Saturday, 10 November 2007

The Appalling Abomination...

"Brother will betray brother to death, and a father his child..." (Mark 13:12)

The quote and the post title come from the eschatological discourse of Jesus given in the Gospel of St. Mark. It was what came to mind when I considered the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Bill which has been introduced by the UK government.

I was very, very cynical when the Human Fertilisation & Embryology Authority (HFEA) held its so-called consultation meeting on the creation of human-animal hybrid embryos. I was proved right.

The Human Fertilisation and Embryology Bill is due to have its second reading on 19th November in the House of Lords.

Originally, the emphasis was on embryos which were 99% human. As the following quote from CORE (Comment on Reproductive Ethics) makes clear, this is no longer the case...

"The new Bill instead includes full hybridisation in its remit. Animal eggs combined with human sperm, and human eggs fertilised with animal sperm will be permitted if this Bill is approved.

In ethical terms this is possibly the most groundbreaking aspect of the Bill. Most of the other ethical horrors were already in place. The amended Act would simply liberalise everything even further.

One such instance of liberalisation is the extension of the use of embryo diagnosis to create matching embryos for therapeutic purposes, moving way beyond the original focus on cord blood stem cells, now to include any tissue from the designed baby. How long until this includes 'designer' kidneys and other body parts?

Something not to be overlooked is the reference to reproductive cloning. The document states blithely that the Human Reproductive Cloning Act 2001 is superseded by new provisions in the Bill. This is extremely alarming as it is not at all clear in the relevant sections whether reproductive cloning is indeed prohibited, and not least because of the continual flexibility built into the new text.

Over and over in the Bill one notes prohibitions, but they are a usually qualified with a subsequent exception clause which gives power to amend, either by adding to or repealing, simply through extended regulations."

If you only do one thing for the pro-life cause this year, make it this. Contact members of the House of Lords. SPUC have excellent resources to help - they've produced an information leaflet which you can use, and they suggest who best to approach (and how to address them and other useful stuff like that.) Or you can email your chosen member by going to the WriteToThem website.

And pray. Pray very hard.

Losing The Plot?

Several sandwiches short of a picnic. Not the full shilling. A few bricks short of a load. Lights are on, but nobody's home...

Bishop Hollis has demonstrated a severe case of foot-in-mouth disease. This disease is characterised by the sufferer opening his mouth only to change whatever foot he had in there to begin with, and dropping enough bricks to build a cathedral...

Alzheimer's has also made an early appearance: his Lordship appears to have forgotten that, as shepherd of God's flock which has been entrusted to him, his role is to uphold Catholic doctrine... (unless that requirement was waived by the Second Vatican Council. Somehow I don't think so!)

A three-week course designed to introduce foreign priests to the British way of doing things in the Roman Catholic church has opened at Ushaw College outside Durham in Northumberland, England. It was the brainchild of Bishop Hollis. I posted on the rubbish which was supposed to be taught on this course before.

It gets better... the President of Ushaw College, the Rev. Terry Drainey, has been quoted as saying, "Some foreign priests working in Britain tend to be too dogmatic about the church’s moral rightness on just about everything. That’s not how we do things here. This course shows how we deal with a whole range of issues affecting Catholics, including the role of women, divorce, the lay ministry and homosexuality."

The whole point of having foreign priests is to re-evangelise the Church in England and Wales. The "British way of doing things" has resulted in falling Mass attendance and a dearth of vocations. This is the reason we need foreign priests. No doubt Bishop Hollis's views on the legalisation of prostitution are being taught on this course as well...

Twitch of the mantilla to Ttony of The Muniment Room, Fr. Tim Finigan and Fr. Ray Blake.

Bloggers' Lunch

Bloggers of the world unite... this afternoon I was privileged to go for lunch with two eminent bloggers: Fr. Tim Finigan and Hilary White.

I managed to stay out of the photo by dint of the fact that I was wielding the camera-phone. One quick snap, and the phone was stashed away just in case any helpful person decided to suggest a threesome!

Hilary is the author of The Devout Life. She was living in Canada for many years, but has returned to Blighty, and is here to stay. I noticed that her profile picture has a neat shot of the back of her head (hey, I must've started something!) but the cat is firmly out of the bag with this photo. She has another blog - Orwell's Picnic.

A lot of people complain that modern technology interferes with "real" communication between "real" people... Can't say I've noticed that, to be honest. As Hilary said over coffee, think of the blogosphere as a small village where each of the houses just happen to be miles apart...

Wednesday, 7 November 2007

Healthy Living

Newhousenewjob has just been enthusing over the effects of endorphins after her session at the gym. Personally I think that the warm fuzzy glow and enthusiasm for life is due to the cream cakes she ate earlier...

It reminded me of the following health advice:

Q: I've heard that cardiovascular exercise can prolong life; is this true?

A: Your heart is only good for so many beats, and that's it... don't waste them on exercise. Everything wears out eventually. Speeding up your heart will not make you live longer - that's like saying you can extend the life of your car by driving it faster. Want to live longer? Take a nap.

Q: Should I cut down on meat and eat more fruits and vegetables?

A: You must grasp logistical efficiencies. What does a cow eat? Hay and corn. And what are these? Vegetables. So a steak is nothing more than an efficient mechanism of delivering vegetables to your system. Need grain? Eat chicken. Beef is also a good source of field grass (green leafy vegetable). And a pork chop can give you 100% of your recommended daily allowance of vegetable products.

Q: Should I reduce my alcohol intake?

A: No, not at all. Wine is made from fruit. Brandy is distilled wine, that means they take the water out of the fruity bit so you get even more of the goodness that way. Beer is also made out of grain. Bottoms up!

Q: How can I calculate my body/fat ratio?

A: Well, if you have a body and you have fat, your ratio is one to one. If you have two bodies, your ratio is two to one, etc.

Q: What are some of the advantages of participating in a regular exercise program?

A: Can't think of a single one, sorry. My philosophy is: No Pain...Good!

Q: Aren't fried foods bad for you?

A: YOU'RE NOT LISTENING!!!... Foods are fried these days in vegetable oil. In fact, they're permeated in it. How could getting more vegetables be bad for you?

Q: Will sit-ups help prevent me from getting a little soft around the middle?

A: Definitely not! When you exercise a muscle, it gets bigger. You should only be doing sit-ups if you want a bigger stomach.

Q: Is chocolate bad for me?

A: Are you crazy? HELLO! Cocoa beans! Another vegetable!!! It's the best feel-good food around!

Q: Is swimming good for your figure?

A: If swimming is good for your figure, explain whales to me.

Q: Is getting in-shape important for my lifestyle?

A: 'Round' is a shape...!

Ooooh... I Found Another One...

...another new blog, that is. Debra's Random Thoughts is described by the author as "An eclectic site created by a woman with a very short attention span."

Hmmn... wonder if she's blonde?

For someone who has only been blogging since September, Deb has an impressive collection of posts. Pop on over and say hallo...

Tenth Anniversary Celebrations

I just spotted this over at the Cardinal Winning Pro-Life Initiative. My friend, Sister Roseann Reddy (yes, I'm name-dropping again!) explains the rationale for the Initiative, and the work that they do.

To date, in the ten years they have been up and running, they have helped 2222 women, and they estimate that there are around 70 babies who would not be alive today if it were not for the work of the Initiative.

Say a prayer for them and all the wonderful work that they do.

I was amused to note that the whole video is subtitled. Perhaps they were afraid that we wouldn't understand the Scottish accents!!

How Very Odd...

I'm covering an IT lesson this afternoon. Glancing through a few of my favourite blogs, I noticed that the Dashboard was no longer blocked. Very interesting...

I wonder if it is only the Science Department's computers which have been blocked from using Blogger...

Tuesday, 6 November 2007

A Sense Of Humour

I bought a compilation CD of Elvis Presley's greatest hits a while back. It was a bit of nostalgia, as Elvis was one of my mother's favourite artists, and for many years it was the only music I got to listen to, not having my own record player or radio.

I checked the different albums out carefully on Amazon - I wanted one CD with all (or most) of my favourites... I didn't want a whole pile of Elvis albums!

Anyhow, I put it on the other day. Imagine my surprise when I heard "The King" doing a take-off of his own hit! I really did a double-take...

This wasn't the show where he completely fluffed his lines - this one was recorded in April 1960. He sings fake lyrics and enjoys the joke so much he goes off into fits of giggles... made worse by the operatic singer warbling in the background. I would love to have seen what was happening. Unfortunately a search of You Tube has only brought out the later "fluffed" lines videos, though I did find a recording which was set to photos and album covers.

The lyrics are supposed to go:

Are you lonesome tonight, do you miss me tonight,
are you sorry we drifted apart?
Does your memory stray to a bright summer day
when I kissed you and called you "sweetheart"?
Do the chairs in your parlour seem empty and bare?
Do you gaze at your doorstep and picture me there?...

Have a listen to Elvis having a laugh!

WooHoooo ! Another Blogging Milestone !

Time to celebrate...

I see from SiteMeter that my little blog has hit the 50,000 visitor mark. I'd just like to say that my 50,000th visitor, from Washington, in the District of Columbia (is that what DC stands for?? I've wondered for ages!) is using Verizon Internet Services, and popped over at 11:15pm last night (10 hours ago.) He/she/it then went to the comments on the post Prayers Please...

I said a prayer for you, whoever you are. Hope you enjoyed the post.

An Interesting Point Of View...

I know, I know... I really shouldn't listen to Radio 4. But I was on my way home, so wasn't listening to the Today Programme (a programme which almost invariably puts my blood pressure up by twenty points!) and I wanted to hear the news headlines.

Anyway, they mentioned the unprecedented visit of the King of Saudi Arabia to the Vatican. But the good old BBC referred to it as the first audience with a Saudi monarch...

Ummmm... I was under the impression that the King was visiting the Vatican. So shouldn't that be described as an audience with Pope Benedict...?

Monday, 5 November 2007

Dear Lord, Forgive Them...

...I'm sure that they know not what they do!

This version of the Lord's Prayer is actually quite painful to watch. Make sure there aren't any ex-hippie-trendy-liturgists around when you watch it, or they could get ideas...

Is it just me, or does the priest look like Yoda?

Twitch of the mantilla to Damian Thompson.

Prayers Please...

...I've been told that we have a couple of new school governors. New brooms and all that jazz seem to be the order of the day. They are going to be observing my Year 8 lesson tomorrow morning...

I hate being "observed." This is a totally irrational feeling: after all, I am being "observed" by thirty or so teenagers at each lesson, plus any LSAs (that's Learning Support Assistants) who are attached to particular children, not to mention lab technicians who wander in and out at various points and other members of the Science department who are wandering around looking for equipment, children, LSAs or science technicians...

...but I still hate being observed. Prayers would be appreciated...

...I don't think they can sack me!

Sunday, 4 November 2007

Poor Old Murphy...

...It must be hard to have your name associated with everything going pear-shaped!

For those who don't know it, Murphy's Law (also known as Sod's Law) states: nothing is as easy as it looks, everything takes longer than you think, and if anything can go wrong, it will... and at the worst possible moment.

Philip of Carpe Canem has put up a post of Murphy's lesser-known laws, and they had me chuckling away for some considerable time... My favourites (too hard to choose) have to be

3. Those who live by the sword get shot by those who don't.

4. Nothing is foolproof to a sufficiently talented fool.

5. The 50-50-90 rule: Anytime you have a 50-50 chance of getting something right, there's a 90% probability you'll get it wrong.

6. The things that come to those who wait will be the things left by those who got there first.

and finally,

9. When you go into court, you are putting yourself in the hands of 12 people who weren't smart enough to get out of jury duty.

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