Saturday, 10 January 2009

A Manuel Moment...

I went out for dinner this evening. There were a few communication issues with the waiter...

"A cappuccino, an espresso and a Remy Martin, please."
"Cappuccino, espresso, and, uhhhhhh..."
"A brandy."
"Ahhh! Brandy! Which one?"
"Remy Martin."
"Ahhh... Remy... OK."

Manuel lives...

Friday, 9 January 2009

A Gangster's Guide To God...

John Pridmore came to the parish this evening. He gave an excellent talk to a packed church, explaining his conversion experience. He's a very inspiring and charismatic speaker, and he did his utmost to explain how his former life was empty and unfulfilling, despite appearing to be everything a man could want.

If you ever get the opportunity to hear him speak, make sure you go. I would also recommend his books: From Gangland to Promised Land and Gangster's Guide to God.

Prayer Time...

I received the following information via email. I have to confess to having been short-sighted enough to mentally assign the Freedom of Choice Act to "things American which I can't do anything about."

As this email made clear, you don't have to be a US citizen to pray about it...

The Freedom of Choice Act (FOCA) is set to be signed if the US Congress passes it on January 21-22, 2009. If made a law then all limitations on abortion will be lifted which will result in the following:

1) All hospitals, including Catholic hospitals will be required to perform abortions upon request. If this happens Bishops vow to close down all Catholic hospitals, more then 30% of all hospitals in the United States.
2) Partial birth abortions would be legal and have no limitations.
3) All U.S. tax payers would be funding abortions.
4) Parental notification will no longer be required.
5) The number of abortions will increase by a minimum of 100,000 annually.

Perhaps most importantly the government will now have control in the issue of abortion. This could result in a future amendment that would force women by law to have abortions in certain situations (rape, Downs Syndrome babies, etc.) and could even regulate how many children women are allowed to have. Needless to say this information is disturbing, but sadly true. As Catholics, as Christians, as anyone who is against the needless killing of innocent children, we must stand as one. We must stop this horrific act before it becomes a law.

The Plan :
To say a novena (9 days of prayer) along with fasting (for at least two days) starting on January 11th. For Catholics, the prayer of choice will be the rosary with intentions to stop the FOCA. For non-Catholics I encourage you to pray your strongest prayers with the same intentions, also for nine consecutive days. The hope is that this will branch and blossom as to become a global effort with maximum impact. We have very little time so we all must act fast. 

Remember that with God all things are possible and the power of prayer is undeniable. If you are against the senseless killing of defenseless children then the time is now to do something about it!

Thursday, 8 January 2009

Usus Antiquior Launch Countdown...

At the launch of the journal Usus Antiquior, which I attended last September, a competition for the design of the journal was opened. The winning entry has now been announced, and you can see it (and some of the runners up) on the New Liturgical Movement.

The following appeal was also added...

Similarly, we must thank those who have so kindly donated to the journal, howsoever modestly. Your financial support at this crucial time – when we have no other income whatsoever – has facilitated much of the hidden practical and academic work we have accomplished thus far. We need, however, to appeal for further donations in order to sustain this work in the coming year when the administrative structures of the journal must be established and the process of advertising it to seminaries, religious houses and academic institutions must be begun. Contributions, however small, will all help to ensure the journal’s quality and success, and may be made on our website or by post. God bless you for your generosity!

In the coming months arrangements for the management of subscriptions as well as the production and distribution of the journal will be finalised. Subscriptions will open on our website on 7th July 2009 when the contents of the first edition will also be announced.

Donations can be made from the journal website. Twitch of the mantilla to Fr. Tim.

New(ish) Blogs Discovered...

For some strange reason, for the past couple of days, I've had more than 300 visitors. I can't quite figure out what has caused the daily stats to go up (not that I'm complaining) as the referrals don't appear to be any one particular blog or website...

In examining the list of referrals, I've noticed one or two new blogs. I am, unfortunately, still unable to edit my blogroll, and have been too busy/lazy/ill to begin the mammoth task of transferring all my links to another system. So, I thought I'd mention one or two in a post...

First up is the engagingly named "That The Bones You Have Crushed May Thrill," written by Laurence England. He's only been blogging since last September, but has managed quite an impressive output. I laughed out loud when I read his post on taking the environmental message of the Bishops' Conference seriously...

Cookie is the first female member of the Lair of the Catholic Cavemen (not including the House Sergeant Major, who is the non-blogging wife of Cavey, the Vir Speluncae Catholicus.) I did worry that Cavey and his chums had gone all PC on us, but Cookie appears refreshingly direct. She also has her own blog, The Holy Cookie.

The Lazy Disciple appears to be living up to his name... though I think that being a husband, father and PhD student at the Gregorian University in Rome might explain the dearth of blog posts since he started back in 2006... heheheheh!

David Palmer is a re-entry in the Blog stakes... he stopped blogging about a year ago, but has succumbed to the lure of the Blogosphere, and is up and running again with a new blog, The Fullness of Faith (albeit with the old name) and a particular emphasis on Islam and how it affects the Church.

Kit describes herself as mother of three, wonderful, well-loved children, wife of an amazing man, scolder of dogs, herder of cats, and tamer of an otherwise feral cockatiel. She also finds the time to write By The Brook, the chronicles of a Catholic mom, wife, lawyer, professor, daughter, sister, mentor, boss and employee embarked on the perilous journey past 40. She appears to be almost as accident-prone as me, as her post detailing eye injuries sustained in the dentist's chair and with a mascara wand testifies...

Finally, Fr. John Abberton, Parish Priest of Holy Spirit, Heckmondwike, Yorkshire, is the author of Stella Maris. He has a particularly strong Marian devotion, being, I think, a Third Order Carmelite (I assume that's what "TOC" stands for!) and a member of the Marian Movement of Priests. If it's the Marian Movement I'm thinking of, I first heard of the Movement when I was in Camberwell, just after my return to the Faith, and I heard more about it at the Padre Pio bookshop in Vauxhall Bridge Road, Victoria... seeing Fr. John's reference to the Marian Movement really took me back a few years!

Wednesday, 7 January 2009

Question Time...

Ok, as a relative newbie to the Extraordinary Form (I've attended Mass for a while, but have only been following the EF Ordo since last Easter, or thereabouts) I've got a quick question.

I get the impression that Septuagesima is penitential, (heheheh) but in what way, exactly, is it different from Lent? I mean, Lent still starts on Ash Wednesday in the EF calendar, so presumably Lenten fasting etc. starts then too... so what are the penitential "practices" (if any) which happen at Septuagesima?

Just wondering...

Warped Mentality...

According to Baroness Warnock, doctors who refuse to help terminally ill patients kill themselves are "genuinely wicked."

This is the same woman who said that dementia patients have a duty to die, so as not to be a burden on their families or the State.

As John Smeaton points out, her views on human fertilisation, embryology and stem cell research have already been incorporated into British Law.

How long before her views on euthanasia are similarly made law?

Tuesday, 6 January 2009

Feast Of The Epiphany

No, it wasn't a Holyday of Obligation, but quite a few people like to celebrate it on the traditional date of January 6th... and, if you celebrate the Extraordinary Form of Mass, you still can.

We had a very good attendance at the Solemn High Mass; Fr. Charles Briggs and Deacon John Harrison had come along from Chislehurst to act as Deacon and Sub-Deacon respectively. There were 10 servers on the Sanctuary, and two other boys had asked Fr. Tim if they could serve for the Epiphany... but, as they haven't yet made their First Communion, they had to settle for being allowed to put out some of the candles after Mass.

One of the servers, aged 10 years, came back into the sacristy afterwards to show Fr. Tim his "new" St. Andrew's Missal... "Look, Father," he exclaimed, "I've got the prayers before Mass marked with a white tab (ribbon), and the Mass next Sunday, it's the Holy Family, isn't it? That's marked with a green tab... and I've got another tab for the prayers for Benediction..." This lad has already, at age 10, acted as MC for Sunday Mass, and yesterday managed to say the servers' responses off by heart.

Not a low-energy lightbulb, clown or fairtrade chocolate in sight.

As Fr. Tim said, "I really must introduce you to Bishop Conry."

Sad Demise of Orthfully Catholic

...The death of the blog, I hasten to point out, not the authors.

It seems that, after two years, the seminarians are hanging up their computer keyboards. I am very sorry to see the end of their blogging careers, though I am pleased to note that they have just stopped posting (with a comment in the most recent com-box to confirm their decision) rather than actually deleting their whole blog, and leaving the rest of us with dead links.

Be assured, chaps, that I'll be praying for you as you continue in your preparation for the priesthood... Don't stop visiting, and leave the odd comment just to let me know how you're getting on.

And I look forward to the invitation to your Ordinations... (hint, hint)

Married Clergy As The Solution?

The BBC, when not actually bashing Catholics, likes to take little side-swipes at the Church; little comments which suggest that the Church would be absolutely fine and dandy (and perfectly acceptable to the intelligentia) if she didn't adopt such backward-looking "policies." And the BBC is very adept at trotting out "leading Catholics" (such as Cristina Odone, and Sister Lavinia Byrne - though the latter appears to have fallen out of favour since she dropped the "Sister" bit) who are happy to confirm these opinions.

The most popular little dig consists of the suggestion that clerical celibacy is the reason behind all the woes of the Church. You name it, it's because the Catholic Church insists on celibacy. Falling attendance at Mass, lack of vocations, child abuse and homosexual clergy would all stop, immediately, if the Pope would only be realistic and allow married clergy.

At this point, an "ex-priest" is often cited as being so unfairly treated (if not actually trotted out in person) compared to his ex-Anglican married brethren who have been welcomed into the Catholic Church with open arms. The little inconvenient fact that the former has broken his vow of priestly celibacy, while the latter have not, is ignored.

Fr. Longenecker is a former Anglican priest who crossed the Tiber a while back. He's also married. As he points out, the Anglican Church has got married clergy, and that hasn't stopped the problems, demonstrated by this piece in the Telegraph. As an aside, it looks as though allowing women priests has problems too...

Monday, 5 January 2009

First Blonde Joke Of The Year...

In my New Year's Resolutions, I said that I would limit my blonde jokes to one a month. So, this one is January's offering...

A blonde woman was seen standing by a coke machine. She put in a pound coin, pressed a button, and out came a bottle of coke. The blonde clapped her hands, jumped up and down, and then put in another pound. Once again, she pressed a button, and a bottle of coke was dispensed. She put in another pound, and repeated the process. Another bottle arrived.

A young man approached, and asked her if she would be finished with the machine any time soon.

"Not a chance!" replied the blonde, "I'm not leaving here until I stop winning!"


Everything sounded strangely muffled this morning, and so I looked through my bedroom window to see what was going on. Aha. All becomes clear - snow!

Sunday, 4 January 2009

Traddy Eye-Candy...

We had our monthly Missa Cantata on Saturday. I just couldn't resist taking a few photos... the Extraordinary Form of Mass is just sooooo much more photogenic than the Ordinary Form...

Nothing out of the ordinary, just our usual parish Mass, but, ohhhhhhh! What an experience!

And then, we finished with a short service of Benediction...

Battling Manfully On...

Right now, I am feeling like death, dug up and warmed over... and then reburied. I know when it is time to take another dose of my medicine, because I start to get woozy, short of breath and recommence trying to cough up the lining of my lungs. Coughing that hard has unfortunate side effects... When I take the medication, I feel better for a bit, and then start doing too much, and end up feeling exhausted. Night-time is the worst, because lying flat makes coughing harder. As a result, sleeping isn't something I'm doing much of... it's more of a fitful doze, and so I'm "oversleeping" more than is my usual wont.

Yes, I am feeling very sorry for myself. I also feel guilty, because I have the sneaky suspicion that I probably should be swathed in layer upon layer of protective clothing, and, if I must venture out, I should ring a little bell and call out "Unclean, unclean!" as a warning to others. The doctor did say that I should rest, but didn't seem to think I was infectious... 

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