Saturday, 27 February 2010

Sod's Law In Operation...

My colour laser printer had been acting up for a while, with plain black text coming out unevenly, some bits being very dark and slightly smudgy-looking, and other parts (on the same line) being much paler. I assumed it was the toner running low, and replaced the cartridges.

That didn't do much... and then, after having replaced all four toner cartridges, the paper feed went wrong. The paper wouldn't load. I explored the machine a bit (being blonde and not very technically-minded meant that it was a fairly superficial exploration) and concluded that the paper tray was supposed to make something click into place so that the end was raised, and the paper could be picked up by the roller... only it wasn't happening.

I couldn't fix it, and the machine was out of warranty, and I decided it might be easier to buy a new printer, especially in view of the uneven printing.

So, today I went to get a new printer. However, when I got home, I thought I'd have another little look at the paper tray of the old printer.


Three guesses what happened next. If you paid any attention to the title of the blog post, you'll only need one of them...

Yes, that's right... The wretched machine started to work.

However, the problem with uneven print was still in evidence.

And, since I'm not entirely sure how I fixed the paper feed problem, I decided to keep the new printer. I just have to figure out what to do with the old one...

Thursday, 25 February 2010

Have They Actually Read The Catechism??

This is just so jaw-droppingly unbelievable.

Maybe, after all the criticism over the CSF Bill, the Bishops came to the conclusion that they might as well be hung for a sheep as for a lamb, and have chucked another few lamb chops under the grill.

It seems that the bishop who speaks on pro-life matters for the Bishops' Conference has opened his mouth only to change feet.

This from John Smeaton's blog...

Archbishop Smith has said today that he "welcome[s]" new guidelines on assisted suicide published today by Keir Starmer, the director of public prosecutions (DPP). Archbishop Smith highlighted positive changes in the guidelines and made no mention of any negative aspects.

Paul Tully of SPUC Pro-Life, which was officially represented before the courts in the Debbie Purdy case, told the media this evening:

"'s guidelines still represent a significant shift towards judging the suspect's motive ("compassion") in committing the crime, rather than his/her intention (to help cause death). This shift clearly undermines the protection that the law affords to those who might commit suicide, and leaves prosecutors with a very difficult task, when faced with relatives who claim to be grief-stricken by the death of someone they loved, but helped to commit suicide."

Read the rest HERE. Try not to punch anything.

Wednesday, 24 February 2010

Crossing The Rubicon...

We have reached the point of no return.

The Children, Schools & Families Bill passed its third reading in the House of Commons, without a single word of protest from the Bishops of England & Wales.

The Bishops have got to decide whether they wish to follow God or Caesar. To be silent any longer is to cooperate in grave evil. Sins of omission and all that...

St. John Fisher & St. Thomas More, pray for them...

Tuesday, 23 February 2010


The fact that, on the morning that the Children, Schools and Families Bill is debated and given a third reading, not a single member of the Catholic hierarchy of England & Wales was available to make a comment, and, more importantly, no-one from the Catholic Education Service was in evidence, is totally shameful.

Damian Thompson gives a clear description of the line of questioning on BBC Radio 4's Today programme. Fortunately for my blood pressure, I was already at school by the time of the interview, and so didn't get to hear it myself. I was appalled to realise that no-one was there to put the Catholic point of view across.

I feel a deep sense of betrayal - the shepherds have left the sheep to fend for themselves in the face of the wolves descending on the fold. In fact, given the attitude of the CES, I suspect that some of the shepherds have been too busy grilling lamb chops...

I missed this post from the Pastor Emeritus, who suggests that Bishop McMahon and Oona Stannard ought to be called to account.

Laurence England goes even further, pointing out that Bishop McMahon's predecessor is Archbishop Nichols, and the CES rot is at least partly the result of his stewardship; he also provides the text of a letter he sent to the Archbishop calling for decisive action.

Fr. Ray Blake has a very good suggestion: why don't we just jack the whole thing in, and put more effort (and money) into solid catechesis.

Monday, 22 February 2010

Urgent - Amendment To CSF Bill...

This information has been sent round by SPUC - it's a last-ditch attempt to stop the corruption of our children, and defend the rights of parents to choose how and when to tell their children the facts of life.

Tomorrow (Tue 23 February 2010) is the the final main day (report stage and third reading) in the House of Commons on the government's sex education bill. (The bill has yet to be debated in the House of Lords.) The Conservative opposition has tabled a new amendment (no.60) which seeks to exclude sex and relationships education (SRE) from primary schools.

Please email or telephone your MP immmediately to urge him/her to

(a) sign and support amendments 2 and 60, tabled the Conservative opposition for report-stage (see below for more info) and

(b) vote against the bill as a whole at third reading. (A widely-reported government amendment on sex education in faith schools is mere window-dressing - see SPUC's 19 February 2010 media release)

What you need to know:

* The government's Children, Schools and Families bill would force all state schools to provide sex and relationships education (SRE) for all primary and secondary school pupils.

* The government want SRE to include signposting and links to abortion and other anti-life/anti-family services in schools, including faith schools.

* The bill would force schools to teach SRE according to principles of "equality", "diversity" and "rights."

* The government's draft SRE guidance interprets those principles to include abortion, birth control, homosexuality and "a wide range of [sexual] practices."

* Schools, if challenged, may well have to prove their SRE programmes accord with the bill's principles and that they had "regard" to the government's anti-life guidance.

* Faith schools may argue that they are entitled to protect their ethos, but the government has demanded that schools accept its sexual health agenda. The government says schools may adapt "the way things are taught", but it insists that all aspects of SRE will have to be delivered in all schools.

* Conservative opposition amendment no. 2 would delete the bill's proposed SRE principles of "equality", "diversity" and "rights". Amendment no. 60 seeks to exclude SRE from primary schools. Whilst these amendments are neither perfect nor comprehensive, they seek to lessen the damage of the sex education proposals.

Please ask your MP to show his concern by signing these amendments (which will increase the chance of their being selected for debate) as well as opposing the Bill as a whole.

You can contact your MP by:

* email via the SPUC MPs web page
* telephone via the parliamentary switchboard on (020) 7219 3000.

Please forward any replies you receive to SPUC by:

* email, or post to Paul Tully at SPUC HQ

More information can be found in:

* SPUC's leaflet "Government sex education: priming children for teenage sex and abortion?"

* SPUC's briefing on the government's draft SRE guidance

* SPUC's critique "Sexual health in schools"

The Suppository's Supporting Role In "Stand Up" Comedy...

The Suppository, (aka "The Bitter Pill,") claims to be a Catholic weekly newspaper. In reality, it's as Catholic as the CES, which is to say, it isn't Catholic at all.

It constantly dissents from Church teaching, particularly on matters of sexuality, women's ordination and priestly celibacy. There is frequent criticism of the Holy Father. That, in my mind, means that it has no right to call itself "Catholic." Catholics, according to Vatican II,

"... should, as all Christians, promptly accept in Christian obedience decisions of their spiritual shepherds..." (Lumen Gentium n. 37)

and also:

"...This religious submission of mind and will must be shown in a special way to the authentic magisterium of the Roman Pontiff, even when he is not speaking ex cathedra." (LG n. 25)

So, The Suppository should not be sold in our churches... well, not unless we're going to start selling other non-Catholic periodicals (equal opportunities and all that!)

However, The Suppository is also guilty of extremely sloppy journalism. How is it possible to report the recent Stand Up for Vatican II meeting, (bottom of Pg 35, Campaign launched to help save Vatican II reforms from stagnation) naming the speakers, but failing to mention that these speakers are openly dissenting from Catholic teaching?

I am not a journalist, but I was able, with the help of Google Search, to ascertain that Sr. Myra Poole (referred to as "theologian" by Christopher Lamb) is a campaigner for women's ordination, and heads the Catholic Women's Ordination group. The reporter either hadn't done his homework, or he had deliberately omitted to mention this little item of information, in case it put the wrong slant on his report. After all, "Group of concerned Catholics meets to generate support for Vatican II" does have rather a different feel to it than "Group of dissenters from Church doctrine complain that their ideas about Vatican II haven't happened."

Mr Lamb similarly failed to mention that Dr. Michael Winter, another one of the speakers, is a former priest. Is it because he was unaware of this, or did he just not think it important?

I also noticed that Bernard Wynne was described in the report as the founder of Stand Up for Vatican II, and while there was a reference to his role in the Young Christian Workers during the time of the Council, there was no mention of the fact that he is currently the Chairman of Catholics for a Changing Church, another group which is in open dissent from the Magisterium...

Oh dear, oh dear... more sloppy journalism? Or more selective journalism?

Given the editorial policies of The Suppository, I suspect the latter: after all, if I can find out this stuff, anyone can, and I don't really believe that all their journalists are incompetent...

The editorial policies are demonstrated by their refusal to publish a letter giving another (less than complimentary) view of the Stand Up for Vatican II meeting from someone who was actually there. Since they wouldn't publish it, I said that I would...

Dear editor,

In his letter (Lack of nurtured Catholics, 6th February 2010) Frank Regan makes a number of claims about the Stand up for Vatican II meeting which don't tally with my memory, or the detailed notes I took of the event.

First, if Frank Regan thinks the meeting he chaired was a "significant experience of an inclusive church", he needs to get out more. In contrast to the multi-ethnic, socially-diverse reality which is the Catholic Church in the Britain, the meeting's attendees were all white, mostly aged over 70 and in the main middle class.

Secondly, when he claims that those present spoke "without rancour, with love for their Church" he is being economical with actualité. One of the speakers, Sister Myra Poole, recently publicly compared Pope Benedict XVI to BNP leader Nick Griffin. As an active anti-fascist whose great-grandfather was murdered by Nazis in Dachau, I find that comparison contemptible. At the meeting she gave a vainglorious speech, much of which involved her praising herself. When she wasn't doing that she was delivering a paranoid Dan Brownesque rant about the supposed influence Opus Dei has at the Vatican, complaining that the Vatican caused a lot of trouble at the World Council of Churches, insisting that "misogyny is so deep in this Church" and saying that she should tell her congregation that if they get anything from the Vatican "they should bin it".

That's not my definition of speaking without rancour, with love for the Church.

It's true that the laity were spoken of in disparaging terms as "knowing nothing" at the meeting but such sentiments are a function of the fact that groups like Catholics for a Changing Church which organised the meeting have little, if any, grassroots support in British parishes.

Sunday, 21 February 2010

Further Thoughts On The CES...

The complete disaster area which is the Catholic Education Service has got to be sorted out by the Bishops of England & Wales. With the debacle of the Children, Schools & Families Bill, it really has reached crunch time.

Since I wrote yesterday's piece, a few more blog posts have come to my attention:

The Hermeneutic of Continuity - Catholic schools: have we reached the endgame?

The Sunday Morning Soapbox - While the Family burns...

And, a late addition: Catholic and Loving It - Catholic Education Services.

Victoria left a comment on my last CES post suggesting that we write, first to the Bishops, then to the Nuncio, and finally to the Curial department. Laurence England had much the same idea a while back, and he identified the person in Rome to write to as being Cardinal Zenon Grocholewski, at the Congregation for Catholic Education.

Time For A Little Humour...

I spotted this a while back, and thought it rather amusing... then forgot about it. Luckily I discovered it again...

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