31 October 2008

The Best Of Cardiff

A good, if cold, day out. My wife and daughter shopped; I didn't.

30 October 2008

"In Communion"

What does "in communion" mean when the Bishop is prepared to tolerate anti-rubrical practice?

Suppose a Bishop (a real Bishop, such as the Bishop of Arundel and Brighton, for example) assents to a form of celebration of Mass on the feast of Christ the King which drives a coach and horses through the rubrics? Am I "in communion" with him?

Suppose another Bishop encourages (not in writing, or in any way that might form the basis of a complaint to Rome) his Parish Priests only to allow women to be extraordinary ministers, and encourages them not just to allow these women to purify the sacred vessels after Holy Communion, but specifically not to do so himself. Am I "in communion" with him?

What does one do if the Head of one's Church appears not to believe in what Catholics believe, and him obliged to uphold it?

Two Important Petitions

The first from Phil asks us to sign a petition calling on the UN to respect the rights and dignity of the Human Person and the Family.

The second from the good Dr Ches asks British citizens to sign the petition at the No 10 website asking the PM to demand that the Iraqi government takes suitable steps to protect its Christian minority.

Each is important. Please think abousining.

29 October 2008

More BBC Rubbish

Courtesy of Catholic Action UK, I hear that the BBC is about to go for Catholics as much as they went for Andrew Sachs. Ten thousand complaints seems to be the watershed that forces the Beeb to act. Let's prepare ...

... but let's also ask any Catholic lawyer or barrister who happens to be about the blogosphere how the religious hatred legislation might be brought to bear.

28 October 2008

Jonathan Ross And Russell Brand

I pay my licence fee, so I employ them.

Does that mean I can sack them?

Why not?

27 October 2008

A Non-Animal Picture

I thought that the end of October should have been the end of any pretence that Autumn wasn't in full flow. But I took this picture yesterday.

More Nature Notes - Visited By A Dead Frog

This was on the patio first thing this morning. It had been probably been dropped by an owl.

Either that or Aaron has been stretching his hand over the waters. (We are at least 300 yards from running water.)

26 October 2008

A Newly Regular Visitor

When I left home, after growing up on a Manchester council estate, I could recognise sparrows, blackbirds, and starlings: and that was it; there were no other birds (except for budgies). These days, a female green woodpecker can come into the back garden every morning to worry away at what must be the larvae of some leatherjackets (or some such) and I barely turn a hair. Last summer, we were sat in the garden under a tree and a sparrowhawk came and killed a sparrow right above our heads. Nature in the raw used to mean alsatians which were never kept on leads and were allowed to roam the estate day and night. This year I'm already watching out for the swans on their way to their winter homes. My 20 year old self would not recognise what I have changed into.

24 October 2008

The Rocky Horror Rite Of Church Closure In Leeds

If this sort of things makes you want to say one for the poor parishioners of the Diocese of Leeds, then the full version from Paulinus is available here.

Gathering song: Be Much Afraid [To the tune Be Not afraid]

You can say Mass without vestments
To impress the teenage kids
Just ignore the GIRM
We don’t give a fig
You can fill the nave with dancing girls
and we will understand
But say the Mass in Latin and you’re done.


Be much afraid.
We’re going to close your church down.
Say Latin Mass, and you’ll be on the dole.

Interfaith is all the rage
Meditation’s where it’s at
You can make a pagan incantation,
nothing wrong with that.
You can say your prayers with Rastas, Muslims
Jains, and Hindus too
But pray with other Catholics and you’re done

Doctrine is passe
You can make it up yourself
You can pick from Dawkins, Boff, de Mello
- anything off the shelf
You can quote Tissa Balasuriya,
Kung and Schillebeecx
But quote the Holy Father
and you’re stuffed

19 October 2008

Towny Mac!

As if anybody would go round pruning trees into funny shapes! It's hard enough remembering where you have fences and hedges that need to be maintained!

A Silver Lining ...

At least mistletoe should be cheap this year. Look what the autumn is revealing!

16 October 2008


I linked below to Max Arthur's book about 617 Squadron.

Imagine ...

They had to fly the Lancasters at exactly 60 feet (the height of a four storey house) at exactly 240 mph and drop the bomb, which had to be spinning at exactly 500 rpm (imagine the effect of what was like an internal gyroscope on the aircraft's handling) exactly 484 feet from the wall of the dam. At night; over water; into flak.

They trusted their air speed indicators; they achieved the height by putting two spotlights at the front and rear of the aircraft, whose beams intersected at a height of 60 feet; and Barnes Wallis built a wooden contraption out of a coat hanger with two pieces of wood, each with a nail at the end, at a fixed angle. When held to the eye and aligned with the two towers on the dam, they would indicate to the observer that the plane was on the right heading at the right distance (a couple of the crews improved on this).

Then off they went.

Guy Gibson was an experienced Wing Commander: DFC and bar, DSO and bar, and he earned the VC on the mission because, after taking his own aircraft through, he accompanied each succeeding aircraft and drew the flak for them. He was 26 years old.

The pilot of the first aircraft to attack the Eder dam was 20 years old.

We really are standing on the shoulders of giants.

Don't remake the film; don't rename the dog.

15 October 2008

The Bishops' Conference of E&W: Oh Dear!

I read James Preece and wondered if he had produced a brilliant satire on Futurechurch. I then read Damian Thompson and found that it was for real. If you are really keen, you can find the download for the synthetic paraliturgy that has been invented for the Feast of Christ the King at either site: I won't link to it here.

How far is the Bishops' Conference of England and Wales prepared to go?

And what does "communion" mean? At what point can we, in good faith, take out our hankies and wave them farewell as they leave our shores forever?

14 October 2008

More books

A quick foray to The Book Depository reveals just how much you can save if you spend there, so I have. I tried to persuade my wife that spending money in the UK on British books is the patriotic duty of any Englishman whose job seems secure and whose savings are safe in mutual societies which are not run by the sort of wanabee Gordon Gecko who has taken over so many of our building societies and has turned them into "banks".
But enough of that: one book about Church History, one about Military History, and another about a different flavour of Military History. Enough to keep me going until the weekend!

12 October 2008

An Old English Parish

Orwell's Picnic put me on to a book: An Old English Parish by J Charles Wall, published in 1907, in which he describes with illustrations day to day life in a pre-reformation English parish.
It is to The Stripping Of the Altars what the History Of The English Speaking Peoples is to The Oxford History Of Britain: it introduces and skims over the subject for the general reader.
And it has illustrations:

Good stuff for a Sunday afternoon, after you've cut the grass for the last time this year for the second time, and it's warm enough to sit and survey your handiwork with a glass of wine.

10 October 2008

OTSOTA: Respect, Dude!

I came away from EF Mass recently absolutely convinced that everything is going to be fine, and that in spite of the discussion in the porch on the way out by people who wanted EF Mass every day, and particularly on Sundays, instead of periodically but all over the week.
I suppose I wanted to say to them that the decisive step has been taken: that the Bishops (and the Bishops' Conferences) have had their control of the Mass taken from them, and forever. That the next generation of seminarians is different. That twice every three weeks is so immeasurably better than anything that has happened where I live in the last forty years, and is so little in comparison with what our children and grandchildren will experience, that carping is really bad. I didn't, because those taking part in the discussion weren't whingers or carpers, but Catholics who, having had nothing but the most basic NASA rations for forty years, had been reintroduced to the freshly prepared banquet, and who, not unreasonably, had decided that this was the way they wanted to eat all the time.
I have no argument to counter the emotional content of that point pof view: how could I? I largely share it! But I wanted an intellectual argument which might persuade people that allowing the EF to grow gently, like magma, for a decade or two might lead to a permanent future which would not be personality-dependent. I found the argument in a combox!
Damian Thompson's Telegraph blog is pretty hard going at the moment (to me at least). His postings have been met by, what seems to me, polarisation: shouting one's own view and a refusal to engage with that of others. I admire what he is trying to do, but he seems to be down a fairly sterile cul-de-sac at the moment.
Flicking through the innumerable pages of comments on one of this week's postings, however, I came across a beacon of light. A regular commenter on Damian's blog is Paul, owner of the On The Side Of The Angels blog, which has thrilled me since I found it. Paul, commenting on something another commenter had posted, came out with the following which explains to my satisfaction exactly how and why the Holy Father has got everything so right.
"1] This is where the subtlety lies - tying a successor's hands - giving them virtually no manoeuvrability - being categorically precise - clinically diamantine doctrinally ; having fundamental moral principles set in stone. This is where His Holiness [and his phenomenal team] excels without contemporary comparison....How ? Well it's very technical ; and you have to scrutinise the writing ; but Benedict XVI is ensuring catholic dogma and morals are becoming inextricably linked with unbreakable bonds - he's bringing to the fore adamantine connections to ensure that future generations cannot jeopardise or compromise catholic positions without it leading to all manner of absolutely unacceptable conclusions.
Take for instance contraception : Where John Paul II went off course with the Theology of the Body [don't get me wrong - it's all fine and dandy - but it's nothing to do with the fundamental theological principles inherant within our natural law approach - it's sourced in it of course - but its a how ; not a why - and for moral theologians to base sexual and life morality on it is confusing and can lead to serious 'ethical reverse-engineering' problems.] Instead Benedict reiterates the natural law teaching within Casti Connubii, the Allocutios to the Doctors and Midwives and Humanae Vitae - of the inseparability of the unitive and procreative aspects of human lovemaking.
This gives a cast-iron holism to sexual morality ; and makes it virtually impossible for any future papacy to even attempt to revoke it. Were we to remain in the transient wavering obfuscatory miasma of pragmatisms that could so easily contaminate the theology of the body - it could simply be altered by the unscrupulous into a pro-contraceptive agenda.
Doctrinally the big offensive assault by the progressivists is going to be against original sin and the mass [esp. the real presence] - the old doctrines may be perfectly fine for supporting the dogma ; but for defending them we need new powerful inviolable symbolism of the formal reality within the doctrine - and His Holiness using in particular the work of von Balthasar has provided an asbestos formula with the diachronicity of salvific grace and the moral disordering nature of sin ; and universal conspiracy in original sin's actuation - not only are we our brother's keeper ; we share the burden of culpability for all our scarring - not only does this compound the universal efficacy of prayer ; it concretises it - not only does this prevent scientific and psychological obscurantism of our heritage ; it compounds personal and mutual responsibility to such an extent that the dogma of original sin becomes as blatant and understandable as the nose on our faces. It makes the sacrifice upon calvary the alpha point reaching forwards and backwards throughout history - shooting out into transcendental anticipatory events and prophecy [it validates the last supper, the immaculate conception, the global heralding of the incarnation among every race and creed ; it substantiates the whole notion of the mass as being the return to that single sacrificial calvary event ; it vindicates the religious revelation , mysticism and inspired wisdom by its interaction and harmony with the pentecostal sending forth of the Holy Spirit - it makes the One Holy Catholic and Apostolic Church an authentic living entity and not merely a source or path among many.
Pope Benedict has undertaken a great theological re-wiring scheme - where everything is all part of a single system - the modernist or progressive may attempt cut a myriad of doctrinal wires; but the orthodox power source still gets through to every principle and ideal from the most obscure or hitherto ignored source. It's sheer genius - and ironically the source material came from the Church Fathers and Doctors - de Lubac [et al ] didn't exactly realise that when he was resurrecting the differentiating theologians [who sought to separate and classify] he was providing a vast array of resources to integrate catholic theology into a single entity supplemented and complemented by everything else within the Mystical Body of Christ.
No longer is the modernist merely fighting a dragon where a single lucky blow can decapitate - within Benedictine writings and teachings the modernist now fights a hydra - it chops off one head and two grow back in its stead - it tries to attack one 'ology' and a dozen other 'ologies' now fight alongside to defend that principle - some the modernist may be very reluctant or virtually impotent to enter conflict with....
With Ratzinger our faith and morals are not just built on rock ; they're now buttressed and arched all over the place....and it would be an almost impossible task for any future progressivist papacy or oecumenical council to attempt to knock everything down in order to breach a wall.
2] You worry about the 'overly cautious' prudence - what you're not really considering is even though futurechurch and the progressivist agenda is a busted flush - it's desperate and aggresssively destructive in in its death pangs ; as dangerous as a wounded tiger . Instead of a cavalry charge His Holiness and the armies of light are crawling through the minefield ; defusing explosives and incapacitating the last few lethal bastions of opposition.
Every easter we sing 'battle is o'er , hell's armies flee' - yes we're victorious but the past 2,000 years have been skirmishes with the bitterly twisted adversary trying to drag everyone and everything down with him into the abyss of defeat.
Futurechurch and the progressivistas are so incorrigably and pitiably vindictive and petty - that which they cannot convert to their agenda they will seek to either annihilate or adumbrate with calumnies.
If they persist in declaring sour grapes all too often the gullible believe all grapes are sour, the vineyard owner soured them , and ultimately all wine is vinegar they must never drink... See my point ?
Just because futurechurch has lost the war ; it doesn't mean it isn't still terribly dangerous and won't launch a good few final volleys and suicide missions before it perishes.
His Holiness is playing a most dangerous game - previously we always had assassins and fifth columnists - but now we ave kamikaze pilots to deal with too. This cautious prudence isn't cowardice ; it's bravery compounded with understanding."
(Apologies for the title - it's all some of these people understand!)

06 October 2008

Meanwhile ...

Here, (click on the red tab nearest the top) is the Bible being read in its entirety, and being broadcast by Italian TV online from Santa Croce in Gerusalemme in Rome.

The Pope started with the first part of Genesis; Cardinal Bertoni will end with the final chapter of Apocalypse.

It's maybe not much of an inspiration if you don't speak Italian, but just by clicking on it and registering its worth (because RAI will trumpet to the four corners any success this venture has), who knows which broadcaster may seek to emulate this in English!

04 October 2008

Priests: How To Really Annoy A Tabletista!

The idea arises from a comment by Fr Brown, here, but its development is entirely my own.

Imagine publicising a Mass using one of the Childrens' Eucharistic Prayers from the Roman Missal, and then doing it in its Latin original! The whole Mass done "soberly": biretta, maniple, ad orientem, chant.

Have a large group of properly prepared and catechised children, able to provide servers and to sing the ordinary prayers.

And then invite the Tablet.

03 October 2008

Not Just Westminster

According to the list of Cardinal Electors here, there are 45 Cardinals aged between 75 and 80, sixteen of whom are listed as "Emeritus", and can therefore be presumed to have retired. Of the remaining 29, nine have curial appointments.

That means that there are 20 major Sees whose Bishops will have presented their resignation to the Pope.

There are nine 74 year olds: four in Rome, five in Metropolitan Sees.

Two reflections: we shouldn't worry too much about the delay in naming the successor to Westminster: he's well down the queue. And we might think that Pope Benedict has the opportunity to shape the Church for the next 10 or 20 years if he gets this right.