Friday, October 31, 2008

Atheist Buses - Jews fight back

Surely it's just a matter of time before other faiths, our Jewish brothers and sisters, for example, start hitting back at the Atheist Bus

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Thursday, October 30, 2008

My goodness!

An amazing thing on the BBC. Who would have thought it? Coast is a really interesting programme about the coastline of the UK and Ireland - the interaction between nature and man. In the piece about Skellig Michael the presenter says the following:

"The thing is that monks didn't just live here, stoically braving the elements and getting closer to their God through self-denial. At Skellig Michael and other tiny monastic communities in Ireland, by copying manuscripts, by going out to form new communities, they helped to revitalise a Europe bereft of faith and learning after the fall of Rome. Skellig Michael is a special place"

Did you get that?

At Skellig Michael and other tiny monastic communities in Ireland, by copying manuscripts, by going out to form new communities, they helped to revitalise a Europe bereft of faith and learning after the fall of Rome.

I may be in shock. Well done, BBC. Any chance you could pass that information to the rest of the Corporation and the implication behind it in Belloc's words:

the faith is Europe and Europe is the faith

You can see the episode on the iPlayer HERE until Saturday.

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Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Must be doing something right...

I had thought we were so isolated in the Cairngorms that there were no Catholic Churches nearby but on the Saturday we were out on a cycle ride and passed the Church in Kingussie. Eldest boy (far from a goody-two-shoes) shouted out in genuine glee:
"Dad, we can go to Mass!"

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Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Peter Tatchell, sex education and your children

A quite astonishing exchange between Andrew Neill and Peter Tatchell HERE

Neill: "Does the State have the right to overrule parents' rights in this area? That's giving an awful lot of power to the State...."

Tatchell: "Well I don't think parents have a right to keep their children in ignorance."

Earlier on Tatchell opened up with "well we send our children to school to prepare them for adulthood....."

Our children, Peter? OUR, children? They're not your children at all, Mr Tatchell, and given that you'd like them to be free to have sex at 14, I'm glad you're nowhere near them.

A word in your shell-like, Peter. Come anywhere near my boys and you will, in the words of Withnail, rue the day.

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Monday, October 27, 2008

I suggest we fight them on the buses

Friday, October 24, 2008

Rocky Horror: the Rite of Closure of a Perfectly Viable Parish (according to the Rituale Loidensis)

[In some parts of the country they close down perfectly viable churches for some reason. Weird]
Gathering song: Be Much Afraid [To the tune Be Not afraid]

You can say Mass without vestments
To impress the teenage kids
Just ignore the GIRM
We don’t give a fig
You can fill the nave with dancing girls
and we will understand
But say the Mass in Latin and you’re done.

Be much afraid.
We’re going to close your church down.
Say Latin Mass, and you’ll be on the dole.

Interfaith is all the rage
Meditation’s where it’s at
You can make a pagan incantation,
nothing wrong with that.
You can say your prayers with Rastas, Muslims
Jains, and Hindus too
But pray with other Catholics and you’re done

Doctrine is passe
You can make it up yourself
You can pick from Dawkins, Boff, de Mello
- anything off the shelf
You can quote Tissa Balasuriya,
Kung and Schillebeecx
But quote the Holy Father
and you’re stuffed

The Bishop: Welcome, welcome, dear people to this joyful celebration of the closure of this church, now in sad decline since being taken over by nutcases with an agenda.

I am so glad so many of you could come to this ticket-only event and so very sad that none of the soon-to-be-ex-parishioners could get hold of a ticket in the totally random and fair ballot. I’m sorry the previous parish priest couldn’t be here but he’s probably swanning about in a cassock and biretta somewhere, ha ha. I'm sorry we couldn't be joined by my factotum, 'Fr Martin' but he has sent an email I'd like to read to you:


Dear Bishop Arfur

I am reely sory I carnt be with you tonite for the long-overjew closhure of Saynt Jons. I am off on reely important diosessan bizness. I am interveywing all the seminarians to see if they have been doing any blogging about me. Then they’ll kno who is the boss.

Say one for me and tell that priest I’ll do him if I see him again.

Fr Martin

Episcopal enforcer and Trad-Finder General

Isn't that nice? I look around me and see so many friends from our different communities. There is the local team rector, Rev Valerie Butch-Vicar and her partner Sharon. Valerie, you are very welcome to any of the errant flock of this parish. And a welcome too to Sheikh Izzmybombbiginthis Bin Talibani, imam of our local Muslim brethren. Sheikh, I hope you’ve had a good look around, given that I know you are looking for an appropriate place of worship **winks** – why not talk to me about it later over the halal canipes we’ll have in a local hotel afterwards?

Imam: I sure will, kuffar dog.

Bishop: Hmm. Yes, well...
Let us begin with a prayer (or a hopeful thought for those of you who don’t ‘do’ prayer):
Spirit in the Sky
Bless our efforts to modernise and rationalise this community by bringing light where there is currently darkness, progress where there are petty-bourgeois reactionary attitudes that quite frankly help no-one and a more open-minded attitude to the modern world where there is currently a reliance on an antiquated notion of tradition.
The People: Tsk! Tsk!
Help us to be generous and truly diverse but not too diverse, if you know what I mean.
This we ask in the name of all that we ourselves decide is holy, in a very meaningful sense.
Congregation: Amen (or Yeah, dude! Or Whatever)

A Reading from the Letter of St Richard of Holloway to the Edinburgers

Hey cats! Yes, it’s me - your daddio! You want to put away all that Catholic stuff, man. It’s like, soooooo, old hat. Latin? Shmatin! You need big concrete churches – big round ones with lots of drafts to, like, let in the Spirit of the Council. Hey – why don’t we just get rid of all the churches, anyway by, like, stopping men becoming priests and having inclusive stuff, because we’re all, like, bishops and stuff in a very real sense. You know it’s what that hepcat Jesus dude would have wanted.

Stay cool, you crazy kids


Hymn: Close Arthur, close [To the tune Shine, Jesus, Shine]

Arthur comes and the parish shuts down
Parishoners protest but they are put down
Future-church means we don't need the building
Vestments, statues, altars and gilding
Close it down, close it down

Close, Arthur, close
Get your skates on and let’s get going
Close down the churches
and then sell off the land
Go Arthur go
Tell the traddies, we’ve got their number
Do as you’re told
Or there’s no Mass for you.

Bidding prayers

Bless this building and let it’s future use – as a handsome family conversion with en-suites and Bulthaup kitchen units, or as a wine bar called “Chapelz” or the like or perhaps as a place of worship and jihad for our Muslim brethren – whichever raises the most dosh – be a source of comfort and healing, for this sadly deluded parish.

Bless all our clergy, especially those who do the right thing (if you know what I mean). Not that we should single out the clergy in a modern, go-ahead Futurechurch ™) Oh no, we are all leaders now.

**Grits teeth** Give light and understanding to Ratz-, er, Pope Benedict, the non-trained liturgist. Let him understand that an elderly gent in Rome should be out in the pavement cafes, enjoying a cappuccino rather than writing troublesome letters which just give people the wrong idea about the liturgy and quite frankly ideas above their paygrade.

Bless this community as it grapples with man-made global warming, pollution, the oppression of women, differently-abled, gay-lesbian-transgendered people, people of colour, our Muslim brethren being brutally murdered in, er , somewhere or other [is this enough boxes ticked? Ed]. Why, oh, why is whitey so awful?

The stripping of the altars
The clergy and people present will take down anything vaguely Catholic-looking – vestments, altar frontals, stations of the cross, old ladies in mantillas, that sort of thing . They’ll form a large bonfire in the middle of the soon-to-be-former-church (with a suitably trained fireperson in attendance to comply with elf’n’safety regulations).

The congregation will form a circle by joining hands around the bonfire in a pagan-stylee. They may chant something like:

“Thomas Cromwell, Thomas Cromwell, we’ll support you ever more”
or something by David Haas or Marty Haugen.

Final Dismissal

Bishop: Let’s go out in the world, not to proclaim anything old fashioned like a gospel but to feel good about ourselves.
Congregation: Because we’re worth it!

Closing song [to the tune Colours of Day]

If you want a priest, you’re out of our minds
Catholicism’s dead here, I think you will find
Go into the city, into the street
Say “Salaam aleikum” to the people we meet

So call in the lawyers and close down the church
Leave the parishioners out in the lurch.
Take a out a court order, get in a huff,
Tell the people of Jesus, they can get stuffed.

Go through the park, on into the town;
The Catholics have gone, their church is closed down.
They can drive many miles if they have a car,
But the old and the housebound are stuck where they are.

Open your eyes, look into the sky,
The church bells are quiet, and you’ll soon see why.
A tall minaret now stands very near
And “Allahu Akbar!” is all you can hear

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Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Autumn Almanac

I love this time of year.

From the dew-soaked hedge creeps a crawly caterpillar,
When the dawn begins to crack.
It's all part of my autumn almanac.
Breeze blows leaves over, mostly coloured yellow,
So I sweep them in my sack.
Yes, yes, yes, it's my autumn almanac.

Friday evenings, people get together,
Hiding from the weather.
Tea and toasted, buttered currant buns
Can't compensate for lack of sun,
Because the summer's all gone.

Oh, my poor rheumatic back
Yes, yes, yes, it's my autumn almanac.
Oh, my autumn almanac
Yes, yes, yes, it's my autumn almanac.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

I said, Hoots Mon!

Sorry about that - not sure how it happened. We were Up North in the Cairngorms for the October Week holiday. Here's the original:

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Monday, October 13, 2008

Hoots mon!

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Things the BBC does really well

The Shipping Forecast

...and Sailing By....

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Wednesday, October 08, 2008

How does the BBC get away with this tripe?

Roger Bolton - I think it's the same bloke who does Feedback on Radio 4 - has produced an absolute stinker on the BBC website: The Rival To The Bible.

It's difficult to know where to start, it's such a monumentally lazy piece of journalism: ill-informed, dripping the author's prejudices, poorly researched. It starts off well enough with a short history of St Catherine's Monastery on the slopes of Mount Sinai. Thereafter it just about avoids blaming an albino Opus Dei operative for personally ripping out the apocryphal bits of the Codex. Only just, mind...

I've taken a leaf out of Fr Z's book and show the original with my take on it in red:

Firstly, the Codex contains two extra books in the New Testament. [They are not in the New Testament – the New Testament was set by the Church in the 5th century and formalised at Trent. They have never been in the canon]
One is the little-known Shepherd of Hermas, written in Rome in the 2nd Century - the other, the Epistle of Barnabas. This goes out of its way to claim that it was the Jews, not the Romans, who killed Jesus, and is full of anti-Semitic kindling ready to be lit. "His blood be upon us," Barnabas has the Jews cry. [so does Matthew – did you read the bible, any bible, before you wrote this?]
Had this remained in subsequent versions, "the suffering of Jews in the subsequent centuries would, if possible, have been even worse", says the distinguished New Testament scholar Professor Bart Ehrman. [but then again, they might not. They had a rough enough time as it was. They still do at the hands of another people with another book, but hey, this is the BBC so we won’t look under that particular stone]

And although many of the other alterations and differences are minor, these may take some explaining for those who believe every word comes from God. Faced with differing texts, which is the truly authentic one?
Mr Ehrman was a born again Bible-believing Evangelical until he read the original Greek texts and noticed some discrepancies. [More fool him]
The Bible we now use can't be the inerrant word of God, he says, since what we have are the sometimes mistaken words copied by fallible scribes.
"When people ask me if the Bible is the word of God I answer 'which Bible?'"
The Codex - and other early manuscripts - do not mention the ascension of Jesus into heaven, and omit key references to the Resurrection, which the Archbishop of Canterbury has said is essential for Christian belief. [Mark and John don’t mention the Nativity of Jesus, as any fule kno. Does that imply he wasn’t born?]
Other differences concern how Jesus behaved. In one passage of the Codex, Jesus is said to be "angry" as he healed a leper, whereas the modern text records him as healing with "compassion". [and? Is it possible to be angry and compassionate at the same time. The author clearly isn’t married, nor has he children, nor any discernible human relationships of any meaningful kind if that’s what he truly believes]
Also missing is the story of the woman taken in adultery and about to be stoned - until Jesus rebuked the Pharisees (a Jewish sect), inviting anyone without sin to cast the first stone. [and?]
Nor are there words of forgiveness from the cross. Jesus does not say "Father forgive them for they know not what they do". [So every witness statement on which one judges evidence must be EXACTLY the same. Make that condition and the legal system for one will grind to a halt. ]
Fundamentalists, who believe every word in the Bible is true, may find these differences unsettling. [as I said above, more fool them. Scripture can only be interpreted in the light of the fullness of faith and with authoritative judgement.]
But the picture is complicated. Some argue that another early Bible, the Codex Vaticanus, is in fact older. And there are other earlier texts of almost all the books in the bible, though none pulled together into a single volume.
Many Christians have long accepted that, while the Bible is the authoritative word of God, it is not inerrant. [That would be the Catholic view and that of most Christians and of course it depends what you mean by inerrancy. In the sphere of hermeneutics it has a very specific and carefully defined meaning - unlike the intellectual slop on offer here] Human hands always make mistakes. [though none more than the author of this piece]
"It should be regarded as a living text, something constantly changing as generation and generation tries to understand the mind of God," says David Parker, a Christian working on digitising the Codex. Others may take it as more evidence that the Bible is the word of man, not God. [or perhaps the inspired Word of God promulgated by men? Or had that possibility escaped you?]
I'm near the point where the only bit of the BBC output I'll be able to stand soon will be the Shiping Forecast.

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Monday, October 06, 2008

Safe? For whom?

I assume employment at the BBC renders one immune to irony. How on earth could you be otherwise and come up with the following: 'Safer' test developed for Down's.

Scientists say they have developed a safer blood test that can tell women if their unborn baby has Down's syndrome.

Invasive procedures currently used risk miscarriage and damage to the foetus.

Great. Oh, just one question: when you've done this 'safe' screening test and discovered Trisomy 21, how safe will the baby be?

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Saturday, October 04, 2008

The Optimistic Nun

Hope springs eternal for the Little Sisters of the Poor.

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Wednesday, October 01, 2008

St Albert's last Sunday

We were through with The In-Laws last weekend. We attended the 9am Mass at St Albert's - the Edinburgh University Catholic Chaplaincy (and Priory of the Dominican community there) - on Sunday. Eldest Boy really liked it - "It was very quiet and prayerful" he said " I liked it" (not that we have a problem where we attend Mass - it's just that one notices the differences when one is away from home).

The celebrant was the relatively newly ordained priest, Fr Bruno Clifton, who was somewhat embarrassed that pictures of his ordination were featured in the Scottish Catholic Observer. Needless to say, he preached well - pitched such that children like my own would understand ('though this was not the "Family Mass") but also so that the smattering of dons and undergrads wouldn't go away unsatisfied. My experience with University Chaplaincies has been somewhat mixed over the years, so it was good to hear Mass celebrated according to the rubrics. He's a practitioner of "saythe black, do the red" and do you know what? It works.

I was delighted to see his family is (by modern standards) awash with vocations. It must have been a delight for his father to be deacon of honour at his ordination. Is this unique in the UK?

One hangover from The Reign of the Hippies, however, was the practice of opening the bidding prayers to the floor. As I have pointed out before, I do not like this practice.There was only one bidding prayer made in this way by a north american girl sitting behind me:

"That in this season of Michaelmas, the Archangel Michael will help us to rid ourselves of the Toxins and Negativity that afflict our hearts"

Toxins and negativity?


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