Friday 7 December 2012

Cameron's Either Lying Or Stupid...

According to the news today, and on the front page of the Daily Telegraph Online, The British Prime Minister, Mr. David Cameron wants to allow gay "marriages" to be conducted in churches, synagogues and so on.

For the sake of argument, let us overlook the little point that gay "marriage" hasn't actually been passed through Parliament - though from the way the PM is going on about it, he considers it to be a fait accompli. We shall also overlook the fact that this has nothing to do with equality before the law, as civil partnerships already provide this.

I want to look at the assurances being given by the Prime Minister.

He said: "I'm a massive supporter of marriage and I don't want gay people to be excluded from a great institution. But let me be absolutely one hundred per cent clear, if there is any church or any synagogue or any mosque that doesn't want to have a gay marriage it will not, absolutely must not, be forced to hold it. That is absolutely clear in the legislation."

No, it isn't.

The European Court of Human Rights, back in March this year, ruled that same-sex marriage is not a human right. In its conclusion, it also pointed out that if same-sex couples are allowed to marry, any church that offers weddings will be guilty of discrimination if it declines to marry same-sex couples.

There is always the slight possibility that I am sharper, and more on-the-ball that the Prime Minister's legal advisors. It's about as slight as my chances of being elected Pope. So that means the Prime Minister is giving assurances which he hasn't checked out (ie. he's mind-blowingly stupid.) Alternatively, he's lying through his teeth, and assumes that the British Public are too stupid to notice...

I didn't ever think that I'd prefer to think the Prime Minister of the country is a blithering idiot...

Thursday 6 December 2012

Dance For Rio...

Having found out about the great band ooberfuse via His Hermeneuticalness' blog post on Shabaz Bhatti, I was delighted to spot that one of the band had started following me on Twitter. It seems that Cherrie Anderson, who is one of the very talented songwriters and vocalists, likes to read my blog. I've got a sneaking suspicion that it's because of the cats. They are, after all, adorable, despite what His Hermeneuticalness says!

Anyway, I promptly started following back. And, from Cherrie's latest tweet, it seems that ooberfuse are making a video for World Youth Day 2013. They want volunteers who like dancing and want to be in the video to turn up at North Greenwich tube station on Saturday morning - that's December 8th. - at 9am.

It sounds like tremendous fun. Sadly, with two dodgy knees and an even more dodgy ankle, dancing isn't my thing these days. I'm also attending the Missa Cantata at Blackfen for the Feast of the Immaculate Conception. But if you do happen to be free, I'd recommend it...

Here's the video they made in memory of Shabaz Bhatti, to give you a taste of the group's musical style...

Oh Please...!

Well, maybe after all the previous stuff, she'll say something radical. You know, something Catholic...

...But I won't hold my breath!

Twitch of the mantilla to the Lovely Bones.

Tuesday 4 December 2012

Wasps In Autumn...

The Call to Action group which is trying to organise meetings of dissenters in various dioceses around the country remind me of wasps in autumn. They're dying, and they become more vicious because time is running out.

As I said on Twitter, I rather resent having to pay any attention to this unhappy coterie: I'd much rather settle back, and find out, in this Year of Faith, exactly what Vatican II actually did say about things like obedience to Papal authority, rather than being forced to repeat myself ad nauseam to people who are so wedded to their little fantasies of how the Spirit of Vatican II opened all the windows and doors of the church that they wouldn't recognise an actual Vatican II document if it sat up, waved a tie-dye stole and a tambourine, and bit them on the bum.

So why am I wasting a perfectly good evening's blogging time?

Well, it is rather invidious, this dissent thing. Dissent must make a noise. It has to be vocal. It is instability attacking stability, and so it needs to pop up all over the place in order to convince the powers-that-be that change just has to happen, because simply everyone is calling for it.

Quite apart from the fact that the Church, being a supernatural institution started and protected by God himself, isn't going to cave in to that sort of rubbish (well, not when considered in the light of eternity) there is the purely human aspect of it. The faithful Catholics in the pews who attend Mass regularly and support the Church with their time and money aren't, by and large, a vocal group. They expect things to be taken care of. Most of them won't actually notice the Call to Action types - just as they didn't really pay any attention to the Stand Up for Vatican II crowd.

The faithful parish priests, on the other hand, are hearing nothing but the vocal minority. With the best will in the world, it is difficult to keep one's spirits up in the face of such relentless poison. And, believe me, this stuff, just like a wasp sting, is a poison. It's killed off plenty of vocations over the past forty years, and destroyed many people's faith.

It is absolutely vital that this sort of dissent is dealt with. It's tempting to leave it to die quietly, but a dying wasp is vicious, and a whole nest really needs expert removal.

There is a precedent. The Bishop of Lincoln, Nebraska, issued an automatic interdict in 1996 which progressed to excommunication on members of the organisation within his diocese. This was backed up by Rome. In view of the latest Motu Proprio, the Bishops of England & Wales cannot just sit back and allow this to continue unchallenged. Silence implies consent.

Faithful Catholics also need to make their feelings known by writing to their Bishops. Find out where the meetings are to be held, and if it is on Catholic premises, then demand to know why.

If it all gets too much, remember to laugh about it. The gates of hell shall not prevail.

Finally, remember to support the very many faithful priests and religious who are as tired of this nonsense as anyone else. And don't forget to pray.

Reflections Of A Feline Nature...

Snoozing Cats

The other day I was indulging in some idle reflections on why a comfortably sleeping cat (or even a picture of a sleeping cat) makes so many people smile. I concluded that it has something to do with the fact that the sleeping cat implies trust. If a cat is happy, things can't be that bad.

Both Cardinal Furretti and Monsignor Miaowrini were rescue cats, each adopted at approximately four months of age.

Furretti was adopted first, along with her brother, Cardinal Catzinger. Actually Catzinger was the one who picked me out; once he had conferred the seal of approval, Furretti wouldn't leave my side. The two of them had been dumped in a stairwell together, and it's as if she has some sort of separation anxiety. She loves to be in the same room as me, and sleeps on the bed beside me most of the night. She will also come over to say hallo when I get home in the evening.

About a month after Catzinger's death, I adopted Miaowrini. She had been abandoned, and, from the nervous way she shied away from me whenever I even looked at her, I suspect that she had been very badly treated. Gradually she would approach me, and allow me to stroke her, but she didn't like to be picked up. Then, after about 18 months, she started flopping over onto her side as I approached, wanting to have her tummy tickled.

It's taken two years, but finally Miaowrini has jumped up on to the bed beside Furretti and me, and has curled up and slept. And then she has woken up, stretched, purred, rolled over to be tickled, and then gone back to sleep... and watching her lie there makes me smile...


The two cats will continue to have their little squabbles, and I shall have to guard against accusations of "favouritism" from one or the other, but right now I have two happy, sleeping cats on my duvet. And that's a definition of happiness.

Questionable Questionnaires...

The Bitter Pill has a survey up about the new translation of the Mass. As well as a sloppy approach to Catholicism, it seems that the publication takes a sloppy approach to questionnaires.

The questions are clumsily worded and there were numerous errors in the text. Several commenters over at Fr. Z's blog uncharitably suggested that this might be because the people who wrote the questionnaire don't go to Mass regularly, and so are themselves unfamiliar with the new translation. I prefer to think that the authors of the questionnaire usually attend Mass celebrated according to the Usus Antiquior, and so are unfamiliar with the English...

Obviously someone alerted the powers that be at The Bitter Pill that they'd goofed. The questionnaire has been changed to remove some of the ambiguities - for example they clarify that you might hear a phrase rather than say it. This does rather affect the answers one might give, so it's worth going back to check your responses.

Reflections For Advent...

Every year I grouse about the fact that earlier and earlier Christmas celebrations crowd out the season of Advent. This year I'm delighted to note that Father Z has decided to help out by publishing a podcast reflection for each day of Advent.

I no longer bother with iTunes now that I've ditched the iPhone in favour of my beloved Android Samsung Galaxy Nexus, so I'm not sure if there is a way to download the podcasts automatically (there probably is a way, I'm just too busy (ok, ok, too lazy!) to look into it. However, it will come up on Google reader each day.

In case you missed them, the first three days' reflections are here: Sunday, Monday and Tuesday.

Monday 3 December 2012

Tempus Fugit...

The chaps at Papa Stronsay have produced their wonderfully uplifting calendar again. Time to pencil in all your important engagements, Latin Masses to attend, conferences to go to...

Don't waste any more time! Order your very own copy now... and maybe even buy a few copies as presents!

Sunday 2 December 2012

Another Motu Proprio To Make Hearts Rejoice...

It's strange. Before Summorum Pontificum, I'd never heard of Motu Proprios, though I now know they existed. I'm pretty sure that the Holy Father has actually issued a few more, but, in my heart, Summorum Pontificum was THE Motu Proprio.

As of yesterday, this is no longer the case. Pope Benedict has delivered another Motu Proprio to warm the cockles of faithful Catholic hearts...

The title, Intima Ecclesiae Natura, is rather more wordy, but don't let that put you off. This MP is on charity, and particularly on Catholic charitable organisations. Yes, important, but surely nothing to get excited about? Actually, here in the UK, it constitutes a tolling bell for organisations such as CAFOD, which will now be required to toe the line on Catholic teaching on contraceptives or else change its name to AFOD.

I believe that the US also has one or two institutions which will be similarly affected.

The bit that got me all excited was the realisation that this will apply to all Catholic institutions which claim charitable status... for example, The Bitter Pill. True, The Tablet doesn't actually use the word "Catholic" in the title... but it does have the phrase "The International Catholic News Weekly" under the title on the website. And, if it isn't Catholic, why should it be distributed and sold in churches across the country?

There are some real grenades just about to be lobbed at organisations which claim to be Catholic, but in reality sneer at the teachings of the Church and at the Holy Father. In particular (and the emphases are all mine):

Article 4. - § 3. It is the responsibility of the diocesan Bishop to ensure that in the activities and management of these agencies the norms of the Church’s universal and particular law are respected...

Article 7. - § 1. The agencies referred to in Article 1 § 1 are required to select their personnel from among persons who share, or at least respect, the Catholic identity of these works.

Article 7. - § 2. To ensure an evangelical witness in the service of charity, the diocesan Bishop is to take care that those who work in the Church’s charitable apostolate, along with due professional competence, give an example of Christian life and witness to a formation of heart which testifies to a faith working through charity.

Article 9. - § 3. It is the duty of the diocesan Bishop and the respective parish priests to see that in this area the faithful are not led into error or misunderstanding; hence they are to prevent publicity being given through parish or diocesan structures to initiatives which, while presenting themselves as charitable, propose choices or methods at odds with the Church’s teaching.

And another salvo is found lurking:

Article 10. - § 3. In particular, the diocesan Bishop is to ensure that charitable agencies dependent upon him do not receive financial support from groups or institutions that pursue ends contrary to Church’s teaching. Similarly, lest scandal be given to the faithful, the diocesan Bishop is to ensure that these charitable agencies do not accept contributions for initiatives whose ends, or the means used to pursue them, are not in conformity with the Church’s teaching.

This really is a Motu Proprio about which to celebrate! What a wonderful present for Advent from the Holy Father! How many hearts will rejoice at the news...? I think we'll probably be having more champers and chocolate cake at Blackfen...

Now, all we need to do is wait for the Bishops of England & Wales to follow the instructions... (Please be charitable in the comments box!)
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