Monday, February 28, 2011

Pre-Conciliar Overseas Development Aid

There used to be a very Catholic means of measuring the effectiveness of aid given to foreign countries.

Saturday, February 26, 2011

That's where yer bawbees go, ya numpties.

Anyone have any idea why CAFOD gave £295,970 to Islamic Relief in 2009?

Anyone? Anyone? Bueller?

Thursday, February 24, 2011

From the attic

Literally. A picture of John Carmel Heenan when Bishop of Leeds (1951-7) visiting his priests. I can't identify the parish from the parochial house, but since the photo is by Uncle Billy it must be in East Leeds. It's not St Pat's or Corpus Christi.

Still, in them days a bishop looked like a bishop. Could you guess what these three do/are? Civil servants on an away day? Test umpires? VAT inspectors?

Monday, February 21, 2011

Direct Line

Friday, February 18, 2011

ICEL (1970) Renditions #2: Portia's speech from The Merchant of Venice

The quality of mercy is not strained.
It droppeth as the gentle rain from heaven,
Upon the place beneath. It is twice blest:
It blesseth him that gives and him that takes.
The Merchant Of Venice Act 4, scene 1, 180–187


Please don't be a meanie, it's horrid. Everyone likes you when you're nice to people, yeah?

Thursday, February 17, 2011

ICEL (1970) Renditions #1: Requiem by Robert Louis Stevenson (1850–1894)


UNDER the wide and starry sky
Dig the grave and let me lie:
Glad did I live and gladly die,
And I laid me down with a will.

This be the verse you 'grave for me:
Here he lies where he long'd to be;
Home is the sailor, home from the sea,
And the hunter home from the hill.

I'd like to be buried in the countryside. I had a nice life.
It's says "I'm happy now" on my tombstone. Which is nice.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011


The Herald reports that Cardinal O'Brien, Archbishop Conti and Bishop Moran will hang up their mitres in the next wee while.

It's a straight fight between the good guys:

Contenders for the soon-to-be-vacant posts include Monsignor Gerard Tartalgia, brother of the Bishop of Paisley, Monsignor Peter Magee, Fr John Keenan and Fr Patrick Burke, all very broadly seen as more orthodox, intellectual and closer to the teachings of Pope Benedict.

and the, *ahem*, rest, apparently

Others include Monsignor Peter Smith, Fr Paul Conroy and Fr Gero McLoughlin, generally seen as more representative of modernist face of the Church.

Modernist? Time to bring The Oath, methinks.....

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Chantastic, pop pickers!

The BBC have a programme on tonight about the unlikely (Ha! You think?) success of recordings of Gregorian Chant. It's called Nuns Aloud (*winces*) and is on at 23.20 tonight in England.

We can't get it in Scotland, presumably because Mgr Peter Smith had a quiet word with someone at BBC Scotland (only kidding, it's on tomorrow night in Scotland)

Tuesday, February 08, 2011

Honey & syrup

Fr PF quite rightly points out that in my encounter with the young Irish doctor who regards himself as a recovering Catholic, I was perhaps guilty of offering him vinegar rather than honey. I think he's probably got me there. I become more curmudgeonly as the years go by, but perhaps my jolt (quipping that I thought the Holy Father a bit relaxed and accomodating about things) by the grace of God, might get the young doctor to question his assumptions. I hope so.

I am bemused when I encounter virulently anti-religious types who will portray the Catholic Church as purveyors of a cross between the Magdalene Sisters and Angela's Ashes. I grew up in the aftermath of the end of the Second Vatican Council and I can say hand on heart I have never heard a Catholic priest utter a condemnatory phrase towards anyone - indivdual or group. Seriously, I have never heard a Catholic priest preach about anything other than the love of God made manifest in one way or another. I have heard exhortations to charity, to chastity, to prayer and deeper discipleship - but to hatred or condemnation of anyone, never, nor the propagation of narrow-mindedness or bigotry. I was taught in primary school by nuns who were kindly and gentle. The priests who taught me at grammar school were thoughtful and meek academic types.

My experience of Irish Catholicism, in the parish where I grwe up in the North of England whch was served by a missionary order of (largely) Irish priests, in Ireland itself and when in Lourdes over the course of 10 years was one of a joyous, if rather ill-defined faith. There was a lot of lurrrve there, but in many ways (especially liturgically) I found it cloying and I wonder if in turning away from the vinegar of a bitter past, as it was perceived, the JP2 generation plumped for syrup rather than honey, which as Fr Aidan Nichols OP pointed out, is a big mistake.

“Cardinal Ratzinger’s image in the secular media, and even or especially sections of the Catholic press, was almost entirely negative. Could it be redeemed by pouring over us a warm, fragrant, bubbly cascade of “luv”? That would be an understandable strategy. It would also be a mistake. At least in the Western world, the Church is drowning in syrup already.

Perusal of the document largely sets these fears to rest. Part the First shows that the Petrine charism has not extinguished the cardinal’s forceful philosophical and theological mind. Part the Second which was, it seems, in preparation under his predecessor shows a willingness to leave (temporarily) the exalted heights of doctrine for more hands-on involvement with possibly malfunctioning elements in present-day ecclesial culture.”
-The Pope Throws A Lifebelt To A Church Drowning In Syrup.
The Catholic Herald
3rd February 2006 .

Comments and discussion very welcome.

Saturday, February 05, 2011

For those of us with Star Wars obsessed kids

Tuesday, February 01, 2011


Please pray for the godmother of Paulinus Minor Major, a wife and mother of two (one of whom is our godson) who is on ICU with pneumonia.

Outing oneself

The following conversation took place on one of the wards the other day:

Junior Doctor: I'm really interested in your specialty Dr P.

Me: That's good to hear

Junior Doctor: My only problem is that it seems to be very religious people who do it. I did a placement in a hospice and Dr H was a very committed Christian. Does that explain why you are all opposed to euthanasia?

Me: Well in that hospice Dr H is indeed a very committed Christian and the Matron Sr M is also a very committed Catholic. Of interest most of the higher trainees in the specialty, to my knowledge are not religious, but they all seem uniformly opposed to euthanasia.

Junior Doctor: Well (*sniggers*) I'm a recovering Roman Catholic.

Me: Well, I may not be the most unbiased observer then, in that I tend to be of the view that the Holy Father is a bit on the liberal side of things, you know, a bit too accomodating. But that's his job I suppose.

Junior Doctor: *Stops sniggering* *Looks nervous* Oh.

I suspect I'm now to have the reputation as a bit of a Catholic nutter. I hope I have at least challenged his lazy view that has in some way been harmed by a Catholic upbringing. I suspect he's about 22-23 so born 1988-9. He's Irish - Free State from his accent. My recollection of the time (and I was there a lot in those years) is that Catholicism there and then was pretty easy-going in a JP2-Hug-a-Dalai-Lama-Our-God-Reigns-Wave-Ya-Hands-In-The-Air kinda way. Maybe that's what he meant, but I doubt it.

Recovering Roman Catholic, indeed.

Pray for the poor boy.