Saturday 7 November 2009

Confirmation According To The Usus Antiquior

A couple of the Confirmation candidates in my class this year had opted to go to St. James', Spanish Place, to be confirmed in the Traditional Rite. As catechist, I wanted to "see them done" and so I went along: it was another "first" for me.

The church is beautiful, with more statues and stained glass than you can shake a stick at...

Fr. Tim was either deacon or sub-deacon, I'm not sure which, and rather a lot of the servers seemed to be from Blackfen - eight or nine, I think. Their families came along too, and so we formed quite a respectable group!

I had problems keeping the camera still (I forgot my trusty monopod) and so messed up more than my usual number of photos. Still, I managed to get a reasonable selection to show...

Bishop George Stack, one of the Auxiliary Bishops in the Westminster Diocese, conferred the Sacrament of Confirmation (I think that is the correct term), and gave Benediction afterwards. Fr. Andrew Southwell was either deacon or sub-deacon (whatever Fr. Tim wasn't!)

Another new experience for me, and I think it will have to be a regular feature of my own personal calendar... hopefully I'll get better photos next year!

"Do You Know Him?"

A conversation this evening reminded me of this video, and, after watching it again, I decided to share...

Mantilla twitched in the direction of His Hermeneuticalness...

Thursday 5 November 2009

The CES Caves In On Sex Education

The Government has decided to stop the right of parents to withdraw their children from sex education lessons from the age of 15.

Interestingly, the Children's Secretary, Ed Balls,

"...suggested with the age of consent being 16 and with young people being able to vote at 18, it did not make sense for parents to have control over whether their children attended sex education classes right up until the age of 19."

Perhaps it doesn't make sense to allow parental control up to the age of 19, but the Government are still happy enough for parents to be legally responsible for ensuring their children attend school until the age of 16 - with dire threats of legal action for non-attendance. The Government are also quite happy to insist that all young people will have to remain in compulsory education until the age of 18. And there is no mention of a 15 year-old's right to opt out of sex education classes...

The CES claim that they are "comforted in the knowledge that our schools and colleges will do an exceptional job in providing Sex and Relationships Education, set within the teachings of the Catholic Church."

Having had occasion to protest, as a teacher in a Catholic School, the sex education provision of that school, particularly with regard to school nurses giving such lessons, and having my protest dismissed by the CES, I am not comforted by this knowledge. The whole statement from the CES demonstrates that they have completely caved in to Government pressure.

CESEW response to proposals relating to Sex and Relationships Education and parental rights.

The Catholic Education Service for England and Wales (CESEW) believes that Personal, Social, Health and Economic education (PSHE) is vital in the education of young people. It enables factual information from reliable sources to be communicated and misinformation from peers or street culture or exploitation to be avoided. The CESEW also recognises that Sex and Relationships Education (SRE) is rightly a sensitive issue. We continue to wholeheartedly support the belief that parents are the first educators of their children, as well as recognising the significant roles and responsibilities of governing bodies on these issues.

Whilst disappointed that legal encumbrances mean that a blanket right of withdrawal can no longer apply, we are pleased that the Government has recognised that the right of withdrawal in formative years is most critical and is therefore providing for the ability of parents to opt-out of SRE up to the age of 15.

CESEW will continue to firmly uphold the position that parental rights remain vital, particularly but not exclusively, in those most formative and critical years up until the age of 15.

As age and growing independence brings young people ever closer to pressures, advertising and coercion to behaviour which can undermine the healthy life of young people, we are comforted in the knowledge that our schools and colleges will do an exceptional job in providing Sex and Relationships Education, set within the teachings of the Catholic Church.

Wednesday 4 November 2009

One Of THOSE Days...

...or, to be more specific, one of the days on which Murphy's Law demonstrates its existence.

First lesson of the day. I have a student teacher in class with me. I'm prepared. I manage to get to the Science lab before my class arrive (they're still in assembly, which has overrun.) The practical equipment is on the front bench. I set up my computer to connect with the smartboard...

First glitch: the board refuses to orient itself, and so I can't actually write on the smartboard.

Quickly I put the computer away and write the title and date on the miniscule white board.

I then turn my attention to the practical equipment. It isn't quite what I had expected, so I examine the tray more carefully.

Second glitch: the practical equipment is actually for another teacher, for the following lesson, on a similar but different topic.

The class has, by this time, arrived in the lab. I grab the sheets I had intended to give them for homework, distribute them to the class with instructions for completion, and dispatch the student teacher to the prep room in search of the practical I actually ordered.

Luckily it has just been forgotten behind the prep room door, and is easily retrieved.

At the end of the practical, I ask for a quick show of hands to discuss the results. How many students found that their starch solution was digested by the boiled enzyme? (For the non-scientists among you, the starch should not be digested by the boiled enzyme, as high temperatures denature and inactivate enzymes, which are biological catalysts.)

Third glitch: all the students put up their hands to show that digestion was successful.

I exchange glances with the student teacher. One or two pupils might have made mistakes, but not all of them... it is possible, however, that the solutions were mixed up...

So, I test a small sample of the starch without any enzyme. It turns black when iodine is added. All well and good. I mix the starch with the normal enzyme, and add iodine. No change. All as it should be. I mixed the starch with the boiled enzyme... and add iodine. No change... which means that either someone, somewhere, has invented a super-enzyme which can withstand boiling (which will make me lots of money when I sell it to washing powder manufacturers) ... or, alternatively, that someone forgot to boil the enzyme...

Why is it that this sort of thing only ever happens when I'm being observed by another adult who is taking notes?

Overdue For A Blonde Joke !

A Blonde died, and was sent on her way to Heaven. Upon arrival, a concerned St. Peter met her at the Pearly Gates. "I'm sorry," St. Peter said, "But Heaven is suffering from an overload of goodly souls and we have been forced to put up an Entrance Exam for new arrivals to ease the burden of Heavenly Arrivals."

"That's cool," said the blonde, "What does the Entrance Exam consist of?"

"Just three questions," said St. Peter. "The first is, which two days of the week start with the letter 'T'? The second is: how many seconds are there in a year? and the third is: what was the name of the swagman in Waltzing Matilda?"

"Now," said St. Peter, "Go away and think about those questions and when I call upon you, I shall expect you to have those answers for me."

So the blonde went away and gave those three questions some considerable thought. The following morning, St. Peter called upon the blonde.

"Well," said St. Peter, "Which two days of the week start with the letter T?"

The blonde answered, "Easy! Today and tomorrow."

St. Peter pondered this answer for some time, and finally decided that indeed the answer couldn't be considered wrong.

"Well then, could I have your answer to the second question," St. Peter went on, "How many seconds in a year?"

The Blonde replied, "Even easier... Twelve!"

"Only twelve?" exclaimed St. Peter, "How did you arrive at that figure?"

"Well," said the Blonde, "There's the second of January, the second of February, the second of March... right through to the second of December, giving a total of twelve seconds."

St. Peter looked at the Blonde and said, "I need some time to consider your answer before I can give you a decision." And he walked away shaking his head.

A short time later, St. Peter returned to the Blonde. "God has said he'll allow the answer to stand, but you need to get the third and final question absolutely correct to be allowed into Heaven. Now, can you tell me the answer to the name of the swagman in Waltzing Matilda?"

The blonde replied: "This was the easiest of the lot! It's Andy."

St. Peter was completely flummoxed. "Andy??"

"Yes, Andy," said the Blonde.

St. Peter paced this way and that, deliberating the answer. Finally, he could not stand the suspense any longer, and turning to the Blonde, he asked "How in God's name did you arrive at that answer?"

"Well," said the blonde, "The song goes: Andy sat, Andy watched, Andy waited till his billy boiled."

And the blonde entered Heaven...

Tuesday 3 November 2009

All Souls... (Slightly Later Than Intended!)

I started to put this post up yesterday, but, after the first day back at school, I was simply too tired to think straight.

All Souls really is one of my favourite feast days... just the thought of all those souls in Purgatory being "sprung" because of Plenary Indulgences obtained on their behalf by the likes of you and me. It's pretty awesome: we have the power to get someone to heaven! It also makes it an awesome responsibility, especially for the souls who, through no fault of their own, have no-one to pray for them.

It really is a sobering thought - St. Bernadette was concerned that people would forget to pray for her when she died - assuming that she had got to heaven already, whilst in reality she'd be languishing, forgotten, in Purgatory. As it so happens, she is in heaven, but if she was worried about not being prayed for, how much more should we be concerned... especially as there is so much eulogising of the dead at funerals these days!

Anyway, I meant to get a photo at the Mass, but forgot my camera. It must have been what old Siegfried Fraud* called "motivated forgetting" because I am sure I'd have been shot down in flames by everyone noticing the terribly white candles. Mea culpa, mea culpa, I forgot to change the candles to unbleached ones!

*As it so happens, Freud's work on the unconscious mind - as evidenced by motivated forgetting and parapraxes - is actually rather convincing. It's his stuff on psychosexual development and dreams which is crap!

Monday 2 November 2009

Government Health Warning...

Not Enough Caffeine?

I don't think any of my lessons have failed quite as spectacularly as this one...

Sunday 1 November 2009

An Excellent Suggestion From Fr. Z...

While reminding us about the Plenary Indulgences available for All Souls' Day and for the first Thursday (the latter because of the Year of the Priest), Fr. Z has come up with a particularly good suggestion... gaining the Plenary Indulgence on behalf of deceased priests.

Just think... you'll have a priest-saint in heaven, who will be eternally grateful to you... literally!

(Yes, I know, Plenary Indulgences shouldn't be clocked up with an eye to being rewarded... but still, a Plenary Indulgence for a Holy Soul in Purgatory simply has to be better than one gained for oneself, if only because we are so likely to sin again, whereas, for the Holy Souls, the effect of the indulgence is permanent!)

English Catholic Heroines...

Remember that book I blogged about? You know, the one for which I wrote a chapter on St. Anne Line?

Well, it's now on Amazon!!!

Strangely, even though the book hasn't officially been published yet, there is a seller offering a "used" copy (like new) but at nearly £4 more than a brand new copy... a little confusing, I must say!

Twitch of the mantilla to Auntie Joanna.
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