Saturday, May 30, 2009

They wouldn't let it lie....

There's a Victorian freak show on the telly tonight. I knew they had nicked the idea from somewhere. Very poor - as Vic would say

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Thursday, May 28, 2009


13,817 innocents were killed in Scotland in 2008: up on the year before; 2,000 up on 2002. The relevant member of the Scottish Executive finds it "disappointing".

I wonder what it what would take to enrage her?

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Wednesday, May 27, 2009

The unthinking bigotry of the euthanasiasts

I recently attended a GMC consultation on End of Life Issues. There was some bod from an outfit called Friends at the End there. I suspect the 'friends at the end' they have in mind are Jack Kervorkian and John Bodkin Adams. Ugggh!

After the consultation there were final questions. Said delegate had a question about Advanced Directives (I quote from memory, my emphasis):

"What about the situation where a patient has an advanced directive but an Irish Catholic nurse says that she was told in the middle of the night by the patient that he revoked the advanced directive?"

The point is ludicrous. Insofar as the advanced directive had any validity before, if the patient were unconscious by the morning it would imply a fluctuating conscious level and delirium implying incapacity and the normal rules governing such situations wold apply. If the patient were capax and conscious one could just ask them.

It is a telling illustration, however, of a few things. I imagine the anti-life squad are anti-life in part as a knee-jerk response to the teaching of the Catholic Church: if the Catholic Church teaches it I must oppose it. Also telling is the bogeyman in this man's head -Irish and Catholic - and probably lying in order to rescind an advanced directive.

Shameful and bigoted.

As a final point, I was struck by the fact that he wore a black shirt: Could have been a fashion statement or a political point he was making.

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Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Fergie Misses His Bus

Well done Man Utd in winning the Premiership. Good luck tomorrow (and that's from a Leeds fan.....)


Game's a bogey... Martin Kelly put it this week. I'm finding hard to understand how things are lining up across the way. An 82-year-old Catholic priest is arrested for carrying a cross in a peaceful protest on the campus of a Catholic University.

I'm trying to find the right metaphor. Is Notre Dame covering up the Holy Name of the Saviour to fete the High Priest of Moloch, or is that too hysterical? Is the University burning incense before the Obamessiah in a way early Christian refused to, or is that a bit too strong? Are the Notre Dame authorities merely saying "We have no king but Caesar!"?

Or all of these things.


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Monday, May 25, 2009

Way to go

This lifted me to be a better person, the day I read it: a very moving account in The Shrine of the Holy Whapping via Damian Thompson of the final sermon of Mgr Bill Kerr - he suffered a stroke in the middle of it from which he died a few days later (how better for a priest to die - in the midst of the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass?).

Here is the text of the sermon:

I begin with an apology. [Big grin] I apologize if I doused you and I apologize if I missed you. [Comment about holy water followed.]

Today, I want to share with you an anniversary that is important to me. I speak of the anniversary of my ordination as a deacon and of my first assignment. On my way to receiving that first assignment, I stopped by the chapel to go over my resume with God. This was in St. Louis and ten parishes and a hospital were to be assigned to deacons. I told God, "I would do well in a parish. You know I'm not good with hospitals."

After that, I stepped over to the bishop's office. I met with the bishop and received my assignment – it was the hospital.

When I arrived at the hospital, I was immediately directed to the burn unit. This particular hospital was famous for its burn unit and very gravely injured burn patients were brought here. I learned that the chaplain was out for the day and I was faced with this daunting task without any instructions. It was the doctor and me. He advised me to look in the patients' eyes and not at their disfiguring injuries.

My first patient was a young man who had been burned by an explosion. He was in critical condition. This young man, who came to have a tremendous influence on my life, worked in a factory. He had been tasked with picking up rags and spent containers. He disposed of them in an incinerator. This was a chemical factory and unfortunately the containers held chemicals that exploded, seriously burning him in the process.

His name was Michael, Michael Anderson, and he said, "'Father,'" (he called me 'Father,') I always wanted to be a priest, and now I won't get to – so I am offering my suffering to strengthen you in your ministry.

Amazed and almost at a loss for words, I said to him, "Now, Michael, we will get through this, together." But Michael, who probably had a better sense of his situation than I did, responded by insisting he would offer his suffering for me and my ministry.

Next to Michael was another patient who was well known in the area. He heard Michael's conversation with me and told him to put in a good word for him in heaven.

The doctor told me it was important for the patients to scream, to help them relieve their agonizing pain. But Michael never screamed. He held his suffering to himself until he died.

During the next few hours, I got to know Michael. The singular circumstances of our meeting led to friendship, and a special bond between us. And, over the course of my life, I have repeatedly felt that bond and that friendship. Many times I have asked Michael to pray for me to strengthen me in my ministry.

I often think about the priceless blessings I received from being assigned to that hospital and from meeting Michael. God knows us and he knows where we belong, even if we do not know ourselves. We must pray… we must pray…Michael…

...and here the sermon ends.

What a remarkable man - called to minister in the midst of the slaughter wrought by Ted Bundy. God grant him his reward.

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Sunday, May 24, 2009

Here comes the bride

The BBC must have featured it as a piece of 'aren't foreigners weird?' piece, but it's quite touching and valuable that Romanian brides want to demonstrate in favour of marriage.

Didn't see any coverage in The Guardian, oddly enough.

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Saturday, May 23, 2009

The Sex Industry #3

Nurses whose jobs depend on a plentiful supply of prostitutes vote to legalise prostitution.

Well fancy that!


Friday, May 22, 2009

Let him go peacefully

I am disappointed by the reaction of Archbishop Conti to the removal of Speaker Martin from his post. I have no doubt Mr Martin is a good man in his family and spiritual life. I have no doubt that he is regarded with affection by many in Glasgow and that he has done good in his constituency work. Given that he has presided over the current expenses farrago, that his own behaviour in this regard is questionable and given the jaw-dropping way he treated some members of the House on Monday, his removal was inevitable. He was not removed because he is a Tim, but because he was not up to the job. I'm not particularly confident in chairing meetings, so I do not seek such positions out. He should never have taken the job. Tragic, but he made that choice and once the choice was made, inevitable. That's the nature of tragedy.

More predictably, cat-impersonating, Arab-dictator courting, Inshallah citing, Gorgeous George:

English snobbery can do a morris dance of delight at the political demise of the Speaker, Michael Martin. The bigots have put the taigs back in their place. Above all the MPs desperately seeking solace from the evisceration of the expenses scandal hope this will be enough to staunch the haemorrhage in public confidence.

Read the whole thing. It's like reading an article by David Mellor blaming the demise of John Major on his being a Chelsea fan.

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Thursday, May 21, 2009

By the beard of the "prophet", yes

In answer to Ttony's query, I assume that since you can get halal goose foie gras, goose must be halal.

You live and learn, eh?

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Wednesday, May 20, 2009

The prescient Mr Kelly

Something about the demise of Speaker Martin rang a bell in my head yesterday and I remembered a phrase from a piece by Martin Kelly (someone who understands the workings of the West of Scotland political mind - emphasis mine):

He has been a disgraceful Speaker, totally unsuited to an office demanding a higher level of political skill and finesse than he had ever before been seen to display. His elevation was Glasgow Labour politics in the raw, smeared across the United Kingdom - gie ra joab tae Big Mick.

When the cops came to the Palace of Westminster looking to intimidate a member of the House of Commons, Big Mick could have reverted to type and acted as the constitution's shop steward; but no, he waved them through.

Spot on Mr K. This has been coming for some time.

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Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Just couldn't bring themselves to do it, could they?

Eurogreenies want to have a meat free day in the week. The City of Ghent wants to cut down its 'carbon footprint' (whatever that is) by encouraging everyone to have a day without eating meat.

So far, so good, eh, my leedle Catholic friendz, non? Surely a good Catholic country has an obvious day for such a scheme, non? So the greenies want it on THURSDAY.

I am coming to the conclusion that anti-Catholicism is so hard-wired into these people they really can't help themselves.

I've decided to eat some extra meat on a Thursday. Maybe have an unethical cup of coffee in a styrofoam cup. And a bonfire. With old tyres.

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Monday, May 18, 2009

Low intensity warfare

That's what Laban Tall calls it. First up the Manchester dentist facing the GDC (for a second time) - this time for trying enforce sharia dentistry:

A MUSLIM dentist recommended women wore traditional religious headscarves in his surgery to make him feel more comfortable, a misconduct hearing was told.

Omer Butt, 32, had a box of spare veils in his Bury practice and put signs up requesting Muslims to wear them, the General Dental Council heard.

How long do you think I would last asking patients if they had fulfilled their Easter duties?

Then there's a doctor in Leeds who can't see patients on a Friday:

Doctor Musarrat Syed-Shah, 31, is alleging religious discrimination and victimisation against four partners from the North Leeds Medical Practice after her partnership agreement was terminated on August 8 last year.

The employment tribunal in Leeds heard that Dr Syed-Shah claims the other doctors were "unhappy" about her attending the weekly prayers.

Sorry, but it doesn't wash. As a junior doctor, if I was on call for medicine over a weekend it would have been impossible at times to hear Mass. Sometimes I was lucky to work in hospitals where there was a chapel where Mass was said (or at the very least I could receive communion on the wards when it was brought round for sick patients). Care of the sick comes first. I suspect there more to the case than meets the eye.

Sauce for the goose, my friends....

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Retarded homophobes

Things are really moving apace in the war against reality. Andrew Pierce, himself a gay man who was adopted through a Catholic adoption agency reports on the British Association for Adoption and Fostering who in their newsletter have referred to anyone who might have reservations about same-sex couples adopting or having equal rights to adopt with married or other heterosexual couples as "retarded homophobes". The story is here.

We should not be surprised. The extremists at this ostensibly respectable organisation also routinely oppose the adoption of black children by white, middle class couples. They don't much like those in their forties, either: far too old. Recently, the grandchildren of a couple in Edinburgh were taken away from them – the children's mother was a drug addict – because they were too old and unfit. One was 48 and the other had diabetes.

As a gay man, I have never had any interest in adopting children. But I support those who want to, and would never denigrate those who think it is in the best interests of the child to be with a man and woman.

Do you know, considering this latest PC tirade from BAAF, I'm relieved that it was a Catholic children's society – also condemned by the association, for being unwilling to deal with gay couples – that handled my adoption when I was a two-year-old. God only knows what would have become of me had I been left in the hands of this bigoted, bullying bureaucracy with its dogmatic agenda.

Is it really fit to sit in judgment on who should take care of some of our most vulnerable children?

The BAAF is a registered charity but receives £6M of your retarded homophobic money every year.

I think it is best for children to be placed, where possible, preferentially with a stable, loving married couple with a generous heart who can take them in and love them. There - I've outed myself. I'm thinking of having a t-shirt printed

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Sunday, May 17, 2009


Couldn't let the 66th anniversary of the Dambusters Raid pass without letting you see this. H/T to Martin Meenagh

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To the Bad Blonde Dog. Recently arrived from a poor lady in a small flat working shifts and with a 12 month old toddler who was finding her a bit too much to cope with.

She'll get me back on my newly restored pins.


Saturday, May 16, 2009

You contemplata me apocalypsum, eh?

I'm fed up of hearing of MPs expenses, but I guess it will drag on. It's like reading those bits of local newspapers filling space with reports of convictions for assault resulting in the nasty piece of work being bound over or given a suspended sentence. Fallen humanity on display in all its banal greed. Like true evil, like Eichmann, the whole thing is utterly banal.

Bathtaps. Flat screen TVs. Pringles. Moat cleaning. Tampons. Ride-on mowers.

What next? A cuddly toy? A yoghurt maker? A cut glass decanter and glasses? Didn't they do well?

What I can't get out of my head is the image of the possibly-soon-to-be-subject-of-the-attention-of-the-Fraud-Squad-and-then-ex-MP-Elliot Morley. It came to me today where I had seen before. Surely he was separated at birth from Ron Perlman.

You'll have seen Ron Perlman in a few films. His recent major role was as Hellboy.

He's more recognisably Morley-like as Major Koulikov in Enemy at the Gates. He comes to a sticky end getting a bullet through his head

Then there is Brother Salvatore in The Name of the Rose. Again, he comes to a sticky end being burned at the stake.

It does not look good for Mr Morley.

"Penitenziagite! Watch out for the draco who cometh in futurum to gnaw on your anima! La mort e supremos! You contemplata me apocalypsum, eh? La bas! Nous avon il diabolo! Ugly cum Salvatore, eh? My little brother! Penitenziagite!"

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Friday, May 15, 2009

Solemn Vespers

Apologies to all those concerned for not posting earlier about this. I attended both the Plainchant and Polyphony Day and the subsequent celebration of Solemn Vespers by Archbishop Conti and priests of the Archdiocese according to the OF on the Fifth Sunday of Lent.

Credit to everyone involved: Fr Byrne and Dr MacMillan for leading a scratch group of singers in, I hope (it is always difficult to judge when listening to yourself!) a competent performance of the Chant and the two pieces of Lassus. Stephen Callaghan for running this as part of Lentfest. Archbishop Conti for celebrating and encouraging the celebration (his voice and accent were a surprise - that of a softly spoken Oxbridge don who might at some point have spent some time in Scotland). The priests involved for their time and support (including The Curate - and yes, your biretta was out by 90 degrees);-)

(I'm hiding behind the front row of bass singers in front of the Good Doctor)

I was surprised that I enjoyed singing polyphony so much (I've always been a bit anti - the singing of, by me, rather than the listening to) but I still think it might be too much to ask of the good people in the schola at our parish. Many thanks for the experience, though, Dr M. Most importantly, there was the opportunity for us to be aware of what we could do in the praise of Almighty God and building up the Faith through this. I am absolutely sure the celebration raised hearts and minds to God - both singers and the good people of St Pat's who came (including many young people)

My own plan for next year - a Plainchant celebration of Solemn Vespers in the OF for Easter in the University of Glasgow Chapel.

Anyone want to join me?

[The pictures of the Solemn Vespers are from The Catholic Herald]

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Thursday, May 14, 2009

Father Ray - Ad Multos Annos

Congratulations to Father Ray Blake on 25 years as a priest. He really is a priest who walks the walk and is able to bring Our Blessed Lord to the people of Brighton with both a real concern for the poor in his charge but without any diminution in the provision of a liturgy that is beautiful and dignified.

God bless him for his work in the Lord's vineyard.

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Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Deo gratias

My thanks to those of you who prayed for me during my brief sojourn in hospital (itself a revelation to this doctor - it was my first experience as an inpatient). My knee is begininng the process of healing. The patron saint of knee problems is St Roch - another of whose names is St Rollox and gives his name to an area of Glasgow in which I work. He's also the patron saint of dogs, about which more later.

Please pray for my surgeon - a kind and gentle man who, from what I saw yesterday, eases much suffering with his skillful hands.


Monday, May 11, 2009

Of your charity

I must go into hospital for a small, elective orthopaedic procedure under anaesthetic tomorrow (Tuesday). I would ask you to remember me in your prayers.


Friday, May 08, 2009

A wee stooshie..

...last Friday and then on Monday in the paper Martin Kelly rightly calls 'a soft left confection of a newspaper written by people who live in Crown Road South for people who live in Crown Road South'.

Philosophers are a touchy lot, aren't they?

Might not have been a stooshie. Could have been a stramash. Or a rammie.

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Thursday, May 07, 2009

I never knew the old Vienna...

I'm off for a few days to present at a conference. I hope to come back better educated and perhaps with some new collaborators. I've never been to Vienna before and I'm looking forward to it, though I will miss my dear ones. I'm taking one of these.

I'll let you know how it goes....

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Wednesday, May 06, 2009 you go and you stand on your own....

Stephen Patrick Morrissey played the Stirling Albert Halls on Monday. These were my favourite tunes for the evening. Thankfully my days of wearing flowery shirts and NHS specs are over. There was a fella there with a hearing aid. I don't think he was deaf....


Monday, May 04, 2009


I spotted this in the school where my kids have their swimming lessons on a Saturday morning. 'One Scotland, Many Cultures', it proudly proclaims, as though we should all think it rather jolly that civic society should be atomised. But take a closer look at the babuschka dolls. There's a Saltire, of course. Then there are the flags of Turkey, Pakistan, Iran, Somalia, Iraq and Afghanistan.

Now that looks to me as though there aren't many cultures there, but one Big Daddy Common Denominator culture (though I think Roger Scruton would argue it is faith without a culture but we'll let that one pass). Can you guess what the common denominator is?

Answers on a postcard to the First Minister, Al-Ex Al-Salmond, Kaaba House (formerly Bute House), Al-Edinburgh.

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Friday, May 01, 2009

This one's for Father Richtsteig

Don't know why, but it just brought Orthometer's blogmeister to mind.

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