30 May 2008


(A bit of Imagism to help us on our way tonight.)


The chimneys, rank on rank,
Cut the clear sky;
The moon,
With a rag of gauze about her loins
Poses among them, an awkward Venus -

And here am I looking wantonly at her
Over the kitchen sink.

Richard Aldington

28 May 2008

Belief In The Real Presence

Jeffrey found this video and put it on the wrong blog!

The Blessed Sacrament enters Todedo Cathedral on the feast of Corpus Christi.

Is this a people which believes in the real presence? Yes - and how!

What Does The Red Light On The Freezer Mean?

It means we'll be on a full fry tomorrow morning, and steak (steaks!) tomorrow evening. Luckily, it's bin day tomorrow, because the bin is now full to overflowing.

So I spoke to the home insurance claims line. The freezer (a Class A) is five years old, so we've no claim that it should be working as new, and we could claim for the contents, but we'd have to pay £100 excess, and then lose 5 years no-claims bonus on the whole of the contents insurance. In other words, we'll be out of pocket if we claim.

Basically, the motor carried on working, but the pump didn't. By the time we discovered it, the soft stuff was defrosted, and the meat was on the turn.

So, ring the council to come and collect the freezer (£35) and then off to buy a new one.

Ho hum.

24 May 2008

The Westminster Stakes: A Late Entry

Movement, and yet another Dominican enters the fray. Bishop McMahon enters at 8-1, and with the exception of Fr Radcliffe (in whose candidacy I steadfastly refuse to believe), everybody's odds, including Archbishop Nichols', begin to lengthen. Bishop Malcolm: the golfing Dominican; and even if he is a tad too keen on winning, he is the sort of religious Bishop whom the secular clergy warm to, as he feels like one of them. Not the manifesto I would have chosen, but a few punters have obviously gone for it already. (To be honest, it feels like floating a speculative tenner in the direction of David Milliband in a different context, and I wouldn't do that.)

How many Dominicans are there in England and Wales? How come three of them are on our list?

Rt Rev Vincent Nichols 2-1 (7-4) (2-1) (7-2)
Fr Timothy Radcliffe 6-1 (10-1) (6-1)
Dom Hugh Gilbert 8-1 (6-1) (4-1)
Rt Rev Malcolm McMahon 8-1
Rt Rev Kevin McDonald 8-1 (6-1) (5-1) (7-2)
Bishop William Kenney 9-1 (8-1) (15-2) (6-1)
Rt Rev Alan Hopes 10-1 (8-1) (6-1) (11-2)
Rt Rev Arthur Roche 10-1 (12-1) (10-1) (12-1)
Fr T Finegan 10-1
Cardinal Pell 12-1 (10-1)
Rt Rev Peter Smith 12-1
Fr Aidan Nichols 14-1 (12-1) (11-1) (5-1) (6-1)
Archbishop Michael Louis Fitzgerald 16-1 (14-1) (12-1) (10-1) (12-1)
Rt Rev Patrick Kelly 16-1 (14-1) (12-1) (10-1) (12-1)
Rt Rev Bernard Longley 20-1 (16-1) (14-1) (12-1)
Bishop Patrick O’Donoghue 20-1 (16-1)
Bishop George Stack 20-1 (16-1)
Fr Christopher Jamison 20-1
Rt Rev Michael Evans 22-1 (20-1) (16-1)
Bishop John Rawsthorne 25-1 (20-1)
Bishop John Patrick Crowley Non-runner (33-1)

The Catholic Herald's Report On Exorcism

This week's paper has a phenomenally uncompromising article reporting on the publication by the Catholic Truth Society of a new book about exorcism and possession by the Westminster diocesan exorcist. When was the last time such a concentrated list of Catholic teachings was given or could be inferred?

"Among the causes of homosexuality is a contagious demonic factor. Even heterosexual promiscuity is a perversion; and intercourse, which belongs in the sanctuary of married love, can become a pathway not only for disease but also for evil spirits."

"He said that the 'spirits inspiring atheism' were those who 'hate God'."

"He denounced the founders of Islam, the Mormons and the Moonies as 'false and heretical prophets' who led their followers into a 'demonic bond of conscience'."

"Beware of any claim to mediate beneficial energies (eg reiki), any courses that promise the peace that Christ promises (eg enneagrams), any alternative therapy with its roots in eastern religions (eg acupuncture)."

"What is called the New Age Movement is paganism reduced to absurdity but unfortunately it has not lost its poison in the process."

This is a book which is certainly on the "to buy" list, but it comes with a dilemma. Should I buy this from the CTS direct (so that they make all of the money), or from Amazon, so that even if CVTS don't make as much, the chances are that it starts appearing on "readers who bought this also bought" lists?

Either way, here is a Catholic priest who has managed to get into the (Catholic, at least) mainstream a book which states eternal truths uncompromisingly. He probably deserves a prayer or two, in thanks.

22 May 2008

Champions, Again!

I might try sleeping tonight.

19 May 2008

The Britishness Debate

Courtesy of Dizzy.

Being British is about driving a German car to an Irish pub for a Belgian beer, then when travelling home, grabbing an Indian curry or a Turkish kebab. Then when you get home sitting in a Swedish chair to watch American T.V shows on a Japanese television.Only in Britain can a pizza get to your house quicker than an ambulance.

Only in Britain do Supermarkets make sick people walk all the way to the back of the store to get their prescriptions, whilst healthy people can buy cigarettes at the front of the store. Only in Britain do banks leave both doors open and chain the pens to the counters.

Only in Britain do we leave cars worth thousands of pounds on the drive and lock our junk and a cheap lawn mower in the garage.

Only in Britain do we have disabled parking spaces in the car park of a Skating Rink.

17 May 2008

The Westminster Stakes: Endgame?

There are a lot of people out there who believe that Archbishop Nichols has this one in the bag and are putting their money on him. Abbot Hugh Gilbert's meteor is waning; Fr Radcliffe's star inexplicably continues to burn; and the rest are either clinging on to their odds or are waning seriously.

Remember: this has NOTHING at all to do with whom the Pope will select, but everything to do with how the people who bet on this sort of thing (mainly Catholic insiders from the UK and Ireland) read the tea leaves. Are they forgetting that coffee grounds are used in Rome? Are they banking on a strong consistent message from the Episcopal Conference of England and Wales, allied to curial agreement, breaking down any resistance from a Holy Father? Is this a sign that the money is being piled on in anticipation of a decision to be announced imminently? It's good fun, this is.

Rt Rev Vincent Nichols 7-4 (2-1) (7-2)
Dom Hugh Gilbert 6-1 (4-1)
Fr Timothy Radcliffe 6-1 (10-1) (6-1)
Rt Rev Kevin McDonald 8-1 (6-1) (5-1) (7-2)
Rt Rev Alan Hopes 8-1 (6-1) (11-2)
Bishop William Kenney 8-1 (15-2) (6-1)
Rt Rev Arthur Roche 10-1 (12-1) (10-1) (12-1)
Fr T Finegan 10-1
Cardinal Pell 12-1 (10-1)
Fr Aidan Nichols 12-1 (11-1) (5-1) (6-1)
Rt Rev Peter Smith 12-1
Archbishop Michael Louis Fitzgerald 116-1 (14-1) (12-1) (10-1) (12-1)
Rt Rev Patrick Kelly 16-1 (14-1) (12-1) (10-1) (12-1)
Rt Rev Bernard Longley 16-1 (14-1) (12-1)
Rt Rev Michael Evans 20-1 (16-1)
Bishop Patrick O’Donoghue 20-1 (16-1)
Bishop George Stack 20-1 (16-1)
Fr Christopher Jamison 20-1
Bishop John Rawsthorne 25-1 (20-1)
Bishop John Patrick Crowley Non-runner (33-1)

Sixty Five Years On: The Dambusters


Vulgar, vulgar, vulgar!


"Vulga, vulgar, vulgar!" was the comment of a courtier on the Duchess of York (Sarah Ferguson that is, not Elizabeth Bowes-Lyon).

If she is three times vulgar, how on earth are we ever going to find language to cope with Cherie Blair?

15 May 2008

There's A Hole In My Budget


May Is Mary's Month


Fifty good reasons to say the Rosary and some young people's music.

My sort of YouTube video, and my hat tipped to Cathcon.

14 May 2008

Warning! Mexican Alert!

If anybody else receives an e-mail from "Espiritu Santo" from a Mexican yahoo address, just delete it, unss you want to read 70 pages of "The Holy Spirit's Revelation for these times". I think the author - Rafael - is possibly a bit on the bewildered side, and might be worth a prayer.

13 May 2008

Cherie Blair

What are the chances that her Confessor will rebuke her, not just for her use of contraceptives, but for her making a public statement that she only abstained from using them at Balmoral because servants would place them around the bathroom?

Now, leaving aside the fact that servants who behaved like that would be sacked by any family that employed servants; leaving aside Cherie's comments about "contraceptive equipment"; are we allowed to ask what "being Catholic" means to Mrs B, and are we allowed to ask if her husband believes in her religion or in the Church's?

Jimmy Mizen RIP

At the weekend, my children were discussing my impending couple of days in London and, while worried about the number of people being murdered in London, concluded that I was safe because only teenagers get murdered. So much for any attempts I may have made to have them think for themselves and not believe everything they see on TV or in the paper.

One thing that they have understood is that Jimmy Mizen's parents operate on a different plane to most adults they know, their own parents included. I can't imagine being able humanly to face such evil with such good: what a tremendous witness to Catholicsm; what a tremendous lesson for us all.

11 May 2008



Bring on Moscow!

08 May 2008

Facebook: Very Bad language Alert!

Various of you wont like this so don't click on the YouTube link if bad language puts you off.

If you think that Facebook is wonderful, have a look at this allegory.

If one person thinks twice before adding personal information to their facebook page, this will not have been in vain.

06 May 2008

Just This Once - Politics!

A new tax code, inspired by the abolition of the 10% rate means that I (plutocrat high rate tax payer than I am) have seen my take home pay rise by just under 1%, which is somewhat lower than the rate of inflation. My wife, whose wage is a lot lower than mine was able to celebrate a 1% cut; this is a lot lower than the rate of inflation. Believe it or not, this is not my point.

We received our pay advice last Monday, three days before pay day, four days before the date of the local elections. Who on earth would vote for anybody whose idea of slipping bad news through was to do so just before an election? How can a party which receives such ridiculously bad advice consider itself fit for government?

And, yes! I am feeling ratty, having been told that next Tuesday's meeting in London has to start at 0800, which means I have to stay over on Monday.

05 May 2008

The Battle Of The Atlantic And More Musings

Here's a different take on what has become part of our national story, a different take which ought to be accreted to ours. Too much time studying the Battle of the Atlantic in 1941-42, during the last few weeks, led me by happy mistake to this, from Das Boot.

A German friend told me that during the World Cup in 2006 one of the pieces of cultural information that had to be passed to the German police who were protecting the stadiums in which the English team was to play was what, when they tried to verify the identity of ticket holders, the cry of "Don't tell them your name, Pike!" meant. The nice thing was that after it had been explained, everyone laughed and understood.

Imagine another evening and a mixed bunch of British and German civilians and military, all in a theatre of conflict far from home, though this time on the same side, a couple of slabs of German lager, and a British set of videos of "Blackadder Goes Forth". They were all watched, from start to finish; more than 10 years on, those who watched are still the truest of friends.

04 May 2008

The Heresy Of Formlessness

I glanced through a copy of Martin Mosebach's "Heresy of Formlessness" before I had really started to think about what "traditionalism", for want of a better word, was really about. I thought that the book was an apologia for the SSPX and didn't really take all that much notice of it.
Moretben, and Daniel Mitsui, kept mentioning it, but I took it to be a something that appealed to "extreme trads": it is always amazing how well I can rationalise my ignorance.
Then Fr Ray quoted Mosebach:
"Perhaps the greatest damage done by Pope Paul VI's reform of the Mass (and by the ongoing process that has outstripped it), the greatest spiritual deficit, is this: we are now positively obliged to talk about the liturgy. Even those who want to preserve the liturgy or pray in the spirit of the liturgy, and even those who make great sacrifices to remain faithful to it - all have lost something priceless, namely, the innocence that accepts it as something God-given, something that comes down to man as gift from heaven.
Those of us who are defenders of the great and sacred liturgy, the classical Roman liturgy, have all become - whether in a small way or in a big way - liturgical experts. In order to counter the arguments of the reform, which was padded with technical, archæological, and historical scholarship, we had to delve into questions of worship and liturgy - something that is utterly foreign to the religious man. We have let ourselves be led into a kind of scholastic and juridical way of considering the liturgy. What is absolutely indispensable for genuine liturgy? When are the celebrant's whims tolerable, and when do they become unacceptable? We have got used to accepting liturgy on the basis of the minimum requirements, whereas the criteria ought to be maximal. And finally, we have started to evaluate liturgy - a monstrous act! We sit in the pews and ask ourselves, was that Holy Mass, or wasn't it? I go to church to see God and come away like a theatre critic. "
and I decided to reread the book. In a way, I wish I hadn't, because I have no answers to any of the points Mosebach makes so eloquently, and I am left wondering if I ever will.
"Now it was quiet. Everyone was kneeling, and Professor Gessner was whispering, turning pages in the Missal, and Hermann in his soutane was kneeling beside him, the bell in one hand while, with the other, he held the chasuble up a little. Professor Gessner bent forward and whispered a little more distinctly, then genuflected; the little bell was rung, and he lifted a little, white, round wafer high in the air while the bell rang three times, and Ludwig forgot that Hermann had taken the wafer from the wooden box and put it on the little golden plate on top of the chalice. This white disc in a cloud of incense - he did not see it as something material at all, or rather, he saw it, for one moment, as something very fine and delicate, like solidified light. Then the hands came down and Professor Gessner started reading in a whisper again."
Will we ever see the day when this is so much the norm that it will be unremarkable?
"It belongs to the Catholic faith to endeavour to express the truth in irreducible paradoxes; and it is one of these paradoxes that, while Catholicism is not a book religion, it cannot find a better and more meaningful way of expressing this fact than in a book - the Missal. Holy Scripture is present in this Missal - in the selection of pericopes, translated into Latin, and in virtue of the context in which they are set (for instance, the way in which Old and New Testaments reciprocally explain one another); but tradition is also present, it too understood as revelation; and finally there is the revelation of the sacraments - Christ's healing and blessing presence, mediated through the Church."
Which edition of the Missal could that possibly be?

03 May 2008

Holydays: I'm Thoroughly Confused

Tres jueves hay en al año
Que relucen más que el sol:
Jueves Santo, Corpus Christi
Y el día de la Ascensión.

(There are three Thursdays in the year which shine brighter than the sun: Holy Thursday, Corpus Christi and Ascension Thursday.)

Let's see if I've got this right. The feast of the Ascension was last Thursday. The obligation to attend Mass for the Ascension is observed on Sunday. So the celebration of Thursday's feast of the Ascension is on Sunday. You can't celebrate Thursday's feast on Thursday; you can only celebrate Thursday's feast on Sunday. There is no Seventh Sunday, so we will not hear the reading from the Acts which tells us "what happened next" after the Ascension.

It sounds like one of those tea towels with an explanation of the Laws of Cricket.

01 May 2008

The Moral Compass And Subsequent Musing

There are some things that happen that are beyond any sort of glib reaction. The Holocaust or 9/11; what has just been discovered in Austria. You can't blame people for not having imagined the previously incredible depths of depravity to which the Devil will tempt people: in fact not being able to imagine these sorts of thing is an indication that the moral compass is pointing in the right direction.

If I'm right, then the Pope's reaction (both as Cardinal Ratzinger and subsequently) to the clerical abuse scandal is indicative of a moral compass which points unswervingly north: he had literally not imagined that this could happen.

Now: Josef Ratzinger is a holy man and as such will be a special target of the Devil. He will have known all sorts of temptation. I wonder if part of the support that God gives to the truly holy is a Guardian Angel whose job is to keep them truly innocent. Of course he (this is the truly holy man or woman now, not JR personally) is tempted: of course at times he will succumb to temptation; but the temptations that he undergoes are appropriate to his holiness, and aren't all tabloid and vulgar like mine are.

When, in early 1945, the Nazi CO of his batallion asked the new recruits what they wanted to be when they grew up, most of them answered "Fighter Pilot" or "General"; JR answered "Parish Priest". I wish GKC were alive to write about him.