Saturday, 14 October 2006

Out of the Mouths of Babes....

I heard an absolute classic at the SPUC lunch in our parish today. Trust me, it actually happened - but it deserves to go down in history as one of those apocryphal tales that end up doing the rounds via email.

The young daughter of one of my friends approached our table with a book of raffle tickets. She'd already snaffled me, so she decided to try and sell a few more to her father.

"Daddy, do you want to buy a raffle ticket?"
"No thanks, I'm ok."
"Oh, okay... Can I buy a raffle ticket?"
"Well, yes, if you want to."
"Oh good... Daddy, can I have some money please?"

It was priceless!

Rosary Crusade of Reparation

I was in two minds as to whether I'd make the effort to go along to this... I've been feeling under the weather this past week, and I knew that my ankle wasn't going to be able to hold up for the actual walk (not unless I wanted to be off work for a week!!) And another factor to consider was that we had our SPUC parish lunch today as well.

I decided to compromise... I went to the lunch first, but left before the talk started (I shared a table with the speaker - a brother from the Franciscan Friars of the Renewal: these chaps are "awesome" - and I was therefore able to explain my early departure!) and then I drove down to the Brompton Oratory in Knightsbridge, London. I'd originally intended to go by tube from North Greenwich, but heard that there were engineering works... I didn't actually need much of an excuse to drive - I find it very relaxing.

The journey took an hour and a quarter (most of the last 20 minutes was searching for an available parking space, so going round and round some side roads) and then I went in to the Oratory. Believe it or not, it's the first time I've actually been inside the church. I've been to a few events held in the rooms next door: just never made it to the church.

My first reaction was "WOW"!! Let's just say that there is little room for doubt that this place is a Catholic church... if it wasn't covered in marble, it was painted with cherubs or religious scenes. Michelangelo eat your heart out. And statues everywhere.

The Oratory is deceptively big: it doesn't take up much room on the Brompton Road, but inside it just seems to go on and on. Wonderful place.

I arrived well before 3pm and after having greeted an old friend, Lizzie and promised to catch up with her at the end (she's been studying with the Community of St John somewhere in France for the past few years) I settled down to pray a rosary and to await the arrival of the procession.

We knew that the procession had arrived because of the flashing blue lights of the police motorcycles which had accompanied the procession from Westminster Cathedral (in Victoria - yes, London is a confusing place!) and the cheer which went up to thank the police escort. Then hundreds of people started pouring in to the church. In a most un-Catholic manner loads of people made their way to the front. After a minute or two the reason became obvious: the church was full. Many people were standing, some sat on the bases of the marble pillars, and the side chapels all had their seats fully occupied. I'm not good at numbers, but there must have been close on two thousand people present.

Then the statue of Our Lady of Fatima was brought in by the Catholic Police Guild - this had led the procession through the London streets. We sang Marian hymns with gusto, and recited prayers, and there was a sermon given by Fr Tim from the Hermeneutic of Continuity. Hopefully he will post the full text, because it was a real corker.

I think one of the most moving parts of the experience was when the statue of Our Lady was carried to the chapel of St Mary Magdalene: we sang "The thirteenth of May at the Cova d'Iria" and apparently there is a tradition in Fatima of waving goodbye to the statue with a white hankie. A few people were prepared, but the rest of us waved our white prayer sheets during the "Ave Maria" chorus. Hundreds and hundreds of white prayer sheets all being waved as the statue was carried away. Another of those "wow!" moments to treasure.

Outside I couldn't find Lizzie, but bumped into Dan Cooper (a stalwart of the Faith Movement from when it started up in the John Fisher School, Purley), and then Jamie Bogle (husband of Joanna who has such a lovely blog - Auntie Joanna Writes) and finally bumped into Joanna herself and her mother Ursula.

It was especially heartening to see the number of mantillas in evidence! And finally, it was wonderful to see so many young people and young families give up their Saturday to go on a procession through the streets of London in reparation for sin and blasphemy. I'm with the Holy Father on this one: the Church is alive, the Church is young...!

Friday, 13 October 2006

Another Blog Discovered

I may find myself with a blogroll as long as my arm, but I'm determined to expand my blogging horizons in a vain attempt to get to post some news while it still is news.

...I have also decided that I'm not going to tell Fr Tim about any more interesting little snippets over a pint in the Parish Club because he is shameless about going straight up to his computer to put the posts on, and I have to drive home first. Hmmn. I wonder if he'll go for a Parish Internet Cafe Club....

But anyway, I found Diane's blog over at Te Deum Laudamus (a pretty neat name for a blog!)

Being Trad in the Modern World

I was interested to come across the following advice for how to be a traditional Catholic in a Novus Ordo world. As I said in my last post, I'm not actually anti-Novus Ordo myself, but quite a lot of what I read in this article struck home: things like observing the Friday abstinence rule (which although no longer compulsory, hasn't been outlawed), observing an extended fast before Communion, or (my favourite, natch!) women wearing veils in church...

...plenty of food for thought, especially with the season of Advent fast approaching.

Mantilla-tip to Ma Beck of the WardWideWeb for this one.

Wednesday, 11 October 2006

Classical Rite Latin Mass

An interesting little snippet came my way via the blogosphere: a post circulating the latest rumours about the Classical Rite Mass on Credo.

I shall nail my own colours to the mast here. I like the New Rite Mass (yes, I fully expect to be blasted to smithereens on the spot for daring to utter such views) but in true "sitting-on-the-fence" mode I will add that I only like it when it is celebrated with reverence and decorum, and according to the rubrics.

I do not like the Novus Ordo Mass when the priest decides to play fast and loose with the words of the Mass, or tries to make me feel included by becoming politically correct ("sisters and brothers" is clumsy and downright patronising), or, under the guise of not being too caught up in details, cuts corners in the choice of sacred vessels, vestments and altar linens, etc. etc.

Under these circumstances, I am generally to be found gritting my teeth, scowling, and remaining in my seat only because, once the words of consecration are uttered, my Lord and God is present on the altar. And if I am in a state of grace then no crummy liturgical abuser is going to get in the way of me receiving Holy Communion (I un-grit my teeth at that point!)

I had better also make clear that my own Parish Priest does not muck about with the liturgy. It would be interesting to do a time-and-motion study to gauge whether my suspicions about his gradual introduction of eastward-facing Mass are true (I think he's on about a 5mm turn each week) but other than that he's fine...


Lately (the past couple of years) I have been exposed occasionally to the Classical Rite Latin Mass. The difference literally took my breath away: I found myself afraid to breathe at the Consecration and at the elevation of the Host in case I disturbed the solemnity of the moments.

I don't speak (or read) Latin, although I occasionally follow the words of the Mass in a Missal with the English translation next to the Latin. But usually I just sit quietly and pray (sometimes the Rosary, sometimes from a prayer book and sometimes just silently in my own words). I can tell pretty easily what part of the Mass has been reached. I never feel as if I'm being excluded, or am not praying. And because of the silence and the ageless symbolism of the gestures I feel the presence of the angels and saints, and I feel privileged to be there, united with the whole Church throughout time...

I now understand my father's horror when, coming back to the Church after a long absence, he returned home one Sunday declaring that it had all turned "Protestant". I thought he was over-reacting to the use of the vernacular, never imagining in my wildest nightmares that the glories of the liturgy which had been celebrated, fought for and died for over the centuries could possibly just be discarded on a whim.

I'm not calling for the Novus Ordo Mass to be abolished (though it needs some serious tightening up to avoid the abuses which have crept in) but there has to be room for the Classical Rite. After all, we are the Catholic Church.

Monday, 9 October 2006

How Nerdy Are You?

I had a few spare minutes (a rare occurrance) and, mindful that I am under strict orders to post at least once a day, I thought I'd have a go at this little test.

I always suspected that I was slightly nerdy (very nerdy for a woman) because of my early interest in computers (I used to devise quizes in BASIC and teach First Years computer programming when I was a Sixth Form student... and I remember the giant leap forward when Sinclair Spectrums first came out!!)

Well, here is definitive proof: I suspect my score would have been higher if there had been a question about what sex I was...

I am nerdier than 58% of all people. Are you nerdier? Click here to find out!

Mantilla-tip to Fr Tim for this one!

Sunday, 8 October 2006

Best of St Blog's UK

Oooh, goody! I've been challenged by 1dayin7 from Blogging the Catholic Church in England and Wales to complete a meme.

He's starting up a new one: the best of St Blog's UK. I have to identify one of my favourite blog posts...

1. From my own blog. Not easy, when I'm such a witty and entertaining blogee (not!)

It's no good: I am just going to have to pick three. I quite enjoyed my first proper post (not counting the "welcome to my blog" post) which was a rant about inclusive language. This was closely linked to another rant on a favourite topic: heretical hymns. And my final choice will have to be my post on wearing the mantilla (so far this post has had the most comments.) Yes, I know I cheated. Be thankful I limited myself to just three...

2. From another UK Catholic Blogger.

Easy: it has to be Fr Tim over at the Hermeneutic of Continuity, but my favourite post is trickier - they're all so good (and no, he hasn't paid me to say that!) Ok, I'll plump for his post on manual work at Parkminster. It was a fascinating insight into the life of a Carthusian monk, and the shots of Fr Tim wielding an axe made me think twice about picking any arguments with him over which hymns I think we should have at Benediction...

3. My favourite UK Catholic Website.

This just has to be the one from the Faith Movement, a group I've been involved with for many years. They have all of their publications available for free download which is simply fantastic. All good, sound stuff, including Faith Magazine.

Right, now I tag Fr Tim, Fr John, Paulinus and Fr Nicholas to complete this meme...

Feeling Neglected

Ok, as I've spent some considerable time reading lots of my favourite blogs in order to catch up, I have decided that I am now going to start sulking...

...I haven't been tagged by anyone for a meme ! Definitely not fair...

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