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Friday, June 30, 2006

Little Souls

It's the World Cup and so time for another tedious boat of anti-English racism in Scotland. Tedious if your not one of those who actually gets beaten up for being English. I remember I invited a priest up to give a talk here in Aberdeen a few years ago and he was walking to his train across the concourse (not in clericals) when a complete stranger shouted at him "when you’ve finished your degree f**k off back to England". My sister was a barmaid here for a couple of years and had people asking to be served by someone else because she was English. I remember listening to a sustained diatribe from her flatmate during a meal in a restaurant for my sister's birthday about how much she f***ing hates the f***ing English but not to worry "because I don’t think of you as English". The chap I share my office with uses the phrase 'f***ing English' as a kind of ejaculatory prayer as he broods over the Scottish Wars of Independence. I sat next to woman on the train the other day who had spent nearly two decades in Perth where her husband works and where she had raised her children. She was determined to return to England as soon as her husband retired because she couldn't stand the constant abuse. These are merely a cross section of instances. The English (those who have not been embittered by the experience of living in Scotland) have nothing against the Scots at all. They support whichever of the home nations are in any international competition unless they are playing England. Many Irish people of my acquaintance take the same approach. Most Scots not only don't support England they support anyone who is playing against England. The only possible reason for this is an irrational hatred of the English. This position of mindless hatred is endorsed by the brain-dead First Minister. Scotland has no legitimate grievances against the English. The Scots King inherited the English throne not the other way round. It is Scotland not England that ensured the triumph of Protestantism in Britain. The deposition of the Stuarts is a result of that calamity and nothing else. The Scots made a fortune out of the Empire. The Wars of Independence were an absurdly long time ago and the Scots won.

Thursday, June 29, 2006

Grzegorz Gerwazy Gorzcycki

In our office we listen (or rather, have on in the background, not really listening, and thereby probably undermining our appreciation of music and defiling the Western musical tradition, but hey...) to the Early Music Show (nice music) and Through The Night (six hours without much commentary, and a low Schoenberg quotient). Last night's Through The Night had a lovely Renaissance-style Mass by one Gorzcycki, who sounds like rather an interesting Baroque composer. And look, there's a whole website about Polish early music! With some free sheet music. I love the internet. (But my thesis doesn't.)

Er - good news for once!!

BMA goes against 'assisted dying.'

Which I misread as the other way round. Am revealed as pessimist.

Thanks due to Ss Peter and Paul, I suspect!

Some edification about Ss Peter and Paul from Fr Z (and St Augustine).

Tuesday, June 27, 2006

In the meantime

In lieu of any intelligent, interesting or amusing thoughts on my part, some links.

The Catholic Herald finally has a functioning website, which so far consists of a limited selection from the print edition.

Pluscarden Abbey has a redesigned website, with up-to-date news, hurrah. -

- which was linked to by A Londoner, who I think is a friend of a Juventutem friend, who blogs about, well, being a Catholic Londoner.

The Faith Movement mafia has an ever-expanding online presence in Fr Tim Finigan's blog.

And Fr Z is always edifying in 'What Does The Prayer Really Say?' (Wondering what the collect was actually about is very distracting in vernacular Masses, I find.) I really like this entry:
First, Christ is the true Actor in the sacred action of Mass.
Second, we able enabled to participate in the mysteries because of our baptismal character.
Third, as participants in Christ’s Priesthood (albeit in different qualities), we can raise our sacrifices (in our different ways) to the Father.
So, Christ is acting in us when we act at Mass. We are “in action” first and foremost through reception of what Christ gives, and then also, in what we offer.


Incidentally, the '62 collect on Sunday was beautiful, wasn't it?
Protéctor in te sperántium, Deus, sine quo nihil est validum, nihil sanctum ; multíplica super nos misericórdiam tuam ; ut, te rectore, te duce, sic transeámus per bona temporalia, ut non amittámus ætérna. Per Dóminum...
O God, the protector of all who hope in Thee, without Whom nothing is worthy [?], nothing is holy : multiply Thy mercy upon us, that, with Thee as ruler and leader, we may so pass through temporal good that we do not forfeit the eternal. Through...
- in my clunkingly literal translation (not so beautiful). What on earth is the best translation of 'validum'? 'Without Whom nothing works' is sort of what I feel it means, but that sounds a bit rubbish. Breviary.net has 'strong' (yes, I know, not supporting SSPX ect ect), which is one of the meanings in Lewis & Short. Hmm.

Friday, June 23, 2006

random amusement

For anyone who hasn't found it yet: Geoffrey Chaucer hath a blog. I particularly liked some of the Kalamazoo chat-up lines
- Yf thou were a latyn tretise ich wolde putte thee in the vernacular

- flattery of Richard II
- The voweles of the Englysshe tonge weren supposed to shifte yn 1377, but KYNG RICHARDE tolde them to staye the helle where they were

- and The Ocks Men
- Noble heroes from al estates of the kyngdom aren broughte togedir by Professir William of Ockham, yclepede PROFESSIR OCKS, who beth confynede to a wheelchayre syn that daye longe agoon when he dide soore wounde hym selfe wyth a deadlie razor of hys owene makynge.

Also fine evocations of office life (in a post that ends with a particularly fine bad pun):
Goodbye to the custoum hous! Ich haue my laboures ydoon ther, and acquittede myselfe wel yn seruice of my lorde the kynge, and nowe ich am ferre from Londoun wyth yts fishmongeres and yts werring factions and yts armees of rattes. Nevir ayein shal ich haue to listen the while Nichol Brembre doth yammere on and on about hys newe hummer limousyne and the puissance of the subwooferes yn hys hoome theatre (long tyme, ywis, ich had thoghte a 'subwoofer' merely to be an verye smal hounde). Nevir ayein shal ich heare speculacioun of the woole trade whanne ich go to the watir-cooler, thogh ich shal soore misse the manye conversaciounes we dide haue concerynge 'Lost.'

Monday, June 19, 2006

File under 'mediocrity', number... oh I've lost count

Corpus Christi. Possibly the easiest feast in the year for congregational music purposes - a whole Office-worth of Thomas's hymns, plus other goodies like 'Let All Mortal Flesh Keep Silence.' However, going to Mass in a certain city north of Tay on Sunday demonstrated how not to do things, unfortunately: viz, set Pange Lingua (in English) to a.n. other hymn tune (I mean, fine, it fitted, but why pass up the chance to sing such a lovely chant?); wishy-washy modern offertory and Communion hymns; jolly but random final hymn; and please note that if your tenor has the odd cracked high note, don't choose a responsorial Psalm that shows it up; similarly, if the priest has trouble coming in on pitch with the organ, why not let him intone things unaccompanied, or get someone else to intone the Kyrie?

Sigh. I'm not saying everyone has to sing plainsong propers. But it wouldn't take much to make basic stuff... less bad...

Rant over! And I'm putting it in small letters because ranting isn't really the point.
And dodgy hymns don't make the Body and Blood of the Lord any less wonderful. Obviously.

Father's Day Cards Which, Possibly With Good Reason, Are Not Yet Available In The Shops

'Your prodigal Papist daughter still loves you.'

I've been making up doggerel to accompany this, but it all comes out as very bitter, so probably best abandoned.

St Monica, pray for us! (I'm sure she has a wide remit on family issues. Incidentally, an American friend of mine provided an excellent line: 'My Mom and St Monica hang out a lot...')

More very small people likely to be condemned to death

Why do reporters generally fail to point out that screening - whether pre- or post-implantation - doesn't actually prevent children having diseases; it just gets them killed quicker.

The Telegraph has a rather inconsistent approach to this whole business. Compare this sympathetic report from a few weeks ago on mothers who do not abort their Downs Syndrome babies, and its associated editorial, which is admittedly a cop-out on the philosophical consistency front, but is a lot closer to a perception of reality than anything you'd find in other broadsheets.

Thanks to St Anthony!

I found my lost watch! (At the bottom of the laundry bag, lovely...) Hurrah!

Wednesday, June 14, 2006

'Jedes Leben ist kostbar.'

'Every life is precious.'

If you haven't seen it already, watch Sophie Scholl: Die letzten Tagen. This does what it says on the tin: depicts the last few days in the life of Sophie Scholl, part of the 'White Rose' group who spread anti-Nazi material in Munich in 1942-3. It is a very fine study in heroism, goodness and purity. It is also, it seemed to me, a terrible indictment of our own culture, which has given in to relativism and which ceases to affirm the value of every human life.

More on the 'White Rose' at the 'White Rose Foundation' website.

Monday, June 12, 2006

In belated honour of the Most Holy Trinity

A wonderful picture, once in Trinity College near Edinburgh. The Scottish royals whose images on the other side of the panels seem to have prevented these wings' destruction can be seen here.

Tuesday, June 06, 2006

Two good letters in the Telegraph


I have oodles of work and my brain's not cooperating; the Scottish History offices are being painted, so absence from the computer is best; Aelianus and Berenike are away, and Cleopatra has bigger things to attend to; - so all in all laodicea will be rather quiet for a week or two. Probably not going to disappoint anyone there, then, but anyway.

Deus benedicat vos, lectores dilecti!

Sunday, June 04, 2006

Happy morning

A small random story of Providence being gracious! Yesterday morning I woke up before the alarm - a very rare occurrence - ten minutes before morning Mass at the Jesuit church round the corner, and couldn't shake the feeling that I really should get up and go to Mass. So, after five minutes procrastination, I crawled out in time for the Epistle. And Mass was beautiful, despite my being practically asleep through most of it. It was particularly lovely to hear the ends of Acts and John. The reason for God's dragging me out of bed, though, became clearer afterwards, when it turned out that several acquaintances of mine were there, having just been at all night Adoration for First Friday! If only I'd been there! So I went and drank coffee with them, and heard about their prayer group, which is centred on Adoration. Sounds lovely. And it was a marvellous sunny morning. God is kind! Laudetur Jesus Christus!

Thursday, June 01, 2006

Marriage and family under further attack

The Evening News on the Adoption and Children (Scotland) Bill. All the official stuff on the Bill can be found on the Scottish Parliament website here. I know nothing about adoption procedures and practices, but there is one part of the Bill, as noted in the Evening News article, which is clearly troubling: the official acknowledgement that unmarried and homosexual couples may adopt jointly. Section 31: 'A couple is “relevant” for the purposes of this section if its members are—(a) persons who are married to each other, 15 (b) persons who are civil partners of each other, (c) persons who are living together as if husband and wife in an enduring family relationship, or (d) persons who are living together as if civil partners in an enduring family relationship.'

The explanatory notes (103) about this section say: 'A “relevant” couple is defined in subsection (3) and means a married couple, civilpartners or a couple that is living together in an enduring family relationship, whether or not that relationship is heterosexual or homosexual. The phrase “enduring family relationship” is used to indicate two people who are in a relationship that is akin to a marriage or civil partnership. The length of a relationship or financial interdependency will be relevant factors in assessing the overall strength of a relationship and the suitability of a couple to adopt.

104. The definition of enduring family relationship does not apply to two people who do not have a relationship akin to a marriage or civil partnership, such as two platonic friends or two siblings who live together.'
(So, Anne of Green Gables wouldn't have been able to be adopted by Matthew and Marilla...)

Now as far as I know, individuals have already been allowed to adopt, so it has been legally possible for adopted children to live with unmarried couples and gay couples anyway, even if they are not both the child's adoptive parents. Which is not great. It is clearly worrying, however, that this legislation further elides the remaining legal distinctions between marriage and other forms of cohabitation, never mind continuing to make guinea-pigs out of particularly vulnerable children.

(It also strikes me as worrying that the first function of the Bill is described (in the explanatory notes, section 4) as 'modernising, improving and extending' existing legislation. Improvement, hurrah; but what does it mean to 'modernise' legislation? Most simply, it must mean to change it in order to take account of circumstances which have altered with the passage of time, which is fair and good; and it may well be that there are other laws or procedures which have changed such that alteration of adoption legislation is necessary. I must admit that I fear it is being used here also to imply that the present is necessarily better than the past; but perhaps I am being paranoid and cynical.)

Time to write to your MSPs, lectores cari!

The Cat Came Back

One of the local OP cats went missing on Monday, but now he's come back. Hurrah! Deo gratias! And thanks to the prayers of St Anthony. In fact, Cajetan came home just after a text message exchange with one of the holy fathers - between Fr and me, that is, not Cajetan - about asking St Anthony's help. So St Anthony seems to like being invoked via sms... He was once miraculously transported somewhere to preach, wasn't he? Telecommunication!

Does anyone else remember seeing a really disturbing wee cartoon called 'The Cat Came Back', accompanied by a song of which that was the refrain, about a chap trying to get rid of a cat who has taken over his life? He keeps doing more and more extreme things, like bulldozing the house, but the cat always emerges unscathed and returns to torment him. I have a vague recollection that he ends up destroying the world with a nuclear bomb, but that might be a different nightmare. It scared me enormously when I was quite small. I'm not sure what was so frightening, though - the chap's madness, I think, as it didn't put me off cats.