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...

Sunday, 28 September 2008

Leaders Hope Executive Will Meet

Leaders hope executive will meet - BBC

Cowen meets NI ministers in Edinburgh - RTE

Please pray for further progress in these negotiations. I worked in Dublin and also undertook quite a bit of work in the North. Contrary to the popular media portrayal of those in the North as hardened, embittered ideologues, I found those I worked and stayed with, of both communities, to be warm and generous.

Another dialogue which once would have unthinkable appears to have commenced, e.g. Gerry Adams and the Orange Order.

Thursday, 25 September 2008

Well at least there is one person does not think this blog is complete rubbish!

Infused Knowledge gave me the above award for which I am supposed to answer the following;

All awardees must answer the questions below with one word each.

1. Where is your cell phone? Pocket
2. Where is your significant other? Livingroom
3. Your hair color? Fair
4. Your mother? Best
5. Your father? Best
6. Your favorite thing? Wife
7. Your dream last night? Bizarre
8. Your dream/goal? Theosis
9. The room you're in? Dining - room
10. Your hobby? Geneology
11. Your fear? The Tablet
12. Where do you want to be in 6 years? Here
13. Where were you last night? Home
14. What you're not? Extrovert
15. One of your wish-list items? Even-temper
16. Where you grew up? Stirlingshire
17. The last thing you did? Nappy!
18. What are you wearing? Shirt
19. Your TV? CBEEBIES!
20 Your pet? Fish
21. Your computer? Overused
22. Your mood? Variable
23. Missing someone? No
24. Your car? People- Carrier
25. Something you're not wearing? Tie
26. Favorite store? Bookstore
27. Your summer? Rain!
28. Love someone? Family
29. Your favorite color? Green
30. When is the last time you laughed? Afternoon
31. Last time you cried? Last week

Wednesday, 24 September 2008

Royal Mail partially redeems itself

The Royal Mail has partially redeemed itself, after regrettably issuing stamps commemorating Marie Stopes, a eugenicist who shared views on racial purity with the Nazis. It is issuing religious stamps for Christmas 2008 (one of which pictured), breaking with it's alternate year secular / religious policy.

Fr Ray Blake has advised any items of post arriving here with this (Stopes) stamp on it will be returned to the sender.

I'm toying with the idea of buying the stamps and after affixing, scoring 'Family Planning' out and writing 'Eugenicist' in...

Tuesday, 23 September 2008

Bishop reignites row over faith schools

Bishop reignites row over faith schools

“What could not have been foreseen was the number of non-Catholic parents who have chosen to send their children to this Catholic secondary school as a result of its achievements and record of academic excellence. While this has created problems of accommodation, it is perhaps also something to celebrate as a tribute to Catholic education, particularly at a time when faith schools are under increasing attack from political and secular-atheist enemies.

My own school is around a third non-Catholic pupils due to increasing placement requests. In many ways this is a good thing, but it does make teaching R.E. and celebrating liturgy more challenging (than it already is!)

The article then concludes with the UK media obligatory anti religion view. Astonishingly, the Times goes for a quote from Lorraine Kelly, who as far as I know has no qualification or noted experience in the fields of education or religion, her credentials to pontificate on this issue are..she is a GMTV presenter. My only surprise is that Accord weren't asked for their view

Monday, 22 September 2008

Favourite Religious 'Dig'

After listening to Peter Atkins it reminded me of Fr. Archimandrite Robert F Taft, S.J. , noted eastern rite Catholic priest's comments on the Orthodox in an (in)famous interview in 2004.

We shouldn’t have a Catholic bishop in Moscow? Well, let’s see, there’s a Russian Orthodox metropolitan in Brussels, to say nothing of Paris, of London. Up to a while ago, there were three Orthodox bishops in Oxford. All of the Orthodox in Oxford you could fit into a telephone booth. You’ve got to challenge this sort of nonsense

Frank, bordering on rude, certainly not diplomatic, getting a point accross, but without descending to the sneering contemptous attitude of Peter Atkins (and funny!)

Feel free to add your favourite 'dig' to the com box - NB No offensive or abusive digs please!

Runner up - Cardinal Ivan Dias, prefect of the Congregation for Evangelisation,
has told bishops assembled at the Lambeth Conference that they are heading towards "spiritual Alzheimer's" and "ecclesial Parkinson's".

Disclaimer - I have the greatest respect for eastern rite Catholicism and Orthodoxy, as anyone who knows me will testify.

Sunday, 21 September 2008

Atheist Fundamentalism

Just been listening to 'Sunday' on Radio 4 which, if you go to 37.35 in on the listen again option, (avaliable for a week from today) here has an English Bishop (Anglican) I think, and an Oxford professor discussing creationism and the resignation of Prof Reiss.

Unfortunately Radio 4 got a secular atheist fundamentalist academic on, Peter Atkins, he used the program to indulge in polemics more often than discuss the issue at hand and openly admitted, "I'm interested in dialogue to stamp out religion." He also chuckled in contempt on a couple of occasions. He's entitled to his views but shows a fundamental lack of respect for anyone with differing views from his own.

Saturday, 20 September 2008


10,000 Catholics for Obama

I'm not going to get into U.S. politics, however, as a Catholic teacher, one of the main points to get across is some things are more important than others (that doesn't mean the less important issues aren't important).

E.G. - You return from holiday. The roof has a hole in it, the floors are damaged and the walls have been stained. I.E. you want the roof fixed immediately, the floors pretty quickly and the decor can get attended to later. Different issues, different gravity, different priority to fix, different consequences if not fixed.

After watching the video with young people talking about their Catholic education I wonder have they wilfully switched off or wilfully been misled. (Bangs head off wall)

Friday, 19 September 2008

Baroness Warnock: Dementia sufferers may have a 'duty to die'

I vividly remember our ex PP (now in Rome), a few years back when a push to legalise Euthanasia made its periodic appearance, advising us all during a sermon that "In a few years time it would be all of you and I they would be trying to bump off and not to think 'It won't affect me' that everyone needed to fight this"

Lazy Bloggers Post Generator

H/T- Infused Knowledge - Lazy Bloggers Post Generator

Oh for crying out loud! I just noticed I have not updated this since you last visited... You would not believe how insane my life has become. Unbelievable.

I am flat out with work, commitments, just generally being a parent to my kids, my day seems to be packed from 4am to 11pm at which point I fall asleep on the couch. I am not complaining though. I need a nap.

I hope that one day I will make more of an effort to blog more often. Seriously! I mean it!.

Blogs I follow

More people have read this shirt than your blog

Have added a 'Blogs I follow' list on the RHS.

Just a selection of a few blogs I keep an eye on and comment on from time to time.

If your not on my list, it doesn't mean I think your blog is rubbish. It's not exhaustive, you can find exhaustive lists on the usual suspects blogs, so if your not on mine but you have linked to me, let me know and I'll return the favour.

Thursday, 18 September 2008


A large study is to examine near-death experiences in cardiac arrest patients.

Doctors at 25 UK and US hospitals will study 1,500 survivors to see if people with no heartbeat or brain activity can have "out of body" experiences.

Near Death Experience survey

Some would say NDE's are a glimpse of the afterlife. Some would say it's a side effect of oxygen starvation of the brain. The other less publicised possibility view is the 'tunnel of light' is a trick of evil, as can be apparitions of angels - discernement and investigation is reqired

a devil changed himself into a bright angel and appeared to a monk. "I am the angel Gabriel," he lied, "and I have been sent to you." But the brother wasn't about to be taken in, and replied, "Think again - you must have been sent to somebody else. I haven't done anything to deserve an angel!"

Tuesday, 16 September 2008


Sleep pattern irreversably damaged.

Will post this then try to sleep!

The more I teach, the more I think this is true.

Teenagerism Not So Inevitable…

BY Holly Pierlot

I suggest teenagerism is really a cultural phenomenon that is not necessarily linked to hormonal growth or age, and that we have been conditioned to think this is “normal.”

Teenagerism not so inevitable

Monday, 15 September 2008

Accord Pt II

Just been watching the news, item on a new Hindu school, then "but some people think its a bad idea..." then spokesman for Accord comes on to deride school.

I rather suspect we can now expect these self appointed experts to be tagged onto any news on faith schools on the BBC.

The BBC would argue it's to give 'balanced reporting' - don't see too many positive slants been given airtime to give 'balanced reporting' after a negative article on faith though...


The Yfaith site went live on Sunday.

The blurb...

About Yfaith
What is Yfaith?

Yfaith is an initiative of the Catholic Agency to Support Evangelisation (CASE).

It is a website designed for young people between the ages of ten and thirteen (an age group known as ‘tweenagers’).

It was created in response to the need of parents looking for support in passing on their faith to their children. Based on biblical teaching and the teachings of the Catholic Church, Yfaith aims to facilitate young peoples’ faith exploration, and enhance their understanding and experience of the Catholic faith.

I've not had a chance to look through it fully, my initial impression is that it may be trying just a little toooo hard (Note to non-scottish readers - a Scottish trait is understatement), but I'm going to road test it with a S1 and a S2 class and see what they think (and I've one S1 class who are blindingly honest!)

You look tired. Really?!

I know I look tired. I know I am tired. Probably don't need anyone else to tell me.

Thursday, 11 September 2008

Mini Cellarer

Mini Cellarer No 3 has arrived safely with mum doing well, thanks be to God. Looks a bit grumpy, but the apple doesn't fall far from the tree as they say!

Tuesday, 9 September 2008


A new pressure group has been set up, what appears to be a rather unholy alliance of liberal / dissident ministers & rabbi's, non established churchmen with axe to grind, humanists, the usual media suspects (Toynbee, Pullman et al) and atheists to oppose faith schools.

I haven't noticed any response from any Church or even in the blogosphere, I suspect the Benedictine approach of..."it is better to keep silence than to speak, let us leave them to themselves..." (RB Ch1) is being employed!

Having just posted about the metal monk I had the thought perhaps most of them would be quite happy with this for opening their annual conference!!!

St. Conleth’s Catholic Heritage Association

Was asked to post this so,

We’d be very glad if you could (a) post about the new blog and (b) link to it.

In particular, we’d be glad if you could bring to the attention of your readers the news that there will be a Traditional Latin Mass for the Holy Year of St. Paul in St. Paul’s Church, Emo, Co. Laois, Ireland, on Saturday, 30th August, 2008, for which the Bishop of Kildare and Leighlin has granted, under the usual conditions, the Plenary Indulgence for the Pauline Holy Year.

Another post that might be interested is a report of our recent walking pilgrimage for vocations:

God bless you!

St. Conleth’s Catholic Heritage Association

I've never been to a Latin Mass, and along with an Eastern rite Divine Liturgy, something I would like to at least experience. As with most things, getting time....

Metal Monk

One story I noticed when I didn't have time to blog was

At first glance, Cesare Bonizzi looks like the archetypal Capuchin monk - round-faced, stout, with twinkling eyes and a long flowing white beard. But beneath his robes beats a heart of metal.
Brother Cesare is the lead singer in a heavy metal band which has just released its second album.
A former missionary in Ivory Coast, he lives in a small friary in the Milan hinterland.
The 62-year-old monk's love affair with heavy metal began when he attended a Metallica concert some 15 years ago.
"I was overwhelmed and amazed by the sheer energy of it" he says.

Being partial to a bit of metal / rock in my younger days (still will stick on occasionally), a post a Rise & Pray got me thinking, does the music you listen too have an effect on you. I would say it does, listening to classical / liturgical music certainly makes me mellower, while rock / pop does make me a bit spikier!. This can be a good thing, listening to XFM the other day got me in a right, I'm going to do something, mood and got round to sending off a blunt reply to a letter from my MP!

The other thing I noted from the article was that Br Cesare appeared at a festival on the same bill as Slayer - a band who use satanic lyrics and imagery who were aroung when I was teenager and still are. I have little doubt its, as my brother put it, 'cod - satanism' and the band themselves deny they are satanist, indeed Kerry King is an avowed atheist but I always conciously stayed away from their records, and I didn't have any faith at the time.

Did a bit of digging, interesting King claims But I know that Tom and Dave both are religious people. If they are religious, it does make you wonder how they can continue to use these lyrics and imagery.

Monday, 8 September 2008

HF& E Bill - MP Reply

I recieved a reply from my (catholic) MP, Anne McGuire, following my letter asking her to vote against the various 'free vote' provisions of the Bill and subsequently why she missed the debate and vote on the abortion time limit.

1 'Unfortunatley on the second day of the debate... I had prior commitments away from the House of Commons so I was unable to participate in the debate or vote on abortion...'

2 I voted against the "hybrid embryo" provisions and for the "saviour sibling" provision. I will support the Government on the third reading as these will be about the Bill in general.

3 ...MP's voted not on party lines but took decsions on the basis of debate and representations made to them by a range of people. THis would indicate a balanced decision was arrived at and on such important and emotive issues I hope you would agree that this is the best way forward.

I have responded;

Dear Mrs McGuire

Human Fertilisation and Embryology Bill

Thank you for your response of 27 May, I would note the following;

In respect of your prior commitments on the day of the abortion debate and votes, I assume these commitments were extremely important and simply could not be cancelled given it was such an important debate and vote, and that consideration was made to cancelling the engagement.

I would ask you again not to support the Government at further readings. To use an analogy, this would be like my school looking to undertake a laudable aim such as elimination of Bullying. Various positive measures might be proposed such as awareness raising, working with bullies etc but totally unacceptable ones such as an S4 lynch mob might be proposed. I would obviously vote for the former but not the lynch mob. When the whole package came to be voted for approval it would be like the S4 lynch mob had made it onto the final proposals and I would be expected to vote for the whole package as everyone had the chance to reject it earlier!

I'm afraid I cannot agree with your view that a ‘balanced view’ has been reached. In ethical matters such as these, for me, truth is the guiding factor, not a (un)balanced decision which has been reached through some attempt at consensus.

I note you did not answer my question on how you would have voted on the abortion time limit provisions. I appreciate this may have been an oversight but would ask you directly to answer on this occasion.

I would commend to you the SPUC briefing on amendments to the Bill & Cardinal O’Brien’s comments.

I await a reply with interest!