Sunday, June 26, 2005
'In this light, you can't recognised half these people,
[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...
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
Thursday, June 23, 2005
Burke for Bishop!
How Not to Evangelize
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
Tuesday, June 21, 2005
Monday, June 20, 2005
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.
The Tablet and Trent
- 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...
- 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.
Sunday, June 19, 2005
Friday, June 17, 2005
(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?
Thursday, June 16, 2005
Wednesday, June 15, 2005
It's not time wasting...
Tuesday, June 14, 2005
C.S. Lewis, The Allegory of Love (Oxford, 1936), ch.1
On legalising homosexual marriage, from the oscurita of L'Osservatore
Monday, June 13, 2005
I may be too easily amused...
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
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
Yes, I am just back from a wedding and my feet are killing me.
Friday, June 10, 2005
the view from Inverness, apparently
(Won't even get started on the notion of 'humane contraception.')
Prayer and fasting...
Thursday, June 09, 2005
De angelo Domini qui ad sanctum Columbam in Hinba commorantem insula per visum apparuit, missus ut Aidanum in regem ordinaret
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.
Spes Scotorum, ora pro nobis!
"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...?
Tuesday, June 07, 2005
Summarize Proust Competition!
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 . . .)
- 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
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
Or maybe I just have a very puerile sense of humour.
'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
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.
Two REALLY CATHOLIC prayers!
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.
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!