30 September 2007

Tagged for a Meme

Tagged by Moretben, first in his combox (which I could have pretended not to have read), then in mine.

1. Do you attend the Traditional Latin Mass or the Novus Ordo?

I attend the TLM very very rarely: it isn't available in this diocese (or in the neighbouring one) at any time at which an absence of family or work commitments would allow me to attend. On occasion I have been in London and have managed to arrange a schedule which has allowed me to attend. I like to read my TLM for the appropriate Sunday each week.

2. If you attend the TLM, how far do you drive to get there?


3. If you had to apply a Catholic label to yourself, what would it be?

I'll appropriate Piers Paul Read's comment on a description of himself; he said he wasn't a "stern moralist": he was a bad Catholic.

4. Are you a comment junkie?

A bit, but the addicition is under control. If someone writes something that I really like (or rarely, that I really don't) then I like to tell them.

5. Do you go back to read the comments on the blogs you’ve commented on?

Only if I leave a question, or am participating in a continuing discussion.

6. Have you ever left an anonymous comment on another blog?

Yes: though not on Catholic ones.

7. Which blogroll would you most like to be on?

HH the P's, if he had one.

8. Which blog is the first one you check?

Moretben's, when he's posting; otherwise Fr Tim's or Fr Ray's. Occasionally Fr Z (whom God preserve)'s if something is going on.

9. Have you met any other bloggers in person?

Not to my knowledge.

10. What are you reading?

I'm struggling through Anibale Bugnini's "The Reform of the Liturgy": I think I'm gradually coming to an understanding of why things happened the way they did. Light relief comes from "While Rome Burns": collected pieces by Alexander Woolcott (one of the Algonquin Circle). When alert, I am working on an informal peer-review of an article for a historical review for a friend: this means I am reading through various files from the National Archives. And I'm sharing "My Family and Other Animals" with my daughter, who is reading it for the very first time.

Bonus Question!
Has your site been banned by Spirit of Vatican II?

If it were "the spirit of Vatican II", then I would hope so! See the first part of my answer to question 10, however: I am more and more convinced that Vatican II, or, rather, the decisions of Vatican II, were hijacked by a bunch of people who didn't really know what they were doing, and who were expecting to be stopped at any moment.

29 September 2007

Which Composer are you?

Courtesy of Jeffrey.

You scored as J.S. Bach, You are dedicated and intelligent. People who know you don't understand how you get it all done, and you never give up on life.

J.S. Bach


















Hector Berlioz







Which classical composer are you?created with QuizFarm.com

Brahms is worryingly high on the list ...

26 September 2007

It Made Me Laugh

.It comes from The Sun.

25 September 2007

Cardinal Pell on Harry Potter ...

... and why the series is so popular. Hat-tip to Sentire cum Ecclesia, an Australian convert-from-Lutheranism blogger whose blog goes onto my blogroll as one which I feel I ought to keep up with.

Here is part of what His Eminence says:

"We should remember that young people today are so used to the marvels of technology that magical fantasies are less exceptional for them than for their parents and grand parents. As always most children love entering the world of magic, fairy stories, escaping the limits of normality (I wasn't one of these) and readers love a fast moving tale, especially when the adventures are exotic, the trumpets are calling the good to battle and the narrative is strong and racy.

Through television and computers young people know much more than their predecessors, but often only at a surface level. They are encouraged to be curious, provided the curiosity is not costly or demanding and many have an itch for novelty, a fascination with technological marvels, the mysterious and abnormal, especially if they are ignorant of genuine religious traditions.
Many of this last group are restless and rootless, seeking limits, yearning for a good cause and more than happy to identify with the victims of injustice, with those who bravely confront evil and loyally stick with one another.

Harry Potter fits their bill as a hero, although he also appeals to good young Christians.
The series deserves to be widely read, but I am unsure why it is so hugely popular. We live in an uneasy, somewhat empty time of change."

Here is a Catholic Prelate who really seems to understand: his being host to the World Youth Day in Sydney next year seems providential.

24 September 2007

A Reflection

I turned fifty a few weeks ago, and next week approach the ninth and eigth anniversaries of my father and mother's deaths. So my mind is fixed on the past.

A piece of music took me back to the 1970s: "I'll Be Your Sweetheart, If You Will Be Mine"; not, obviously, because it wasn't a piece of 1970s music.

I grew up in a house where everybody sang: I grew up in an extended family where everybody sang. That meant that we knew "old songs", for the older members of the family liked to hear the songs of their childhood, and as we, as a family, are blessed (mainly) with longevity, long generations and respect, it meant that we sang for Grandmothers (I never knew my Grandfathers) and Great Aunts the songs of their childhood, and some of those were the songs that their parents had sung: Victorian parlour ballads, like "Nelly Dean" or "Come Into The Garden, Maud"; or Stephen Foster songs like "Lily of Laguna". We knew the lot! And when it came to Music Hall - well, my (maternal) Grandmother had trod the boards and we could sing songs none of you would ever have heard of!

My (paternal) Grandmother ran an Over 60s Club (in fact she ran two, but we'll leave the one she shared with Bernard Manning's mother for the purposes of this post) in the parish. A couple of times a year, my father, two uncles and me would dress up in bow ties and cadies (straw boaters to the ignorant) and impersonate a barber shop quartet, my mother accompanying us on the piano.

The songs they (and "they" would number up to 100) loved were the songs of their childhood: for people aged around 70 in 1970, this meant the songs of the First World War. The First World War had affected all of them: this was Lancashire Fusiliers territory, the area of Pals' Batallions; they had pretty well all lost brothers and cousins. Many of the old ladies were spinsters: there hadn't been enough young men to go round in the 1920s and 1930s. (When there was a dance, they used to dance with each other: they'd all learned to dance both parts.)

They loved "Roses Are Blooming In Picardy": Uncle Jim had a fine tenor voice; and would all join in "Keep The Home Fires Burning"; but we always had to finish with "Tipperary", because it had become a lodestar that "Tipperary" was what the boys sang as they marched to the Front. This was keeping faith:

"If ye break faith with us who die
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
In Flanders fields."

This is what Tradition is all about: the world changes and we change with it, but the change is informed and softened by the past, and we venerate the past and those who lived in it and through it; not the change.

My Grandmother, dying, relived August 4th 1914: she was on the prom at Blackpool and saw the soldiers marching and the young men forming up behind the band to go and join up: "Come on Willie" she said, in her delirium, to her cousin "are you going to join them too? Look at the lovely red uniforms!" (Willie had far more sense, by the way, and lived until his 90s.)

My other Grandmother told me that as a girl, her Grandmother had told her that, as a girl, she remembered the trains coming to the station in Liverpool with the magazines containing the latest instalments of Charles Dickens' novels, and how people would pay a penny to sit in the room of somebody who could read to hear them read aloud.

In my lifetime I have seen the idea of Tradition as a Good Thing disappear completely; the idea of passing things orally from one generation to the next has gone. We are losing our History, and that means we are losing our identity: I shudder to think what life will be like for our children, locked into a Present like this.

21 September 2007

Lisbon, twinned with Portsmouth

I haven't the energy to translate the letter to priests sent by The Cardinal Patriarch of Lisbon which I linked to from the Casa de Sarto.

D. José Policarpo, the Cardinal Patriarch is what some of my military friends like to describe as an oxygen thief.

Here are some new conditions for celebrating the Extraordinary Rite: the people should understand the Latin spoken by the Priest; the Priest must be able to sing the Gregorian Chant appropriate for the celebration; no changes may be made (in fact they are positively prohibited) to the Sanctuary to enable the celebration of Mass ad orientem; the Priest must be able to discern that those asking for the Extraordinary Rite are in favour of the Ordinary Rite as well.

Most importantly:

"8. Let us be vigilant, so that this concession granted by the Holy Father, who was bearing in mind the good of the whole Church, cannot be turned into a campaign in favour of the Old Mass. This would be a move against the Reform of the Liturgy and the whole spirit of Vatican II, and would be to ignore the label of Extraordinary which the Holy Father has clearly attached to the use of the 1962 Missal."
And this is from a Patriarch of the Roman Church. O infelix Lusitania!

19 September 2007

Crispian contra Mundum?

Have a read of Damian Thompson's blog in the Daily Telegraph.

The Bishop of Portsmouth has really put his cards on the table - or rather, in modern fashion, has got somebody else to put his cards on the table in a way that the Bishop can later condemn as being "not quite the message he wished to convey".

The enemy is out and in full view: or is he?

My guess is that the B of P is a stalking horse. He is deliberately setting out, on behalf of the liberal Hierarchs, to gauge people's reactions. "His" document (not his, of course, but his "Director of Liturgy's", and what a pretty pass we have come to when the post of Director of Liturgy is given to a musician) is setting out a stall. How people react to the stall will guide Crispian's brother Bishops in what they are going to be able to get away with.

Is this the field on which we wish to fight?

We might as well: let's start here, and then take the battle to "them".

16 September 2007

Malayan Food (or Drink)

I don't know what Andrew is on, in Penang, but we could all do with a dose.

A double, in fact.

God, Not Man

Courtesy of Overheard in the Sacristy, a graphic illustration of what 14 September might mean.

13 September 2007

Not Much Time for Blogging

Not only Alstair Campbell's Diaries (which are superb) but Fr Michael Seed's harrowing account of his childhood, The Worlock Archive, Archbishop Annibale Bugnini's self-serving account of the The Reform of the Liturgy (hardback, shrink-wrapped, and only £6), and out of the blue, courtesy of a friend, Fiorella de Maria's unputdownable "Father William's Daughter".

SWMBO has been laid low by a virus, and hasn't noticed more than the odd box from Amazon: four 900-pagers from Neal Stephenson mean nine new books.

And it was Louis MacNeice's hundredth birthday a couple of day's ago: "a cat who walked by himself"; and I have been reading the Autumn Journal.

"Why do we like being Irish? Partly because
It gives us a hold on the sentimental English
As members of a world that never was,
Baptised with fairy water;
And partly because Ireland is small enough
To be still thought of with a family feeling."

I love blogging, and the Internet, but as long as you'd allow me e-mail, I'd choose books first, every time.

06 September 2007

Another Poem by John Hegley

This is an alternative to the parable of the Rich Man. It's about people like us, like me.


This Messiah walks into a bar
and asks for a drink of tap water.
'Why don't you buy a drink for a change,
instead of changing water into one?'
says the barman.
'Buy one? What with?' asks the Messiah.
'How come you never have any money?'
'Because I don't believe in it.'
'What do you believe in?'
'I believe in you. I love you.'
'Don't give me that,
you buy a drink, or you get out.'
'Oh, come on, what does a drink of water cost?'
'It costs me labour to pour it.
You take up space to drink it,
then I have to wash the cup up after you.
And what if you break it?
Who pays then?'
'I could mend it.'
'Perform a miracle, you mean?
And have everyone crowding around
in amazement
and not buying drinks? No thanks.

John Hegley from Uncut Confetti

05 September 2007

A Meditation for 14 September


In the myth,
in the deep-down maze of the cave,
he went to find the Minotaur.
And before he went
he took a reel of twine:
a trick to traipse the return trip
back to the world of sense and sunshine.
It was sound thinking:
be enticed by new chance and challenge,
but keep in touch
with your place of origin.
Don't let your past be lost,
or it'll cost
your future.

John Hegley - from Uncut Confetti

02 September 2007

A New Blog on the Blogroll

Well - new to me anyway.

Roman Christendom is a blog by Tribunus. I have my suspicions about the identity of Tribunus: indeed, I think that I have said less than kind things about him on this blog. Tribunus writes about Tradition, but Tradition writ large. There are not many blogs which quote the Collect from the Mass Pro Imperatore in their sidebar. And even if I feel that Jacobitism has, well, has had its day, his posting on the Carmelite nuns martyred during the French Revolution is enough to make me think that here is a blogger whom we must pay heed to.

My guess is that he is a Romantic Tory: whatever else he is, he is a Reactionary, a Reactionary of the first order. There is no greater praise than this in my vocabulary.

The quote on his sidebar on monarchy:

"The character of kings is sacred; their persons are inviolable; they are the anointed of the Lord, if not with sacred oil, at least by virtue of their office. Their power is broad - based upon the will of God, and not on the shifting sands of the people's will... They will be spoken of with becoming reverence, instead of being in public estimation fitting butts for all foul tongues. It becomes a sacrilege to violate their persons, and every indignity offered to them in word or act, becomes an indignity offered to God Himself. It is this view of kingly rule that alone can keep alive in a scoffing and licentious age the spirit of ancient loyalty that spirit begotten of faith, combining in itself obedience, reverence, and love for the majesty of kings which was at once a bond of social union, an incentive to noble daring, and a salt to purify the heart from its grosser tendencies, preserving it from all that is mean, selfish and contemptible." (Dr John Healy, early 20th Century Roman Catholic Archbishop of Tuam, Ireland)

tells us all about monarchy, and it tells us all we need to know about Tribunus too.

I will not speculate further on his identity, but will declare him the spiritual heir to the man who, until his untimely death, was the greatest living Englishman: Michael Wharton.