Saturday, October 31, 2009

Monstrance FAIL

I like Failblog. The same people gave us I Can Has Cheezburger. This marks the start of an occasional Liturgical FAIL series in respectful emulation.


Thursday, October 29, 2009

Medical Ethics in thrall to the Authoritarian State

Ian Kennedy is a famous medical ethicist. His books appear on the reading lists of Masters programmes. My friend James is a medical ethicist and GP - a good man and a good Catholic and very pro-life. He points out in a recent article he's had published something Kennedy wrote about the conscientious objections of doctors to abortion.

"[I]t is no part of a doctor’s role qua doctor to legislate morality for others and impose his views on others.... To the doctor who complains that he wants to practise medicine without abortions, the answer must be that he can choose to engage in private practice.... If he joins the NHS, he should remember the last word of the three, ‘service’, and serve."
-Kennedy I. Treat me right . Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1988.

[Emphasis mine]

Is that statement merely authoritarian or does it verge on the fascist?


Tuesday, October 27, 2009

More prayers

This time for my brother-in-law who after many years away from the Anglicanism of his childhood is exploring the Catholic faith.

Monday, October 26, 2009


Sorry I haven't had much to say recently. Hectic at work and home.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Does he really believe this rubbish?

I am delighted the Holy Father is opening the doors of the Church to Anglicans who can accept the precepts of the Catholic Faith. It is a generous ecumenical gesture.

Matthew Parris who sounds more deranged by the week has a hissy fit:

Were I an Anglican I would feel spiritually uncomfortable with anyone who passionately believed that God hated the idea of women priests; and the more reactionaries Pope Benedict can gather around himself and his Church, the faster the whole thing will sink under the weight of its own weirdness.

Sounds like he's worried that it won't sink to me.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Prayers sought

Last night my wife spent most of the night attempting to resuscitate a gravely ill young girl and her mother. Both died of overwhelming injuries. Please pray for their family.

The very young daughter of a colleague undergoes neurosurgery tomorrow for a serious condition. Please pray for her and her family.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Arran notes #1

We were lucky to spend October week on Arran. I love the sea and find being by the sea uniquely restful. On the ferry over I thought a lot about my parents. It came through the words of Fr John Lingard's hymn which was the recessional hymn at both my parents' Requiem Masses. The passage over brought the hymn to mind.

Hail, Queen of heav'n, the ocean star,
Guide of the wand'rer here below;
Thrown on life's surge, we claim thy care
Save us from peril and from woe.
Mother of Christ, Star of the sea,
Pray for the wand'rer, pray for me.

O gentle, chaste, and spotless Maid,
We sinners make our pray'rs through thee;
Remind thy Son that He has paid
The price of our iniquity.
Virgin most pure, Star of the sea,
Pray for the sinner, pray for me.

Sojourners in this vale of tears,
To thee, blest advocate, we cry;
Pity our sorrows, calm our fears,
And soothe with hope our misery.
Refuge in grief, Star of the sea,
Pray for the mourner, pray for me.

And while to Him who reigns above
In Godhead One, in Persons Three,
The source of life, of grace, of love,
Homage we pay on bended knee:
Do thou, bright Queen, Star of the sea,
Pray for thy children, pray for me.

How lucky we are to have the Queen of Heaven as our Protectress. How tender a Mother has the Lord given us.

I was lucky to have these views to greet me through my bedroom window each morning.

Mater Christi, Stella Maris, Ora pro nobis!!!

Sunday, October 18, 2009

St Luke's Day

A happy feast day to my fellow physicians.

St Luke, pray for us.

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Monday, October 05, 2009

It's Just A Jump To The Left

There is a word for this. Let me see, what was it again?

Sunday, October 04, 2009

God made them male and female

At Mass today:

But Jesus told them,
"Because of the hardness of your hearts
he wrote you this commandment.
But from the beginning of creation, God made them male and female.
For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother
and be joined to his wife,
and the two shall become one flesh.
So they are no longer two but one flesh.
Therefore what God has joined together,
no human being must separate."

Monsignor gave a powerful sermon about the need for Catholics to stand firm in traditional teaching on marriage: no cohabitation, no need for expensive weddings that that make couples wait for ever to save up enough money, no watering down of Catholic teaching. And no surrender to same-sex marriage legislation.

We really are up against it. Even Ben and Jerry's are in on the act. James Delingpole asks why a bunch of hippies feel the need to promote gay pretendy-marriages on their ice cream? Good point. I wonder if 'All Natural'on the tub is part of the joke.

Was there a good reason for them to make their 'Hubby Hubby' [sic] ice cream 'fudge covered pretzels'? Make of that what you will.

Fnarr, fnarr.

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Saturday, October 03, 2009

How to Make Sloe Gin [2009]

[A repost from 2006]

Pay attention now children:

Step 1: First find your sloes.

These are the fruit of the blackthorn tree – a thorny shrub, Prunus spinosa. This has white flowers in the spring. The tree produces a dark blue fruit, a bit like a small, round plum or damson., the sloe by late summer or early autumn. These bushes are widespred throughout the English countryside but less commonly found in Scotland. I have three bushes on the Union Canal near my home which produce their fruit in late September. This year I'm using Irish sloes my father-in-law brought back from a fishing trip. Traditionally I pick mine on or about Michaelmas (29th September, you heathens) and offer a prayer to the Archangel for protection through the year.

Step 2: Pick your fruit
My bushes are quite tall so it’s helpful to have a stick to hand to pull branches down to picking level. Having a helpful wife and children is also useful.

Step 3: Sort your fruit

Back home, make the sign of the cross before you start this task. Believe me, it helps. Discard any which have broken skin or are obviouly rotten (squidgy rather than solid to the touch). Minor roughness on the skin alone does not mwarrant discarding.Wash the fruit and place of a flat surface (a baking tray is good). Now the labourious part – each sloe must be pricked with a fork of sharp knife once or twice.

Step 4:Weigh your fruit.
Fill your sealable jars about a quarter to a third full with fruit.Take them out again and weigh them then return them to the jar with an equivalent weight of caster sugar.

Step 5: GIN

Now fill the jar to the brim with gin. It doesn’t need to be expensive (Sainbury’s London Dry Gin will do fine). Gordon’s or Plymouth is OK but there is no particular benefit in using a more expensive gin. DON’T use aromatic gins like Bombay Sapphire as the flavour will interfere with the purpose of the exercise which is to infuse the relatively neutral taste of the gin with the flavour of the sloes.Over the next day or so agitate the jars gently to get an even distribution of sugar throughout the jar so it dissolves.

Step 6: Leave it!

When the sugar is all dissolved, seal the jars and leave for three months. Over the next three months pray to the major saints of the period: The Archangels, St Jerome, St Therese, Our Lady of the Rosary, St Bruno(Carthusians are not averse to strong drink – cf Fr Tim), The Guardian Angels, St Margaret Mary (connection with the blackthorn and the crown of thorns), St Luke (this IS medicinal), All Saints, All Souls, St Martin de Porres, St Albertus Magnus (a great botanist), St Andrew and St Margaret St Nicholas, St Mary Immaculate, St John of the Cross. Conveniently this means the gin will be ready for Christmas Day.

Step 7: Drink it
This makes the perfect apperatif for Christmas Day. Fill a glass about a sixth full with sloe gin. Add ice and fill to the brim with Indian tonic. Some people like lemon with sloe gin, but I feel it disguises the flavour and sloe gin is ALL about the flavour. Offer a prayer of thanksgiving to the Incarnate Word.

A toast: Her Majesty the Queen and His Holiness Pope Benedict XVI.


This year I’ve also made 0.5L of sloe vodka for the father of one of my goddaughters (who is the godfather of Paulinus Minor Minor). Gin makes him maudlin.

NB for Muslim readers: Sloe Gin is HARAM, but then you could always convert to Catholicism