Saturday, 11 April 2015

First Results From The Letter Of Support...

Well, the letter of support was carried by several bloggers, and all signatures collated by the organisers. The letter was then sent to the Catholic Herald.

If you are interested in seeing who has signed it, the complete list can be found here.

Thanks to all those who blogged about it, and all those who signed. Many thanks also to Andrew Plasom-Scott and Mark Lambert for their hard work in coordinating the whole thing.

Sunday, 29 March 2015

Supporting Our Faithful Priests...

In support of our priests, our families, and our Church...

You may have seen the recent letter from more than 450 priests in support of the Church’s teaching on marriage. We would like to invite you to sign the letter below, to be sent to the press in support of them, and to encourage others to sign it.

To sign, please leave your name and your diocese in the comments box below, or if you prefer email them to one of the coordinators: Mark Lambert or Andrew Plasom-Scott.

The Letter:
Dear Sir,
We, the undersigned, wish to endorse and support the letter signed by over 450 priests in the recent edition of the Catholic Herald.
As laity, we all know from our own family experiences, or those of our friends and neighbours, the harrowing trauma of divorce and separation, and we sympathise with all those in such situations.
It is precisely for that reason that we believe that the Church must continue to proclaim the truth about marriage, given us by Christ in the Gospels, with clarity and charity in a world that struggles to understand it.
For the sake of those in irregular unions, for the sake of those abandoned and living in accordance with the teachings of the Church, and above all for the sake of the next generation, it is essential that the Church continues to make it quite clear that sacramental marriage is indissoluble until death.
We pray, and expect, that our hierarchy will represent us, and the Church’s unwavering teaching, at the Synod this autumn.
Yours faithfully,

Sunday, 15 March 2015

Catching Up...

Well, despite my best intentions, I didn't get to write anything further about Cardinal Burke's visit to Ramsgate last week. This was partly because, after getting home and uploading my photos it was 1:00am. I had about 3 and a half hours' sleep before it was time to get up and go back to work.

Nevertheless, the whole of Tuesday passed in a warm fuzzy glow of fired-up enthusiasm... but I then spent the week catching up on missed sleep and marking books. In the meantime, His Hermeneuticalness has stolen yet another march on me, and has posted the full text of Cardinal Burke's sermon. Read it, and you'll get an idea of why it was such an uplifting occasion.

In a case of pots and kettles, over dinner I berated Dominic Bevan for not advertising more of the singing of the Victoria Consort at Ramsgate - there is a mouth-wateringly good programme of events planned for Holy Week and Easter. I pleaded for a scoop for my blog, and so I have the privilege of posting their programme...

Tuesday, 10 March 2015

Solemn Pontifical High Mass...

2015-03-09 21.04.32

I'm just back from Ramsgate, where, at the Shrine of St. Augustine, Cardinal Burke celebrated a Solemn Pontifical High Mass.

It was awesome, and totally stunning. I've never seen so many people packed into such a small space. Fr. Finigan did a great job of summarising the whole event over on his blog, but I had further to travel home (and went out for dinner as well!) so I shall blog tomorrow.

I have, however, got the photos up on Flickr, so feel free to go and have a good look!

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Sunday, 8 March 2015

Is This What A Feminist Looks Like...?

I enjoyed a delicious lunch today after the Missa Cantata at Margate. I was just pondering whether to indulge in dessert when the waitress placed a plate of chocolate cake in front of me.

His Hermeneuticalness pointed out to the young woman that I hadn't ordered cake. She explained that it was a free treat for all their female customers, to celebrate International Women's Day.

It briefly occurred to me that this was a terribly sexist thing...

What a stereotype to perpetuate... I'm a woman, and so I must like chocolate cake! Is this really the equality which hundreds marched for today in Central London?

Actually, I'm afraid that I didn't much care. It was chocolate cake. I ate it.

In order to strike a blow for equality for downtrodden men everywhere, His Hermeneuticalness stole a spoonful of my chocolate cake. I let him live, but only because I suspect that attacking one's parish priest with a cake fork probably carries some sort of canonical penalty...

Thursday, 26 February 2015

Lack Of Blogging Oomph...

I haven't had much inclination for blogging of late. I had hoped to get up a bit more enthusiasm during Half Term (was it really only last week?) but was either busy doing stuff (which meant that I didn't have time to blog) or was busy recovering from doing stuff (which meant that I didn't have the energy to blog!)

However, just to show willing, I thought I'd put up some photos from last Sunday:

After a lovely Missa Cantata in Margate, I went out for lunch in Ramsgate, overlooking the harbour...

I love the sea when it looks all grey and moody, but apparently I missed a really good photo opportunity earlier in the day when the sky was an iridescent blue, and quite spectacular.

Then, after lunch, it was time to attend Vespers at the Shrine of St. Augustine. The Schola Augustini, led by Thomas Neal, sang beautifully...

It was a great occasion, and there is sung Vespers at the Shrine on the fourth Sunday of each month, so do go along if you get the chance!

Thursday, 12 February 2015

Naughty Cat...

This is the sort of thing my two get up to, but never when I've got my camera handy. The expression on the cat's face is really priceless.

Wednesday, 11 February 2015

The Season Of Septuagesima...

2013-01-27 10.40.59One of the things that I love about the Traditional Latin Mass is that it adheres to the old liturgical calendar, with all the Vigils, Octaves and seasons. I particularly like the season of Septuagesima - the two and a half weeks before Lent. The idea is that we need to prepare for the great feast of Easter by observing Lent, but the forty days of Lent form such a pivotal part of our spiritual conversion that we actually need time to prepare for it as well, hence the gentle mournfulness of the season. The Alleluia is "buried" until Easter, the Gloria is not sung at Sunday Mass (nor the Te Deum at Matins), and purple vestments are worn.

I was fascinated to read the history of Septuagesima as written by Dom Guéranger, OSB, and the relationship to the forty days of Lent. Apparently, in the Greek Church, they didn't fast on Thursdays, Saturdays or Sundays, and so, to make up the forty days, Lent actually started on Septuagesima. In the Latin Church, however, Lent began on Quadragesima Sunday, but, since Sundays were not counted as fasting days, Lent was only 36 days long (as noted by St. Gregory the Great in one of his homilies, quoted by Dom Guéranger.)

Therefore, in order to make up the "shortfall", the Latin Church started her Lenten fast on Ash Wednesday...

If you want to read more about the liturgy for Septuagesima, Zephyrinus has posted the texts (and explanatory notes) from the Saint Andrew's Daily Missal, which form a wonderful resource for prayerful contemplation. He has posted each Sunday separately (Septuagesima Sunday, Sexagesima and Quinquagesima) - the latter is from last year, but will be changed when this year's post is up.

There's only a week to go before Lent (I'm a little late in posting this!) but at least, due to the old calendar, Ash Wednesday won't catch me unawares...

Tuesday, 10 February 2015

Competitive Cats...

Kitty-watching can be most entertaining at times.

Miaowrini has been using the cat bed on top of one of the wardrobes for quite some time, but suddenly it's being taken over by Furretti. On finding her spot occupied the other day, Miaowrini looked a little forlorn, so I fetched a second cat bed and placed it on a trolley at the foot of my bed (not quite such a good location as the first bed, it would seem). After a little while, Miaowrini made herself comfortable, with all the circling, paw-kneading and purring which she used to carry out in her previous spot. And then she appeared to go to sleep.

Five minutes later, Furretti got up to go to the kitchen and munch some cat biscuits.

Quick as a flash, Miaowrini jumped down from her bed, scooted across the room and jumped up to the wardrobe. In less than a minute, she had settled down again to sleep, this time in her favourite spot.

Furretti returned, found that she had been supplanted, and retired to the sitting room in a huff.

Possession, it would seem, is nine points of the law for cats as well as humans...

Monday, 19 January 2015

Which Bit Of "Impossible" Is So Hard To Understand...?

Another poor, deluded soul...

My blog had its fifteen minutes of fame after I posted a cri de coeur about the dreadful dress-sense of your average womynpriest candidate (masterfully answered by Fr. Z, as it happens), in which I was bemoaning the dearth of tasteful Roman vestments being sported. But now I wonder if there is a case to be made for cause and effect? A ridiculous suggestion, but no more ridiculous than the womynpriests' claims to being ordained to the Catholic priesthood...

In his 1994 apostolic letter, Ordinatio Sacerdotalis Pope John Paul II declared definitively that it was impossible for the Church to ordain women to the priesthood. Despite this, twenty years later, there are women who continue to claim that they have been validly ordained. And, as I noted before, they all seem to wear the most awful stuff.

This leads me to wonder what it is about the wearing of floaty, outsize polyester and/or tie-dye vestments which renders the wearer incapable of rational thought?

One cannot rationally claim that one is ordained to the priesthood of the Church when that Church declares that it is not so. For ordination to be valid, the recipient has to be male. Gender reassignment surgery doesn't cut it either (sorry, couldn't resist!) The Church has stated that this reservation of the priesthood to men is to be held as a definitive truth of the Faith by all of the members of the Church. For any rational human being, that ought to be enough.

Then there is the irrationality of claiming that the ordination is valid because they have a "calling to the priesthood." Lots of men feel called, but that doesn't mean it is so: the years of formation in seminary are also a time of discernment. If the Church doesn't confirm the feeling of vocation by ordaining you, then no amount of "feeling" will make you a priest.

Is it just that they feel like they can do the job? After all, I have a scientific background, and a keen interest in medical matters. I am frequently able to tell my mother what she's likely to be suffering from, if she tells me her symptoms. I always wanted to be a doctor. If I really and truly feel that I have a calling that way (and lots of people have told me that I'd be good at the job) does that allow me to set up as a GP? No rational individual would be surprised when my excuse of "feeling that I could do the job" was thrown out of court.

The claim that it is all about equality for women is equally irrational. I firmly believe that men and women are equal but you won't see me asking any men if they have a spare Tampax. I also do not consider it to be a matter of inequality that men cannot give birth, and I, talented though I am, cannot father a child. The basic, incontrovertible truth is that men and women are different. To say that different means unequal is irrational.

What the womynpriests (and their supporters) appear to believe is that it is necessary to be a priest in order to be able to exercise power and influence in the Church, and this is what they mean by "equality". The mistaken idea that the priesthood is purely about power and influence is one of the strongest arguments against letting such women be ordained - it is clericalism of the worst kind.

Finally, there is the irrational "outrage" or, worse, "deep sadness" when these women go through a mock ceremony (which is sacrilege in itself) and get a letter telling them that they have been excommunicated. The bishop concerned hasn't excommunicated them, he is merely pointing out the consequence of their actions. They incurred an automatic excommunication. In other words, they separated themselves from the Church and the Sacraments when they went through the ceremony.

So, given the absence of any rational arguments justifying the womynpriests' claims to being validly ordained, and given the preponderance of tie-dye and polyester floaty vestments seen in photos of womynpriest types, I can only assume that the attraction of wearing ghastly vestments erodes the ability to think in a rational manner.

Admittedly, a correlation does not prove a cause, but it's better to be safe than sorry. Let it serve as a salutary warning to any priests who have predilections towards such gruesome attire on the sanctuary. And remember, Reverend Fathers, every time you say Mass without a maniple, God kills a kitten... So watch it, or I'll send the Cardinal and Monsignor round to sort you out...

2014-12-28 10.53.42

Saturday, 10 January 2015

New Year's Resolutions...

It is only 10 days into the New Year and I have already failed to keep my New Year's Resolutions. Blogging has not been happening! I started well - New Year's Day commenced with the Veni, Creator Spiritus and Mass. But I was decidedly under the weather the following day with an upset tummy, and blogging about that would have been unpleasant for everyone...

On Sunday, my car had a conniption. It has been troublesome of late. Back in October, I had the heater unit replaced. Then, just before Christmas, the exhaust started to make the most awful noises, and I needed to get it replaced. On Sunday, after driving around happily during the day, I stopped at a local shop for milk for me and some tuna as a treat for the kitties, and the car inexplicably refused to start up again. The breakdown chappie who attended wouldn't believe me when I said that it wasn't the battery. Having ascertained for himself that it wasn't the battery, he proceeded to whack the car engine with a hammer...

The car promptly started up. "It's the started motor!" was his conclusion. "You need to take it to a garage as soon as possible..."

There not being any garages open at 8pm on a Sunday, I made a note of the advice, and drove home. The next morning, the car started without any problems, and I resolved to get it to a garage at the weekend, as I wouldn't be able to get it there in school hours. Monday evening, on my way home from school, I stopped off at the shops... and then found, once again, that my car wouldn't restart.

A new breakdown chappie arrived, and promptly administered a couple of sharp taps with a hammer somewhere in the bowels of my car engine. It was dark, and I couldn't identify exactly what he was hitting. He also warned me that it wasn't guaranteed to work. I drove home, not daring to stop anywhere else, and arrived home four and a half hours after I left school.

On Tuesday morning, I didn't dare to take my car, and used public transport. Leaving just before 6am ought, I thought, to allow plenty of time to get to school. I arrived with about a minute to spare - a journey time of  two and a half hours. Unfortunately, my journey home took even longer, and by the time I had called the breakdown people again to restart the car, driven to the garage, dumped it (by arrangement) on the forecourt, and gotten myself home again, I just had time to heat some hot dogs, swallow them and go to bed.

On Wednesday, I left ten minutes earlier (to catch the first bus) and tried a slightly different route, involving three buses and a tube journey. It took a little less time than the first route, but still involved a journey of just over two hours. After teaching for six solid hours, with a brief break for lunch (I was on break duty in the morning) I was not in the best of moods. My journey home was only two and a half hours, but it was somewhat marred by the fact that, after one bus driver failed to pull up close enough to the kerb, I put my foot in a hole getting off and twisted my knee and ankle.

After a week of this, you can imagine how delighted I am to have my car back again...

Tuesday, 30 December 2014

Margate Missa Cantata

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There was a superb Missa Cantata for the Feast of St. Thomas of Canterbury at St. Austin & St. Gregory's Church, Margate, yesterday. The church itself is very pretty, and I took a few photos, which are now up on Flickr.

Unfortunately, my camera phone, which is normally wonderful, can't quite cope with the low lighting levels inside the church. I shall have to make greater efforts to get to grips with my proper digital camera. I don't suppose anyone knows how to reduce the shutter noise on a Fujifilm FinePix S9500...?

Sunday, 28 December 2014

Who Am I To Judge...?

This weekend, in the Archdiocese of Southwark, we had a Pastoral Letter from Archbishop Smith instead of a sermon. I have to admit that I groaned when I discovered this, as his letters are long-winded, badly-constructed and rather tedious; his last letter was particularly dire.

As it was read out, I started to feel rather guilty. The letter was still too long, but I noted with pleasure that the family unit was clearly and unequivocally described according to Catholic teaching, stating that children are undoubtably brought up most successfully within the stable union of a man and a woman in marriage. I was sure that this must have taken some courage to write, as it is bound to attract flak from the more liberal wing of the Catholic press, when they get to hear of it. Archbishop Smith then went on to explain that the Church's views are seen by many as illiberal, restrictive, authoritarian, irrelevant and arrogant.

Up until that point, I was feeling rather encouraged by his words, and berating myself for my previously critical attitude. Alas, the second part of the final paragraph undid all that...
"In particular we need to give a new start to those families which have been broken and grievously wounded through separation or divorce. For these especially we must all have the greatest love, respect, gentleness and compassion. These are our brothers and sisters, deeply wounded and suffering. Let no one judge them. Welcome them within the community of the Church..."
I'm no theologian, but nowhere in the Catechism do I recall reading that the families which have experienced separation or divorce are to be shunned. And I am also unaware of any Church demands that those who are separated or divorced are excluded from the Sacraments. The people who are excluded from the reception of the Sacraments are those individuals who have married civilly after a divorce, or are living together in a state of sin.

Since such people do not usually walk around with "adulterer" tattooed on their foreheads, I am not aware of any judging which might go on just because they do not approach the Communion rail. Curiously enough, it is within more traditionally-inclined circles that a failure to present oneself for Communion would attract least judgmental attention, as there are many times when a person might refrain from receiving: the stricter observance of the Communion fast being an example.

And anyway, as for "not judging" - really? Are we supposed to look on indulgently while a man who has heartlessly ditched his wife and family proceeds to "shack up" with a bimbo half his age? Or to smile encouragingly if a woman decides to abandon her spouse and go off to "find herself"? Of course we should judge - at least the actions! It is possibly the lack of society's negative judgement of such behaviour which has allowed it to increase.

So please, do not tell me I should not judge. Right judgement is, after all, one of the gifts of the Holy Spirit...

In The Kitties' Bad Books...

I overslept this morning.

Ordinarily, it being my Christmas holiday, this wouldn't be a problem. Unfortunately, as I'm leaving the house for work so early these days, Cardinal Furretti and Monsignor Miaowrini have become accustomed to being fed at about 5am on weekdays, with a little leeway at weekends allowed to about 8am.

Waking up at 10:50am today obviously meant that I was seriously overstepping the mark, according to my feline overlords. They were definitely not amused...

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Friday, 26 December 2014

Happy Christmas...

A little later than anticipated, but still well within the Octave... I would like to wish all my readers a very blessed and joyful Christmas.

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