Saturday 13 January 2007

Caption Competition

Fr Ray Blake (St Mary Magdalen's, Brighton) had this wonderful picture up and invited everyone to take part in a caption competition. I liked the picture so much that I'm afraid I swiped it for my own blog... but I am completely out of witty captions.

Shameless Self-Publicity

I will no doubt have to go to Confession after this post... I have been given a mention on Fr Dwight Longenecker's excellent blog, Standing on My Head. Admittedly, he also mentioned a few other British Bloggers, but I shall magnanimously forgive this lapse of judgement as the other blogs mentioned are rather good ones.

I particularly enjoyed reading that my "great" blog has "...Plenty of pithy comment, cheerful good humor and British irony." I'll even go so far as to overlook the fact that Americans can't spell "humour"...

Fr Dwight's take on a typical Auntie Joanna entry is also very entertaining!

Progress... (Of Sorts)

Ha! Further to my New Year's Resolution, I can report that I have made a little progress...

I've finally cracked the Confiteor! Yippee!

Of course, just to make it more challenging, I shall now have to learn the Classical Rite version too...

*bangs head on table amid cries of hysterical laughter*

Here We Go Again...

I saw the headline on the front page of the Daily Mail on my way back from Benediction, and then read about it online (H/T to Aaron at Indolent Server)

I was wondering at the beginning of Exposition, as Fr Tim asked us to pray for the freedom to worship as Catholics in our country, whether it might do us some good to be under such blatant persecution. People will then see it for what it is, and might be provoked into standing up for their beliefs.

A school provoked fury last night by ordering a devout Catholic schoolgirl to remove her cross necklace because it posed a health and safety risk.

Teachers demanded Samantha Devine remove her chain and tiny crucifix despite allowing Muslim and Sikh pupils to wear symbols of their religion.

Her family have vowed to fight the decision "all the way" claiming it discriminates against Christians.

The case mirrors the row which engulfed British Airways and forced the airline into an embarrassing climbdown after it threatened to sack an employee who insisted on wearing her cross at work.

In the latest clash, 13-year-old Samantha was left in tears after her form teacher told her she must remove her tiny half-inch crucifix and chain.

But her furious family yesterday pointed out the school - Robert Napier in Gillingham, Kent - allows Muslim pupils to wear headscarves and Sikh students to come to lessons with turbans and bangles.

Samantha even claims staff routinely fail to crack down on youngsters wearing non-religious jewellery, including large necklaces and earrings.

Her parents are concerned she is being singled out because she is a Christian. The youngster last night vowed to continue wearing her necklace to school - even if it means being expelled.

Her stand now threatens to spark similar confrontations in schools up and down the country.

Read the full story HERE.

Wishful Thinking?

The following little snippet might get some of you a little exercised... it's courtesy of Fr L.W. Gonzales (Overheard in the Sacristy)

Now, before you get carried away, Fr Gonzales had the piece labelled "humor" which I guess is American for a leg-pull...

It made me do a double-take though!!

The Shipping Forecast

I keep meaning to re-tune my radio away from the BBC's Radio 4. However, at night, it switches automatically to the World Service - difficult to imagine a radio station closing down for the night in these days of 24-hour shopping and television! I grew up hearing the World Service in the middle of the night as my mother was a real night owl, and she would listen to the plays (they still did those back then, rather than the continual re-hashing of "news" which isn't really.)

Anyway, there's something comforting about having the radio mutter quietly in the background - reassurance that I haven't overslept, mostly - so I find the habit hard to break. Maybe I'll give it up for Lent.

One of the last things I hear, just before Radio 4 closes, is the Shipping Forecast. I have listened to it for years. There is something very cozy about being under the duvet while hearing that there's a "Southwesterly 6 or 7, becoming cyclonic 7 to severe gale 9 for a time. Rain at times. Moderate." It's like another language. Viking, North Utsire, South Utsire... Dogger, Fisher, German Bight, (that always drew houls of laughter round the dinner table - my mother is German, and she'd always mime to that one!) Humber, Thames, Dover, Wight...

Wednesday night we had lots of high winds. I'd often heard "storm 10" mentioned, but it was the first time that I heard "violent storm 11" used. And the announcer ended the Radio 4 broadcast with a special mention of those out at sea... another first.

So I wondered what came after 11: I knew the Beaufort Wind Scale went up to 12, but was puzzled as to what description would be added... super-violent? ...extremely violent? ...very violent?

I finally decided to have a look on Google: and it's fascinating to see where all those sea areas actually are... I had no idea Trafalgar was all the way down there!! If you're interested, you can have a look for yourself, by clicking HERE.

(BTW, 12 is actually hurricane force!)

Friday 12 January 2007

The Power of the Blog

Well, well, well... if anyone needed a demonstration of how powerful "all this blog stuff" actually is, we have definitive proof!

As well as being an excellent way to get news out among ordinary Catholics, bypassing media spin, it seems that getting your face posted on various blogs can open doors.

Fr Zuhlsdorf (What Does The Prayer Really Say?) recognised the far-from-elusive non-blogging Fr Whinder and Fr Schofield (Roman Miscellany) on their perambulations around the Eternal City, and invited them in for a drink.

Blog Power indeed!

Despite the attraction of instant celebrity, I shall refrain from scaring the horses by putting up anything other than the back of my head (neatly shielded by a mantilla!)

Catholic Alphabet Meme... With a Caveman Twist !

There is a Catholic Alphabet Meme doing the rounds. No-one tagged me (*hangs head in shame*) but that has never stopped me before. However, I found it a little too saccharine-sweet for my personal taste (and filling out 26 items, one of which had to begin with X, was a little too much like hard work!)

And it would appear that I am not alone... The Catholic Caveman has given the meme his very personal slant... particularly his proposal for a "musical" accompaniment to "On Eagle's Wings."

(BTW, if I got the apostrophe in the wrong place - something which really gets up my nose - it's because I am assuming there is only one eagle!)

Creating Creative Liturgies

It would appear that the Prayer of the Frog and the Pub Mass are not the only creative liturgies out there...

Auntie Joanna revisited a liturgy she created... or, to be more accurate, a liturgy she reported as happening over in Oz. She used lots of touchy-feely jargon and bemoaned the fact that the Church was oppressing women and objecting to adultery...

...before you go crazy, yes she was "extracting the Michael" but the Women's Focus Group she sent the report to fell for it, hook, line and sinker. I wish she would put up a copy of the original report... it sounds priceless!

You can read more HERE.

Thursday 11 January 2007

More Cell Phones...

Following my previous post on mobile phones, I received a comment from Gildas at Orthfully Catholic which literally made me cry with laughter. He reports... incident in which the phone went off during the homily. The priest went down and took the call, saying "sorry, your friend can't talk to you at the moment: he's in Church. By the way, why aren't you here?"

And here's another Cell Phone Karma video to enjoy:

H/T to Orthometer.

Consecration to the Immaculate Heart of Mary

A friend of mine sent me the following prayer intention by email... I'm sure she won't mind it going out on the blog.

It is vital that you continue to pray, do penance and offer your Communions, for the intention that the Bishops of England and Wales consent to re-consecrate our country to the Sorrowful and Immaculate Heart of Mary, following the example of the act carried out by the US Bishops on 11th Nov 2006.

The position now is that Mgr Keith Barltrop of CASE (Catholic Agency for the Support of Evangelisation), who has excellent relations with all our Bishops, has drafted a letter, which it is proposed will be sent out jointly with Mgr Graham Leonard, the former Anglican Bishop of London, to the Apostolic Nuncio, Cardinal Murphy-O'Connor and Archbishop Nichols of Birmingham.

Mgr. Barlthrop is awaiting the response of Mgr. Leonard, who has agreed in principle - hence the urgency of offering prayer, penance and the sacrifices involved in fulfilling the ordinary duties of one's state, for this intention.

I am sure I do not need to tell you how greatly we need the intercession of Mary Immaculate in our country, to raise up the Church and avert present evils.

If the three prelates then agree to make the consecration, the intention is that all other Bishops will be invited to join in the act by sending in a signed copy of the prayer to be recited in the act, which will be placed on the altar, as was done in the USA.

May hearts everywhere be raised up in prayer to the merciful Lord for this intention.

Wednesday 10 January 2007

Remember to Switch Off, People !

I have to admit to being paranoid about leaving my mobile phone switched on, and it starting to ring in church. To compensate, I often leave my phone off for days on end... or at the very least, leave it on silent... or even at home (slightly excessive, and rather negating the point of having a mobile in the first place!)

So whenever a phone goes off in church, my first thought is, "Ha ! Thank God it's not mine..." closely followed by, " least I hope not!" Everyone makes mistakes. The irritation sets in when someone starts to answer the phone in church...

So this little snippet from Orthometer made me laugh out loud...

Health Alert: Yoga Causes Brain Damage.

I nearly crashed the car this morning... I was listening to an item on Radio 4, concerning yoga as an alternative treatment for infertility.

The phrase that really made me wonder which planet some people inhabit? "Yoga helps to get the blood right down into the pelvis..."

Hellooo! Earth calling! I think you'll find blood gets down there anyway, on account of it, like, circulates...

...though on reflection, maybe teaching yoga deprives the brain of oxygen...

Cute Bunny Rabbits... NOT !

Personally, I dislike rabbits. Watership Down was not a good reading experience. And I think the cute image is vastly overdone... I blame Beatrix Potter for a lot of it. In my experience, rabbits poo a lot and they smell vile. They also have really sharp teeth. And they are evil. If you have to have rodents, rats are much nicer.

Dadwithnoisykids over at Scorpion Stalking Duck illustrates my point. Rabbit versus rattlesnake, and the snake loses...

Tuesday 9 January 2007

Give Us Back Our Holyday Heritage !

The Bishops of England and Wales say that they are very keen on consultation with the faithful. So much so that they want to have lots of cozy little chats with parish groups to find out how the Church should "progress." By which they seem to mean that they "need" to plan for a Church with fewer parishes and fewer priests... and more "caring, sharing" Communion Services.

So, having heard how keen they are on consultation, it was a trifle irritating to find that these same Bishops, without so much as a by-your-leave - let alone consultation, have abolished most of the Holydays of Obligation. Oh sorry, no... not abolished exactly, just transferred them to the nearest Sunday to make life easier for the faithful who lead such busy lives. However, since Sundays (last time I looked) are days of Obligation anyway, the extra Holydays have effectively been abolished, so let's not pretty it up with fancy words.

It is even more annoying to read on blogs overseas praising the Cardinal Archbishop of Westminster for having written a Pastoral Letter encouraging the faithful to take part in more traditional Catholic devotions, like Benediction and the Rosary... (See this post by The Hon. Treasurer at the Recusant Cricket Club for a good examination of his message.) It seems to have escaped the notice of the Cardinal that the sort of person who would "find the time" for such Catholic devotions is the sort of person who would jolly well make sure that they found the time to attend the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass on a Holyday of Obligation, and who rejoiced in the marking of such major Feasts in the same way that Catholics through the ages have done...

...Maybe I'm being overly cynical, but has anyone else noticed that such devotions as the Rosary and the Stations of the Cross and so on don't actually need the presence of a priest...?

Virus Alert - Send to Everyone... NOT !

Some people put messages at the ends of their emails reminding everyone not to bother forwarding all the virus scare emails... which are basically more effective than any actual virus!

However, I really couldn't resist this virus alert. In my defence, I'm not sending it to anyone... and it is by Weird Al (and very funny!)


H/T to Orthometer.

Ministry Pins

I've spotted a genuinely new blog... according to the Blogger Profile, Et Invisibilium at Sub Voce has been blogging since January 2007.

He/she/it/they (hey, I seem to have gone all pc... HELP!) have an amusing post on different "ministry pins" which are being issued to support various groups... a bit like all the different colour wristbands and ribbons which seem to be popping up everywhere.

Check them out HERE.

Monday 8 January 2007

It's All or Nothing

An excellent post reflecting on how we often accept "some" unpleasant stuff (sex scenes in films, etc.) because the rest is ok... Laura points out that we have a real duty to avoid occasions of sin, and uses a brilliant Poopy Brownie Analogy.

Blogroll Updates

I've been updating my blogrolls. Gosh, I love broadband... computer is pretty neat too!

Your Horoscope for Today

Exploring the Blogosphere, I happened upon this very funny video (scenes from Lord of the Rings) to accompany Wierd Al Yankovic's song "That's Your Horoscope for Today"

H/T to Fr Erik Richtsteig at Orthometer.

New Source of Stem Cells?

I heard the following report on the BBC World Service late last night, and have since spotted it over at The Cafeteria is Closed...

There is a possibility that stem cells can be obtained from amniotic fluid, without harm to either mother or baby.

Hmmn. If it's true, then that sounds very encouraging. But I worry that the fluid will be obtained from the amniotic sacs around aborted foetuses, and because everyone's heard that "it's alright, it's not foetal tissue" then distinctions wil be blurred and people won't differentiate. And abortions will be carried out as a way of harvesting the amniotic fluid...

Yes, it sounds crazy, but I used to work as a neuropsychopharmacologist, doing foetal tissue transplants (in rats) and I've read some of the research which was done back then. It's horrific, and some people have the view that scientific research shouldn't be limited by religious "scruples" because we have to make progress...

I wrote an article on this stuff a few years after my return to the Church, and it was published in Faith Magazine (July 1996 - unfortunately not available for download, but I might be able to dig it out if anyone is interested.) Believe me, things have gotten much worse...

UPDATE: I found a copy of my article in the EWTN archives on Pro-Life issues (No. 92). You can link to it HERE.

The Wise Man Speaks...

Hee hee! Histor the Wise has put up his own thoughts on inclusive language. I particularly enjoyed his "clippy" caption. But Napoleon as a PC fanatic? Not tonight, Josephine!

Sunday 7 January 2007

Scrumptious !

Well, I finally managed to get to see my new nephew (admittedly I did get lost en route!) and I was allowed to give him a cuddle or two. This was, I suspect, only allowed because my sister wanted a chance to eat her lunch.

Maybe I am biased, but I think he is simply gorgeous. Looking at him, just a week old, and my inner response was "Wow, how can you NOT believe in God seeing the wonder of a tiny human creation!"

So, photo time again. Yes, I'm showing off !!

I took this one on my mobile phone before his mum woke him up for a feed:

...and this one was taken (again on the phone) by my brother-in-law - I'm holding the baby (and that's about as much of me as I want to see in a photo!!)

Finally, this one was taken to give an idea of how tiny he still is: I'm cradling his head in one hand (check out the thumb!)

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