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Sunday, July 31, 2005

I found the party

They're all having a row under Miracles and Laws 2.

convert fever

You know you're rapidly heading for Catholic nerdhood when, upon re-watching The Slipper and the Rose after some years, the single most exciting moment is in the wedding scene when the bishop begins a great long prayer in Latin. And then you get annoyed that the Fairy Godmother's entry prevents you from hearing the end of it...

The second best bit is still the song in the family mausoleum, though.

Just because you're paranoid

When out walking on Friday evening, I heard a great bang - louder than fireworks, not immediately identifiable, not from any obvious direction. Natural response: ignore it and hope it goes away. Thirty seconds later, another similar bang, and another. Everyone on the street stopped for a moment, and then seemed collectively to make the decision to assume that nothing bad was happening. Then another cluster of bangs. Everyone stopped again - everyone clearly thinking, 'Is this it? Have they come for Edinburgh now?' The couple in front of me actually turned round and, uninvited, spoke to me: 'Do you know what's going on?' 'No idea.' It must be bad if British people are speaking to each other on the street. Then smoke could be seen in the sky, over towards the job centre. 'That's not good.' 'Maybe they're practising for the Tattoo.' 'Oh, good point.' Not sounding convinced. Still people carried on, rather hesitantly, down the street. Then a group of girls came round the corner, and, clearly spotting the incipient panic, stopped and explained that a Chinese artist was making a 'black rainbow' over the Castle, for the Festival. At which point I remembered that I'd heard this on Reporting Scotland, and felt rather silly. Still, there it is. Fear on the streets. Interesting.

For fellow Benedict junkies

From the Curt Jester. If you follow his link to the original, you can see that what looks like a dodgy roll-up is in fact the top of a piece of grass. Shame.

Where'd everyone go?

So much excitement. I would think that it might be a reason for everyone having disappeared, except that there was a lot more excitement when our Holy Father was elected (by whom I, unlike every single priest bar one I have heard preaching since April, mean Benedict and not John Paul) and no-one disappeared then. But here we are, Łukashenko is attempting to dissolve or rather absorbe the Związek Polaków na Białorusi, one of the last non-governmental organisations in Belorus and all sorts of diplomatic steam is being produced between Poland and Belorus. It turns out the police shot some poor random Brazilian electrician and not a terrorist. Well, there is nothing to suggest he was also a terrorist, apart from being a Brazilian electrician. All kinds of opportunities for being rude to the Orthodox about this Ireneos chap. And probably other exciting things that I have missed due to having a long letter to laboriously translate into Italian (tongue sticking out, grubby fingers clutch pencil, look of puzzlement on face), another silly translation with lots of silly local authority terminology to do and yesterday I read the whole of Vanity Fair instead. It would be nice if Thackeray did more of a Jane Austen thing and let the goodies have happy endings. I am rather sorry for Dobbin, getting the woman he wants but only after having decided she's not that great, and it was cruel not to let Rawdon back to England.

Tuesday, July 26, 2005

A fitting reply!

Lucasta Replies to Lovelace

Tell me not, friend, you are unkind,
If ink and books laid by,
You turn up in a uniform
Looking all smart and spry.

I thought your ink one horrid smudge,
Your books one pile of trash,
And with less fear of smear embrace
A sword, a belt, a sash.

Yet this inconstancy forgive,
Though gold lace I adore,
I could not love the lace so much
Loved I not Lovelace more.

G.K. Chesterton

(This isn't related to anything on the blog, in case you were wondering; I just liked it.)

The Democrats and Chronos

Most of the Children aborted since Roe vs Wade would have voted Democrat and the margin is wide enough to have put Bush in the White House...

A Tab with something to say...

This is a very interesting interview with Tracey Rowland where she lays out a most perceptive distinction between Whig 'Thomists' (see link to 'Provincial Capitalist Entrist Conspiracy') and Augustinian Thomists and assigns to the latter camp the Supreme Pontiff now gloriously reigning. I must say (while I am far from agreeing with everything I have read of Miss Rowland or admiring everyone she seems to admire) these comments are spot on. These bloody Neo-Cons with their plan to turn the Church into a chaplaincy to the Project for a New American Century may in the long term be far more dangerous than the Liberals. Anyone who calls himself an Augustinian and isn't a Thomist is deluding himself and anyone who calls himself a Thomist and isn't an Augustinian has betrayed his master. Also see... Part 1

Monday, July 25, 2005

"the rights of God and man stand or fall together"


To my Venerable Brother
Bishop Cardinal Antonio Maria Javierre Ortas

I was delighted to learn that on 16 December next you will preside at an academic celebration of the 1,200th anniversary of the imperial coronation of Charlemagne by Pope Leo III on Christmas in the year 800. Desiring to take part in the celebration of this historical event at least in spirit, I send you this Message, extending my best wishes and greetings to you and to the distinguished assembly.

The commemoration of this historic event invites us to turn our gaze not only to the past but also to the future. For it coincides with the decisive phase in the drafting of the European Union's "Charter of Fundamental Rights". This happy coincidence prompts us to reflect on the value which Charlemagne's cultural and religious reform still represents today: its importance, in fact, is far greater than that of his work for the external unification of the various European political realities of his era.

It is the grand synthesis of the culture of classical antiquity, mainly Roman, and that of the Germanic and Celtic peoples, which characterizes Charlemagne's great contribution to the continent's formation. This synthesis is based on the Gospel of Jesus Christ, for Europe was not a geographically defined unit. Only by accepting the Christian faith did it became a continent. Down the ages this continent succeeded in spreading its values to almost every other part of the world for the good of humanity. At the same time, we must not forget that the ideologies which unleashed rivers of blood and tears during the 20th century came from a Europe that had wanted to forget its Christian roots.

The European Union's effort to formulate a "Charter of Fundamental Rights" is an attempt at a new synthesis, at the beginning of the new millennium, of the basic values that must guide the coexistence of European peoples. The Church has followed the drafting of this document with keen attention. In this regard, I cannot conceal my disappointment that in the Charter's text there is not a single reference to God. Yet in God lies the supreme source of the human person's dignity and his fundamental rights.

It cannot be forgotten that it was the denial of God and his commandments which led in the last century to the tyranny of idols. A race, a class, the state, the nation and the party were glorified instead of the true and living God. In the light of the misfortunes that overtook the 20th century we can understand: the rights of God and man stand or fall together.

Despite many noble efforts, the text worked out for the "European Charter" does not satisfy the just expectations of many. In particular, the defence of the rights of the individual and the family could have been more courageous. That is why the concern to safeguard these rights, which are not always properly understood and respected, is more than justified. In many European States they are threatened, for example, by policies supporting abortion, which is legalized almost everywhere.

A further threat lies in an attitude that increasingly views euthanasia as a possibility, as well as in certain bills dealing with genetic technology that do not sufficiently respect the embryo as a human being. It is not enough to emphasize the dignity of the person in grand words, if it is then seriously violated in norms of the juridical order.

The great historical figure of the Emperor Charlemagne calls to mind the Christian roots of Europe. Whoever studies him is taken back to an era - despite ever present human limitations - which was marked by an impressive cultural flourishing in almost all fields of experience. In search of its identity, Europe cannot fail to consider making an energetic effort to recover the cultural heritage left by Charlemagne and preserved for over a millennium. Education in the spirit of Christian humanism guarantees the intellectual and moral training that forms young people and helps them to face the serious problems raised by scientific-technological development. The study of classical languages in schools can also be an effective help in introducing the younger generation to the knowledge of a cultural heritage of inestimable value.

I therefore express my appreciation to everyone who has had a part in preparing this academic celebration. I am thinking in particular of Mons. Walter Brandmuller, President of the Pontifical Committee for Historical Sciences. Scholarly initiative makes a valuable contribution to the rediscovery of those values in which Europe's deepest "soul" can be recognized. On this occasion, I would also like to greet the members of the Augsburg Cathedral Choir Boys, whose singing has richly added to the convention.

With these sentiments, I impart a special Apostolic Blessing to Your Eminence, to the speakers, to the participants and to the pueri cantores.

From the Vatican, 14 December 2000.

Saturday, July 23, 2005

Art history for conspiracy theorists

' "In virgin and child paintings, the child symbolises wisdom, knowledge, truth. So what the pregnant Madonnas represent is a temporarily hidden truth," Mr Manetti said.'

Or they might represent... Our Lady with the Child in her womb. Radical, I know...

This morning is brought to you by the letter C

Cricket on Channel 4. Coffee (admittedly too much - jitters!). Croissants. Catholic Herald. Happy morning.

Powerful stuff in said Herald:

'As recently as 1997 the large seminary at Buta [in Burundi] was under threat, and the rector Fr Zacharie Bukuru observed that in times of recreation the students were splitting into two groups, Hutu and Tutsi. He brought them together to talk about the dangers of the time, and their common status as children of God which is beyond any ethnic or colour division... This led to much prayer... It was early one morning, six o'clock, when armed bands numbering about 2000 invaded the seminary buildings... in the senior dormitory a group of students were cornered before they knew what was happening. Shots were fired... And the Hutu students were told to move apart, and leave the the Tutsis exposed for massacre. No student moved. There was a stand-off for a few minutes. Then an order to bring out the machetes. It is known that in Rwanda victims faced with death at the hand of a mob like this paid to be shot rather than cut to pieces. If the students were frightened at the sight of the machetes, they still did not separate. So eventually a woman, the leader, gave the order from the killing to begin.... An eyewitness was able to tell how one student had prayer: "Father forgive them for they know not what they do", while another had prayed for Burundi and peace in his land; others died praying fragments of the psalms. [Fr Zacharie] found that many, as he tried to lay out the bodies, had rosaries in their hands.'
From 'Carnage in the seminary' by Canon JP Marmion. You can't read the Catholic Herald online, it seems; worth getting this week's for this article alone.

O ye martyrs of Burundi, pray for us.

Friday, July 22, 2005

Just a blob of jelly

And even if it's a little more articulated, hey, it's got a cleft palate/Down's/other really serious handicap that means it'll never survive anyway.


Thursday, July 21, 2005


Lectores dilecti: if you would be so kind, please say a prayer for the repose of the soul of the son of a family friend, who has died by, it seems, his own hand. Thank you. (Don't leave a comment, just pray. For his family too, obviously.)

I know this isn't a 'personal stuff' blog, but all possible channels of prayer recruitment seem called for here.

Her Majesty's Ambassador to the Holy See

Go to the link and put in job ref B7986.

Nice job, no? Wonder how I can increase my stature, short of leg-bone-lengthening operations.

But I would rather be nuncio.

Wednesday, July 20, 2005

Fireman resuscitates goldfish

Just to raise the intellectual level a bit. From here, which looks suspiciously like a Cooncil effort or some such, and is about as exciting as Zenit news ("Today the Pope, in honour of the feast of St George, patron of England, had sherry trifle for pudding."), via here.

A firefighter performed the successful resuscitation of a goldfish which almost expired in a housefire.

Acting sub-officer Brian Todd, 34, and his colleagues put out a blaze that had gutted the living room of a flat in Edinburgh when one of them noticed a blackened fish tank.

The goldfish was lying in the sooty water trying to move one of its gills.
Mr Todd, a keen fisherman, immediately used his expertise to try to save the pet.

Those who are not afraid to open their ears, let them understand!

"Pope Benedict XVI as theologian and cardinal wrote much about the liturgy, because lex credendi, lex orandi: the liturgy is the expression of faith and it is the faith that guides the liturgy. The liturgy is not the field of those who like to do things their own way, it is not a field for 'do it yourself'. The liturgy is the official expression of the faith of the Church, the celebration of the mysteries of Christ. And Cardinal Ratzinger - now Pope Benedict - had rather clear ideas about the liturgy, and was not afraid to express them. This encourages us greatly in our work at the Congregation for Divine Worship, as might well be guessed. Those who are not afraid to open their ears, let them understand! "

Tuesday, July 19, 2005

Just like the C10!

I remember reading something about some property scandal or not scandal, but it looks like there are going to be patriarchs and anti-patriarchs and everything. Jut like Photius or whoever that baddie was. Marvellous.

"Palestinian President Abbas Dismisses Greek Orthodox Patriarch of Jerusalem Irineos 1 - Jordan Ordered His Dismissal Weeks ago, Israel Is Still Studying the Issue". A more up-to-date article.

Let's rephrase that. "The Queen today ordered the dismissal of the Archbishop of Westminster". "The UN today ordered the dismisal of Pope Benedict XVI". "Juszczenko dismisses Kiev Patriarch Lubomyr" (that's a wee future supposition, hee hee).
In-depth analysis another time, this is just a schadenfreude post.

Monday, July 18, 2005

Miracles and Laws 2

That God can work beyond the Order laid down for Creatures, and produce Effects without Proximate Causes

SINCE accidents follow upon the substantial principles of the thing, he who immediately produces the substance of a thing must be able immediately to work in the thing whatever effects follow upon substantial existence. But God by creation has brought all things immediately into being. He can therefore immediately move anything to any effect without intermediate causes.

But if any one says that, once God has fixed an orderly course of events, He cannot change it without changing Himself; and that He would change Himself, if ever He worked in the world to the production of effects apart from their own proper causes, such a saying may be refuted by a study of nature. For the orderly course of events fixed by God, if we look at it as it obtains in creation, will be found to hold for the most part, but not everywhere or always: for sometimes, although in a minority of cases, the thing turns out otherwise, either for lack of power in the agent, or for indisposition of the matter, or from some vis major supervening. Yet not on that account does the law of providence fail or suffer change: for it comes under providence that the natural course of things, instituted to hold usually, should sometimes fail. If therefore by the action of some created power the natural course of events may be altered from the usual to the unusual, and that without any alteration of divine providence, much more may the divine power sometimes do a thing, without prejudice to its own providence, beyond the course assigned to natural events by God. This God does at times to manifest His power: for there is no better way of manifesting the subjection of all nature to the divine will than by something being done at times beyond the course of nature: for thereby it appears that the course of events proceeds from Him, and is not of necessity of nature, but through free will. Nor should this be accounted a frivolous reason to allege, that God works some effects in nature to the end of manifesting Himself to human minds, since it has been shown that all the material creation is subordinated to serve the end of intellectual nature, while the end of intellectual nature itself is the knowledge of God. No wonder then if some change is wrought in corporeal substance to afford intelligent nature a knowledge of God.

Aquinas - Summa Contra Gentiles

Miracles and Laws 1

The Meteorite

Among the hills a meteorite
Lies huge; and moss has overgrown,
And wind and rain with touches light
Made soft, the contours of the stone.

Thus easily can Earth digest
A cinder of sidereal fire,
And make her translunary guest
The native of an English shire.

Nor is it strange these wanderers
Find in her lap their fitting place,
For every particle that's hers
Came at the first from outer space.

All that is Earth has once been sky;
Down from the sun of old she came,
Or from some star that travelled by
Too close to his entangling flame.

Hence, if belated drops yet fall
From heaven, on these her plastic power
Still works as once it worked on all
The glad rush of the golden shower.

C S Lewis

Sunday, July 17, 2005

Flotsam and jetsam

Karl Marx, of all people, won the Great Philosophers poll, with a suspiciously high share of the votes. Hear him discussed on In Our Time.

The Catholic Herald this week - not available online - has an article on Catholic blogs, which inexplicably (ahem) fails to mention Laodicea. (Indeed, it gives no indication that St Blog's has any non-American members, and looks like the fruit of, ooh, a good half-hour's research; but that's just an over-inflated ego talking. After all, my blog posts are the result of, ooh, a good three minutes' thought... )It recounts Fr Sibley's 'Liberals are Bad' lesson (I'm still not quite sure what to make of that, to be honest); and the Curt Jester and Shrine of the Holy Whapping are deservedly picked out for particular mention.

The Secret in the Tridentine Mass for today is particularly beautiful, so, for anyone who missed it:

Concede nobis, quaesumus, Domine, haec digne frequentare mysteria: quia, quoties huius hostiae commemoratio celebratur, opus nostrae redemptionis exercetur. Per Dominum...

Grant to us, we beseech Thee, O Lord, that we may worthily frequent these Mysteries: for as often as the memorial of this Victim is celebrated, the work of our Redemption is wrought, Through our Lord...

(Translation from this edition.)

Friday, July 15, 2005


"It might be stated this way. There are certain sequences or developments (cases of one thing following another), which are, in the true sense of the word, reasonable. They are, in the true sense of the word, necessary. Such are mathematical and merely logical sequences. We in fairyland (who are the most reasonable of all creatures) admit that reason and that necessity. For instance, if the Ugly Sisters are older than Cinderella, it is (in an iron and awful sense) necessary that Cinderella is younger than the Ugly Sisters. There is no getting out of it. Haeckel may talk as much fatalism about that fact as he pleases: it really must be. If Jack is the son of a miller, a miller is the father of Jack. Cold reason decrees it from her awful throne: and we in fairyland submit. If the three brothers all ride horses, there are six animals and eighteen legs involved: that is true rationalism, and fairyland is full of it. But as I put my head over the hedge of the elves and began to take notice of the natural world, I observed an extraordinary thing. I observed that learned men in spectacles were talking of the actual things that happened -- dawn and death and so on -- as if they were rational and inevitable. They talked as if the fact that trees bear fruit were just as necessary as the fact that two and one trees make three. But it is not. There is an enormous difference by the test of fairyland; which is the test of the imagination. You cannot imagine two and one not making three. But you can easily imagine trees not growing fruit; you can imagine them growing golden candlesticks or tigers hanging on by the tail. These men in spectacles spoke much of a man named Newton, who was hit by an apple, and who discovered a law. But they could not be got to see the distinction between a true law, a law of reason, and the mere fact of apples falling. If the apple hit Newton's nose, Newton's nose hit the apple. That is a true necessity: because we cannot conceive the one occurring without the other. But we can quite well conceive the apple not falling on his nose; we can fancy it flying ardently through the air to hit some other nose, of which it had a more definite dislike. We have always in our fairy tales kept this sharp distinction between the science of mental relations, in which there really are laws, and the science of physical facts, in which there are no laws, but only weird repetitions. We believe in bodily miracles, but not in mental impossibilities. We believe that a Bean-stalk climbed up to Heaven; but that does not at all confuse our convictions on the philosophical question of how many beans make five....

...All the towering materialism which dominates the modern mind rests ultimately upon one assumption; a false assumption. It is supposed that if a thing goes on repeating itself it is probably dead; a piece of clockwork. People feel that if the universe was personal it would vary; if the sun were alive it would dance. This is a fallacy even in relation to known fact. For the variation in human affairs is generally brought into them, not by life, but by death; by the dying down or breaking off of their strength or desire. A man varies his movements because of some slight element of failure or fatigue. He gets into an omnibus because he is tired of walking; or he walks because he is tired of sitting still. But if his life and joy were so gigantic that he never tired of going to Islington, he might go to Islington as regularly as the Thames goes to Sheerness. The very speed and ecstacy of his life would have the stillness of death. The sun rises every morning. I do not rise every morning; but the variation is due not to my activity, but to my inaction. Now, to put the matter in a popular phrase, it might be true that the sun rises regularly because he never gets tired of rising. His routine might be due, not to a lifelessness, but to a rush of life. The thing I mean can be seen, for instance, in children, when they find some game or joke that they specially enjoy. A child kicks his legs rhythmically through excess, not absence, of life. Because children have abounding vitality, because they are in spirit fierce and free, therefore they want things repeated and unchanged. They always say, "Do it again"; and the grown-up person does it again until he is nearly dead. For grown-up people are not strong enough to exult in monotony. But perhaps God is strong enough to exult in monotony. It is possible that God says every morning, "Do it again" to the sun; and every evening, "Do it again" to the moon. It may not be automatic necessity that makes all daisies alike; it may be that God makes every daisy separately, but has never got tired of making them. It may be that He has the eternal appetite of infancy; for we have sinned and grown old, and our Father is younger than we."

Thursday, July 14, 2005

Cultural imperialism, anyone?

Mr Blair's and Prince Charles' attempts to dictate the correct form of Islam strike me as the fastest way to suggest to people that the British authorities want to, if not destroy Islam, then at least chew it up and reshape it in their own image. Unfortunately the apparent fact that the said authorities have the same (quite unselfconsciously) cavalier attitude to all world-views outwith the liberal consensus will presumably not appease the terrorists.

Wednesday, July 13, 2005

Non-Finnish Nuntii Latini

Compatrioti berenikae (si recte comprehendo) offerunt 'paginam retis' in lingua latina. Eciam cum pagina de coquina, et 'facetiis' (istae, eheu, non ob linguam ridiculiores sunt...).

(Et - nolite me nuntiare! - agnosco me vere latinam pessime scribere; rustica illiterata sum...)

Gratias Simiis de Ira Catholicis.

Welcome back to the Dark Ages

Tuesday, July 12, 2005

Schonborn sticks his neck out...

This seems to have created a big hoohaa but all Beautiful-Fount seems to be saying is that any theory which incorporates a positive denial of design is inimical to the Faith, and so false. And that such a theory would anyway be straying from the proper province of natural science (plumbing) into metaphysics. Which is really only to say we shouldn't treat natural science as if it could demonstrate necessary truths, and perhaps that there are some fishy goings on with Hegel in the background. In truth, I suspect he thinks the latter from other sources. (I could tell you but I'd have to kill you).

Book Meme, again, and Divertissements

James had indeed already done the book thing, but here is another English Tim who has kindly responded, and put some thought into her post. Read her conversion story. Here is the website of someone else who is currently mid-Tiber, apparently. Tres bizarre, have a look. Angrytwins link to a short video compilation thingy made of the humungous Blessed Sacrament procession through New York, I seem to remember reading that it was 24 hours or more, from church to church. Edifying stuff.
Back to EFL and hunting all those amusing quotes that are running away from me, hiding in the dense covering of the internet like an elusive flea on a cat.

Monday, July 11, 2005

Why do they give a damn?

As Aelianus is fond of saying, no-one is further from Catholicism than an Anglo-Catholic, except of the Al Kimel type. On what basis does one not officially give up being an Anglican over priestesses, but do so over bishopesses/bishopinas? Should one laugh or cry? I say look gloomily into your beer, wishing it were beer and not continental lager. Could that be made into a metaphor for Anglicanism and the Church? (no, because there is a place for lager.) There is something wilful about Anglicanism per se, though not about every Anglican. There they are sitting on Astroturf when only a wee swim (armbands provided) separates them from grass. (Having been brought up in Britain I have to laugh about the serious stuff. This really disconcerts the furriners in conversation. This is a serious subject.) Nuver problem is that they have soooooooooooooooo many long and complicated ideas, as seen in Al Kimel's posts, for example.
I would quote Jasper Carrot again, except that the only reference I can find to the comment about Anglicans was made by me, and my only authority was Some Guy In A Pub.
[edited by moi a bit later]

Political Compass

This is an very interesting site. I am thinking up a series of lessons on reading newspapers for some English pupils, and am taking a lot of material from these pages. It is promoting a more analytical use of the words left and right, since, as you can see on their nice wee graphs, Hitler's economic policies are to the left of Tony Blair's, and on the "social" scale here proposed Stalin is little to the "left" of Hitler.

Basically you fill out a questionnaire to see where you come out on a left/right scale economically and, um, disciplinarily or something.

Sad to say I am not nearly as fierce as the Pope, but I think this is because I rarely used a "strong" option, since at almost every question I wanted to say neither yes nor no but to distinguish. Or perhaps it is apathy and acedia showing up.

I can't work out how to get the result graph up as a graphic here, but for comparison I came out as -3.63 on the economic scale and -0.31 on the other one. A bleeding-heart liberal.

Here are some famous people. (The scale, if it is the same as on the results graph, runs to ten each way.)

A rather unclear clarification

About the whole Brother Roger taking Communion thingy. Not suggesting much more than that big outdoor Mass spectaculars cause logistical problems, and people involved can't always think quickly enough. Auf Deutsch.

Benedict on Benedict

At yesterday's Angelus.

After 7th July

The comments sections of the papers are, of course, about the aftermath of the London bombings. (And rightly so, although it's a shame that there has been correspondingly less analysis of the G8.) Gerald Warner in Scotland on Sunday has some good observations, although I'm not convinced by his overall argument.

'Britain and Europe today are so secularised that we have lost even the capacity to comprehend the religious mind. People motivated by their faith are "nutters". Suicide bombers are routinely described as "cowardly". A suicide bomber may be evil, deluded or demented, but one thing he is not is a coward. Last Thursday, Tony Blair proclaimed that "our values will long outlast theirs". Our values? Precisely what values in our crime-ridden, uncivil, irreligious, drug-addicted and sex-obsessed society, where family life is being eradicated with government help, was Blair invoking?

It is the West's declared objective of imposing its 'values' on Islamic societies that has inspired resistance and helped recruit fighters. Fathers in Islamic countries do not want their dutiful daughters, who marry as virgins, turned into promiscuous, drunken, foul-mouthed, tattooed and pierced ladettes. The images of our society on satellite television confirm Muslims in their belief that it is better to die than to go down that road. When Kabul fell, the idealistic hope of western commentators was that MTV would anaesthetise youth until Starbucks came along to finish the job.

Our fundamental mistake is that we treat Muslims with imperialist contempt in their countries, but with absurd deference in our own...'

It is also interesting that all the commentators I have so far read use a vague 'we' which does not, it seems, include Muslims - even the commentators who are very keen to celebrate diversity and so forth. So who is the 'we' of the broadsheet writing classes? White secular liberals? Anglo-Saxon descended Brits with no loyalties higher than the nation state? It does seem odd that none of these writers is more careful in their use of language. I'm not sure what I would make of it were I a Muslim - it sounds rather like people talking behind their backs. (I wonder if Catholics, or indeed non-Catholic Christians, are part of 'we'? Probably not. How long before celebrating Mass becomes an act of treason? Yes, I exaggerate enormously; but what I mean is, if states take it upon themselves to do things they cannot - like allowing abortion and redefining marriage - then what are they to do with all the people whose more profound loyalties are to authorities which conflict with the state's rulings on these matters? So far the only suggestion offered is that everyone should adopt British values in the public sphere, which seems to mean accepting the 'dictatorship of relativism' and keeping quiet while all the bad things Mr Warner mentions become further established. Anyway, that's another kettle of Friday-eaten fish...)

A hymn for the moment (website has dubious electronicky music!).

Sunday, July 10, 2005

Not where I was

But the same idea. Not happy to be back in town.

Same river in which I swam today, except it looks nothing like this where I was, being very fast-flowing and apparently competely free of plant life.

Ban on entering the woods because it is so dry. But this is what some parts of the forest around the village look like. Mass is in a chapel on the edge of the woods, pews in the open air. Ambling the three miles or so from the bus stop cleans the city from one's insides, and coming back is Not Nice. Wanna go back. Must Get Proper Job.

Thursday, July 07, 2005

London, an Message claiming responsibility

From Nosemonkey. I know it's possibly just folk looking for a buzz/publicity/approval of their mother. Well, I don't see the panic they are so chuffed about. What exactly do these people want to achieve? Apparently you don't even get seventy-two virgins, but white grapes. Hardly seems worth the effort when you could just go to Sainsbury's. Or even Grotmid.
Jamaat al-Tandheem Al-Sierri (secret organization group)Organization of Qaeda't al-Jihad in Europe
In the name of God the most merciful . . . Rejoice the nation of Islam, rejoice nation of Arabs, the time of revenge has come for the crusaders' Zionist British government. As retaliation for the massacres which the British commit in Iraq and Afghanistan, the mujahideen have successfully done it this time in London. And this is Britain now burning from fear and panic from the north to the south, from the east to the west.
We have warned the brutish governments and British nation many times.And here we are, we have done what we have promised. We have done a military operation after heavy work and planning, which the mujahideen have done, and it has taken a long time to ensure the success of this operation.And we still warn the government of Denmark and Italy, all the crusader governments, that they will have the same punishment if they do not pull their forces out of Iraq and Afghanistan. So beware.
Thursday 7/7/2005Jamaat al-Tandheem Al-Sierri (secret organization group)Organization of al Qaeda't al-Jihad in Europe.
For the rest:
Requiem aeternam dona eis Domine, et lux perpetua luceat eis. Requiescant in pace.

Lord Jesus Christ, concerning whom the Prophet hath said: "And all kings of the earth shall adore Him, all nations shall serve Him," extend Thy reign over the whole human race. Send upon all men the light of faith, deliver them from all the snares and bonds of passion and direct them to heavenly things; and graciously grant, that the states and nations may be united by the means of Thine immaculate Bride, Holy Church, and, through the intercession of the blessed Virgin Mary, Queen of Peace, may serve Thee in all humility; and that all tongues and peoples may form one great choir to praise Thee both day and night, to bless Thee, to exalt Thee, O King and Ruler of the nations, O Prince of Peace, immortal King of endless ages. Amen.

Book Meme

  1. Number of books owned: some. A few hundred. Since discovering two weeks ago that some books that I thought were in a garage in central Warsaw weren't, and last week that books that I thought weren't in a cellar in South Queensferry were, I have come to the conclusion that I have quite lost track of my library.
  2. Last book bought: well, I have still to send the cheque, but today I collected from the ironing board in the ancestors' cave (which resting point it had reached after travelling to a post office in West Lothian and then by some friendly gesture on the part of Royal Mail worker with a good memory to my current offical UK abode, then by mama's suitcase to Warsaw) Lux in Tenebris: The Traditional Catholic Doctrine of Christ's Descent into Hell and the Theological Opinion of Hans Urs von Balthasar (Rome, 2005), the doctoral dissertation of Alyssa (Lyra) Pitstick hot off the press, and I am posting this post for the sole purpose of saying "Na na na na na" to Aelianus, who wants to read it. The dissertation, that is, not the post.
  3. Last book read: finished - The Journals of Kierkegaard, ed. Alexander Dru. I suspect it's the selected highlights of the journals, or else S.K. wasn't much of a one for diary writing, as it's awfy short. In progress, and now to be quickly finished so I can get stuck into Lyra's doctorate: Wiara, Prawda, Tolerancja, by our own Holy Father. (Ratzenfreude links for those who want to relive the moment).
  4. Five books that mean a lot to me. So, not the same as influential necessarily. Um. Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man for the sermon on hell, which I am sure did not have the effect on me Joyce intended. Predictably, sorry, Lord of the Rings/Hobbit. Er. The unaccountably neglected Kristin Lavransdattir by Sigrid Undset. Though my immediate ancestor on the distaff side read it at school. (And we read sodding Sunset Song.) I loved When Hitler Stole Pink Rabbit, which I read in German as my sole revision for Higher. Ach, decisions, decisions. On the Incarnation of St Athanasius. And everyone should read A People's Tragedy (Orlando Figes) and ... (stopppppp . . .)
  5. Tag Blog With Really Long Name, James and Ella, though it may have been completed there already, and, I can't think of anyone else at the mo.

Wednesday, July 06, 2005

Nuff said.

(Except that I should thank my highly-placed source at Holyrood who supplied the picture by electronic mail.)

Tuesday, July 05, 2005

Edinburgh still standing

For the moment. Freedom and Whisky has lots of jolly pics of the recent events. I went and ambled for justice on Saturday, which I may post something about if any non-boring observations come to mind (I did meet James and Ella, though, which was jolly nice); and mercifully I had no need to go anywhere near Princes St yesterday.

Meanwhile, and completely unconnectedly: Dorothy L. Sayers's kind of feminism.

'[...] The first thing that strikes the careless observer is that women are unlike men. They are "the opposite sex" - (though why "opposite" I do not know; what is th "neighbouring sex"?). But the fundamental thing is that women are more like men than anything else in the world. They are human beings. Vir is male and Femina is female: but Homo is male and female.

'This is the equality claimed and the fact that is persistently evaded and denied. No matter what arguments are used, the discussion is vitiated from the start, because Man is always dealt with as both Homo and Vir, but Woman only as Femina.

'I have seen it solemnly stated in a newspaper that the seats on the near side of a bus are always filled before thoseon the off side, because, "men find them more comfortable on account of the camber of the road, and women find they get a better view of the shop windows." As though the camber of the road did not affect male and female bodies equally. Men, you observe, are given a Homo reason; but Women, a Femina reason, because they are not fully human.
'Women are not human. They lie when they say they have human needs: warm and decent clothing; comfort in the bus; interests directed immediately to God and His universe, not intermediately through any child of man. They are far above man to inspire him, far beneath him to corrupt him; they have feminine minds and feminine natures, but their mind is not one with their nature like the minds of men; they have no human mind and no human nature. "Blessed be God," says the Jew, "that hath not made me a woman."

'God, of course, may have His own opinion, but the Church is reluctant to endorse it. I think I have never heard a sermon preached on the story of Martha and Mary that did not attempt, somehow, somewhere to explain away its text. Mary's, of course, was the better part - the Lord said so, and we must not precisely contradict Him. But we will be careful not to despise Martha. No doubt, He approved of her too. We could not get on without her, and indeed (having paid lip-service to God's opinion) we must admit that we greatly prefer her. For Martha was doing a really feminine job, whereas Mary was just behaving like any other disciple, male or female; and that is a hard pill to swallow.'

from 'The Human-Not-Quite-Human',in Unpopular Opinions (London, 1946)

Interesting stuff. Right thrust, I think, though I'm not sure about all her illustrations. More tomorrow from another essay on the same subject, perhaps.

Monday, July 04, 2005

The Pope, the Prelate and G8

N.B. "Total success" is Zenit's translation.
Note the difference in style between the the Vatican and Edinburgh & St Andrews. I think this is definitely a contribution to the Mediocrity category.

The Pope.
Angelus address
"Next Wednesday, July 6, the G-8 meeting will open in Gleneagles, Scotland, that is, the summit of the heads of state and government of the world's most industrialized countries, which will have Africa, an often forgotten continent, among its priorities. I wish for the total success of this important meeting, hoping that it will lead to sharing with solidarity the expenses of debt reduction, to implementing concrete measures to eradicate poverty and to promoting the genuine development of Africa."
(Angelus, 3rd July)

Message to Archbishop Keith Patrick Cardinal O'Brien

"The Holy Father was pleased to be informed of the Make Poverty History rally beginning on Saturday 2 July in Edinburgh in preparation for the G8 summit. He sends greetings to all who are gathered for this event, united by their concern for the welfare of millions of our brothers and sisters afflicted by extreme poverty. As the Second Vatican Council teaches, “God intended the earth and all it contains for the use of everyone and of all peoples; so that the good things of creation should be available equally to all” (Gaudium et Spes, 69). For this reason, people from the world’s richest countries should be prepared to accept the burden of debt reduction for Heavily Indebted Poor Countries, and should urge their leaders to fulfil the pledges made to reduce world poverty, especially in Africa, by the year 2015.
His Holiness prays for the participants in the rally and for the world leaders soon to gather at Gleneagles, that they may all play their part in ensuring a more just distribution of the world’s good. In the ardent hope that the scourge of global poverty may one day be consigned to history, he cordially imparts his Apostolic Blessing."
Cardinal Angelo Sodano, Secretary of State
(From SCMO)

The Prelate.
(Yes, look, first paragraph he gets his wee self in, bless his red cotton socks, he's so predictable)

Address to "Make Poverty History" Rally

"In being here today, we recognize our solidarity with the poor of the world.

As the cry "Make Poverty History" rises from our lips, it finds its echo not only in other G8 countries but also in every corner of the world. As I speak, I have in my memory some of the people I have met on my own travels especially in Africa, a continent that is rich in so many ways: its mineral wealth, its faith and traditions and, above all, its people.

They are a people full of joy, of determination and hope despite the cloud of injustice that darkens their lives. Their dreams of a better life are sustained with a deep sense of hopefulness. And their hope is what feeds and nurtures our determination to join ourselves to their struggle to end the abject poverty that crucifies over one billion people across the world.

Today, I think of my visit to Ethiopia a few months ago traveling with SCIAF, our own Scottish aid agency, where I met a group of men and women living with HIV/AIDS. Moved by their courage and strength, I decided to place my white band on the wrist of their leader as a sign of solidarity and unity -- to say that their struggle for justice is also ours.

I recall one of the most harrowing situations I have ever encountered when, in a series of hovels lining a riverbank, I saw a woman with leprosy caring for six people dying of Aids although she herself was obviously suffering greatly.

Surely, if people who have so little can give so much, then we, here in the richest countries in the world, can do so much more!

As a sign that the love for the poor is part of a constant Christian tradition, inspired by the Gospel of Jesus Christ, the poor man of Nazareth, I wore my white band when the cardinals of the world came together recently to elect the new Pope. Yesterday, I received from Pope Benedict XVI a message in which he asked me to give his greetings to you all today, "united by your concern for the welfare of millions of our brothers and sisters afflicted by extreme poverty." He continues: "People from the world's richest countries should be prepared to accept the burden of debt reduction for heavily indebted poor countries, and should urge their leaders to fulfill the pledges made to reduce world poverty, especially in Africa, by the year 2015." Pope Benedict XVI ends by expressing his "ardent hope that the scourge of global poverty may one day be consigned to history."

Why are we here today? We are here today because we are scandalized by the needless suffering that poverty causes. To be passive or indifferent in the knowledge that one child dies needlessly every three seconds is to be an accomplice in barbarity! We say to the leaders of the world's richest nations: We have no intention of being accomplices in barbarity. There is a great realization today among the peoples of the world that we have a moral obligation to share of our goods wealth with those who have none.

Today, we are here for no other reason than because we want to stand peacefully and resolutely alongside our poorer sisters and brothers and to raise our voices on behalf of the voiceless. A society's worth, said Mahatma Gandhi, is to be measured by the value it places on its weakest members. What we do today is a great thing! Whatever else happens in our lives, we will not forget what is happening here today. For there can be no greater cause than to stand in solidarity with people we have never met, who live in places we have never visited, and in circumstances we will never know.

What are we saying today? Our cry today is the legitimate voice of the people, to our elected leaders, on behalf of millions who have no voice. I summarize our cries to the G8 leaders:

(1) "Listen to the voice of your people!" We ask you to listen to the voices of the millions of people in your countries and across the world who say now is the time to end poverty. For, if poverty does not end now, when will it end? If we do not play our part in ending poverty at this time, then who will accomplish that goal?
(2) "Be generous and just!" We also say to our G8 leaders: "Be generous and just!" The cost of delay, of meanness, of the lack of political will, is being paid in the needless deaths of 30,000 children each day. The poor do not seek charity but justice. Canceling debt, increasing our aid, making the rules of trade fair are not acts of charity: they are long overdue acts of justice. We demand generosity and justice in our giving and in our politics.
(3) "Be aware of what your people are doing!" We ask our leaders to be proud of their people today. As these white bands encircle our wrists, so we, through our gathering today, join together with people across the world. Our presence here today, our demand for justice, echo those great historic campaigns to end slavery and, more recently, apartheid. Our presence here today shows that we are:

Aware of the poverty suffered by others;
Aware of the immorality of allowing that suffering to take place;
Aware of our rights as citizens to be heard;
Aware of the men, women and children dying as we speak;
Aware that our solidarity gives us strength;
Aware that our leaders may turn a deaf ear but Almighty God hears our cry;
And aware that only together can we: Make Poverty History.

"Make Poverty History!" That is indeed our goal. That is the cry of the poor which is our cry today -- and those are the words which will re-echo in the corridors of power in Gleneagles -- Make Poverty History!"
(From zzzzzzzzzzzzzZenit, boring news from Rome)

Saturday, July 02, 2005

Compendium of the Catechism

Does anyone know where I could find the Latin text of the Compendium of the Catechism? It has apparently been published in Latin and Italian but I can't find it anywhere.

Friday, July 01, 2005

Proverbs 6:4-11

For people who, like me, are often too useless to get up for early Mass or even to say Lauds, and indeed are so feeble that they find themselves dashing frantically to do anything with the morning before the current of time sweeps them unremittingly into the afternoon. Berenike's fraternal admonitions reminded me of this good prayer: two minutes to get one's priorities straight before crawling out of the house.

These prayers folowynge ought to be sayd or ye departe out of your chambre at your vprysynge

Auxiliatrix sis michi Trinitas sancta. Deus, in nomine tuo levabo manus meas. Crux triumphalis passionis Domini nostri Jesu Christi. Jesus Nazarenus rex Iudeorum, fili Dei, miserere mei. In nomine Patris et Filii et Spiritus sancti. Amen.
Per signum sancte + crucis de inimicis nostris libera nos, Deus noster.
Piissime Deus et clementissime pater: laudes et gratias ago tibi, Domine Jesu Christe, omnipotens eterne Deus, qui me indignum/am famulum/am tuum/am N. in hac nocte custodisti, protexisti, visitasti, sanum/am et incolumem ad principium huius diei me pervenire fecisti, deprecor clementiam tuam, misericors Deus, ut concedas michi diem venturum sic peragere in tuo sancto servitio cum humilitate, discretione, devotione et dilectione benigna, ut tibi servitutem meam debitam et placabilem in omnibus operibus meis valeam persolvere, et fac me cum tua gratia vivere semper in omnibus diebus vite mee: tibi commendo corpus meum et animam meam. Per Christum...

Which being (rather lumpily) interpreted:

The Holy Trinity be my help. O God, in thy name I lift up my hands. Triumphant Cross of the Passion of Our Lord Jesus Christ. Jesus of Nazareth, king of the Jews, Son of God, have mercy on me. In the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.
By the sign of the holy cross free us from our enemies, O our God.
Most kind God and most merciful Father: I give thee praise and thanks, O Lord Jesus Christ, almighty eternal God, who hast guarded, protected and visited me thine unworthy servant N. in this night, and hast caused me to come safe and unharmed to the beginning of this day: and for all thine other benefits which thou has given my by thy goodness alone. I beseech thy mercy, O merciful God, that thou mightest grant to me that I might so complete the coming day in thy holy service, with humility, discretion, devotion and loving kindness, that I may be able to accomplish my due and pleasing service to thee in all my works [:] and cause me to live with thy grace in all the days of my life: to thee I commend my body and soul. Through Christ our Lord. Amen.

This is from several early C16 primers (vernacular books of hours) printed for York diocese, and handily published: Horae Eboracenses : the Prymer or Hours of the Blessed Virgin Mary, according to the use of the illustrious Church of York : with other devotions as they were used by the lay-folk in the Northern province in the XVth and XVIth centuries (Surtees Society, 1920)