Friday, July 30, 2010

Home thoughts #14

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Home thoughts #13

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Home thoughts #12

" I could love a man like you, Peter"

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Home thoughts #11

Monday, July 26, 2010

Home thoughts #10

"...this werewolf, this beelzebub!"

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Home thoughts #9

Rock on, daddio.

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Home thoughts #8

Skye. Obviously.

Friday, July 23, 2010

Home thoughts #7


"Hoy you. Hoy. You. Aye, you. Hoy, Fatboy. Fattie"

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Home thoughts #6

Horses walking backwards. Love it.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Home thoughts #5

Of interest, the bridge he walks across is, I think, the South Portland Suspension Bridge across the Clyde, rather than anything in Moscow.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Home thoughts #4

Monday, July 19, 2010

Home thoughts #3

"Zulus, sir. Thousands of them."

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Home thoughts #2

Perfumed ponce.

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Home thoughts #1

You're an absolute shower.

Monday, July 12, 2010

J’accuse #1

I have spent some time thinking about what happened to the Catholic faith in the past forty years. I find myself in the peculiar position of being a member of that generation that is the immediate fruit of the implementation of the Council (not the Council itself, I might add, but the interpretation of it). It seems odd to be a Catholic at such a nadir.

I have been thinking about those charged with handing on the faith – the teachers in my school and particularly the RE department. I was fortunate to be in the last tranche of grammar school boys in the Catholic grammar school in the large northern English city in which I grew up. I had attended a convent primary and was taught by kindly nuns not at all like the caricatures one finds in the popular literature and films. We had all the traditional paraphernalia of a child’s Catholic upbringing (Corpus Christi processions, May processions etc)

One of the miracles of my life (which I put down to the prayers and heroic example of my parents in the practice of their faith) is the fact that I am still a confessing Catholic (a sinner in need of forgiveness and your prayers, dear reader) but one who lives in joyful hope as a Catholic Christian.

The miracle is that it survived the slough of dissent that constituted the RE department. The first candidate for examination I will call Mr D. Mr D had been a priest before running off with a lady friend. I know this because my seamstress aunt had been a parishioner of his and used to mend his cassock, gratis, when required. Needless to say he did not find a respectable living beyond the bounds of the church so having abandoned the solemn vows and responsibilities of his ordination, he made his way back into the Catholic education system. It probably reflects the brain-fever of the time but in retrospect putting such a man in charge of the education of Catholic children is a bit like putting Kim Philby on the staff of the MI6 training college. It may be my fading memory but I cannot remember Mr D uttering a single article of the Faith in the time I was under his charge. We were lucky to have early morning Mass at school every Thursday morning and I do remember being inspired by the example of staff members who made it to this before starting a busy day of work (history, English and science teachers of quiet but strong piety) I never saw Mr D there. What I do remember is a great deal of talk of CND and Greenham Common. I remember much inter-faith chat and talk of the inevitable dropping of compulsory clerical celibacy and ultimately the ordination of women. The playing of the guitar and ‘liturgical’ music composed after 1975 were all encouraged. I remember the volumes of Infallible? And other Kung works available in the classroom. I remember the attempted dissuasion of a friend of mine from taking an army scholarship to read for an engineering degree. The Sandinistas were praised. The USA was never referred to favourably

Mr D is now fully immersed in Inter-faith work. He is a noted admirer of the Religion of Peace being at pains to point out how peaceful it is in the immediate aftermath of four of its adherents self-combusting on London Transport causing the deaths of 52 others and untold numbers of maimings.

I imagine there are many of you out there whose faith has survived similar bonkers appointments to Catholic schools. I daresay many of my contemporaries joined the exodus of the pews and spend their Sundays in B&Q with no tangible link to the Church.

How on earth could that have happened?

Thursday, July 08, 2010

William F Buckley on Post-Conciliar Liturgy

As a Catholic, I have abandoned hope for the liturgy, which, in the typical American church, is as ugly and as maladroit as if it had been composed by Robert Ingersoll and H.L. Mencken for the purpose of driving people away.

Incidentally, the modern liturgists are doing a remarkably good job, attendance at Catholic Mass on Sunday having dropped sharply in the 10 years since a few well-meaning cretins got hold of the power to vernacularize the Mass, and the money to scour the earth in search of the most unmusical men and women to preside over the translation.

The next liturgical ceremony conducted primarily for my benefit, since I have no plans to be beatified or remarried, will be my own funeral; and it is a source of great consolation to me that, at my funeral, I shall be quite dead, and will not need to listen to the accepted replacement for the noble old Latin liturgy. Meanwhile, I am practicing Yoga, so that, at church on Sundays, I can develop the power to tune out everything I hear, while attempting, athwart the general calisthenics, to commune with my Maker, and ask Him first to forgive me my own sins, and implore him, second, not to forgive the people who ruined the Mass

—William F. Buckley, Jr. (circa 1979)

Tsk. Tsk. How judgemental.

Wednesday, July 07, 2010

Lest We Forget

Early Mass Brompton Oratory

I was up early on Sunday to go home and wanted to get to Mass before I caught my train. I took the District Line from my hotel and travelled initially to Westminster Cathedral. As I approached Victoria, I realised I had enough time to get through to South Kensington so I went through to the Oratory. I'm glad I did. This was post-conciliar Low Mass as she should be celebrated (or so I think, you may disagree).

The priest celebrated Mass quietly. He just said Mass. "In the Name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit. Amen. The Lord be with you...." (No "Good morning everyone!" "Good Morning, Father" "Nice to see you!" "To see you - NICE!" - h/t Patricius). He read the epistle(s) on the epistle side and the Gospel on the Gospel side of the altar. He said the psalm without the opportunity to say the responses (should he have? I'm not fussed. The response for the congregation can be desultory at times - he just said the psalm through). See what he did? No lay person reading. He gave a firm sermon about the Gospel. He said in explicit, orthodox terms what a Catholic should do and shouldn't do (in this case about the occult - he related it to the disciples casting out spirits in the Gospel).

He referred to the Holy Father in the bidding prayers as His Holiness Pope Benedict. The second prayer was for those who govern us. (Let us pray for Queen Elizabeth and those who govern in her name...) When did you last hear the Queen prayed for? OK, I live in the West of Scotland....We prayed for the poor and those in all kinds of need but the terms poverty trap or social justice were not used once.

Mass was celebrated ad orientem. I didn't really notice - it just seemed very natural. I didn't feel left out. Communion was taken kneeling and on the tongue. I suspect he wouldn't have made a fuss if a communicant had held out their hand to receive.

It was quiet, prayerful and reverent. I felt I had participated. The Unique Sacrifice of Jesus Christ was offered on the altar - a fitting Sacrifice to Almighty God.

Job done.

The sun was shining on the streets of London. I found myself smiling. I had a leisurely breakfast at a Costa and caught my train on time.

Any chance the Oratorians could take over at St Aloysius when the Jesuits move on?

Tuesday, July 06, 2010

Old friends

On Saturday I went to Lord's for the fifth ODI against Australia with my old friend Martin. He was my best man (and I was his) but we haven't seen each other for 10 years (opposite ends of the country, work and family etc etc). We've kept in regular contact, though. Meeting him off the train at Paddington on Saturday morning, I might as well have left him in the pub the night before. It's like we've been in one long conversation the whole of our lives. I haven't laughed so much for so long in a long time. We chatted through seven hours of cricket and into the evening.

We spent the day slowly getting through a few pints of Marston's Pedigree. We finished the night off at The Eagle, Farringdon (I had a plate of Napoli sausages, borlotti beans and tomatoes, since you ask). Good food, good ale and good company. I felt Chesterton might be smiling somewhere nearby.

England lost the cricket. It didn't really matter.

Saturday, July 03, 2010

It's that time of year

One's a dumb animal waving a stick, and the other one...oh, you know the rest. Tip of the garishly-coloured Balmoral cap to The Teuchter

Thursday, July 01, 2010

Where I will be today

Cannae wait.