easternization of the West effected in large part through monistic New Age spirituality? Yes, indeed.

The threat to the faith and values through secularisation, media manipulation and capitalism run amok? Yes, of course.

The hope for restoring the Latin Mass and the spirituality of the Sacred and Immaculate Hearts? Yes, again.

All of these things in our prayer lives represent a call to action, which requires mature reflection. And there is more. For example this site should develop in time, a particular aspiration to serve the Tradition of Catholic Ireland. For now though, suffice it to say that we see the beginning of an apostolate concerned with all of the above and more.

It is with all these thoughts that we have begun taking steps that we hope can help support this work. This is also due to some personal circumstances, which only my known friends amongst you really know anything of, but which mean that at the moment, it is difficult indeed to carry out this work.

I will not elaborate much further. This work of which I speak will either be seen and appreciated or not. It will be visible to some of you and not to others.

But if friend, known or unknown, this work appears both visible and important to you, there are ways, which we would like to ask for your support at this time.

Some may be easier than you have realised. For instance if you use Amazon to buy just about anything, books, films, MP3s, computer toner, whatever – a click through our Amazon Affiliate Links on the left might take you but a few seconds, but will support this work at no extra cost to yourself.

But of course there are other ways as well. We ask for your prayers.

And if any of you can easily create links to this site, we would appreciate that as well. We do hope this site will become more visible and available to folk.

Finally for now, we would appreciate ANY feedback you might have. Either here at the site or privately to our mail-boxes.

Doing this site is something of a lonely business. One sends these entries out into the void of cyberspace, not knowing how they will be received. We see through internet technology that a silent group of you follow this site, but whether you do so in warm appreciation or horrid fascination remains a mystery.

What is this site, this work I asked above? At a deeper level, it is a mystery to ourselves, which we contemplate. The site was born of prayer and we try to sustain through prayer, really asking.

So this site is in the end a Mystery, even unto ourselves. But if some of you silent ones care to speak, perhaps you would help further elucidate for us what this site really is. Care to speak – which is to say we welcome feedback both publicly and privately, but do not want to be pushy with anyone who does not feel ready.

Dear known and unknown friends, I will close for now with my gratitude to you all for both your silent continued interest and for the expressed forms of support which have come our way.

You are each held in the Love of His Most Sacred Heart. May all of us realise the inestimable Blessing that is ours and help others to realise it too …

Roger

From Amazon USA:

Some of these can also be found in our Amazon UK store here.

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4 Comments

  1. Peter Kelly
    Posted 12 March 2010 at 21:32 | Permalink

    I am always interested and sometimes moved by the posts on your website, even if I don’t always agree with them. And you have attracted a number of fine thoughtful correspondents. I remember a profound christian spiritual teacher I knew, commenting on the number of people attending various lectures and workshops, that it did not matter how many people came. That if only one person found food for the soul in his work then it was enough. I feel that what you are doing is providing food for souls in need and your web site is a blessing for them.
    Peter

  2. edwin shendelman
    Posted 13 March 2010 at 20:33 | Permalink

    Remember what can conceal for some can reveal for others. What can reveal now may conceal later. One must pay attention to the needs of the particular soul involved plus timing.

    For some exposure to non-Christian religions is a stepping-stone pointing to Christ and the Christian faith (think St. Augustine and Justin Martyr on the subject of Pagan religions no less true in this time).

    Exposure to other faiths may reveal things about Christianity that were buried or forgotten.

    Or they can obscure. So there is Light here also, a mixture of light and shadow, not just shadow. Don’t throw out the wheat with the tares. I feel we must be discerning.

  3. Billy Bishop
    Posted 17 March 2010 at 03:27 | Permalink

    Roger – Warm appreciation and horrid fascination are not mutually exclusive, I’m afraid. 😉

    I (emphasis on the ego) think you are just plain wrong about capitalism. But you are trying to do something that is really Great. Rather than arguing with you, I want to support you.

    Allow me to be cryptic. You know that you are really close, right? It won’t be long now. And if I’m wrong, that’s my prayer for you anyway. It has to be tough but I hope and pray it will smooth out for you, sooner rather than later.

    I do enjoy the site. All my best to you and Kim.

    Billy

  4. Posted 18 March 2010 at 11:30 | Permalink

    Peter, Edwin, Billy, thank you so much for all of this. It helps. From each of you, I experience a supportiveness alongside disagreement. It is a beautiful thing I think when people can strongly, flat out disagree over serious issues and yet remain warm and kind. I also thank those of you who communicated privately and honestly with me.

    Billy your voice is new here. And I want to particularly acknowledge your warm, honest declaration of support and non-support. (The cryptic remarks are indeed cryptic, but interesting!)

    I realise this site is controversial in a number of respects. For many of my European friends, it will be the conservative Catholicism that is the bone of contention. Fewer of them I think will fully appreciate how controversial what I say of capitalism will be for many in America – from where I rather imagine (?) you write me, Billy. (Having divided my life between the U.S. and Europe, I imagine I am sometimes more poignantly aware than some, of the real gulf between American and European attitudes).

    And in a strange way, I am glad to have you pointing out the controversial nature of what I write in this regard. (To other readers, it is possibly my one saving grace! 🙂 )

    But yes I agree, unknown friend, no need to argue, just to express my gratitude for your forthrightness and warmth.

    I have more to say, particularly in response to your comments Edwin, but this response is going into my soon upcoming blog entry, which I also know will be controversial.

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