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Tuesday, February 28, 2006

So that was last Thursday

Note that that was after the Big Thaw.

This was Saturday morning, next to my home tram stop

(and random shot of parish church, which is next to it)
And this was Sunday morning.

Where has the spring gone? It was -10 last night!

Monday, February 27, 2006

spam, spam, spam, chips and spam

One of the superfluous items in my inbox was headed, 'Design customised logos and business identities...' How disturbing is the concept of a customised logos?

(And that's genuinely how I read it - not a contrived pun, I'm afraid.)

Sunday, February 26, 2006

Travels of a EFL fraud

I know you are all dying to know what last Thursday morning looked like, as I travelled to drink tea and vaguely chat about films with this guy.

Ah leave ma hoose, this is what is taking up half of the parking spaces on the street. And this after the Big Thaw a few days earlier.

My tram stop, looking south, as I cross to catch the tram going north.

Ducks! Two or three stops before mine, this is the corner of Krolewska and Marszalkowska, I will at some point get round ot putting up the photos I took of the crowds here leaving the Pope's funeral (on giant screens on a square through this park) These are the ones that weren't there when I wanted to show you them, Bettina. I was glad to learn that it is not the Chinese food kiosks across the road that clear up the ducks in the evening: they have a wee house somewhere in the park, apparently. The ducks, not the Chinese food kiosks (unless they are Baba Yaga kiosks on feet, I suppose.)

Crossing the road after getting off the tram

Walking through the park looking back at the street just crossed

More park

My back to the street, I reach the buildings on the other side of the park
I turn into this little courtyard to walk through to the next street

I turn into this little courtyard to walk through to the next street

Thursday, February 23, 2006

(work going badly; long dark teatime of the intellect...)

Appealing to The Kids with puns:

' Die Veranstaltung wird mit dem Titel „Echt kryptisch“ beworben, da die Katechesen in der Krypta stattfinden werden. '

(Disclaimer: I know nothing about this bishop beyond this interview, and don't wish to mock him; I just thought that line was rather amusing.)

Calling a spade a spade:

Comments box star The Glaswegian, proffering a selection of Tunnock's finest: 'Hydrog?'

Why prelates should all have fluent Latin: so that when the final persecution has come, a secularist empire is about to wipe out all Catholics, and the hierarchy is down to the Pope and twelve Cardinals in a hut near Jerusalem, they can communicate easily and discreetly.
Mantilla-tip to The Devout Life.

Does this count as 'other'?

If anyone would like to go to a ceilidh in aid of Pro Vita Romania , in St Cuthbert's church hall, Slateford Rd, Edinburgh, at 7.30pm on 25th March - I have six tickets to sell, some of which I have not yet spilt coffee on. £5 grown-ups, £3 parvuli, BYOB. I can't go as I'll be in England at a wedding, hurrah, if the train doesn't crash; but it's a good cause which one of the Edinburgh SPUC folk is rather keen on. Besides what the linked website says, I think there's an orphanage involved; and the whole thing was begun by an Orthodox priest. It has been supported by parish pro-life groups in Edinburgh for some time. Interested parties, leave email addresses; or email boeciana [at] yahoo[dot]co[dot]uk. Will gladly take your money...

Two blokes with Danish flag visit anti-cartoon march in Paris

Have a wee watch. Not sure why exactly they did it, mind you.

Man convicted of pointing gun at bird

Bet you didn't know that was a crime, did you? Via Inchbrakie.

Wednesday, February 22, 2006

Enough of this devotional mush

Let us write, always, in brief, and about other things. (ecclesiastical gossip counts as other things). My blog, so in this case, unlike in people's thesises, I can make you write the way I think you should, so there.
I will start. More constitutional reform on the part of our Foolish Leader. An letter to the Times. (This shouldn't be me having to post this stuff, I am half a continent away, pull your socks up, please, Scottish correspondents.)

If enacted as it stands, we believe the Bill would make it possible for the Government, by delegated legislation, to do (inter alia) the following:

  • create a new offence of incitement to religious hatred, punishable with two years’ imprisonment;
  • curtail or abolish jury trial;
  • permit the Home Secretary to place citizens under house arrest;
  • allow the Prime Minister to sack judges;
  • rewrite the law on nationality and immigration;
  • “reform” Magna Carta (or what remains of it).

Proposal to campaign for various things, including a Bill of Rights. Squeaks of dismay at Spectres of the Endarkenment, but given the record of our Foolish Leader perhaps carving habeas corpus in stone would not be a bad idea.

Tuesday, February 21, 2006

'bout time!

Please God, the Poles will convert Scotland! Apparently the Polish Mass in Edinburgh is full to bursting point...

Monday, February 20, 2006

Sub fusc under threat?

Ox Stu and Times. This strikes me as a very bad idea, not for the reasons offered in the Times piece, but because it is (I think, and I know plenty of others do) psychololologically helpful to put on particular clothes for matriculation, exams and graduations. This is partly for the very simply reason that all worry over what to wear is instantly removed, and any residual anxiety can be directed into ironing one's shirt (this can take a wrong turn when the laundry room iron turns out to spread black gunk... still bitter...). The existence of gradated seriousness in dress also, I think, helps one to regard the matter in hand in the right light. Matriculation may not consist of much in the doing of it, but it is an important and real thing, in which one becomes a novice member of a corporation with new rights and responsibilities, so full sub-fusc is worth it. Collections (of both sorts) are less significant, but still demand an attitude of reasonable seriousness (and, be honest, would it be remotely possible to take beginning-of-term Collections seriously if one didn't wear a gown?). Public Examinations, especially Finals, are obviously the real thing, and it does no harm to feel like it as a result of one's clothes. Finally, changing one's gown during Graduation is a rather beautiful thing, as one enters the corporation of Bachelors or Masters or whatever of the University; but it would lose something if one hadn't worn the formal garb of an undergraduate very often first.

At this point I feel I should say something clever about ritual and performativity, but don't think I'm quite up too it.

Perhaps more importantly: carnations would look silly if one didn't have sub fusc on...

(Question: what, if anything, is the usage of sub fusc in Tabland?)

Friday, February 17, 2006

Poland has ninth lowest birth rate in the world

Poland has rank number 218 in the world for number of children per family!

Below Poland rank only: post-war Bosnia-Herzegovina, Slovenia (as many children aborted as born), the Chech Rep (v. atheist), Lithuania, the Ukraine, Macau, Singapore, Macau and Hong-Kong.

What is wrong? Where are the babies? Lack of hope, life, love... Poland has such a treasury of spiritual and cultural wealth to share, but does it really have to first hit the real bottom - and rank last - before it starts to bounce back and start reversing trends? How this must pain our former Holy Father, R.I.P - or perhaps it doesn't, I'm sure he must understand why it is so...

The Dignity of Motherhood and Radiance of Fatherhood (God's included): what it requires of us?"

Any commments on the following precis of a paper in draft? Thank you.

We can't escape (even if so in error as to want to) from the facts:
1. that motherhood can not and should not be severed from fatherhood and that both, being gifts, have great dignity just as life has dignity,
2. and that motherhood and fatherhood together are special 'sacraments' (reflections of unseen Grace) of God's Fatherly love (in His image he created them) ,
3. and derive their inalienable intrinsic dignity from no less than God (not from the State, consensus or any such thing) .
.....HENCE the ramifications of 'braking asunder" what "God has put together" (eg. motherhood from fatherhood, the marriage bond, the procreative from unitive aspects of sexual love, procreation from the marital embrace context, body language from love etc...) has such deep and far-reaching destructive ramifications as can be observed, and comprises one of the most dehumanizing phenomena of our world... (it strikes at - affronts - the core (not incidental, periferal, 'purely-spiritual-if-such-a dimension-at-all-exists") meaning of human sexuality and human dignity as most fully realised in the gift of self).
The world at large is beginning to see, sometimes, that the truth lies in this direction and hungers for this truth so much - this truth which the Church has never lost = so it is our mission to carry it forth... we can't expect anyone else to do so for us - and let's use our treasuries of tradition in this regard to do our job well (examples of some such treasures).

Wednesday, February 15, 2006

Universal indult, un-excommunication, SSPX at diocesan Holy Thursday liturgy . . .

Well, well, well. Not exactly, it seems, universal indult, but some more stuff that sounds possibly too good to be true.
Obscure interest post or what?

Sunday, February 12, 2006

Vatican Assassins out of print

You 'll be disappointed to hear that you can no longer buy the above title from its publishers, and, given the popularity and probably greater readability of The DaVinci Code, Vatican Assassins will not be republished soon. However, I highly recommend the interview (p15) with the author on the subject of the Black Pope. Quality stuff.

Saturday, February 11, 2006

FYI: Principal corporate suporters of Sodomy

Ford, Kodak, Hewlett-Packard, American Airlines, Apple, AT&T, BP, Chevron, Citigroup, Credit Suisse First Boston, Daimler Chrysler, Dell, Deutsche Bank, Ernst & Young, Estee Lauder, Intel, IBM, J.P. Morgan Chase & Co., Johnson & Johnson, Levi Strauss & Co., Merrill Lynch, MetLife, Microsoft, Nike, Pepsico, Toyota, UBS, Xerox, and Sony Music

Ahhaaaa haaaa haaa ha ha ha haaaaaaaa!

Who Killed Christianity on Radio 4. (wind forward a bit when you find the play-me link). Even before we get into the meat of it: what peasant? He wasn't a peasant? And given the number of Poles in London, could the presenter not have bothered to learn to pronounce Wojtyla?
Oh man, hilarious.
Oh, it gets better. The presenter is not listening at all. Man oh man.
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I am sooooo bored. Don't give a damn about supermarket rankings in the Czech republic. Am listening to Evensong from St Paul's Cathedral. "this sacrifice of praise that has been offered in this place for 1,400 years": no, I don't think so. We'll have our Gothic building back, thanks. Eeeeeoooooh Loahd, oapehn Theou Ouh Lips. Marvellous.
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Well, there was no Anglican soup so I got bored. I wanted Howells, Dyson and other All-Time Chapel Favourites.
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Remember Blair's "education system should produce the kind of people the economy needs"?

Let us agree that a woman should not be not employed for any particular job on the grounds of being a woman, with some possible exceptions where a bloke would just be better (like night warden in a women's hostel would be better done by a woman). But this is just sinister.
They propose a European Pact for Gender Equality and argue: "Policies to promote women's employment ... are crucial for the maintenance of a competitive and prosperous Europe."
Nothing like a people-centred policy.

Pope - wider permission for old rite?

ROMA, February 6, 2006 – For the morning of Monday, February 13, Benedict XVI has scheduled a meeting of the cardinal prefects of the Vatican congregations in order to decide two questions: the lifting of the sentence of excommunication against the followers of archbishop Marcel Lefebvre, and the widening of the permission to celebrate the Mass in Latin according to the rite established by the Council of Trent.
Well, I knew that Ratzinger would never be elected because it would be too good to be true. So . . .

Thursday, February 09, 2006

Good book - Culture of Life, Culture of Death

This Linacre Center book has been around for some time, but knowing the editor (Prof Luke Gormally) and some of the contributors, it sounds great news. Chancing upon it, I took it as a flicker of hope in a sad hard day of tedious legal translations and piling, towering worries... I thought deserved to be shared. A belated well done Linacre Center!

Muslim parents disrupt school Mass

Missed this one, it doens't seem to have made it to the Edinburgh papers.
You send your kiddies to a Catholic school. This is February. Have you only just sussed that Mass is said at the school? Hello? Wake up and smell the incense (or not, this being Crappy Land, where all niceness is to be avoided in the liturgy).

The more basic the graphics, the more addictive the game

Do not follow the above link if you have tedious translations to do, a doctorate to finish or a doctoral proposal to prepare.
Everyone else: go down first, and after making a wee loop you can lurk in the bottom right corner for quite a while.

"We grieve the more that this [the Reformation] happened there because we and our predecessors have always held this nation in the bosom of our affection. For after the empire had been transferred by the Roman Church from the Greeks to these same Germans, our predecessors and we always took the Church's advocates and defenders from among them. Indeed it is certain that these Germans, truly germane to the Catholic faith, have always been the bitterest opponents of heresies, as witnessed by those commendable constitutions of the German emperors in behalf of the Church's independence, freedom, and the expulsion and extermination of all heretics from Germany. "

- Pope Leo X

Sacerdotium et Respublica

In my quest yesterday I came across an even nicer depiction of Germany. An earlier allegorical representation of Italia and Germania by the same artist (Philipp Veit) who painted the 1848 image of Germania I originally posted. It is interesting that Italy is shown as the Church and Germany as the Empire. In fact, the coats of arms beneath the feet of Germania are those of the seven Mediaeval electors not the nine or ten that were created after the 30 Years war and French Revolution respectively.

Shock as Catholic appointed to Scottish see

(Hoping St Therese isn't reading the title)
Jacobus posts an excerpt from, and links to, the new bishop of Paisley's sermons. They are not earth-shatterlingly brilliant, being rather of the Scottish Utterly Bland school of preaching in tone, but the content appears to be occasionally, well, it appears that he occasionally says something! Hurray. Next, PB, having begun to celebratea according to the 1962 missal at least three times a week, and realised the error of his Holloways, is appointed to St A's and Edinburgh, the former incumbent having begged admission to Pluscarden.

Non possiamo non ricordare quest'oggi don Andrea Santoro

31 gennaio 2006

Santità, le scrivo a nome di alcune signore georgiane della mia parrocchia "Sancta Maria" a Trabzon (Trebisonda) sul Mar Nero in Turchia. Me l'hanno dettata in turco, la traduco come è uscita dalla loro bocca così gliela faccio avere in occasione della mia venuta a Roma. Io sono don Andrea Santoro, prete "Fidei donum" della chiesa di Roma in Turchia, nella diocesi di Anatolia, qui residente da 5 anni. Il mio gregge è formato da 8/9 cattolici, i tanti ortodossi della città e i musulmani che formano il 99 per cento della popolazione. Sarebbe lei Santità, sia il vescovo della mia diocesi di partenza (Roma) sia il vescovo della mia diocesi di arrivo dal momento che si tratta di un "Vicariato apostolico". È a questo doppio titolo che le recapito la lettera delle tre georgiane.

"CARO PAPA, a nome di tutti i georgiani la salutiamo. Da Dio chiediamo per te salute nel nome di Gesù. Siamo molto contenti che Dio ti ha scelto come Papa. Prega per noi, per i poveri, per i miseri di tutto il mondo, per i bambini. Crediamo che le tue preghiere arrivano dirette a Dio. I Georgiani sono molto poveri, hanno debiti, senza casa, senza lavoro. Siamo senza forze. Viviamo in questo momento a Trabzon e lavoriamo. Tu prega che Dio ci benedica e crei in noi un cuore nuovo e pulito. Noi non dimentichiamo la vita cristiana e per i turchi cerchiamo di essere un buon esempio nel nome di Dio, perché per mezzo nostro vedano e glorifichino Dio. Noi abbiamo molte cose da dire e da raccontare ma, Inshallah, se verrai a Trabzon potremo parlare faccia a faccia. La tua venuta sarà una festa felice. Da Dio chiediamo e auguriamo per te salute e pace e vita cristiana. Baciamo le tue mani. Saremo contenti che tu ci risponda e ci mandassi una foto con la tua firma. Tu come papà comune prega per don Andrea e Loredana, che Dio dia loro forza e a Trabzon per mezzo loro la chiesa cresca e si moltiplichi. Maria, Marina e Maria". A nome degli altri cristiani georgiani ti invitiamo a Trabzon per la tua prossima venuta a Novembre in Turchia.

Santità, mi unisco a queste tre donne per invitarla davvero da noi. È un piccolo gregge, come diceva Gesù, che cerca di essere sale, lievito e luce in questa terra. Una sua visita, se pur rapida, sarebbe di consolazione e incoraggiamento. Se Dio vuole... a Dio niente è impossibile. La saluto e la ringrazio di tutto. I suoi libri mi sono stati di nutrimento durante i miei studi di teologia. Mi benedica. E che Dio benedica e assista anche lei.

don Andrea Santoro

Prete "Fidei donum" della diocesi di Roma in Turchia,

diocesi di Anatolia, città di Trabzon sul Mar Nero,

chiesa di "Sancta Maria".

Wednesday, February 08, 2006

The Two Germanies

When Adenauer was liberated by the Americans in 1945 he told them that there are two Germanies: the Germany of Prussia, Militarism and the will- to-power, and the Germany of Austria and Roman civilization. I was surfing the net today looking for a some images to illustrate how nationalism turned nasty over the course of the nineteenth century and I found these two from 1848 and 1914. I don't know how to illustrate Adenauer's point more beautifully. If nations exist by a disposition of nature (as Pius XII says) no doubt the two cities lurk in this way in the bosom of every country.

Monday, February 06, 2006

Challenging art and flag-burning

Even if you were overcome with a sudden urge to burn the Danish flag, where do you get one in a hurry in Gaza? Well, OK, that's easy: the nearest European Union Humanitarian Aid and Intifada-Funding Branch Office. But where do you get one in an obscure town on the Punjabi plain on a Thursday afternoon? If I had a sudden yen to burn the Yemeni or Sudanese flag on my village green, I haven't a clue how I'd get hold of one in this part of New Hampshire.
... we should note that in the Western world "artists" "provoke" with the same numbing regularity as young Muslim men light up other countries' flags. When Tony-winning author Terence McNally writes a Broadway play in which Jesus has gay sex with Judas, the New York Times and Co. rush to garland him with praise for how "brave" and "challenging" he is. The rule for "brave" "transgressive" "artists" is a simple one: If you're going to be provocative, it's best to do it with people who can't be provoked.

Thus, NBC is celebrating Easter this year with a special edition of the gay sitcom "Will & Grace," in which a Christian conservative cooking-show host, played by the popular singing slattern Britney Spears, offers seasonal recipes -- "Cruci-fixin's." On the other hand, the same network, in its coverage of the global riots over the Danish cartoons, has declined to show any of the offending artwork out of "respect" for the Muslim faith.

Which means out of respect for their ability to locate the executive vice president's home in the suburbs and firebomb his garage.

Sunday, February 05, 2006

On matriarchate and patriarchate

"The sanctuary is a kitchen where men cook for women" ... In the course of preparations for the Warsaw feminism conference I asked a good priest to comment on the above statement and his letter in reply contained the following:

"That on the altar men are cooking for women is - admittedly - a sloppy way of describing what happens in Holy Mass. One could also compare it to a Romeo singing below the window of his Juliet. The essence of Christian liturgy is the Holy Communion - the meeting - between God and man, which takes the form of the encounter of Christ, the bridegroom, with the Church, his bride. The cooking or singing metaphors must be understood in this context.

"Check out the Gospel of John, in order to see how Christ, especially in the beginning is presented as the bridegroom. And connect this to the words of the prophets - especially Jeremiah - who speak about the punishment of Jerusalem by saying that the voice of the bride and the voice of the bridegroom will not be heard any more in the city. After that, the prophets turns silent - until the voice of the bridegroom and the bride is heard again...

"This is, by the way, also the - rarely mentioned - reason for clerical celibacy or for the fact that clergy must be male.

"Regarding Central and Easter European women and families there are indeed a few things to be said. I was surprised when once our Polish parish-priest here in Moldova said to me that "this society is characterized by matriarchat". I had suspected this for a long time. Matriarchate in the situation I am living at the moment means that the mother is responsible for the family and its survival whereas the husband very often - obviously not always - "sleeps under a palm and drinks votka". The consequence of this is that women here indeed seem much more developed and active than men. This is evident when one watches interviews with average citizens e.g. in the Romanian state TV. The differences between men and women is - as a rule - enormous. It is enough to see the facial expression or language/pronounciation/capacity of expression of the average male Romanian as compared to a female. Women give - on the average - a much better impression than men. Why? Because they are [forced to be] in charge of things.

"Matriarchate begins in the families when mothers prefer their sons to their daughters - and mothers have a tendency to do this. While the daughter is quickly put into the situation to help and to contribute to the daily work in the house, the son remains the preferred pupil of the mother who is allowed to do nothing. He is protected, is always right and can do what he wants. This is the best way to educated him into the kind of gipsy baron he will be one day. Once he gets married, he will will continue behaving the way he did while at home with his mother. The so called patriarchate is once successful and - now failing - attempt of the women to make men do something.

(I'm never going to give up drawing up conference plans if it means receiving letters like this - but meanwhile I'm sharing the treasures coming my way)

Dissent allowed? On the implementation of the Vatican instruction about excluding homosexuals from seminaries

An interesting but worrying account by Fr Neuhaus of the response to the Vatican instruction banning access to the priesthood to homosexuals, and the oncoming response to this response, has been published in First Things: 'Truce of 2005'.

My gut feeling is that life can be hard and no one ever said that striving for holiness is to be easy and leaders need to be as hard on themselves as they need to be on their flocks - so if those responsible for seminaries and religious orders, out of a soft mushy pseudo-compassion, can't be manly enough to tell young men who are not emotionally mature enough to be husbands and fathers that they are also unfit for the priesthood, then they are ill equipped to be of service to poor laity who come up against pressure to contracept, marital breakdown, saying no to re-marriage, 'crisis pregnancies' and the like, not to mention the day-to-day toil of etching out a living. And what can be said of all those young girls who fall in love with young men who are still mama-boys and need to address the shortfalls of their loved ones in time in order to avert future turmoil before it is too late and they end up left alone as abandoned wives? Life is such that twenty-year old girls are often faced with harder decisions than that which the Vatican instruction asks bishops to face up to! We need manly priests - and so all the more manly bishops - please, please, non abbiate paura!

Danish embassy torched over theym Mohammed cartoons

Having seen more than one foully horrible caricature of Christian symbols, not to mention the unbelievably foul jokes I read on an avowedly Christian website, I suppose I can empathise with any genuinely upset Muslim type. In his upsetness, I hasten to add, not in any torching of embassies. But if people are going to go around causing a huge hoo-ha about something published in any case a continent away, and doing so violently, then I also empathise with a "na na na na na" reaction of publishing the things wherever possible. Whether it is a healthy reaction or not I have yet to decide.

"the change that we want"

Funny this wee quote I found on this army type's blog. Funny especially for anyone who remembers the mush that passed for the Numptorium's Education Consultation. Which I now can't find, but it did have a lot of things about fitting children to enable change or something along those vacuous lines. There was a rather fine submission made (in tones of extreme academicity) by some people calling themselves Living Scotland. I think their website colour scheme needs a little work, but other than that: muchos gracias William!

Thursday, February 02, 2006

Duffer's guide to the encyclical