Tuesday, January 31, 2006
Monday, January 30, 2006
If anyone has an account with Barclay's -
Saturday, January 28, 2006
All readers of this blog are warmly invited to an event to be held by
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'
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
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.
Tuesday, January 24, 2006
Via the Scottish Christian News Monitor (which has dropped the laodicean quote on its redesigned front page; shocking...).
Thursday, January 19, 2006
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
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 Gods 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 Claudels 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.
Ripping yarns from the established religion
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
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
... 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.
Monday, January 16, 2006
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".
Friday, January 13, 2006
Happy St Mungo's Day!
O sacer antistes
Magnaque pars scocie
Greetings especially to Glaswegians. Or for tomorrow, for Trid Glaswegians. It's all so confusing...
Sancte Kentigerne, ora pro nobis!
If you don't know about Juventutem, see the links in the sidebar.
Wednesday, January 11, 2006
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
(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)?
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.