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Sunday, June 26, 2005


The Pontificator posts a good quotation from Chrysostom. Start availing yourself of the compost, and await the Gardener.


While ambling through oor fine wee National Gallery today, I overheard a lady who seemed a bit disturbed - that is, she was walking through talking quite loudly either to herself or to someone who wasn't there, and not in a way that just suggested a distracted academic. What I heard her say was:
'In this light, you can't recognised half these people,
but -
[while walking past these* paintings]
I know who they are, that's Our Lord and Our Lady.'

Beautiful, somehow. Recognising the Lord - possible and necessary whatever the state of one's mind.

*Actually I think that's a different painting of the same subject by the same chap.

Shabbiness or impropriety...

(As if to prove Miss Austen's point.)

To my fellow weaker vessels:

Now it is indeed lovely that we're having some decent weather, and that longish skirts are in fashion. But ladies, ladies, did nobody else's mother point out that if one is wearing a thin cotton skirt, especially a white one, on a sunny day, one really ought to wear a petticoat? I can see that you all have better legs than me, but do you want me to be able to see it quite so clearly?

(While we're at it, the annual appeal to the other half of humanity: chaps, please note that sun is not an adequate reason for chest-baring. I appreciate the need to maximise Vitamin D production in this climate, but really. Just wear a shirt. Thank you.)

Friday, June 24, 2005

Responsible Citizenship

You know you should take the trouble to vote. It's important, even if you think your ickle voice makes no difference. The mere fact that you bother keeps society from losing its saltiness. So click on the title of the post above and vote Aquinas. Remember, God knows where you live.
(Besides, wouldn't it be amusing to watch people wriggle if Aquinas were to win a series of Top Philosopher votes, the way Tolkien did all those Best Book votes?)(Less amusing to wriggle as people talk rubbish about him and the middle ages and theology and and and, but.)

Thursday, June 23, 2005

Another one about to take the plunge!

The minute I read her post about St Maximilian Kolbe I thunk "uh huh . . .".

Burke for Bishop!

Something I read in last week's Wprost about episcopal appointments made me think again about something Aelianus said on the subject of Fr Patrick Burke's appointment to Rome.
Is it not the most likely way to get him into a mitre?

How Not to Evangelize

Scene: Boeciana happens to meet Devout, Protestant Schoolmate in cheapo seats at opera. Usual catching-up conversation ensues. Extract:

DPS: So, you're still at St N's [Church]?

B: Err... no. You see, I realised I had to become a Catholic.

DPS [good manners over-riding shock]: Oh! Right... So... how's that going for you, then?

B [flabber unaccountably gasted by question]: Um. Fine. Yes. I mean - it's true. Er... Complete breach with family less good, but, you know, whoever does not love father and mother, I mean, hate father and mother, and all that. Um.

DPS [back on safe ground]: Oh, right, so, how are your parents keeping?

Mutual reassurances of health ensue.

Oh yes, that's the way to share the joy of the fullness of faith...

The opera was pretty good, though.

Wednesday, June 22, 2005

The Pedant-General on Childcare

Altogether now: hear, hear!

Tuesday, June 21, 2005

The Two Swords

From the Shrine of the Holy Whapping. (It may be necessary to scroll up a bit from the link in the title.)

Monday, June 20, 2005

Over-long post

This Religious Hatred Bill thingy. Second reading in the Commons tomorrow, and I’ve finally got round to paying attention to it. I know it only extends to England and Wales, but it's an interesting business.

The Bill can be found here; which is not very helpful, as it is entirely composed of amendments to the Public Order Act 1986. I have yet to find a full text of this online (HMSO online legislation only goes back to 1987), but the Barnabas Fund (a Christian charity) have put the amended version of the relevant sections here.

So what do people think about this? I must admit that what puzzles me is why incitement to a specific form of hatred is a separate offence at all. Shouldn't it be unlawful to incite hatred, full stop? The law could include clarificatory notes that race, gender, religion, whatever, is no grounds for hatred, though it should be blindingly obvious; I appreciate that the problem of racism has not been recognised until relatively recently, but it still seems odd, and possibly even counter-productive, to suggest that racist hatred is fundamentally different from any other kind. Laws concerning discrimination are another matter, since discrimination is something which is trickier to define, but hatred, if not a technical term, is readily understandable. (I think.)

The Bill itself strikes me as having two problems:

i) It seems to consider 'insulting' speech and material to be on the same par as 'threatening' and 'abusive' stuff. The ‘insulting’ part of the clauses would seem more relevant to racially-aggravated offences, where there is obviously no such thing as sober criticism of a racial group! Now clearly insulting people is not on. Insulting people is by no means, however, necessarily the same as stirring up hatred against them (or indeed hating them oneself); and, of course, one man's criticism is another man's insult. This latter is further problematic because:

ii) As far as I can see, the Bill is (at least potentially) self-contradictory. To take the first category of behaviour covered, 'Use of words or behaviour or display of written material'. (This would be section 18 of Pt III of an amended Public Order Act 1986):

(1) A person who uses threatening, abusive or insulting words or behaviour, or displays any written material which is threatening, abusive or insulting, is guilty of an offence if—
(a) he intends thereby to stir up racial or religious hatred, or
(b) having regard to all the circumstances the words, behaviour or material are (or is) likely to be heard or seen by any person in whom they are (or it is) likely to stir up racial or religious hatred.

However, despite 1(b):

(5) A person who is not shown to have intended to stir up racial or religious hatred is not guilty of an offence under this section if he did not intend his words or behaviour, or the written material, to be, and was not aware that it might be, threatening, abusive or insulting.

OK, so innocent intent and ignorance cancel out effect. But what about the very common situation where one knows people may feel insulted even though objectively one has not insulted them or intended to? If I say atheists or Muslims or liberals believe falsehoods, I know perfectly well that some people in these groups will feel that I have insulted their intelligence or sincerity, even though I have not. Would I be considered guilty under this Bill? The government’s explanatory notes state that both insulting content and incitement of hatred are required to establish guilt, but the Bill itself does not make this relationship between insult and incitement at all clear. (This presumably arises because the 'religious hatred' matter is being piggy-backed onto the 'racial hatred' matter.)

Moreover, I also know perfectly well that there are eejits who think that the falsehood of Islam (e.g.) does make it all right to excoriate, hate or attack Muslims. Similarly, if I repeat the Church's teaching on homosexuality, I know perfectly well that there are other eejits (or possibly even the same ones) who, apparently unable to distinguish between temptation and sin, sin and sinner, will then feel justified in going out waving signs saying 'God hates fags.' I am not aware that whatever I have said is or might be threatening, abusive or insulting; indeed, am positively aware that it is not. But I do know that some people may mistakenly read it as such. I have not endorsed or encouraged hatred of anyone, but am I legally responsible for some people's stupidity? Under this Bill I have a horrible suspicion that someone could make a case that I am. In short, the problem may lie in the need for complete ignorance of possible readers and readings of one's words - in addition to innocent intent - which is apparently required as a defence under this Bill. This would seem to be the place whence the Bill might turn out to cover all the things the government says it doesn't.

This government research paper has an interesting note on Scots law at the end - it sounds like current provisions in Scotland are quite sufficient, but I don't know the details.


Scotsman.com has started charging for access to good stuff like Katie Grant's columns. Boo hiss.

The Tablet and Trent

The Tablet has an article (and cover illustration) on Juventutem and general traddiness. (Log-in requirement - sometimes; it seems to be undecided on when to ask for this.) Interesting. It's not hostile, but it's not wildly sympathetic either. E.g.:
- the impression is given throughout that Novus Ordo sprang just about fully formed from Vatican II (so if you didn't know otherwise, you still wouldn't);
- there is some magnificent glossing-over of the reform's departures from the Council ('Even though the Council called for the retention of Latin as the principal language of the liturgy, the call for the introduction of the vernacular was so strong – even among the majority of the bishops – that the ancient tongue of the Church was gradually judged to be a relic of the past.');
- and it repeats notions about the two Roman rites that are at best incomplete:
'The old Mass mirrored a vertical hierarchy of truths, a strict discipline, legalism, conformism, and marked separation of clerics from the laity; the New Mass highlighted a dialogical dimension between priest and people, the active participation of the laity, and the possibility of adaptation (although this was often exaggerated early on). The argument was that the Tridentine Rite was not just a different way of celebrating the Mass, but that it was undergirded with a theology and understanding of the Church that was inconsistent with the Second Vatican Council.'
I don't know if those opposing the reforms in the '60s were unhappy with the Council as a whole, but as far as I know it would not be widely argued now - among non-schismatics - that Vatican II is inimical to the Tridentine Rite, or vice-versa. (Not that I know very far, in these matters.)

In fact, on re-reading, it strikes me that the article basically concludes that John Paul and Benedict's openness to the Tridentine Rite has been largely for the purposes of avoiding schism. Oddly, the author makes no attempt to find out why young people might be interested in this liturgy (he might, for a start, have asked some of them... too obvious?). I don't know if I'm being a bit paranoid, but if someone read it who vaguely thought that people who love the Trid Mass were a bit odd and probably hated Vatican II, I suspect that this article would not prompt them to re-examine their opinions.

The bit on Brazil is very interesting, though.

Incidentally, what makes one a 'traditionalist'? I ask out of honest ignorance; does a (pretty recent) predilection for the old rite (with derivative opinions as to why) make me a subscriber to an -ism by default? It doesn't feel a very -ism-y thing to do, going to Mass; but -isms are horribly prevalent nowadays...

Spot the deliberate mistake

  • Spirituality, defined as a search for "a holy ground on which to stand" and from which "to exercise leverage on a world in need of transformation and hope", was another topic listed by the WCC general secretary as deserving collaboration. "Grounded on the fertile soil of our respective spiritual treasures, we could seek together a stable place of moral clarity and confidence amid today's turbulent human landscape of shifting values, uncertain hopes and crumbling commitments," Kobia suggested.
The World Council of Churches gives the pope a few suggestions for things to do. (Bet he was grateful.) Hidden in the above passage was a cunningly disguised reversal of priorities. Just to see if Benedict would notice.
(anyone up for designing UN-speak and ecumenico-speak and Vatican-speak sentence constuctors along the lines of this one? From here.)
found on the scottish christian thing, linked on the right.

Sunday, June 19, 2005

The Truth About the Modern "Roman Rite"

To be any more Trad, you'd have to be Jewish...

Friday, June 17, 2005

Humanist wedding in the capital

Sourced from the blog berenike linked below.

(I am not going to make cheap jokes about the location of the event.) I'm not sure what to make of this. Inasmuch as marriage is a natural human thing, do what you like about solemnizing it, I suppose. To avoid a church wedding when one is not Christian is only proper. However, there is something sad about this; perhaps the general lack of understanding of the sacramental nature of the marriage of the baptized, or indeed the removal of perfectly natural human elements of marriage - permanence, children - from secular understandings of marriage. I don't know. Perhaps it's just that, after the long slow thinking through of what sacramental marriage meant, and its establishment as the basis for European society, to watching it - along with the Gospel - being rejected by my dear Scotia is just too grim.

Note the BBC's pithy summary of 'humanism' (a respectable word sadly abused):
'Humanists believe that people can live ethical lives without religious beliefs. '
Just look at it for a little while. Is there any sense in which the balance of human experience supports this notion? Does this seem a more natural reading of the situation than the belief that there is something currently very out-of-kilter about poor old homo sapiens?

So this is what goes on in people's heads

Apart from wur chum Aumgn, has anyone else ever heard the term "dignitarianism"? Does it really exist as a philosophy in itself, or is it simply a name for a way of trying to make the perennial philosophy at least partly comprehensible to the post-Enlightenment generation? Perhaps Seifert could be called a dignitarian.

Thursday, June 16, 2005

Wednesday, June 15, 2005

It's not time wasting...

...when one's speculating about the last episode of Doctor Who!!!

Or terrifying oneself and one's office-mates with a thousand Dalek voices!!!!

(Geek moment over. Normal service resumed.)

That which controls...

A rather hostile (but not uninteresting) account of the FAITH Movement. Scroll down about half way to "The Mission of the FAITH Movement" if you don't want to trawl through all the creationist stuff.

Tuesday, June 14, 2005


'From some accounts we should conclude that medieval Christianity was a kind of Manicheeism seasoned with prurience; from others, that it was a sort of carnival, in which all the happier aspects of Paganism took part, after being baptized and yet losing none of their jollity. Neither picture is very faithful.'

C.S. Lewis, The Allegory of Love (Oxford, 1936), ch.1

On legalising homosexual marriage, from the oscurita of L'Osservatore

I thought I posted this before, but can't find it anywhere. Did someone delete it? There was an "Equality" parade by homosexuals in Warsaw on Saturday, although they were refused permission to hold it. I haven't found anywhere an explanation of why the name was chosen, or what the purpose of the parade was. While thinking about this, I thought again of the article I post (perhaps again) below. The 2003 CDF document on which it is a comment is here.
Is marriage just discrimination?
Justice requires that equals be treated equally and unequals unequally. Discrimination is a distinction or the differential treatment based on such a distinction. Whether discrimination is justified depends on the answer to what Aristotle calls "the difficult question": equals and unequals in what? Unjust discrimination either fails to ask the right question or fails to act on the right answer. In contemporary political discourse the term discrimination itself has come to signify injustice. While this reflects the truth that all human beings have equal dignity, simply in virtue of belonging to the human species, it can obscure the fact that human dignity also requires recognition of the truth that, though equal, not everyone is the same. To deny driving licenses to the blind deoes not assume that they do not deserve equal respect and consideration as persons, but that they are different from other persons in respects relevant to driving.
Some countries have introduced, and others are considering, the extension of the legal recognition and social benefits of marriage to persons in homosexual relationships, in order to "put an end to discrimination". The first and most ambitious argument from discrimination proposes that homosexual relationships are equal to marital relationships in those respects that justify the privileged treatment of marriage.
Exclusivity, dependence, duration and sexual nature are not the relevant aspects why marriage is privileged by the State. They are only the conditions of those aspects that make marriage unique: the vital function of procreation and the socializing functions of bridging the male-female divide and raising children. When the State uniquely privileges marriage it takes the position that it is in the best interest of society for children to be born and raised in a community where they experience the cause of their biological and historical identity as a loving union preserved by each parent placing the needs of others over their own. By promoting marriage to be the exclusive union between one man and one woman, the State not only protects the rights of children, but encourages the values of commitment, restraint and diversity that are needed to preserve community at large. One objection to this is that not all marriages lead to children. Of course, the State cannot anticipate whether or not couples will have children, but it is clear that only one man and one woman together can be the biological parents of a child and can raise it with the complementarity of motherly and fatherly love. Marital acts are procreative in character even if non-behavioural conditions do not allow for conception. The other objection is that marriages fail, to the detriment of children, spouses, and families at large. But if individual marriages are in crisis, the correct inference cannot be that social policy should institutionalise this failure rather than counter-act it. Through marital benefits the State promotes rather than rewards ideal conditions for procreation and socialisation.
When the State uniquely privileges marriage, homosexual relationships are in no way singled out for "unequal treatment". There are any number of relationships that do not qualify for the benefits of marriage. The question then is why homosexual relationships should be treated as uniquely analogous to marriage. The aspect that differentiates homosexual unions from other non-marital relationships of dependence and duration is their particular sexual nature and it is not clear why this should single them out for governmental support. Preferential treatment of this sort would discriminate against all those in dependent relationships of a non-sexual nature: an unmarried woman who cares for her ageing mother or two widowed sisters that share a household could not claim privileges and protection from the State. In France the perception of this problem has lead to a more liberal model of civil unions, open to any two citizens. Even this model discriminates against some, as it provides no justification why groups or singles should be financially and socially disadvantaged. Crucially, in an open-to-all policy marriage looses the uniquely privileged position it deserves for practical and symbolical reasons. The extension of marriage privileges to non-marital unions inevitably diverts resources, dilutes meaning and diminishes status of marriage as traditionally understood. Rhetorical efforts to maintain some distance between marriage and homosexual unions cannot hide this fact.
A minimalist version of the argument for homosexual unions suggests that with "legal recognition" nothing more is at stake than the formal registration of a social phenomenon. In most cases, though, such "legal recognition" does in fact confer to homosexual relationships privileges previously reserved to marriage. This involves a re-evaluation of what contributes to the common good, how social benefits should be distributed, and what the rights of children are. But even if no benefits and privileges were involved, to single out the social phenomenon of homosexual relationships for formal registration is either arbitrary or it suggests an analogy to the only other legally recognised relationship, which is marriage. In an attempt to justify this analogy, proponents resort to the category of "committed relationships" to describe both homosexual and marital relationships. This falsely suggests that commitment in relationships is worthy of privileges for its own sake, while in fact the privileges promote the vital and social functions of marriage, for which commitment is only the condition. Consequently, for the State to promote a homogenised vision of "committed relationships" amounts to the decision no longer to encourage ideal conditions for procreation and socialisation.
The second argument from discrimination takes a different approach. Now the contention is not that homosexual unions are equal to marriage in relevant aspects but that the disadvantages homosexuals suffer in society ought to be compensated for by conferring marital status to homosexual unions. Because only homosexuals are disadvantaged in this particular way the question whether the State should extend the privileges to other non-marital relationships does not arise. The burden of proof then no longer lies with homosexual unions and their contribution to society in comparison to marriage, but with individual homosexuals and the disadvantages they suffer. Naturally, the argument will encounter less sympathy if these sufferings are in any way self-inflicted - hence the importance of shifting responsibility away from those who share the homosexual identity to others who by their actions allegedly make it oppressive.The argument from identity often assumes a unique advance in knowledge and understanding of human nature and elevates contemporary perceptions and practices to a normative status. Different perceptions, such as the traditional heterosexual model of marriage envisaged by Plato and Aristotle, are explained by their relation to an inferior understanding of the "facts" about homosexuality. Their objection to homosexuality, based on the notion that homosexuals engage in unnatural and therefore immoral acts, now can be dismissed because we "know" that homosexuality is a "natural condition" and ought to be treated as an "identity". But are these established facts? While so far there is no empirical evidence that homosexuality is biologically predetermined and unchangeable, there seem to be biological factors that can contribute to the development of homosexual inclination, just as there are in the case of aggressiveness or athleticism. However, the claim of a biologically determined and clearly delineated homosexual identity is rendered problematic in theory by Foucault's sexual constructivism and in practice by the bi-sexual and paedophile fringes of the category. Regardless of whether sexual orientation is chosen, biologically determined or psychologically enforced (as it seems to be the case with many victims of abuse), no account of the origins of homosexuality can establish that the inclination must constitute an identity.
Next to the identity claim, the argument for compensation has to rely on the perception that the disadvantages homosexuals face are substantial. In this regard there can be no doubt that the feeling of being ostracized or persecuted among many homosexuals is real, even if the truth of the feeling is increasingly difficult to establish as a truth of fact. Homosexuals enjoy the full protection of the law and in many countries additional anti-discrimination laws are in place that single out sexual orientation for particular protection. Homosexuals enjoy above average professional success and financial power (in the US almost twice the average household income) and are present in high proportion in politics and among opinion shaping elites. This is not to say that homosexuals do not face very real problems, but so far it has been impossible to show that they are related to societal discrimination. The significantly higher rates of mental illness, substance abuse, domestic violence and suicide among homosexuals seems to be independent not only of HIV status but there is no reduction in these rates among homosexuals that live in a social milieu where homosexuality is widely accepted and legally recognised (T.G.M. Sandforte et al., 2001). If social acceptance does not affect these problems, it is unclear how increased social status could remedy them.
Thin evidence for societal discrimination weakens the compensation argument, as the discrimination which marriage is supposed to compensate for, appears to consist mostly in the fact that homosexuals cannot marry. Because this is true for any number of relationships, the question returns why homosexuals should be singled out for preferential treatment. Here emerges the perhaps most problematic aspect to the compensation argument. If it turns out that the discrimination to be compensated for consists not so much in acts that unjustly discriminate against homosexuals, but simply in the fact that homosexual behaviour is morally controversial, this raises questions of freedom of conscience. Is the introduction of homosexual unions ultimately to symbolise that there is no right to freedom of conscience on the matter of homosexual acts and that conscientious objectors are to be marginalised in public life? Already the appeal to conscience in any matter pertaining to homosexuality risks being dismissed as "homophobia". Understood as a pathological fear this disqualifies the position of opponents as an entirely irrational stance. Beyond that, it has also come to imply an indifferent or even hostile attitude. Because the condemnation of homosexual behaviour objects to acts, not to persons, the conclusion that any opposition to homosexual unions indicates lack of respect and care for people is a blatant non-sequitur. If the line of reasoning is that homosexuality is so central to the human person that it is impossible to morally disapprove of homosexual acts and not thereby discriminate against the person, then by the same token conscientious beliefs central to the human person could not be contradicted without discriminating against the person.
The exhortation that "religious belief must not lead to the discrimination of homosexuals by refusing them the right to marry" sets up a false problem. Not all arguments made by religious believers can be reduced to their religious beliefs, or are justified on the basis of their beliefs alone, and not all the reasons why the State should uniquely privilege marriage depend on the immorality of homosexual acts. The contribution of religious believers to the public debate on homosexual unions cannot be dismissed as inherently irrational and biased without denying them equality as citizens. Moral objections to sexual orientation are not necessarily irrational and it is only unjust to discriminate on the basis of these objections in areas where the sexual orientation of the individual is irrelevant. It cannot be allowed that in political discussion pathological irrationality, bad motives, or even hatred, are freely ascribed to opponents of homosexual unions, disregarding basic rules of evidence. The same is true for the voice of the Catholic Church: Scripture and Tradition are unequivocal in the condemnation of homosexual behaviour but the difference between homosexual relationships and marriage has not been invented by Christianity, nor is it upheld only by Catholics. If in the name of truth rational arguments can be dismissed because they accord with conscientious beliefs, and in the name of justice conscientious belief can be silenced, then freedom is not for all.
R.M.T. Schmid

Martyrdom of St Polycarp, circa 155 a.D.

Just to remind you all about this little letter. (God bless Kevin Knight and New Advent.)
The proconsul asked him whether he was Polycarp. On his confessing that he was, [the proconsul] sought to persuade him to deny [Christ], saying, "Have respect to thy old age," and other similar things, according to their custom, [such as]," Swear by the fortune of Caesar; repent, and say, Away with the Atheists." But Polycarp, gazing with a stern countenance on all the multitude of the wicked heathen then in the stadium, and waving his hand towards them, while with groans he looked up to heaven, said, "Away with the Atheists." Then, the proconsul urging him, and saying, "Swear, and I will set thee at liberty, reproach Christ;" Polycarp declared, "Eighty and six years have I served Him, and He never did me any injury: how then can I blaspheme my King and my Saviour?"
The Martyrdom of Polycarp, encyclical letter of the Church at Smyrna
For more reminders about the interesting things about St Polycarp (pupil of St John the Evangelist, e.g.) go here.

Cartoon via Dawn Eden

whose blog is here. And who has put a link to us. I think she deserves, quite apart from that kindness, a link here. Perhaps also the Irish chap who is into horses, if he would be so obliging as to leave his addres somewhere because I have forgotten it.

Habemus Papam Techno

Happiness relived listening to this!

Monday, June 13, 2005

I may be too easily amused...

- but while out buying sweeties at lunchtime, I was delighted to be reminded of the existence of this apparent archdiocesan sideline...

Pink nuns!

Boeciana, they have a house in Poland. Come round after Koeln and we'll go and visit!

Try the virtual tour on the website for some photos.

Now if I could find a piccie of the sister that goes to my lectures who has a pillar-box red veil . . .

Sunday, June 12, 2005

Things We Forgot to Remember

Interesting programme on Radio 4 about the Vendee, plus article on the same topic.

The sayings of the wise are sharp as goads

I go back to my Penguin edition of the letters of Abelard and Heloise very often. Among other reasons, there are so many apt quotes. Coming as they do in a context illustrative of their meaning, they are much more striking than when one reads them in their original place. By chapter eighteen of Proverbs the pithiness no longer excites.

The other good thing about helpful people like Abelard quoting from a wide range of people is that one can look immensely erudite citing Lucan or St Augustine on baptism and not giving the quotes found in the books on whatever it is one is writing on. You can soothe your conscience by looking up the passage on New Advent or elsewhere on the web.

Here are the goodies I found today while procrastinating.

The prophets wrote books: and your forebears did much work on them. Then their successors committed them to memory. But now comes the present generation, which has copied them on paper and parchment and put them back to stand idle on shelves. (Vitae Patrum V, 10.114; V, 10.67)

Libosus also of Vaga says: "The Lord says in the gospel, 'I am the Truth.' He does not say, 'I am custom.' Therefore, when the truth is made manifest, custom must give way to truth." (Augustine, On Baptism against the Donatists, III, 6)

"Boredom with learning is the beginning of a withdrawal from God." (Abelard, lost the page so I can't give the reference) Discuss.

Saturday, June 11, 2005

Ultimate in mortification

There you are, in agony, no-one has any way of finding out that you are practically flagellating yourself, and to top it all folk think you are frivolous, so no chance of glorying in works.
No suggestions for blokes, though, sorry.

Yes, I am just back from a wedding and my feet are killing me.

Friday, June 10, 2005

the view from Inverness, apparently

A professor (of what?) ticks off the folk in Africa for having too many babies. Yes, you thought it was corrupt governments, unjust trade laws, the aftermath of imperialism, endemic diseases, harsh climates and long-running warfare that had put large stretches of the continent in such a bad way, but no, all now becomes clear - too many children. Phew, so we're off the hook? Oh hang on, no, we've got to ensure that 'Nature's cruel cull of surplus children needs to be replaced by humane contraception, as in richer countries.' That'd be the richer countries with populations well below replacement levels, pensions crises, epidemic levels of STDs and morally-bankrupt popular cultures, then? Good good...

(Won't even get started on the notion of 'humane contraception.')

Prayer and fasting...

Oh dear

But well done KPO'B!

Thursday, June 09, 2005

De angelo Domini qui ad sanctum Columbam in Hinba commorantem insula per visum apparuit, missus ut Aidanum in regem ordinaret

Cave angelum!

ALIO in tempore, cum vir praedicabilis in Hinba commoraretur insula, quadam nocte in extasi mentis angelum Domini ad se missum vidit, qui in manu vitreum ordinationis regum habebat librum: quem cum vir venerandus de manu angeli accepisset, ab eo jussus, legere coepit. Qui cum secundum quod ei in libro erat commendatum Aidanum in regem ordinare recusaret, quia magis Iogenanum fratrem ejus diligeret, subito angelus, extendens manum, Sanctum percussit flagello, cujus livorosum in ejus latere vestigium omnibus suae diebus permansit vitae. Hocque intulit verbum, ‘Pro certo scias,’ inquiens, ‘quia ad te a Deo missus sum cum vitreo libro, ut juxta verba quae in eo legisti, Aidanum in regnum ordines. Quod si obsecundare huic nolueris jussioni, percutiam te iterato.’ Hic itaque angelus Domini, cum per tres continuas noctes, eundem in manu vitreum habens codicem, apparuisset, eademque Domini jussa de regis ejusdem ordinatione commendasset, Sanctus, verbo obsecutus Domini, ad Iouam transnavigavit insulam, ibidemque Aidanum, iisdem adventantem diebus, in regem, sicut erat jussus, ordinavit. Et inter ordinationis verba, de filiis et nepotibus pronepotibusque ejus futura prophetizavit: imponensque manum super caput ejus, ordinans benedixit. Cummeneus Albus, in libro quem de virtutibus sancti Columbae scripsit, sic dixit quod sanctus Columba de Aidano et de posteris ejus, et de regno suo, prophetare coepit, dicens, ‘Indubitanter crede, O Aidane, quoniam nullus adversariorum tuorum tibi poterit resistere, donec prius fraudulentiam agas in me et in posteros meos. Propterea ergo tu filiis commenda ut et ipsi filiis et nepotibus et posteris suis commendent, ne per consilia mala eorum sceptrum regni hujus de manibus suis perdant. In quocunque enim tempore adversum me aut adversus cognatos meos qui sunt in Hibernia fecerint, flagellum, quod causa tui ab angelo sustinui per manum Dei super eos in magnum flagitium vertetur, et cor virorum auferetur ab eis et inimici eorum vehementer super eos confortabuntur.’ Hoc autem vaticinium temporibus nostris completum est, in bello Roth, Domnail Brecco, nepote Aidani, sine causa vastante provinciam Domnill nepotis Ainmuireg. Et a die illa usque hodie adhuc in proclivo sunt ab extraneis: quod suspiria doloris pectori incutit.

Et cave Columbam!

De cujusdam aquatilis bestiae virtute orationis beati viri repulsione

ALIO quoque in tempore, cum vir beatus in Pictorum provincia per aliquot moraretur dies, necesse habuit fluvium transire Nesam: ad cujus cum accessisset ripam, alios ex accolis aspicit misellum humantes homunculum; quem, ut ipsi sepultores ferebant, quaedam paulo ante nantem aquatilis praeripiens bestia morsu momordit saevissimo: cujus miserum cadaver, sero licet, quidam in alno subvenientes porrectis praeripuere uncinis. Vir e contra beatus, haec audiens, praecipit ut aliquis ex comitibus enatans, caupallum, in altera stantem ripa, ad se navigando reducat. Quo sancti audito praedicabilis viri praecepto, Lugneus Mocumin, nihil moratus, obsecundans, depositis excepta vestimentis tunica, immittit se in aquas. Sed bellua, quae prius non tam satiata, quam in praedam accensa, in profundo fluminis latitabat, sentiens eo nante turbatam supra aquam, subito emergens, natatilis ad hominem in medio natantem alveo, cum ingenti fremitu, aperto cucurrit ore. Vir tum beautus videns, omnibus qui inerant, tam barbaris quam etiam fratribus, nimio terrore perculsis, cum salutare, sancta elevata manu, in vacuo aere crucis pinxisset signum, invocato Dei nomine, feroci imperavit bestiae dicens, ‘Noles ultra progredi, nec hominem tangas; retro citius revertere.’ Tum vero bestia, hac Sancti audita voce, retrorsum, ac si funibus retraheretur, velociori recursu fugit tremefacta: quae prius Lugneo nanti eo usque appropinquavit, ut hominem inter et bestiam non amplius esset quam unius contuli longitudo. Fratres tum, recessisse videntes bestiam, Lugneumque commilitonem ad eos intactum et incolumem in navicula reversum, cum ingenti admiratione glorificaverunt Deum in beato viro. Sed et gentiles barbari, qui ad praesens inerant, ejusdem miraculi magnitudine, quod et ipsi viderant, compulsi, Deum magnificaverunt Christianorum.

(Et vulgariter.)

Spes Scotorum, ora pro nobis!

With friends like these

Thomas doesn't need enemies. I haven't listened to the chap - dial-up connection - but hooted involuntarily when I read his little bio thingy. Anglicans - making Catholics feel better since 1972.

"Martin Palmer is a Theologian and Director of the International Consultancy on Religion, Education and Culture. Martin is an Anglican lay preacher, an ordained Taoist priest, a Sikh elder, and holds several other honorary religious positions. He is the author of many books on religious topics including The Sacred History of Britain and has edited the Times World Religions. He is also one of the foremost translators of ancient Chinese texts, having published translations on the Tao Te Ching, I Ching, Chuang Tzu, and Kuan Yin. "

By the way, go and vote Thomas (see link below or on the page the title of this post links to) and get all your friends to do likewise.

Wednesday, June 08, 2005

Does anyone know where I can find the music to...?

"Quicumque vult salvus esse, ante omnia opus est, ut teneat catholicam fidem: Quam nisi quisque integram inviolatamque servaverit, absque dubio in aeternam peribit. Fides autem catholica haec est: ut unum Deum in Trinitate, et Trinitatem in unitate veneremur. Neque confundentes personas, neque substantiam seperantes. Alia est enim persona Patris alia Filii, alia Spiritus Sancti: Sed Patris, et Fili, et Spiritus Sancti una est divinitas, aequalis gloria, coeterna maiestas. Qualis Pater, talis Filius, talis Spiritus Sanctus. Increatus Pater, increatus Filius, increatus Spiritus Sanctus. Immensus Pater, immensus Filius, immensus Spiritus Sanctus. Aeternus Pater, aeternus Filius, aeternus Spiritus Sanctus. Et tamen non tres aeterni, sed unus aeternus. Sicut non tres increati, nec tres immensi, sed unus increatus, et unus immensus. Similiter omnipotens Pater, omnipotens Filius, omnipotens Spiritus Sanctus. Et tamen non tres omnipotentes, sed unus omnipotens. Ita Deus Pater, Deus Filius, Deus Spiritus Sanctus. Ita Dominus Pater, Dominus Filius, Dominus Spiritus Sanctus. Et tamen non tres Domini, sed unus est Dominus. Quia, sicut singillatim unamquamque personam Deum ac Dominum confiteri christiana veritate compelimur: ita tres Deos aut Dominos dicere catholica religione prohibemur. Pater a nullo est factus: nec creatus, nec genitus. Filius a Patre solo est: non factus, nec creatus, sed genitus. Spiritus Sanctus a Patre et Filio: non factus, nec creatus, nec genitus, sed procedens. Unus ergo Pater, non tres Patres: unus Filius, non tres Filii: unus Spiritus Sanctus, non tres Spiritus Sancti. Et in hac Trinitate nihil prius aut posterius, nihil maius aut minus: sed totae tres personae coaeternae sibi sunt et coaequales. Ita ut per omnia, sicut iam supra dictum est, et unitas in Trinitate, et Trinitas in unitate veneranda sit. Qui vult ergo salvus esse, ita de Trinitate sentiat. Sed necessarium est ad aeternam salutem, ut incarnationem quoque Domini nostri Iesu Christi fideliter credat. Est ergo fides recta ut credamus et confiteamur, quia Dominus noster Iesus Christus, Dei Filius, Deus et homo est. Deus est ex substantia Patris ante saecula genitus: et homo est ex substantia matris in saeculo natus. Perfectus Deus, perfectus homo: ex anima rationali et humana carne subsistens. Aequalis Patri secundum divinitatem: minor Patre secundum humanitatem. Qui licet Deus sit et homo, non duo tamen, sed unus est Christus. Unus autem non conversione divinitatis in carnem, sed assumptione humanitatis in Deum. Unus omnino, non confusione substantiae, sed unitate personae. Nam sicut anima rationalis et caro unus est homo: ita Deus et homo unus est Christus. Qui passus est pro salute nostra: descendit ad inferos: tertia die resurrexit a mortuis. Ascendit ad caelos, sedet ad dexteram Dei Patris omnipotentis: inde venturus est iudicare vivos et mortuos. Ad cuius adventum omnes homines resurgere habent cum corporibus suis: et reddituri sunt de factis propriis rationem. Et qui bona egerunt, ibunt in vitam aeternam: qui vero mala, in ignem aeternum. Haec est fides catholica, quam nisi quisque fideliter firmiterque crediderit, salvus esse non poterit. Amen."

Vote Aquinas!

Tuesday, June 07, 2005

7th June

Today, in 1099, Godfrey reached the hill of Ramah and beheld Jerusalem...


Via Scottish Christian News: nightmare on Channel 4, which Wadham Anglican successfully bashes in the Guardian, of all places. I'd have expected better of Jonathan Edwards.

Summarize Proust Competition!

Thousands and indeed hundreds to be won! Guaranteed. Delivery to be arranged. All you have to do is provide a summary of one of the topics below in not more than 100 words. I was looking through my exam topics and thought this would be an amusing project. You get points for compression, wit, and memorability.

And possibly hundreds and thousands in consequence of the extra points.
  • Luther's Appearance and the Development of Protestantism to 1555
  • Calvinism (history thereof, chums, not theology per se)(too easy to laugh at the latter)
  • Protestantism on Polish Territory
  • Reception of the Council of Trent in Poland
  • The Enlightenment - characterise it - and the birth and dev of Freemasonry
    (not allowed to say Bugnini)
  • French Rev
  • The Concordat of the Holy See with Napoleon (did you know there was one?)
  • Endarkenment in, you've guessed it, Poland
  • Situation of the Church in the Prussian, Austrian and Russian Partitions to 1815, and 1865-1914 (two summaries)
  • The Vienna Congress, creation of the Congress Kingdom (Aelianus, I need my Davis after all . . .)

Bonus points

  • Church on social questions - Ozanam, Lepley, Kettler
  • A fun one - Positivism, the modernist crisis and the genesis of theological errors (mariatism, Polish Catholic Church in the US) You weren't expecting the bit in brackets, were you?

Monday, June 06, 2005

Beautiful Orthodox article on monasticism

Via the Moniales OP.

book meme

The Angry Twins tagged us with this a while ago, and I can't think of anything more original to post, so here it is...

1. Total number of books owned - um, couple of hundred in my room, about a hundred in the office, and I suppose a couple of hundred with my parents. Which isn't as many as I expected... licence to shop!

2. Last book bought The most recent order was Simon Gaine's Will there be free will in Heaven?, but it's not here yet, so it's bought but not yet enjoyed... And the most recent to come into both dominium and usum were Evelyn Waugh's Helena and John Paul II's Memory and Identity,in the same happy Amazon package.

3. Last book read The last one actually finished was Augustine Fortescue's The Mass: A History of the Roman Liturgy, which I read at Aelianus's recommendation and thoroughly enjoyed. Fine history (I hope some new MS discovery hasn't completely trashed much of what he says. Oh well, have Jungmann's Missarum Solemnia (in English) out of the library too - does anyone have opinions about this book?), splendidly opinionated. Still not sure about this business of the Canon being clearly out of order, though. One can see what he means when he talks about it, but one's first thought on hearing the Canon is not, 'Gosh, that doesn't make sense, isn't it silly to have two lists of saints?'. It wasn't mine, at any rate. Maybe it's no bad thing that it's changed order. It seems to work perfectly well.

4. Five books that mean a lot to me Everyone seems to be taking the Bible as read - I wish it were more read, in my case... - so I will likewise assume that. Otherwise:
i) Dorothy L. Sayers, Gaudy Night - for several reasons, possibly the most important of which is its preaching of intellectual integrity in all spheres of life.
ii) The works of R.W. Southern and Alexander Murray - or, why I am (trying to be) a medievalist.
iii) Guibert of Nogent's De vita sua, or Monodiae, or whatever title you give it. The first medieval person I got to know well, I think, and the first person to show me that Marian piety was not incompatible with Christianity. Must reread this, actually.
iv) John Donne's poetry - to be precise, the Oxford World Classics selected poetry, a battered volume on my shelf. I don't love him as much as I used to - probably, I fear, because the rather improper side of his verses is more evident to me than it used to be. His tenacious - if sometimes rather wilful - chasing of ideas is very beautiful, though; his divine poetry is often magnificent (Batter my heart...); and he was possibly the first person to draw to my attention the painful need to seek God's true Spouse nowadays.
v)Therese of Lisieux's autobiography. Again, must reread this - only read it once, two years ago or a bit less. She was completely astonishing in many ways - her complete humility combined with complete confidence in God to do so much through her is perhaps the most striking; and again, the natural place of Our Lady in her Christianity. I suspect her prayers played a hefty part in dragging me into the Church.

Er... I don't know who to tag, everyone's done this already. Anselmus? Mr Preece?

Thursday, June 02, 2005

Academia today

I'm not sure if this going to be revealed as a spoof. It's either very clever or very tragic. Or possibly both.

Or maybe I just have a very puerile sense of humour.

words do not suffice

(Scroll down on the linked page, and beware annoying adverts.)

'As Jo Murphy-Lawless demonstrates in Reading Birth and Death, the maternity hospital has historically been an effective means of enforcing gender norms and gender difference because it enables science to "create the female body it requires" '

Or, 'only women have wombs.' How oppressive...

(Credit to KEG.)

Wednesday, June 01, 2005

Patron Saint of Getting the Right Questions

This chap got me through the Final Honour School with a respectable class of honours, which given my igronance of my subject makes his levitating positively mundane.


First Prayer

O Great St. Joseph of Cupertino who while on earth did obtain from God the grace to be asked at your examination only the questions you knew, obtain for me a like favour in the examinations for which I am now preparing. In return I promise to make you known and cause you to be invoked.

Through Christ our Lord.

St. Joseph of Cupertino, Pray for us.


Second Prayer

O St. Joseph of Cupertino who by your prayer obtained from God to be asked at your examination, the only preposition you knew. Grant that I may like you succeed in the (here mention the name of Examination eg. History paper I ) examination.

In return I promise to make you known and cause you to be invoked.

(prayers from a website with a soundtrack that has to be heard. Earning my rye bread teaching English, I particularly like "only the preposition you knew" in the second prayer!

The Founder and His Deputy