Monday, March 31, 2008

Nostalgia Corner #3: The Magic Roundabout

"Pay?" said Dylan ""


Sunday, March 30, 2008

Family Friendly Government

Believe me when I say I am sympathetic to the plight of the single parent in that some of my nearest and dearest have been in such a plight through no fault of their own. However, when our dear Government runs a campaign extolling the financial virues of this state of life ("One Parent, Two Pay Days"!) one can't help but wonder whether Broon and his chums have got it in for the traditional family. The not-so-subtle-message is "COME AND GET IT!"

We will all get it, of course. But the 'it' may be something that we didn't really want and certainly won't be something the Government intended. But that's hardly the point is it? Have these people never heard of 'unintended consequences'?

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Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Booze for the baby

New NICE guidance, based on no new evidence at all (strange for a supposedly evidence-based organisation) tells women to stop drinking in pregnancy. Fetal alcohol syndrome is devastating but this seems a little over the top. The pointy heads have spoken, ladies - put down the sauvignon, move away from the bottle.

Still, it's touching that the Government has turned its attention to ensuring the protection of the unborn. The cognitive dissonance comes when one considers that this is a country where in England and Wales alone there were 193700 abortions in 2006.

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Tuesday, March 25, 2008

General Musings

Just a few things to comment on in general. The Clunking Fist of Brown is behind the current fudging about the Creation of Monsters and General Flouting of the Moral Law Bill Human Fertilisation and Embryology Bill. What does he not get about conscience? If something is wrong, it's wrong and all the three line whips in the world will not make it right. Then there was the nonsense about the vote with Brown implying that there could be a free vote if the numbers were such that the Government would win.


[Sorry about the shouting]

Meanwhile, the National Union of Leather-patched, Cord-jacketed, Goatee-bearded, Sandal-wearing Left-wing Tinfoil-Hat-Wearers Teachers reckons that pampered kids make unruly pupils. No shit, Sherlock. Personally I blame these noisome objects:

Oh and while we're on the subject of nature vs nurture what do you think we might be turning out as a nation if we don't give children a grounding in the culture and religion that made the country they live in? If you teach kids that their own culture is useless, their own history not worth knowing, their own people a shameful blot on Mother Earth, what kind of adults do you think you'll produce? Add in to the mix an implicit injunction to underage, pre-marital sex with the constant thought that if only the Government would give out more condoms, everything would be OK, let's just see where this social experiment takes us, shall we?

Of course those in power, the 'liberal elite' - though they don't merit any definition of 'liberal' I know, nor given their mediocrity (Milliband as Foreign Secretary, for crying out loud!) do they warrant the title 'elite' - think that Year Zero was 1968. Jimi Hendrix, Martin Luther King, Soixante-Huitards in Paris, Storming the American Embassy in Grosvenor Square and all that jazz. The BBC can barely contain its excitement at the 40th anniversary.

Charles Moore has a timely reminder that 1968 also marked two prescient, counter-cultural insights. Enoch Powell, whatever his faults (and as a Catholic I find racialism repugnant, if indeed he was a racialist, which he denied), seems eerily close to what happened and is happening to our country under Islamist threat.

I was amazed to find that Powell was a Professor of Greek at Sydney University at the age of 25 and had the singular achievement of being the only man in the British Army in World War Two to rise from the rank of private soldier to brigadier by the close of the war. In his 'Rivers of Blood' speech this line sent a chill through me:

It is like watching a nation busily engaged in heaping up its own funeral pyre.

I live about four miles from where this Islamist nutter decided to immolate himself and hoped to take out as many of his fellow citizens as possible.

Moore also has Pope Paul VI as a strange bedfellow with the Ulster Unionist member for South Down. Again, a prophet abused by our elite, yet oddly prescient, according to Moore:

Governments, said Paul VI, would use population control as a substitute for pursuing just economic and social policies. They would coerce people into limiting the size of their families, forgetting that "The family is the primary unit in the state". They would succumb to "an utterly materialistic conception of man". And science and technology would be abused. "The power of man over his own body" would become so absolute that he would neglect his duty to the sacredness of life.

Rant over.

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East - for Easter

Out East to Mrs P's family for Easter after Maundy Thursday out West. Holy Saturday (Mrs P being a pagan can't get used to the idea that the Saturday between Good Friday and Easter Sunday is Holy Saturday rather than Easter Saturday. Give it time, give it time.....) was spent walking the beaches of East Lothian - Gullane and Dirleton. Cold and windswept with snow flurries but when wrapped up warm, very atmospheric. I'm sorry I didn't get the lighthouse with the light shining. A good pub lunch in Dirleton with a discussion about when Lent ends. The Boys still don't believe me that it ends when the Triduum begins (but then I thought surely it ends when the priest stops wearing purple - i.e. at the Chrism Mass? I'm confused). Still, no eggs 'til Easter Sunday after Mass despite the fact that I spotted my first one on sale a week before Christmas.

Anyway, I'm eating chocolate again.......

Easter Sunday with the Jesuits at Sacred Heart in Lauriston for early Mass. What a beautiful church. Shame about the felt banners.

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Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Blogging and The Triduum

No blogging until next week because of this


and this

Enjoy the mysteries, readers, and enter fully into them.

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Monday, March 17, 2008

A Kind, Gentle Priest Enters His Reward

Of your charity pray for the repose of the soul of Rev Fr Hugh McGinlay, until recently, chaplain to the hospital in which I work. Fr Hugh died last Thursday in the hospice to which I also have an attachment.

Fr Hugh was an immensely likeable man and a priest who would visit the sick at the merest intimation. I am sure he has helped many hundreds of poor souls in this hospital to heaven. Archbishop Conti said it all much better than I ever could:

"Father Hugh was a wonderful, caring, compassionate pastor, whose ministry inthe Cathedral in recent years had a powerful impact on countless lives. Though small in stature, he was a giant in faith, who had a special gift for communicating that faith in a winning and often humorous way. He experienced his own difficulties in the middle of his ministry, but he came through his problems with a renewed priestly zeal and a particular care for those in difficulty. It was that understanding of peoples' problems which made him such a popular confessor and counsellor. I recall him especially at Lourdes, when he would be second to none in his attentiveness to the sick pilgrims, sharing a joke one moment and comforting them or leading them in a decade of the rosary the next. When he realised his cancer was not curable, he bore his illness with great patience and acceptance, using his final days to deepen ever more in the love of the Lord he served so faithfully for over 30 years as a priest. May he rest in peace."

Orémus. Præsta, quæsumus, Dómine : ut ánima fámuli tui Hugonis Sacerdótis, quem, in hoc sæculo commorántem, sacris munéribus decorásti, in cælésti sede gloriósa semper exsúltet. Per Dóminum nostrum Jesum Christum, Fílium tuum : qui tecum vivit et regnat in unitáte Spíritus Sancti Deus, per ómnia sæcula sæculórum. Amen.

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Sunday, March 16, 2008

Lauda Ierusalem

The picture is from The Childrens' Catholic Bible I was given aged
7. My boys and I read from it each night. Yes, I know it very unlikely that Our Blessed Lord was Swedish.

Lauda, Jerusalem, Dominum; lauda Deum tuum, Sion.
Hosanna ! Hosanna ! Hosanna Filio David !

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Saturday, March 15, 2008

Suffering, Fatherhood & God

In the next week we will consider suffering, particularly the sufferings of Christ. In my work, I encounter the mystery of suffering a lot and I struggle at times to find meaning in the suffering of my patients, as many of them do. Why do trials come our way? Why does life seem hard? Why does God seemingly test us all the time?

Today I took the boys swimming. A few years ago, I taught Paulinus Minor Major to swim. It was hard work. He would have preferred to have kept his waterwings. But I took the bull by the horns and one day (after many tears) they were removed. So it started. First (again after many tears) he would cast off a couple of feet into my arms. Gradually I moved further and further away and each move of a couple of feet needed negotiation - often with much pleading and protest. Sometimes I was sneaky and would move a little further as he was swimming to me - to much recrimination. Now, they both delight in swimming. Paulinus Minor Major is the fastest swimmer in his year at school. I saw him this morning swim gracefully through the water as if it were the most natural thing in the world.Yet here was a boy who used to be in floods of tears at the thought of swimming 2 metres. He hated swimming for those few weeks, loathed the thought of going near a pool and probably loathed me too for taking him swimming.

So I think of the love our heavenly Father has for us - infinitely more than my imperfect love as a father. How He leads us on when we can hate what He asks of us. How our tears and suffering may lead us on to swim gracefully in the spiritual life - to become what He wants us to be in much greater ways than my boy has become a graceful, quick and joyful swimmer after all those tears and tantrums.

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Thursday, March 13, 2008


It looks like his Lordship, Joseph Devine, Bishop of Motherwell has put cat among the pigeons. He's been giving his thoughts on sectarianism and secularism in the light of the Second Vatican Council at the Gonzaga Lectures - a series of public lectures organised by the local Jesuit school - St Aloysius College.
This from the BBC: Bishop criticises gay community [How dare he?]

A Catholic bishop has claimed gay campaigners are conspiring against Christian traditions. The Bishop of Motherwell, Joseph Devine, made the comments at a lecture in Glasgow. [Well the evidence is fairly convincing, isn't it? Look HERE for Peter Tatchell disrupting Holy Mass as an obvious example. The whole of the SORs affair. Rocco Butiglione's rejection as an EU commissioner]

The bishop said the gay community had aligned itself with minority groups, including Holocaust survivors, to make it appear they were under persecution. [Well that would seem to be beyond dispute. One need only look at the weird alliance of lefties, gay activists and hard-line Islamists supporting Ken Livingstone . The victim mentality has been ingrained in order to give a sense of resentment. Given that, said Islamists would throw said gay activists off a cliff without thinking too much about it is a contradiction inherent in the system.While I'm on the subject, it's laughable that Muslims make such a fuss about Holocaust memorial day, given that Bosnian Muslims had their own Waffen SS Division.Hearing Muslims getting worked up about whether or not they should attend Holocaust memorial day is a bit like Gary Glitter worrying about whether he should volunteer to work on Childline.]

His comments have been condemned by gay rights groups and Holocaust survivor organisations. [Well there's a big surprise. Oddly enough, however, the Holocaust victims are not cited by the BBC - I would suspect that's straight out of the fertile imagination of the jouranlist. But Stonewall exists to harrumph in the way that used to be traditional amongst retired colonels in the Home Counties]

At the lecture, at St Aloysius' College on Tuesday, the bishop reportedly said: "We neglect the gay movement at our peril." [He never said a truer word]

He also singled out Oscar-winning actor Sir Ian McKellen, who has been honoured for his services to gay rights, pointing out that Oscar Wilde had been jailed for homosexual acts 100 years ago. [Homosexuals have been jailed in Sir Ian's lifetime, never mind 100 years ago. How things change]

He added that there was a "huge and well-orchestrated conspiracy" taking place, which the Catholic community had missed. [Well some of you might have but some of us have been keeping a beady eye on the likes of Peter Tatchell, Brian Paddick, I'm not sure His Lordship is right in it being a conspiracy in the strict sense, more a zeitgeist, but it's unmistakaby there]

Calum Irving, the director of Stonewall Scotland, which promotes equality and justice for gay people, said Bishop Devine's comments were delusional and offensive.[Delsuional - a bit harsh, but then most secularists beileve Christians are delusional for the simple fact of belief. Offensive? From Stonewall? That's rich]

He said: "Attacks on the so called 'gay lobby' are one thing but to say that gay people have no place in Holocaust memorial day is shameful. [Not sure he said that, Calum. He merely said you had a victim mentality.In truth, there should be a strong presence of Catholic priests at Holocaust memorial day given that over 1000 Catholic priests died at Dachau]

"Fortunately most Scots and many Christians do believe in equality, dignity and respect and reject the very dark and cynical view of Scotland the bishop seeks to portray."[Well I'm sure Bishop Devine believes in equality, dignity and respect. I've met him. I've rarely met anyone less cynical. It's just that his job is to uphold the teachings of the Catholic Church]

2357 Homosexuality refers to relations between men or between women who experience an exclusive or predominant sexual attraction toward persons of the same sex. It has taken a great variety of forms through the centuries and in different cultures. Its psychological genesis remains largely unexplained. Basing itself on Sacred Scripture, which presents homosexual acts as acts of grave depravity, tradition has always declared that "homosexual acts are intrinsically disordered." They are contrary to the natural law. They close the sexual act to the gift of life. They do not proceed from a genuine affective and sexual complementarity. Under no circumstances can they be approved.

2358 The number of men and women who have deep-seated homosexual tendencies is not negligible. This inclination, which is objectively disordered, constitutes for most of them a trial. They must be accepted with respect, compassion, and sensitivity. Every sign of unjust discrimination in their regard should be avoided. These persons are called to fulfill God's will in their lives and, if they are Christians, to unite to the sacrifice of the Lord's Cross the difficulties they may encounter from their condition.

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Wednesday, March 12, 2008

On me 'ead, son

Is it just me or is the Holy Father about to biff Marini (the old Marini) on the head with his aspergillum?

No wonder he went soon after....

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Monday, March 10, 2008

Skanky taxis

It's 1130 on a wet Thursday night in Glasgow. You just want to get home to your bed. yet the only taxi at the rank is covered in sponsorship by a lap dancing club. The sort of place that exploits the women who work there and the sad men who go there. Do you get in the taxi.? Of course not. I hope if this scenario came my way I'd politely decline and tell the driver why, hopefully without sounding like a prig.

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Saturday, March 08, 2008 semini ejus in saecula

Does it ever strike you as odd that someone like Prof Richard Dawkins who has based his very successful life on evolution and the passing on of genes has, despite having been three times coupled by the State, only passed on one set of his own genes?

It could be that there are good medical reasons for this, but I suspect given his views on birth control that isn't the case.

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Nostalgia Corner #2: Mary, Mungo & Midge

"Do you live in a town?"


Friday, March 07, 2008

Look like a stupid dog in this suit will I

He doesn't look happy, does he?

Call the RSPCA.

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Children not welcome

An invitation to a swanky conference. I'm not going - I'd like to spend the Triduum at home.

If you were going on holiday to Israel, you wouldn't want to go to Herod's Hotel, would you?

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Thursday, March 06, 2008

Taking A Stand

If reports in The Telegraph (Catholic MPs to rebel over embryo bill) are to be believed, Gordon Brown is to force a three-line whip on the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Bill. The Bill will allow the creation of animal-human embryos - created by injecting animal cells or DNA into human embryos or human cells into animal eggs - to be used in medical research and then discarded.It will also change the law to allow lesbian couples to be registered as legal parents. This goes, of course, against Catholic moral teaching and it is reported that 3 Catholic cabinet ministers will feel inclined to rebel, as will many more backbench MPs.

Mr Brown had considered allowing MPs a free vote on specific issues, but decided that would anger other MPs who had previously stayed loyal to the Government.

So much for the Prime Minister's 'moral compass'.

I hope the the three Catholic ministers, Ruth Kelly, Paul Murphy and Des Browne, can make a stand. It may be turning point in the relentless secularising push of this ugly regime. They may end up with More's peace at the cost of their ministerial careers rather than their heads:

“The clearness of my conscience has made my heart hop for joy.”
--“Letter to Margaret Roper,” from the Tower, 1534.

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Wednesday, March 05, 2008

Hasta La Vista, Baby

I should have posted this ages ago, when I first came across Fr Richtsteig's blog, Orthometer.

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Skiing In The Appenines

If you're in Northern Italy at this time of year, there is some decent skiing to be had about an hour from Lucca at Val de Luce or Abetone. But wrap up warm

Yours truly, off for a vin chaud


Tuesday, March 04, 2008

Nostalgia Corner #1: Right Said Fred

Right said Fred, climbing up a ladder, with his crowbar gave a mighty blow
Was he in trouble, half a ton of rubble, landed on the top of, his dome
So Charlie and me had another cup of tea
And then we, went home!


Unless The Lord Builds The House

The workmen have started smashing up the back of our house (it's OK, we asked them to). Here's what it looked like last Friday. The song 'Right Said Fred' keeps going through my head. Hopefully we'll have a new extension in June.


Weird Day Yesterday

It really was an odd day yesterday. I alternated between having to close the office blinds because of the bright sunshine to opening them up because of the blizzard-induced gloom.

The figure on a column in the necropolis is John Knox (Boo! Hiss!) The boys got to make this chap, though.


Monday, March 03, 2008

Scratch The Surface

The moral bankruptcy of some members of this government is clear to see in their unguarded comments. This time its Harriet Harperson Harman in a question-and-answer session in The Independent

Fidel Castro: hero of the left, or dangerous authoritarian dictator?

David Newton


Hero of the left – but time for Cuba to move on.

Hero of the left? Hero?

A man who ordered the extra-judicial killing (ie murder) of tens of thousands of political opponents

A homophobe who put homosexuals in labour camps (along with Jehovah's Witnesses and other 'social deviants')

A man whose government (now ruled by his brother) maintains an impressive list of other human rights abuses: See HERE

Time to move on indeed, Harriet.

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