Saturday 17 February 2007


...that there are some seriously warped people out there!

(I came 43rd...!)

The First Technical Helpdesk?

On the way back from Ampleforth, Edmund regaled us with comments about stupid questions sent in the direction of computer technical support departments... this one of the earliest examples of helpdesk support?

Mantilla-twitch in the direction of Overheard in the Sacristy.

Makes You Proud To Be Catholic !

We've had this shown in the parish, and I've seen it in a few places, but it is worth seeing again... and it brings a lump to my throat and a tear to my eye every single time...

Mantilla-twitch in the direction of Ironic Catholic.

Friday 16 February 2007

Blog Awards... The Latest !

I feel that I have been very restrained... apart from an initial plug for the nomination categories for the 2007 Awards, I didn't go all out to beg to be nominated... be honest, I didn't expect any nominations, so was maintaining a discrete silence so as not to make a complete pillock of myself. To my surprise, I found that I had been nominated for Best Individual Catholic Blog... admittedly, it looked as though the world and his cousin had also been nominated, but I was touched...

I didn't nag you all to vote... though I have to confess that this was because I was out of blogging range during most of the voting period! I only just managed to get my votes in!

However, I'm delighted to say that, subject to final verification, the results are out! You can read them for yourself HERE.

(I didn't win my category - no surprises there - but somehow I did manage to get 5 votes! Not much out of the total of 871 votes, but 48 blogs got fewer votes!)

More Blogs To Explore

I'm not sure if I mentioned the blog "Bashing Secularism," although it's been on my UK blogroll for a while. However, I had the great fortune to meet the author, Richard, at the Symposium, and he travelled back to London with us, which made for an entertaining journey home. It is great fun meeting fellow bloggers "for real" !

When going through my comments, I found that I had a new and appreciative visitor in 4HisChurch of Dymphna's Well (not to be confused with the equally good Dymphna of Dymphna's Road!)

And finally, while I've been away, G. Thomas Fitzpatrick of Recta Ratio appears to have stumbled upon my blog. Check them out when you get the chance.

Faith Symposium - Ampleforth 2007

I'm now fully refreshed after my sojourn at Ampleforth. It was my first Faith Symposium (half-term at Ampleforth having failed to coincide with mine in previous years) and I enjoyed it enormously. Of course, I was most at home with the last two talks - Edmund Nash on "Studying Evolution in the 21st Century" and Fr. Dylan James on "The Definition of the Human Person in the Context of Bioethics."

Almost more fascinating than the talks was the opportunity to listen to the discussions after each session... the ideas were being bounced back and forth, and various aspects ironed out... normally I loathe after-talk discussions, but you got the impression that this was a genuine opportunity for developing trains of thought, not just stating entrenched opinion.

Fr Tim has put up several posts on the Symposium already (Benedictine Hospitality; Faith Symposium I; Views from Ampleforth; Symposium Ia; Faith Symposium II; and The Nature of the Faith Symposium) ...however, he cheated by posting from the computer in the Hospitality Office. To be fair, the availability of the computer was clearly stated in the notes to guests left in each room... but as I was fairly certain that Fr Tim would be hogging the machine, (and writing far more lucid accounts of the proceedings into the bargain!) I decided to take the moral highground, and declared my stay a "blog-free zone."

The twitchy fingers eventually relaxed, and I used my spare time to read one of my recently acquired books, the one describing the Marian Apparitions at Guadalupe. I'll post on it shortly.

Again, my photos are not as brilliant as the ones on Fr. Tim's blog - but I managed to capture one or two moments on the phone camera.

Fr. Nesbitt gave the opening talk. Discussion on where exactly angels figure in the grand panorama of Creation (before or after the Big Bang) proved to be an eye-opener for me...

It was Fr. David's birthday, and half a century is just too important to ignore... so here we can see Fr. Dylan presenting a chocolate cake, while we all sang "Happy Birthday." Unfortunately, I wasn't as quick off the mark as I'd have liked, so Fr. David blew out the candles before I could capture the moment for posterity...

A lack of communication meant that several people had brought cakes, which kept us going throughout our stay. I bagsied what I thought was a chocolate rose... a rose by any other name might smell as sweet, but while this one looked gorgeous, it was made of some sort of fondant icing, and tasted like cement...

I was privileged to get to a Traditional Rite Mass each morning. The St. George's Chapel had a window facing Eastwards; when Mass started the window was in darkness (7am) and it gradually filled with light... awesome!

I was delighted to be able to catch up with Brother Philip - we'd originally met at the London Faith Forum meetings when they were held at Spanish Place. I'd forgotten he'd shaved off his beard when he entered Ampleforth... Brother Philip is shown here talking to Sr. Andrea of the Sisters of the Gospel of Life... and one of the Faith priests can be seen in the background reading what must class as the orthodox equivalent of pornography...

...and then there are the opportunities for discussion: here Fr. Tim is talking to Fr. Stephen Boyle... Fr. Stephen (brother of South Ashford Priest) told me he wants to appear on as many blogs as possible without the trouble of actually running a blog himself!

Fr. Mike seen here talking to Fr. Luiz outside the Grange...

...and then there are the late night discussions over drinks...

Fr. Stephen (again), Fiorella and Fr. Greg (I didn't manage to catch them unawares... but you can hardly tell!!)

The South Ashford Priest himself.

...and finally, Fr. Stephen (a different one), Fr. David (also a different one) and Fr. Tim.

Just to prove that I did occasionally go outside for a breath of fresh air...

...the main abbey grounds seen from the Grange.

The Grange itself (where we had the talks, and where most of us were staying.)

The Abbey Church. I just loved the glimmers of sunshine through the trees...

This one shows the building more clearly, but misses out the sunshine!

Return of the Mac...

Heheheheh! I'm back again. It's late - I've been visiting some of my favourite blogs just to get back up to speed - but normal blogging service will resume later today.

Monday 12 February 2007


Aaarghhh ! I don't think I will be able to cope... I shall be in a blog-free environment for the next four days. I can feel my fingers going into spasm just thinking about turning the computer off...

I suppose the advantage is that I'll have more time to pray for all of you...

...I'll be back on Thursday.

Sunday 11 February 2007

Getting In The Habit

Moneybags has put up an excellent post on the wearing of habits by female religious. I experienced a huge disappointment when visiting St. Bernadette's convent in Nevers on discovering that the sisters no longer wore "proper" habits, favouring instead the type of skirt and cardigan ensemble usually sold by Marks and Spencer's...

I described my feelings to a young priest friend a few years ago, and he took great delight in regaling me with the following anecdote. I have no idea if it is true... if not, then it ought to be...

Apparently, (so the story went), the good sisters of Nevers wanted to make St. Bernadette appeal to the tastes of modern misses. They proposed to kit the saint out in their new habit when the old one needed to be changed (I'm not sure if her clothing decays.) When the time came to undress Bernadette, her limbs - normally so supple and pliant - completely stiffened, making it impossible to remove her clothing...

...whether the story is true or not, it is an indisputable fact that she is currently in the habit traditionally worn by the Sisters of Nevers...

More Posters

Heheheh !

In case you thought I'd been too slushy in my recent choice of motivational posters, how about this demotivational one:

Mantilla-twitch to Happy Catholic

The Screwtape Letters on Film

Oh wow... one of my favourite books is to be made into a movie. I don't know whether to shout for joy or weep inconsolably... on the one hand, the film is going to be made by the same studio that produced "The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe" and getting the Screwtape Letters out to a wider audience is desirable... on the other hand, I am usually disappointed by the mangling given to my favourite books by the film industry; I don't know how well the letters will translate to the visual medium; and finally, there is the possibility that it's just jumping on the bandwagon of all the unhealthy interest there seems to be in the occult (think of all the TV programmes like "Charmed", "Angel" and so on...)

Still, I shall remain hopeful...

Twitch of the mantilla to Esther.

Intelligent Blonde Joke

Three women go down to Mexico one night, get drunk, and wake up in jail, only to find that they are to be executed in the morning, though none of them can remember what they did the night before.

The first one, a redhead, is strapped in the electric chair, and is asked if she has any last words. She says, "I am from Steubenville University, and believe in the almighty power of God to intervene on the behalf of the innocent." They throw the switch and nothing happens.

They all immediately prostrate themselves, beg for her forgiveness, and release her.

The second one, a brunette, is strapped in and gives her last words, "I am from Harvard Law School, and I believe in the power of justice to intervene on the part of the innocent." They throw the switch and again, nothing happens.

Again, they all immediately prostrate themselves, beg for her forgiveness, and release her.

The last one, a blonde, is strapped in and says, "Well, I'm from the University of Alabama, Huntsville and just graduated with a degree in Electrical Engineering, and I'll tell you right now, you ain't gonna electrocute nobody if you don't plug this thing in."

A Different Anniversary

Today it is exactly 23 years since I was hit in a road traffic accident. It wasn't a hit-and-run, though the driver, by all accounts, was possibly going too fast. However, you don't expect to see pedestrians crossing a six-lane dual carriageway at night, still less do you expect to see one picking herself up off the floor in the fast lane! Apparently I dented the car when I landed first on the roof and then on the bonnet... luckily for me, I don't remember it.

I broke my leg in three places, my pelvis in four places, my shoulder-blade, I had head injuries, and needed a transfusion of six units of blood (that's about five pints or so out of the eight we normally have!) I then developed a fat embolism which hit the lungs, but they couldn't give me any blood-thinning agents because of the bleeding. And I woke up a week later.

I do feel rather sorry for my Guardian Angel... He certainly drew the short straw when they were allocating the souls to be looked after! But at least that time he had Our Lady of Lourdes to help him!
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