Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Idols have feet of clay

"Another event at Elsterhorst had a marked effect on me. The Germans dumped a young Soviet prisoner in my ward late one night. The ward was full, so I put him in my room as he was moribund and screaming and I did not want to wake the ward. I examined him. He had obvious gross bilateral cavitation and a severe pleural rub. I thought the latter was the cause of the pain and the screaming. I had no morphia, just aspirin, which had no effect. I felt desperate. I knew very little Russian then and there was no one in the ward who did. I finally instinctively sat down on the bed and took him in my arms, and the screaming stopped almost at once. He died peacefully in my arms a few hours later. It was not the pleurisy that caused the screaming but loneliness. It was a wonderful education about the care of the dying. I was ashamed of my misdiagnosis and kept the story secret."

From the same author:

“Population control should not be very expensive. Free contraception is unlikely to cost more than can be saved from prescriptions for vitamins and psychotropic drugs and as abortions place less demand on the NHS than childbirth there should be a net gain, unless the number of abortions rises much more steeply than the decrease in births”

-AL Cochrane. Effectiveness and Efficiency: Random Reflections on Health Services. London, The Nuffield Trust, 1972

As part of some research I've undertaken I’ve drawn upon the work of the man credited as being the father of evidence-based medicine, Professor Archie Cochrane. Both quotes are from his 1972 monograph, Effectiveness and Efficiency. The second quote smacks of the worst kind of Soviet-style totalitarianism.It brings a shudder to the soul when you read stuff such as this. Clearly on one level, as a physician Cochrane could be eminently humane, working in the worst possible circumstances. Similarly, he worked all his professional life after the war to improve the lot of miners in the Rhondda Fach, Yet when writing as a public health physician he could be so disregarding of human life.

Does this mean that I cannot use his work? I think not. His work to ensure that what doctors do is based on a firm epistemological base is a profound act of justice (to ensure that what we do ensures effective care and limits harm to patients). I set aside his views on “population control”, but it does temper my view of the praise heaped on Cochrane by the medical profession.

The web of our life is of a mingled yarn, good and ill together:
our virtues would be proud if our faults whipped them not;
and our crimes would despair if they were not cherished by our own virtues.
-All's Well That Ends Well, 4.3.84

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

England Expects...

...her cricket players to be available for duty rather than promoting the admittedly excellent film, The Prestige. Well, you never see Christian Bale and Michael Vaughan together, do you?


In Two Critiques of Spontaneity, Professor David Martin of the London School of Economics attacked what he called the “popular local heresy” of that “cult of choice” That whatever possible opts against an order of rules and roles in the name of “spontaneity”. Though this cult has some respectable origins- he mentions religious notions of conscience and personal decision, and moral ideas of political liberty and existential authenticity, as well as the Romantic concept of genius and the psychoanalytical ideal of autonomy – the tree that grows from these roots has become stunted and deformed.

Aidan Nichols OP
Looking at the Liturgy.

Tip of the biretta for the picture to Catholic Church Conservation

Sunday, November 26, 2006

"I'm not religious, but...."

I read the following recently from the Edinburgh Fringe, 2005

Ask people about God nowadays and they usually reply, "I'm not religious, but deep down, I'm a very spiritual person."
What this phrase really means is: "I'm afraid of dying, but I can't be arsed going to church."
-Colin Ramone at The Stand

Now And At The Hour Of Our Death: The Late Medieval Ars Moriendi & Catholic Tradition (2)

(for the Month of the Holy Souls I want to prompt discussion on the Catholic Way of Dying - comments very welcome)

The Ars Moriendi

Against the background of increasing familiarity with death, a more literate society began to move from a communally or liturgically expressed religion to an urge for a more personal and intimate relationship with God. This was heavily influenced by the Devotio Moderna – a body of works including The Imitation of Christ drawing on the spirituality of quasi-monastic communities of Northern Europe.[8] In England, popular devotion, still deeply Catholic well into the 16th century, spread through the use of the primers, especially the Sarum primer. These works were based on the personal devotions of monks and were a rendering for the use of laymen of the liturgical hours with supplementary, especially indulgenced prayers for the living and the dead. Perhaps the most significant development in the dissemination of this devotional literature was the development of printing. Latin Ars moriendi were produced in Germany from 1475 onwards. They were widespread across Europe in a variety of translation (German, French, Dutch, Castilian and Catalan) from the end of the 15th century on. In 1491 Caxton produced an English translation of what was to become one of the most popular printed works in Europe. By 1500 there were over one hundred editions of the Arte and crafte to know ye well to dye.

There were two main forms of the artes moriendi. The longer piece was a translation of the pastoral handbook Tractatus artis bene moriendi promulgated by the Council of Constance as a popular usage of the liturgical office of the visiting the sick, De Visitate Infirmorum. The version more commonly used by the laity was a book of eleven blockprints with a shortened Tractatus. In this review I will principally discuss the longer incunabulus as the shorter piece was merely an abridgement of the Tractatus.[9]

[8] Huizinga J. The Waning of the Middle Ages p216. London Penguin 1955

[9] O’Connor M C. The Art of Dying Well: The Development of the Ars Moriendi. New York: Columbia University Press 1942.

Thursday, November 23, 2006

Viva Cristo Rey!

This picture shows Miguel Pro seconds before he was shot dead. Today is the anniversary of the martyrdom of Blessed Miguel Pro SJ, a heroic martyr for the Catholic Faith at a time when:
(1) the Church was under a vicious anti-Christian persecution in Mexico and
(2) Jesuits were sufficiently orthodox and zealous to die for the Faith rather than, say, risk a fine for breach of the peace for cutting through the wire round an RAF base.

There is a very good website on him by his biographer HERE. Who knows what the future may bring? I'm reading a riveting book about the quasi-religious wrappings of the worst regimes of the 20th Century and their persecution of the Church in Michael Burleigh's new book, Sacred Causes (you will earn some pennies for Holy Rosary, Blackfen if you order it through the Amazon link on Fr Tim's blog). The book has a powerful defence of Pius XII, but more of this another time.

Those of us who blog in defence of Catholicism have cached up for ourselves plenty of evidence of guilt if another anti-Christian persecution comes our way. Would we be able to open our arms to face the firing squad or the jihadi's sword, forgive our enemies and shout "VIVAT CHRISTUS REX!"?

Christopher Howse gives an excellent short account of Pro's life in this article:Modern martyr in Greeneland

Blessed Miguel Pro - pray for us!

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Fr Nichols on Liturgy and Liturgists

Amongst the prodigious output of the magnificent Fr Aidan Nichols OP is an indispensable little volume on the liturgy, Looking At The Liturgy [you will earn some pennies for Fr Tim’s parish if you order it through the Amazon link on his website HERE. If you live in Glasgow – go to the bookshop at St Mungo’s Townhead and get it there (I don't think they open on a Monday) Over the coming weeks I will give snippets from the book to whet the appetite of anyone who ventures to this blog. Here’s your hors d'oeuvre:

“Liturgy is too important to be left to liturgists”

Rocky Horror: If Dissenters and Hippies Had Prayer Cards

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Birthday Meme

I've been tagged by Mac to do the BIRTHDAY MEME. I'm more than happy to oblige. For those I am about to tag - this is what you do:

1) Go to Wikipedia

2) In the search box, type your birth month and day but not the year.

3) List three events that happened on your birthday

4) List two important birthdays and one death

5) One holiday or observance (if any)

Here are mine:

List three events that happened on your birthday
456 - St. Patrick returns to Ireland as a missionary Bishop. - the reason why my forefathers and those of many readers here are RCs

1804 - The first recorded meteorite falls in Possil, Scotland (High Possil Meteorite).
Nice to know it's not just knife crime and drinking Buckfast that Possil is known for.

1955 - Winston Churchill resigns as Prime Minister of the United Kingdom amid indications of failing health.
I don't wish ill health on anyone, but hint, hint, Mr Blair - maybe time to "move on" as you are given to saying.

List two important birthdays and one death
1827 - Joseph Lister, English surgeon (d. 1912)
Lister was responsible for saving the lives of millions. It is a matter of pride that he preceded me in the consultant body at my hospital.

1912 - John Le Mesurier, British actor (d. 1983)
"Fall in, fall in" *waves hand in an effete way at the platoon*

1794 - Georges Danton, French Revolutionary leader (b. 1759)
Hoist by his own petard

One holiday or observance
St. Vincent Ferrer - wonderful to read about this great saint and interesting he made it to Scotland.
"Come in Big Man. Gaun yersel'"

One question. Why do rock stars want to kill themselves on my birthday?

2002 - Alice in Chains singer Layne Staley dies of a heroin overdose.
1994 - Lead Singer of Nirvana, Kurt Cobain commits suicide, and is found three days later

I tag Antonia, Fr Ray and The Dunadan

With All Due Respect Minister, No.

As I respected him when he was the Health Minister, I was disappointed to see Malcolm Chisholm has become the Scottish Executive's uber-nanny cum thought policeman cum dhimmi-in-chief. As the BBC reports

Islam is often "misunderstood, misinterpreted and misrepresented", according to Communities Minister Malcolm Chisholm. [it sure is - mostly by the BBC]

At the launch of Islam Awareness Week in Glasgow Central Mosque [is there a week that isn't Islam Awareness Week?] , he reiterated the Scottish Executive's belief in religious diversity.

Mr Chisholm said anti-Islamic comments or abuse would not be tolerated....
"Recent events have unfortunately prompted some in our communities to believe that it is justified to make anti-Islamic comments or to abuse or harass Muslims, or those they presume to be Muslims, in the street or other places," he said.

I would wholeheartedly agree that one's fellow citizens should be treated with dignity and respect and protected from abuse and harassment by the full weight of the law. But I won't stop voicing my dislike of a religion whose core principles and teachings I find abhorrent, especially in their political expression. So just as I reserve the right to hold anti-Arian, anti-Pelagian and anti-Jansenist views, with all due respect to the minister, I'll be as anti-Islamic as I damn well please.

Where Do Hippies Lurk?

It may be that I don't stray from the good people I link to, who are orthodox and pretty traditional, but does anyone know if Catholic dissenters and hippies blog? Perhaps I should google "spirit of the council". Then again, maybe not......

Sunday, November 19, 2006

Seminarians On Ice

I have it in my head that the chaps who blog on Orthfully Catholic dress like this when they go skating. I hope so but it's probably not the case, but they have a good blog.

Now And At The Hour Of Our Death: The Late Medieval Ars Moriendi & Catholic Tradition (1)

(for the Month of the Holy Souls I want to prompt discussion on the Catholic Way of Dying - comments very welcome)

“Here beginneth a littyl treatyse, short and abrydgyd, spekynge of the art and crafte to knowe well to dye…” [1], [2]

In the literature of palliative medicine late medieval attitudes to death as exemplified by the ars moriendi are sometimes contrasted with modern views. [3]. In the literature there is, however, scant elaboration on the exact nature of the ars moriendi, the art of dying well. In these posts I hope to give an account of the nature of the two principal printed works that were circulated in the late Middle Ages. The major themes of these works will be explored and placed in the context of the times in which the works were composed and the theology and spirituality which begot them. Finally, I hope to show how these themes survived and to discuss whether it might be possible to regain a the concept of dying well.

The Historical Background
Throughout the Middle Ages, death was at one’s elbow. It could be argued that the intimacy with death experienced by medieval society was the dominant force in theology, art and popular religion from the 14th century to the Reformation. The Black Death – an epidemic of bubonic plague – had hit Europe in the mid 14th century. Rumours of the approaching mass death from the East (it had devastated China in 1346) preceded the catastrophe. By 1348 it had found its way across Europe and come to England. The first outbreak in Scotland followed in 1349 (interestingly it was known as ‘the foul death of England’ north of the border!). [4] Successive outbreaks spread devastation throughout the following century roughly every 10-20 years. In much the same way that the First World War brought a generation to know mass death at first hand, so the Black Death brought the peoples of Europe into a hitherto unknown familiarity with death on a huge scale. It is estimated that the first outbreak in England in 1348 killed almost half the population – the majority of them children and adolescents. [5]

There came with this mass experience of death a change in the artistic expression of both popular and officially sanctioned belief. The themes of religious art shifted to emphasise the Last Judgement and the persisting presence of death. Particularly popular across Europe were the images of the Danse Macabre – the dance of Death. The graphic representation of this pageant persists to this day when figures clothed as skeletons dance with their fellows in the Spanish village of Verges on Good Friday . [6] The living dance with the dead as a powerful reminder that to be human is to be mortal. In many parish churches throughout Europe, similar images could be found on the walls. These would typically show all the estates of society – kings, nobles, prelates, priests, monks, merchants and labourers – accompanied by a skeleton. Again the emphasis is on the levelling of social distinctions in death and a community of the living and the dead. [7]

[1] Ars Moriendi. [... A lityll treatyse, short and abrydgyd, spekynge of the art and crafte to knowe well to dye. Translated from the Latin by William Caxton.] London Richard Pynson, s.a.
[2] Comper FMM The book of the craft of dying and other early English tracts concerning death, taken from manuscripts and printed books in the British Museum. London : Longmans, Green, 1917
[3] Corr C A. Death in modern society. In Doyle D, Hanks G W, MacDonald, eds. Oxford Textbook of Palliative Medicine 2nd edition pp 31-2. Oxford OUP 1993.
[4] Horrox R. Purgatory, prayer and plague: 1150-1380.In Jupp PC, Gittings C, eds. Death in England – an illustrated history. Manchester; Manchester University Press 1999.
[5] Lynch M. Scotland – A New History pp 71-2. London Pimlico 1992
[6] Gascoigne B. The Christians. P83 London 1977
[7] Duffy E The Stripping of the Altars: Traditional Religion in England 1400-1580.pp303-5 New Haven, Yale 1992.

An Interesting Antecedent

Did you know Mussolini's first book was called God Does Not Exist? Remind you of anyone? Someone who would restrict the rights of parents to educate and inform their children? Does it say anything about the current host of this meme when one is aware of its origins?

Thursday, November 16, 2006

Drowning in syrup

I plan to write more about Fr Aidan Nichols OP in the coming weeks, but I enjoyed this snippet about the Holy Father's first encyclical,Deus Caritas Est, from an article which appeared in the Catholic Herald which can be found HERE.

“Cardinal Ratzinger’s image in the secular media, and even or especially sections of the Catholic press, was almost entirely negative. Could it be redeemed by pouring over us a warm, fragrant, bubbly cascade of “luv”? That would be an understandable strategy. It would also be a mistake. At least in the Western world, the Church is drowning in syrup already.

Perusal of the document largely sets these fears to rest. Part the First shows that the Petrine charism has not extinguished the cardinal’s forceful philosophical and theological mind. Part the Second which was, it seems, in preparation under his predecessor shows a willingness to leave (temporarily) the exalted heights of doctrine for more hands-on involvement with possibly malfunctioning elements in present-day ecclesial culture.”
-The Pope Throws A Lifebelt To A Church Drowning In Syrup.
The Catholic Herald
3rd February 2006

...and another thing...

...this the first time I've watched Robin Hood and wanted the Sheriff to win...

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Busy Broadcasting Crap

Maybe I should just get rid of the telly. It would do my sanity good. I don't watch much telly as it is but the BBC is really getting on my nerves. I avoid the Today programme on Radio 4 because it's run by a bunch of PC curmudgeons with a variety of axes to grind. I thought drama might be immune from the metropolitan, anti-Christian bias of a corporation largely unrepresentative in its makeup and output of the people it is meant to serve. The BBC recently held a secret seminar in which they 'fessed up to their bias. Lucky for us it leaked out. There are two major culprits:

Spooks. An exciting drama about how MI5 might protect us from the attentions of those who would violently attack our way of life. men and women on guard against terrorism:

That would be Islamist terrorism, right?....err... no... that would be..Mossad agents impersonating Islamist terrorists. Happens all the time.

OK, but later there would be a few Islamist terrorists, right?....err... no... that would be...Christian terrorists (though living in a place called St Dominic's - you see who they're really after) egged on by an Anglican "bishop"...yeah, right.

How about the last episode - a few Islamist terrorists, right?....err... no... that would be...mad environmentalists intent on flooding central London at high tide.....but only because the British government had plans to take advantage of the death of 2 billion people through global warming. Riiiiiiiiiiight....

Meanwhile, back in the real world the real MI5 are monitoring 1600 Islamists with 30 'spectaculars' waiting to happen. Glad they're not like the MI5 on Spooks

OK Robin Hood - you can't fanny about with that, can you? Well yes, you can. I think the rot set in with Kevin Costner bringing a Mohammedan back with him - even if it was Morgan Freeman.

But the new BBC one. Let's make it simple:

Robin comes back from the Middle East, discontent with fighting a Holy War- see where we are going?

He's learnt the Koran - just so he could understand the enemy, you understand.

Maid Marion - now merely Marion as Ebomaniac points out - is a strong woman in her own right...see where we are going?

Then there's Mutch the Miller's son - as camp as a row of pink chiffon tents.

Finally, get this, they free a bunch of Muslim slaves (there were so many of them, you see) and one of them joins the Merrie Men. Only it's a she, called Jack Djaq -short haired and sassy, fluent in English - just like all those 12th century Muslim women were. Of course.

Nottinghamshire - completely empty of churches and clergy. At a funeral -no priest in sight - the body laid out on the steps of the castle with the Sheriff giving the oration - like Four Weddings and a Funeral but with Keith Allen and no Auden.

And Friar Tuck...superfluous to the BBC....he presses all the wrong buttons: a man of the cloth who is circumferentially challenged and might be a figure of fun.....

Pass the sick bag, Alice...

Don't Give Us None Of Your Aggravation

It seems the popular musician Sir Elton John thinks religion should be banned - we're all so beastly to gays, you see. The Dunadan has a much better treatment of this than I could ever manage.

2358 The number of men and women who have deep-seated homosexual tendencies is not negligible. This inclination, which is objectively disordered, constitutes for most of them a trial. They must be accepted with respect, compassion, and sensitivity. Every sign of unjust discrimination in their regard should be avoided. These persons are called to fulfill God's will in their lives and, if they are Christians, to unite to the sacrifice of the Lord's Cross the difficulties they may encounter from their condition.
-The Catechism of the Catholic Church

So full of hatred, eh?

Am I alone in being concerned at the glib way in which public figures like Elton John or Richard Dawkins feel that organisations, groups, thoughts and beliefs should be banned?

[I penned a little ditty in Sir Elton's honour when this post was written but I've deleted it, as it was uncharitable]

The gay 'community' - so full of love....

Sunday, November 12, 2006

It's CatholicWang!

I like evidence and part of my embryonic doctoral thesis is about formulating an epistemology of my specialty. There is something of a dichotomy between the qualitative and the quantitative when discussing the trustworthiness or the value of particular pieces of research. I have been impressed by the humane work of Professor Trish Greenhalgh in that she knows her onions when it comes to evidence based medicine and critical appraisal. But she knows a thing or two about intuition as she shows here.

Everyone is testing how Catholic they are or whether they are a heretic or not - even Fr Ray and Joee. I’ve done this survey which tells me to my relief that I’m a Catholic (I knew that) and adds other dimensions too. But I’m not sure telling me I’m 21% modern liberal really tells me anything, because it doesn’t really mean anything. I am NOT a modern liberal.

So, here’s a different, rather more intuitive test: you KNOW you are a Catholic when THIS makes you feel good

and THIS makes you want to barf.

Saturday, November 11, 2006


On the 13th June 1944 my father dropped behind enemy lines South East of Siena, near Montepulciano. He was part of a LRDG patrol, M2, assigned to gather intelligence about German troop movements during the allied advance through Italy. That Friday the 13th drop was inauspicious: German troops swarmed the area and shot and captured a number of the patrol. My father evaded capture and made his way back to Allied Lines by following the River Arno and living off the generosity of Italian farmers (at great risk to them). He managed to gather some intelligence on the way.

Dad’s colleague, Bob Savage died in the drop. His patrol commanding officer, Lt Simon Fleming, died in the drop when his parachute did not open.
This is how the commander of the LRDG described Simon Fleming:
“I was very fond of him because he had great charm and a glorious sense of humour. He was essentially straight and open. He also had an impertinent disregard for authority, but was wise enough to know that it was important to keep just the right side of it. Outwardly he had a light-hearted and carefree attitude to life, but this façade hid a wisdom and intelligence unusual in one so young. We could ill afford to lose such a fine officer”

-David Lloyd-Owen. Providence Their Guide: The Long Range Desert Group 1939-1945.

He was 23 years old

Such a short life. Such sacrifice. His and Bob Savage’s graves can be found at the allied war cemetery at Foiano Della Chiana.

Our freedom depends on men like Simon Fleming and Bob Savage and we should remember their sacrifice and that of their families with humility and thankfulness.

They shall grow not old,
As we that are left grow old.
Age shall not weary them,
Nor the years condemn.
At the going down of the sun,
And in the morning,
We will remember them.

We will remember them.

Thursday, November 09, 2006

Blog Update Update

Hilary feels unloved. Her two blogs - this one and this one are wonderful and I’ve linked to them for ages. We DO love you, Hilary. Happy now?

...and while I'm on the subject there's a Northern Cleric blogging, too. Welcome, father.

Wednesday, November 08, 2006


A poster on the thread about modern hymns for drunks tells me Estelle White is rhyming slang. Can't think what for...

Blogs Update

There are some fantastic blogs around so I've updated my sidebar (hope you noticed). Cally's Kitchen combining wry humour, rugby football and the True Faith. The wonderful Recusant Cricket Club is the last Waugh-like bastion against the modern world. Bravo, chaps. I've applied for full membership. A very new blogger, Moretben, at The Undercroft who shares my distaste for John Lennon. For too long I have not had a link to the scholarly Fr Nicholas Schofield and his blog Roman Miscellany. English Martyrs puts fire in a Catholic belly while Auntie Joanna gives succour in a harsh world. Ebomania- splendid blog I've recently discovered - one from my own city with a very good range of merchandise!

Outwith these island we have The Curt Jester, who I should have linked to ages ago. Puella Paschalis adds a fresh vision from The Netherlands. Two Pius-obsessed blogs are a good read: The Society That Thinks Pius XII Rules and Totus Pius. The Happy Catholic and the Roving Medievalist complete the list.

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Josef Mengele rides again

That the Royal College of Infanticide and Abortion Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists should even contemplate the deliberate killing of children is obscene. I trust you will all pass on as widely as possible the following address and pass on this link as far as you can in order to make it clear to this once-august body that the adoption of even contemplating killing babies (a method of population control used by the Nazis) is unacceptable in a civilized society. The college’s “Royal” appellation does not imply that it was founded by King Herod.

Only when the College understands the strength of opposition will it desist. Believe me Royal Colleges really DO NOT like a bad press

I would encourage you ALL to write to express your concern to, in polite but firm tones to:

Prof Allan Templeton
Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists
27 Sussex Place,
Regent's Park,
NW1 4RG,
United Kingdom

Or email Professor Templeton

Always Christmas Never Winter

This photo was taken last week in Lisbon Airport. It is unseasonably mild. I don't go for the Tony Blair-David Milliband-Chicken Licken-The-Sky's-Falling-In-So-Burn-Your-Car thing. Global warming - sorry climate change - may be a natural phenomenon. We may be able to do something about, but it is unseasonably mild. So with all Christmas stuff about - before All Saints Day - have we reversed the situation in Narnia? It feels just as uncomfortable as living under the White Witch.

Sunday, November 05, 2006

Fisking Lennon

Fr Tim tells me he "foams at the mouth" when someone puts Imagine by John Lennon into a "liturgy". My dander is up. My rage at this utter piece of trash outdoes his priestly restraint.

Imagine there's no Heaven
It's easy if you try
No hell below us
Above us only sky
Imagine all the people
Living for today

I can't imagine there's no Heaven - my Redeemer gives me the promise of it if I keep faith with Him and perservere in Faith. Hell likewise, awaits the wicked. People "live for the day" all the time - it's the bedrock of modern "morals" and look where it has got us.

Imagine there's no countries
It isn't hard to do
Nothing to kill or die for
And no religion too
Imagine all the people
Living life in peace

Sorry, I don't want to imagine no country. My country, it's tongue, English, it's true Faith - the Catholic faith - are gifts of God. I love other cultures and countries too - the French countryside and viniculture, Italy and all the cultural treasures she holds - need I go on? Do people kill for countries or ideas, John - Mao's Communism -?25 million dead; Stalin's Communism - ?20 million dead, Pol Pot >1 million, Hitler's racialism > 6 million

You may say that I'm a dreamer
But I'm not the only one
I hope someday you'll join us
And the world will be as one

No chance, John, if those are your dreams

Imagine no possessions
I wonder if you can
No need for greed or hunger
A brotherhood of man
Imagine all the people
Sharing all the world

John you had a Rolls Royce and a walk-in climate-controlled cupboard for your fur coats in your Manhattan mansion. Are you serious, you hypocrite?

You may say that I'm a dreamer
But I'm not the only one
I hope someday you'll join us
And the world will live as one

See above

Ti Gnitteg Smilsum (That's Muslims Getting It - The Wrong Way Round)

A horrible tragedy in which a young Muslim family is burnt to death, apparently deliberately, possibly by the father of the family who has since died, prompts the following from a "community leader":

Anayat Mohammed, from the Hyndburn Cultural Association, described Mrs Riaz as "a warm, kind and sincere person who was respected across all sections of our community".

He added: "At a time when communities have been polarised by actions taken outside our community, Caneze was a beacon for building good relations between people of different backgrounds."

Eh? The wearing of veils, demonstrating outside Churches and embassies, female genital mutilation and murderous self-immolation on public transport isn't usually the province of Methodists, Jains, Sikhs or Catholics.

Muslims arrested in Old Bailey demo - the usual suspects (that's the jokers who intimidated Catholics outside Westminster Cathedral which Joee brought to the world's attention) blame the West for their own perverse actions:

Four Muslims were arrested outside the Old Bailey yesterday during angry protests against the trial of a man allegedly involved in protests against Danish cartoons.

Anjem Choudary, who helped organise the anti-Danish protests, was once more involved as was Abu Izzadeen, who confronted John Reid, the Home Secretary, on a recent visit to East London.

Mr Choudary said afterwards: "We should not be surprised at people doing something like 7/7. How else do you expect Muslims to express themselves?

"We are a community under siege. It's going to blow up one day in everyone's faces."

You couldn't make it up.

Welcome... my new great-nephew Euan Joseph. Born yesterday, the feast of St Charles Borromeo. Mum and baby doing well, my sister - over the moon.

Deo gratias.

Saturday, November 04, 2006

Sao Sebastiao, Lisbon

Not fifty yards from my hotel in the suburbs of Lisbon was this beautiful church: note to ecclestiastical architects - it is possible to design a church which is both simple and beautiful. Inside, however, one is transported into a different world - a Domus Aurea, almost.

I liked the pulpit, the design of which was also found in other churches in Lisbon. The priest did not use it. There is only one church I attend in which the pulpit is used - St Aloysius, Garnethill. Notice the folk staying on to pray after Mass. There were lots of young people at Mass on All Souls Day. Heartening.

Friday, November 03, 2006

A Hymnody Fit For Drunks

Waiting in the airport, many of my fellow travellers had drink taken. One fellow was, as we say in Glasgow, "one push off being a jakey". Having gone through the usual repertoire of "Danny Bhoy", "Oh the Rangers are shite", "The Boys of the Old Brigade" and "Hail! Hail! The Celts are here!" he started on:

"All over the world the Spirit is moving
All over the world as the prophet said it would be
All over the world there's a mighty revelation
Of the glory of the Lord, as the waters cover the sea"

Then a little later on the plane the same gravelly voice could be heard singing:
"Walk with me, oh my Lord,
Through the darkest night and brightest day.
Be at my side, oh Lord,
Hold my hand and guide me on my way."

Yes, the old Estelle White favourite.

Then it struck me: truly awful hymns are best sung by drunks. Can you think of any hymns, dear readers, you would only sing when in your cups?

"Whatever sufferings you endure...."

Oh dear, it was grim. I offered it up for the Holy Souls.

Thursday, November 02, 2006

The Commemoration of The Faithful Departed

"The feast of All Saints is intimately connected with the remembrance of the holy souls who, detained in purgatory to expiate their venial sins or to pay the temporal pains due to sin are none the less confirmed in grace and will one day enter heaven. Therefore, having joyfully celebrated the glory of the saints who are the Church triumphant in heaven, the Church on earth extends her maternal solicitude to the place of unspeakable torments, the abode of souls who equally belong to her."
St Andrew's Daily Missal, 1936.

Requiem æternam dona eis, Domine, et lux perpetua luceat eis.
Te decet hymnus Deus, in Sion, et tibi reddetur votum in Jerusalem.
Exaudi orationem meam; ad te omnis caro veniet.
Requiem aeternam dona eis, Domine, et lux perpetua luceat eis.

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

All Saints

"The Church gives us this day a wonderful vision of heaven, showing us with St John the twelve thousand signed (twelve is considered a perfect number) of each tribe of Israel and a great multitude which no one can count of every nation and tribe, of every epople and tongue, standing before the throne and the Lamb, clothed in white robes and with palms in their hands."
-St Andrew's Daily Missal, 1936.

A happy feast to all!

All Holy Men and Women , pray for us!