Monday, June 29, 2009

Planting Seeds

It is in the nature of my work that I get my patients to prepare themselves spiritually for their death. Clearly, I would not proselytise but it is natural that this process is easier with Christians than non-Christians and easier still with Catholics than non-Catholics. I speaka da lingo, see.

Such a patient, a young(ish) man was under my care some months ago when the subject came up. He had been raised in the Faith but had fallen away in adolescence. We spoke in the loosest terms about preparation for death and he was very honest with me.

I was filled with joy recently to receive an email from a family member asking if I could arrange for a priest to visit him. I happily did so. My joy was complete when I heard after that he had been reconciled to the Church.

Please pray for him and his family.

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Sunday, June 28, 2009

Divine Office #3

The English translations of the intercessions in the Divine Office of Paul VI are whimsical to the point of distraction. Does anyone know if they are an accurate rendition of the Latin?

Again, it gets offered up for the Holy Souls.


Saturday, June 27, 2009

Divine Office #2

The non-psalm canticles in the Divine Office of Paul VI are largely unsingable, certainly when compared to the psalms. Whose idea was that?

Again, I offer it up for the Holy Souls.


Thursday, June 25, 2009

Divine Office #1

The hymns in the Divine Office of Paul VI, unless they are English translations of the traditional Ambrosian hymns, are unsingable/unsuitable.

So I offer it up.


Wednesday, June 24, 2009

A Swift Jab To The Kidneys

It's that man again. Southbrae's Finest, Dr James MacMillan, Upon Whom Be Peace, gets one in. More from the Scottish Catholic Observer which seems to be transmuting into an organ of Benedictine orthodoxy:

“The Church in Scotland should turn our minds ahead to the day when Scotus reopens as it surely will,” leading Scottish composer James MacMillan said.
“When Pope Benedict’s reforms kick in we will have more vocations not less. The days of wishy washy, cafeteria Catholicism are clearly coming to an end. Present and future generations will look for orthodoxy and devotion from our clergy and the fuller delight of living a good Catholic life with all the joys and challenges that will bring in the modern age.”

Amen to that, brother.

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Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Like it, Your Eminence

Capturing the Benedictine spirit and following in the wake of Cardinal George Pell, HE Keith Patrick Cardinal O'Brien on a visit to Derry sports a cappa magna.


Pic Credit: Scottish Catholic Observer

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Saturday, June 20, 2009

65 years on

[This is a partial repost of Remembrance to mark the 65th anniversary of this mission]

On the 13th June 1944 my father dropped behind enemy lines South East of Siena, near Montepulciano. He was part of a LRDG patrol, M2, assigned to gather intelligence about German troop movements during the allied advance through Italy. That Friday the 13th drop was inauspicious: German troops swarmed the area and shot and captured a number of the patrol. My father evaded capture and made his way back to Allied Lines by following the River Arno and living off the generosity of Italian farmers (at great risk to them). He managed to gather some intelligence on the way.

Dad’s colleague, Bob Savage died in the drop. His patrol commanding officer, Lt Simon Fleming, died in the drop when his parachute did not open.
This is how the commander of the LRDG described Simon Fleming:
“I was very fond of him because he had great charm and a glorious sense of humour. He was essentially straight and open. He also had an impertinent disregard for authority, but was wise enough to know that it was important to keep just the right side of it. Outwardly he had a light-hearted and carefree attitude to life, but this façade hid a wisdom and intelligence unusual in one so young. We could ill afford to lose such a fine officer”

-David Lloyd-Owen. Providence Their Guide: The Long Range Desert Group 1939-1945.

He was 23 years old

Such a short life. Such sacrifice. His and Bob Savage’s graves can be found at the allied war cemetery at Foiano Della Chiana.

Our freedom depends on men like Simon Fleming and Bob Savage and we should remember their sacrifice and that of their families with humility and thankfulness.

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Thursday, June 18, 2009

My Liturgical Ignorance #2

In Italy when the Gospel is read at Mass, the priest starts by saying (I can't remember the Italian for it) "in that time". Why, in anglophone countries dd we ditch "In illo tempore"?


Tuesday, June 16, 2009


Mac tags me to tell all about the statues I have in my home. I'm afraid the answer is....ONE. There are a couple of reasons for this. We are a mixed family, Mrs P is probably a pagan, certainly an agnostic of Non-Conformist stock and a little squeamish about such things. So we compromise and we have an icon of Our Lady and a San Damiano Crucifix (the boys have one each of these over their beds too) but that's it.

The statue, as you see, is very old. I think it is nineteenth century and French and belonged to my great grandmother. As you see it has been broken (probably more than once). It is of Our Lady of Victories. I couldn't find a great deal about the cult but it seems to have had two incarnations. Firstly, the Feast of Our Lady of the Rosary was initially known as Our Lady of Victory for obvious reasons. The second incarnation appears to have been during the First Empire when Our Lady appeared to Fr. Desgenettes in Paris.

The statue is particularly dear to me as it was the focus of prayers for my great grandmother when she prayed for my grandfather during his wartime service as an able seaman on HMS Leviathan and subsequently for my grandmother's prayers for her sons as they served variously in the Artillery and the LRDG.

By all means tag yourself.

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Wednesday, June 10, 2009

The Door That We Might Open

An interesting analysis and scathing evisceration of the likes of Richard Dawkins and Christopher Hitchens by Professor Roger Scruton in this article from the Swedish journal Axess
Distrust of organised religion therefore goes hand in hand with a mourning for the loss of it. We are distressed by the evangelical atheists, who are stamping on the coffin in which they imagine God’s corpse to lie and telling us to bury it quickly before it begins to smell. These characters have a violent and untidy air: it is very obvious that something is missing from their lives, something which would bring order and completeness in the place of random disgust. And yet we are uncertain how to answer them. Nowhere in our world is the door that we might open, so as to stand again in the breath of God.

I disagree with this conclusion. I actually think this may be one of the best descriptions of Holy Mass ever written by a non-Catholic.

The door that we might open, so as to stand again in the breath of God.

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Tuesday, June 09, 2009

My liturgical Ignorance #1

Eastertide ends with Pentecost but the Regina Coeli is sung at the end of compline until Trinity Sunday.



Monday, June 08, 2009

What makes you say that, minister?

Resigning Europe minister, Caroline Flint, thinks she was just 'female window dressing' in the Cabinet.

Whatever gave her that idea?


Sunday, June 07, 2009

Deo gratias

Before even the Novena to the Holy Spirit was completed, the asked for gift was given.How munificent is the Lord of Hosts? What god is great as our God?

Gloria Patri, et Filio, et Spiritui Sancto. Sicut erat in principio, et nunc, et semper, et in sæcula sæculorum. Amen.

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Saturday, June 06, 2009


We will remember them.

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The Re-shuffle: Gordon Brown's Press Conference

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Friday, June 05, 2009

Re-claiming the Church, one antiphon at a time

The Curate points me to the Scottish Catholic Observer where not before time Fr Gerard Byrne tears into the liturgical mafia who have managed to turn the liturgy of the Holy Catholic Chruch from something glorious to a kitsch hug-fest. He urges ditching the opening hymn for a simple chant based on traditional psalmody. Unfortunately the piece from the Scottish Catholic Observer is not available online, so I'll give you my favourite paragraph:

We ought to ask ourselves too whether we really spend enough time considering the most appropriate options in our hymn books and other sources, or whether we simply consult the index of whichever hymn book our parish happens to possess and select the hymn we know best.? This is dangerous, since these indices are often simply lazy (listing only the tired old ditties we have been hearing for the past forty years) or, in the case of one prominent hymn book series even a blatant, shameless attempts to force the editor's own kitsch compositions into our parish repertoires.

Hear! Hear!

The piece is a measured appraisal about how we put our parish liturgies back into the true tradition of the Church and in accord with the consistently expressed mind of the Holy Father. He goes on to recommend an English translation of the Graduale Simplex, By Flowing Waters by Paul Ford. Hopefully Fr Byrne can post the whole piece on his website.

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Thursday, June 04, 2009

The Chant and popular music

Practice began this week for Mass for the Solemnity of the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus. We're using the graduale simplex this time. I was told some years ago by a monk of Ampleforth that they learnt much of their psalmody through popular song (they were taught to remember Mode VIII by using the song 'Roses Are Blooming in Picardy' if I remember rightly.)

What struck me this week was the fact that when I sing or play the opening notes of the Communion antiphon, Unus Militum:

I can't get the Camptown Races out of my head (clip not very PC):

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Wednesday, June 03, 2009

The Slippery Slope

She knows whereof she speaks. Baroness Finlay on Euthanasia - having gone to The Netherlands as part of the Select Committee investigating this she gives a chilling picture of what might happen here.

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Tuesday, June 02, 2009

Archbishop Nichols on Assisted Suicide

Monday, June 01, 2009

Am I my brother's keeper?

A fascinating review, from some time ago, by Peter Hitchens of his brother Christopher's book, God is Not Great.

We are in the process, encouraged by Christopher, of abolishing religion, and so of abolishing conscience, too.

It is one of his favourite jibes that a world ruled by faith is like North Korea, a place where all is known and all is ordered.

On the contrary, North Korea is the precise opposite of a land governed by conscience.

It is a country governed by men who do not believe in God or conscience, where nobody can be trusted to make his own choices, and where the State decides for the people what is right and what is wrong.

And it is the ultimate destination of atheist thought.

If you do not worship God, you end up worshipping power, whether it is Kim Jong Il, Leon Trotsky or the military might of George W. Bush. In which case, God help you.

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