31 July 2008

Miliband: Not One Of Us

From the Telegraph, here.

"Miliband was brought up in an intensely political household as his father Ralph was the Marxist intellectual. The house, in Primrose Hill in north London where Miliband now lives, was a meeting place of the left-wing intellectuals.


Miliband, a devout atheist, had forged his reputation as a policy wonk at the Left-leaning Institute for Public Policy Research and was headhunted to became Tony Blair's head of policy at Downing Street. "

Apostolicae Curae 2008

"It also seems to us that the Anglican commitment to being ‘episcopally led and synodically governed’ has not always functioned in such a way as to maintain the apostolicity of the faith, and that synodical government misunderstood as a kind of parliamentary process has at times blocked the sort of episcopal leadership envisaged by Cyprian and articulated in ARCIC."

Cardinal Kasper. Lambeth. July 2008

Something Else

I am becoming addicted to www.gloria.tv which isn't from Tuvalu, but is a sort of Catholic YouTube. This is one episode from the Catechism.

30 July 2008

From Ecône To Rome

Blogging is sometimes a way for great truths to be expounded. Here a Mancunian (even if his vocation is universal, you can't take Manchester out of the boy) blogger tells a great truth to the world about the SSPX and the Church.

There is no rancour: indeed, no need for rancour. This is a humbling story which disproves (without ever setting out to disprove) the canard we sometimes still face of Catholics having to give up our intelligence to belong to our Church.

There is room for a UK branch of the Good Shepherd Institute: I'd love to see a Bishop who might invite the Institute to set one up.

Catholics Come Home!

With Portuguese Subtitles

29 July 2008

Baker, Oregon

That's in America. It has a Catholic Diocese, which has a Catholic Bishop. It sent its Bishop to the World Youth Day in Australia, and he catechised. His catechetical gifts impressed catechists: see here!

What impressed me most was that Bishop Vasa (Thanks for the ciorrection, Athanasius) has put in place pastoral guidelines for his Diocese calling on anybody whose role within the Church entails a presumption of orthodoxy has to make an affirmation of orthodoxy. I wonder if we could have anything similar here.


The Church requires the making of a Profession of Faith by various persons when they undertake specific duties related to Church administration and teaching. (cf. Canon 833)

In the Diocese of Baker this has been expanded to include those who take on the ecclesial duties of Catechist, Liturgical Reader, Cantor, Extraordinary Minister of Holy Communion and other Church positions which entail a presumption of orthodoxy.

“I believe and profess all that the holy Catholic Church teaches, believes and proclaims to be revealed by God.” In particular:

I affirm and believe the Church’s teaching about the inviolability of human life. In accord with that teaching I affirm that human life is sacred and must be protected and respected from the moment of conception until natural death. I affirm that I reject direct, intentional abortion and I do not recognize the legitimacy of anyone’s claim to a moral right to form their own conscience in this matter. I am not pro-choice. I further attest that I am not affiliated with, nor supportive of, any organization which supports, encourages, provides or otherwise endorses abortion or euthanasia. (cf. CCC 2270-2283)

I affirm and believe the Church’s teaching about the sinfulness of contraception. I affirm, in accord with the teachings of the Church that “every action which, whether in anticipation of the conjugal act, or in its accomplishment, or in the development of its natural consequences, proposes, whether as an end or as a means, to render procreation impossible” is intrinsically evil. (CCC 2370)

I affirm and believe that every person is called to chastity in accord with their present state of life and that it is only in marriage between man and woman that the intimacy of spouses becomes a sign and pledge of spiritual communion. (CCC 2337—2365)

I accept the Church’s teaching that any extra-marital sexual relationships are gravely evil and that these include pre-marital relations, masturbation, fornication, the viewing of pornography and homosexual relations.

I affirm and believe the teaching of the Church about the evil of homosexual acts. I accept the formulation in the Catechism which states: “Basing itself on Sacred Scripture, which presents homosexual acts as acts of grave depravity, tradition has always declared that “homosexual acts are intrinsically disordered.” They are contrary to the natural law. They close the sexual act to the gift of life. They do not proceed from a genuine affective and sexual complementarity. Under no circumstances can they be approved.” (CCC 2357)

I affirm and believe all that the Church teaches about the Reality and Presence of Christ in the Most Holy Eucharist. Specifically I believe that Jesus is present Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity under each of the forms of bread and wine and that receiving either one is Communion with the whole Christ. I recognize that worship and adoration are appropriate, not only during Mass but also outside of Mass and that the Most Holy Eucharist must always be handled with the utmost care and devotion. (CCC 1373-1381)

I affirm and believe the teachings of the Church regarding Mary, Mother of Christ and Mother of the Church. I accept with the Church that it is fitting and proper to honor the Blessed Virgin with special devotion. (CCC 963-975)

I affirm and believe that it is possible for a person to choose to remain separated from God for all eternity and that “This state of definitive self-exclusion from communion with God and the blessed is called “hell.”” (CCC 1033)

I affirm and believe that those who die in God’s grace and friendship but are still imperfectly purified undergo additional purification so as to achieve the holiness necessary to enter the joys of heaven. I affirm that the Church’s name for this final purification is Purgatory. (CCC 1030-1032)

I affirm and believe in One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church and embrace the teachings about that Church as enunciated in the Catechism of the Catholic Church. (cf. CCC 748-962)

I affirm and believe that the Church teaches with God-given authority and that the promise of Christ to remain with His Church always, until the end of time is a reality. I further acknowledge that those teachings pronounced in a definitive manner, even though not as an infallible definition, are binding on the consciencesof the faithful and are to be adhered to with religious assent. (CCC 892)

To these and to all the teaching of the Catholic Church I give my assent. I attest that I believe these things and, while I am aware of my own sinfulness and shortcomings, I strive in my beliefs and life style to conform to this Affirmation of Personal of Faith.

28 July 2008

New Film About St Philip Howard

Available here, and for only £12.99 + £1.25 p&p:

"A new and inspiring film telling the fascinating story of Saint Philip Howard, Earl of Arundel, martyred in the Tower of London for his Catholic faith. This short film is told in Saint Philip's own words and is a moving and interesting journey set in 16th Century England. With historical images, original footage and a beautiful original soundtrack 'Philip of Arundel' seeks to renew interest and devotion in an inspiring Catholic Englishman so important for today."

I thought it was a film, but both the site and the trailer are coy about whether there is any drama, or whether this is a DVD of spoken word with a few pictures.

The subject is promising.

Everything Wrong With Modern Catholic Music In One Video

Well, nearly.

"How not to sing the Salve Regina", according to Chris Gillibrand here.

But also, why should the priest rearrange the altar to suit the guitarist? Is the guitar a suitable liturgical instrument? Why translate, especially when the Latin version of the Salve Regina is intelligible to most Italians? Should those leading liturgical singing be able to sing?

26 July 2008

Sounds Unfamiliar

School holidays mean changed patterns of life for parents. This week I found myself using the bus to get to and from work most days. I noticed that Fr Z (whom God preserve!) had a podcast interview with Fr Tim Finigan so I decided to download it for the journey.

A minor point is to download Fr Z's podcasts to an mp3 player which has a fast forward facility (mine doesn't), otherwise having heard his introduction to a piece by the Seraphic Doctor and then the reading itself in English, you then have to listen in Latin as well; if you press "next track" you skip the rest of the piece completely and then have to start again from the beginning.

However, the greatest shock was that neither Fr Z nor Fr Finigan sounded like themselves. I've never heard the voice of either of them, of course, but "knew" what they sound like from having seen their pictures and having read what they've written. And they sound completely wrong.

This must have been a lot more common in the days before radio and TV - that you build a 3D image of somebody from their words, or maybe their words and a picture - and I find it's rather nice that the Internet takes us back, rather than forwards.

I suppose it would make a good meme: describe five well known bloggers (or their voices and accents) whom you've never met based purely on what you've seen in their blogs; but the possibility of offending people (however unwittingly) would never be far away.

21 July 2008

More From The Suppository

Fr Mildew is as close as I come to reading The Suppository. He includes a wonderful paragraph:

"'Taking a stand' is the title of a provocative article by Fr Shaun Middleton who is amongst those who object to what the Holy Father is doing in the way of his vestments, the prospect of a new and better translation of the Missal, and of course, the return of the Old Rite. You may be surprised to learn he is thinking about having a new society 'The Society of Pope Paul VI' for those who have a particular affection for the 1964 missal and the present ICEL translation. They wish to encourage rubrical flexibility which will reallow priests to leave the sanctuary for the sign of peace, that communion in the hand is reverent and altar rails are an anachonism. He says that the conscience of many Catholic priests is being tested by the subtle reform of the reform that seems to be going on at the moment."

I wish sometimes that priests like this would have the same courage of their convictions - stand up, tell the Pope he's wrong, get kicked out - that the SSPX, the Lefebvrists, had. That way we can get shut of all of them until they come to their senses and realise that their opinion and God's Holy and Revealed Magisterium don't have equal value.

Incidentally, I tried from the website to find out who owns The Tablet. The only thing for sure is that it is owned by the same people as own The Pastoral Review (another sink of 1970s Stalino-Catholic mire). We're not payingfor it from the collection, surely!

Problems With Blogger At The Weekend

Did anybody else who uses Orange as their ISP have problems accessing Blogger at the weekend? I couldn't get on at all except via a proxy, even with disabling the software and hardware firewalls, and I wasn't going to trust my username and password to a proxy.

Orange is a wonderful ISP, right up to the very rare instance when there is a problem. At that point it gets dire: one day last year I rang up to ask for confirmation that there was a problem at the exchange and was told to reinstal my operating system! When I contacted them yesterday to ask if there was a problem, they sent me instructions on how to disable a firewall ...

Still, when I complained last year that after years with Freeserve, then Wanadoo, then Orange, that I had had two problems in a couple of weeks and had received dismal customer support, they offered me an exceptionally good package to stay with them.

19 July 2008

A New Blogroll

I'm trying out Blogger's new blogroll facility. The only choice is "most recently updated" or "alphabetical order". I don't like either!

I've done some addition and subtraction as well.

14 July 2008

Why I Like Living Here

Did anybody watch the last episode of the current series of Dr Who? If so you might have seen this picture.
Now, you probably didn't try ringing the number, but if you had, what would you have found?
That it is a sort of real number. Ofcom has reserved a large series of numbers for dramatic purposes and has published them on the Internet, here.
So, if you ever see a programme which has an advert asking you to ring an 01632 number, or an 0161 496 xxxx number, you know that it's officially fake, and not pretend fake.
I like living somewhere where people care enough to make sure about this sort of thing.

13 July 2008

The Fight Not Yet Begun

I spent much of the last week or so amidst the arguments of the Universe's forum, and was left with little energy to blog. But the anniversary of the Motu Proprio, and some of the comments on the forum led me to reflect on where we are, and just how far we have to go.

The Pope's concession is a lifeline to traditional Catholicsm, but, by itself, little else. There are two reasons why.

First, it isn't 1962 in the world. The world has moved on significantly since 1962, and the kind of parish life, indeed, the kind of parishioner, who was around in 1962 has gone for ever. People are richer and are less used to doing what everybody else is doing, whether that means watching Sunday Night at the London Palladium or going to Church. The idea that the PP in most parishes could get fifty men to Church each Wednesday evening for a Men's Confraternity meeting followed by Benediction and a trip to the Catholic Club is an idea about the faraway past or the distant future.

It isn't 1962 in the Church either. The ecclesiology of the Catholic Church in 2008 will cope with the odd celebration of the 1962 Liturgy but it cannot allow large communities to live the 1962 Liturgy: that would be an open challenge to those whose world view is expressed in "the spirit of Vatican II". An ecclesiology which admits lay people to the Altar during the Mass to do things proper to the priest in 1962 is so different as to be antithetic.
This is one way the SSPX have got things so badly wrong: they have tried to organise themselves as though it were still 1962: well, it isn't.
The second reason is 1962: why the 1962 Liturgy? That 1962 represents the last point at which the Liturgy, however hacked about and mutilated, was still the hacked about and mutilated but recognizably the 1600 year old Gregorian Liturgy is no reason to hold that version as some sort of high point in the History of the Church in the West. When will the competent authorities look at the reforms of Pius XII and wonder whether, after 50 years of experiment, they were perhaps not such a good idea after all.
At which point, we would be, effectively, back to the time of Pope St Pius X, and the 1911 reform of the Breviary. This reform was the first significant liturgical fruit of the active ultramontanism enshrined in Vatican I, and included the abandonment of the recitation of the Laudate psalms at Lauds, a practice believed to be inherited from the synagogue itself, because le Pape le veult.
This is only a point of view. But it looks to me that the fight ahead is one of mindset, and we need to realise that the Pope, by reauthorising the general use of the 1962 liturgical books, is buying time rather than answering any of the very big questions that are raised if there is anything at all in my point of view.

12 July 2008

Wuthering Heights

Courtesy of the Ukulele Orchestra of Great Britain (one of our underpraised, underappreciated national treasures).

10 July 2008

Prime Minister Heathcliff

So, Gordon Brown compares himself to Heathcliff. According to the Telegraph, the owner of the Bronte Paronsage Museum in Yorkshire says:

"Heathcliff is a man prone to domestic violence, kidnapping, possibly murder, and digging up his dead lover. He is moody and unkind to animals."

Two more years ...

07 July 2008

O Felix Culpa!

Adam lay y-bounden,
Bounden in a bond;
Four thousand winter
Thought he not too long;
And all was for an apple,
An apple that he took,
As clerkes finden written
In their book.

Ne had the apple taken been,
The apple taken been,
Ne had never Our Lady
A-been heaven's queen.
Blessed be the time
That apple taken was!
Therefor may we singen
Deo Gracias!

05 July 2008

Bob Geldof on Liberty

H/t to Iain Dale for copying an excerpt from the speech Bob Geldof made for David Davies at Haltemprice & Howden. The full text, which is even better than this excerpt, is available here.

Let us be grand for once then, for we talk of great subjects. Let us ask ‘what is the point of England “ now that Parliament, whose primary purpose is to defend the liberties of the people have so gratuitously, so wantonly, so casually betrayed that trust and taken from us that same liberty which above all else defines this country and its constitution, and that which has been its greatest gift to the world its freedom, its tolerances, its civilisation which William Wilberforce so forcefully argued from this town so many centuries ago.Melville claimed for America “that it bears the Ark of the liberties of the world.” It could be better said of that Britain which invented and codified those freedoms.

Are Magna Carta, and Habeas Corpus not to mention the Anti-Slavery laws, to be traduced in one brief sad moment of political expediency. When a 800 years ago Britons told the state in words that still ring true and through the ages: “To no man will we deny, To no man will we delay, Justice and Right”. 42 days detention denies and delays Justice and Right. It is a clear breach of ancient right, of Magna Carta itself.

So what great existential threat does this country now face that did not face our forefathers of the past 1000 years. What is so grave the emergency now that neither civil war nor world war nor various terrorisms were considered so dangerous to our security that our oldest statutes -and few have lasted the 400 years relevance of habeas corpus - could be upended for such a ha’pnworth of momentary contemporary panic. If authority is to be respected it must be just. When it is not, then the greatest threat to that authority is its own instinct to authoritarianism.

These new security measures, these new limitations on our liberties are not the thin end of the wedge We’re way past that now. This is now, already, the bulkier mid way point of that authoritarian block. For we have in the past few years so mauled our ancient defended rights, rights for which bloody battles were fought and heroes lived and died for, as to seriously consider whether the constitution is today much more than a cartoon of its essential meaning. And what moral authority resides any longer in a lawmaking body that acts against the liberties of its own people? Is it not true that the willingness to use intolerable means to achieve impossible ends shows the political mind at its most deluded?

Meanwhile our supine press gulled by political complicity, lull the population to apathy by banging on with their trivial irrelevancies while the constitution is quietly turned aside. Shame on them. Alas they are shameless.

What terrorizes the terrorists is our civilization. What those unthinking fools of fundamentalism fear most are the very freedoms our representatives strip from us. Essentially this ‘war on terror’is a conflict waged against Islamist forces that claim to reject the Enlightenment. If that is so, then how can we ever succeed if we side with our opponents in rejecting those same ideals? Every moment we are spied on by the invisible watchers. Every time that we are recorded and monitored at every turn, on every purchase. Every time we are mandatorially logged, noted, tagged and followed on databanks and files because “it is in our best interest” They win. And every time we accept it, we lose. We must not hold this attitude of passive acceptance to these restraints on justice, rights and liberties that ultimately amounts to nothing more than complicity with intolerance.

04 July 2008

Remember ...

Courtesy of the Classic Canadian

02 July 2008

A Shortage Of Seminarians?

A couple of weeks ago, or so, Fr Dwight Longenecker in a combox mentioned casually, when asked why he had not become a Catholic Priest in England, that there were Bishops in England and Wales who were turning away perfectly good orthodox candidates for the priesthood to suit their own ecclesiological point of view. This is clearly nonsense: there is no way that a Catholic Bishop would do any such thing. I waited for the Priest bloggers to respond, or at least for the seminarians to do so. None did. It was still obviously nonsense: as if a Bishop would do that sort of thing!

Except, of course, for the (now gone to his eternal reward) Metropolitan Archbishop (whose nickname was "Slimy") who did exactly that to one of my very close friends - bearing false witness to do so: but that was a one off.

As was the example of a young man who had been told that believing that he had such a clear vocation to the priesthood at the age of 16 was a sign of hysteria, a sign that would only be shown to have cleared up when he married.

Or the University student who told the Diocesan Vocations Director that he said the Rosary every day and was answered "Get real!"

And then I reassured myself that these examples were from the 80s and early 90s and that I hadn't heard anything like that since. (Mind you, I don't mix with people of an age and condition who are likely to be opting to respond to a vocation to the priesthood at the moment.)

And I start wondering again about what Fr L wrote.