Saturday 2 May 2009

I Have Actually Been Nominated...

I have been nominated not once, but twice for the 2009 Cannonball Catholic Blog Awards.

I can truly say that this was totally unexpected, as no-one appeared to pick up on my hissy fit when I discovered that no-one appeared to have nominated me for anything...

However, I can now bask in the knowledge that Vincenzo thinks I have the Best UnderAppreciated Catholic Blog, and an anonymous contributor thinks I should be up for Snarkiest Catholic Blog... I can't imagine why!

Voting opens tomorrow... remember, vote early, vote often!

Ok, ok... I know you can actually only vote once in each category... but a girl can dream, can't she??

A Tie-Dye Stole Doth Not A Prelate Make...

Just under a year ago, I responded to a throwaway line of the Curt Jester's, bemoaning the fact that these wannabe "womynpriests" had such execrable taste in liturgical vestments.

My declaration that I wanted to be a traddy womynpriest was, of course, a joke.

Here's another joke: 

At least, it would be a joke if they were not so self-deluded. These women really seem to believe that, by dressing in white nightdresses and draping themselves in polyester tie-dye stoles, they can make themselves, and others, into Catholic priests. They are, of course, wrong... and, by deliberately disobeying the Church, they incur an automatic excommunication.

These women all appear to be of "a certain age" and they are each in possession of a more-than-generous physique. I rather resent the fact that I, as a woman rapidly approaching that same age and with much the same sort of physique, might possibly be mistaken for one of these heretical harridans.

Twitch of the mantilla to His Hermeneuticalness.

Update On St. Joseph's...

Fr. Tim has downloaded a few of the pictures I took on Friday evening: the ones he has on his blog look pretty stunning, if I do say so myself.

I took a lot more, and can only assume that Fr. Tim hasn't had the patience to upload any others to Blogger. With any luck I'll be able to get the rest on a memory stick tomorrow.

Friday 1 May 2009

Feast Of St. Joseph... At St. Joseph's !

Today being the Feast of St. Joseph, it seemed particularly appropriate to be going to Mass at St. Joseph's Church, New Malden.

The last time I was here, for Martyrs' Day, I arrived only just in time for Mass, and didn't have time to ask permission to take photos. I don't like to whip out the camera unless I know the celebrant won't mind, so no photos were taken.

This time I arrived early. I settled down at the front, and, as no one was around, took a couple of photos of the High Altar. Fr. Richard Whinder then walked in, and gave permission for me to take photos during the Mass...

...unfortunately, Fr. Tim Finigan was hard on his heels, and "suggested" that I use his camera. It has 7 megapixels or something crazy like that, compared to my measly 3 megapixels...

After yesterday's "blonde moment" with Dr. Laurence Hemming's camera I was a little loathe to abandon my own one. After all, better the devil you know... however, the light levels were beginning to fall, and my phone camera does have problems in low light... and I really do like to get those "key" moments.

Fr. Tim demonstrated how to look at the photos on the camera itself, and I figured that, if the first few didn't come out, I could switch back to my own camera for the really important shots.

I needn't have worried: the camera worked perfectly. Not so much as a beep. I even discovered, half way through Mass, that there was actually a zoom lens, but preferred to get the "whole" picture for most of the shots.

It was a very nice camera. A very, very nice camera. Unfortunately, after Mass, Fr. Tim seemed to want it back...

So I don't have any photos of the Mass. Not one. Not until Fr. Tim gets round to downloading them from his camera, and I think he's got a busy few days ahead, so I'm not going to hold my breath. But I'll put them up soon...

An Amusing Photo NOT About Cats...

This photo (and caption) had me grinning for ages, so I just had to share...

Twitch of the mantilla to Paulinus

Mass For St. Catherine's Feastday...

The Society of St. Catherine of Siena celebrated her feastday yesterday with a meeting followed by Mass at St. James' Church, Spanish Place. I didn't go to the meeting, but went along for Mass in the evening.

It is a while since I last went to Spanish Place - I used to go to meetings of the London Faith Forum when they were held there, and would go to the 6pm Mass.

I knew that Mass would be in the usus antiquior, and so prowled around the church looking for the most likely spot. I had completely forgotten (or maybe had never seen) the Lady Chapel, tucked away to the side of the High Altar. After being assured that Mass would indeed be at the Lady Altar, I settled down to say some prayers... though I took a photo first!

Dr. Laurence Hemming spotted me, and came over with his camera. It was a small one, but claimed 5 megapixels, and so I switched to that. The camera made lots of beeping noises, which is something I hate during Mass, but as "official" photographer, I felt I had to stick with it. I should have known better... the beeping noises must have meant something, as I later found that only one photo had actually come out with any clarity...

Dr. Hemming later told me that the camera was old, temperamental, and probably on its way to ebay... I suspect he was just being kind, and that I was suffering from an attack of the blondes. I did manage to whip out my own phone camera briefly...

... though obviously I could only manage one camera for the key moments, which means this is all that's left! Afterwards I had the great pleasure to meet the celebrant, Fr. Andrew Wadsworth, who was kind enough to say that he enjoyed reading my blog... even the cat posts! Obviously a man of great taste... no doubt he will do wonders at ICEL...

Wednesday 29 April 2009

A Very Useful Blog...

Back in February, I explained that I was going to start saying the Divine Office in the Extraordinary Form, and that I had opted for the Monastic Diurnal, because it had the Latin and English side-by-side, and I wasn't too worried about not saying Matins (not at the moment, at any rate) which isn't included in the Diurnal.

The Diurnal doesn't have a separate chapter with the rubrics. It was designed for monastics who were travelling, and presumably they'd know the ins and outs of the Office. Instead, there are little instructions dotted about here and there... and they seem to be designed to catch out the unwary soul. For example, the rubric which instructs you to substitute two festal psalms for the ferial ones is to be found on the page after the ferial psalms, where it says "the preceding two psalms are replaced by the following two..." which isn't much help if you've just dutifully ploughed your way through the first lot only to find that you should have prayed something quite different!

So I was delighted when Terra (of Australia Incognita) started up a new blog, called Saints Will Arise, designed to guide people through the Benedictine Monastic Office, with particular emphasis on (and page numbering for) the Monastic Diurnal produced by St. Michael's Abbey Press, Farnborough.

The Ordo for each week is published in advance, as well as hints and tips, explanations, information about the saints and lots more. I can really recommend this blog for anyone wishing to pray the Monastic Office, and anyone who wants to know more about the structure of the Traditional Divine Office in general.

Tuesday 28 April 2009

You Really Couldn't Make This Stuff Up...

Oxfordshire health officials are piloting a scheme which will allow girls to get the morning-after pill by text messaging a nurse.

They will open up this "service" to girls as young as 11 years, and six secondary schools in the area are to be required to take part in the scheme.

Apparently, the Catholic school included in the pilot scheme, St. Gregory the Great, is not going to be allowed to opt out because, "the texting service is outside the governance of the schools as it is offered outside of school hours."

Can someone please explain to me why, if the service is offered outside school hours, the schools need to take part?

This is appalling. Under the guise of "healthcare" the UK Government is sexualising our children, and undermining the role of parents. Stalin would have given his right arm to have such control over the population... for that matter, so would Hitler.

Parents generally choose to send their children to Catholic schools precisely because they believe that their children will be safe from this sort of thing.

Bishop William Kenney, Auxiliary Bishop of Birmingham, has spoken out against the scheme. "It goes against the very central idea the Catholic church has on human life. It is sending out the message that it was better to deal with the aftermath of what people do, rather than the causes. I don't think this will help solve the teenage pregnancy rate and is taking away responsibility from parents."

I think that Catholic Action UK is absolutely right when they say that letters of support to Bishop Kenney might be appreciated. Bishop Kenney can be contacted by email. It is also worth people checking out the SPUC's Safe at School Campaign to see what is going on in our schools and how best to fight back.

Twitch of the mantilla to Hilary White at LifeSite News.

How Very Apt...

Occasionally, I look through SiteMeter's list of search words which bring people to this blog. It's quite a useful thing to do.

A common search term which brings readers here, for example, is "mantilla." There are variations: why wear a mantilla, how to wear a mantilla, where to buy a mantilla, how to put on a mantilla...and so on. This will sometimes prompt me to do another post, because it tells me what people are looking for, on topics which obviously have interested me enough to post on them in the past.

Yesterday, I had a little glance through the search words, and was puzzled to see "two tone supository." This had me flummoxed: why on earth would a search for suppositories send anyone to my blog?

So, I followed the link. Number one hit for Google? This one.

Monday 27 April 2009

An Example To Follow...

I haven't posted anything on the controversy at the University of Notre Dame until now. 

It has been in my prayers. I couldn't understand why this University, which prides itself on being Catholic, would want to honour a President who was so anti-life that one of the first things he did after his inauguration was to allow state funding for embryonic stem cell research.

The authorities obviously just saw the conferring of an honorary degree as a media coup... the first University to honour the first black U.S. President... or something like that. I'm assuming that this is the first University to do so.

But the U.S. Bishops' Conference stated back in 2004 that Catholic institutions "should not honor those who act in defiance of our fundamental moral principles" and that such persons "should not be given awards, honors or platforms which would suggest support for their actions."

Seems pretty unambiguous.

The University of Notre Dame must have been pretty surprised by the backlash: apparently alumni have pledged to withhold donations to the tune of $ 8.2 million.

One of the "defences" offered by the University president was that Mary Ann Glendon would be there to provide "balance." "President Obama won't be doing all the talking," he said. "Mary Ann Glendon, the former U.S. ambassador to the Vatican, will be speaking as the recipient of the Laetare Medal... We think having the president come to Notre Dame, see our graduates, meet our leaders, and hear a talk from Mary Ann Glendon is a good thing for the president and for the causes we care about."

Well, it seems that Harvard Law Professor Mary Ann Glendon doesn't much like the university's suggestion that her own speech at the commencement exercises might counterbalance the appearance of President Obama. She also expressed dismay that Notre Dame chose to honor the President despite his clear public stand against Catholic principles on key moral issues, and despite the clear position of the U.S. Bishops' Conference.

As a result, she has decided to decline both the invitation to attend and the Laetare Medal, which is the highest honour conferred by the University. A former U.S Ambassador to the Holy See, Mary Ann Glendon was to be awarded the Medal for her pro-life work.

Her letter to the president of Notre Dame University is superb.

Dear Father Jenkins,

When you informed me in December 2008 that I had been selected to receive Notre Dame's Laetare Medal, I was profoundly moved. I treasure the memory of receiving an honorary degree from Notre Dame in 1996, and I have always felt honored that the commencement speech I gave that year was included in the anthology of Notre Dame's most memorable commencement speeches. So I immediately began working on an acceptance speech that I hoped would be worthy of the occasion, of the honor of the medal, and of your students and faculty.

Last month, when you called to tell me that the commencement speech was to be given by President Obama, I mentioned to you that I would have to rewrite my speech. Over the ensuing weeks, the task that once seemed so delightful has been complicated by a number of factors.

First, as a longtime consultant to the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, I could not help but be dismayed by the news that Notre Dame also planned to award the president an honorary degree. This, as you must know, was in disregard of the U.S. bishops' express request of 2004 that Catholic institutions "should not honor those who act in defiance of our fundamental moral principles" and that such persons "should not be given awards, honors or platforms which would suggest support for their actions." That request, which in no way seeks to control or interfere with an institution's freedom to invite and engage in serious debate with whomever it wishes, seems to me so reasonable that I am at a loss to understand why a Catholic university should disrespect it.

Then I learned that "talking points" issued by Notre Dame in response to widespread criticism of its decision included two statements implying that my acceptance speech would somehow balance the event:

-  "President Obama won't be doing all the talking. Mary Ann Glendon, the former U.S. ambassador to the Vatican, will be speaking as the recipient of the Laetare Medal."
-  "We think having the president come to Notre Dame, see our graduates, meet our leaders, and hear a talk from Mary Ann Glendon is a good thing for the president and for the causes we care about."

A commencement, however, is supposed to be a joyous day for the graduates and their families. It is not the right place, nor is a brief acceptance speech the right vehicle, for engagement with the very serious problems raised by Notre Dame's decision-in disregard of the settled position of the U.S. bishops-to honor a prominent and uncompromising opponent of the Church's position on issues involving fundamental principles of justice.

Finally, with recent news reports that other Catholic schools are similarly choosing to disregard the bishops' guidelines, I am concerned that Notre Dame's example could have an unfortunate ripple effect.

It is with great sadness, therefore, that I have concluded that I cannot accept the Laetare Medal or participate in the May 17 graduation ceremony.

In order to avoid the inevitable speculation about the reasons for my decision, I will release this letter to the press, but I do not plan to make any further comment on the matter at this time.

Yours Very Truly,
Mary Ann Glendon

What a contrast between the attitude of Professor Glendon and the reports that Cardinal Cormac Murphy-O'Connor is planning to accept a peerage and a position in Tony Blair's Faith Foundation... 

Time For A Chuckle...

State Of Play...

I went to visit a friend of mine on Saturday evening, and she persuaded me to go and see State of Play at the cinema. To be fair, I didn't require too much in the way of arm-twisting: the cast can truly be described as "all-star," fielding, as it does, Russell Crowe, Ben Affleck, Helen Mirren, Rachel McAdams and Robin Wright Penn.

Added to which, there is nothing else on at the moment...

I hadn't read any reviews, and I hadn't realised that this had started out as a BBC drama, so I wasn't sure what to expect, not even the genre.

It turned out to be an action-thriller type of film, with the emphasis on the action. And the thriller. I was actually on the edge of my seat on a few occasions... 

The basic plot is simple. A girl dies under a train and there is speculation that it's suicide. It turns out that she was working for a Congressman, and when he gets all tearful at a press conference, media speculation begins as to the possibility of an affair between the two. Russell Crowe plays an old-fashioned reporter, and Rachel McAdams is the "modern Miss" newbie who's keen as mustard but has a lot to learn about investigative journalism. There is some initial tension between the two, as Crowe is rather dismissive of McAdams' blogging... as you can imagine, that little bit of play had me in stitches! The Congressman (Affleck) is an old friend of Crowe's, and he asks for help with the media circus... and then it transpires that the researcher was pushed, and it's murder...

I'm unwilling to go on with the storyline, as I don't want to spoil it for the rest of you. Go and see it for yourselves! You won't regret it.

I Give In...


I was waiting for His Hermeneuticalness to put up another post about our St. George's Day celebrations... I even emailed him all the photos I'd taken...

The idea behind this is that he would have to do all the hard work checking out the photos, picking the good ones and writing the post; meanwhile I could snaffle the good photos which he'd have edited for colour balance and what have you, and then link to his post.

That was the plan.

However, it is now the third day, and there is no sign of a post. Given that several people who saw me wielding a camera have demanded to know where the photos have got to, I guess that I'm just going to have to put them up myself...

The photos are really not very good. The phone camera takes brilliant photos during the day, but just can't cope with low light conditions. It takes so long to focus that I invariably miss the really important shots (Elevation of the Host, genuflection, etc. etc.) But you can enjoy these ones anyway...

In case you're wondering, the other two members of the clergy were Fr. Charles Briggs and Rev. John Harrison.

This one was from Benediction, which followed on immediately after Mass...

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