Tuesday, September 28, 2010

That would be an ecumenical matter

One sees the warmth of fraternal affection flowing from the Scottish 'Episcopal' Church when you see the mural put up especially to greet the Pontiff. I'm sure that had he even noticed it, the wise professor would have seen it for what it is. The ill-informed, attention-seeking behaviour of the religious equivalent of the Lower Sixth.

"The Revd Canon Dr John Armes, rector at St John's Church, said he welcomed the Pope's visit, and said the mural was intended to add to the debate."

Aye, right.

The sad thing is, the gormless mural painter misses the point rather. Despite his treatment by the Inquisition, Galileo Galilei remained a devout Catholic. Copernicus, may or may not have been a priest. He was certainly a canon of Wroclaw cathedral. His theories were expounded before Clement VII and he was urged to publish his theories by Cardinal von Schonberg in 1536.

Perhaps St Mary's Cathedral at the other end of Princes Street could commission a counter-mural, if you like. I have a suggestion, below, given that two Catholic priests, Gregor Mendel and Georges LeMaitre have arguably done more to advance science than Richard Dawkins and Stephen Hawking (and a whole heap of others) put together.

The Catholic Church has a rather healthier regard for women than to portray them as greetin'-faced, rather anaemic-looking, pretendy-vicars, dunking wholegrain biscuits in an earthenware cup. We have the Mother of God as our model of womanhood.

Is that not enough for the Piskies?

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Friday, September 24, 2010

Lucky Man

My dear friend the Fr J sent me this photo, taken on his phone at Bellahouston.

I'm trying not to be envious.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

How to spot wrong 'un

It took me about a nanosecond to realise there was something wrong with this bloke.

*Clue - it's not the candlesticks, crozier or pectoral cross*

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

The Usual Suspects

Just when you think you've got them in the ground, having done what you have to do to get rid of them, the zombies just keep on coming.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Embracing despised minorites

Johann Hari has been prominent in the Sulky Teenage Collective Calling Everyone A Nazi Protest The Pope crew. Hilary shows video of him calling for the arrest of the Holy Father. Yet the Holy Father referred to "unspeakable crimes". Johann, however, thinks that paedophiles warrant "embracing".

However, your implication that since I haven’t raised every single one of these issues I don’t care about them is, I’m afraid, flawed. You haven’t written about the persistent abuse of asylum seekers by our own government (as I have). I could also mention climate change, prison reform, drugs legalization, human rights abuses in Colombia, higher taxes here in Britain, rights for transsexuals, against religious fundamentalism of all stripes, against the World Bank, in favour of understanding and embracing despised minorities like gypsies and paedophiles … I could go on with issues I've written about any you haven't.

Hardly one to talk about arresting the Pope. Just like his Tweedledum(b) Peter 'It Gave Them Great Joy' Tatchell.

The chutzpah of these people is astonishing.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Accentuate the positive

I'm aware that I have focussed on the negative a little in posting about the Holy Father's visit. There is so much good to accentuate. On the whole it has been a success liturgically.

The Pontiff has been welcomed with characteristically good English and Scottish manners and genuine warmth by Catholics and non-Catholics alike. He has apologised to the victims of abuse sincerely and clearly. He has come as a shepherd who loves the flock entrusted to him - really loves them.

The shy Bavarian academic has opened himself to youth and they have responded with filial love. It has been prayeful and joyful. Yet the Holy Father has not given a single inch of ground in the matter of Truth.

A great big heart has spoken to hearts, and yet he points beyond himself, as he always has, to the Sacred Heart who loves us all with infinite love.

God bless our Pope.

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Two Minutes' Hate

As if to prove everything the Holy Father had said on Thursday in Edinburgh, this appears on the streets of London. That imagery speaks of Der Stürmer.

Note the children dragged along. Now who's indoctrinating? Care to comment on that Professor Dawkins?

Harry Mount is disgusted by one particular episode:
Then there was a really unpleasant scene. A lost priest asked a policeman how he might make his way to the prayer vigil in Hyde Park. One marcher teased him in a friendly enough way, beckoning him over to come and join the marchers. Another behaved disgustingly, screaming with real venom, “Freak”, “Freak”, at the poor lost stranger.

It must be truly awful being filled with such hate. Truly infernal.

Pray for them all.

God bless our Pope.

Postscript: H/T Fr Paul Francis

Hearts and minds

My dear colleague and friend is intermittent in the practice of the Faith (God knows, I'm not judging her. As you know, dear readers, I am no saint). She went to see Pope John Paul in 1982 but declared some weeks ago she would not see this Pontiff. "He seems an awful grumpy Pope" she told me.

Her view has palpably changed this week as events unfolded. I got back to the office late yesterday evening to find the following note on my PC:

God bless our Pope

Friday, September 17, 2010

They just can't help themselves

What is it about the BBC web team? A school assembly and they choose a picture of a nonogenarian nun?

Still, I should be magnanimous, shouldn't I? This visit really exceeds all one could have expected of it. I'm enjoying every minute.

God bless our Pope.

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Wednesday, September 15, 2010

God Bless Our Pope, The Great, The Good

The stations of Josef Ratzinger's life are almost guaranteed to make unthinking liberals recoil, just as his classical European erudition does not sit well with a local culture that has taken irony and philistinism to levels whose self-satisfied provincialism are not hard to parody.

By far the most balanced and sensible thing I have read about the Holy Father in ages, by Michael Burleigh in The Telegraph.

Welcome to our country, Holy Father. There are many here who rejoice to see Peter walk amongst them.

Wednesday, September 08, 2010


On Sunday, I heard Mass at which a priest of the Archdiocese of Glasgow:

Reminded his flock that having their Confession heard only before Christmas and Easter is less than optimal;
Told them that they should think about having their Confession heard once a month or more;
Told them that they should not receive Holy Communion if conscious of not being in a state of grace without first going to Confession;
Reminded them that deliberately missing Mass on a Sunday or Holy Day of Obligation was a Mortal Sin.

More of that, please.

Tuesday, September 07, 2010

Achtung! Spitfire!

Forty years ago the Nazis sowed the wind....

They reckoned without these chaps.

Monday, September 06, 2010

Who do you say I am?

Saturday, September 04, 2010

The Emperor has no clothes

More gullible puff to push a favoured author's new book from the BBC (my comments in red):

Stephen Hawking: God did not create Universe

The Universe can create itself from nothing, says Prof Hawking [Really? How interesting. How’s that then, because you say so?]
There is no place for God in theories on the creation of the Universe, Professor Stephen Hawking has said. [Or maybe there is. Explain yourself, professor]
He had previously argued belief in a creator was not incompatible with science but in a new book, he concludes the Big Bang was an inevitable consequence of the laws of physics. [and he was right. As was Mgr Lemaitre]
The Grand Design, part serialised in the Times, says there is no need to invoke God to set the Universe going.
"Spontaneous creation is the reason there is something," he concluded. [That professor, is a tautology. And you know it. Or you should ]

In his new book, an extract of which appears in the Times, Britain's most famous physicist sets out to contest Sir Isaac Newton's belief that the universe must have been designed by God as it could not have sprung out of chaos. [Sounds like he didn’t get very far]

Citing the 1992 discovery of a planet orbiting a star other than our Sun, he said: "That makes the coincidences of our planetary conditions - the single Sun, the lucky combination of Earth-Sun distance and solar mass - far less remarkable, and far less compelling as evidence that the Earth was carefully designed just to please us human beings." ["just to please us human beings" Really? Now you sound like a monstrously egocentric man]

He adds: "Because there is a law such as gravity, the universe can and will create itself from nothing. [How so? There are laws which point to consistency and order rather than chaos and this points away from a Creator just how? Again, because you say so?]

"Spontaneous creation is the reason there is something rather than nothing, why the universe exists, why we exist. [That’s another tautology. “Sponataneous creation is why we exist. Why do we exist? Spontaneous creation." Such circularity will see you disappearing up a Black Hole, if you catch my drift...]

"It is not necessary to invoke God to light the blue touch paper and set the universe going." [So what is the Uncaused First Cause, then?]

The book was co-written by US physicist Leonard Mlodinow and is published on 9 September.
In his 1988 bestseller, A Brief History of Time, Prof Hawking appeared to accept the role of God in the creation of the Universe. [Then again, he’s been tell us to prepare for aliens recently. Riiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiggggghhtt....]

"If we discover a complete theory, it would be the ultimate triumph of human reason - for then we should know the mind of God," he said. [Hubris, professor. We’ll all come stand before God Himself soon enough, and then we’ll know what he has on His mind. As for me, I tremble with fear for that day, and I suggest you might do the same]

But the Bishop of Swindon, Dr Lee Rayfield, said science "can never prove the non-existence of God, just as it can never prove the existence of God." He added: "Faith is a matter that's outside that. [Some sense from an Anglican clergyman. A miracle indeed.]

"But as I look at the universe, and as many people who are much more understanding of cosmology than I, and mathematics, as they look at it, through the eyes of faith, they see a universe which is still very coherent with what we believe about God and His nature."

So there you have it. A physicist holds forth on theology. And makes himself look like an idiot. Then again everybody seems to be doing it. Jack Straw telling us how benevolent Islam is, Tony Blair asking what Jesus would think (he'd think "Tu es Petrus, et super hanc petram...", Tone). The Holy Father would rightly be derided if he held forth on immunology or Quantum Mechanics or medieval poetry. They are areas beyond his competence or authority.

You see, Hawking is a theoretical physicist/mathematician and his fellow self-publicist, Dawkins, is a chicken-watcher zoologist. They make a living selling books to people who aspire to look clever and/or stick it to religious types. It says much about the lazy journalism that surrounds this sort of reporting that no-one picks up on this but sits back like a bunch of credulous fools soaking it up.

It says much about their philosophical, theological and scientific illiteracy that journalists never question Hawking or Dawkins about their qualifications to speak on these matters. I suspect it is an inferiority complex on the part of the journalists (after all these chaps are Oxbridge dons, y’know, awfully clever) and in the case of Hawking they probably feel uncomfortable asking awkward questions of a chap in a wheelchair.

It’s no excuse. He’s talking rubbish.