Sunday, July 31, 2005
The second best bit is still the song in the family mausoleum, though.
Just because you're paranoid
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?
Tuesday, July 26, 2005
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.
(This isn't related to anything on the blog, in case you were wondering; I just liked it.)
A Tab with something to say...
Monday, July 25, 2005
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
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
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
Thursday, July 21, 2005
I know this isn't a 'personal stuff' blog, but all possible channels of prayer recruitment seem called for here.
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
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.
"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
"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).
Monday, July 18, 2005
Miracles and Laws 2
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
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
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
...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?
Wednesday, July 13, 2005
(Et - nolite me nuntiare! - agnosco me vere latinam pessime scribere; rustica illiterata sum...)
Gratias Simiis de Ira Catholicis.
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
Monday, July 11, 2005
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
Benedict on Benedict
After 7th July
'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
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
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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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).
- 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 . . .)
Wednesday, July 06, 2005
Tuesday, July 05, 2005
Edinburgh still standing
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
Message to Archbishop Keith Patrick Cardinal O'Brien
(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
Saturday, July 02, 2005
Friday, July 01, 2005
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)