Saturday, 30 August 2008

Women: An Interpreter's Guide...

After having battled with an office printer and a photocopier last week, I went out for lunch. After some considerable time had elapsed, I went to the Ladies... and caught sight of myself in the mirror. I had large black toner thumbprints on my nose, cheek and chin.

Horrified, I challenged my lunch companion: "Why didn't you tell me? Don't try to tell me you didn't notice... We've been sitting here for ages..."

Apparently, he didn't want to offend me.

The implication was that, for men, commenting on a woman's appearance is a bit of a minefield.

So I thought the occasional bit of advice might be in order.

First of all, gentlemen, please note that responses are often context-dependant. Take the simple question, "Does this look ok?" occasionally phrased, "How do I look?"

It usually means something along the lines of "Does my bum look big in this?" or "Do I look like mutton dressed as lamb?"

The reply given depends on the context... if the question is being asked at home (before going out), or in a shop's changing room (before purchasing the item concerned) then an honest answer is called for. If, on the other hand, the question is asked while "out" (at a party or other public situation) then the answer should always indicate that the item looks very nice indeed. If there are concerns that female friends might indicate a contrary view, it is advisable to preface the comment with "I think" or "In my opinion," which suggests that any contrary opinion is purely a subjective one... and you won't be accused of lying, but merely considered to have very poor taste.

Ok, that's a start. I think there's a book just waiting to be written... so, all you chaps, this is your chance to get the questions which have you flummoxed into the com-box, and girls, here's your opportunity to air the most glaring misunderstandings you've encountered...

Friday, 29 August 2008

Mea Culpa, Mea Culpa...

... Oh dear, what have I done? I may have led other traddy womyn astray! I wonder if that's an excommunicable offence?

Ekurlowa must be seriously traddy... she not only understands Latin, she can blog in Latin too!

She wants to join me as a traddy womynpriest. To that end, she suggests sending the following petition to the Bishops. It's in Latin verse, so we shall have to enlist the services of Fr. Z to find out what it means...

Feminarum personant saepius clamores:
sumusne servitio sancto digniores?
Quaesumus te, optime antistite domne
te petentes feminas ordinare omnes.

You can read the rest of it HERE.

Wednesday, 27 August 2008

The Faith, The Family… The Future

25th-26th October 2008 at All Saints Pastoral Centre, London Colney, St. Albans, UK.

A conference of hope for young people and families, focusing on:

- Fostering and exploring the beauty of the Church’s vision for marriage and the family
- Passing on the faith to the next generation and the role of the family in this work
- Promoting the growth of Catholic culture and vocations through the family
- Celebrating the fortieth anniversary of Humanae Vitae

Over the weekend there will be many eminent speakers, representing a broad panorama of Catholic thought and culture. With programs specially tailored to each age group, combined with the opportunity for retreat, spiritual reflection and renewal, the weekend provides a great opportunity for Catholics to renew their spiritual life, strengthening their families through meeting other young Catholics who share their hopes and views.

For details and booking, see the dedicated website or email HERE.

Tuesday, 26 August 2008

Who's In Line For The Hat?

Ttony of the Muniment Room seems to think that an announcement will be forthcoming pretty soon. I'm not so sure... I have been assured that all rumours of a terna are exactly that... just rumours...

So, unless things have moved very quickly indeed, we've still got a wee bit of a wait.

Of course, I make no claim to infallibility. And, occasionally, events (even at the Vatican) can get up a real head of steam.

In the meantime, speculation is rife. Someone apparently tried to put £40,000 on Monsignor Curry. Paddy Power don't accept bets of that size, but they have been tempted to add the Monsignor to the list with tantalising odds of 40-1.

If you fancy a flutter, you can check it out HERE, and Ttony has a list of the runners (with previous and current odds) HERE.

Monday, 25 August 2008

Blog Power ?

ICEL has finally decided that it will not charge royalties on any music downloads, providing that the source is acknowledged.

I found this statement on the New Liturgical Movement site slightly confusing, until I realised that it was a reference to written music (along with the texts of the new translation of the Mass!)

That is very good news indeed.

The cloud attached to this silver lining is that ICEL wants all copies of music for the new translation removed from the blogosphere until the texts are ready for release, and ALL music publishers are ready to go with it. ICEL will make an announcement when this happens. How long will we have to wait? Well, how long is a piece of string?

I'm feeling ever so slightly cynical this evening... and so I am probably being totally uncharitable in wondering if this is rather a neat bit of damage limitation: the blogs had been positively scathing in their condemnation of ICEL's ridiculous stance, and more and more of the text was finding its way to the blogosphere despite the threats of copyright legislation being brought to bear; furthermore, the NLM site has now taken down all the music it had put up already, in order to comply with ICEL's wishes...

No... I shall be charitable and focus on the silver lining: once the text is approved and finalised, it will be free of royalty charges...


Sunday, 24 August 2008

Return Of The Prodigal...

Joee Blogs has found the lure of the Blogosphere just too much to resist, and he's decided to make a comeback! He has, however, had to use a new URL for the blog, so anyone who still has Joee on their blogroll needs to update the link, which you can find HERE.

He starts, in typical Joee fashion, with a great quote:

"...a new version of Into The Great Silence is being filmed in Ireland.

It's about the bishops' commemoration of the 40th Anniversary of Humanae Vitae..."


How NOT To Start Sunday Morning...

Ok. This is actually just me having a rant. You can skip this post if you want! Of course, when I find out, I will never speak to you again and/or delete you from my blogroll...

I really should know better. After many years of ill-health, I've gotten used to having the radio playing all night. When I was younger, I often had a music station on... now, given that much of the popular stuff really gets on my nerves, I generally listen to BBC Radio 4... which switches to the BBC World Service at 1am, and then switches back to Radio 4 at about 5:20am.

During term time, I should get up at 6am for morning prayer. I set the alarm for 6am, at any rate. And, obviously, the radio gets switched off for the prayers... and then goes back on again as I get ready for work. Occasionally, something from the Today program will put me into a foul mood, but there isn't too much time for any really irritating stuff to register before I reach for the "off" switch. I'm good at getting to the "off" switch whenever I hear key phrases which indicate something of a hypertensive and/or anti-Catholic nature is about to be broadcast... words like "Catholic," "Dr. Lavinia Byrne" and "leading Catholic spokesperson, Cristina Odone"...

Sundays are different. I allow myself to wake up more gently (ie. I set only two alarms instead of the usual 4... and usually ignore them!) and I get up later.

On Sunday mornings, Radio 4 has a special religious program scheduled... imaginatively called "Sunday," this is a mish-mash of everything to do with anything even vaguely religious in the news. It starts at 7:10am and so, just as I am regaining full consciousness (well, as much consciousness as I generally indulge in before 11am) I get to hear someone or other burbling on about Sharia Law or the Archbishop of Canterbury.

Neither of these subjects are actually problematic, though the question occasionally crosses my mind as to why, when the Muslim holy day is Friday, they should be relegated to the religion slot on Sunday. The real problem is that, more and more, I seem to wake up in the middle of a piece on Catholicism. But it isn't actually Catholicism as taught by Christ and handed down by the Apostles... no. It's Catholicism as explained by dissenting Catholics. The BBC rarely manage to find faithful Catholics... which, I suppose, is only to be expected. "Catholics believe Church teaching on sexuality/marriage/priesthood/abortion to be completely true!" doesn't make much of a headline... in fact it's a close third behind "Pope is Catholic" and "Bears Defecate in Woods!"

So, as I say, I really should know better.

This morning was a case in point. The BBC have grasped the idea that Cardinal Newman is about to be beatified, and this involves digging him up. Ok, not too controversial... So far we're still in the "Ursine mammals fertilising forests" region, news-wise. But they then discover that the Cardinal left a request, in his Will, that he be buried in the same grave as his best friend.


His best friend was another man. And they were best friends. So there must have been something sexual between them... it's obvious, innit? So let's find a homosexual man to draw the obvious link...


I know that the BBC has some excellent reporters and researchers working for them. They do... I've actually met some. So why can't the BBC do its homework on matters concerning the Catholic Church?

I've been round a few cemeteries... (I've even visited a crematorium, but I digress...) Many times, I've noticed that several members of a family have been buried together. Husbands and wives are the most common combination, but groupings of parents and children occur, as do brothers and sisters. It's not unheard of. Similarly, people can go to great lengths to make sure that Granny is transported "back home" so that she can be laid to rest with others from her family.

Why is there such a fuss over Cardinal Newman's desire to be buried with his brother Oratorians (not just his friend Ambrose St John, but also Edward Caswall and John Joseph Gordon, as explained by Fr. Tim Finigan) - especially as, in Victorian times, it was not unusual for a man, staying at a travellers' inn overnight, to find himself sharing a bed with a complete stranger... and nothing sexual would have been involved. And, please note, the Cardinal was merely wanting to be buried in the same plot of ground, not the same coffin!

Ahhh, but Newman expressed great love for his best friend...

Oh, get a grip! I love my cat, but I assure you, I have no wish to indulge in bestiality. I love my friends too, but I don't want to have sex with them, either. Love does not have to mean "sexual love" - but, as Fr. Ray Blake has pointed out, modern society has a debased notion of love and friendship. In addition, the Victorians had a very sentimental view of friendship... read St. Thérèse of Lisieux's Autobiography if you want to get the idea of Victorian sentimentality.

This sort of twisted and miserable journalistic clap-trap isn't good for my blood pressure, but it is par for the course where the BBC is concerned. I really ought to make sure the radio is very firmly switched off on Saturday nights...

UPDATE: Prompted by an email reminder by William on the Hill, I forced myself to listen to the piece again... Peter Tatchell actually claims that this is a "human rights" issue. What about my "human right" not to have my faith spoken of in such a disparaging fashion, referred to, as it was, as the "Vatican" Church??
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