Saturday 28 July 2007

Hey... Quiz Time Again

Ok, because it's Saturday, and I'm about to go out to visit Auntie Joanna for real rather than just on the Blogosphere, here's a little quiz. Sorry, I didn't see if there was one for the chaps... (Now, which story was Elinor Dashwood in? I can't seem to recall her!) Twitch of the mantilla to Cate who's having a silly Saturday all of her own... I particularly liked her recipe for apple pie!

You scored as Elizabeth Bennet, As one of Austen's most beloved characters, Elizabeth Bennet represents what most women would like to become: strong, independent, and loyal. Of course, she has her faults including a stubborn will of iron and a clinging to first impressions. Overall, Lizzie is bright and lovable...something to admire and aspire to.

Elizabeth Bennet


Elinor Dashwood


Emma Woodhouse


Jane Bennet


Marianne Dashwood


Lady Catherine


Charlotte Lucas


Which Jane Austen Character are You? (For Females) Long Quiz!!!
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Another Blog Or Two To Investigate

When I stopped using Bloglines, I really pruned down the blogs I checked every single day. However, the twitching mouse-clicking finger has been at it again, and I've discovered a couple of genuinely new blogs.

First up: The Devouring Fire. The author, Michael, is discerning his vocation - he wants an Order involving Eucharistic Adoration as part of its charism. Wow... tough call. Any suggestions, pop on over and let him know...

Secondly, the engagingly named Dead Sea Squirrel. The author here is Linda Robinson. Unfortunately I couldn't find a profile, so no more information forthcoming unless Linda decides to put something in the com-box...

Friday 27 July 2007

Evolution Versus God

I trained as a scientist. Science did not provide me with the answers I was looking for: happiness only came once I returned to the Church I had rejected for so long. Only in the truths she teaches have I found the answers to life's questions.

However, when I came back to the Church, I didn't put my brain into cold storage. Sometimes, when the exact explanations for the teachings of the Church are unclear to me, I have to trust that the Bride of Christ has been entrusted with the fullness of the Truth, and that the Holy Spirit guarantees she is free from error. That trust is founded on the Word of God himself, and what he promised: it isn't a blind faith. And the truths that I accept through faith are not (and could not be) in conflict with reason.

Lots of people still make the mistake of believing that it has to be either Science or Faith. Several of my students found the fact that I taught both RE and Science confusing, and they demanded to know which one I really believed. But slightly more worrying was the number of my colleagues who were surprised to discover that I could be a scientist and believe in God... and not just any old wishy-washy, vague pantheistic notion of God-in-Nature, but the God-made-Man who made specific demands of his followers.

The Faith Movement, with its specific emphasis on the synthesis of Science and Religion, helped me to feel less of an oddity - lots of people with scientific credentials who actually confessed to a belief in God (meeting priests with doctorates in astrophysics puts paid to the notion that religion is incompatible with "proper" Science!)

And now, the Holy Father has spoken out clearly about how faith in God is not incompatible with acceptance of evolution.

The Pontiff, during a question-and-answer session with 400 priests of the dioceses of Belluno-Feltre and Treviso, said that today in Germany, and also in the United States, there is a "fervent debate between so-called creationism and evolutionism, presented as if one of these alternatives excluded the other: Whoever believes in the Creator cannot think about evolution and whoever affirms evolution must exclude God."

However, Benedict XVI called this apparent conflict an absurdity.

"Because on one hand," he explained, "there is a great deal of scientific proof in favor of evolution, which appears as a reality that we must see and that enriches our knowledge of life and of being as such. But the doctrine of evolution does not answer everything and does not answer the great philosophical question: Where does everything come from? And how does everything take a path that ultimately leads to the person?

"It seems to me that it is very important that reason opens up even more, that it sees this information, but that it also sees that this information is not enough to explain all of reality. It is not enough."

The Pope urged a broader understanding of reason and the recognition of its vastness: "Our reason is not something irrational at heart, a product of irrationality. And reason precedes everything, creative reason, and we are truly the reflection of this reason.

"We are planned and wanted and, therefore, there is an idea that precedes me, a meaning that precedes me, which I must discover, follow and which, in the end, gives meaning to my life."

The more I read and hear about the Holy Father, the more I love him. Viva il Papa ! You can read more about his question-and-answer session over at ZENIT.

Friday Night At The Movies

Another Friday night, and another friend suggested that we go to see the new Simpsons' film. We arrived a little late (my fault... ) but only appeared to miss the adverts, trailers and the very beginning of the film (though I suspect I won't know for certain until the DVD comes out!)

If you enjoy the TV series, you'll enjoy the film. I was a little surprised that it was so focussed on the Simpsons themselves - I'd expected more to be made of Krusty, Mr Burns, Moe and some of the other characters.

The scene where Bart skateboards naked down the street for a dare was made much of in various reviews, but was very much a kiddy-giggle moment. More disturbing was the quick scene of two policemen kissing - it was totally unnecessary to the plot... and strangely, although there had been much publicity surrounding the nude scene (with comments as to how, if the American censors threatened to raise the certificate because of it, the scene would be cut) I hadn't heard anything about the homosexuality bit. Another example of how homosexuality is being presented as just another "lifestyle option"? It soured the film for me - and I'm not likely to keep the DVD as a treat to show my students at the end of the year. It's a real shame, as the film as a whole is a very entertaining bit of nonsense.

It's Been One Of Those Days...

For some reason I seem to be taking a lot of trips down amnesia lane. I couldn't find video footage of Allan Sherman's original (which, I hasten to add, I do not remember... I saw it on a comedy compilation much (much) later. Honest!), but this is one of the best mimes to the soundtrack. Enjoy!

More Motu Celebrations...

It would seem that the glee continues unabated: I'm a few days late picking up on this one, but I think it's worth "sharing" (heheheh... sorry, slipped into Vatican-II-speak there!)

Sanctus bell rings, are you listening?
On the vestments gold is glistening.
A beautiful sight,
The old Roman rite
Walking in a Ratzinger wonderland.

Gone away is the guitar.
Here to stay is the simar.*
We`ll sing an old song as we go along.
Walking in a Ratzinger wonderland

We can build an altar ad orientem.
Then go to see Father Brown.
He'll say “Are you stable?”
We'll say "Yes, man!
Will you say the Mass while we're in town?"

Later on we'll conspire
As we sit around the fire,
To face unafraid
The plans that we've made.
Walking in a Ratzinger wonderland.

* Cassock with cape and double sleeves.

Twitch of the mantilla in Fr. Brown's direction.

Thursday 26 July 2007

Reasons I don't Go To Church...

...inspired by a post title by Fr. Paul of the Lune Valley, I remembered this set of reasons not to wash (which are the hygiene equivalent of the usual reasons given for not going to church!)

  1. I was forced to wash as a child.
  2. People who wash are hypocrites. They think they are cleaner than everyone else.
  3. There are so many different kinds of soap, I could never decide which one was right.
  4. I used to wash, but it got boring so I stopped.
  5. I wash only on special occasions, like Easter and Christmas.
  6. None of my friends wash.
  7. I'm still young. When I'm older and have gotten a bit dirtier, I might start washing.
  8. I really don't have time to wash.
  9. The bathroom is never warm enough in the winter or cool enough in the summer.
  10. People who make soap are only after your money.
  11. I get along very well without washing.
  12. I work hard all week and am too tired to take a bath on the weekend.
  13. The first bar of soap I ever used gave me a rash, so I haven't gone near soap since!

Wednesday 25 July 2007

This Post Reduced Me To Tears...

...I was also laughing so much that I couldn't draw breath for at least two and a half minutes... we are talking serious oxygen deprivation which you can enjoy HERE...

I particularly liked the fact that "Sixtiesdote," the antidote to the sixties, is best taken in conjunction with Humanae Vitaemins, and only under supervision of a Doctor of the Church...!

The contraindications are pretty amusing too:

Warnings and Cautions

Do not take Sixtiesdote if you are still enamored of theologians like Hans Küng and theological fads such as liberation theology. Severe theological reactions can occur.

The makers of Sixtiesdote are not responsible if lose your job as a DRE, liturgist, etc. for suddenly having orthodox opinions or that you stop finding that Franco Zeffirelli's Brother Sun, Sister Moon is the best movie on St. Francis ever.

The makers of Sixtiesdote are not responsible for book bills from Ignatius Press and other reliable publishing companies due to a sudden interest in the spiritual treasures of the Church.

Sixtiesdote can be used with a 12 step program as long as those 12 steps are not liturgical dance steps.

Do not try dropping Sixtiesdote in your parish liturgist's coffee. Sixtiesdote only works with an act of the will and will not violate conscience, even a badly formed one.

For ex-members of Call To Action and FutureChurch this product will not remove the gray from your hair.

Twitch of the mantilla to the Curt Jester.

Tuesday 24 July 2007

New Kid On The Blog...

Fr. Michael Clifton, who describes himself in his profile as "a retired Catholic priest of a traditional mould" has started a blog called Fr. Mildew. At 72, he must be one of the most mature bloggers on the blogosphere...

Strange But True...

Facebook is definitely spooky. I always knew that the spelling of my surname was rather odd - I usually need to spell it out carefully to avoid being called "McLennon" or even "McLemon" and I've been called MacLeary on occasion. Imagine my surprise when I found out that there is actually a group on Facebook called "Our Last Name is McLernon"... and I didn't start it !! There are fifteen of us at the moment, mostly over the Pond.

We are not alone... Heheheheh!

Monday 23 July 2007

Lean, Mean, Praying Machine...

...the Papal Synchronised Rosary Recitation Team in action...

Mantilla-twitch to the Curt Jester.

Sunday 22 July 2007

Harry Potter

I have a good friend who is a complete Harry Potter nut. Anyway, on Friday night, she confessed that she was going to go and queue outside her local Tesco's and get the new Harry Potter book, which was due to go on sale at midnight.

This sounded completely crazy to me. So, naturally, I came up with a better suggestion: why don't we go see a late film at Bluewater and then go and buy the book from Waterstones...

As Bluewater is a rather more salubrious place than Thornton Heath, my friend accepted my suggestion with alacrity. It made sense to go the whole Hogwarts, so we managed to get tickets for the new Harry Potter film: The Order of the Phoenix.

Even for a Friday night, Bluewater had a very strange air about it. For a start, there were far more parents and children around than usual for 10 o'clock at night. The feeling of weirdness was heightened by the fact that I met several former students. One was on the ticket desk for the cinema, a group of lads bumped into me by the Krispy Kreme Doughnut Shop, and another student greeted me from the queue for the bookshop...

It was about 1am when the film was over. I wasn't sure if Waterstone's would still be open, but the queue was still up and running. We got chatting to a very tired sales assistant who was carrying her shoes - she had been on duty only since 10pm, but informed us that her floor manager had been on since 12noon on the Friday afternoon. The queue, she told us, had been something to behold: people had been lined up all the way round the main hall. My friend and I were lucky: arriving after 1am, we were pretty much the last customers, and we only waited about 15 minutes. As I paid for my book, another very exhausted sales girl asked if we were the last. I was able to assure her that there were only about two people or so left.

I drove my friend back to her house, and then drove back to my flat.

I didn't get to read the book until after lunchtime on Saturday. Don't worry - I don't believe in putting up spoilers. I found the book a little disappointing: it was very slow to get started, and the ending left me feeling a little flat. However, I do think it's a good series of books. I know that some people object to the witches, wizards and spells, but The Hobbit, the Lord of the Rings trilogy and the Narnia books also had magical elements. And while a lot of critics (especially on Radio 4) bang on about how J.K. Rowling's work isn't great literature, I just remember that, when teaching in an inner-city Comprehensive School, I saw young boys of 12 and 13, who had problems remembering to bring their exercise books to school, lugging around hardback volumes of the latest Harry Potter. This is something the more "realistic" and "relevant" (ie. more miserable) books written for teenagers never managed.
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