Saturday, 6 December 2008

A Sense Of Vocation...

Later this morning I am going to renew my vows.  I do this each year, even though I don't have to, because it helps to remind me that I have chosen to live my life as a single woman living and working in the world. Otherwise, because I have no "official" standing as a Religious or consecrated person, there might be a temptation to view my life in the single state as a sort of "default" option, that I'm single because I haven't married... the single life, as a vocation of choice outside Religious life or the Priesthood, doesn't often get mentioned.

In fact, the reality is that I felt a distinct call from God to make a sacrifice of my life, and dedicate it to Christ and his Church. It wasn't an easy decision to take, to relinquish all hopes of children and a family of my own, but I thank God for all the many blessings he has bestowed upon me since I first took my vows. 

Please say a prayer for me today, that I may be faithful.

Thursday, 4 December 2008


John Smeaton has a review on his blog, written by Fiorella Nash, of the Family Planning Association's DVD promoting abortion as a method of family planning.

It was very interesting to read how the young people on the DVD were all in favour of abortion. Strangely enough, despite working in a non-Catholic state school, this is not actually my experience of young people's attitudes.

I have generally found that the girls are more vigorously opposed to abortion than the boys, and there is a distinct awareness that, to quote one teenager, "You're not pregnant with a bunch of cells, it a baby... that's so obvious!"

I find the fact that the FPA considered it necessary to produce their pro-abortion DVD as encouraging, though obviously I deplore the fact that they have done so...

I Really Couldn't Resist...

Wednesday, 3 December 2008

More Exam Answers...

None of these were from exams I have marked, sadly.  It would certainly have brightened up my day!

Catholic Bloggers Network...

I received the following message from John Mallon.  Fr. Tim posted it already, but John asked others to do the same, and I'm happy to oblige...

John Mallon is trying to assemble an email list of Blogs in the English speaking world, especially in the UK, Australia, New Zealand and the Philippines. He is currently working as Contributing Editor for Inside the Vatican magazine, doing media relations for Human Life International, and assisting at the Envoy Institute in a promotional capacity. He has two degrees in theology and frequently has items of interest to Catholic Bloggers worldwide. With 25 years of experience in the Catholic Press, he has found that major secular outlets are often closed to these messages. If you have or know of Blogs that would be interested in receiving press releases and other pertinent materials for your Blogs, he would very much appreciate getting a mailing list of these blogs for this purpose. This is not spam. Anyone not wishing to receive these materials will be removed from the list immediately upon request. Catholic Blogs are absolutely critical for spreading credible information on the Church. This mailing list could serve as a News Agency supplying news and other information to Catholic Blogs.

It is absolutely maddening trying to harvest emails off of Blogs, where people won't post their emails. He is only interested in people who want to receive these messages, not bothering anyone.

For more on John Mallon please visit his website or you can email him direct.

Tolerance... But Only For Some!

I was seriously irritated by the short item on Damian Thompson's blog highlighting how the Catholic Education Service is, yet again, bending over backwards to accommodate the latest educational edicts of the British government!

At first glance, it all seems pretty straightforward, and oh-so-reasonable. After all, doesn't the Catholic Church encourage us to recognise and respect what is holy and true in other faiths?

That is not what annoyed me.  Indeed, I have a Muslim colleague who, when we're both working late in the faculty office, often asks if I mind her staying in the room to pray, and I have absolutely no problem with that. 

What I do have a problem with is the liberal Catholic establishment proclaiming love, peace, harmony and tolerance toward everyone other than fellow Catholics.

Let's examine the proposals a little more closely... There's a link to the article by Graeme Paton (Daily Telegraph Education Editor) HERE.

The guidance said schools should consider putting aside a prayer room "if reasonably practicable" for use by staff and pupils from other faiths.

Damian's point about providing opportunities for worship where children can practise a faith explicitly denying the divinity of Jesus is a telling one; if Muslims, Jews, Sikhs, Hindus etc. are all to have their own prayer rooms, then what about a child whose parents are satanists?  Sounds unlikely? One child I taught in a Catholic school claimed he was a satanist. I was rather disbelieving at the time, but who can tell? And there is also the problem of where these rooms are to be found. At many schools, huts have had to be installed in order to provide sufficient accommodation for teaching, and chapel rooms often have to double up as classrooms.

The document said schools should ensure "pupils' health is attended to in times of fasting" - and canteens should take children's religious dietary requirements into account.

And yet, in Catholic school canteens around the country, there is often no provision of fish or other vegetarian options on Fridays (some people do maintain the idea of Friday abstinance) and meat is served on Ash Wednesday (when abstinance is still required by Church Law.)

But the real irritant is this last point: the guidance said "respectful understanding" should be shown to pupils of other faiths who are withdrawn from or remain silent during Christian worship."

At the same time, children whose parents wish to withdraw them from sex education classes are often subject to ridicule from both staff and students, and parents who choose not to allow their children to watch television for hours on end are pilloried for their unrealistic views in snide comments at teacher training sessions.

Methinks that a little more true tolerance, instead of mere lip-service, is what we need.

Monday, 1 December 2008

New Blog Alert !!

Some of my fellow bloggers are of the opinion that new bloggers should be given time to prove themselves before being mentioned on more established blogs. They should, apparently, be given the opportunity to decide how often they want to post, and what sort of content they are going to run with.

I don't agree. Part of the fun in blogging is being discovered by others, and getting comments is just so coool. It's especially gratifying when the first comment from someone other than a friend arrives... because there is always the sneaking suspicion that friends are being "kind."

It is also really great to find out what a person's raison de bloggeur is (ok, ok, I made that phrase up!) and to watch how the blog develops.

With that in mind, allow me to introduce Fiorella's new blog, engagingly titled "Monstrous Regiment of Women." As a journalist, the author of two successful novels (with number 3 just awaiting a publisher) and pro-life activist for SPUC, you just know that she's going to put up some really thought-provoking stuff.  She's also the mother of two adorable little imps!

Pop on over and say hallo!

Vestments 'R' Us...

Heheheheheh. We are very fortunate in that Cllr. David Hurley likes to attend the Extraordinary Form of Mass at Blackfen. He decided a while back that he really ought to start up his own collection of vestment sets for use in EF Masses celebrated at parishes which didn't possess anything really suitable.

Polyester tie-dye horseblankets just don't cut the mustard, according to Cllr. Hurley...


He brought a few of the sets along to show us.  Here you can see Fr. Tim modelling the violet set for the First Sunday in Advent.

The black vestments had made an appearance for a Requiem Mass, but, sadly, had not been available for All Souls...  I did take some photos, but they appear to have been deleted accidentally.

David also suggested we use his white set for the Feast of the Immaculate Conception.  I shall endeavour to snap them in action, as they are very, very nice.

In the meantime, Fr. Tim has suggested that we look after the vestments. Just temporarily, you understand... 

Sunday, 30 November 2008

Thank You...

The great Curt Jester knows enough about HTML to make himself a fabulous Advent wreath graphic.  Not only that, but he is generous enough to share... and he'll even update it each week, so the correct number of candles are lit!  He did this last year as well.

If you want your own wreath, you can find the relevant code HERE. It's easy enough to add with Blogger: go to "Customise" and then "Add a Gadget" and select the HTML/Javascript option, and paste Jeff's code in... and there you have a perfect Advent wreath all of your very own!

Book Meme...


I've been tagged by Karen.  I'm not complaining, not really.  Anyway, it's a book meme.

1.  Take the nearest book.
2.  Turn to page 56.
3.  Copy out the 5th sentence, and then the next 2-5 lines after that.
4.  Name the book (As Karen says, well, duh!)
5.  Inflict this on 5 other victims.

I'm sure I've done this before... in fact, I know I have, but as I have rearranged my books somewhat since then (ie. they're no longer in a pile on the armchair), I thought I'd have another go. And, anyway, it's a different page number.

However, the first two books nearest to me, namely my Collins Dictionary & Thesaurus and the Douay-Rheims Bible, were the same as before, and again unsuitable, for much the same reasons. Admittedly, page 56 of the Douay-Rheims Bible took me to Genesis rather than Leviticus, but I really am not in the mood to list all the sons of Israel (aka Jacob) who entered into Egypt.

The next book on the shelf (yes, I finally got those bookcases made up) will just have to do: and I am not a happy bunny, because the spelling of Ye Olde Englishe is a pain in the neck. The content is, however, rather better than a list of names from Genesis.

So, here goes:

Caxton clearly envisaged that lay people might also read the Doctrinal and produced two editions, one containing and one omitting material on the mishaps that can occur during the celebration of Mass, "by cause it is not conyenyent ne aparteynyng that every layman sholde knowe it".

And it continues...

There were a number of vernacular pastoral manuals printed at about this time, mostly translated from French originals and principally designed for confessors, catechists, and preachers, but also aimed at a literate lay audience, for example, the Ordynarye of Crysten Men (1502) and the Floure of the Commandements (1510).

So much for the idea that the laity in England knew little about the Faith prior to the "great" Reformation...

The book is, of course, The Stripping of the Altars by Eamon Duffy.  I started it ages ago, and never got around to finishing it (on account of its not being exactly handbag or pocket size) although it was fascinating enough for me to want to have another stab at it.  Soon.  Maybe over Christmas.

Ok, I don't want to tag the same people as before, even though it would have made life easier, so here goes:
2.  Jackie from Mother's Pride
5. Last, but not least, Phil.


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