(function() { (function(){function c(a){this.t={};this.tick=function(a,c,b){var d=void 0!=b?b:(new Date).getTime();this.t[a]=[d,c];if(void 0==b)try{window.console.timeStamp("CSI/"+a)}catch(l){}};this.tick("start",null,a)}var a;if(window.performance)var e=(a=window.performance.timing)&&a.responseStart;var h=0=b&&(window.jstiming.srt=e-b)}if(a){var d=window.jstiming.load;0=b&&(d.tick("_wtsrt",void 0,b),d.tick("wtsrt_","_wtsrt", e),d.tick("tbsd_","wtsrt_"))}try{a=null,window.chrome&&window.chrome.csi&&(a=Math.floor(window.chrome.csi().pageT),d&&0=c&&window.jstiming.load.tick("aft")};var f=!1;function g(){f||(f=!0,window.jstiming.load.tick("firstScrollTime"))}window.addEventListener?window.addEventListener("scroll",g,!1):window.attachEvent("onscroll",g); })();

Tuesday, January 31, 2006

'The one-party campus'

A good wee article on the left-liberal stranglehold in academia - in the Guardian! It includes mention of the harm done by feminist refusal to listen to evidence about the Pill's harmful effects.

Compare this from First Things a while back.

Monday, January 30, 2006

If anyone has an account with Barclay's -

- you might want to consider moving it. In the wee coffee room in the NLS today, I spotted a depressing little pamphlet entitled (if I remember rightly) 'Getting Hitched: A Guide to Civil Partnerships', produced by Stonewall and sponsored by Barclay's Bank. This explained in jolly and conversational terms why the Civil Partnerships Act provided 'in all intents and purposes' for gay marriage; it was illustrated with wedding cakes, champagne flutes and the like, and pointed out cheerily that gay couples can even ask for wedding presents. I can't quote more exactly as I put both copies in the bin; which, with a few hours' hindsight, was possibly unhelpful, as it would be useful to have the text, but I couldn't bear the thought of carrying it around.
It isn't exactly surprising to see the gay lobby (or at least this element of it) claiming that gay marriage is now a reality in Britain, despite the government's insistance that the Act did not allow for anything that should be called marriage. Whether the government was being naive or cynical in making this assertion, I am still not entirely sure.
I am also not sure whether Stonewall's depiction of look-alike marriage could quite be considered misrepresentative in legal terms. I suspect not, as while the booklet did repeat that civil partners would have exactly the same rights as married couples in various spheres, and could have whatever ceremony they wished to accompany the establishment of a civil partnership, I don't think they directly referred to gay couples' being married, instead using 'tie the knot' and 'get hitched' and such-like. So actually the jokey tone works out as a cunning ploy to avoid being sued...
Still, would it be sensible to write to the NLS and protest their allowing such material in the coffee room, and to write to Barclay's and protest their using their resources to fund such things?
Lord have mercy upon us.

Most women want lower time limit for abortions

I am not sure what they mean when they say an on-line poll. I for one would immediately email all my friends and acquaintances to tell them about it, and I imagine that perhaps 20 of them would then actually fill in the questionnaire. Now all of them get another couple of people to fill it in as well, then the results are going to be skewed somewhat. FWIW.

Abortion for disability

When pregnancies over 21 weeks are terminated, medical opinion is that the baby is best born dead. This means injecting potassium chloride into the baby's heart, a procedure called foeticide, before labour is induced. That thought was unbearable, so McCartney was induced and her baby was born alive, only to die soon after birth.

Saturday, January 28, 2006

[scroll down for more recent posts]

All readers of this blog are warmly invited to an event to be held by

Living Scotland
NB Change of time!
Fr Marcus's talk will now begin at 4pm
Mass is expected to begin at 5.30pm

on Saturday, 28th January, 2006
The Feast of St Thomas Aquinas

At 4pm in St Catharine's Convent, 4 Lauriston Gardens, Edinburgh.

Fr Marcus Holden

will speak on:

'The Unicity of Salvation and the Social Order'

and celebrate

Mass for the Feast of St Thomas Aquinas

(Novus Ordo, Latin)

A reception will follow.

Living Scotland is a pro-life association for Catholics, with the aim of establishing the Kingship of Christ in Scotland by bringing all social and civil life into conformity with the natural and revealed law of Christ and of His Church.

For further information please e-mail

livingscotland [at] youthforlife.net

Wednesday, January 25, 2006

On Lying in Bed

Lying in bed would be an altogether perfect and supreme experience if only one had a colored pencil long enough to draw on the ceiling.

If there is one thing worse that the modern weakening of major morals, it is the modern strengthening of minor morals. Thus it is considered more withering to accuse a man of bad taste than of bad ethics. Cleanliness is not next to godliness nowadays, for cleanliness is made essential and godliness is regarded as an offence. A playwright can attack the institution of marriage so long as he does not misrepresent the manners of society, and I have met Ibsenite pessimists who thought it wrong to take beer but right to take prussic acid.
G.K. Chesterton

Gratias Deo qui caritas est!

Tuesday, January 24, 2006

(Jaw hits floor...)

Am speechless at the folly demonstrated by this loathing for any reminder of history.

Via the Scottish Christian News Monitor (which has dropped the laodicean quote on its redesigned front page; shocking...).

Thursday, January 19, 2006

Women, women...

Help - I'm trying to draw up a conference plan on feminism that will result in nice published conference proceedings, lots of media noise and lots of new thinking among new people... The conference won't be in Britain, but please, please, I need comments (quick):

My thoughts at present are to put things as follows:

What women want?

1. an evaluation of the past : From Joan of Arc to Ginger Spice

2. thorough discourse: The methodology of Gender Studies examined - an important Professor name to deliver paper

3. status, achievement or warmth and normality?: a literary analysis (eg. Jane Austen's heroines...)

4. freedom : free will in shackles - the psychological conditioning of modern feminism (manifold psychological shackles of key feminist figures)

5. rehabilitation of emotionality, intuition and feminine rationality (dignified medical treatment, labour wards etc. and respect for maternal intuitions)

6. physical contacts without consequences? (the trap of falsified physical unity in contraception - sexuality devoid of its meaning)

7. normal motherhood at its appropriate time (the problems of the 'granny generation' wanting to realize themselves as mothers - big problem in Central Europe)

8. appreciation of feminine roles and the time they devote to others : "Cheap women destructive to the economy" - a definition of just wage (Leo XIII) and interrelationships between earnings, household expenditure, accomodation costs and demographic trends

9. humanised space : architectural and artistic affronts to / affirmations of human dignity and women's dignity in particular - beauty, hope and modernity

10. masculine men - Facing men with the challenge of openness to life

11. right to femininity and compassion: Lady Macbeth as an icon of modern woman (understanding the ramifications of the culture of Death)

12. due attention to Our Lady: her place as bride of the Holy Spirit and mother of Christ, her Fiat and the centrality of the mystery of the Incarnation

The Nuptial Mystery

I'm considering whether to review Cardinal Angelo Scola's new book, The Nuptial Mystery, about how God's design for marital love is to mirror, enflesh even, his own Trinitarian love between Father, Son and Holy Spirit.

In the meantime, I share some quotes, one on fidelity, especially when one spouse is abandoned by the other:

Love is not love which alters when it alteration finds
Or bends with the remover to remove... Shakespeare, Sonnet 116

And the other on the great, astounding worth of human life and our dulce lignum, dulce crucis...

Learning of the death of his wife:

Is the object of life only to live? Will the feet of God’s children be fastened to this wretched earth? It is not to live, but to die, and not to hew the cross, but to mount upon it, and to give all that we have, laughing! There is joy, there is freedom, there is grace, there is eternal youth! . . .What is the worth of the world compared to life? And what is the worth of life if not to be given? And why torment ourselves when it is so simple to obey? Where a plan is embraced, not even death is a defeat. It, too, becomes a call to freedom.

Quote cited by Card, A. Scola, taken from Paul Claudel’s The Tidings Brought to Mary.

(My apologies to Card. Scola for quoting not him directly, but only his citations. I sometimes can't help worrying that von Balthasar has a deep influence on the writing style of those who read him - maybe he should be indexed for this alone - all the more so if he himself so insists on the importance of beauty and simplicity!)

By the way, a few years back I remember thinking about writing an essay on how Shakespeare's sonnets mirror the teachings of Humanae Vitae and TOB (Theology of the Body). Has anyone heard of anything written on the subject? I know the chronology - poor Shakespeare was born in bad times when he could not have read Humanae Vitae, but if lectures can be entitled 'Darwin talks to Aquinas" then my essay can be entitled "HV talks to Shakespeare", or "S concurs with HV." Any commissions? No, of course not... such work must be done out of love...

So, as we are saying hello to this New Year, hats off to love!
I mean true, profound, faithful, life-long and fecund love open to life and anchored in God who is Love.

testing for anti-Egyptian bias


testing Mac compatibility

fae milanówek

Unashamedly sentimental moment

Encroaching upon Zadok's cute-animal territory, I'm afraid!

Ripping yarns from the established religion

If berenike's vice is Ian Rankin, I'm having a patch of turning to John Buchan shockers for solace. Mostly entirely jolly and decent, though there are spots of casual racism and anti-Semitism which are rather unpleasant to come across - and Richard Hannay's favoured term for a thoroughly upright, sound chap is 'a white man.' Hmm. Still, that aside, generally rollocking patriotic stuff.

An exchange between Richard Hannay and Sandy Arbuthnott in The Three Hostages (1924):

"I [Hannay] suggested politics, and he rather liked the notion.
"'I might be bored in Parliament,' he reflected, 'but I should love the rough-and-tumble of an election. I only once took part in one, and I discovered surprising gifts as a demagogue and made a speech in our little town which is still talked about. The chief row was about Irish Home Rule, and I thought I'd better have a whack at the Pope. Has it ever struck you, Dick, that ecclesiastical language has a most sinister sound? I knew some of the words, though not their meaning, but I knew tht my audience would be just as ignorant. So I had a magnificent peroration. "Will you men of Kilclavers," I asked, "endure to see a shasuble [sic] set up in your market-place? Will you have your daughters sold into simony? Will you have celibacy practised in the public streets?" Gad, I had them all on their feet bellowing "Never!"'
"[Sandy again]'Lord!' he cried, 'how I loathe our new manners in foreign policy. The old English way was to regard all foreigners as slightly childish and rather idiotic and ourselves as the only grown-ups in a kindergarten world. That meant that we had a cool detached view and did even-handed unsympathetic justice. But now we have got into the nursery ourselves and are bear-fighting on the floor. We take violent sides ,and make pets, and of course, if you are-phil something or other you have got to be -phobe something else. It is all wrong. We are becoming Balkanized.'"

Um. I'm not sure the Empire always involved even-handed unsympathetic justice... Still, the entirely stress-free combination of Anglo-Scottish Britishness among the characters, which is very much connected to the Empire and the Europe of empires generally (Hannay is a South African, remember), is rather interesting. One could probably write a thesis on it. Well, someone probably already has.

Behold the Straw Man

I caught the end of In Our Time on Radio 4 this morning - it was about relativism, and would probably be worth listening to for the most part. Apparently Melvyn Bragg began with a reference to Benedict's 'dictatorship of relativism' line, as one of the panellists referred to it at the end while they discussed whether the adoption of relativism meant that morality was impossible. This particular chap stated that the Pope thought that relativism was inimical to morality, 'and because he is a priest, he thinks that morality means sexual morality.' Oh dear. Then he went on to say that the Pope thought morality was threatened by relativism because people thinking relativistically think there is no difference between right and wrong; which the chap denied, on the basis that many people disagree with Catholic teaching not because they ignore the categories of right and wrong, but because they disagree on where the boundaries are.

In short, then, he thinks that Benedict is stupid. One can hardly fail to notice that people generally think in terms of right and wrong, and claim to have structures of morality which just happen to differ from the Church's. The problem is that, if one tries to investigate the basis of popular modern assumptions about morality, there turns out to be no good or defensible reason for the places where the boundaries are drawn. While people claim to know what is right or what is wrong, and indeed often act as if they did (because they do have consciences), they nonetheless claim to think that their morality is entirely socially-conditioned; so if they were to take their own claims seriously, they would in fact deny an objective difference between good and bad. Or their views turn out, when thought through, to have inconsistencies which undermine any distinctions made - most notably, at present, with regard to who is entitled to human rights. And yes, such things are currently very obvious in areas of sexual morality, but just because that is an active part of the battle-line does not mean that anyone regards it as the whole of the battle's front. Benedict's philosophical preoccupations are not with sex, but with the need for truth to be discovered as the criterion for human happiness and goodness.

All right, yes, yes, you all know that; but the ignorant few sentences of the chap on the radio were rather riling. A good rule of disputation: do not assume that your collocutor [is that a word? and am I using it remotely correctly?] is stupid. Assumption of ignorance may be permissable, but assumption of stupidity is generally counter-productive.

Tuesday, January 17, 2006

You Have Been A Research Student Too Long When

...you spontaneously and non-ironically think, 'The problem with this university is all the undergraduates...'

... your supervisor greets you with, 'Happy new year! You look like you're on the verge of collapse!'

... the single most satisfying moment of the day is when you notice that the NLS has finally provided paper cups beside the water fountain, so you can have a drink without looking like you've just been baptised by immersion.

No, sorry, nothing interesting to say; go and read Berenike's interesting cross-cultural observations.


Last piccie from my Ukrainian weekend break last month. I still haven't written about the granny pushing hams down her trousers just before the passport control on the Polish side (going there). Or the bit just like on TV with people sellotaping packets of cigarettes around their legs and bodies under (helpfully baggy) shell suit trousers. The folk ambling about with vodka bottles under their arms when you reach the bazaar and minibus stop on the Polish side. Spending three hours standing to get back into Poland, and that after skipping the queue in front of both the Polish and Ukrainian passport controls by talking the soldiers beseechingly into letting me through. Or the fabulous beetroot salad (cooked grated beetroot, crushed garlic, chopped walnuts and mayonnaise). Or the great thing with fried grated carrot and chopped onion to go with liver.
This is the Orthodox church in Mostyska. It was apparently once a Polish=Latin Rite Catholic church, but was sold to the Orthodox about 300 years ago. I didn't get them in this picture, but there are (quite new) Stations of the Cross on the walls, not exactly a classical Orthodox or even GC devotion that I know of.
The most interesting thing about the trip (apart from edibly gorgeous children of my friend etc) was the relationships between the RCs, GCs and Orthodox. For example, as in Polish, a Byzantine-rite church is called a cerkiew, and a Latin-rite church a kosćiół. The distinction is between the rites, not the schismatic/not schismatic. And as I noted below, which Byzantine-rite church one attends can be decided by the presence or otherwise of central heating, a big new building, or in parts of the former USSR where there is a greater lack of priests, what kind of priest first comes to your village. The summer camp below had Orthodox and GC kids on it: as my friends pointed out, it was on a level so basic that probably the average Mere Christian proddy child could have gone on it. But when you get on a bit with the catechesis, it is easier to use Orthodox material than RC stuff, because as the CCC (1075) itself says, mystagogy is tied to the language of the rite. You live in one rite, one calendar, and one way one learns the Faith is by making one's rite ever more one's own. I am not talking about theology per se here. Of course there is a language issue as well, since there basically RC=Polish, Byzantine=Ukrainian. Me priest friend did say that he thinks that the RCs in general have "a deeper piety. I don't know how one could account for that trend, if it is not just a case of the grass being greener. And that for many people, they know that they are GC "because we have the Pope", but that in fact is about as far as it goes in terms of knowledge of the faith. (Sounds like NI?) Except that, fisticuffs apart, there is not the sectarianism. I got the impression that the punters would happily all un-Muscovite. Or most of them, anyway. Am orthodox priest from Buciv was in fact going to pope, but then he was offered a bishopric, so he went to the monastery one day, and was bishoped the next.

Monday, January 16, 2006

Kirk goes out on a limb

How remarkable. My goodness me.
THE ethical debate over the role of genetic research has taken a new twist after the Church of Scotland claimed plans to liberalise stem-cell laws would effectively authorise "murder".
The Kirk argues in a new report that human embryos have the same moral status as newborn babies and should not be treated as "research objects".

The report by Donald Bruce, director of the church's science, religion and technology project, says the use of stem-cell research should be "absolutely impermissible".
From Il Scozzese

A new disease: gimme all your Rankin books

Oh yes. Before Finals it was solitaire and free cell on the laptop (I only passed because, with a supreme act of will, aided by a flash of insight at 4 a.m. after hours of said games and no revision, I deleted the files from the computer), there has been John Grisham, Pratchett. While still at school there was the cringe-as-you-read David Eddings.
Now, it's Ian Rankin. A good combination with McCall Smith. I am going through a patriotic patch.
The printer has just about finished the sample of Rankin's latest novel I got off the website, so I can at last go to the loo.

Friday, January 13, 2006

Happy St Mungo's Day!

Urbs lauda ierusalem
deum sion gaude
kentigernum exaltet
christus summa laude

O sacer antistes
regis clarissima proles
per quem laudonia
nitet et iam cumbria tota

Magnaque pars scocie
fidei convertitur alme

O kentigerne
gemma nobilis
pastor prepollens
preco salutis
o dispensator
christi fidelis
tuis succurre
queso servulis
lumen ut tecum
cernant in superis.


Greetings especially to Glaswegians. Or for tomorrow, for Trid Glaswegians. It's all so confusing...

Sancte Kentigerne, ora pro nobis!

Juventutem survey

Please help the Ozzie Juventutemites plan for 2008 by filling in the above-linked survey!

If you don't know about Juventutem, see the links in the sidebar.

Wednesday, January 11, 2006

Late Medieval Liturgical Offices Online


For browsing purposes, the easiest way is to go through the list of feasts (click on 'LMLO search' then 'LMLO texts'). Deo gratias for this; the database is currently otherwise available on floppies which require one to know DOS commands. Come on, historians being competent in that sort of thing?!

More on LMLO from the PIMS website.

Tuesday, January 10, 2006


Oh well, predictably Richard Dawkins's programme wasn't very good. I mean, by no standard was it any good, except, perhaps, that whoever found the remarkably cheesy hymn arrangements for the soundtrack should probably get a few brownie points. I don't know if Prof. Dawkins's work in his own field is decent, but his display on Channel 4 just gave the impression that he wasn't too bright. He seemed to be mistaking assertion for argument, was apparently incapable of discerning how to use statistics in any constructive manner, and displayed remarkable ignorance of Who and What God is according to Judeao-Christian thought. Pretty solid gamma all round, really.

(The Guardian offers a review in the style of the original...)


The dome in the distance is the new Orthodox church. A lot of people are attracted by the central heating, apparently. The GC's have a converted cottage: modest, but nice. The Poles have not failed to make their own imitable contribution to the ecclesio-architectural landscape, right next to the GC's modest chapel. The thing below is for the ten RC families in the village.

Monday, January 09, 2006

Waste of time, or Know Your Enemy (And Pray For His Conversion)?

Not sure where the Mark-Shea-esque capitals came from. Anyway. Will this be worth listening to? On the one hand, it involves David Starkey; but on the other, it does apparently include debate; and yet on ... Zaphod Beeblebrox's third hand?... Radio 4 is often apparently incapable of finding articulate apologists for Christianity.

It does sound as if the premise of the programme ('Dr David Starkey argues that five major Christian figures distorted, even betrayed, the Christian faith as envisaged by Jesus.') is the assumption that the Church doesn't exist, which is really the same as the assumption that Jesus is not who He claimed to be. Our Lord gave every indication of expecting that there would be a people of God who would be able to stand fast in His truth, precisely because the Holy Spirit would sustain them and the Father would hear their prayers in the Name of the risen and ascended Son. The notion that 'real' Christianity was strangled at birth is essentially the suggestion that God was not capable of making a people for the New Covenant. I wonder if anyone on the radio will make some such point?

Meanwhile, is there any point in watching this? Richard Dawkins always makes me angry, and the text on the Channel 4 website (linked above) is full of non sequiturs. However, it may be better to know exactly what he says, for purposes of letters to newspapers, pub arguments, etc.. Probably a programme best watched while clutching rosary beads, in any case.