Saturday, June 28, 2008

"Yer man, Benedict..."

A (Protestant, lady) chaplain at the hospital tells me of a conversation she had with a Catholic priest at a funeral yesterday:

Fr S: ‘Yer man, Benedict, is talking about reintroducing the Latin Mass…'

At last the message is getting through....

Labels: , , , ,

Friday, June 27, 2008

Justice 'n' Peace

"And now to Mass. There will be prayers for peace and justice as always. It's the interpretation of justice that causes the greatest difficulty. "
-Alec Guinness, My Name Escapes Me, p101

Labels: , ,

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

And another thing.....

When grilling Mr Purvis over his attempt to do away with the ill, I must have made my point a little too well as, exasperated he ended with the rather pathetic:
"Is there anything I could say to make you change your mind?"

To disobey the Fifth Commandment?


I think he sussed he I was a Catholic (or some other sort of Christian) but I was clear in the language and arguments I used to argue from reason. So that's the way it goes with these politicos. "If I can't persuade you, I won't bother thinking about changing my own mind." It just didn't occur to him that having had every single argument trashed by a roomful of doctors it might be that his thinking was just plain wrong. Or what I think was behind it was "You must be a Catholic or the like - arguments won't work". Fact is, the MSP's arguments were so feeble they were easily crushed by a bunch of thicko medics like me.

Labels: , , , , , ,

Monday, June 23, 2008

Can this be right?

Friday, June 20, 2008

Rocky Horror: Outsourced

I really couldn't come up with a better Rocky Horror than Paul Priest's (or as you may know him OTSOTA) splendid mental imagery of the perfect Tabletista Liturgy on Damian Thompson's blog.

The Tablet is very enthused by the notion of house-churches in the community - how soon before the Hyacinth Buckets that now grace the professional laity are bestowing upon us invitations to their personal eucharists with tea and light refreshments ?
Young Jocasta made the unleavened bread herself, Dorian has set up the wi-fi for Inwood mass downloads to play at the appropriate times; and little Imogen photoshopped the doves and glued them onto a purple pashmina for mummy's stole. They can have the social justice charism of a neighbourhood watch meeting afterwards and the sky plus box is already set to play 'Godspell on ice' for this week's RCIA. Julian the significant other and co-celebrant might have to pop-out for a few minutes mid-service to check on the biscotti...

Mr Priest, I salute you.

Labels: , , , , ,

Wednesday, June 18, 2008


If ever they do a re-make of the excellent Alec Guinness film version of the Father Brown stories, I think I may have a candidate for the title role.

Labels: , , , ,

Monday, June 16, 2008

CS Lewis - Prophet

We enjoyed listening to The Magician's Nephew in the car yesterday on the way to the beach at Troon. One thing struck me when I heard the nasty Uncle Andrew expounding his views. How prescient CS Lewis was 50 years ago in spotting where the likes of Professor Dawkins would go with their version of medical ethics.

Compare and contrast. This from The Telegraph (High on Moral Anaesthesia):

We must prepare for another dose of moral anaesthesia. Enter Richard Dawkins, Professor of the Public Understanding of Science at Oxford, syringe at the ready. "People who object to research of this kind must explain exactly who would, in their view, be damaged by it. Phrases like 'playing God' form no part of a valid argument."

with Uncle Andrew:

"But of course you must understand that rules of that sort, however excellent they may be for little boys—and servants—and women—and even people in general, can't possibly be expected to apply to profound students and great thinkers and sages. No, Digory. Men like me, who possess hidden wisdom, are freed from common rules just as we are cut off from common pleasures. Ours, my boy, is a high and lonely destiny."

-CS Lewis, The Magician's Nephew, Chapter 2

Labels: , , , , ,

Saturday, June 14, 2008

Back to Black

I said it would happen. Well, we got together a fund and now we have a beautiful set of black vestments which were delivered to the parish last week (see above and below). Thank you, Mr Luzar. Now, how about we save up for a nice black cope....?

Labels: ,

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Encounter with the Bogeyman

I attended a study day today, as part of my teaching role. It was on medical ethics and it was very good - lots of debate from a variety of eminent speakers and interesting clinical cases to mull over.

In the afternoon Jeremy Purvis MSP came to talk and debate about the bill he's attempting to put through the Scottish Parliament on Dying with Dignity [sic]. Clearly that's a euphemism as the bill might better be called the Kill the Dying Bill (except that sounds like a Quentin Tarantino film). I suspect if he were to name it the Killing the Dying Bill it wouldn't attract a lot of support.

What saddened and frightened me was the intellectual poverty of his argument. It went like this:

(1) As a Liberal I like the idea of autonomy and some members of my family committed suicide when I was young. I think that people should have the right to kill themselves.

(2) The slippery slope doesn't really exist.

(3) Harold Shipman changed the face of doctor/patient relationships

(4) It already goes on - ask lots of doctors, they'll tell you. If it's already happening, we should legalise it.

(5) The doctrine of double effect means it's already happening, we should just go ahead and give people big doses of drugs anyway and get it over with.

Now you'll gather I have simplified the thrust of his argument, but believe me, that's what it boiled down to. It's not difficult to counter - it felt like shooting fish in a barrel at the time. He kept saying "I'm not putting this across very well" (You're a politician!That's your job, for heaven's sake!)

(1) Suicide is not illegal but what kind of society encourages it? This is the reason assisting suicide is contrary to Common Law in Scotland. Common Law exists for a reason - the accrued wisdom of ages expressed in case law sees it as wrong. Have human beings changed so much that this is no longer the case?

(2) Slippery slope a figment of the imagination? Easily demolished when one considers the 10-fold rise in abortions from 20,000 in 1968 - the first year after the Abortion Act 1967 - to nearly 200,000 in the UK last year. Interestingly, Mr Purvis worked for David Steel before entering the Scottish Parliament.

(3) Harold Shipman was a serial killer. If he hadn't used a syringe he would have used a clawhammer. A shameless strawman of a argument.

(4) There are lots of stabbings in Glasgow - gonnae legalise that? A crime is a crime is a crime and aiding a suicide is just that. The courts are usually merciful in these circumstances, but the law is there to uphold human life. If it ceases to do that, God help us all.

(5) The doctrine of double effect does not justify killing the vulnerable. It was on this point that Mr Purvis was on his dodgiest ground. He clearly didn't grasp the doctrine (or its origin in the thought of Aquinas). He was also deeply misinformed about how opioids work and the latest work on opioid doses at the end of life.

Mr Purvis seemed like a sincere man (but as Thomas in the bookshop said today "sincerely wrong"). I'm sure he's kind to his cat and polite to old ladies. But if this is the calibre of the argument put forward by our elected representatives, then (1) God help us and (2) I'm underwhelmed.

I'm joining Care Not Killing and I'll keep an eye on the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Dying Well

Labels: , , , , , ,

Monday, June 09, 2008

Corpus Christi at St Pat's

I am a fan of the Ordinary Form of Mass as celebrated at St Patrick's, Anderston. Gregorian Propers and Ordinary, ad orientem, GIRM compliant and in Latin. This is, IMHO, just what the Council Fathers ordered and just what we haven't had for the past 40-odd years.

Fr Byrne who organises it and the priests who say this Mass do so as a work of love - they are all busy PPs and curates. It's not like they are stuck for things to do of a Sunday. They are also young priests which I think bodes well. This is an admirable work and ultimately I hope it will have its effect by having small scholas in many parishes reclaiming Mass from the assorted hippies, professional laity and other liturgo-nazis who dominate things at present. After all, if diversity is such a good thing, why on earth would anyone object to the proper celebration of Holy Mass?

You can find their website HERE.

Lauda, Jerusalem, Dominum, lauda Deum tuum, Sion,

Quod firmavit seras potarum tuarum, benedixit filiis tuis in te.

Composuit fines tuos in pace, medulla tritici satiat te.

Emittit eloquium suum in terram, velociter currit verbum ejus.

Dat nivem sicut lanam, pruinam sicut cinerem spargit.

Proicit glaciem suam ut frustula panis; coram frigore ejus aquae rigescunt.

Emittit verbum suum et liquefacit eas: flare jubet ventum suum et fluunt aquae.

Annuntiavit verbum suum Jacob, statuta et praecepta sua Israel.
Non fecit ita ulli nationi: praecepta sua non manifestavit eis.

Labels: , ,

Saturday, June 07, 2008

Yoof priests #1

Sorry about the quality of the video. Can anyone tell me the language the subtitles are in?

Labels: , ,

Sunday, June 01, 2008

HCPT and me

Fr Tim's pilgrimage to Lourdes has brought to mind my involvement with Lourdes and the time I spent there as a student helper and then a doctor with the Handicapped Childrens' Pilgrimage Trust (HCPT). First up I must say that the achievement of taking 5000 pilgrims and most importantly 2000 children (as they did this year at Easter) and many others through the season to Hosanna House at Bartres, is immense and praiseworthy and undoubtedly to the good of souls. The dedication of the staff and the medical support for the pilgrimage is second to none. Helpers pay a large amount of money to spend an exhausting but ultimately happy week caring for often profoundly mentally and physically handicapped or socially deprived children. I went on ten consecutive Easter pilgrimages with a HCPT group and/or a group of student helpers

Now that I've said that, down to the serious business. I think that HCPT is a sump of liturgical abuse that will hold back the Benedictine reforms and ultimately contributes to the liturgical malaise in which the Church finds itself. During the pilgrimages I went on I attended Masses celebrated in fields and hotels rooms in a place where one was surrounded by large numbers of altars consecrated to that purpose. I'm pretty sure I never saw a priest attired for Mass as he should be and the priestly state was trivialised by the addition to the prescribed liturgical vesture of comedy wigs, baseball hats, toy jewellery, face paints etc etc. The Trust Mass on the Thursday of Easter Week is the apogee of John-Paulesque Mega-Mass - dancing girls galore, an orchestra the looks like the backing band for Ike and Tina Turner singing 'River Deep Mountain High' (except they would be better dressed for Ike & Tina) and all the reverence of a Westlife concert. All these abuses are normalised and a tacit approval given to them (not least by the members of the Hierarchy who attend and participate) and then brought back home. If you want to see what it all looks like, you can see it HERE. It's all followed up with HCPT's trademark 'hymn', 'Rise and Shine'

Rise And Shine

Words & Music: Traditional[sic]

The Lord said to Noah, "There's gonna be a floody, floody."
The Lord said to Noah, "There's gonna be a floody, floody."
Get those children (clap!) out of the muddy, muddy!
Children of the Lord.

So, rise and shine and give God your glory, glory.
So, rise and shine and give God your glory, glory.
So, rise and shine and (clap!) give God your glory, glory,
Children of the Lord.

So, Noah, he built him, he built him an arky, arky.
So, Noah, he built him, he built him an arky, arky.
Made it out of(clap!) hickory barky, barky, Children of the Lord.


The animals, they came on, they came on by twosies, twosies.
The animals, they came on, they came on by twosies, twosies.
Elephants and (clap!) kangaroosies, roosies,
Children of the Lord.


It rained and poured for forty daysies, daysies.
It rained and poured for forty daysies, daysies.
Nearly drove those (clap!) animals crazies, crazies,
Children of the Lord.


The sun came out and dried up the landy, landy.
The sun came out and dried up the landy, landy.
Everything was (clap!) fine and dandy, dandy,
Children of the Lord.


The animals, they came off, they came off by twosies, twosies.
Animals, they came off, they came off by twosies, twosies.
Elephants and (clap!) kangaroosies, roosies,
Children of the Lord.


The is the end of, the end of the story, story.
The is the end of,the end of the story, story.
Everything is (clap!) hunky-dory, dory,
Children of the Lord.


"Rise" = stand up
"Shine" = move your hands and arms out like a sunrise
"give…glory" = palms
turned forward, move your hands from side to side in time to the music.

The 'accepted' hymns are the sickly-sweet nonsense beloved of guitar-strummers throughout the anglosphere (Marty Haugen, Paul Inwood, David Haas, Dan Schutte) - you know the stuff (Here I am Lord/Eagles' Wings/Though the Mountains May Fall/You Are Mine etc etc etc ad nauseam).

Oh I know some commenters will say "Oh think of the children, the chiiiiiiiiildren!" but I'm afraid I don't buy that anymore. Kids get the numinous - they just do. I take my lads to Mass in the parish which is straightforward, middle-of -the-road vernacular, GIRM compliant and its OK. They get something more from the occasional Sundays we toddle along to the Ordinary Form, Latin Mass at St Pat's. There are two other reasons why I don't buy the 'It's For The Kidz'(© every Children's Liturgist going) argument: Fr Tim appears to have made the Extraordinary Form exceedingly child friendly without trivialising it in Lourdes. Secondly, the Trust was formed in 1956 by Dr Michael Strode (now an intern oblate Cistercian at Caldey) so for the first ten years of the Trust - a time of great growth, Mass was celebrated for the children in the pre-conciliar form, the Tridentine Rite. It doesn't seem to have impeded the growth of the Trust. The one thing HCPT don't get to mess up liturgically is the Blessed Sacrament Procession and the children respond incredibly well to that.

I realise some commenters may take offence in that in my experience the good people who run HCPT and go on the pilgrimages are the salt of the earth and good Catholics with a deep devotion to Our Lady of Lourdes. This is absolutely true. That many people who would otherwise not get the spiritual benefits of the pilgrimage or hear the message of Our Lady to do penance and follow her Son is also very true. But I think it also true that the liturgical influence of the pilgrimage is ultimately destructive to the spiritual life of Catholics in these islands (and beyond) and precisely what the Holy Father is trying to root out.

I would welcome comments.

Labels: , , , , , ,