Saturday 21 October 2006

Sex Education in Schools

SPUC are running a campaign about sex education in schools at the moment, called Safe in Schools. At my last school I had direct experience of what happens when the Local Health Authority (via the school nurse) is given a free hand in providing the input on this. Personally, I think it amounts to child abuse: children (for that is what they are) are being encouraged to experiment with sex, to mess up their bodies with drugs - by going on the pill or by using the morning after pill - to avoid discussing matters like this with their parents or teachers (under the guise of confidentiality) and to view surgical abortion as another method of contraception.

In no other area would we approach things this way. It is something akin to saying "Hey, we know that you youngsters will experiment with heroin. We want you to be able to do it safely, so here's a free syringe and Tuesday period 1 we'll show you how to shoot up. Oh, and it's ok - we won't mention this to your parents. Fine, now for homework, study the diagram on page 23 and see if you can find the definitions of smack, grass, blow and crack..."

Church teaching on the matter is rarely taught properly, often because parents and teachers are woefully ill-informed themselves, and this is in no small way due to the fact that priests and bishops in this country have not attempted to defend the Church's position. Far too rarely is Humanae Vitae promoted positively. And so most people - and for many years I was one of them - hear about the Church's teaching on sexual matters as something to snigger at (the Vatican Roulette gags spring to mind), something which normal, rational people didn't actually follow.

I feel pretty strongly about this... I shall do a proper post on it soon.

How to Start a Holiday...

The first day of my half-term holiday started well... I was able to switch off my alarm clock (I'd forgotten to re-set the time) and roll over for an extra hour's snooze. The cat didn't think much of this: Sylvester has gotten used to being fed just before I leave the house, and he was most put out by being made to wait an extra hour for breakfast! And he has an ingenious way of making his displeasure felt... he sits on my shoulder and taps me on the nose. If this doesn't work, he unsheaths his claws and taps a second time.

Only on one previous occasion did he have to make a third attempt... he put his paw in my mouth and attempted to fish for my tongue. Needless to say, self-preservation now kicks in, and I wake up pretty fast once he starts tapping.

I then went to my Parish church for the usual Saturday morning devotions - we have Mass (usually a votive Mass of Our Lady, celebrated in English, Novus Ordo, but ad orientem at the Lady Altar) and then Exposition of the Blessed Sacrament for an hour (this is at the High Altar) with silent adoration (and opportunity for Confession) concluding with Benediction.

Today I was booked in to meet with my spiritual director after Benediction. I would say having a good director is pretty vital if you want to take your spiritual life seriously. However, I do approach each session of SD with a certain amount of ambivalence: I know it is good for my soul, and I know that it's necessary, but at the end of a session I generally feel as if I've had my insides scoured out with a brillo pad, and gone ten rounds with Mike Tyson to boot. My SD is pretty thorough!

After I escaped (sorry, that should have read after the session ended...) I drove over to New Addington for tea and a chat with a friend of mine who's the Parish Priest there. I've been so busy with work that I don't think we've chatted properly since the Faith Summer Session (or thereabouts) so we had plenty to catch up on. Anyway, he persuaded me to come along and speak to the parents of his First Communion children about the problems of sex education in Catholic Schools, some time in January.

I felt I'd had such a good day that I decided to pop in to church on my way home to say Evening Prayer, and I stayed for Mass. The sermon was on our need for penance and self-sacrifice if we wished to attain true peace of mind, the true peace that passes all understanding. More food for thought.

...and then I treated myself to a Kentucky Fried Chicken which I shared with Sylvester. All in all, not a bad way to start the holidays!

Friday 20 October 2006

Rosary Crusade Pictures

I was going to try and download one or two photos from my phone, but just haven't had the time. However, I have been told that I need to have more photos on my blog.

So, without further ado...

Religious Persecution?

This contribution from Credo made me cry (albeit with laughter!) Check out what they did to "Sr. Cecilia" through the link HERE. The comments are illuminating too!


I've just finished teaching. Normally I have another lesson, but that particular class is on work experience this week, so I finish slightly earlier. And somehow or other I haven't got any meetings scheduled after lunch.... effectively, I'm on my half term holidays...


The down side (and there's always a down side) is that I have lots and lots of marking to do, a scheme of work to create and next half term's lessons to plan. So I guess the week-long trip to the Caribbean is off !!


I was right... the course was somewhere near Euston. Not very near, but close. Same city...


It was actually very good, and well worth the hassle of setting cover work for the day. It always amazes me as to the lengths the Exam Boards will go to to get students through the exams (yes, you read that right... the Boards actually want students to pass!)

For example, the textbook endorsed by the Exam Board has lots of mistakes in it - and I don't mean typos or grammar. Things like describing how the prisoner in Plato's analogy of the Cave escapes and makes his way outside... in fact, he is forcibly dragged out, and this rather changes the emphasis of the analogy! The Chief Examiners very helpfully pointed out that, since the Board had endorsed the book, the students could not be marked down for reproducing the errors.

...Unfortunately I don't think a covering note from me explaining that I'm responsible for any errors the students might make so can they please not mark the students down will cut any ice with the Board...

Tuesday 17 October 2006

H'Euston, We Could Have a Problem...

I pride myself at being reasonably well-organised (at work, anyway!) I try to file away all important documents as quickly as possible (I like a clear desk) so that I can retrieve them quickly and easily when needed.

For example, tomorrow I am booked to attend an exam board course to hear the examiners' comments about students' performance on the AS and A Level Theology exams this summer. These courses can vary greatly in how interesting or useful they are, but the ones run by the Exam Boards themselves are generally good.

I received confirmation of my place on the course about three weeks ago, read the venue details briefly (this particular Exam Board saves time and effort by sending a whole booklet of their most commonly used London venues, and indicating the relevant one in the confirmation letter) and promptly filed the documents away.

I had quite a busy day today: lessons in the morning, a lunchtime meeting, a line management meeting with one of my colleagues, a strategy meeting to discuss Psychology exam coursework requirements with another colleague, and a twilight INSET on interactive whiteboards. I told myself firmly that the last thing I should do was forget to retrieve my confirmation letter and venue booklet...

...and sure enough, just before leaving, the last thing I did... was to forget to retrieve my confirmation letter and venue booklet...


I have absolutely no idea where I am supposed to be going tomorrow morning! I seem to recall that it is somewhere in the vicinity of Euston (hence the awful pun in the post heading... sorry, couldn't resist!)

So much for my sneaky plan to have an extra hour in bed... I shall have to go and get the letter in the morning!


Monday 16 October 2006

Online Humour

Here's an example of the sort of thing I would get sent by email and then pass on to all my friends... basically now they've got to come and get it!

It's a giggle... the LINK is here if you want to find out more! But just a snippet as a taster:

You may be a truly modern Catholic if you think that...

...Fulton Sheen is a kind of pantyhose

...the "three-strikes-and-you're-out rule" concerns divorce

...the baptismal font is a new typeface in Microsoft Word icon is something on your computer screen

Enjoy! H/T to Ironic Catholic

And Another Blog Added to the Roll

I have tried to update my blogroll (a little) to reflect which blogs I check most frequently (saves me having to scroll down too far)... it's not necessarily an indication of how much I like them: I have a very old computer, and blogs with too many frames, videos or pictures just take too long to load!

However, I noticed a few important omissions (Joee Blogs being one) and while investigating, I discovered a blog from Dad With Noisy Kids...

He has a theory, according to one post, that there is a vast right-wing/drumstick/thigh Catholic conspiracy to take over the world... and some of his evidence is convincing! Check it out HERE.

Sunday 15 October 2006

Rosary Crusade Update

As I suspected, Father Tim of the Hermeneutic of Continuity has posted his sermon from yesterday's fantastic Rosary Crusade of Reparation, which he delivered at the London Oratory. Just in case there is anyone who is reading my blog who hasn't read his already (unlikely, I know), then you can read the full text of the sermon HERE.

I found his use of the phrase "my dear people" very moving: it quite brought a lump to my throat. We still address our priests as "Father" but we don't often hear the pastoral concern reciprocated quite so clearly. Terms of address like "my child", "my son", "my daughter" or "my people" are found often in the sermons of such great preachers as St. John Vianney and St Francis de Sales. Maybe we need to bring them back to remind us of our priests' pastoral role.

Homily Dedication

A while back I did a post (linked HERE if you're interested) on our responsibility to avoid occasions of sin as well as the sins themselves. In (respectfully) suggesting that we needed to hear more sermons on this subject I mentioned St Teresa of Avila and St Catherine of Siena who were my role models in that they also (respectfully) told a few clerics to pull their socks up...

While not needing to challenge my favourite blogging clerics in quite the same way, I think it's helpful to indicate that not all Catholic laywomen are mad feminists who don't want to hear anything about Humanae vitae, abortion, reserving the priesthood to men, etc. etc. because our sensibilities might be upset. Too often, the only female voice heard in the Church (and certainly the only one listened to by the English hierarchy) is that of the all-too-vocal minority who, in my humble opinion, can hardly be classed as Catholic anyway because of their dissent from Church doctrine...

...but I digress (I'm beginning to feel a rantette coming on, and I don't want to burst my nice cosy Sunday morning bubble)

Anyway, Fr Stephanos, one of the four priests I challenged has actually done a short homily on St Teresa of Avila and dedicated it to me, which was sweet! You can read it HERE.

...I've never had a homily dedicated to me before!!
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