Friday 4 December 2015

A Post About My Hooligans...

I've had quite a hectic week. Yesterday I noticed a slightly odd smell when I went to bed. I assumed that one of the cats had been sick under the bed, but was way too tired to do anything about it. This evening I noticed the smell again - it was a bit stronger, and I decided that, no matter how tired I was, I really did have to investigate...

Moving the bed revealed that one of my little hooligans had very thoughtfully brought me a present. I suspect Miaowrini, as she tends to go out for longer periods than Furretti, but both cats are doing their best to look totally innocent.

Just when I thought I'd have to get rid of the Kitty Kill Count in the sidebar...

Saturday 28 November 2015

Advent Preparations...

20151128_141859 I do love my parish in Margate - there is just so much happening! Two weeks ago we had the Michaelmas Fair; this afternoon saw the annual wreath-making workshop for Advent.

I'm not the most practical of people, especially when it comes to greenery - I prefer experiments which go bang and things which burn brightly, hence my career as a Science teacher. But I do love to watch people being creative, and we had that at St. Austin & St. Gregory in bucketloads! It was great fun to watch people (of all ages) get stuck in...


And some of the younger participants had even dressed up for the occasion...


(...well, ok, maybe they were just dressed like that anyway!)

Oasis foam rings were provided for everyone who wanted to have a go at making their own wreath, along with candles, candle-holders and greenery. Lots of greenery...


Pretty baubles, gilded pine cones and other decorations could also be added. And for the dexterously-challenged, such as myself, extra wreaths were made up by the talented parish team of "flower girls" for sale after the blessing of wreaths on Sunday morning.

Kathy (in the purple jacket) told me that it was all much easier than it looked, and explained how she had been roped in to flower arranging in the parish. It sounded as if she was trying to encourage my own creative talents. Knowing that my wreath-making abilities are minimal, and being frankly far more interested in sitting around drinking tea, eating mince pies, chatting and taking photos, I had come prepared, and handed over some hard cash for one of the extra wreaths. Kay asked me if I minded baubles on my wreath. I explained that I positively welcomed baubles, but that, as I wasn't sure what my two cats would be likely to chomp, I would prefer not to have any holly berries. So I got a bespoke Advent wreath which I will collect in the morning once it's been blessed...


I thought that the Advent wreath for the church looked particularly elegant...


Meanwhile, the Crib was being set up in front of the Lady Altar...


... and, at least until Christmas, this is what the finished Crib looks like...



There are a few more photos on my Flickr page. The afternoon made a very enjoyable way to prepare for Advent. I can't wait to collect my wreath tomorrow!

Wednesday 25 November 2015

A Treat...

We are having a Solemn High Mass for the Feast of the Immaculate Conception at St. Austin & St. Gregory's, Margate. Mass starts at 7:30pm, so I shall have to race the schoolchildren to the gate at the end of the day, but it'll be worth it!

I think the music is something by Palestrina. It'll be a real treat to hear it in the setting and circumstances for which it was composed...

Monday 23 November 2015

The Skies That Inspired Turner...

2014-11-01 16.19.00I had been told that Turner once declared that "...the skies above Thanet are the loveliest in all Europe." I always assumed that this was artistic hyperbole; after all, sky was sky. It didn't matter where you were, you had the same amount of sky, and, while it would change according to the weather conditions, it was pretty much the same everywhere.

After visiting Margate a few times, I realised that Turner actually had a point. The quality of the light is amazing, and unlike anything else I have experienced. I can't paint, but I do love to try and capture the moods and light with my camera.

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I took lots of photos during the Summer as I strolled along the sea front. But I was interested to see how the views would change as the wintry weather developed, and so, on a rather changeable day in November, I went out with my camera to see what I could come up with.

None of the photos have been edited or filtered in any way...

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You can see a few more over on my Flickr pages...

Sunday 22 November 2015

Margate's Michaelmas Fair

We had a Michaelmas Fair last week at St. Austin & St. Gregory, Margate. I felt the urge to get back to my hobby, so took a few photos which, I thought, came out rather well.

Deacon Neville and his wife, Anne, did a grand job of trying to persuade me to buy some children's toys. I resisted, but the absence of a sale wasn't due to lack of effort on their part - I had absolutely no cash on me, as I'd spent it all on petrol for my new car!


Yvonne and Breda had a fabulous stall with various items of costume jewellery. I don't wear anything other than my crucifix and miraculous medal, but I was seriously tempted by some of the beautiful bead necklaces...


...and so, it would appear, was Deacon Ambrose...


I was rather amused to see that cats feature pretty much everywhere...


All the photos from the Fair can be seen on my Flickr pages.

Saturday 17 October 2015

The Night Is Always Darkest Before The Dawn...

I'm praying that this is true because what little I'm reading right now (and it is deliberately a very little) about the Synod is very dark indeed.

For some reason, the phrase "Let all the poisons that lurk in the mud hatch out" keeps coming to mind. I remember it from the book by Robert Graves, Claudius the God.

The Emperor Claudius realises that he has, by his attempts at benevolent rule, effectively scuppered all chances of a true Republic being restored, as all the evil, corruption and intrigues are hidden away. He determines to make those around him show their true colours by being unresisting and compliant. He will be "Old King Log," inert and unprotesting, as everything gets worse and worse before it just has to be overthrown.

It seems so very appropriate. I can't help wondering if there was something of this in the resignation of Pope Benedict. Some of the madder bishops appear to have been kept in check by their knowledge that they would be called out by the CDF and now, under Pope Francis, they appear happy to show their true natures.

In the book, Claudius's plan didn't quite work out the way he intended. In contrast, we have Christ's promise that he Church will prevail in the end - unfortunately we don't know how bad things will get in the meantime.

There is a light at the end of the tunnel. We just need to pray that it's not an oncoming train.

Friday 28 August 2015

It Was Only A Matter Of Time...

I explained a couple of posts ago that I had had a catflap installed in my new flat. The cats have been a bit reluctant to use it, because, due to the double glazing here, it is a little more "clattery" than the one in my previous place.

There is also a slight drop on the other side of the door, making access a tad trickier for my rather well-fed moggies. Both of them tried the plaintive miaow from the other side of the door trick,and, although I gave in once for each cat (it was pouring with rain on both occasions) I then hardened my heart, and waited for them to figure out the mechanics. I also provided an incentive by removing the litter trays.

Tonight, just three weeks after the installation of the catflap, Miaowrini brought home her first catch.

I thought it was dead, and so, obviously, did Miaowrini, as she laid it carefully on the floor in the front room. Just as I was about to remove the corpse, it opened an eye and fluttered its wings in an attempt to get away. I used a tea towel in order to scoop it up, and took a photo. Furretti had joined us, and the noise of two excited cats and one unhappy bird (the latter possibly calling for mum - it had a fledgling sort of look) was rather startling.

Having checked that there were no obvious injuries, I let the bird out of the front window, and it flew off. Miaowrini was not amused, and she is now sulking.

Does anyone have any idea what type of bird this was?

Saturday 22 August 2015

Happy Memories...

About a month ago, the Day With Mary team visited Margate. As my previous posts probably indicated (HERE and HERE) I love the Days With Mary - a full-on, no-nonsense, Marian pilgrimage fitted into the space of a few hours. A devotional whirlwind which picks you up, gives you a shake and leaves you enthused and encouraged in your spiritual life.

Mere words can't convey the experience very well - I make it sound as if it is all a complete rush, but it really isn't. The atmosphere of prayer and calm is amazing... but it's energising and uplifting, and exciting at the same time as well.

A picture speaks a thousand words - and you can see lots of photos here. However, a video clip trumps a picture every time...

One of the talks given by Fr. Finigan can also be seen:

And here is a link to a video of his sermon. On all the videos, the singing of the Franciscan Sisters of the Immaculate is hauntingly beautiful.

Twitch of the mantilla to Fr. Tim.

Saturday 8 August 2015

Hunting Licenses Reissued...

Annuncio vobis gaudium magnum. Habemus ostium kitti cattus!*

I have finally succeeded in having a cat flap installed in my bedroom door... this has taken much more time and effort than I anticipated because the door is double-glazed and I really didn't want to have a half PVC door put in. It would have been much easier from the cat flap point of view, but I would have lost an incredible amount of natural light.

Anyway, the cats appear rather unsure what to make of it all. Furretti was actually the first to venture out, but she decided that it wasn't that interesting, and promptly returned to her current favourite spot on top of my school papers for another nap. Furretti's favourite spot is nearly always on top of whatever I'm working on, preferably while I am working on it.

Miaowrini is much more fascinated by the idea of "the great outdoors". Because the cat flap is much bigger and noisier than the previous one (due to the double glazing) I have temporarily taken the door off to encourage exploration. Miaowrini has been going out for periods of 20 seconds or so, and then sits staring at the door. If I return to the sitting room, she immediately runs after me - as if she is only brave enough to venture out if I'm beside her. So it is probably just as well that I had to wait until the holidays before getting the cat flap.

I expect that the two kitties will soon get the hang of going outdoors again, and then it will be business as usual. In anticipation, I have started up a new version of the Kitty Kill Count... anyone want to start a book on how soon I get presented with my first seagull...?

*Yes, I know it should just be "cattus" not "kitti cattus", but I couldn't resist!

Thursday 30 July 2015

Supreme Catisfaction...!

I am feeling deliriously happy this evening. I have been an awesome kitty-whisperer and good Samaritan all at the same time!

Two weeks ago, my upstairs neighbours lost their cat. She was less than a year old, and had never been outside, though she had a habit of walking from the bedroom window over the roof tiles to the balcony. Unfortunately, one evening, she appeared to slip on wet tiles... only her absence wasn't immediately noticed.

Time passed, and I noticed that Kiara hadn't been found - and a cat basket with a towel, and a pair of her owner's shoes were left in the front garden, just in case she came back needing shelter. It really was a heartbreaking sight.

Anyway, this evening I was curled up in bed, settling down to peruse my Twitter feed, when a movement outside my bedroom back door caught my eye. There, looking in, was a black and white cat. I cautiously approached the door, but the cat ran away. I opened it, and sat down making encouraging noises, and, to my delight, the cat ventured closer.

Unfortunately, Miaowrini then spotted the new arrival, and made her displeasure clear, and the other cat ran away again. I managed to get Miaowrini out of the bedroom, and prevented Furretti from trying to come in, and promptly shut the door. I then sat by the back door and made a few more encouraging noises.

It took five minutes before she got near enough for me to stroke her cheek... but cats love to be scratched just under the jaw there, and as she pushed against my hand I was able to grasp the scruff of her neck and then shut the door so she couldn't escape. I then bundled her into a cat carrier and rang my neighbours to let them know I had found a cat.

The reunion nearly reduced me to tears...

Miaowrini and Furretti are less happy - they saw the interloper arrive, but haven't quite figured out that she's been taken back out, and are busy scouring the flat in an attempt to repel boarders. I am definitely in the dog house for daring to befriend another feline. Never mind - it'll all be forgiven once I crack open the tinned tuna...

Tuesday 21 July 2015

More About The Day With Mary...

For another edifying and uplifting account of last Saturday's spiritual whirlwind in Margate, do pop on over to read what Annie Elizabeth has written. She also has photos of the processions and book stalls, so it's well worth a look.

Saturday 18 July 2015

The Day With Mary Arrives In Margate...

My Summer holiday started in the best way possible - the Day With Mary team came to the parish of St. Austin & St. Gregory's, Margate.

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The Day With Mary is a real spiritual powerhouse - it's a bit like going on a week's pilgrimage to Lourdes or Fatima... squeezed into the space of an afternoon. I really used to look forward to their annual visits to Blackfen; fortunately, this year, they were able to fit Margate into their busy programme...

We started with prayers and the crowning of the statue of Our Lady, followed by a procession around the local streets with the statue and the recitation of the Joyful Mysteries of the Rosary. Then we had Mass - a wonderful Missa Cantata, with the Franciscan Sisters of the Immaculate chanting the propers, and they sounded awesome.

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Fr. Finigan gave a really good sermon, which will hopefully be made available on the DWM website soon. The thurifer and I both remarked afterwards that it really was a stonking good sermon, and ticked all the right boxes - which led to my proposal that we start giving out cards for "Sermon Bingo". First person to get a line has to shout "Church!"

Mass was followed by the Consecration of the Parish to the Immaculate Heart of Mary. I found that particularly moving, especially when, in amongst the various groups of the parish, the Schola got a mention! Then, a break for lunch, and an opportunity to browse the extensive bookstall and the collection of rosaries, medals, scapulars, statues and prayer cards which the team had brought along. Due to the numbers attending, many people sat outside the church hall and a few more wandered around the presbytery garden. Fortunately the weather was absolutely glorious.

We returned to the church for Exposition, an outdoor procession of the Blessed Sacrament, a sermon given by a Fr. John Lawrence Polis, FI, the recitation of the Luminous Mysteries of the Rosary, and a meditation on each of the Stations of the Cross, Then it was time for tea.

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Finally, we had the Glorious Mysteries of the Rosary, another sermon by Fr. Finigan, Benediction, enrolment into the Brown Scapular of Our Lady of Mount Carmel and conferring of the Miraculous Medal, blessing of any religious objects and the final farewell to Our Lady's statue...

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That last bit always makes me want to cry.

Seeing scores of people waving white hankies as a sign of their devotion brings a lump to my throat, every single time. I can't explain why it should be such an emotional moment. But I know I'm not the only one to feel that way.

I took a few photos during the day, and if you want to get a glimpse of what a Day With Mary is like, you can have a look at my Flickr album. If you hear that the team is visiting a parish near you, I would heartily recommend going - just for a part of the day if you can't find time for the whole thing. I guarantee you'll leave feeling invigorated, refreshed and encouraged in your practice of the Faith.

Tuesday 26 May 2015

Margate Sands & The Beginning Of Summer...

At the beginning of the month I ventured out onto the beach near my new flat. However, the sunshine was deceptive, and a bitter wind meant that I had little inclination to walk very far, or to do more than admire the waves from a safe (and dry) distance.

I'd initially had all sorts of good resolutions about walking to and from the station each day, but the reality of having to leave the house at 5:30am in order to catch the train soon persuaded me that this just wasn't going to happen. I'd have had to leave even earlier if I wanted to walk in the morning, and I was generally too wrecked in the evening to do anything other than crawl gratefully into my car (or a taxi.)

It is now the end of May, and although the weather is a little changeable, it's getting much warmer. Margate was packed for yesterday's Bank Holiday, but today was considerably quieter, and I decided that it was probably a good time to take another little stroll along the sea front.

In order to provide motivation (my psychology background does occasionally prove useful) I left my car parked at home, and took a taxi to lunch at The Hoy, (just opposite the Turner Contemporary) where they do a really good steak. Admirably fed and watered (*ahem*) it was then time to meander homewards.

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I had originally intended to walk on the pavement beside the beach, but the tide was out, and the lifeboat launch area provided an inviting slope towards the waterline. The Harbour Arm end is quite deep when the tide is in, so the sand was nice and firm. I was fascinated by all the worm casts and ripples in the sand...

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As I reached the boating pool, I found that the tide had moved further in, and it was a case of retreating right up the beach to the promenade or taking off my shoes and paddling round the rocks. I gleefully opted for the latter, feeling decidedly "naughty" as I had no intention of removing my tights and would have wet feet (and no towel!) Paddling in the sea is something I haven't done for years! I can heartily recommend it...

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I reached the top of the slope near my flat about 45 minutes after I started off, and was quite amazed to see the distance I had travelled... You can just make out the Turner Contemporary building in the distance (click on the picture for a better view)...

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More photos can be seen on my Flickr page.

Thursday 14 May 2015

Thanet's The Place To Be...

It's all go in Thanet...

This evening I attended Mass for the Feast of the Ascension at the gorgeous Shrine of St. Augustine at Ramsgate. A simple Missa Cantata... except that the music was courtesy of the Victoria Consort, and it was heavenly! Their superb voices completely filled the church. If you can't get to Thanet, you can always buy their CD...

This Sunday, 17 May, the parish of Ramsgate (St. Ethelbert's) is hosting a viewing of the latest DVD from St. Anthony Communications - so new that it isn't even up on their website yet. Called Marriage: God's design for Life and Love, the film presents the Catholic vision and understanding of marriage and the natural law, the beauty and meaning of human sexuality, family, and of the gift of children, and it addresses the challenges we face in our world today.

The DVD includes presentations by stalwarts of the Faith such as Raymond Leo Cardinal Burke, Bishop Mark Davies, Fr Marcus Holden and Fr Andrew Pinsent, Just to whet your appetite, here's the official trailer...

Monday 4 May 2015

The Noble Art Of Kitty Shui...

We've all heard of Feng Shui... but less well-known is Kitty Shui (pron. shoo-ee) which involves chasing cats out of empty spaces...

Sunday 3 May 2015


Yesterday provided the first real opportunity for unpacking a few boxes, and so I was absolutely determined to use my time wisely. Naturally, this meant that, at the first glimpse of sunshine, I immediately opted to let the unpacking go take a running jump and went out for a walk along the beach close to my flat...

I would just like to reassure my friends that I am not ill - I realise that I haven't voluntarily gone out for a random walk any time in the past decade, but there is something very appealing about a sandy beach... and anyway, the alternative was unpacking boxes.

I very nearly went for a paddle too... but it was just a bit too chilly.

Saturday 2 May 2015

Pastures New...

The kitty kill count in the sidebar is going to be rather uneventful for at least the next month or so. I have just moved house (down to Margate), and so, until they get used to the new place, the Cardinal and Monsignor are not allowed outside...

The cats have been a little freaked out by the whole moving thing - they yowled piteously for a full hour and a half as I drove them down the motorway. When I'm out, the two of them hide behind some boxes together in the darkest corner they can find, and they only seem to come out to explore once I arrive back home. And at night, the two of them sleep on the bed with me. I guess that, in the face of such upheaval, all hostilities are suspended!

It has been very entertaining watching the kitties learn all about laminate flooring. Furretti, in particular, seems to have problems cornering at high speed, and she has missed her intended target a few times as her back feet occasionally slip out from under her when she attempts to jump up,

This morning, Miaowrini saw her first seagull outside the bedroom window, and she got quite excited. Once the catflap is installed and is in operation, I anticipate some interesting additions to the kitty kill count. That's assuming a seagull doesn't dump her in the middle of the North Sea...

Saturday 11 April 2015

First Results From The Letter Of Support...

Well, the letter of support was carried by several bloggers, and all signatures collated by the organisers. The letter was then sent to the Catholic Herald.

If you are interested in seeing who has signed it, the complete list can be found here.

Thanks to all those who blogged about it, and all those who signed. Many thanks also to Andrew Plasom-Scott and Mark Lambert for their hard work in coordinating the whole thing.

Sunday 29 March 2015

Supporting Our Faithful Priests...

In support of our priests, our families, and our Church...

You may have seen the recent letter from more than 450 priests in support of the Church’s teaching on marriage. We would like to invite you to sign the letter below, to be sent to the press in support of them, and to encourage others to sign it.

To sign, please leave your name and your diocese in the comments box below, or if you prefer email them to one of the coordinators: Mark Lambert or Andrew Plasom-Scott.

The Letter:
Dear Sir,
We, the undersigned, wish to endorse and support the letter signed by over 450 priests in the recent edition of the Catholic Herald.
As laity, we all know from our own family experiences, or those of our friends and neighbours, the harrowing trauma of divorce and separation, and we sympathise with all those in such situations.
It is precisely for that reason that we believe that the Church must continue to proclaim the truth about marriage, given us by Christ in the Gospels, with clarity and charity in a world that struggles to understand it.
For the sake of those in irregular unions, for the sake of those abandoned and living in accordance with the teachings of the Church, and above all for the sake of the next generation, it is essential that the Church continues to make it quite clear that sacramental marriage is indissoluble until death.
We pray, and expect, that our hierarchy will represent us, and the Church’s unwavering teaching, at the Synod this autumn.
Yours faithfully,

Sunday 15 March 2015

Catching Up...

Well, despite my best intentions, I didn't get to write anything further about Cardinal Burke's visit to Ramsgate last week. This was partly because, after getting home and uploading my photos it was 1:00am. I had about 3 and a half hours' sleep before it was time to get up and go back to work.

Nevertheless, the whole of Tuesday passed in a warm fuzzy glow of fired-up enthusiasm... but I then spent the week catching up on missed sleep and marking books. In the meantime, His Hermeneuticalness has stolen yet another march on me, and has posted the full text of Cardinal Burke's sermon. Read it, and you'll get an idea of why it was such an uplifting occasion.

In a case of pots and kettles, over dinner I berated Dominic Bevan for not advertising more of the singing of the Victoria Consort at Ramsgate - there is a mouth-wateringly good programme of events planned for Holy Week and Easter. I pleaded for a scoop for my blog, and so I have the privilege of posting their programme...

Tuesday 10 March 2015

Solemn Pontifical High Mass...

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I'm just back from Ramsgate, where, at the Shrine of St. Augustine, Cardinal Burke celebrated a Solemn Pontifical High Mass.

It was awesome, and totally stunning. I've never seen so many people packed into such a small space. Fr. Finigan did a great job of summarising the whole event over on his blog, but I had further to travel home (and went out for dinner as well!) so I shall blog tomorrow.

I have, however, got the photos up on Flickr, so feel free to go and have a good look!

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Sunday 8 March 2015

Is This What A Feminist Looks Like...?

I enjoyed a delicious lunch today after the Missa Cantata at Margate. I was just pondering whether to indulge in dessert when the waitress placed a plate of chocolate cake in front of me.

His Hermeneuticalness pointed out to the young woman that I hadn't ordered cake. She explained that it was a free treat for all their female customers, to celebrate International Women's Day.

It briefly occurred to me that this was a terribly sexist thing...

What a stereotype to perpetuate... I'm a woman, and so I must like chocolate cake! Is this really the equality which hundreds marched for today in Central London?

Actually, I'm afraid that I didn't much care. It was chocolate cake. I ate it.

In order to strike a blow for equality for downtrodden men everywhere, His Hermeneuticalness stole a spoonful of my chocolate cake. I let him live, but only because I suspect that attacking one's parish priest with a cake fork probably carries some sort of canonical penalty...

Thursday 26 February 2015

Lack Of Blogging Oomph...

I haven't had much inclination for blogging of late. I had hoped to get up a bit more enthusiasm during Half Term (was it really only last week?) but was either busy doing stuff (which meant that I didn't have time to blog) or was busy recovering from doing stuff (which meant that I didn't have the energy to blog!)

However, just to show willing, I thought I'd put up some photos from last Sunday:

After a lovely Missa Cantata in Margate, I went out for lunch in Ramsgate, overlooking the harbour...

I love the sea when it looks all grey and moody, but apparently I missed a really good photo opportunity earlier in the day when the sky was an iridescent blue, and quite spectacular.

Then, after lunch, it was time to attend Vespers at the Shrine of St. Augustine. The Schola Augustini, led by Thomas Neal, sang beautifully...

It was a great occasion, and there is sung Vespers at the Shrine on the fourth Sunday of each month, so do go along if you get the chance!

Thursday 12 February 2015

Naughty Cat...

This is the sort of thing my two get up to, but never when I've got my camera handy. The expression on the cat's face is really priceless.

Wednesday 11 February 2015

The Season Of Septuagesima...

2013-01-27 10.40.59One of the things that I love about the Traditional Latin Mass is that it adheres to the old liturgical calendar, with all the Vigils, Octaves and seasons. I particularly like the season of Septuagesima - the two and a half weeks before Lent. The idea is that we need to prepare for the great feast of Easter by observing Lent, but the forty days of Lent form such a pivotal part of our spiritual conversion that we actually need time to prepare for it as well, hence the gentle mournfulness of the season. The Alleluia is "buried" until Easter, the Gloria is not sung at Sunday Mass (nor the Te Deum at Matins), and purple vestments are worn.

I was fascinated to read the history of Septuagesima as written by Dom Guéranger, OSB, and the relationship to the forty days of Lent. Apparently, in the Greek Church, they didn't fast on Thursdays, Saturdays or Sundays, and so, to make up the forty days, Lent actually started on Septuagesima. In the Latin Church, however, Lent began on Quadragesima Sunday, but, since Sundays were not counted as fasting days, Lent was only 36 days long (as noted by St. Gregory the Great in one of his homilies, quoted by Dom Guéranger.)

Therefore, in order to make up the "shortfall", the Latin Church started her Lenten fast on Ash Wednesday...

If you want to read more about the liturgy for Septuagesima, Zephyrinus has posted the texts (and explanatory notes) from the Saint Andrew's Daily Missal, which form a wonderful resource for prayerful contemplation. He has posted each Sunday separately (Septuagesima Sunday, Sexagesima and Quinquagesima) - the latter is from last year, but will be changed when this year's post is up.

There's only a week to go before Lent (I'm a little late in posting this!) but at least, due to the old calendar, Ash Wednesday won't catch me unawares...

Tuesday 10 February 2015

Competitive Cats...

Kitty-watching can be most entertaining at times.

Miaowrini has been using the cat bed on top of one of the wardrobes for quite some time, but suddenly it's being taken over by Furretti. On finding her spot occupied the other day, Miaowrini looked a little forlorn, so I fetched a second cat bed and placed it on a trolley at the foot of my bed (not quite such a good location as the first bed, it would seem). After a little while, Miaowrini made herself comfortable, with all the circling, paw-kneading and purring which she used to carry out in her previous spot. And then she appeared to go to sleep.

Five minutes later, Furretti got up to go to the kitchen and munch some cat biscuits.

Quick as a flash, Miaowrini jumped down from her bed, scooted across the room and jumped up to the wardrobe. In less than a minute, she had settled down again to sleep, this time in her favourite spot.

Furretti returned, found that she had been supplanted, and retired to the sitting room in a huff.

Possession, it would seem, is nine points of the law for cats as well as humans...

Monday 19 January 2015

Which Bit Of "Impossible" Is So Hard To Understand...?

Another poor, deluded soul...

My blog had its fifteen minutes of fame after I posted a cri de coeur about the dreadful dress-sense of your average womynpriest candidate (masterfully answered by Fr. Z, as it happens), in which I was bemoaning the dearth of tasteful Roman vestments being sported. But now I wonder if there is a case to be made for cause and effect? A ridiculous suggestion, but no more ridiculous than the womynpriests' claims to being ordained to the Catholic priesthood...

In his 1994 apostolic letter, Ordinatio Sacerdotalis Pope John Paul II declared definitively that it was impossible for the Church to ordain women to the priesthood. Despite this, twenty years later, there are women who continue to claim that they have been validly ordained. And, as I noted before, they all seem to wear the most awful stuff.

This leads me to wonder what it is about the wearing of floaty, outsize polyester and/or tie-dye vestments which renders the wearer incapable of rational thought?

One cannot rationally claim that one is ordained to the priesthood of the Church when that Church declares that it is not so. For ordination to be valid, the recipient has to be male. Gender reassignment surgery doesn't cut it either (sorry, couldn't resist!) The Church has stated that this reservation of the priesthood to men is to be held as a definitive truth of the Faith by all of the members of the Church. For any rational human being, that ought to be enough.

Then there is the irrationality of claiming that the ordination is valid because they have a "calling to the priesthood." Lots of men feel called, but that doesn't mean it is so: the years of formation in seminary are also a time of discernment. If the Church doesn't confirm the feeling of vocation by ordaining you, then no amount of "feeling" will make you a priest.

Is it just that they feel like they can do the job? After all, I have a scientific background, and a keen interest in medical matters. I am frequently able to tell my mother what she's likely to be suffering from, if she tells me her symptoms. I always wanted to be a doctor. If I really and truly feel that I have a calling that way (and lots of people have told me that I'd be good at the job) does that allow me to set up as a GP? No rational individual would be surprised when my excuse of "feeling that I could do the job" was thrown out of court.

The claim that it is all about equality for women is equally irrational. I firmly believe that men and women are equal but you won't see me asking any men if they have a spare Tampax. I also do not consider it to be a matter of inequality that men cannot give birth, and I, talented though I am, cannot father a child. The basic, incontrovertible truth is that men and women are different. To say that different means unequal is irrational.

What the womynpriests (and their supporters) appear to believe is that it is necessary to be a priest in order to be able to exercise power and influence in the Church, and this is what they mean by "equality". The mistaken idea that the priesthood is purely about power and influence is one of the strongest arguments against letting such women be ordained - it is clericalism of the worst kind.

Finally, there is the irrational "outrage" or, worse, "deep sadness" when these women go through a mock ceremony (which is sacrilege in itself) and get a letter telling them that they have been excommunicated. The bishop concerned hasn't excommunicated them, he is merely pointing out the consequence of their actions. They incurred an automatic excommunication. In other words, they separated themselves from the Church and the Sacraments when they went through the ceremony.

So, given the absence of any rational arguments justifying the womynpriests' claims to being validly ordained, and given the preponderance of tie-dye and polyester floaty vestments seen in photos of womynpriest types, I can only assume that the attraction of wearing ghastly vestments erodes the ability to think in a rational manner.

Admittedly, a correlation does not prove a cause, but it's better to be safe than sorry. Let it serve as a salutary warning to any priests who have predilections towards such gruesome attire on the sanctuary. And remember, Reverend Fathers, every time you say Mass without a maniple, God kills a kitten... So watch it, or I'll send the Cardinal and Monsignor round to sort you out...

2014-12-28 10.53.42

Saturday 10 January 2015

New Year's Resolutions...

It is only 10 days into the New Year and I have already failed to keep my New Year's Resolutions. Blogging has not been happening! I started well - New Year's Day commenced with the Veni, Creator Spiritus and Mass. But I was decidedly under the weather the following day with an upset tummy, and blogging about that would have been unpleasant for everyone...

On Sunday, my car had a conniption. It has been troublesome of late. Back in October, I had the heater unit replaced. Then, just before Christmas, the exhaust started to make the most awful noises, and I needed to get it replaced. On Sunday, after driving around happily during the day, I stopped at a local shop for milk for me and some tuna as a treat for the kitties, and the car inexplicably refused to start up again. The breakdown chappie who attended wouldn't believe me when I said that it wasn't the battery. Having ascertained for himself that it wasn't the battery, he proceeded to whack the car engine with a hammer...

The car promptly started up. "It's the starter motor!" was his conclusion. "You need to take it to a garage as soon as possible..."

There not being any garages open at 8pm on a Sunday, I made a note of the advice, and drove home. The next morning, the car started without any problems, and I resolved to get it to a garage at the weekend, as I wouldn't be able to get it there in school hours. Monday evening, on my way home from school, I stopped off at the shops... and then found, once again, that my car wouldn't restart.

A new breakdown chappie arrived, and promptly administered a couple of sharp taps with a hammer somewhere in the bowels of my car engine. It was dark, and I couldn't identify exactly what he was hitting. He also warned me that it wasn't guaranteed to work. I drove home, not daring to stop anywhere else, and arrived home four and a half hours after I left school.

On Tuesday morning, I didn't dare to take my car, and used public transport. Leaving just before 6am ought, I thought, to allow plenty of time to get to school. I arrived with about a minute to spare - a journey time of  two and a half hours. Unfortunately, my journey home took even longer, and by the time I had called the breakdown people again to restart the car, driven to the garage, dumped it (by arrangement) on the forecourt, and gotten myself home again, I just had time to heat some hot dogs, swallow them and go to bed.

On Wednesday, I left ten minutes earlier (to catch the first bus) and tried a slightly different route, involving three buses and a tube journey. It took a little less time than the first route, but still involved a journey of just over two hours. After teaching for six solid hours, with a brief break for lunch (I was on break duty in the morning) I was not in the best of moods. My journey home was only two and a half hours, but it was somewhat marred by the fact that, after one bus driver failed to pull up close enough to the kerb, I put my foot in a hole getting off and twisted my knee and ankle.

After a week of this, you can imagine how delighted I am to have my car back again...
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