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Monday, October 31, 2005

The Pope cheats!

Serdetschnje posdrawjam Polakuf. Sblischa schje urotschistoschtsch Wschistkich Schwjentich. Dschenkujeme Bogu sa schwjatkuf wiare, ktusche sa dschitcha beli sjetnotscheni z H:ristusem w miwoschtschi, a dschisch utschestnitschoung wjego h:wale. Ich wstawjenniztwo i opjeze polezam wschistkich wiejaonzich.
Even Aelianus has bothered to try and work out the spelling. Pathetic. I have gone off this pope.

Inhaftierter Oligarch bittet um einen Priester

Der kürzlich zu acht Jahren Gefängnishaft verurteilte ehemalige Chef des russischen Ölkonzerns ‘Yukos’, Michail Chodorkowski, hat den Gefängnisdirektor um ein Treffen mit einem Priester gebeten. Chodorkowski befindet sich zur Zeit im Gefangenenlager Krasnokamiensk in der Nähe der Stadt Tschita. Tschita liegt im Südosten von Rußland, 250 Kilometer von der chinesischen Grenze entfernt. Der orthodoxe Priester Sergei Taratuchin wird den ehemaligen Ölmagnaten in den nächsten Tagen aufsuchen. Der Geistliche verbrachte selber vier Jahre wegen „antisowjetischer Agitation“ im Gefängnis. Er sympathisiere mit Chodorkowski: „Wir haben viel gemeinsam.“ Er sei gerne bereit, die Beichte Chodorkowskis zu hören.

Woman with two wombs gives birth

Dr Low added: "A successful live birth of two wee mites in such circumstances is a million-to-one shot. But paediatrics is so advanced today we can closely monitor babies."

Saturday, October 29, 2005

Old people neglected to death

Nothing surprising here, I think. Sadly.

eek, sinister

Emerging Europe offers an interesting opportunity that cannot be found elsewhere," he explains. "We hold positions intelecoms companies and banks that enjoy significant catch-up potential. The opportunity for growth in the banking sector is particularly extensive, as between 90 and 95 per cent of people don't have mortgages."

It seems to me a good thing for 95% of a population not to have mortgages, but my reasons for thinking so are probably not the same as this chap's.

"We want a law which is more modern"

Nothing like a simple but clearly-reasoned argument when dealing with these sensitive issues. Portugal's Prime Minister Jose Socrates fails to adopt his illustrious namesake's methods in explaining the need for another abortion referendum.
"More modern". The one we've got is sooooooo last year, darling.

"Qu'ill flotte longtemps, librement et en paix, avec la bénédiction de Dieu!"

LE DRAPEAU DE L’ EUROPE


Au mois 1987, j’ai rencontré par hasard à Lisieux, devant le Carmel, un Monsieur modestement vêtu qui m’a dit : « C’est à moi qu’on a demandé de dessiner le Drapeau de l’Europe. J’ai eu subitement l’idée d’y mettre les douze étoiles de la Médaille Miraculeuse de la rue du Bac, sur fond bleu, couleur de la Sainte Vierge. Et mon projet fut adopté à l’unanimité, le 8 décembre 1955, fête de l’Immaculée Conception. »

J’étais tellement pressé ce jour–là que je n’ai même pas songé à prendre le nom et l’adresse de mon interlocuteur. Et les mois ont passé.

J’ai voulu rechercher le dessinateur du Drapeau. Je suis donc allé à Strasbourg au début de janvier 1989 pour essayer de retrouver ce dessinateur. Je suis monté au Bureau de Presse du Conseil de l’Europe, où j’ai été accueilli par 2 secrétaires expérimentées, d’une soixantaine d’années, qui savent tout de fond en comble. Là, le dessinateur du Drapeau est connu comme le loup blanc. Il s’appelle Arsène Heitz. Il habite 24 rue de l’Yser. Je suis allé chez lui. Il était là. Il m’a reconnu.
Il est mort maintenant, mais tant qu’il a vécu, il aimait raconter son exploit : avoir dessiné le Drapeau de l’Europe et en avoir fait le Drapeau de la Sainte Vierge !

Le travail de M. Arsène Heitz a duré 5 ans : de 1950 à 1955. Pourquoi 5 ans ? Parce qu’il y a eu 101 projets. Tout le monde avait son idée : les socialistes, les francs – maçons, les Juifs, les Protestants. M. Heitz lui – même a travaillé sur 20 projets.

En 1950, c’était M. Paul M.G Lévy qui était le premier Directeur au Service de Presse du Conseil de l’Europe. C’est donc lui qui fut chargé de faire aboutir le projet de Drapeau. Cet homme très cultivé ne savait pas dessiner. Mais il connaissait M. Arsène Heitz, homme très simple, employé au service du courrier, mais très artiste pour peindre et dessiner. Tous deux étaient de bons catholiques.

Evidemment, il fallait éviter d’évoquer la signification religieuse des douze étoiles et du fond bleu, en vertu de la sacro–sainte laïcité. Mais les Catholiques ont le droit de connaître le fond des choses.

Les douze étoiles ne correspondaient pas, à ce moment–là, au nombre des nations. Le Parlement Européen était « conçu pour » 12 nations, mais le Drapeau de l’Europe est le drapeau du « Conseil de l’Europe », et ce Conseil n’a jamais comporté 12 nations : il en a comporté successivement 6,9, puis 15,... et actuellement 32.

Les discussions, réunions, commissions et sous – commissions furent innombrables, pendant plus de 5 ans, de 1949 à 1955. Finalement, c’est le 8 décembre 1955 que le dessin de M. Heitz fut retenu... à l’unanimité !

M. Paul M.G. Lévy avait une réunion de 3 jours, fixée aux 7, 8 et 9 décembre, pour faire adopter tout un ensemble de projets. Tous les documents sont datés du 9 décembre, puisqu’on signe l’ensemble à la fin de la réunion. Mais tout alla si vite et si bien que cette assemblée termina son travail le 8 décembre, jour où furent apposées les signatures particulières. Et en sortant de la salle, le gendre de Paul Claudel poussa du coude M. Lévy en murmurant : « Mais c’est aujourd’hui la fête de la fête de L’immaculée Conception ! » Et tous deux ont retrouvé sans le vouloir le fameux introït du 15 août : « Un signe grandiose est apparu dans le ciel, une femme revêtue du soleil, la lune sous ses pieds, et sur sa tête une couronne de 12 étoiles. » (Apocalypse XII, 1). Arsène Heitz, lui, homme simple, parlait des 12 étoiles de la Médaille Miraculeuse. M. Lévy, professeur d’économie politique, parlait du chapitre12 de l’Apocalypse.

M. Lévy était secrètement d’accord pour faire aboutir discrètement le projet de M. Heitz en sauvant les apparences, afin de respecter la neutralité la plus absolue. Et malgré plus de 100 projets qui furent en concurrence, c’est le Drapeau de la Sainte Vierge qui triompha au dernier moment. Et ce triomphe se produisit fortuitement le 8 décembre, sans que personne ait pu chercher cette divine coïncidence.

Le Drapeau de l’Europe est bien le Drapeau de Notre–Dame, Reine de la Paix !

Pierre CAILLON
Centre St Jean
61500 Sées (Orne)


Texte écrit en août 1995, à la demande et avec la collaboration de Ch. SAUTEUR, aumônier de l’Hôpital, 71250 Cluny, et imprimé par ses soins.

Thursday, October 27, 2005

My friend, the Marshall

Well, my friend's friend, the Marshall. Close. Friend assures me he is a great guy. I have not yet asked her about his alleged visit to Pinochet when the general was in Britain. Marek Jurek of Law & Justice (PiS) has been appointed Marshall of the Sejm after the Civic Platform's (PO) Tusk and then a Peasant's Party (PSL) candidate turned down the position, and PiS refused to give it to PO's proposed candidate, who is extremely hostile to PiS.
PiS and PO are failing miserably to get their coalitional act together, and however much they may talk about irreconcilable differences, the real cause of the problem seems to be personal. I don't doubt that the Kaczynski twins can be insufferable, but it appears that Tusk and PO are acting rather childishly. For the past year the assumption has been that there would be a POPiS coalition no matter who won, and to fail to form one now would indeed be a betrayal of the voters. There are no British-style election manifestos here, and no-one could accuse the "minor" partner in a coalition that they are betraying election promises when they are clearly not in a position to realise them. PO might argue that they cannot agree to some (most) of PiS's programme, but at this point surely the main thing is to try to ensure that the best things are done for the country, and going off in an ostentatiously principled huff (probably with an eye the opportunities opposition offers for criticising without taking any responsibility, and therefore putting oneself in a position to win the next election) is self-indulgent and petty. Did PO insist on an anti-PiS candidate for Marshall because it suits them not to have the position?
Wałęsa shares my suspicions, except that he is apparently more openly pleased about the state of affairs. Rzeczpospolita reports him at a meeting in Gdańsk, keeping an eye on developments in the Sejm and on learning of Jurek's appointment crowing exultantly to a nearby bishop that the twins now have rope to hang themselves, and that the country can look forward to another election soon.
Jurek was elected with the votes of PiS, Self-Defence (Samoobrona), the League of Polish Families (LPR) and the PSL. PiS have repaid this motley crew by awarding them one vice-marshall each. Samoobrona's choice was their leader Andrzej Lepper, who a few years ago held the same post for the grand total of one month. I can't remember what he was chucked out for, calling other party leaders villains or something of the sort. He is the Sejm's resident embarrassment as far as parliamentary behaviour goes.
Not looking good.

Tuesday, October 25, 2005

Council of Europe protects women from religion

Bloody hell. Don't they have enough to do regulating carrot storage?

S'nod all over

Title links to Mr Magister, and here is a "working transcript" of the final propositions, in Italiano.

Big article on Venerable Margaret Sinclair


"She had lovely eyes."

Onion conspiracy

Link above to the Scotsman, and more from the Times of India.

A blog from the Howe o' the Mearns

Who else did Sunset Song for Higher English? (There are much worse books, but if the Scots Quair is a landmark, I shouldn't care to read the Grotty Bits of West Lothian of Scottish literature. Perhaps the web-page writer meant a bing.) I was always gently pleased after that to see "Howe o' the Mearns" in real estate ads in the Scottish Farmer.
The blog appears to have no connection, beyond the geographical one, with Lewis Grassic Gibbon/James Leslie Mitchell or his books.
Maybe I am being unkind. I haven't looked at the book since fifth year. Which was some time ago.

Monday, October 24, 2005

Prezydent Duck, not Prezydent Tusk


Despite all pre-election polls to the contrary, it looks as though Lech Kaczynski will be the new president of Poland. Rzeczpospolita has an interesting breakdown of voting, showing for whom voters for Tusk and Kaczynski in the second round voted in the first round. SLD and other "lefty" candidates' supporters voted for Tusk, which is interesting, given his much more pro-market attitude. Perhaps Kaczynski's victory is best described as a populist one. He gained the votes of the rather embarassing Samoobrona and probably of those who would have supported a League of Polish Families (God-Honour-Fatherland and possibly skinheads) candidate. The other stats on this page are men/women(męczyzni/kobiety), age/wiek, education/wykształcenie (primary, basic vocational, secondary, students and higher) and by place of residence (village/countryside or various sizes of town). Let's hope that his policies are not determined by the factors which did sadly seem to govern his election campaign. The poster in the picture says "A strong president - an honest Poland". Someone commented that what we really want is an honest president and a strong Poland.
The BBC, Reuters, FT.

Kirk Elder

Remember this man's columns? Well, as you can see, though retired from the Scotsman he is now blogging.

Living Rosary

Living Scotland, a group of Catholics which aims to promote understanding of Christian social and moral teaching, runs a Living Rosary. A Living Rosary works like this: Every month its members are allotted one decade each of the Holy Rosary. They recite this decade once each day. The decade changes each month but in total one or several complete Rosaries are offered each day for the intentions of the Living Rosary. The intentions for which this one is offered are those laid out in section 105 of Evangelium Vitae (see below), and for such personal intentions as may be forwarded to the list by its members.

Anyone who is interested should email livingscotland@youthforlife.net

The obligation involved obviously does not bind under pain of sin, but effort and a desire to remain faithful are necessary. The decade may be offered at any time of the day or night.

O Mary,
bright dawn of the new world,
Mother of the living,
to you do we entrust the cause of life
Look down, O Mother,
upon the vast numbers
of babies not allowed to be born,
of the poor whose lives are made difficult,
of men and women
who are victims of brutal violence,
of the elderly and the sick killed
by indifference or out of misguided mercy.
Grant that all who believe in your Son
may proclaim the Gospel of life
with honesty and love
to the people of our time.
Obtain for them the grace
to accept that Gospel
as a gift ever new,
the joy of celebrating it with gratitude
throughout their lives
and the courage to bear witness to it
resolutely, in order to build,
together with all people of good will,
the civilization of truth and love,
to the praise and glory of God,
the Creator and lover of life.
Amen

Thursday, October 20, 2005

Whose National Treasure?

I have just finished watching a DVD of National Treasure starring Mr Nicholas Cage. This is a well executed but vacuous Indiana Jones pastiche with elements of the Da Vinci Code. See USCCB review here. The revolt of the North American colonies is depicted as a Masonic plot (seems fair) and the Masons are depicted as mankind's secret benefactors (oh well). Strangely however, the missing link in the Masonic plot is supposed to be Charles Carroll (1737-1832) the last surviving signatory of the rebel charter. Carroll was a Catholic, and - the way I heard it - the only signatory who wasn't a Mason. So, questions for more informed readers...

1. Was Caroll a Mason?
2. Were all the other signatories Masons (as is often said)?
3. Why did Caroll sign it if he was a Catholic and not a Mason?*
4. Is it true that every US President apart from Lincoln has been a Mason?

* One may only rebel against a legitimate government (and George III was recognised by the Holy See) if it is grossly violating Natural or Divine Law and one has a moral certainty that the rebellion will reverse this and not produce greater evils (CCC 2243). 'No taxation without representation' is obviously an article of neither Divine nor Natural Law nor does the right of ex-pat. colonists to send members to the House of Commons appear in any statute I know of. To this day not every citizen of the UK has the right to vote in general elections (Lords, Convicts, under 18s etc.) and more-or-less universal franchise was unheard of on both sides of the Atlantic until the twentieth century.Indeed, it could be argued that insofar as anyone was trying to remedy violations of the Natural Law it was George III.

Wednesday, October 19, 2005

Trid love song

You're the top,
You're the Roman Canon;
You're the top,
You're the Creed in Latin;
In illo tempore
starts every story
you tell;
You're a chanted Ave,
a solemn Salve,
a Sanctus bell.

You're the lilt
Of the Vulgate Psalter;
You're the gilt
On a baroque altar.
I'm the lumpen prose
even ICEL chose
to drop;
But if, care, I'm the bottom,
You're the top!

For some reason You're the Top has been stuck in my head today, hence something to occupy the otherwise empty minutes of procrastination... More (& better) verses, anyone? (The desperate Canon/Latin 'rhyme' kind of works when you sing it, I think... And is that the right vocative of carus?)

Tuesday, October 18, 2005

Christians in Iraq

You may not appreciate the significance of the UN’s recent objection to the new Iraqi constitution in which Article 7 enshrines Islam as the “official religion of the state”.

Just cos I'm black, doesn't mean I'm into bongoes

„Tänze sind gut für den Pfarreisaal aber nicht während der Messe“, erklärte der nigerianische Kurienkardinal Francis Arinze am Rande der Weltbischofssynode und nahm dabei ausdrücklich Bezug auf Afrika: „Man sagt uns »Ihr seid Afrikaner. Folglich liebt ihr das Tanzen. Darum tanzt, tanzt…« Das ist nicht gut.“

I "did" the music for a parish church in Scotland one Easter, and the parish priest outmanoevred me in the matter of a bongo Gloria, because "there are some people from (can't remember where, an African country, which doesn't narrow it down much, does it?) who will take up the offertory, and we did this before and they danced up . . .". Well, I can see that if you had a group of people from somewhere in the parish and they did the music and everything for part of the Mass, it might not be to my taste but nonetheless be acceptable. But for a bunch of Scots to do a version of something from a completely different musical culture, as published by some mainstream "liturgical" music publishing house, is daft. And the women taking up the offertory processed in very classically European dignified style. I cringed. The parish priest is a good thing, but whatever his good intentions were it just seemed horribly patronising. Horrible.

Monday, October 17, 2005

More Goodbye, Good Men stuff

Is all this stuff really true? Though given the reactions of otherwise reasonable men to lay people kneeling for Communion, perhaps this story is not so surprising.

Gosh

Had just gone off to do some work but on looking in the library catalogue was so amazed that reporting to the wider world was necessary. Oxford Scholarship Online - if your University Library subscribes to this (if you have access to a UL, that is; but maybe public libraries might too), you can get the full texts of various OUP books online - a lot of good stuff. Available books include Colin Morris's The Papal Monarchy and Andrew Louth's St John Damascene. Marvellous if all the copies are out of the library. I may never get any work done again ever...

Sigh

The Sunday Herald:
'THE Catholic Church is recruiting priests from abroad because the number training for a Scottish post has fallen by almost 80% in the past 20 years.
'Professor Owen Dudley Edwards, a historian at Edinburgh University said that the vow of celibacy was the greatest deterrent to becoming a priest.
[...]
'"It's obvious Cardinal O'Brien is doing all he can but it is for the Vatican to relax this rule."'

'Cos that works so well for the Kirk and the Piskies.

Ho hum. Has anyone ever done a survey to see how many men are really sure that they're called to the priesthood, but are refusing said call because they want a carnal family? (Besides which, if one only accepts one's vocation on a conditional basis, I suspect one's not doing it right.) Or is the problem meant to be that folk aren't even thinking about vocations, because they presume that they want families? In which case, better catechesis about vocations and stuff, and more publicity about priestly saints and superhero priests would surely help. Oh, and oodles of prayer and fasting. Says she after having eaten a huge muffin for afternoon tea. Not that I wish to claim it's all terribly straightforward; quite the opposite, as, at any rate, a flick of the switch to allow married priests as the norm in the West is unlikely to flood the seminaries just like that.

Why am I writing this? You all know it, and could put it far better than me. Anyway.

Via the Scottish Christian News Monitor, as ever. It really is marvellous to have someone read the papers so I don't have to. And the man doesn't even charge for access. (I shouldn't give him ideas...)

Meanwhile, berenike draws my attention to today's Scotsman, which if you get a paper copy (or pay for online access) offers: a slightly odd medical ethics column on the legal status of GPs conscientiously opposed to some abortions; and Katie Grant's very decent column on the evils of euthanasia.

Why do we have an upper chamber?

Villains: Countryside AlliancePro-hunting supporters have failed in their attempt to have the ban on hunting with dogs in England overturned by having the 1949 Parliament Act ruled unlawful.
In a modern civilised society we really shouldn't be getting our kicks by ripping the local fauna apart with attack dogs and smearing ourselves in its blood just for a laugh. Most people would rather this sort of thing didn't go on and so the government introduced a bill to put a stop to it. So far so democratic.
However, the bill to ban hunting with dogs in England and Wales was repeatedly blocked by the unelected, unrepresentative House of "Lords" and so the government invoked the Parliament Act. The Parliament Act basically sticks two fingers up at the upper chamber and says "it doesn't matter what you think, we're doing it anyway".
The bloodthirsty hunters, however, didn't like that. They thought it was a downright liberty and launched a legal challenge. Predictably, they lost.
Whining about the judgment, Simon Hart, chief executive of the Countryside Alliance said: "This judgment effectively gives the House of Commons the freedom - with no checks and balances - to do what it wants, to whom it wants, when it wants… it sets a dangerous, anti-democratic precedent."
No. What it does is to bolster democracy by ensuring that the will of the elected chamber prevails. Democracy is a fairly woolly concept these days, but most take it to mean something along the lines of government by the will of the people (that's why the "elected" bit matters). Not government by the will of troublesome toffs and political appointees.

Christians in Ethiopia

In a much different context, another startling testimony came from bishop Berhaneyesus Demerew Souraphiel, president of the council of the Church of Ethiopia. After recalling that in all of Somalia, a Muslim nation that has had no government for fourteen years, “there are only four religious sisters who keep the only tabernacle of the Lord hidden in Mogadishu,” he continued: “From Eritrea and Ethiopia, there are many Christians who are working and living in Saudi Arabia, Yemen, the Gulf States, and other Muslim majority countries. They are in the hundreds of thousands. Before they go to the Muslim countries, they are forced to change their Christian names into Muslim ones and, especially, the women have to dress in Muslim attire. Once they reach their destinations, their passports are taken from them and they suffer all kinds of abuses and exploitations. Many are forced by the situation to become Muslims. They are denied their right of expressing their religion: the celebration of the Eucharist, and the Sunday Mass. It is one of the religious persecutions of the modern times.”

Wywiad Telewizyjny z Benedyktem XVI

Look down the links under "materiały filmowe" to the second pair of links entitled "wywiad z Benedyktem XVI". I haven't yet found a link to the interview without the Polish voice-over, but if anyone wants to improve their Polish, or see how short the Pope is, have a look. Actually you can see how short he is on the picture.
Update: German transcript of the interview here. Not especially exciting, but nice. More interesting, Sandro Magister's outline of questions that have been raised about invalidity of marriage when one of the spouses is non-believing (though supposedly Catholic), and the status of the old covenant, Ratzinger v. Sabbah.

Friday, October 14, 2005

Johannes Paulus Magnus


JP2
Originally uploaded by Boeciana.
This portrait of the late Holy Father is in the graduation hall (Aula Magna?) of the gorgeous fifteenth-century Collegium Maius of the Jagiellonian University in Krakow. Love the 'Johannes Paulus Magnus' caption - when was it written?

Sorry about the low-quality photo; I don't have a digital camera, and still have to get stuff put onto CDs. Alas, I can't quite convince myself that spending the requisite amount of cash on a camera is in any way justified.

Thanks

to the delightful Sanctandreans of Canmore, including Messrs McMorrin and Cusack, for Rosary, tea and much amusement before my paper yesterday afternoon. I do apologise for being over-nervous, over-caffeinated and over-talkative. Happily, sitting on a rock on the sands proved reasonably conducive to rewriting a conclusion, and the seminar seemed to go all right. Nobody fell asleep - which in history departments is, in my experience, the exception rather than otherwise - and in any case they gave me a very good dinner afterwards. So if it was awful and my nascent reputation is dead before its birth, at least I was comforted with venison and red wine.

I recommend St James's on the Scores in St Andrews to anyone passing through. Lovely wee church.

Hopkins on temporal empires

'... I remark that those Englishmen who wish prosperity to the Empire (which is not all Englishmen or Britons, strange to say) speak of the Empire's mission to extend freedom and civilisation in India and elsewhere. The greater the scale of politics the weightier the influence of a great name and a high ideal. It is a terrible element of weakness that now we are not well provided with the name and ideal which would recommend and justify our Empire. 'Freedom': it is perfectly true that British freedom is the best, the only successful freedom, but that is because, with whatever drawbacks, those who have developed that freedom have done so with the aid of law and obedience to law. The cry then should be Law and Freedom, Freedom and Law. But that does not please: it must be Freedom only. And to that cry there is the telling answer: No Freedom you can give us is equal to the freedom of letting us alone: take yourselves out of India, let us first be free of you. Then there is civilisation. It sh[oul]d have been Catholic truth. That is the great end of Empires before God, to be Catholic and draw nations into their Catholicism. But our Empire is less and less Christian as it grows. There remains that part of civilisation which is outside Christianity or which is not essentially Christian. The nest is gone, still something worth having is left. How far can the civilisation England offers be attractive and valuable and be offered and insisted on as an attraction and a thing of value to India for instance? Of course those who live in our civilisation and belong to it praise it: it is not hard, as Socrates said, among the Athenians to praise the Athenians; but how will it be represented by critics bent on making the worst of it or even not bent on making the best of it? It is good to be in Ireland to hear how enemies, and those rhetoricians, can treat the things that are unquestioned at home. I know that to mere injustice and slander innocence and excellence themselves stand condemned, but since there is always in mankind some love of truth and adiration for good (only that the truth must be striking and the good on a great scale) what marked and striking excellence has England to shew to make her civilisation more attractive?...'

Gerard Manley Hopkins to Coventry Patmore, Dublin, 4th June 1886. Letter XXIV in the Penguin selected Poems and Prose, ed. W.H. Gardner (1953, repr. 1985).

Thursday, October 13, 2005

Not looking good....

"Tridentine Mass 'Not a Priority', Says Cardinal Arinze"

I wonder, is this a tactical move by Arinze to inspire someone to speak on the topic in next session? I thought he was a supporter of the old rite. Perhaps he is just being brutally honest. But, to say that there is no need to for further arrangements is going beyond merely observing that the matter has not been raised. If things stay this way it could make it hard for the Holy Father to issue a general indult and that in turn would make it hard to reconcile the Lefebvrists. One would have thought if the Pope wanted it raised he would have planted someone in the synod with instructions to raise the issue. If he has not that implies either that he does not intend to change the situation (though the existing evidence is against this), or that he thinks that if it were raised more bishops would speak against a universal indult than in favour. If this is the explanation it is strange that Arinze draws attention to the issue and still stranger that he says something that would so obviously enrage the SSPX. I can see an argument for some mechanism to ensure that Priests who wish to use the 1962 Missal are actually qualified to do so, but something needs to be done about the problem of bishops refusing indults and/or making no provision for the faithful to have access to the Mass said in accordance with the old Missal. This is a real problem and the current arrangements do not address it. Let us hope Arinze's difficulties in reaching Juventutem Vespers were not symbolic of things to come.

After Cardinal Sin, RIP, Cardinal Wako

Bet you too were worried that there was no worthy successor for the post of Silly Name in the college of Cardinal . . .

inside information

I have it from a horse's mouth that Die Grosse Stille was in the opinion of one major Polish distributor the best thing at Vienna, and not just at Vienna.

Wednesday, October 12, 2005

Films I . . .

  • want other people to see: Die Grosse Stille (not that I'd mind seeing it myself)(when is the mass release, eh?)
  • ought to see, to have something to talk about with this awkward cinema man I teach: Tales of Common Insanity Though the extracts in the page linked to look rather sordid.

Monday, October 10, 2005

Parliament Live

Watch the Lords debating the Report on Lord Joffe's Bill to legalise assisted suicide, here. They hope to finish by midnight...

Sunday, October 09, 2005

Specialis Filia Romanae Ecclesiae


Scotland, so dear to the Holy See, and in a special manner to Us, has its place in Our care and solicitude... We have constantly sought to promote the welfare of your nation, which is naturally inclined to embrace the truth. The terrible storm which swept over the Church in the sixteenth century, deprived the vast majority of the Scottish people, as well as many other peoples of Europe, of that Catholic Faith which they had gloriously held for over one thousand years. It is most pleasing to Us to revert to the great achievements of your forefathers on behalf of Catholicism, and also to allude to some of those, and they are many, to whose virtue and illustrious deeds Scotland owes so much of her renown… This was the faith of St. Columba; this was the faith kept so religiously and preached so zealously by the monks of old, whose chief centre, alone, was rendered famous by their eminent virtues. Need We mention Queen Margaret, a light and ornament not only of Scotland, but of the whole of Christendom, who, though she occupied the most exalted position in point of worldly dignity, sought only in her whole life things eternal and divine, and thus spread throughout the Church the luster of her virtues? There can be no doubt she owed this her eminent sanctity to the influence and guidance of the Catholic Faith. And did not the power and constancy of the Catholic faith give to Wallace and Bruce, the two great heroes of your race, their indomitable courage in defence of their country? We say nothing of the immense number of those who achieved so much for the commonwealth, and who belong to that progeny which the Catholic Church has never ceased to bring forth. We say nothing of the advantages which your nation has derived from her influence. It is undeniable that it was through her wisdom and authority that those famous seats of learning were opened at St. Andrews, Glasgow, and Aberdeen, and that your judicial system was drawn up and adopted. Hence We can well understand why Scotland has been honoured by the title of "Special Daughter of the Holy See."

Saturday, October 08, 2005

Belarus has the highest ratio of police to people, of any country in the world.

Wha's like us? (damm few an' there a' deed)

Someone told me once that, although it has no Baseball team, more Baseball bats are sold in Glasgow than in any other city in the UK. I often allude to this statistic when seeking to irritate my Weegie office mate when he is indulging in one of his all too frequent denunciations of the f*****g English (studying as he does the Scottish wars of independence). Yesterday I was talking to a friend of mine who reads medicine. He and his classmates have been looking at slides of knife wounds this week and the 'dear green place' has been most forthcoming with examples. Apparently, the Stanley knife is the weapon of choice for the average Weegie hood. However, news has percolated back to the streets that such wounds are particularly easy to stitch up. Thus a new instrument has been invented: the double-Stanley. This consists of two Stanley knives masking-taped together with a match stick separating the two blades. This carves a strip of flesh out of the face which it is downright impossible to stitch back without a horrific scar, if at all. They say Scotland has more inventors per capita than any other country in the world...

Friday, October 07, 2005

Frost god-daughter's co-worker? Creationism, Augustine

Does she read this blog? Did she get the al-Jazeera job?
Uver fings before I stop wasting time.
If [creationists] argue that they do have faith, and that the Bible is right regardless of the validity of evolution why on earth would they care about whether evolution is right or wrong?
I was amused. Via a Wicked Admirer of the Great Darkening. I remember pretending to revise for Mods on some lawn and someone nearby, getting into a conversation with me, asked me how I could still be a Catholic what with evolution and everything. I think I looked blank for some considerable time. (Still can't remember how on earth we got onto religion.)
Anyway, wot with that kind of silly question and the apparently imprudently-phrased document published by the bishops and so on and so forth (as if biblical literalism were the biggest problem among British Catholics), I think a cheap edition of Augustine's De Genesi ad litteram* should be produced and distributed to as many people as possible. He asked all the difficult questions about the creation account fifteen hundred years ago. And probably had more literalists in his diocese than . . . well.
............"It often happens that even a non-Christian knows a thing or two about the earth, the sky, the various elements of the world, about the movements and revolution of the stars and even their size and distance, about the anticipated eclipses of the sun and moon, about the nature of the animals,shrubs, rocks, and the like, and maintains this knowledge with sure reason and experience. It is then offensive and ruinous, something to be avoided at all costs, for a nonbeliever to hear a Christian talking about these things as though with Christians writings as his source, and yet so nonsensically and with such obvious error that the nonbeliever can hardly keep from laughing. The trouble is not so much that the erring fellow is laughed at but that our authors are believed by outsiders to have held those same opinions and so are despised and rejected as untutored men...... How are they going to believe our books concerning.... the kingdom of heaven when they think that they are fullof fallacious writings about things they know from experience and sure calculation? There is no telling how much harm these rash and presumptuous people bring upon their prudent brethren when they begin to be caught and argued down by those who are not bound by the authority of our Scriptures, and when they then try to defend their flippant, rash, and obviously erroneous statements by quoting a shower of words from those same Sacred Scriptures, even from memory those passages which think will support their case........."
Augustine (354-430), De Genesi ad Litteram 1:19. The Literal Meaning of Genesis, Translated by Tr. J.H. Taylor, Westminster, Md., Newman Press, 1982. Cited here.
*Yes there are two texts of this name, one in twelve books one incomplete, no I can't remember which one I read, nor do I know which one(s) I have cited.

Agreeing with Abu Hamza

Whimsical (though more bitter than that word implies) posts by some guy teaching (formerly teaching?) EFL. This is one. Some of the spoof emails are quite funny.

Read this! It's MY thoughts!

I am trying to persuade one of my aunts (well, first cousin once removed) that she has a bright son who cannot be bothered with school, and that instead of panicking about him not getting into some kind of university she should pack him off abroad somewhere to work when he finishes school: the language and the experience will be as useful to him in most places as some crappy degree from some dodgy private college in Poland (or even a state one), and if he decides later that a degree would be useful he'll be in a better position to get a good place and make good use of it. Hey, he could do a British one and get it over in three years instead of five. But she is far from convinced at the moment. I suppose she thinks it's easy for me to talk, who get jobs for which I am completely unqualified because people see a posh university on my CV. On the other hand, why doesn't she think "hmmm, this cousin of mine has a posh degree and she is still scrounging out of her parents' fridge at nearly thirty"?

More Creepy Creepy from Blair

We are trying to fight 21st-century crime — antisocial behaviour, drug-dealing, binge-drinking, organised crime — with 19th-century methods, as if we still lived in the time of Dickens. The whole of our system starts from the proposition that its duty is to protect the innocent from being wrongly convicted. Don’t misunderstand me. That must be the duty of any criminal justice system. But surely our primary duty should be to allow law-abiding people to live in safety.
Quoted, as you will see from my link, in the Spectator. Seeing as one kind volunteer was found to help me in my masonic data quest, perhaps another will come forward to buy me a subscription to this magazine? Anyone?

Err....?!

'We should not expect to find in Scripture full scientific accuracy or complete historical precision,' they say in The Gift of Scripture.[...] The Bible is true in passages relating to human salvation, they say, but continue: "We should not expect total accuracy from the Bible in other, secular matters." (Via here.)

All right, this is a quotation taken out of context, blah-di-blah, but still. I mean, fair enough on the 'full scientific accuracy' front, though that's rather an unhelpful way of putting it - it's not as if
'In sole posuit tabernaculum suum ;
et ipse tamquam sponsus procedens de thalamo suo.
Exsultavit ut gigas ad currendam viam ;
a summo cælo egressio ejus.'
is intended as a cosmological tract. But what do you mean, no 'complete historical precision'? Sure, it isn't all history; but it's silly to say that something which is not historical lacks 'complete historical precision.' This sounds like the bishops are saying that the genuine history writing in the Bible is not completely accurate!

Yes, yes, taken out of context, I know, it's probably fine. But how many Times readers are going to be checking? How many of them are actually going to read Dei Verbum and Providentissimus Deus and Spiritus Paraclitus and Divino Afflante Spiritu ?
And what's "We should not expect total accuracy from the Bible in other, secular matters" meant to mean?
All right, I'll read the text before making any criticisms. May I merely register concern? Oh dear, perhaps even that fails in charity. Well, lectores dilecti Britannici - since I presume it won't be available in America - read the thing and see what to make of it. Oh, oh, I pray that no-one will be misled by this Times article into lowering their regard for the Scriptures.

Lepanto

In light of current circs, it is difficult to know what to say. So I suppose overcoming my natural tendency to ramble on about my own fine opinions, and instead praying a Rosary for Europa once fair, would be the sensible thing to do.

'The North is full of tangled things and texts and aching eyes
And dead is all the innocence of anger and surprise...'


Incidentally, apologies to St Faustyna for failing to give notice of her feast on the 5th. I strongly suspect that my thanks are due to her, and certainly the Divine Mercy chaplet and the image (even in its cheesiest forms) are great gifts of our most gentle and generous Lord.

Domino Gloria!

For Eamonn, for Masonic aid


Many thanks! I look forward to tucking into the chapter tonight!

Thursday, October 06, 2005

Basta!

The Fourth General Congregation of the Eleventh Ordinary General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops, Tuesday 4 October

ARCHBISHOP JAN PAWEL LENGA M.I.C. OF KARAGANDA, KAZAKHSTAN:
"Among the liturgical innovations produced in the Western world, two in particular tend to cloud the visible aspect of the Eucharist, especially as regards its centrality and sacredness: the removal of the tabernacle from the center and the distribution of communion in the hand. ... Communion in the hand is spreading and even prevailing as being easier, as a kind of fashion. ... Therefore, I humbly propose the following practical propositions: that the Holy See issue a universal regulation establishing the official way of receiving communion as being in the mouth and kneeling; with communion in the hand to be reserved for the clergy alone. May bishops in places where communion in the hand has been introduced work with pastoral prudence to bring the faithful slowly back to the official rite of communion, valid for all local Churches."

Wednesday, October 05, 2005

Coma Italian 'heard everything'

An Italian man has emerged from a two-year-long coma claiming he retained his powers of hearing and comprehension throughout his illness, his family say. Salvatore Crisafulli, 38, is recovering at home after years spent in what doctors had termed a "near-dead" state.
. . .
According to Italian media, Mr Crisafulli claims to have overheard doctors saying he was not conscious. "I understood everything and I cried in desperation," he said. Mr Crisafulli has recovered the power of speech and recollection, his brother Pietro told Italian newspaper Corriere della Sera. "I don't expect that he will be like he was, but it's already a miracle," he was quoted as saying. "And to think that some doctors said that it was all useless and that he would be dead in three, four months."

psychoanalysis "still" spurned

What kind of cruddy sloppy writing is this? Unless they are deliberately making fun of this woman.
In another installation, Hannah Froehlich of the Jewish community in Vienna tells of her efforts to draw public attention to the suffering of her community.
Her manner is in turn wry, humorous and sad as she tells how Viennese society still fails to face its past. She says Sigmund Freud's psychoanalysis is still often scorned in his birthplace.
Despite my recent alpha-equivalent for psychology, I am no expert in the field, but is she not rather behind the times as far as Froyd's reputation goes?
This from a Beeb article about anti-semitism and Jewish musuems etc in Vienna. There is a nice wee bit about Unwin the publishers:
One installation, "Phaidon Presses in Exile," tells how the English publisher George Allen and Unwin managed to buy the Viennese art press before it was confiscated by the Nazis. The press families then escaped to England, and Phaidon's work of publishing high-quality art books continued.
Tolkien, whose books Unwin published, wrote to some German publisher who was interested in putting out a German version of The Hobbit but wanted to make sure they were publishing the right kind of author, wrote a draft reply:
I regret that I am not clear as to what you intend by arisch. I am not of Aryan extraction: that is Indo-Iranian; as far as I am aware none of my ancestors spoke Hindustani, Persian, Gypsy, or any related dialects. . . Your enquiry is doubtless made in order to comply with the laws of your own country, but that this should be held to apply to the subjects of another state would be improper, even if it had (as it has not) any bearing whatsoever on the merits of my work or its sustainability for publication, of which you appear to have satisfied yourselves without reference to my Abstammung.
Now I will go and live my life instead of randomly surfing the web.

Exciting conspiracy help: Freemasons!

All I want is a brief history of the beginnings of freemasonry, with some dates and outlines of why I should give a damn. Can I find one on the web? No. Are there lunatics out there? Yes. Has the Great Oriental Express/Lodge funded research scholarships at Sheffield's Centre for Freemasonry Studies? Yes.
If someone can help me it would be great. Am fairly sure that this appeal will not be answered, but I live in hope.

Thomas's faulty biology,er, politology

In the course of collecting quotes to use for conversation lessons talking about chemical castration, crime, punishment, deterrence and what-not, came across this:

. . .

The organic model can no longer serve as an adequate metaphor to understand contemporary Philippine society. Our knowledge of the social sciences has advanced since the time of St. Thomas. Our social organizations today are created and dissolved by the implicit or explicit consent of its individual members. Contemporary social problems, therefore, can no longer be solved simply by amputation.


This is especially true when the primary cause of social problems is the whole structure of society itself. St. Thomas may have some perennial insights that transcend history. But some of the examples that he extracted from the medieval age are inapplicable to our country today.

. . .

It's complicated, being a Protestant

Good grief. And this is just the summary. Who reads all this stuff? (I meant the books and journals this stuff comes out in, not the blog per se.) And are they never worried that they are just wasting their time with theories?
(it's a loooooooooooooooooooooong post summarising "approaches to justification" within something called Federal Vision)

Tuesday, October 04, 2005

Tory councillor says "Guillotine newborns"?

An interesting story I missed begins this post at Harry's Place. It's a brief outline of some arguments concerning the killing of disabled infants (on the grounds of their disability) and some instances of such killings. The writer's book on the same subject will be published in April. The comments are worth reading through as well.

Man of Straw


Well, looks like Sobieski needn't have bothered. Nor all the Turks who, having sat down and meditated on the lessons of history, not least of all on the famous line directed to those whose skins were saved by the above chap on horse, about fighting and marrying, have moved into Austria and are living happy married lives dedicated not to maintaining the annual revenues of Durex and Schering AG but to raising children. The Austrians are too busy drinking coffee and dying their hair in shades of orange (is that just the villages?) to have children. By time Turkey joins the EU in fifteen years' time, how many of the non-retired in Austria will be Turkish? And of them, how many will be secular atheist Turks?

(No am not Daily Mail's target reader, before people start foaming at the mouth in a PC sort of way.)
(But when looking for a link to an English version of Sobieski's letter I came across this hoot. Possibly up there with the British Israelites.)

Abortion and law

The Glaswegian, comments box star, has sent a link to this very interesting review of a book which argues that any compromise in pro-life campaigning, particularly any support of a more restrictive law which still allows certain categories of children to be killed, is to support injustice. Compare the new Alive and Kicking Campaign, which is campaigning initially for the law to be made more restrictive. SPUC, however, will not countenance such an approach. The Catholic Herald (whose website still isn't up) has more on this; online the best thing I can find is some English Christian news website's thing about it.

Monday, October 03, 2005

Prayers for the Success of the Synod

Lord Jesus Christ, whom the Father has commanded us to listen as his beloved Son, shed your light upon your Church, so that she might have nothing more holy than to listen to your voice and follow you. You are the Supreme Shepherd and Ruler of Souls. Look then upon the Pastors of your Church gathered in these days with the Successor of St. Peter in synod assembly. We implore you to sanctify them in truth and confirm them in faith and love.

Lord Jesus Christ, send forth your Spirit of love and truth on the bishops in synod and on all who assist them in fulfilling their task. Make them more faithful to what the Spirit is saying to the Churches; stir their souls and teach them truth by that same Holy Spirit. Through their work, may the faithful of their Churches be purified and strengthened in spirit, so that they might greater follow the Gospel through which you accomplished salvation and they might make of themselves a living offering to the heavenly Father.

May Mary, the Most Holy Mother of God and Mother of the Church, assist the Bishops in these days, as she assisted the Apostles in the Upper Room, and intercede with motherly affection to foster brotherly communion among them, to allow them to rejoice in prosperity and peace in the calmness of these days, and, in reading the signs of the times, to celebrate the majesty of the merciful God, the Lord of History, to the praise and glory of the Most Blessed Trinity, Father Son and Holy Spirit. Amen.