Friday, 30 November 2012

Pay a visit to the 'Wobbly Room' this Advent

I came across the term 'Wobbly Room' on a Catholic Primary School website.

"Bless me Father for I have wobbled"

It refers to a room where the teacher sends the child that is bad or disruptive.

Having grandchildren, I do know that the current trend is to banish children who misbehave to the 'naughty spot' or to the 'naughty step' (at the bottom of the stairs).
This appears to work quite well; it allows a cooling off period when feelings run high and it gives a chance for the child to reflect and to, hopefully, step up to the mark and say "sorry".

I guess that the 'Wobbly Room' works in much the same way but I would much rather that they called it the 'Naughty Room' because that is what it is.

Wobbly Room is just a shade too Children's TV-ish for me.

Catholic adults have access to a Wobbly Room in the form of a confessional box; a visit there also causes us to reflect, examine what we have done or failed to do and to say sorry and resolve not to be naughty again.

I do not like going to Confession which is daft because, afterwards, I feel as if I am floating on air.

But I have to screw my courage to the wall to go.

A close relative told me that she does not go as often as she should because her parish church has done away with the Wobbly Room Confessional and you now have to sit face to face with your Confessor and he, inevitably starts proceedings by saying something like:

"Have you seen the latest Bond film yet S......?"

This, frankly, gives her the heeby jeebies. She yearns for the dark of the Confessional box and for the small amount of false anonymity offered by the grille.

And also, when you have struggled to recall all of your sins and to mentally list them in descending order of seriousness, you do not want to have to give your view on Daniel Craig's performance or the result of X Factor.
That is what Mike my builder calls "naff" and we already have enough "naff" issues to worry about in today's Church.

Thursday, 29 November 2012

"I'm a Bishop, get me out of here"

Yes, the new celebrity challenge show coming to the small screen will be screened next Spring.

 The Bishops of England and Wales will compete in the jungle environment of Bulinga Fen aka Westminster Cathedral Piazza for a nine day period and, at the end of each day, a panel of the laity will vote off the one that has failed to please the audience most, here's the format for the show:-

Day One :
All contestants to learn Summorum Pontificum by heart and to recite it standing on one leg on the Cathedral steps.

Day Two:
 Lots of fun today as their Lordships skydive from 30,000 feet with 200 remaindered  copies of The Tablet strapped to their backs. Their parachutes will have been specially  packed for them by a team of SSPX seminarians under the watchful eye of adjudicator, Damian Thompson. Those arriving on the landing zone of Westminster Cathedral bell tower will gain full marks but those landing on Westminster Abbey will have 10 points deducted; any Bishop landing on a Hindu Temple will lose 50 points.

Day Three:
The pace hots up as each Bishop dons cassock and lacy cotta for 'Act as a slave to a curate' day. This will involve rising at 3am in the morning to make sick calls to the local  hospital, back to the parish for a 7am Mass, then off to attend a spiritual session at Archbishop's House where delegates will have to meditate on the qualities of a pot of yoghurt before making a round of the care homes taking  comfort to the elderly. The programme continues in the afternoon with parish visits, Mass in the local convent and a final evening parish Mass at 8am.

Day Four:
Those who have survived the gruelling challenge so far will be asked to take part in the Sunday special - 'Hunt the Latin Mass'. The Bishops will have to carry out a  search of the Diocese to find a Latin Mass. The contest hots up as they then have to take the quickest route by foot arriving at the church in time for the 10.45pm EF Mass.

Day Five:
Chuckles galore in store today as the remaining contestants are blindfolded and then told to make their way to the National Shrine of Wales - any Bishop caught taking a shortcut along the M4 motorway will be disqualified.

Day Six: 
Today is the Worlock Trophy Day - our episcopal chums will have 24 hours to seek out Ed Stourton or Clifford Longley and 'custard pie' them (in the event of either of those two leading Catholic personalities being unavailable, any Old Amplefordian will do).

Day Seven:
 The pace hots up as their lordships are given the ultimate challenge of finding and eating a copy of Hans Kung's book 'What I believe' - raw! Ugh!

Day Eight: 
Those still standing will be asked to sing Durufle's Requiem - standing up to their necks in freezing water.

Day Nine:
The final day culminates with the remaining Bishops doing the Eccleston Square Square Dance (think Egyptian dance and you get a rough idea of what is involved). The delegate judged to have made the most laps of the square (without going in a circle) will be declared the champion.

The production company is likely to make a follow up of this series with another small screen blockbuster - 'Made in Victoria'

Another good Catholic lay speaker

And a female which is good because we need more women coming forward to redress any imbalance there may be and to represent their gender within a Catholic context.

She is also American which is fine for her and for Catholics in the USA but it would be good if there was an English Catholic Voice of similar calibre - of course, good also to have a French, Spanish,  or Welsh speaker but let's not try to eat all of the elephant at one sitting.

I know of at least one young Catholic woman, not English admittedly, but English is her first language, who would be more than capable of speaking, Voris style, to camera or to an audience; I am sure there are many more and men also.

The woman on the video is Helen Alvare and, if you can spare just under one hour of your time, you will not be disappointed at the end.

Wednesday, 28 November 2012

New blog calls for a March for Babies

H/T to Caritas in Veritate for highlighting Voice for Justice, an interesting blog that, if it lives up to its initial postings, will help provide a focus for many of the issues facing Catholics in Britain today.

I have to say that the tragedy is, that much of this should be done by the Bishops; it is a scandal that they are not even on the horizon on abortion, gay adoption, same sex "marriage", sex education in schools and the host of other moral issues facing us.

But, please visit this new blog and, make a date in your diary for a planned London march called 'March for Babies'.
This is being organised for April 27th 2013.

The march will start from Westminster Abbey and proceed to Downing Street where a video (presumably on life in the womb) will be handed to David Cameron whoever is Prime Minister then.

This is from the Voice for Justice website:

March for Babies
27th April 2013

Join us in a March to remember the 7,000,000 lost lives since 1967, and to celebrate babies and the unborn today!  Date: April 27th, 2013.  Place:  London.  Gathering at Westminster Abbey, followed by March to Downing Street to present video to the Prime Minister. 

Catholic bloggers win through!

Catholics Bloggers won the day at Agincourt

The recent poll operated by The Daily Telegraph invited readers to cast a vote on the Homosexual "Marriage" issue - for or against.

5 days ago, the swing was to the pro gay "marriage" lobby but now, following publicity on several Catholic blogs, the advantage has swung in favour of those against.

Here are the latest figures:-

Yes  41.48%  (4,996 votes)
No  58.52%  (7,047 votes)
Total Votes: 12,043

Hoorah you might chortle as you sip your Wincarnis tonight - but so what?

We should not have to respond in this manner but, the direction taken by the world means that, in future, we are going to be called upon to cast a vote for Christ with increasing frequency. 

We will be most fortunate if that is all that we have to do. Some of us will be going to prison for standing up for the Faith and some will pay the ultimate penalty of sacrificing their lives, many have already done so.

But this whole petition business does prove one very important point; it shows clearly the power of the blogger.

The power of responding to a situation and producing an effect within hours.

This is new and heady territory and, of course, it can be a force for evil as well as good.

I hope that some enterprising person or organisation is notching up these successes on their longbow; we have the Tesco Gay Pride sponsorship that hit the buffers after bloggers flagged up the potential of shopping at Sainsbury's......there was the Bishop who did not make the next step up the rung due to bloggers revealing some of his rather odd writings....there are many more but my memory needs a bit of a kick start these days.

Perhaps we could start a list - please leave a comment with any further victories that you can recall.

With a bit of a shove......

......and a fair wind behind it.......last Saturday's Consistory Mass in Rome........

.....Could have been a Traditional Latin Mass!

It was reverent, in Latin, holy and beautifully sung......but it was an Ordinary Form Mass and a concelebrated one at that.

The distinctions between EF and OF were really quite blurred on the surface; I would even go so far as to say that, if my local parish church offered an Ordinary Form Mass in the same manner, I would be there like a greased something or other.

So, is it too much to ask that the Holy Father celebrates Mass in the Extraordinary Form?

Will the Archbishop of Paris really swoon at the prospect?

And all those German and Austrian prelates, will they start smashing up the crockery?

I think that the only person who would really start chewing at the carpet if such a Mass took place would be The Tablet's Rome correspondent.

Tuesday, 27 November 2012

A good response from the LMS

There are more Eskimos than Latin Masses in Westminster
Photo: Liberapedia

But it's still a bleak midwinter outlook for the Traditional Latin Mass in the mother Diocese of England and Wales, the Archdiocese of Westminster.

Here's the comment from the Latin Mass Society:

Thank you for bringing this issue up.

We at the LMS office are currently in the process of creating a Mass Listing for both the Immaculate Conception and Christmas.

They should be available to the public by the end of the week.

As to the situation at Westminster Cathedral, we have to concede that the situation is bleak.

The Provision of Masses in Westminster Diocese according to the Motu Proprio Summorum Pontificum and the clarification Universae Eccesiae, is one of the poorest in the country.

We pray that Westminster Diocese will decide, in charity, to provide the Traditional Latin Mass at more venues (such as anywhere outside of Central London, for instance in it's North London Parishes) at more charitable times.

With regards to our format, we appreciate the feedback, and while it has been the practice of the LMS to use PDF documents to publish our listings, we do hope to change that in the not too distant future to make them more accessible and searchable.

God bless.

Good Christmas cards - no robins or stagecoaches

Now is the time to order Christmas cards (if you have not already done so).

You cannot do much better than SPUC or Aid to the Church in Need - good value and proceeds go to a good cause.

I like this one from the SPUC range

But, if you are looking for an individual gift for a priest friend, Daniel Mitsui has some fine originals and limited editions for sale.

Monday, 26 November 2012

No Mass in Westminster at Christmas?

That's what it looks like, I hope that I am wrong and, oh yes, I do mean Tridentine Latin Masses.

"Latin Mass on Christmas Day? Bah! Humbug!"

I have checked with our good friends at the LMS online and nothing is listed for Christmas Day.

It would be helpful (if, indeed, there are some occult (no, wrong context) hidden Masses available) for the Society to feature a special Christmas section because, as you can see from the badly transcribed listing, it is not overly user friendly (but the format is much better on the LMS website).

The Oratory, Brompton Road, LONDON SW7 2RP Sundays
Mon to Sat (St Joseph’s Altar)
Saturdays (usually in St
Wilfred’s Chapel)[1]
Low Mass
Low Mass
Low Mass
St. James's, Spanish Place, LONDON W1U 3QY Sundays
Holy Days of Obligation
Tue 1 Jan (Circumcision)[2]
Low Mass
Low Mass
Sung Mass
Corpus Christi, Maiden Lane, COVENT GARDEN, London WC2E 7NA Mondays
2nd Fridays
Sat 2 Feb (Purification)[2]
Sung Mass
Low Mass
Sung Mass &
Westminster Cathedral, Victoria Street, VICTORIA, London SW1P 1QW 2nd Saturdays (Lady Chapel)
Sat 17 Nov (Annual Requiem)
Sat 2 Mar
Low Mass
Pontifical High
High Mass
St Etheldreda, Ely Place, LONDON EC1N 6RY 1st Fridays 6.00pm Low Mass
St. John the Baptist, 3 King Edward's Road, HACKNEY, London E9 7SF 1st Fridays 6.00pm Low Mass
St Mary Moorfields, Eldon Street, LONDON EC2M 7LS Fridays 7.45am Low Mass
Holy Trinity and St Augustine, London Road, BALDOCK, Herts SG7 6LQ 1st Sundays 3.00pm Low Mass
St. Edmund of Canterbury & English Martyrs, Farm Lane, Old Hall Green,
Nr. WARE, Hertfordshire SG11 1DT
2nd, 3rd, 4th and 5th Sundays 3.00pm Low/Sung
Our Lady of Lourdes & St Michael, Osborn Rd, UXBRIDGE, UB8 1UE 1st Fridays[3] 7.00pm Sung Mass
Church of Our Lady and St Catherine of Siena, 177 Bow Road, Bow,
Fri 2 Nov (All Souls)
Low Mass
Sung Mass

All other Diocesan listings have the Mass at Christmas listed as such.

Gay "Marriage" petition

Yes, I know, another petition but this will only take a second and, as it stands at present, the powers of darkness have the vote swinging in their favour.

And...OK, it's a Daily Telegraph poll so it's not going to feature in Parliament...or is it?

As I say, a second to click and you will have made a stand for the Faith - here's the link:


Sunday, 25 November 2012

Anglicans to sell off Catholic silver

A 13th century silver chalice, known as 'The Lacock Cup' is about to be sold by the parish of St Cyriac in Lacock, Wiltshire.

A video clip giving an outline of the situation may be viewed on this link 

Expectations are running high and those charged with the sale are expecting a sum in excess of £2 million to be made by this beautiful item.

Some, however, are not so happy.

Many parishioners, according to the Daily Mail, are bitterly opposed to the sale feeling that part of the village's heritage is about to disappear into a Charles Saatchi cellar (the actual likelihood is the The British Museum will bid successfully for it).

Trouble is, when this chalice was first used, it was at a Catholic Latin Mass; it would have been commissioned by the local Catholic priest or bishop, it would have certainly been consecrated by a Catholic bishop.

Some two hundred plus years after it was first used and, after it was used at many, many Latin Masses (if only used on High Days and Holidays it would probably have carried the True Presence on over 10,000 occasions) - the debauched and degenerate King Henry VIII came along and claimed all Catholic Church properties and materials as his own.

What was once Rome's fell into the hands of the Protestant church and the state. This chalice obviously survived the fate of most chalices and ciboria which was to be melted down for the scrap value.

So now, this great vessel, with all its sanctity and Catholic history, is to be auctioned off like a set of cutlery.

I seem to recall, fairly recently, the British Government returning Aboriginal skulls, held in a museum, to  their rightful Aboriginal heirs who claimed a spiritual link to the bones.
There is no such sensitivity here.

What was once Catholic and sacred is now an object of curiosity in the market place - and no one gives a damn! Apart from worrying over the intrinsic value.

NB: Actually, if this chalice was to be returned to the Catholic Church, the authorities would probably be subject to some embarrassment as insurance premiums would render its possession within a church or cathedral environment impossible.
Likelihood is that it would be locked in a vault somewhere. Perhaps a museum is the best and most sensible place for it.

But it does seem somewhat sacrilegious all the same.

Saturday, 24 November 2012

An offensive cartoon

Christine from A Catholic View blog has a cartoon that speaks volumes.

It encapsulates much of what I was attempting to convey in my post on Dinner Party Conversation Openers - but the cartoon is much more effective.

Breaking news.....Holy Father sets the seal on succession planning

Today, the Holy Father will complete his succession planning strategy with the appointment of six new Cardinals.

And, significantly, all six are non Europeans drawn from the USA, South America, Nigeria, the Middle East and the Indian sub continent.

The new Cardinals are:

 USA, Archbishop James Harvey, Abuja, Nigeria Archbishop John Olorunfemi Onaiyekan; Bogota, Colombia Archbishop Ruben Salazar Gomez; Manila, Philippines Archbishop Luis Antonio Tagle; Patriarch of Antioch of the Maronites in Lebanon, His Beatitude Bechara Boutros Rai; and the major Archbishop of the Trivandrum of the Siro-Malankaresi in India, His Beatitude Baselios Cleemis Thottunkal.

This will bring the number of Cardinals to 120, 67 of whom having been elected by Pope Benedict giving, hopefully, a more orthodox slant to the College.

Friday, 23 November 2012

Ten dinner party conversation openers.....

.....or closers.
Ah.....but where do you place the Catholic?

How often have we as Catholics kept our mouths shut when, in a group discussion, someone holds forth on the unfairness of a judicial system that penalises doctors who "help" their patients into an early grave.

Or, when the "abortion" word is mentioned, how often have we mentally turned away and ignored all that is being said in order that we do not cause offence.

There are times, admittedly, when to enter an argument when all present are charged up on Vino Collapso, is not a wise thing to do.
Arguing with raised voices over a dinner table is not Christ like.
It may even be a cause for scandal, depending on how charged up the party is; you are then right to 'keep mum'.

And then there are the times when you await your moment; the split second where you may enter the debate and deliver your one liner in defence of Catholic values without causing jackets to be removed.

But, how often do we open the batting with a question on morality or ethics?

With Christmas rapidly advancing I thought it might be helpful to have a number of openers to call upon, you may wish to contribute some of your favourites:-

1. "Does anyone know what happens to the bodies of babies after they have been aborted?"

2. "Of course, just thinking about homosexual acts conjures up feelings of revulsion doesn't it?"

3. I think the same sex issue is so funny; imagine, two women walking down the aisle arm in arm...what a hoot!"

4. "Sex education in schools should be re-named sex training, after all it is so explicit"

5. "I just don't know why schools insist on putting on Christmas plays that are totally secular in content"

6. "Anyone who gives or receives a gift at Christmas, or takes time off work, is taking part in the celebration of Christ's birth"

7. "Leaving children to make up their own minds over religion is so ridiculous, it's like saying that they can find their own way of crossing the road"

8. "The Catholic Church will never ordain women as priests because, you see, Christ took the male gender and, anyway, God has given us the Blessed Virgin Mary, His own Mother, to watch over and guide us"

9. "We don't participate in joint services with other faiths as it can give the false impression that they are right"

10. "Of course, real Catholics receive the Body and Blood of Christ kneeling and on the tongue precisely because it is the actual and real Body and Blood of Christ"

Thursday, 22 November 2012

Where fiends sleep

I am returning to the works of a great writer, the late Patrick Leigh Fermor and, in particular his book on his monastic experiences, 'A Time to Keep Silence'.

During the course of his practical researches, that is, staying as a guest in various monasteries, he held many conversations with monks.

In the care of one junior fiend

One monk of the German La Grande Trappe monastery gave PLF detailed information regarding the assaults of Satan, especially on those holy monks who, at times, wrestled with demons for forty days and nights barely throwing off attacks on their chastity and belief in the teachings of the Church.

But the cities of the world, the vast concentrations of humanity where all sins are readily available and attractively labelled and packaged.....they are an entirely different matter, barely capable of attracting the Devil's attention for one second.


Because the Devil has won in the cities; it is in the monasteries, convents and presbyteries that the fight rages on.

This chapter from 'A Time to Keep Silence' -

"....They (the Monasteries) became, accordingly, especial targets. Satan issuing orders at night-fall to his foul precurrors, was rumoured to despatch to capital cities only one junior fiend.

This solitary demon, the legend continues, sleeps at his post. There is no work for him; the battle was long ago won.

But, monasteries, those scattered danger points, become the chief objective of nocturnal flight; the sky fills with the beat of sable wings as phalanx after phalanx streams to the attack, and the darkness crepitates with the splintering of a myriad lances against the masonry of asceticism.

Piety has always been singled out for the hardest onslaught of hellish aggression...."

Sadly, Leigh Fermor's experiences were not enough to bring him to the Faith.
That always puzzles me; I know of several good people who hover at the edge of conversion but never actually take the plunge.

Equally, I know of many erstwhile good Catholics who have left the Faith and placed their redemption severely at risk.

This is the month to pray for those who have died and who are possibly languishing in Purgatory, including the great man, Patrick Leigh Fermor.


Wednesday, 21 November 2012

Christmas is not for fairies

There is a sort of sinister allegorical slant (not saying that I'm paranoid or anything) to the liberalisation of the Church where, the reality of sound Catholic practice and devotions has been perverted by "bringing the liturgy, music and teachings of HMC up to date" and the fact that what were once angels now appear to have 'modernised' into fairies.

At one time, an angel was the essential, but not the key essential, to the Christmas crib that would sit on a side table or window ledge.

And then, angel number two would be delegated to the top of the Christmas tree; this was just not any old angel, it would not have gauzey wings, a lacy frou frou or, horror of horrors, a wand in its hand.

Not quite my mental image
 of Archangel Gabriel
It would have some substance about it, possibly a plain porcelain face to add an air of mystery and of something just a little hidden from human eyes. The wings would have been of a material that one could not describe as flimsy and it would not have all been framed around a Barbie doll face and body.

Can little girls be angels?
Don't answer that
I have searched the stores in vain for an angel that reflects reality but all I can find are Sloane Rangers in gold lame or cutie fairies in tin foil.
There are even Smurf angels, Muppet ones, Snow White and the Seven Dwarf Angels - but no Heavenly messenger ones.

So please, do not tell me that I should be making my own, my very own traditional angel. Life is getting rather too short for that; not that I haven't considered it and speculated on what effect one could achieve with an old fashioned clothes peg and some silver wire.
But I know my limitations.

This year, the Christmas tree may have to be crowned with a star - at least that motif cannot be altered.

Or, can it?

Two bishops in bed......

.......which one was the lady?...........................

..............why, Mrs Bishop, of course!

Apologies for the schoolboy humour but it sprang to mind after the Church of England Synod voted against women bishops yesterday.

There's not much more to be said on the predicament that the CoE finds itself in, except that they have deferred the inevitable (for them).

Monday, 19 November 2012

I've never heard Catholic Voices

I mean that in all sincerity (folks) - it is just that, despite being a regular listener to Radio Four and having my  ear to the ground as far as forthcoming television programmes that may have a Catholic interest is concerned, I have not yet had the pleasure of being on the receiving end of one of CVs "ambassadors" for the Faith.

I know not the reason for this; I wish the organisation well, I am not sniping at them.

But, on the other hand we have Michael Voris and Church Militant.

You cannot visit the Catholic blogosphere without seeing the Daily Voris.

He's there, tackling the topic of the day, as fresh and as regular as one's daily bread.

 As strong as St Michael and may God bless him in his good work.

And to those who state that they are not enamoured of his forthright approach let me ask the question: "If John the Baptist was with us in the flesh today, how do you think he would sound?"

Answer: "Uber forthright" methinks.

The great saints have never minced their words, Campion, Pro, Fisher, Catherine of Sienna - all were outspoken in their day; they did not pussy-foot around with political correct words and phrases, they spoke on the teachings of Christ, straight from the shoulder.

And where are our great orators today? Is there a Monsignor Knox or a Fr McNabb OP in the country?

Or a Chesterton or a Belloc?

We need Michael Voris, desperately; we need more like him; we need Catholic women (especially) who can speak out on Faith issues.

I don't believe in wasting time in re-inventing the wheel; why should there not be a British satellite group stemming from Church Militant? No snub intended for Catholic Voices, their agenda is quite a distinct one from Voris's with a different profile and, unless they were prepared to kick it out and start again, I don't think that it would work.

It's a bit like asking the question: Who is there who could lead the Conservative Party if David Cameron resigned tomorrow?

Not many, if any names spring to mind. Can you think of anyone? To speak for the Faith, I mean.

Sunday, 18 November 2012

Tonight, perhaps?

"And death shall have no dominion...."

Patrick Leigh Fermor who died quite recently, was not a Catholic.

Yet, some years ago, he undertook a mission to travel and stay at a number of monasteries, just for the experience.

His book, 'A Time to keep Silence' was the result and, if you have not read it, I commend it to you.

It is an account of the periods he spent within various monasteries; living the monastic life, eating the monastic fare.

It is full of the sort of gems that may only be sieved by one who is not of the Faith and able to observe in a dispassionate manner.

I recall, particularly, his account of a deep conversation with a monk from an enclosed order who told him that Satan sends hordes of demons each night (especially) to torment those in monasteries and abbeys.

Important to note that this occurs at night when we are at our physical weakest; how often, upon waking in the mid of night are we besieged by groundless fears that, upon daybreak, evaporate like the mists of winter?

If you are a monk or a nun (or a certain sort of secular priest) you will have experienced this but multiplied by several hundred or thousand times.
Satan is not so interested in us easy pickings, he wants the rare meat, the perfect cuts evidenced by a life of solitary prayer and penance.

Mrs Linen, who is reading this book for the first time, reminded me of some of the "gems", in particular, Leigh Fermor's account of a German Trappist monastery where, in the Refectory,  a large mural was painted on the wall facing those who were eating; it depicted a skeletal grim reaper bearing scythe and hourglass, with the wording alongside stating:

"Tonight, perhaps?"

How apt a thought for November, the month of Purgatory and the Holy Souls, especially if you are a Catholic of, how can I put it?.....a certain age?

It brings to mind our wonderful, eschatological, "Four Last Things.....Death, Judgement, Heaven and Hell.

Things that you never, ever, hear a mention of at a modern Catholic funeral; yet they are critical to our eternal prospects.

"You wallow in misery" is the refrain heard from our liberated liberal brethren yet, this brief aide memoire is truly glorious and wonderful.

We welcome death, we embrace it willingly, we have no fear of the grim reaper, let him scythe away.

We are not the chaff. We are the sound, good and wholesome grain (or, so we hope) and we know, do we not? that death is transitory, a mere fraction of a second of existence.

But we do also know that death is not followed (except for a providentially fortunate few) by auto Heaven; death is the gateway for many or most, to Purgatory and that is what November is about - emptying Purgatory.
By our prayers and penances, of course.

After receiving Holy Communion today, I turned, as always to the 'Prayer before a Crucifix' which allows an indulgence of ten years, according to my missal.

It set me thinking; if a brief prayer can obtain a respite from time in Purgatory, (and ten years is listed as just one indulgence reward), then Purgatory is likely to be one very long sentence; in fact, ten years alone is almost the statutory life sentence in Great Britain.

And ten years is only part of the Purgatorial trial; we don't actually know how long a term one might serve; it could well be twenty times ten years - or more!

Blimey O'Reilly!

What is crystal clear is the fact that we do know that Heaven is not a clear run for most of us.

To gain that clear run we would need to have died in a state of grace and to have repaid, in full, the debt "for sin committed here" - that's an option, I would hazard, not open to many of us.

So, perhaps the slogan: "Tonight, perhaps" is one that we should cling to a little more closely; that's hard if you are only 35 years of age and enjoying life to the full.
Easier if you are a sixty something and keep glancing at the rapidly reducing level of sand left in the hour glass.

Patrick Leigh Fermor was an adventurer and a writer of some skill. He focused on Greece where he lived out his final years.
During the Second World war he led the Greek partisans and British commandos in a daring kidnap raid on a high ranking Nazi Officer, General Kreipe, spiriting him away over the mountains, pursued by German paratroops.

His code name in the Greek undergound was 'Philomel' - nightingale in English and his role was played by Dirk Bogarde in the film 'Ill met by moonlight'

....And death shall have no dominion.
No more may gulls cry at their ears
Or waves break loud on the seashores;
Where blew a flower may a flower no more
Lift its head to the blows of the rain;
Though they be mad and dead as nails,
Heads of the characters hammer through daisies;
Break in the sun till the sun breaks down,
And death shall have no dominion. 

Dylan Thomas

Saturday, 17 November 2012

What part of 'kneeling and on the tongue' don't they understand?

H/T to Ron Garcia at Making Things Visible for posting this clip of Cardinal Raymund Burke stating (again) that the Holy Father is sending us a signal - loud and clear.

He has not issued a Motu Proprio on the matter, he does not need to - it is Church Law and, anyway, I am sure that he would rather, instead of imposing the rule, that we respond as children do when sitting around the dinner table, watching their parents for the signal to place both hands together and say Grace.

Observe and follow, pretty simple isn't it?

Our Father - Rivendell style

Dwarves never learnt to say the Lord's Prayer
- in Quenya or Latin

Paul Priest at OTSOTA recently featured a video clip of the Our Father in Elvish (or, Quenya) and that inspired me to look up the actual words, here they are:-

Átaremma i ëa han ëa ∙

na aire esselya ∙

aranielya na tuluva ∙

na care indómelya

cemende tambe Erumande :

ámen anta síra ilaurëa massamma ∙

ar ámen apsene úcaremmar

sív’ emme apsenet tien i úcarer emmen.

Álame tulya úsahtíenna

mal áme etelehta ulcullo : násie : 

I think that I might stick with Latinish!

Friday, 16 November 2012


A research study that is just about to be published by The Journal of Applied Social Psychology  would seem to indicate an obstinate streak in our natures.

It appears that physical signs that instruct us to do something, such as EAT HEALTHILY, actually can provoke an opposing response.
Bryan Earp, a researcher in applied ethics at Oxford University stated that:
"For unconscious or automatic processing, 'not good' is often taken as 'good' and 'not bad' as bad".

NO PARKING is a classic example as is DO NOT TOUCH on a museum exhibit; they are just 'green lights' for people to either park unlawfully or to reach out and finger that 4,000 year old papyrus scroll.

So it seems eminently sensible to me that we should reverse the message and request people to KEEP ON THE GRASS in order to achieve the opposite.

In which case please print off the following message and pin it on your local parish notice board....


There are even rumours that the powers that be in the Vatican are taking a fresh look at the Ten Commandments - "Thou shall covet thy neighbour's goods" could be the new order of the day.

Tuesday, 13 November 2012

"Facebook is the new parish hall"

A meeting between the US Bishops and Catholic bloggers has produced some interesting results so far.

One statistic that has been bandied around is that, in the USA, less than 5% of Catholics read Catholic blogs.

Hmm...that figure seems depressingly small....except that, in the US you have something like 77 million Catholics which means over 3.8 million of them read the blogs....can that be right?
Apply that to the UK with 5 million Catholics and you have 250,000 blog readers.

Well, all I can say is that they have not found their way to this blog.

But this meeting of minds with reference to the new communications technologies is incredibly, vitally important.

Firstly, a gold star to the US Bishops who went along with this meeting and, secondly another "well done" for
coming to terms with what is undoubtedly going to be the new means of evangelisation.

Imagine for one nano second that you are back in the 15th century and that you are witnessing the first book rolling off William Caxton's press - mass production of the written word, a new world of learning opening up for millions.
Well, multiply that impression by, say, several hundred millions and you have a crude idea of the enormity of the social media and how it may be used as a force for good.

I can imagine a world of nearly 4 million blog readers in the USA where, it has to be said, many of the blogs are of a high academic standard.
But I cannot reconcile a figure of 250,000 blog readers for the UK.

More like 2,500 I suspect. And that only goes to show that British bloggers (or, rather, readers) are a bit behind with things.

If our Bishops decided that it would be a good thing to emulate the Baltimore meeting, what format would it take?

Do many of them even know what a blog is? I suspect some might even go along with the priest that emailed me about 18 months ago stating that, in his opinion, all Catholic bloggers should be jailed.

But they would do well to look west and observe the goings on there.

The internet is a potent tool and blogging will, in the future, be a force that will bring down governments; ignore it at your peril.

As one famous American blogger, Mary De Turris Poust, put it: "Facebook is the new parish hall"

If any parish priest reading this (unlikely I know) is not already on Facebook - Carpe Diem!

A report on the US Bishop meets Blogger event is here.....

Monday, 12 November 2012

"You are responsible for the souls of your children

I like muscular Catholicism, telling God's truth as it is and straight from the shoulder.

"We like the Catholic Faith because it's so black and white, you know where you are" used to be a mantra coming from the mouths of converts or catechumens years ago.

Not any more.

We are fed a sloppy diet of sliced value bread and skimmed milk - no nutritional value, nothing to sustain.

I like Michael Voris and cannot understand why so many Catholics slag him off.

He speaks confidently, forthrightly and with conviction - he lives and speaks the Faith!

We are not used to that these days and he may strike some as being just too bold and just too Catholic.

Philothea on Phire has a great post that touches on Michael Voris's latest video clip and the issue of attending a Mass in the Extraordinary Form Latin Mass - here he is:-

The message is: "Get up and go" - what is stopping you?"

Are we entering another period of puritanism?

I have always held a particular aversion towards those whom one might describe as puritans, prudes who condemn out of hand yet, in reality, enjoy the salacious aspect of being scandalised and outraged and wallow in gossip and malicious character assassination.

Bishop Justin Welby - Archbishop of Canterbury in waiting, (if I heard his radio interview correctly on Saturday), answered a question on same sex marriage in the usual Anglicanspeak that is designed to support the wrong and condemn the right.
He said, or intimated, that there could be room for considering the possibility, at some stage in the future, all things being equal and with a fair wind behind it, the prospect of the Church of England supporting gay 'homosexual marriage'.

Seems to me to be pretty much a non starter; I mean, if you were a farmer and you decided that, in future, you would only place boars with boars and bulls with bulls, you would go out of business pdq.

There can be no progeny from such associations and without progeny, you fade away.

But it was more what Bishop Welby added to his supportive statement that was of especial interest.
 He said (in a rough recollection) that he would not tolerate homophobia (in his future capacity as the ABC).

So - if you are not for LGBT 'marriages' you must be a homophobe.
That, to me, is a fundamental tenet of puritanism and it does not bode well for all those good vicars who cling to the belief that marriage is for a man and a woman - full stop.

The Jimmy Savile affair has started a witchunt on a grand scale. We have producers and show business personalities who schmoozed up to JS throughout his career now running a mile in the other direction and screeching about how dreadful it all is and how surprised they all are.

Chat show hosts hand over an internet list of alleged paedophiles that they researched within a 3 minute internet session. "Hang all on that list" they might as well be shouting: "Burn them alive, bring back the ducking stools"

Four days ago the BBC, the media and an alleged victim of abuse were all intimating that a senior Conservative politician was a paedophile and now they are retracting and grovelling wildly in the hope of avoiding the litigation that is surely coming their way from an innocent man.
Symptomatic of the various periods in world history when just being single or slightly eccentric was enough to have you in the hot seat (or the wet one).

Abortion is another by product of puritanism. It is a particularly foul and tragic form of sweeping an issue under the carpet.
Get rid of the baby and you get rid of the problem, except that you don't; you commit murder and, in all probability, the woman commits herself to months and maybe years of mental anguish.

And, the latest casualty of puritanical cant is the unfortunately named George Entwhistle ("There's trouble oop 't Pebble Mill, Mr Entwhistle!")
We hardly got to know mild and muddled George before Lord Patten, in unseemly haste, dropped him like a hot brick. He's tainted you see? (Entwhistle, that is) and the BBC must be seen to be untainted despite its years of Leftist bias and anti Catholic attitudes.
Now, it looks like Lord P is for the chop himself unless he does some pretty canny swerving.

That's the thing about puritans, they accept much of what is shabby and dishonest in the world and then, when someone starts pointing the finger, they fall into the lynch mob mentality and start ducking and weaving - well, more just ducking, actually.

Sunday, 11 November 2012

A three minute trawl of the internet....

How to celebrate the feast of St Thomas More

.......poor old David Cameron was put on the spot when TV show host, Philip Schofield, presented him with a list of (alleged) paedophiles last week.

If I had been Cameron I think I would have been tempted to tell Schofield to stuff it where the sun never shines. The move smacks of pomposity and attention grabbing.

So, never slow to jump on a bandwagon, I have compiled a 3 minute internet list, not of paedophiles but of (I believe) Catholic Primary Schools who have all made a visit to a Hindu Temple, Mosque or whatever.
I promise that this will be my last post on the subject; even I am getting bored with it.

But, it's a big problem.

Schools are trotting off willy nilly to take young and impressionable children to visit and invariably take part in non Christian activities, often, it appears, rituals involving food (nuts) and drink.

All of the schools involved carry details regarding their visit on their's my 3 minutes worth of internet research list:-

  1. St Anne’s Primary School, Birmingham
  2. St Patrick’s Plumstead London
  3. St Joseph’s Leeds
  4. St Vincent’s Rochdale (temple and mosque)
  5. St Mary’s Bath
  6. St Thomas More Birmingham
  7. St Mary’s Isleworth
  8. St Thomas of Canterbury
  9. St Phillip Evans Cardiff
  10. Holy Rood School Barnsley (Buddhist)
And, just to highlight one small part of the problem, here is what St Thomas More School state on their website regarding such comments in red...

"As part of our global dimension week (what?) we enjoyed learning all about the festivals of Divali and Holi.
The children enjoyed re-telling the story of Divali using puppets and artefacts.

When exploring the festival of Holi the children had the opportunity to experiment with lots of different colours by mixing and painting (that used to be called an art class). They produced some beautiful, colourful work.

To celebrate the feast of St Thomas More the children had lots of fun learning different circus skills". (Well, of course, what else would one do on a Saints' feastday but teach a bit of juggling and clowning around).

I am sure that, if I spent a morning on the computer, I would find many, many more examples.

It's yet another indicator of how fuzzy thinking has crept into the Faith like dry rot infiltrates timber leaving it looking sound but, in effect, having no integrity and crumbling at a touch.

Saturday, 10 November 2012

We will remember them......

....and the fact that we can get £3.50 per kilo for old brass. copper and bronze war memorial plaques......even more for larger items such as statues and other memorabilia.......

"We will remember them....and steal their  memorials"

........Thieves stole memorial plaques from a Catholic Church in Swansea, here is the BBC report:-

"Church-goers were left in tears after thieves stole more than 100 brass plaques erected in memory of loved ones, many of them war dead.
The plaques, bearing the names of those who died in World War II, were unscrewed from the memorial wall at Holy Cross Catholic Church in Swansea.
Police say they were stolen between 19:00 BST last Thursday and 15:00 BST last Friday.
Father Cyril Thadathil said the congregation was devastated.
He said the thieves had taken all of the plaques at the memorial garden, many of which paid tribute to men who served in World War II.
"It's not about money because it's the memories and dignity of human life”
Said Parish priest,  Father Cyril Thadathil

He said when he made the discovery it was "so painful".
"It was the memory of so many people of our parish, people who have worked so hard for the church and people who sacrificed their life in the Second World War," he said.
"As soon as I saw it I was upset."
He said that when he told worshippers what had happened "there was a great silence in church and many of them actually cried".
He also appealed to the thieves to return the plaques.
"If possible please do return them to the church because it's not about money because it's the memories and dignity of human life," he added.
Ronald Morgan, 75, of Gendros, Swansea, said the timing of the thefts made it even more poignant, with remembrance services taking place in November.
"There were a lot of people whose names are ex-military personnel and their husbands and grandfather who were in memory," he added.

These are the times in which we live; our children and grandchildren will have to face much worse; pray for them and pray for the thieves.

Where do you stand?

I mean, do you regard visits to Hindu temples, Muslim mosques and so on, an acceptable part of Catholic school life or, even, of Catholic parish life?

Would you, if drawn into such a group, allow your forehead to be daubed with a red spot or adopt the kneeling position as used by the particular faith you are visiting or participate in any other way?

Do you believe that Catholic convents and other Catholic groups should participate in retreat or training programmes that involve elements of Buddhism, Taoism or any other pagan belief?

This is a yes or no moment - there is no "but only if" category; I'm just interested in obtaining the views of other Catholics rather than plodding on in my own little orthodox Catholic bubble.

Please look at the options in my sidebar and vote accordingly - xie xie!

Friday, 9 November 2012

Syncretism - is it a sin?

It appears as if, in modern Church parlance, syncretism is a word used to define a meeting with those of other faiths; Christian or Heathen or Pagan.

Raijin - Japanese god of thunder - not for  Year 3s

I would be open to the view that some good could be the fruit of such meetings but only on the proviso that they were conducted formally with leaders of the faith rather than the faithful and on neutral ground.

Of course, the objective (our objective) must be to spread the light of Christ among those upon whom it has never shone.
Presumably, we would do this in a polite manner, making certain points and teaching through discourse and example.

I think that, if indeed, that is syncretism, then it should be regarded as a good and wholesome thing that Our Lord would approve of.

But I am afraid that this word is being used too loosely and that it has become the 'in word' for ecumenical meetings and shindigs.

Taking class four to a synagogue could have some merit if the visit was enshrined within the RE syllabus. Possibly.

Shunting secondary school students to a mosque would be of dubious benefit; as would a visit to a Hindu Temple.
Why? Because there is a  danger of being drawn into pagan or heathen practices.

 Clapping hands before a Shinto shrine is a form of worship encouraged by one's hosts in Japan and it is hard to back out of that potentially volatile situation. I have visited the country often and have found that the best way to cope is to politely refuse and, instead, make a sign of the cross.
That act is respected by my Japanese hosts and it does not cause offence.
To do the same thing in a mosque would, in all probability, cause offence.

At a Hindu Temple it would be natural for visitors to receive the red spot on the forehead, bindi as it is called.

Bindi has a spiritual and social function, here is how its spiritual function is described:

".....I'll start with the Spiritual purpose as it is the most important one of them all. As per Hinduism the purpose of life is to find your true self, to realize the Infinite Reality. Every morning one takes a bath and sits in prayer, (not to say prayers like a parrot), to seek for the absolute truth through every ritual and prayer. However, one has to make a living and cannot sit in prayer the whole day. Thus, as one leaves the prayer room one is expected to put some mark on one's forehead (between the eyebrows - which is the seat of memory) to remind one during the day and through all activities of the 'purpose of life'. As we cannot see the mark on our own foreheads when we see it on another we recall the purpose of our life. The idea is to remember that all actions in the external world are dedicated towards the achievement of this supreme goal of self realization. The purpose is to recall the purpose, reflect and contemplate upon Reality in and through all activities throughout the day".

That's a definite "no go area" as far as we are concerned.

Now Patricius has informed me that I should have consulted Nostra Aetate from the Vatican Archives, on the subject of inter faith dialogue.
I have now done so and find nothing that contradicts anything that I have written so far.

Nostra Aetate is aimed at those wishing to have dialogue with non Christian religions; dialogue aimed at creating a level of understanding.
It says nothing of organising parish jamborees or school groups where the object of the exercise would seem to be extremely dubious at best.

And, I still maintain that to participate in non Christian ceremonies (and non Catholic ones) falls under the category of relativism and a few other isms as well.

It is a mortal sin to take part or appear to take part in prayer services or rituals that are not dedicated to the one true God.

Or, has someone moved the goal posts?

Thursday, 8 November 2012

Down Pompey!

Having a few minutes to spare in downtown Portsmouth (Pompey is the slang version of the name, just in case there are any American Catholics still viewing after the Great Obamaville Chainsaw Massacre), I found myself within a few minutes of St John's Cathedral, alma mater to such eminent theologians as Worlock and Hollis.

The external architecture of this fine building is typically Victorian; red bricks surmounted by lots of stone squiggly bits (I have a Master's in The Built Environment doncha know?).

Internally, it's typically Anglican in decor and furnishings......that is really good except that, it's supposed to be a Catholic Cathedral.

Why, I wonder idly to myself as I ritually drown my rubber duck each nightly bathtime, why are Catholic Cathedrals so devoid of candle trays at the feet of statues?
 Come to think of it, there are precious few statues, perhaps that's the answer.

OK, St John's did have one tray at the Blessed Sacrament Chapel and one sans candles at the Sacred Heart statue (just in case odd irate Pompeians fill up the combox with complaints).

But, after saying my prayers, I found myself  wondering what it was that was missing in this church.

There were some beautiful statues including an outstanding Pieta, the stained glass was, OK - ish, if you like Victorian stained glass.

But there was something else, something almost undefinable missing.

It lacked a presence, that was it!

No, more than that, it lacked the Presence. It was, I have to say, a very Anglican type experience.

The main altar could have done with some adornment to make it less of a Protestant table and the tabernacle could have been centrally placed behind the main altar.
That might have done it.

The large statue of St Peter has a printed plaque beneath it carrying the words of the 'Our Father'. It reads:
"Our Father who art in Heaven, hallowed be they name, they will be done..."etc
Were they typos or were they remnants of an olde Hampshire dialect?
Someone will enlighhten me no doubt

Of course, it's barely a month since Bishop Philip assumed the chair so he must be allowed some space within which to work change but it would be good for the Diocesan mother church to exude a little more of a Catholic aura.

Afterwards, I just had time to call in to the Cathedral shop to pick up some candles (with the 3 days in mind) you never know, a candle holder for our crucifix and Jane Mossendew's CTS booklet on God and Gardens, an excellent guide to plants, flowers and garden layouts all framed within aspects of the Faith- great.

Next step, on to Kingston and Henfield - the latter to see my eldest sister whom is much loved by all.

Yours in haste.

Wednesday, 7 November 2012

Instructions for my funeral Mass

'We'll meet again' - trouble is I don't know where

My thanks to Father EW (EF Pastor Emeritus) for his post that prodded me to contemplate planning my funeral Mass.

It's a good exercise (especially after one know.....that certain age.....the old coronary age when you find yourself making perfect acts of contrition every few minutes of the day).

So, having given the subject some extremely serious thought I have produced my checklist for the big day.

Here it is.......

1. I want everyone attending to wear colourful dress, no black, and that goes for the President of the Assembly also

2. My coffin must be bio degradable, eco friendly and from a fairtrade source, preferably made of
    reconstituted yoghurt cartons

3. No organ music whatsoever; guitars, skiffle boards and Tibetan nose flutes with the odd tambourine -  perfect!

4. Hymns are out, just too dirgey. I want lots of good, fun songs (with the exception of  Johnny Cash
    singing 'I fell into a burning ring of fire'). If we must go down the religious route then 'Shine, Jesus Shine' will do nicely.

5. Perhaps some of my good friends would like to do a reading; you know, 'stop all the clocks, shoot all the dogs' that sort of crap poetry.

6. I would really like my coffin adorned with items that mean so much to me. My hamster wheel and my membership badge of the Communist Party London Catholic Worker Organisation

7. The funeral cortege to be led by my hamster, Vinnie with my faithful, if slightly savage, Belfast Terrier, Tommy, bringing up the rear.

8. My coffin to be draped in the regalia of The Royal and Ancient Order of Bullfrogs

9. Nuns from the Society of the Slightly Insane (Discalced Primarks) to provide a liturgical dance at key moments during the Mass

10. Oops, nearly forgot, no Latin whatsoever, dim Latin, nought Latiney, zilch Latino (I can speak American,  see?). Instead it would be nice if I could have Hindi throughout plus, of course, a bit of Arabic

You see? It will not be an occasion of mourning (far from it in some quarters).

It will be more a memory of all the good times we had together, a sort of celebration of my life which, by then will have been totally worthless.
 Other than the small service I was able to provide to my Lord and Saviour.

Does that sound too Catholicky?

Tuesday, 6 November 2012

If you're Catholic, please state that Buddhism and all other 'isms' are bunkum

Tell that to your Bishops, please.

I have discovered (naively) that school visits (especially ones involving primary school children) to temples, shrines, mosques and synagogues are rampant.

What are our teachers thinking of?

At the risk of repeating myself; do we seek reciprocation in any form?

Do we ask Temple worshippers along to our Benedictions?

When did you last see a coven gathering around the sanctuary? (don't answer that, you know what I meant, let's leave the EMHCs out of this).

Seriously though, this appears to be endemic, no wonder we have much to worry about regarding Fatima.

And when please, if you are a headteacher or a school governor, tell me this; when did your school attend a Mass celebrated in the Extraordinary Form?

Let me answer it for you.......never!

You have never* taken your children to witness the greatest wonder of the Faith on earth, shame on you!

* I am excluding Cardinal Vaughan and The Oratory School from that statement.

And... you may like to know that I am writing this post from the heart of Portsmouth City...was that a knock on the door?

Pure coincidence that I find myself in Inman country. I fear now't from Bishop Philip but there may be a few of the old guard around who might be tempted to give me  Hampshire necktie, or worse.

Tomorrow on to Kingston sur Thames followed by Henfield and then, on Sunday, Mass at Taunton.
That's not on the LMS list, I wonder why, it is legit after all.


Park Place or Dark Place?

I seem to have become immersed in a welter of posts concerning non Christian activities within the borders of the Catholic Faith.

In truth, I have been surprised and shocked to find all these goings on going on.

My Catholic life, for the past 23 years or so, has been largely one of a Catholic in exile, awaiting the return of.......the King the Latin Mass. Romantic notion eh? But true.

Blogging has brought me out of my shell and, combined with the renewed life that is flowing out from Rome, I have found that I am much more aware of the good things taking place within the Church and certainly much more aware of the very bad things that are also taking place.

This is Park Place. What is going on? Answers on a postcard please

There is an order of nuns in sleepy, rural Hampshire, who operate their convent as a retreat and conference centre. Bully for them. I'm all for that sort of thing.

Except that.......they welcome in Buddhists, Taoists and all sorts of other 'ists' I should imagine (except Fascists, they would not stand for those would they?).

And would they, I wonder, welcome Occultists with open arms to enjoy (quote):
"The tranquil beauty of Park Place"?

After all, if you state that you welcome all, as they say they do ("we welcome approaches from organizations who wish to hold a retreat or spiritual course at Park Place") then, presumably, you must accept all.

The question is: Should this be an acceptable practice in an establishment that exists in accord with the teachings of Jesus Christ?

Are not Taoism and Buddhism faiths that, in many aspects, are in direct contradiction to the one true Faith?

The nuns are a Franciscan order from South India (I still can't get my head around that one) and, of course, Park Place happens to be in the Diocese of Bishop Philip Egan, Portsmouth.

Now I wish Bishop Philip nothing other than God's good graces in his episcopal role, it is just coincidence that these activities keep cropping up in his diocese, or is it?

As a commentator has said, Portsmouth has been a hotbed of nutty Catholic shenanigans for a long time now and it's asking a lot for + Egan to turn things around overnight.

And, to prove that I am not picking on him, here is some news regarding a similar operation to Park Place (wouldn't a Catholic saint's name be good instead of something that sounds as if its part of a Barratt Homes development?).

This one is in Northampton Diocese and the place is Turvey Abbey run by a community of Benedictine nuns.
At least they have got a good name to their operation - the Priory of Our Lady Queen of Peace but, sadly, they appear to be just as touchy feely as their Hampshire counterparts.

These nuns organise all sorts of events including, can you believe:-

Meister Eckhart: Inner Silence and Awakening. A contemplative inter-faith (Christian-Buddhist) weekend meditating with Eckhart’s texts through the medium of Benedictine Lectio Divina.  Led by George Wilson and a Turvey Benedictine nun. Cost: £130 per person, payable on booking. (Contact: Sr Lucy)

Bloomin' 'eck, as they say north of Mill Hill, why can't Catholic organisations, convents and monasteries, just offer good Catholic contemplative studies and leave the yoga and the yogis well alone.

And as Bishop Doyle only has a few engagements up to 9th November (the rest of the month is blank), perhaps his lordship would like to drop in on these topsy Turvey nuns and see what they are playing at.

Picture from Park Place website:

Turvey Abbey site:

My thanks to my two blogging friends who pointed me in the direction of these two establishments.

Monday, 5 November 2012

A reply from the Bishop...except that, it's not

It all started with a polite request from me to Bishop Philip Egan of Portsmouth.

I asked why one of his parishes was organising a visit to a Hindu Temple; it seemed a pretty pointless exercise to me and ecumaniacal initiatives such as this never seem to have a reciprocation aspect to them.
We tend to go forth and join rather than to go forth and teach.

Now this is where it gets boring (yawn) it's a bit anecdotal so please bear with me.
I received a nice reply from the Bishop suggesting that I take the matter up with my Parish Priest - alack!
 I am a pikey Catholic, I have no parish, no place to lay my head or kneel in prayer except several 'adopted' churches where the PP is a kind and forbearing person.

Mantra for customer satisfaction -
 "Delegation is good but it must be followed through"

In haste I responded with an apology for giving the impression that I was a parishioner of St James's Church, Reading.

And then.......the response comes back.....except that, whilst it purports to come from the Bishop it obviously comes from one of his priests charged with admin duties filed under "Nuisance enquiries from awkward b*****s" (that stands for bloggers, by the way).

You see, as any fule kno, as Molesworth would say, you never, ever, send an email that has been forwarded or cc'd.

Because the chances are that there will be one or two earlier emails on the tab that may carry info that you would not wish the final recipient to see.

Now, my reply carried nothing nasty as such but it had not, I believe, been sent by the Bishop because there was a forward note from the Bish's PA stating: "Father, for you"

And the reply itself was.....a bit (I'm trying to be charitable) -  pompous and twittish, and I am sure that the Bishop would never have made such remarks.

Here is the response, verbatim, you may judge for yourselves (my comments in red):

Dear Robert (Um, just plain Richard would do, it is my name after all)

The nature of interreligious dialogue and proclamation is of course a complex one. (Well, it certainly sounds it) You might do well to look at the article by Mgr. Billy Steele on the Diocese of Leeds website (It really gets up my nose when people say things like "You have to understand" or "You might do well" and, anyway, I would never read anything from a Catholic priest with the Christian name 'Billy').

Some Christians veer towards syncretism, others to fundamentalism (err....there is a whole world between those two words and just because I may object to syncretism it doesn't make me a fundamentalist) and the rejection of any possible ‘conversation.’ (But is a visit to a Hindu temple a 'conversation'? What is the actual purpose of such a visit?)
The Catholic position is directed by recent Church teaching (Such as?)
In this particular case, I still think it would be best to discuss the precise nature of the proposed visit with the Parish Priest (but, as I have stated before, I am not a member of this bleeping parish!) before making your judgment.(Ah...judgements are wrong, that's the innuendo here).

With prayers and best wishes

In Corde Iesu

+ Philip

What an awful, ignorant letter. I am confident that Bishop Philip did not write it, what do you think?

If I was the Bishop I'd give whoever it was that wrote it, a week's course on customer service and relationships at Marks and Spencer.