Saturday 21 February 2009

An Oldie, But Definitely A Goodie...

This was doing the rounds by email a few years ago. Twitch of the mantilla to Fr. Z for taking us down memory lane...

New Element Discovered

Lawrence Livermore Laboratories has discovered the heaviest element yet known to science. The new element, Governmentium (Gv), has one neutron, 25 assistant neutrons, 88 deputy neutrons, and 198 assistant deputy neutrons, giving it an atomic mass of 312.

These 312 particles are held together by forces called morons, which are surrounded by vast quantities of lepton-like particles called peons.

Since Governmentium has no electrons, it is inert; however, it can be detected, because it impedes every reaction with which it comes into contact. A tiny amount of Governmentium can cause a reaction that would normally take less than a second, to take from four days to four years to complete.

Governmentium has a normal half-life of 2- 6 years; it does not decay, but instead undergoes a reorganization in which a portion of the assistant neutrons and deputy neutrons exchange places. In fact, Governmentium’s mass will actually increase over time, since each reorganization will cause more morons to become neutrons, forming isodopes.

This characteristic of moron promotion leads some scientists to believe that Governmentium is formed whenever morons reach a critical concentration. This hypothetical quantity is referred to as critical morass.

When catalyzed with money, Governmentium becomes Administratium , an element that radiates just as much energy as Governmentium since it has half as many peons but twice as many morons.

May God help us survive this growing mass before it becomes a black hole that sucks us all in.

Back Again...

Yes, I have been away again, this time visiting my sister, brother-in-law, and two adorable little nephews. Nephew number 1 has reached the stage where he is able to hold intelligible conversations... well, intelligible to his parents. I needed to employ the services of a translator, and occasionally indulged in a bit of inspired guesswork... "Oh, you want a biscuit? Ok, let's go and find out where Mummy keeps the biscuits..." Sure enough, he knew where that was...

Nephew number 2 is five months old, and is one of the most placid, smiley little babies I have ever encountered. He's teething, but seemed to find my finger to be an acceptable substitute for his normal teething ring.

I seem to be making a habit of this being bitten malarkey. First the fish, now my nephew.

Everyone's a critic.

Thursday 19 February 2009

The Suppository Has Spoken...

As I mentioned before, Elena Curti of The Tablet (aka The Bitter Pill, or, occasionally, The Suppository) has tried to do a hatchet-job on Fr. Tim.

The article is inaccurate in several respects: Fr. Tim has done a fisk á la Fr. Z. in which he points out the many, many mistakes. I agree wholeheartedly with Fr. Zuhlsdorf's analysis: this garbage is not going to stop Fr. Tim, so it's clear that it was written with the sole intention of intimidating and discouraging any other Parish Priests who might be considering implementing Summorum Pontificum in their own parishes. The whole tone (once you get past the barbed comments and little snide innuendoes) is one of fear: the liberals have had their day, and they're on the way out.

In addition to Fr. Tim's fisk, the eminent Fr. Z has also given Ms. Curti's work some analysis. Fr. Dwight Longenecker has added a few of his thoughts, while, closer to home, Fr. Ray Blake (another wonderful priest who wishes to make the Extraordinary Form of Mass available to his parishioners) has a few words of encouragement. Damian Thompson is of the opinion that Elena Curti's article is so ineptly written that Fr. Tim's fisk has turned it round on it head.

There are more posts around the Blogosphere: this attack on a good and holy priest has really stirred people up. The comments are really pouring in, and they are all supportive of what Fr. Tim is doing.

Some people may be regretting their actions already. I hope that, as a parish community, we can put this episode behind us, and move forward.

Wednesday 18 February 2009

Impending Catastrophe...

Meandering merrily through the Blogosphere this morning (well, I am on half-term holiday), I was brought up short by a little snippet of information on Fiorella's blog.

As well as being a wife, mother, journalist and blogger, Fiorella is the author of two very entertaining novels. Fr. Tim reviewed her first book, The Cassandra Curse, and I blogged about Father William's Daughter some time ago (while Ttony gave it another glowing review.)

The third book is written. I am champing at the bit. But, for some strange reason, Fiorella can't seem to find a publisher... and, if she doesn't find one soon, she's going to stop writing fiction altogether.

This would, in my humble opinion, be a catastrophe.

In the meantime, you might want to buy her current books (if you haven't done so already - but be careful, if you want delivery overseas, to click on the correct link) and drop by her blog to leave a little word of encouragement...

Tuesday 17 February 2009

Blackfen's "Little Spot Of Bother"...

I didn't get a chance to post on this earlier, as I was visiting my mother, and computer access was seriously limited... blogging from a mobile phone is ok for short posts, but not really suitable for anything more involved, especially when one's parents seem to live in a dodgy reception area.

Fr. Tim has been extremely charitable in his comments on the whole situation. He has done his utmost to listen to the opinions of the small group of parishioners who are vehemently opposed to the Extraordinary Form of Mass being provided in Blackfen, and has answered all their criticisms, questions and complaints in an excellent paper, Sacred and Great. He held two meetings in the parish to explain why he had introduced the Extraordinary Form after the Holy Father published Summorum Pontificum, and also to elaborate on how "active participation" (the expression so beloved by tabletistas who object to the EF) was to be understood, especially at the EF Mass, but also in the Ordinary Form - it doesn't mean everyone has to have something to "do."

One of the criticisms levelled at Fr. Tim was the lack of consultation over liturgical changes, and comments such as "Latin's fine, but does it have to be every week?" were aired. So, after explaining that the liturgy of the Church was not a matter for compromise ("consultation" implies that some mutual agreement can be reached) Fr. Tim started up a Google Group, to enable parishioners to discuss any concerns, ideas and suggestions about other aspects of parish life. Strangely, the disaffected group were unhappy with this proposal.

So, they went to speak to the Area Bishop. They also contacted the Archbishop. What they hoped to achieve by doing this is a mystery; the Bishop can hardly insist that a perfectly valid Mass should not be celebrated in a Catholic church, and I am sure that they did not want to demand Fr. Tim's removal as Parish Priest...

When it became apparent that the Extraordinary Form of Mass was not only continuing to be celebrated at Blackfen, but was becoming more popular as people overcame their initial misgivings about "not knowing any Latin," the group went to the press. To add insult to injury, they went to The Tablet, which, since 1968, has frequently dissented from some of the key teachings of the Church.

Obviously, although Elena Curti (the Deputy Editor of The Tablet) has visited the parish and sought the opinions of various people, she has not yet published her article. However, from the tone of her email (I received one asking for my opinion of the split which had developed) I can guess the sort of piece she was planning: I suspect Damian Thompson was spot on in his expectation of a "hatchet job." Fr. Zuhlsdorf has also had his say, warning Tabletistas everywhere of the possible backlash which might occur should such a piece actually be published.

Any talk of a "split" in the parish is absolute tosh. There is a small (but very vocal) group of parishioners which is extremely unhappy with the provision of the Extraordinary Form of Mass. There is another group which is extremely delighted by the provision of the Extraordinary Form of Mass. The vast majority of parishioners are, however, totally baffled by the whole thing. As far as they are concerned, it's just a different style of Mass, and if you don't like Latin, then you can go to another one, so what is all the fuss about?

The variety of worship-styles at Blackfen is pretty unique, from what I can gather by reading various comments. Just to emphasise, there is a Mass on Saturday evening, which is in English, Ordinary Form, versus populum, with hymns. There is the 9am Sunday Mass which is said in English, Ordinary Form, versus populum, with hymns, a children's choir, and a children's liturgy group. The 10:30am Mass is in the Extraordinary Form, a Missa Cantata. Finally, the Sunday evening Mass is said in English, Ordinary Form, but ad orientem and no hymns.

One criticism levelled at Fr. Tim was that celebrating Mass in the Extraordinary Form was divisive... this being aired in The Tablet is not going to help in the task of building peace and harmony in the parish.


This 12 year-old prepared a speech for a competition, and she chose the subject of abortion.

Not only is she an amazing speaker, so articulate and assured, but she completely demolishes the arguments for abortion.

I am so full of admiration for this girl.

Twitch of the mantilla to the Catholic Cavemen.

Monday 16 February 2009


There may be some kudos in getting as many votes as years Jesus lived on Earth (33), but not when Fr. Z is getting 200 or more votes, and Fathers Finigan and Longenecker are battling it out at over 100 votes each...

I'm feeling very small, insignificant and unloved... go and vote for me, or else I'll write more posts about how nobody loves me...

Sunday 15 February 2009

Book Fest...

I mentioned that I'd visited the bookstall during the Day With Mary yesterday. There were even more books than last year, and I spotted several titles I hadn't noticed before. One of the team told me that they do indeed bring a different selection each time.

The people on the bookstall remembered me from last year, and one of them was only too happy to take the time to make suggestions for this year's purchases...

First, I bought two books by Joan Carroll Cruz, Secular Saints and Miraculous Images of Our Lord. I'd really enjoyed other books of hers: Miraculous Images of Our Lady, which gives details of 100 famous portraits and statues which have been accompanied by miracles and supernatural phenomena; The Incorruptibles, a book about saints whose bodies were found to be incorrupt, and Eucharistic Miracles (I have definitely read it, but I can't find it, which leads me to suspect that I have lent it to someone... though there is always the possibility that I borrowed it from someone else and have since returned it... in which case I need to get my own copy!)

Next on my list of discoveries was The Divine Life of the Most Holy Virgin by the Venerable Mary of Agreda. The book is a section of another book, The Mystical City of God. I'd heard the name of Mary of Agreda, but am a bit hazy as to when, where and why. A quick glance at the book revealed that Mary of Agreda had visions about the life of Our Lady; I have come across references to Mary's early life in the writings of many of the saints, and these episodes must have been part of the Church's unwritten tradition (similar to the tradition that Veronica wiped the face of Jesus on his way to Calvary), and so I'm hoping to find out more.

I bought a new copy of St. Francis de Sales' Introduction to the Devout Life. The copy I have is getting a bit battered, and anyway, it's abridged, so I'd been meaning to get hold of a proper version... the TAN edition is complete and unabridged.

I also got The Priest is Not His Own by Archbishop Fulton Sheen. I think that it might give me an insight into the sacrificial nature of the priesthood which might help me to explain to other people exactly why women cannot ever be priests, and why this is not a matter for "equal opportunities" legislation... the argument against ditching the clerical celibacy will also be covered, I think. I have no problem with either of those concepts myself, but explaining it to other people can be a bit tricky...

The Age of Martyrs sort of jumped out at me. Written by Abbot Giuseppe Ricciotti, it covers the period from the Emperor Diocletian up until the Emperor Constantine. I know very little about the early martyrs, so look forward to finding out more.

My SD has told me to spend time in contemplating the Four Last Things (cheerful sort, my SD) and so, when I had my attention drawn to a little book by Fr. Martin von Cochem, O.S.F.C., with that very title, I realised that this book was a definite "must-have". It is pocket-sized, so very convenient for carrying around.

I was going to end it there, but my helpful guide then showed me one last book: Divine Intimacy: Meditations on the Interior Life for Every Day of the Liturgical Year by Fr. Gabriel of St. Mary Magdalen, O.C.D. My initial thought was that I've only just started using the Monastic Diurnal and the pre-1962 calendar, and having meditations following the Novus Ordo liturgical year would just be too confusing. Out of curiosity, I opened the book for a quick examination; I then spotted the phrase "Septuagesima" and realised that this was actually following the old calendar... and then I just couldn't resist it.

As you can see from the photo, I have a bit of space on the bookshelf... and the newly purchased books will fit very nicely. This is the first time I've bought books and have been able to put them straight onto shelves. It's slightly disconcerting: as if they might get swallowed up and lost forever in amongst all the other books.

I might need a few more visits to various websites in order to eliminate all the spaces...
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