Ann Widdecombe, the former Conservative Cabinet Minister and MEP for the Brexit Party, speaks to fellow Catholic convert Dr Gavin Ashenden, in this 14th episode of the Merely Catholic podcast series for the Catholic Herald about the future of the Church of England to which they both once belonged.
Miss Widdecombe says Anglicanism is terminally afflicted by a tendency to imitate the mores of secular society, irrespective of how insufferably and hysterically “woke” such positions might be, leaving the Catholic Church – once considered the home of “Irish navvies and Italian waiters” – as the greatest hope for the survival of Christianity in the UK.
The actor and political activist Laurence Fox joins Dr Gavin Ashenden to discuss the sinister ideologies behind the seemingly relentless quest to destroy faith, family, freedom, marriage and the innocence of children in society today.In this 13th episode of Merely Catholic, the podcast series for The Catholic Herald, Fox sets out the reasons why he felt it was necessary for Reclaim, the political party he founded, to expose the shockingly lurid content of sex education programmes aimed even at children in a new film called Groomed: How Schools Sexualise Your Children. They identify a neo-Marxist ideological agenda which has among its objectives that of separating children from their parents and forcing them reject their Christian values.
In the 12th episode of the Merely Catholic podcast series for The Catholic Herald, Dr Gavin Ashenden talks to the highly distinguished European political scientist Professor John Loughlin, a Fellow at Blackfriars, Oxford, an Emeritus Fellow and former Tutor at St Edmund’s College, former Director of the Von Hügel Institute, and a Senior Fellow and Affiliated Lecturer in the Department of Politics and International Studies, both at the University of Cambridge.
Professor Loughlin offers an illuminating vision of hope for humanity through the flourishing of Catholic education and of Catholic universities in particular – a powerful antidote to prevailing false anthropologies and to the misguided contemporary utopian beliefs that mankind can somehow be redeemed by information alone.
Dr Gavin Ashenden is joined from Chicago by Melissa Villalobos, the recipient of the miracle that led to the canonisation of Cardinal St John Henry Newman in 2019, for the 11th episode of the Merely Catholic podcast series for the Catholic Herald.They discuss the possible ramifications of the decision by the U.S. Supreme Court to overturn Roe v Wade, the 1973 ruling that made abortion up to birth a constitutional right, as well as the hysterical and sometimes violent response of some of those people who are opposed to the new judgement.
They also speak of the signs of hope for America in the midst of what Melissa say is essentially a great ‘spiritual battle’ between good and evil.
Father Dwight Longenecker returns to Merely Catholic for the tenth episode of the podcast series for the Catholic Herald, this time talking to Dr Gavin Ashenden about the English Catholic inheritance and what it means to both Britain and the world in the early 21st century.
In this fascinating conversation, Father Longenecker, fresh from a pilgrimage tour of England, offers the perspective of both an American and a former Anglican on the role and significance of the English martyrs and upon a distinguished Catholic literary tradition which includes such figures as Robert Hugh Benson, Evelyn Waugh, GK Chesterton, Grahame Greene, JRR Tolkien and Elizabeth Jennings. English Catholics, he says, should do more to treasure and conserve the riches that have been left to them.
Dr Gavin Ashenden talks to the multi-talented Edmund Adamus about his work with A Fertile Heart, an easy-to-follow Relationships and Sex Education programme which is faithful to the teachings of the Catholic faith, and about his forthcoming role with the Sovereign Order of Malta.
In this ninth episode of Merely Catholic, the podcast series for the Catholic Herald, their wide-ranging discussion includes reflections on the Theology of the Body of Pope St John Paul II; how best to serve the poor and the needy in the early 21st century and the importance of underpinning the new evangelisation with a steady stream of prayer.
Dr Jules Gomes, the Rome correspondent of Church Militant, joins Dr Gavin Ashenden for this eighth episode of our Merely Catholic podcast series for the Catholic Herald. They reflect on the new appointments to the College of Cardinals which mean that almost two thirds of its members have now been appointed by Pope Francis.
Dr Gomes identifies the workings of a politically-radical reformist agenda in the appointments and says that the new generation of “clone” cardinals will seek the consolidation and advance of the changes of the Bergoglian era at any forthcoming conclave to elect Francis’s successor. That would be the time, he says, to “watch out for rainbow-coloured smoke”.
In the seventh podcast of the Merely Catholic series, Dr Gavin Ashenden talks to Ralph Martin about the ‘all-out civil war’ that has broken out in the Catholic Church largely between those who wish to accommodate contemporary mores and those who believe the Church must hold fast to the teaching of two millennia.
Dr Martin, an esteemed U.S. theologian and author of the 2020 book The Church in Crisis: Pathways Forward, predicts that the time is drawing near when bishops will increasingly conclude that they can no longer stay silent and will begin to take sides in a struggle which goes right to the heart of the Church’s mission and purpose.
The leak of a draft opinion that Roe vs Wade may be soon overturned by the U.S. Supreme Court has inflamed political tensions throughout America and led to attacks on Catholic churches and the disruption of Masses.
The judgement is not only controversial because it created the federal legal framework for the 62 million abortions in the United States performed since 1973 but also because of its apparent lack of legal coherence.
In this sixth episode of Merely Catholic, Dr Gavin Ashenden speaks to Richard Doerflinger, former associate director of the U.S. Bishops’ Secretariat for Pro-life Activities, about why Roe vs Wade has to go.
In the fifth of our Merely Catholic podcast series, Dr Gavin Ashenden is joined from Jerusalem by Father Dwight Longenecker, the acclaimed U.S. author, speaker and social media “influencer”.
They discuss Easter in the Holy Land as well as mounting tensions between Christians in the West and the increasingly secularised societies in which they find themselves.
The worldliness of a Church in which the sex appears to many Christians to be more important than the supernatural is brought into focus, along with the dynamic responses to contemporary challenges initiated by others who seem more determined to deliver the authentic fruits of the New Evangelisation.
Dr Gavin Ashenden speaks to Father David Palmer, chaplain to Nottingham University, about shocking sexual blasphemy in a children’s book which has divided staff at a Catholic school in south London.
Father Palmer, who was last year “cancelled” after he expressed forthright Catholic views over social media, discusses the decision by the Archdiocese of Southwark to stop author Simon James Green visiting The John Fisher School in Purley. With Dr Ashenden, he explores some of the ideological, sociological and theological issues at the heart of this clash between Christianity and an overtly hostile secular culture.
For the third podcast in our Merely Catholic series, Dr Gavin Ashenden is joined from Chicago by Melissa Villalobos, the mother whose inexplicable healing from a potentially fatal haemorrhage provided Pope Francis with the miracle required to recognise Cardinal John Henry Newman as a saint.
Melissa, the Catholic Herald 2019 “Catholic of the Year”, recalls her healing and reflects on the deep spiritual bond of friendship she forged with the first English saint since the Reformation era, and also speaks about the importance of his teachings to our secular times, particularly in the formation of consciences.
“What weight do we give to the teaching of Jesus Christ and the Apostles?” In the second episode of our Merely Catholic podcast series Dr Gavin Ashenden talks to Cardinal George Pell about dangers inherent in conforming to contemporary fads and ideologies.
Bishops presiding over the German Synodal Path would be embarking on an “absolutely disastrous” experiment if they succumbed to the temptation to water down the faith and accept secular mores in its place, says the distinguished Australian cardinal.
Such bishops are “facing in the wrong direction”, Cardinal Pell asserts, and he predicts the intervention of the Pope.
“When they came to Jesus, they saw he was already dead, and so instead of breaking his legs one of the soldiers pierced his side with a lance; and immediately there came out blood and water.”
With these words, St John, a witness to the crucifixion, describes the effusion from the side of Jesus Christ on the first Good Friday.
In this inaugural episode of Merely Catholic our presenter Dr Gavin Ashenden speaks to the Reverend Professor Patrick Pullicino, a former consultant neurologist and now a Catholic priest, about a fascinating theory which might explain medically what happened that day.
Produced and edited by Nick Hilton for Podot.
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