Anyway last Saturday week, the 5th of November 2016, in the Savoy Hotel in Limerick the Catholic Voice conference was held. Its organised by that newspaper in conjunction with the Institute of Christ the King Sovereign Priest, via their outpost in the former Jesuit Church in Limerick city centre (pictured). ICKSP by the way is a traditional Catholic group that celebrates the Latin mass etc, in full communion with Rome, and is growing at a remarkably fast rate. The conference agenda was: Catholic Marriage - the foundation of right society John Lacken John Lacken is an energetic speaker who hopes to invigorate the Church Militant to more deeply practice the traditional virtues etc. He started off with an interesting analogy. He was saying that recently he was on the way down Croke Patrick when an impenetrable mist descended, you could see nothing, not the mountain or the sea etc, only the man in front of you but by following his footsteps you could find your way home. That he thinks is the advice we should follow now i.e. that in the Church and in society a mist has descended but if we just concentrate on the footsteps left by our honest Catholic predecessors we can find our way home ok. He actually gave us the first verse of a poem he is working on on this subject and it wasn't bad at all, I hope he finishes it. Other than that he related how he was fired off a Catholic evangelizing course recently, because actually they weren't interested in the normal, traditional, doctrines of the Church at all and also he made a plea for fathers to read up on the proper Church documents on their role as teachers and guardians of the faith in their families. He listed quite a few such documents from Pius XII, St John Paul IInd etc etc which could leave many a poor father with homework stretching into years if he had to read all of that! Mission in Ireland and vocation stories Dominican Sisters of St. Cecilia Limerick is experiencing a kind of traditional Catholic resurgence in that the traditional group that co-hosted the conference are now refurbishing the old Jesuit Church and residence in the city - which is looking more beautiful each year incidentally - and now we have another traditional Catholic order moving into the Dominican residence, i.e. these Catholic nuns originally based in Nashville in the US. We heard from all of them I think which includes one young Irish nun from Co. Wexford. They are full of high spirits and unashamed of their Catholicity including wearing the veil etc. Hopefully they will be a great influence on Limerick and environs in the years to come! Mindfulness: A buddhist trojan horse Aidan Byrne Aidan Byrne, who is a member of the Rathoe prayer group in Carlow pictured above, was formerly into all the New Age practices like meditation etc but now is a strong voice against them. He seems to be influenced by the charismatic or evangelical type of delivery e.g. "'Amen brother!', I can't hear you? 'AMEN!'", but I am only teasing, he was a passionate and clear public speaker. He feels all these New Age type practices derive ultimately from Hindu and Buddhist teaching which unfortunately in some cases could have demonic influences. He gave a rather sad example of the current state of affairs in Ireland where he, and another person, put on a Catholic retreat in Cork to which some seven people turned up while at the same time in that city some New Age guru had hundreds attending his talk at €70 a head! Being a Catholic in today's world Cardinal Raymond Burke The honest truth is that I cannot remember what the Cardinal spoke about! Hey I don't get paid to do this people, I am entitled to drift off the same as the next guy!lol. Anyway he also spoke at the mass the next day, and at least I can remember a bit of that. It was the feastday of the Saints of Ireland and he was very honored to speak on that topic and advised people to stick with the Church, and its true doctrines, no matter what difficulties arise, as indeed so many of the Irish saints did over the centuries. It was some special mass that seems to revolve around the visiting dignitary and involves a fair amount of robing and re-robing, so you felt you were watching the dressing of Louis XIV for a bit! Ah no, it was of course very beautiful and we had a fantastic choir in that now quite magnificent church, and actually that part of Limerick city itself is very well preserved and beautiful. The Cardinal also presided over a Confirmation and Benediction the previous day and it was all done with the great reverence but also humility that we associate with that much loved Cardinal. The Pro-Life Movement must unite to defeat abortion completely John Smeaton He offered the opinion that the pro-life movement should embrace its Christian roots rather than shy away from it due to a false sense of unity with other perspectives. He feels that ultimately the pro-life morality derives from Christianity and needs to refresh from those roots. He was also at times quite critical of the current state of affairs in the Vatican, noting for example that the latter are not active opponents of UN goals that are usually interpreted to include a drive towards access to abortion. Popes and their limitations Rev Fr John Hunwicke Fr Hunwicke is a prolific blogger on the net and turns out to be an excellent public speaker, by far the best here I'd say. He is from England and was formerly an Anglican priest, mostly ministering in Oxford city, and is grateful to Pope Benedict for making it easy for those priests to become Catholic clergy. He started off by painting a word picture of the scene as Vatican I passed its famous resolution on Papal infallibility, which has been so controversial, in some quarters, ever since. He makes the point that this infallibility is dependent on the Pope preserving the doctrine of the Church, that actually Pius IX confirmed, via an approving letter he sent to the German bishops who had established the point, that he received no sort of special supernatural gifts to articulate new doctrine, the new Vat I rules only allowed him the leeway to insist on the correct, traditional, doctrine. So in Fr Hunwicke's eyes the Vatican is a kind of watchdog preserving the proper doctrine and morality, and has no function in starting new ones, or at least the Holy Spirit can not be guaranteed to be present if it tries to go down that course. Never give up! The resurgence of the Church Militant Anthony Murphy Anthony Murphy of course is the owner of the Catholic Voice newspaper who ran the conference, as such he ended up introducing himself as one of the speakers! Anyway as a lot of people now know he has run into great trouble in his local parish, Athy Co. Kildare, because he objected to two recently married - to each other - ladies who dominate the choir and Eucharist Minister functions in his local church. This culminated in the pair giving a victory salute at the base of the altar, to great applause from assembled LGBT activists, during a mass concelebrated by 5 priests. He also had a few other anecdotes from other parts of Ireland including one story of a priest attached to a Scottish order helping to educate the First Communion class in the West of Ireland. Before the priest began his talk the teacher made it clear that he could not talk about sin or confession and when he proceeded to do so anyway she promptly took the class out of the church! She then complained to the diocesan office so that within a week the priest was back on his way to Scotland. In any case the subject of his talk was that he is collecting email addresses etc of people who might be interested in getting involved in some lay Catholic pressure group, but the details of that he didn't go into at all. So that was it, a great conference well attended and enjoyed by all I think. Personally I found it interesting talking to some of the attendees as well. One very credible person from Donegal was telling me that he believed strongly in the authenticity of Joe Coleman's visions, who he has known well for decades. For those unaware Joe, from Ballyfermot in Dublin, was interviewed on the Late Late Show on Irish television talking about seeing Our Lady at Knock in 2009, and at other places and times. Also I bumped into another very believable guy from the Legion of Mary who knew a lot about and defended the House of Prayer on Achill, so it just goes to show you cannot dismiss some of these stories out of hand, especially on the back of one sided media reports. Overall a great weekend!