Friday, 26 December 2008

Eastern & Western Christmas

No it's not the weegies drinking buckie with their dinner nor the edinbuggers informing you 'you'll have had your tea', (that's all my Scottish readers offended then) its

Broadcast 221 - Father Loya discusses the respective emphasis of the Eastern and Western Catholic Churches during the Christmas season. Host, Father Thomas J. Loya.

Click above to open, you need to click broadcast 221 if it's not the most recent.

As with many issues, it's both / and, not either / or.

Wednesday, 24 December 2008

Scottish Christmas Messages

Christmas Messages links below.

I know which wins the Cellarers Prize!

Cardinal O'Brien - Archdiocese of St Andrews and Edinburgh
Church of Scotland
Scottish Episcopal Church
Salvation Army Scotland

(S)he who saves a life, saves the world entire

Jane Haining's story of personal sacrifice and bravery is emerging only now, nearly 65 years after her death. She is among a list of British people whose selfless heroism during the Second World War should be recognised posthumously in the honours list, campaigners say.

A Presbyterian missionary, Miss Haining is one of only 10 Scottish people believed to have been killed in a Nazi death camp. After the Nazis invaded Hungary in March 1944, she was ordered to leave the school in Budapest where she worked and return to Scotland.

But the 47-year-old refused, saying: "If these children need me in the days of sunshine, how much more do they need me in the days of darkness?"

Ben Helfgott, a Holocaust survivor, today Chairman of Yad Vashem Committee of Board of Deputies of British Jews, said: 'When the children were taken away she went with them to Auschwitz. She was not able to save them, but she looked after them. What she did was a supreme act of mercy and kindness.'

Tuesday, 23 December 2008


Image - Issues

I'm just off to express my outrage that anyone would dare to sing this song. It offends me.

I'll also be lobbying for all fireworks to be banned on Nov 5. It offends me.

Please note the 'Sarcasm' Label for this post...

Wednesday, 17 December 2008

Glasgow 'scarier than Third World'

Glasgow 'scarier than Third World'

The Church of Scotland’s first Asian minister has said he fears more for his safety living in Glasgow than in his native Lahore in Pakistan.

The Rev Peter Gill, who was appointed minister for Ferguslie Park and Wallneuk North in Paisley in September, said he was more afraid to walk the streets in the west of Scotland at night than in Pakistan.

He talks about crime and gangs, none of which will raise many eyebrows.

But this

The minister said youngsters lacked respect for authority and blamed single-parent families, which he said denied children positive role models and made them vulnerable to the corrupting influence of gangs.

will probably get him a bit of flack. It's just not P.C. to say this or that the two parent family is the best environment to raise children.

Sunday, 14 December 2008

Nativity Heaven

Making a cup of tea, eldest runs into kitchen,

We're playing a game, I'm Mary, (middle) is God and (Baby) is Jesus...

Cellarer wipes tear from eye...

Tuesday, 9 December 2008

Nativity Hell

'Chav' nativity which has Jesus turning water into lager angers parents

School cancels Christmas nativity in favour of Muslim Eid celebrations

A nativity play for our times

As it's panto season...


In Scotland's Catholic schools, too, the traditional version remains more or less unscathed by history. At St Cadoc's Primary in Newton Mearns, P3 perform an hour-long version, complete with Bible readings, the angel Gabriel, donkey and the wise men.

"We want it to be the same every year. Our reason-to-be is really to encourage the spiritual and religious life of children and the nativity is a big part of that," says head Jim Duffy.


All the fairytale-land characters have come together to put on a nativity show. Little Red Riding Hood is playing the part of Mary, Goldilocks is Gabriel, the Three Little Pigs are the wise men and watch out for the innkeeper - it's the big bad wolf!" This "humorous, easy to use musical" by school music publishers Learn2Soar - called It's A Fairytale Christmas - is a popular choice for this year's school nativity play.

Sunday, 7 December 2008

Round - Up

While everyone else is winding down for Christmas, this is the busiest time for me organising various events so aside from lowering the quality of various com boxes, blogging is, and will remain, slow until the break.

Our parishoner who suffered serious head injuries recently is making slow progress, but will have a long road to recovery so prayers remain appreciated from either of the readers.

Also, I've a job application in, those in the Archdiocese of St A&E might want to pray to hasten my departure, those in the Archdiocese of Glasgow pray that they repel boarders!

Tuesday, 2 December 2008

I know where I am, and it's not Huddersfield!

Noticed when visiting other blogs I come up as Huddersfield, Kirklees (which I'm sure is a very nice place)

Any ideas out there why this might be so? Has my computer been highjacked?

Monday, 1 December 2008

The Face of God - Archbishop Raya

An open tag at Infused Knowledge,.

Open the closest book to you, not your favorite or most intellectual book, but the book closest to you at the moment, to page 56. Write the 5th sentence, as well as two to five sentences following that.

Nearest book - The Face of God by Archbishop Joesph Raya

It (Creation) is a work which had a beginning. Beginning presupposes a change, a passage from non-existance to existence. Creation, therefore, is, by virtue of its origin, something which changes, it pases from one state to another state.God alone remains absolute repose. The concept that the whole universe is in continual change and evolution is a traditional characteristic of Byzantine thought.

Absolute cracker, reading again for Advent, it's a great primer on eastern Catholic (& Orthodox) spirituality.

Feel free to have a go yourself, no cheating, nearest book!

Saturday, 29 November 2008

Thank you very much (not)

Apparently the eldest (Age 4) mini cellarer was singing 'I kissed a girl and I liked it', earlier


Friday, 28 November 2008

Parish Crawl

Probably a bit self indulgent (It's my blog!) but I'm going to trawl my old parishes.

First up is St Joesph's Bonnybridge. Not strictly my parish, as my childhood parish was St Helen's Bonnybridge, but St Joesph' was a simiar distance from my front window as the photograph, but we faced it straight on to the front. I've always wondered if it was some sort of sign, or more likely a wee joke upstairs that I would end up in the Catholic Church having seen it everytime I left the front door!

Church built 1925 - "Italianate aisled Church and priest's house, in brick and cream render, with louvered bell tower, on hill with appropriate evergreens bringing a touch of Tuscany to northern parts. In front, impressive perron stair flanking small shrine; church hall below." (Falkirk and District - an illustrated architectural guide. Richard Jacques 2001 -

In one of those quirks of fate, I have actually been back a couple of years ago on an education Sunday representing the school.

The website has quite a few photographs, including a timeline of photo's with some particularly striking alterations pre and post Vat II (those of you with a traditionalist bent are advised to proceed with caution!) The one bit that struck me was on the now removed ornate rederos ' they had to be removed due to woodworm'. Hmmmmm. A likely story.

There is also an allegation we have one of their banners from Pope John Paul II's visit at our school! I've not seen it!

Wednesday, 26 November 2008

Whose Reading Your Blog?

I had a hit from the 'Holy See, Vatican City' today

Wonder if I'm in trouble...

Even if I did do a bit of editing I'm sure the evidence will still be out there...

Many opting to keep Downs Babies Humanist Comments

A Norwegian Humanist blog picked up on my post, the translator tool I used wasn't entirely successful, a couple of points from what I got;

The reason I put "usual anti life BBC slant" is this is a typical example where the BBC take a report where the results / findings / comments are pro life (albeit they usually ignore such items) and bolt on an anti life slant on it, i.e the insinuation of 'pressed ahead... despite', i.e. the accepted wisdom is that people generally automatically opt for an abortion where there is a positive test. I can't believe The Downs Syndrome Association would use this phrase.

Secondly, 'conservative Catholic Blog' - induced much laughter! - I'm no stereotypical conservative traddie or liberal or even compromise, just orthodox in belief thank you very much!

Great to see debate on the matter, religious, secularists and humanists ignoring each other will solve nothing.

If either of the readers of this blog, or the blog owner in question can give me an English translation of the post, I would be very interested to read it.

Monday, 24 November 2008

Many opting to keep Down's babies

More Down's syndrome babies are being born than before pre-natal screening became widespread, figures show.

The UK saw 749 Down's births in 2006, up from 717 in 1989 when tests came in.

Typical BBC anti life slant follows

The Down's Syndrome Association surveyed 1,000 parents to find out why they had pressed ahead with a pregnancy despite a positive test result.

See article for positive stuff from parents such as

One respondent said: "I don't subscribe to the notion of the 'perfect human being' and found the idea of selecting one child in preference to another abhorrent."

Another said: "I already felt a strong sense of responsibility for my unborn child and knew that I would love it and want it regardless of any additional needs it might have. I knew I could count on friends and family for support."

Sunday, 23 November 2008

Mini Cellarer Baptism!

It's quite frankly been bonkers round here hence lack of posts.

Anyway, last week saw the Baptism of the mini cellarer No 3.

St Patrick, pray for us
St Aidan, pray for us.

Whilst this was a joyful event and day for us, Of your charity, could I ask your prayers for a young fellow parishoner who was seriously injured at work on Friday, the parish was informed this morning the next 36 hours will be crucial.

Saturday, 15 November 2008

Blessed Columba Marmion - Christ in His Mysteries

Vultus Christi is recomending Blessed Columba Marmion's Christ in His Mysteries as advent reading.

You can have a taste with commentary in a Pluscarden Oblate letter and a bit of Bio

Blessed Columba Marmion, pray for us.

He who saves one life, saves the world entire

He who saves one life, saves the world entire

Thursday, 13 November 2008


Heavy Colds and the vomit virus have struck. Only middle mini cellarer has escaped so far...

Thursday, 6 November 2008

Stop blogging - all of you!

Andrew Keen wants me (and maybe you) to stop blogging!

or listen here

Their radical democratic dream has, unfortunately, become our collective nightmare. The enormous popularity of Web 2.0 technology has meant that the cult of the amateur has gone mainstream and is now seriously dumbing-down our culture. Today’s Internet is democracy gone wild. There are now billions of free blog diaries, free YouTube videos, free Facebook pages, free flickr photographs, free Wikipedia entries, even free self-authored pornography, but less and less authoritative or beautiful content on the Internet. The web has become a cacophony of unregulated, personalized, often anonymous and generally worthless opinion in which everyone is talking simultaneously but nobody is listening to anyone else. Rather than a democratic utopia of creative amateurs, this self-broadcasting Internet revolution is actually leading to mass ignorance and to a pervasive culture of digital narcissism.

Sunday, 2 November 2008

Anger as moderator says China's one-child policy good for planet

GO FORTH, but don't multiply. One of Scotland's leading churchmen has sparked controversy by claiming China's one-child policy has benefited the environment more than anything else in the world.
The Right Reverend David Lunan, the Moderator of the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland, said the fact that the country had enforced the controversial rules limiting couples to having one child meant it had limited its damage to the planet.

Another black day for the C of S. I don't take pleasure in this, I hate to see the Church of my childhood taking this direction.

H/T/ Scottish Christian

Irish Cemetary Prayer

Go mbeannaí Dia daoibh, a fhoireann,
Go mbeannaí Dia daoibh agus Muire.
Bhí sibhse tamall mar atá sinne,
Beimidne fós mar atá sibhse.
Go rabhaimid go léir fé (faoi) mhaise
Ag Rí geal na cruinne.

May God bless all the company of souls here,
May God and Mary bless you.
You too spent a while here just as we are now
And we too will join you soon.
May we all be adorned in the beauty
of the bright King of heaven

Eternal Memory

In blessed repose, grant, O Lord, eternal rest to the souls of Your servants, and remember them forever. Eternal memory; eternal memory, grant, O Lord, to Your servants blessed repose and eternal memory.

Saturday, 1 November 2008

You only sing when your winning...

Clip from the Catholic Herald, a group of Benedictine Nuns have bought shares in their local football club.

I wonder what Gregorian Chant 'You only sing when your winning' in Latin sounds like...

Wednesday, 29 October 2008

Stop. Think.

Couple of posts at Ebomania and Recovering Dissident Catholic (Post - How Do You Pray? - Oct 27) focus on preparing for Mass.

I reckon it's part of a wider problem that few of us now take the time to Stop. Think. Before doing anything. Before a meeting. Before a class. Before answering a question. I'm really bad at this.

Everyone in today's world seems to be so busy, though interestingly Abbott Christopher Jamieson in his book Finding Sanctuary advises he tends to start retreats by inviting retreatants to ask themselves why they have allowed themselves to get so busy...

I remember embedding the clip of 'As One Who has Slept' and thinking as I watched it for the first time 'When is it going to start?' There is an 18 second pause where nothing happens and a similar time at the end where a view of the roof of Hagia Sophia is displayed. These times of silence are not a mistake.

It also reminds me of when I was meeting a Jesuit priest in Dublin for some spiritual direction. I went in to our second meeting and started to launch into what I wanted to say. He stopped me quite curtly and said "First we must stop and pray so we can hear what God wants to say to us and we can say what we need to him".

Tuesday, 28 October 2008

Cardinal O Brien counters the Culture of Death

All the usual suspects in the blogosphere are carrying our Cardinal's open letter to Gordon Brown

The letter reminds me of his homily at my Post Grad graduation, absolutely no punches pulled at all. May God grant him many years!

Speaking to the Graduates themselves, the Cardinal asked them how authentic they were in terms of being witnesses to their faith – asking them to think as to whether or not their knowledge of the faith had grown over the years; and also if their practice of the faith had increased in relationship to their knowledge, as they realized the importance of their mission at the heart of the Church.

Speaking of the pupils with whom they would come into contact, the Cardinal also reminded the Graduates that home conditions were not as they once were; social conditions in our cities and towns had deteriorated dreadfully and he indicated that we know from the mass media of the numbers of very young people almost immediately caught up in the drink and drugs culture and the abuse of their gift of sex.

Scotland to get first private abortion clinic

More bad news from the spectacularly inaccurately named British Pregnancy Advisory Service, why not be honest and call yourself British Abortion Advisory Service or British Family Planning Advisory Service?

Scotland to get first private abortion clinic

H/T Scottish Christian News Monitor

SCOTLAND is to get its first private clinic specialising in "late-term" abortions because the NHS cannot cope with the hundreds of women requesting the controversial procedure.

The British Pregnancy Advisory Service (BPAS) is setting up the clinic to carry out abortions on hundreds of women right up to the legal limit of 24 weeks of pregnancy.

Saturday, 25 October 2008

As One Who Has Slept

At Laodicea, they are promising Coming soon: the best piece of music in the world, ever?

I was listening to Desert Island Discs on the way to work the other day which prompted me to think what would I nominate for best piece of music in the world, ever?

Well, I'm going for 'As one who has slept' - John Tavener

The mood of As One Who Has Slept, taken from the great liturgy of St. Basil on Easter Saturday morning, is full of awe, silence and expectation. The atmosphere is deeply solemn as we stand before the greatest mystery of our salvation.

This is the album version (not great sound quality)

And a version recorded in Hagia Sophia

Friday, 24 October 2008

Just Look

Excellent piece by Cardinal Egan (FULL ARTICLE HERE)

The picture on this page is an untouched photograph of a being that has been within its mother for 20 weeks. Please do me the favor of looking at it carefully.

Have you any doubt that it is a human being?

If you do not have any such doubt, have you any doubt that it is an innocent human being?

If you have no doubt about this either, have you any doubt that the authorities in a civilized society are duty-bound to protect this innocent human being if anyone were to wish to kill it?

If your answer to this last query is negative, that is, if you have no doubt that the authorities in a civilized society would be duty-bound to protect this innocent human being if someone were to wish to kill it, I would suggest—even insist—that there is not a lot more to be said about the issue of abortion in our society. It is wrong, and it cannot—must not—be tolerated

Colwich Novitate

Simply a plug for the Benedictine Nuns at Colwich.

We - the novitiate at Colwich Abbey in Staffordshire, UK - are eager to share something of our life with those who might be interested. So we asked, and our Novice Mistress gave us permission to set up a blog so that we can share with you a bit about the day-to-day life in our monastery.

Currently there are ten of us in our community:- 7 solemn professed sisters, 1 junior, 1 novice and 1 postulant. We also have several women interested in our life and one solemn professed sister in a nursing home where she is very happy and well cared for. Joan entered as a postulant on 12th November so we are now 11 here

Missed the Boat!

Perhaps the reason for the recent Catholic Blog deaths is they knew about Is Blogging Dead? So perhaps that's why I have no readers rather than the rubbish content...

Have to stop now and go and get a twitter account...

Wednesday, 22 October 2008

Black Wednesday

Black Wednesday (1992) has been officially down graded to Grey Wednesday, having been superceded by Black Wednesday (2008).

As I point out to the kids from time to time, in a few hundred years our age of abortion / euthanasia culture of death will be looked back upon incredulously as a time of barbarity.

The positive side of today was the Mini Cellarer's discharge from hospital!

Tuesday, 21 October 2008


You are feeling sorry for yourself with an ill child, wife getting no rest and a bad week at work.. and you read this

Police have named a family of six killed in a collision involving three lorries and two cars on the M6 in Cheshire on Monday evening.

David Statham, 38, his wife Michelle, 33, and their four children Reece, 13, Jay, nine, Mason, 20 months, and baby Elouise, 10 weeks, died in the crash.

Maybe it's because they were a similar family to us, parents in thirties, small children, I found this really hard to read, but it also gives you a swift kick in the butt that though things are hard, you are blessed.

May they rest in peace. Pray for them and all affected by this tragedy.

Monday, 20 October 2008

Life is Precious

H / T Catholic Church Geek

The Mini Cellarer is on the mend, still getting oxygen and some milk through tubes, he's just got to weather the virus out.

I stopped in the Hospital Chapel briefly before returning Home, they have Books of Rememberance, one of which is specifically for stillborn and newborn children. The cliche is true, a hundred deaths are a statistic, one is a tragedy - as I read a few of the writings of the bereaved, usually with a photograph of the baby it really hit home how precious life is - it's worth fighting for.

If you haven't contacted your MP yet, please do so before Wednesday.

This icon comes from "Orthodox Christians for Life," a pro-life Orthodox Christian group.

I find this icon very profound, despite any issues with its lack of conformity to particular canons.

In the center of the icon you have "Jesus Christ, the Author of Life". In his right hand, he makes the gesture that signifies His holy Name raised in blessing. In His left hand, He bears the image of a child, a fetus or "little one" in utero.

Our Lord holds this child in His hands, despite its temporary residence in the womb of his or her mother (the umbilical cord). We remember that all unborn children are created by God and earthly parents as unique and unrepeatable human beings. Each person is marked and formed by the Word of God in his life. No child is forgotten, especially not by Our Lord.

As we gaze upon this image, may we say a prayer today for at least one mother who is considering abortion. That Our Lord, the Author of Life who held her in His hands at one time, will give her courage and strength to treasure the great gift of life that has never left His hands and yet resides peacefully waiting for the fullness of time in the temple of her body.

Through the prayers of the Theotokos and all the saints have mercy on us and save us, O Lord!

Sunday, 19 October 2008


The Mini Cellarer Mk III has Bronchiolitis and is in hospital getting some oxygen to help him breathe. He's not too bad but prayers for swift recovery (if only to let Mrs Cellarer get some sleep!) would be appreciated.

Saturday, 18 October 2008

Are you Holy Invested

Are you Holy Invested? - (Scroll down to programme)
Fr Thomas Loya is a Byzantine Catholic Priest who's Light of the East radio programme has been going for ages and is well worth a listen.

He has relatively recently started a show 'Body of Truth' which predominatly looks at Pope John Paul II's Theology of the Body. Again, it's well worth a listen.

Fr Tom has taken a slight detour and has a look at the current economic crisis with Gina Emrich of Epiphany Funds (a fund which invests according to Catholic priciples, e.g boycotts firms funding Planned Parenthood and looks at a firms entire business practices, how we got here and how to get ourselves out of it.

Key points -

i) It's up to every individual to spend and invest wisely, indiviuals acting make the difference - that means you!

(ii) Communism failed. Capitalism only concerned with profit and quick return has failed. We have to treat money as a gift to be stewarded responsibly with God at the centre of our actions. (Part of what Fr Tom refers to as the 'liturgical sacramental worldview)

Our bodies hold the answers to all of life’s questions. Decoding these answers is at the heart of John Paul II's Theology Of The Body. More than a commentary on human sexuality the Theology Of The Body is a delivery system for the sacramental-liturgical world view. With the Theology Of The Body as our starting point this program, A Body Of Truth, will reach deep into the sum total of the Church’s wisdom, the Scriptures, the human experience and irrefutable science to put together a vision of the human person; “an adequate anthropology” as the late Pope John Paul II himself called it. Welcome to A Body Of Truth.

Thursday, 16 October 2008

Blog Crunch

Never mind the credit crunch, having seen two clerical blogs, Semper Eadem, South Ashford priest go to the wall and Rise and Pray announcing it's intention to fold, are we now about to see that other feature of the credit crunch hit the Catholic blogworld, mergers?

Could we be about to see;

Catholic Mom Loving it! (English family blog merger)

ninety six and Laodicea (Scottish academics blog merger)

and in a market shaking super traditional merger to create the behemoth -

What does the Hermenutic of Muller Fortis Really Say? (slavishly accurate descriptions of cats from a traditional perspective)

Wednesday, 15 October 2008


Recieved the following reply to my letter

Thank you for your most recent email and I apologise for the delay in getting back to you.

I will reply to the points you raised.

First of all on my attendance at the debate. You may not be aware that parliamentary business in only agreed a week in advance (if you watch Business Questions at 11.30am on Thursday, you will hear the leader of the House outlining it for the next week). We get a provisional note some ten days ahead. Therefore it is not always possible to guarantee attendance at any particular item of business on a given day. You can be assured that my other business was important.

On the wider issue of voting for the general principles of the Bill. I appreciate your views which are obviously strongly held and I will take them into account when I come to vote on the remaining stages of the Bill when it comes back to the House of Commons provisionally scheduled for week next Wednesday. However, I would hope that you will also appreciate that I have to take into account a wide range of representations I have received on this matter as well as listening to my own conscience on the matter.

Thank you for your comments.

Anne McGuire

I explicitly asked a second time for an answer on how she would have voted on the abortion time limit divisions and have for a second time had no reply. I am going to ask even more explicitly a third time whilst following SPUC's guidelines for action prior to Wed 22's third reading - I would encourage (is there anyone out there?) you all to do the same.

Dad, do I have any Italian grandparents?

will be the question from my boys if they turn out to be decent footballers, given their two options are Scotland and Eire (like Aidan McGeady, above), both of whom are rubbish and woeful at the moment.

How much do you know about blogging?

Well, You Know What a Blog Is...

You got 3/8 correct!

But, truthfully, most blogs probably bore you.

Poor show from me, even as a blogging newbie (hangs head in shame)

Why we are going where we are going...

(Click image for fullsize)

Sunday, 12 October 2008


Over at Mulier Fortis and In Hoc Signo Vinces there has been some (justifiable) ranting about the BBC.

I clocked the BBC article about the Codex but was in a good enough mood at the time to simply roll my eyes, shake head ruefully and move on.

I'm fed up of the BBC inviting (a) secular fundamentalists on to verbally abuse the religious speaker, or (b) inviting Catholics (with views that fly in the face of Catholic teaching) on to misrepresent the faith, or (c) two on in the hope they can spark a Catholic rammy.

Here are my top (bottom?) three BBC lowlights

1 - Christine Odone throws rattle from pram in direction of Fr Patrick Burke (b), (c), albeit Fr Burke's performance is a highlight

2- Peter Stanford has (Eastern) Orthodox priest nearly combust and exclaim 'I feel I have more in common with my Janist sister! (other guest)(b) - You need to scroll to 18 Feb - BBC Radio 4 - Beyond Belief

3 - Peter Atkins rants, sneers, laughs at and generally disrespects an Anglican Bishop on Radio 4's Sunday programme. (a) Atheist Fundamentalism

Saturday, 11 October 2008

Please Pray for a New Born Baby

If you havent already read this at Fr Anthony's blog

It is now about 1:15 am. I just came back from the hospital baptizing a new born baby. The baby is very very sick. I also gave him the Sacrament of Confirmation & Anointing of the Sick. Please pray for him and for his family in this very difficult time.

I also visited & blessed the baby I baptized on Octeber 9 in the hospital. He is doing very well. Thanks for your prayers. When I baptized him on the 9th, I added the name "John" after his legal name to honour of St. John Leonardi.

When I confirmed the new born baby tonight, I gave him the confirmation name "John" in honour of Blessed John the XXIII.

Please pray for the 2 babies & the family. Thank you.

Friday, 10 October 2008

And relax... or not.

Holidays! Although with three children under 4, I think I have the easier deal at work.

Anyway, no more of facing this type of attitude (see video) for 9 days!

Wednesday, 8 October 2008

Wisdom of Cardinal Mayer

At WDTPRS Fr Z discusses the mood of traditionalists. What really caught the eye was his story below;

When I was working for the PCED we were having a terrible exchange with an American bishops. People wanted the old Mass, and he refused absolutely. They petitioned, he rejected. They sent us the copies of the petitions, he would deny there was any interest. Volley of letters after volleys of letters back and forth across the Atlantic. He would say he never got petitions, we would mail back copies of his acknowledgement of the petitions to the lay people who had sent them. He would write a stern letter reminding us to mind our own business, we would write back saying that this was our business. It became uglier and uglier.

One day a letter came from him that was so nasty it simply couldn’t be borne. I wrote a draft of a response entirely proportioned to the tone and content of that bishops letter. I wrote a draft designed to end the issue.

When the Cardinal came in, this was the great Augustine Card. Mayer, first President of Ecclesia Dei – now very old and ailing – please I beg you to pray for him in his infirmity and suffering – he eventually called me in to go over the various drafts that had to go out. At last we came to The Letter.

Card. Mayer, who was nearly 80 at the time, and who had been a monk, expert at the Council, abbot, professor, curia Secretary, Prefect, is perhaps the holiest man I know, had a practically perfect grasp of English. He would make subtle changes in the language of all the letters he would sign. So there was no surprise at all when he said,

"Here you write X. Do you suppose we could say Y?"

There was no question but that we could, but that was his style. He was ready to hear a reason for or against, but he was usually right with each "suggestion".

We went on to the next word in that manner… and the next… and the next, until – both of us chuckling a bit – there was nothing at all left of what I had written and the page was filled with corrections and cobwebs of lines and marks.

At last, I said "Clearly Your Eminence wants something else. It’s my job to make your job easier. Give me some direction."

He paused and looked at the large Murillo painting of the Blessed Mother on the wall of the office for a while and then said:

"At a certain point we must stop arguing and try to open their hearts." (my BOLD)

With that I went back to my desk, pondered this for a while, and then rapidly wrote a short letter of response to that American bishop.

I took it in to the Cardinal, who make a minor change here and there, and off it went.

A few weeks later we received news from people in that bishop’s diocese that, not only had the bishop permitted the older form of Mass, he came to celebrate it himself for them.

What did I write?

After the usual clink of incense at the beginning, common to all curia letters, I merely wrote that we regretted greatly the way our correspondence had gone and its tone. We hoped that it might improve. But given the earnest desire of the people in his diocese, ...

"Would Your Excellency please not open your heart to these people and help them?"

That seems to have been the real problem, after all.

At a certain point, arguing isn’t going to achieve the result you desire. Sometimes you must strive to open hearts.

A real reminder that while it is legitamate to debate and argue about positions or issues, there always comes a point where to avoid conflict or to defuse it, we must stop and ' strive to open hearts'

Therefore the Abbess ought not to teach or ordain or command anything which is against the Lord's precepts; on the contrary, her commands and her teaching should be a leaven of divine justice kneaded into the minds of her disciples. (RB Ch 2)

Tuesday, 7 October 2008

Which Father of the Church are you?

You’re St. Melito of Sardis!

You have a great love of history and liturgy. You’re attached to the traditions of the ancients, yet you recognize that the old world — great as it was — is passing away. You are loyal to the customs of your family, though you do not hesitate to call family members to account for their sins.

Find out which Church Father you are at The Way of the Fathers!

Pretty accurate!

Take the test at The Way of the Fathers

Oblate letter

The latest Oblate letter from Pluscarden can be read here

This is our great strength as Benedictines: that however busy we may be with many things, we know that the purpose, the centre of our life is not them. Rather, it’s the non-utilitarian, gratuitous business of thanking, praising and blessing God for all his abundant goodness and mercies without end. So, according to the teaching of the Rule, we hold ourselves always ready to drop whatever we’re doing, in order to “prefer nothing to the work of God” (HR 43:1-3). If a monastic community truly keeps this in mind, and makes the divine service its chief work and first priority, then indeed the monastery will itself become a fruitful source of blessing, for its members and for very many others.

In the monastery, as throughout the whole Church, it’s in the liturgy above all that we express the dialogue of mutual blessing between God and ourselves. The Mass is our greatest act of blessing, and the place where God most fully communicates his blessing to us

It is so easy to get tunnel vision about what we do, however worthwhile, that we forget what is truly essential in life. The letter talks more about the centrality of Mass and the 'work of God' and looks at the recitation / singing of the Psalms.

Monday, 6 October 2008

Peace be with you!

H/T to Cartoon Church -
UPDATED - If you wish to copy on your blog, please acknowledge and link Cartoon Church - part of their copyright policy, wouldn't be wanting you to be getting a stroppy e-mail from them!

(Click on picture - easier on the eyes!)

Friday, 3 October 2008

Caption Contest

Taken from Catholic and Loving It! which commented on the pectoral crosses.

Looks like a caption contest to me..

Purple shirt - Any idea why we are standing in front of a blown up postage stamp?

Black shirt - It had better not be the stamp of that Stopes woman...



Purple shirt - So, can I do the homily at your Mass, like Rowan did in Lourdes?

Black shirt - No.

Well someone has to do some work.....

While 4 bloggers in Edinburgh have been having an ecumenical blogfest, over the last few days (generally involving drinking, eating out and shopping) it has been left to muggins here to do some work. I was also in Edinburgh this afternoon at the Gillis Centre at our S6 retreat trying to inspire them to get involved in the faith life of the school, both liturgical and 'practical Christianity' - i.e. Pro Life group, Charity group etc. As part of the session I built some lectio in, both to help them reflect on how they could be involved and to make them aware of this valuable practice.

Got the train home, but popped into OSP, where I was baptised, and then the Cathedral. I'm told there is a Bookshop in the Cathedral, but in double figures of visits since it opened , I've never managed to get it or the Cafe open!

Wednesday, 1 October 2008

Biddings & Sign of Peace (GIRM fans look away now)

Over at In Hoc Signo Vinces and Laodicea, the practice of 'biddings from the floor' at Mass is rightly lamented. I’ve only seen this attempted once, somewhere between Canada and Mexico, to protect the guilty country’s identity… and to the priest’s obvious horror, there was silence. Nothing. Tumbleweed. He looked genuinely downcast…

He recovered sufficently enough to shake everyone, yes I mean everyone’s, (approx 50 people) hand at the sign of peace. I remember thinking at the time perhaps he should be appointing extra ordinary ministers of the sign of peace to help him out…

It also reminds me of the sign of peace at the High Mass in the episcopal church I attended before jumping the fence, they had a great reverent liturgy - priest, deacon, sub deacon, latin, great choir, couldn't see the altar for incense generally - but at the sign of peace I don't think one person stayed at their place, it could last for 3 or 4 minutes!

St Benedict and St Thérèse — The Little Rule and the Little Way

As today is the feast day of St Therese (favourite saint behind St Benedict) I dusted off my copy of St Benedict and St Thérèse — The Little Rule and the Little Way in which the now Fr Longenecker compares the teaching of the two saints. Well worth a look and you can pick it up on Amazon for less than £7.

"Benedict and Therese call us to find ourselves in ordinary life. The little way for beginners lies open before everyone, for the path leads through the real demands of and details of community life. The family, the school, the parish and the workplace can all be 'schools of the Lord's service'"

UPDATE - Fr Longenecker has posted about his book on his blog

Monday, 29 September 2008

A swift kick in the butt

We all need one from time to time...

Politics Disclaimer!


To prevent a deluge of abuse in the com-box in the next post I'll set my stall out. I am not a lefty, nor a centralist liberal, nor a right winger. My views and votes go with Catholic teaching thank you very much. The below from the CCC sums it up nicely...

2423 The Church's social teaching proposes principles for reflection; it provides criteria for judgment; it gives guidelines for action:

Any system in which social relationships are determined entirely by economic factors is contrary to the nature of the human person and his acts.203

2424 A theory that makes profit the exclusive norm and ultimate end of economic activity is morally unacceptable. The disordered desire for money cannot but produce perverse effects. It is one of the causes of the many conflicts which disturb the social order.204

A system that "subordinates the basic rights of individuals and of groups to the collective organization of production" is contrary to human dignity.205 Every practice that reduces persons to nothing more than a means of profit enslaves man, leads to idolizing money, and contributes to the spread of atheism. "You cannot serve God and mammon."206

2425 The Church has rejected the totalitarian and atheistic ideologies associated in modem times with "communism" or "socialism." She has likewise refused to accept, in the practice of "capitalism," individualism and the absolute primacy of the law of the marketplace over human labor.207 Regulating the economy solely by centralized planning perverts the basis of social bonds; regulating it solely by the law of the marketplace fails social justice, for "there are many human needs which cannot be satisfied by the market."208 Reasonable regulation of the marketplace and economic initiatives, in keeping with a just hierarchy of values and a view to the common good, is to be commended.

Bradford & Bingley Demise & Sir Humphrey

Not such a good idea after all

I had a mortgage with the Bradford & Bingley when they were a mutual. When the 'deal' period ended (they had demutualised) they weren't interested in keeping my business, they had adopted the 'buy to let' model for the fast buck. I went elsewhere.

The whole fiasco reminds me of the Foreign Office approach from 'Yes Minister' which banks & government appear to have adopted...

Sir Richard Wharton: Standard Foreign Office response in a time of crisis.
Sir Richard Wharton: In stage one we say nothing is going to happen.
Sir Humphrey Appleby: Stage two, we say something may be about to happen, but we should do nothing about it.
Sir Richard Wharton: In stage three, we say that maybe we should do something about it, but there's nothing we can do.
Sir Humphrey Appleby: Stage four, we say maybe there was something we could have done, but it's too late now.

Except they have had to go for the rare stage 5 - emergency action, to prevent a good old fashioned run on the bank...