Sunday, January 31, 2010

A Question for Mgr Smith

If Mgr Peter Smith, Chancellor of the Archdiocese of Glasgow thinks the provision of the Extraordinary Form of Mass in the Archdiocese is "generous", given that only One Mass (yes, ONE) out of the 291 Masses offered each Sunday in the Archdiocese is in the EF, would he feel me a generous parishioner if I put money into the collection once every 291 Sundays (about once every five years)?

I suspect not.

I'd invite him to re-consider his use of the word "generous" in the context of the provision of the EF.

Besides which, is he in any position to deny a priest in good standing with the diocese from offering the Mass in the EF?

What on earth are these people afraid of?

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Saturday, January 30, 2010

EF/TLM in the Herald - roundup

It all started, I think, with this article in the Glasgow Herald by Cate Devine. The article, surprisingly for the MSM, is balanced and in the end broadly sympathetic to the EF. The correspondence is quite telling:

20th January, inevitably Dr Macmillan is the torch bearer for a return to good liturgy:

Benedict’s desire to reform the Reform of Vatican II represents a huge step forward, especially in matters connected with our divine praise. The various attempts to hijack the reformed liturgy are now being seen in a cooler and clearer light. From the 1970s to the present day there have been people trying to convince themselves and everyone else that introducing touchy-feely-smiley-dancey ‘folk’ liturgies would keep the youth interested in going to church, when in fact they have been repulsed in droves. There has been a devaluing of our sacred liturgy. On one hand it has been treated as a mere aesthetic play-thing, an inessential ‘add-on’ to the serious business of Christian living, rather than its beating heart. On the other hand it has been treated as a political playground, where secular-led campaigns have taken pride of place in the ‘temple’.

Monsignor Smith, the Chancellor weighs in:

Aware, as I am, of the truth of the saying “Lies, damned lies and statistics …” nevertheless I believe statistics can assist us in gauging the truth of any contention, the contention being in this case, the “deep rift among Catholics over Church worship” (The Herald, January 18).

I have recently completed a major data-gathering operation on behalf of Archbishop Mario Conti so as to provide a statistical analysis of the Archdiocese of Glasgow for the Pope and the various Vatican dicasteries on the occasion of the visit to Rome next month of the Scottish hierarchy.

That analysis shows that despite generous provision of the Mass in Latin in the extraordinary form, precisely 0.05% of the Archdiocese of Glasgow’s practising Catholic population choose to avail themselves of such liturgies

21st January, the punters are having none of it:

I am not surprised at the statistics quoted by Monsignor Peter Smith (“Just a fraction of Catholics wants Latin Mass”, The Herald, January 20). We have produced a generation of Catholics for whom the Latin Mass is as alien as a Japanese tea ceremony.

Unlike James MacMillan, I write from the very lowest level of musical experience. Half a century ago, I was a chorister in Holy Cross parish in Glasgow, under the aegis of the redoubtable Henry Gray Graham, former Minister of the Church of Scotland, then (following his sensational conversion) titular Bishop of Tipasa. Uniquely, this was a sanctuary choir. We shared intimately in the liturgy.

The Latin Mass was, for me and many others, an ancient and beautiful ritual. We participated in a liturgy that went back a millennium and a half. We shared what had been an integral and defining part of European culture since Roman times.

22nd January, I imagine the Curial Offices were considering cancelling their subscription:

MONSIGNOR Peter Smith writes that 0.05% of the Catholic population of the Archdiocese of Glasgow avail themselves of the extraordinary form (EF) of Latin Mass.

On the surface, this would appear to be a vanishingly small demand. However, what he fails to consider is the fact that of the 291 Sunday Masses offered in the archdiocese, only one of these is according to the 1962 missal; then the figures are not so stark.

Indeed, given the provision in the diocese, there are the same number of Masses offered in the Syro-Malabar Rite and substantially more offered in Polish than are offered in the normative language of the Mass, namely Latin

and again:

Monsignor Peter Smith wrote about “generous provision of the Mass in Latin”. Archbishop Mario Conti allows only one Tridentine Mass on a Sunday in the Glasgow Archdiocese, not even in a central parish. Might this be a part of the reason for low numbers?

As has also sadly happened with the removal of the penny catechism, people “have lost the fundamentals of their faith”. Today’s children are denied these fundamentals in our schools, the Scottish bishops having removed the catechism from the Catholic school syllabus in the 1980s, replacing it with something of which Rome subsequently did not approve.

It's good to talk. Dialogue and the active seeking of the views of the faithful, isn't that what it's all about in the happy, smiley church of today?

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Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Modern churches and architectural cockroaches

I had an unusual luxury last Sunday afternoon as my children were elsewhere (eldest boy at rugby and then at indoor cricket nets, youngest playing with Lego at his friend's house) I wandered the streets and canals and riversides of Glasgow with the dog for what seemed like hours. I needed it - I was washed out after last week.

As I did so I passed a number of current and former churches and a horrific thought struck me. A number of the rather fine Protestant churches of Glasgow have been converted into what look to be very nice flats and entertainment venues. I noticed with some sadness that the rather beautiful Lansdowne Church at Kelvinbridge is "looking for another use". This is inevitable. It is a wonder how the city supported so many congregations. They are listed and cannot be demolished. They can be sold and so must find other uses.

What struck me is that when Catholic parishes come to be merged and closed, as they surely will (cf St Francis' Church in the Gorbals) then like cockroaches after a nuclear explosion, the modernist concrete monstrosities will survive. After all, they can't be converted into anything else (well would you buy a flat in one?) and as I have found recently from my friend who is a doctor in a hospice which has moved from its 70s building into a new build, demolition is an expensive business (about £1M for his former workplace)

So, since they can't be demolished, the nice buildings can be sold off and it would cost money to ditch the concrete bunkers.


Saturday, January 23, 2010

Cameron? The King?



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Friday, January 22, 2010

Home.... and sound. Deo gratias.


Big day

Paulinus Minor Minor is in hospital for a procedure under general anaesthetic this afternoon. I'd be grateful for any prayers you can offer for him and us. I'd be grateful to any priests who would remember him at the altar today.

He's my wee boy.

Thursday, January 21, 2010


I would urge good Catholics to support the work of Mary's Meals in Haiti. Charity that goes straight to the mouths of the poor rather than just saying "It's all your fault, whitey."

Wednesday, January 20, 2010


From The Telegraph

Vatican investigates Pope Pius XII 'miracle'

An unnamed man in Castellammare di Stabia in the south of Italy has claimed he was inexplicably healed from incurable prostate cancer after he prayed to the wartime pope. After examining the patient's medical records the Vatican has asked the Archbishop of Sorrento, Felice Cece, to set up a diocesan tribunal to investigate the claims further.

If the Vatican ultimately approves a miracle the way will be clear for the beatification of Pius, after which he will be declared "Blessed".

Such a move, ahead of the opening of the Vatican's wartime archives in 2013, will be hugely controversial, however, because historians remain divided about whether Pius did enough to save European Jews from the Holocaust.

On Sunday, Riccardo Pacifici, the president of Rome's Jewish community, told Pope Benedict XVI during his visit to Rome's synagogue that "the silence of Pius XII before the Shoah still hurts because something should have been done".

However other Jews, such as Sir Martin Gilbert, the British historian and the world's leading expert on the Holocaust, claim that Pius should be considered "a Righteous Gentile" because he quietly saved thousands of lives by hiding Jews in the monasteries and convents of Rome.

It will be a miracle when the press report Pope Pius of Blessed Memory without the word "controversial" or a reference to the discredited John Cornwell.

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Bill McLaren 1923-2010

Minimum price for alcohol - WWJD?

When difficult issues come up, it's always a good idea to think how Our Blessed Lord might react:

"On the third day after Jesus' baptism, there was a wedding in Cana of Galilee, and the mother of Jesus was there. Jesus and his disciples had also been invited to the wedding. When the wine gave out, the mother of Jesus said to him, ‘They have no wine.’ And Jesus said to her, ‘Woman, what concern is that to you and to me? My hour has not yet come.’ His mother said to the servants, ‘Do whatever he tells you.’ Now standing there were six stone water-jars for the Jewish rites of purification, each holding twenty or thirty gallons. Jesus said to them, ‘Fill the jars with water.’ And they filled them up to the brim. He said to them, ‘Now draw some out, and take it to the chief steward.’ So they took it. When the steward tasted the water that had become wine, and did not know where it came from (though the servants who had drawn the water knew), the steward called the bridegroom and said to him, ‘Everyone serves the good wine first, and then the inferior wine after the guests have become drunk. But you have kept the good wine until now.’ Jesus did this, the first of his signs, in Cana of Galilee, and revealed his glory; and his disciples believed in him.

After this he went down to Capernaum with his mother, his brothers, and his disciples; and they remained there for a few days."

- Mark 1: 9-11

Free bar!

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Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Going Straight

Fascinating article in The Times yesterday which would seem to scotch the idea that gay activists would have us believe that once gay, always gay: immutable,set in stone, genetic, BTW could I have a grant from the council for a workshop, etc, etc.

He writes well. Here are the highlights (emphases mine):

That’s love, folks. Simple really. A proud dad, an adored little boy and a beautiful display of dependence and responsibility. It was the epiphany I had needed and I emerged with a dashing new haircut and a desire to procreate.

My sexuality was formed behind bike sheds and in school dormitories, a most unimaginatively clichéd pattern of pubescent fumbling. This propelled me into a lifestyle, reinforced by a social milieu of flamboyant media gays. At the BBC, where I worked for seven years, homosexuality was very nearly compulsory.

Some will dismiss it as heresy. I have long argued that homosexuality is natural but abnormal, to a torrent of hostility from gay friends who refuse to acknowledge that what you are and what stake you hold in society are not the same.

Loving your own sex occurs in nature, without artificial triggers. But it is still not average behaviour. Homosexuality is an aberration; a natural aberration. Gays are a minority and minorities, though sometimes vocal, do not hold sway.

A 12th-century chronicler, quoted by the historian Christopher Hibbert in his History of England, wrote of the homosexual king William Rufus: “All things that are loathsome to God and to earnest men were customary in this land in his time.” In modern times, we have become accustomed to abnormality again.

In novels such as E. M. Forster’s Maurice, a seminal work of gay literature, the message was tolerance. It was never a charter for parity. Civil partnerships really are little more than theatrical shams involving men making a point in matching wedding cravats, of embarrassed grandparents and monstrously camp multi-tier cakes.

I wince when gays describe boyfriends as “husbands”, subverting a solemn institution created to provide stability for child-rearing. Besides, it seems highly perverse that gays should fight for freedom from the bonds of heterosexual morality and then set to copying their oppressors by creating similar contracts of their own.

Go read the rest.

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Sunday, January 17, 2010

Smearing Rocco

Don't let the truth get in the way of a smear, if the subject is a Catholic and the vehicle is the BBC:

(1)What Rocco Buttiglione said:

'I may think of homosexuality as a sin, but it has no effect unless I say it is a crime. The state has no right to stick its nose in this area...The rights of homosexuals should be defended on the same basis as the rights of all other European citizens. But I don't accept that homosexuals are a category deserving of special protection.'

(2) The BBC's take on it:

'MEPs objected to Mr Buttiglione's opposition to gay rights.'

A prize for the reader who can work out the twisted logic that gets from (1) to (2)

H/T Biased BBC reporting Mary Ellen Synon

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Thursday, January 14, 2010

Il topo non è più

RIP, Mousey.

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Wednesday, January 13, 2010

I saw a mouse! Where?

Over Hogmanay my in-laws had the house while we were away and said we had, ahem, a little visitor. A little mousey stuck his head round the press door in the living room to watch telly. I've seen him a couple of times since. I think he's come in out of the cold. The dog chased him once.

Last night while I was in Belfast Mrs P heard him in the bedroom and fled to the Paulinus Minor Major's bottom bunk. Now in true manly fashion I have to do something.

So I went to the hardware shop and bought something I haven't seen since my dad put some down when I was a kid. Yes, they do make them still, just like the ones in Tom and Jerry! "Shall I put a bit of cheese on it?" I asked the man in Scotstoun Emporium (What a name! What a shop!) "Nah!" says he "Peanut butter. Or a bit of Mars Bar. They love that".

Peanut butter it is then.

Make my day, mousey.


Monday, January 11, 2010

In Norn Iron

I'm in Belfast for work and had a very pleasant dinner (Poulet a la Grandmere since you ask) with a colleague and his friend (who had to leave us to dance the Argentinian Tango, which she does every Monday).

The talk was the hapless Mrs Robinson. It's like watching a car crash. Poor woman, poor man, poor family. Poor, frail, fallen human nature.

Go and sin no more, as someone once said.

To all of us.


My Wee Boy...

..needs your prayers. First up he is to be confirmed, God willing in a week or so. Secondly he's in a bit of a bind. The coeliac has been diagnosed but not definitively and he needs another test. Until then he can't start the gluten-free diet. He has days when he's completely OK and days when he's sore and doesn't feel good, the poor wee chap. We know the solution, the cure, but can't instigate it until this last test is done. He's really understanding and able to rationalise it in a way I never could if I were him and he's very brave. His liberation is near at hand.

Please pray for him.


Tuesday, January 05, 2010


Anyone know a traditionally-minded priest who could use a set of black vestments? Priority given to priests in a parish without such a set.

Musica Scozzese-Italiana

Gotta love Scots-Italians. Especially since this boy's family's fae Barga.

I got a sheet for my bed,
And a pillow for my head
I got a pencil full of lead,
And some water for my throat
I've got buttons for my coat; and sails on my boat
So much more than I needed before

I got money in the meter and a two bar heater
Now it's getting hotter;
Oh it's only getting sweeter
I got legs on my chairs and a head full of hair
Pot and a pan
And some shoes on my feet;
I got a shelf full of books and most of my teeth
A few pairs of socks and a door with a lock
I got food in my belly and a licence for my telly
And nothing's going to bring me down

I got a nice guitar and tyres on my car
I got most of the means; and scripts for the scenes
I'm out and about, so I'm in with a shout
I got a fair bit of chat but better than that
Food in my belly and a licence for my telly
And nothing's going to bring me down....

Foot-tapping and it'll put a smile on your face.

Bravo, Paolo! Avanti!

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Monday, January 04, 2010

Late Christmas Present

As a friend texted me yesterday:

Fear 0 Loathing 1

Happy 2010 to you all.

Hey, hey!