Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Better than a one in six chance

It's only a 5% chance. What are you worried about?

Who would be Pope Benedict?

Not me! Why do these silly women want to be priests anyway? Don't they know what a crappy job it is?

The poor German has merely to say “good morning”, and the liberal tabloids are shrieking: “Thousands dead in Sudan; famine across the world; ecological disaster everywhere — and Hitler Youth Pontiff thinks it's A GOOD MORNING!” [see below, HW]

Insane interpretations are routinely grafted onto his most innocent observations, as happened last Christmas when his careful and subtly connected thoughts about climate change and the roles of the genders were put into the Catholic-hating media blender.

Who is this Kevin Myers person anyway?

...what is it about sex which so diminishes rational thought? If the owners of a nuclear power station said that its current safety measures permitted a “mere” 5pc chance of it leaking plutonium onto visitors, how many of our condom-enthusiasts would be queuing to get into the place? Yet Aids is a sexual plutonium, which not merely will kill you, your spouse, your lovers, but also your children. Look. It's simple. As part of an anti-Aids programme, condoms are unnecessary within a sexually continent people — Loreto nuns, say, or married couples who don't stray from the marital bed.

But condoms will not prevent the spread of Aids amongst a general population of sexually promiscuous individuals. Even if used conscientiously (which never happens in public health programmes)

the best condoms in the world have a failure rate of around 5pc.

Shock! Scandal! Pope "saddens" those struggling against depression with "imprudent" comments on weather

Italian Media is reporting a new storm over Pope Benedict comments

Returning from Africa, just landed in Rome on a sunny afternoon, the Pope would have exclaimed with journalists: "It's a beautiful day today."

This "imprudent" comment has raised worldwide concern and strong feelings and is fueling a growing controversy.

Some of the most significant reactions:

The Archbishop of Salzburg: "We reaffirm the full fidelity of the Church of Austria to Pope and we embrace him. But the question is, if by chance he does not want to regress the Church to an animist sect of sun worshipers. After this statement, the number of people who have requested to be removed from the tax records to support the Catholic Church has significantly increased."

Alain Juppé, former French prime minister and now mayor of Bordeaux: "at the moment when the Pope pronounced these words, it rained in Bordeaux. This counter-truth, next to the denial, showing that the pope lives in a state of total autism. This destroys, if you still need proof, the papal dogma of infallibility".

Margherita Hack, a professor of astronomy and astrophysics at La Sapienza said, "saying in no uncertain terms and with no clear objective evidence" that the weather is good today, "the Pope shows the well-known disdain for the Church of Science, which always fights dogmatism. What's more subjective than this notion of "beautiful"? On what evidence is indisputable experimental support that? The meteorologists and specialists in this field have not been reached to agree on the point during the International Meeting in Caracas. And now Benedict XVI, ex cathedra, expects to decide by this arrogance. It will soon turn to burning all those who do not agree entirely with the papal notion of a good and bad day?"

The Association of Victims of Global Warming: "How can we not see in this provocative statement an insult to all victims past, present and future of the vagaries of climate, floods, tsunami, drought? This acquiescence to the "day" shows clearly the complicity of the Church with these destructive phenomena which pretends to see the "providential" work of an avenging God, and punishment. And what is worse, this attitude will only encourage those that cause global warming, as will now be able to rely on the backing of the Vatican."

The World Council: "The pope pretends to forget that while the sun shines in Rome, part of the planet is plunged in darkness at night. Here's a sign of disrespect intolerable for vast portions of the world and a clear sign, if you still need proof, of the neocolonial eurocentrism of this German pope. "

The Directors of the American feminists Associations: "Because the pope wanted to say" what a fine day "using terms in which in the original sentence in Italian, is the masculine? Could very well have been using feminine gendered Italian words as "that 'beautiful' [bella] day", using an "inclusive" adjective because it does not decline to a different masculine or feminine. It 'clear that this Pope, who has already condemned the non-sexist formulae of baptism and blessings ( "In the name of the Creator, the Redeemer and the Sanctifier"), shows at every turn his commitment to the most retrograde principles. It is "discouraging that in 2009 he continues to poing backwards."

The League of Human Rights: "Such statements can only deeply hurt all the people who have a vision of reality different from that of the pope. We think in particular to people in hospital, immobile, or imprisoned, whose horizon does not stretch beyond four walls, and also to the victims of rare diseases whose conditions render them incapable of perceiving the state of the weather. Here, it is evident, the desire of discrimination between "good", would exclude all (at the expense of minorities, of Afro-Americans and any concept of 'inculturation'), and those who by choice or inability to perceive things differently. We propose a demonstration judicial complaints on grounds of discrimination against this pope."

Alberto Melloni, the School of Bologna: "We see clearly the profound difference between this pope, introverted and closed in himself and surpassed in his world, which is limited, compared with the father who "opened the Church to the world", Pope John XXIII who everyone wanted to bring their children to embrace the Pope, John XXIII with a programme coinciding with the impulse of the Spirit to reconcile, that recent popes have tried to suffocate."

Beppe Severgnini, a journalist: "The Pope is the Pope Punto. But one can not but think with a little 'homesickness' that John Paul II would have said the same words maybe in Romanesco (Roman dialect) And waving the white zucchetto to the faithful."

L'Osservatore Romano published a slightly different version of the exact words of the Pope, "He might have said, according to L'Osservatore R., "Some might say that it is nice weather". But the audio and video journalists have denied the softened version. Many also attacked the ingenuity of Fr. Lombardi who, despite being on the side of the Pope did not intervene to prevent that statement or just better clarify the meaning.

Remember, you read it here in English first.

Science and Religion Meet

Medieval altar stone reveals dozens of saints relics:
It was in for a condition check and cleaning, before going on display in the gallery that opens tomorrow - but to the amazement of James Robinson, curator of medieval antiquities, when it was opened a linen cloth was revealed, and inside it dozens of tiny bundles of cloth, each neatly labelled on little pieces of vellum.


One of them was St. Benedict. Another was St. John the Baptist, but he was just a little too "implausible" for the Guardianistas.

Science (and yes, I include archaeology) is just so darn cool!

Mysterium Iniquitatis

Why do we sin?

Some years ago, I went with a friend to the now-annual St. Michael's college booksale at the University of Toronto. There was a small fee to get in for non-students, and one passed a table set up to collect these at the door. The lady manning the table asked me, "Student?" I rather glibly responded, "I'm a student of human evil, will that do?" She thought I was joking.

I had, by that time, been working in various capacities in the pro-life movement for about six years (it's just coming up to ten now), and I had realised some time before that a great deal of the appeal of this sort of work was my personal fascination with the mystery of human evil. Why do people do what they know is wrong? Why do they persist in holding opinions that are contrary, not only to the moral law, but observable reality? I could not accept the idea that they do so because of the reward of iniquity. The passing pleasure of the moment.

Obviously the most common sins, and the most interesting to us postmoderns, are sexual sins, the 'pelvic issues'. A brief perusal of the history of films will give an idea of just how sex-obsessed we have become in the last 40 years or so. We are inundated with sexual imagery of an explicitness unimaginable to our immediate predecessors, that invade even the most innocent pastimes, just by riding a bus or opening a cooking magazine.

Our public institutions are increasingly dedicated to the pursuit of what is now being called "pansexualism", in which it is regarded as the highest good to ensure the license to insert our parts into whatever orifice in whatever object we happen to fancy. We have whole ranges of products to help us pass the blessings of this new philosophy on to our children at the earliest possible age.

It certainly seems that sexual sins, ever-popular though they may be, are taking up more of our attention than they ever have. Even given that these sins are connected to the strongest biological drive, it seems implausible to me that we would continue to pursue them, even at the possible cost of catching a decidedly nasty, incurable and fatal disease.

C.S. Lewis once compared the sexual obsession of our times, (and he was writing in the '50s) with a similar obsession over food. What if, he postulated, there were commercial establishments where people could pay a fee to watch a full turkey dinner, with all possible fixings, slowly unveiled on a stage? Wouldn't that seem a little odd? Why then doesn't this other thing strike us as similarly odd?

The moral law, biology and common sense teach us that sex is for making babies, and that this activity, for the good of everyone involved, is best carried out within the confines of a stable marriage. It used to go without saying that we all knew what "marriage" meant. What it is for, etc. The fact that sex, and by extension marriage, are designed to create a situation ideal for making and teaching other people is precisely what elevates the sex drive above the need for food. The opposite of marriage and family life, is not singleness, it is not the sexual license to which our entire civilisation has become addicted. The opposite of marriage, childrearing and stable family life is murder. In our case, the wholesale destruction of family life has required, and been replaced by the institution of systematic, government-assisted mass-murder on a simply indescribable scale. If we don't have one, we must have the other.

The first builds up human life. When a man and a woman are joined in marriage, they become "one flesh". One person. I remember Peter Kreeft once pointed out that divorce is a form of suicide because by divorce you kill this two-made-one. The legalisation of divorce has been the first legalisation of assisted suicide. I have long held that the disaster that no sane person can any longer deny we have made of our society started not, as many Catholic believe, with the dissemination of artificial contraceptives, but with the legalisation of divorce.

So much is obvious. But we are in the odd situation where we have to say it out loud. It is not something that anyone seems to remember. The natural is not 'natural' to us any more.

But even the slowest among us, even the most brainwashed and most morally damaged, can, in a moment of reflection, tell at least that the threat of a deadly disease should constitute some kind of check on behaviour. Even if it is only to wear a bit of rubber.

Why then persist?

Why do we sin? And sin to the point of death?

Why, when the Pope, for example, suggests in the mildest possible terms, that it is better to refrain, does he meet with howls of rage that would make a demon blush?

When I started this little reflection, I had a bar of chocolate on my desk. It is now entirely gone. I et it.

I was not feeling terribly well, not having had much in the way of dinner, nor lunch. And it was not the first bar of chocolate I had eaten. I bought two of them, for some reason, and had carried the second one around in my pocket. When I got back to the office, the second bar of chocolate remained in my coat pocket. (The first one disappeared in the first ten minutes after purchase.)

But, as I was writing this, even though I didn't really want it, even though I knew it would make my tummy feel nothing but worse, even though the pleasure on the tongue of dark chocolate and toasted hazelnuts was soon to be as if it had never been, with a deliberate will, I pulled it out of my pocket, opened it and ate the whole thing.

And it hasn't made me feel any better. It did precisely what I knew it was going to do. It has made me feel slightly ill and wishing I had eaten nearly anything else. Or nothing.

Why did I eat it?

Mysterium Iniquitatis.

The NeoCath's slimming diet

"Now with 50% less Bugnini"

Monday, March 30, 2009

Progress report

Coming along. Happy to report that I was loafing about the sacristy on Friday afternoon and a lady came in and asked for a requiem Mass for her deceased uncle. Everything she said was perfectly comprehensible to me.

Funny how it sort of sneaks up on one.

Whoah! Storm coming

Better get the sails down. Incoming link from NLM.

Hi everyone!

The only town in the world with a father

Outside a Rome post office.


Took a walk over to the parish this afternoon.

Spent the greater part of the day on Saturday making curtains for the veiling at Ssma. Trinita. I was told, though I can only barely credit it, that this is the only parish left in Rome that observes the custom of veiling on Passion Sunday. The practice is still fairly common in Canuckistani parishes for some reason.

It is often difficult to give a good idea of just how enormous this great painting in this beautiful church is. The curtain covering the Guido Reni, his great masterwork, required twenty metres of purple fabric, four panels of five metres each in length.

The man at the bottom is Fr. Kramer, the parocco, adjusting the rod at the top this afternoon ("Up a little more on the right...a little more...a little more..."). It gives an idea how big it is.

John Sonnen has more pics.

Random shot of the fabulous dome. Just because I love domes.
We had the very great pleasure of hosting John Smeaton in the office last week. I've rarely met a more charming, fun and well-spoken pro-lifer.

He is precisely as nice as this picture makes him look.

Flowers in March

We had one of those evenings the other night when it was warmer after dark than it had been all day. Muggy and close. It is the kind of weather that seems to draw the Morlocks out into the streets.

Wisteria in Santa Marinella. It isn't at its peak yet though.

I noticed on the train the other day that the poppies are out too. Got to get pics of the poppies.

quod erat demonstrandum

But it's scientists. It must be true.

Some of us can remember when AIDS was not yet a problem, [yep] back when the public health game was to get all young women on the Pill -- ostensibly to reduce pregnancy, in reality to justify the emancipated sexuality of the advocates. In that period Science (i.e., spectacled men in white lab coats grasping Erlenmeyer flasks) was droning on about the high failure rate of the condom. Condoms were ridiculed by public health advocates as a crude backwoodsy expedient that only the naive or the unscrupulous would employ. Has the science changed in the meantime? No, only the terms of flattering the People Who Count.

I remember at my junior high (do they still have those?) we had a "health nurse" come in and give all the girls one talk and all the boys another in two different rooms. In the boys' class (this was about 1979), they were told that having sex could result in babies, and taught about condoms. In the girls' class, we were told that condoms fail and not to believe a boy who said it wouldn't happen the first time. We were given a little pamphlet on birth control methods and devices and, immediately following the class, set about trying to prove which of the school sluts were using which method and with whom.

Ah, the good old innocent days of yore.

thinking Protestant brain weird is

A chaplain to the Queen has called for Catholic concessions to balance proposed changes to the Act of Settlement, including the end of "sectarian schools".

Rev Alastair Symington, minister at Troon Old Parish Church in Ayrshire, said the reforms in aid of the Catholic Church were welcome but that they needed to make a "quid quo pro".


Rev Symington wrote: "I trust ... the Roman Catholic Church will drop its request that children of any such future royal union must be baptised into the Roman part of the Catholic Church and raised in equally sectarian separate schools."


the "Roman part of the Catholic Church"...?

Sorry what?

Lowering the Bar

As Uncle Di put it recently, if you really really just can't go a week without beating your wife to a bloody pulp, (and let's be honest here, it only stands to reason that members of the darkie races can't be expected to rise to any better behaviour) it is sometimes "not only recommendable," but can be "ethically obligatory" to wear protective gear if you know you are infected with HIV.

I think if the Catholic bishops and priests who are currently making headlines by contradicting the Pope were thinking of trying to get that bar for "ethical behaviour" any lower, they'd have to dig a trench.

Not kidding, I'm afraid

Hilary Clinton, head of the newer, "smarter", State Department asks,

"Who painted it?"

Not making it up either.

I guess "oriental desert savages" is right out huh?

Your politically correct guide to reporting/commenting on Islam.

Or, "How to be a good little dhimmi in ten easy steps".

I'll agree with one point though, the term "clash of civilisations" is a bit silly. On one side, we have the decrepit and decaying remnants of a civilisation riddled through with the rot of moral and intellectual relativism, ready to topple (and many are arguing, already having "toppled" and heading towards the ground at nine point eight metres per seconds-per-second).

And on the other we have, well, something else.

Neither of which can really be called "civilisations".

H/T to Kathy-the-Evil-Racist

"Let's dialogue"

Trust a French Bishop...

With 60 sodomites outside the church on Sunday chanting "denounce the irresponsibility of Pope Benedict XVI regarding AIDS."

Philippe Cardinal Barbarin tries to, I suppose, help...in some way.
"There is a painful lack of understanding" complained Cardinal Barbarin. "The issue of condoms is a taboo subject and we must create conditions for a dialogue in mutual respect.” He continued, "We must listen to all of the cries because they come from the heart, but that does not create the conditions for dialogue."

"After the Mass, His Eminence invited a delegation of seven protestors to the archdiocese for a 'respectful dialogue', 'in a cordial and relaxed atmosphere'.

I put on my skeptical face...

H/T to Rorate Coeli

Friday, March 27, 2009

There there dear...

Cardinal Says New Feminism Must Include God

Underlines Creator's Plan for Human Nature

VATICAN CITY, MARCH 25, 2009 (Zenit.org).- Christian women must lead in the discovery and promotion of a new feminism that underlines God's plan for human persons, said the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace president.

Ah yes, the "new feminism". A beloved concept for many in the primary leadership of the Church. The idea, so I am told, is that we must "Christianise" feminism, so that it might ... well, what I don't quite know. I suspect, however, that whatever is said of this dubious project, it is not being undertaken for the motives stated, whatever they may be.

It is to all appearances a belated effort to win back, largely by appeasement, the philosophical and sociological ground lost to the feminist movement. Yet another effort, in other words, to rehabilitate a movement that is at its foundation wholly opposed in all principles to goodness, truth, justice, mercy, and the teaching of the Church. Not to mention biology. Instead we expend our efforts making nice with our enemies out of the usual modernist terror of acknowledging that there can possibly be such a thing as enmity, opposition. We must, you see, all be friends, at any cost. No one dares to say out loud, "feminists are wrong and they have nearly destroyed Western Civilisation in their childish and peculiarly feminine selfishness."

It is the same impulse that is attempting to "Christianise" bioethics. We had something before "bioethics" was invented. It served the medical world well for more than two thousand years. It was called "medical ethics" and was based on the idea "do no harm" from the Hippocratic Oath that "modern" (in other words utilitarian) bioethics utterly rejects and ridicules. But instead of simply offering the Christian/Classical medical ethics as an alternative, and fighting for its supremacy in the medical world, we are running expensive programmes in Roman universities teaching the next generation of neo-Catholics to "dialogue" and find a synthesis.

Instead of a forthright acknowledgement that this new thing that has replaced the Christian viewpoint is flatly opposed to it, and a concerted attempt at presenting and defending the Christian viewpoint as superior, we have this continued kowtowing in every area of life. Always instead of defending Christendom, we have the bowing and scraping, the wheedling apologies to the accusations of the other side ... "Oh yes, of course we must acknowledge that women had much to complain of ... it is natural that they would have wanted to improve their sad lot ... the feminist movement has much to recommend it ..."

Stockholm Syndrome.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Beautiful Plumage

Because GC didn't get the joke.

(Imagine! He said he'd never heard of it... Well...I...I just didn't know what to say.)

And now, for something completely different...

the Anglican version.

A congregant enters Canterbury.
Congregant: 'Ello, I wish to register a complaint.
(The primate does not respond.)

C: 'Ello, Miss?

Primate: What do you mean "miss"?

C: I'm sorry, It must have been the purple robes. I wish to make a complaint!

P: We're closin' for a peace march.

C: Never mind that, your grace. I wish to complain about this church what I joined not half a century ago at this very parish.

P: Oh yes, the, uh, the Anglican Blue...What's,uh...What's wrong with it?

C: I'll tell you what's wrong with it, your grace. 'It's dead, that's what's wrong with it!

O: No, no, she's uh,...she's evolving.

C: Look, your grace, I know a dead church when I see one, and I'm looking at one right now.

O: No no she's not dead, she's, she's resting from explaining, from within the sources of authority that we as Anglicans have received in scripture, the apostolic tradition and reasoned reflection, how a person living in a same gender union may be considered eligible to lead the fl ock of Christ! Remarkable church, the Anglican Blue, idn'it, ay? Beautiful singing!

C: The singing don't enter into it. It's stone dead...

O: Nononono, no, no! 'She's resting!

C: All right then, if she's restin', I'll wake her up!
(shouting at the cage)
'Ello, Mother Church! I've got a lovely sherry for you if you show...(Primate flings open the doors of the cathedral)

P: There, the church is full of life!

C: No, it isn't. That was just the weekly meeting of the Committee for Inclusive Investing and Ethical Condemnation of the Zionist Running Dog Presence in Palestine.

C: (yelling repeatedly) 'ELLO CHURCH!!!!!

C: Now that's what I call a dead church.

P: No, no.....No, 'she's stunned!


P: Yeah! You stunned her, just as she was wakin' up! Anglican Blues stun easily,

It's that time again...

Obviously, it is time to re-post the commbox rules.

Those who feel they are on the side of the angels and of myself, will understand themselves to be in on the joke. Those who find the rules "offensive" are, ipso facto, the ones who most need to be told what the rules are.


Thursday, 21 August 2008

The Rules

Rule one: "God-like powers"

I'm the boss.

That means I'm the absolute ruler. The person with my finger over the Smite button. It also means that I apply the rules with a capricious and whimsical arbitrariness according to my mood, the weather or how many cups of tea I've had.

No rules apply, either democratic or otherwise, to my blog other than my own. This is not a democracy. Those who complain are encouraged to be men and not whiney crybabies. If you keep a civil tone, own manfully up to your statements and say intelligent things related to the posts, the odds are about even that you will not incur my Smite button.

If I'm in a mood or it is raining, or I've received my BT bill that day, or I'm having a row with someone, or if it is a full moon Tuesday in a leap year, I will not ask politely; I will merely push the Smite button and enjoy watching you gurgle down the drain.

If I'm in a particularly nasty mood, which I frequently am, I will apply my time-tested three-fold punishment for Those Who Annoy: Public ridicule and mockery; scorn and humiliation; Smite.

There is no appeal process.

Rule two: "Nasty"
Anyone posting Nasty under an obviously assumed name or anonymously has no reason to expect not to be deleted; we don't do nasty here. Cowards hide behind false names or no name. We don't do cowardice here either.

The only person at this site who is allowed to be unpleasant is me. (cf. Rule One, above)

Rule three: "Trolls"

People making unpleasant comments or using an incivil tone will not be asked to leave; they will be deleted without comment.

I do not feed trolls.

And a "troll" is defined, according to my own entirely arbitrary criteria, as anyone I don't like or whose tone offends me personally.

Remember Rule one: my blog is my universe.

Rule four: "Pseudonyms"
Posters have to use a real or plausible-sounding name. We use real names here. The kind used on driving(ers) licenses and birth certificates. We do not use pseudonyms or monikers. If you sign in as "Sage Mossyrock", (and no, I don't care, actually, how many years you have been using it on the 'net) you will be asked to show proof that this is indeed the name your mother gave you. If you cannot provide convincing proof, and if I'm feeling particularly magnanimous, you will be asked politely but firmly to change it to something less obviously made up or to leave.

If you cannot resist the temptation to hide your identity, you may call yourself something like "Ian" or "George" or "Janet" or "Mary". This will serve to keep your Big Important Identity a state secret whilst avoiding the tiresome implication that you and your insufferable ego have a Big Important Identity to keep secret.

If you really are a Person of Consequence who would be sacked or kicked out of the seminary for posting a comment here, you may email me and convince me that your case merits an exception and I will assign you an acceptable pseudonym from my long and growing list of obscure early Anglo-Saxon saints. Being named Aethelfridwich will be a suitably humbling experience for the person so afflicted and a salutary warning pour encourager les autres.

It is to be remembered that one of the great criticisms of the internet and its residents is that we do not know the difference between reality and our own egos.

These policies are in place to help our readers maintain a healthy perspective and have stood me very well in five years of blogging.

Rule five:

There is no Rule five.

(If you're Billy HW, you may post anything you like, all the time. You've earned it.)

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Well, ok, just one more...

Die die die!!! Evil sweet potato!

No one listened to Newman

Too bad.

when a discussion
on education provoked a flood of calls and e-mails expressing some seriously politically incorrect opinions. Untutored listeners wanted to know who on earth thought it was a sensible aspiration to try to send 50 per cent of British youth to university...You may be sure the subject was changed fairly quickly, but the seed of rebellion had been sown.

It is an article of faith with New Labour and all its social-engineering fellow travellers that half of the population must go to university, regardless of academic ability, in pursuit of the holy grail of "fairness"...

a 'First', formerly a badge of excellence, is now given away like a free offer on a packet of cereal.

Cut UK Population by Half to Save Planet

“Each person in Britain has far more impact on the environment than those in developing countries so cutting our population is one way to reduce that impact.”

So, what are you thinking? Snazzy, high-tech disintegration chambers, or something more old-fashioned, more traditional?

Further proof that everything in life can be understood through the lens provided by either Star Trek or Monty Python.

Oooo I'm just so offended!

Here's a funny little item:

Pope Benedict has yet to say anything I agree with. I don't think rock music is the spawn of the devil; it seemed to me barmy to take back into the church the bishop who had denied the Holocaust; and I wouldn't dream of taking contraceptive advice from a bachelor in his seventies. But then I'm not a Catholic. The Pope, it transpires, is. Deal with it.

From Britain no less.

And it reminds me of something. Pope Benedict, and by extension the Catholic Church in general, has been suffering in the last few weeks from nothing more than (what I shall now in my 'blogger omnipotence dub) Commbox Whine. Commbox whiners are those who get into your commbox and say, "I cruise around the internet all the time and visit all kinds of blogs but yours is always the one I find most offensive. Why are you so mean?..." The only proper repose to which is, "Then don't come here."

What the Pope needs to say is "This is the Catholic Church. The Catholic Church has always believed these things, will always believe these things and will not fail to continue saying them out loud. If you don't like it, change the channel."

This is what bugs me about all this self-righteous indignation on the left. It's disingenuous and a sign that they don't really believe what they say.

No one is holding a gun to their heads and forcing them to go to Mass. Likewise, the Pope has no more power to make anyone do or not do anything but that of the force of the truth of what he says. Ignore it and carry on as you like; no one has the power to stop you. The fact that they are constantly up in arms about what he says but does not have the power to enforce, might...just might indicate that they feel, deep in the bottom of their shriveled, withered little souls, that he is right. If they really had the courage of what they obviously take for convictions, they would just shrug. The fact that they invariably start foaming at the mouth whenever he speaks might be, to the casual observer, an indication of a lack of total confidence in their opinions.

I'm just sayin' is all..."

When is a crowd of a million fans, fainting in the heat and being trampled to death in excitement, a sign of unpopularity? When you are Pope Benedict XVI, that's when. Despite the fact that his week-long tour of the African continent has been playing to record numbers, the Pontiff has had nothing but criticism from the First World press. He's a "disaster", he's "out of touch with the real world", his whole operation needs "a radical shake-up".

The failures, according to his critics, lie both in his medium and his message. The present Vatican has yet to come to terms with the worldwide, 24-hour blogosphere. The press office shuts up shop for the day at three in the afternoon. No one there has got to grips with Google. Stories leap out at strange times of the day and night, and they hadn't seen any of them coming. Bless… but who can blame them? It's a rum old world in which Jade Goody reaches near-sanctification for her telepathic relationship with the media and the Pope gets rubbished because he's baffled by it.

His message that Aids "cannot be overcome through the distribution of condoms, which can even aggravate the problem" has infuriated health workers the world over. But what exactly is a Pope for? Is he there to make public service announcements in accordance with current scientific thinking, or is he there to stick up for what his Church has long believed in? The relationship between Catholics and condoms was strained long before Benedict XVI got the job. Millions of Catholic couples take the independent decision to practise contraception, but that is no reason for the Pope to change what he preaches. It is absurd even to expect him to move with the times. He's a religious leader, not an interior decorator.

...then she kind of starts blithering incoherently, but it was good up to then.

Kathy Shaidle is still a racist

It looks as if someone seriously needs to get a life.

Bro! There's a whole world waiting for you out there outside your parents' basement...Girls to kiss, jobs to get...

Prayer for Christian Unity

Just so people don't get the impression that I don't have the very best possible intentions, ecumenically speaking, I offer the following prayer for our sadly separated Anglo friends on the other side of the English Channel:

Almighty and everlasting God, whose will it is that all men should be saved and that none should perish, look upon the souls that are deceived by the guile of Satan, in order that the hearts of them that have gone astray may put aside all the perverseness of heresy, and, being truly repentant, may return to the unity of thy truth in union with the Chair of Peter.

Through Christ our Lord. Amen.

...and hurry...time is running out.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Let it go!

Can we please, Puh-leeze, stop banging on about Vatican II?!

Look Holy Father, much as we love you, much as we are with you in all that you've been suffering, much as we'd like to see your enemies trounced, we, the Official Next Generation of the post-conciliar Church would like to let you know that not one of us gives a tinker's damn about the Second Vatican Council, other than the myriad ways in which it succeeded in destroying our rightful patrimony of the Faith of our fathers.

I beg leave to differ with Your Holiness: Priests do not need a true sense of Vatican II. They need a true sense of the One Holy Catholic and Apostolic Faith.

Whether one subscribes to the beloved "neo-conservative" notion that "The Council" was "highjacked" by modernists and used to serve their nefarious ends, or whether you think the whole thing was a satanic set-up from the get-go...


For Pete sake! Let go of the 60s. No one cares.

The party's over. Can we please just concentrate on tidying up the mess?

Feast of St. Benedict

Visited Monte Cassino on Saturday, the feast of St. Benedict of Nursia in the real old calendar.

Quite a view from the top.

The monks continue to keep the feast on March 21st and a large number of other people know when the feast is too,

judging from the standing-room-only crowd at the Mass.

Lots of obviously very important people, surrounded by v. important policemen, in attendance.

When you go in the door marked "Pax", you then climb this stair that is lined with stone remnants of the old monastery and its ancient forbears.

The tympanum.

Bits of carved stone picked out of the rubble.

I had a brief visit to the gift shop and looked at a book on the WWII bombardment.

The photos of the devastation were shocking.

It seems simply astonishing that the monastery could have been so completely and splendidly restored.

This is the inner courtyard. I think the carving on top of the well is the original. At least it looks battered enough to be.

The little courtyard and cloister preceding the museum.

The view.

St. Benedict's doves.

Close enough to speak directly to God.

Italy has the best dressed policemen.

After the Mass, they kicked everyone out and we went to have some lunch.

There is a charming Italian restaurant in villa about half way down the mountain.

The inevitable Pics-of-Sonnen-taking-pics...

Gregory, Chris and Claire.

Farewell. (And please don't get bombed ever again!)

Part of the rich social fabric of this country

I've been reading Jane Austen.

She made it very clear what Anglicanism is and why, even in her time, the notion of a devout believing Anglican clergyman was something of a peculiarity. The idea of a man going into 'the church' because he believed he had a vocation to help save souls would simply have appeared ridiculous to the English of 1810.

H/T to Chris

The Story Thus Far

An interesting play-by-play at St. Louis Catholic on what has been going on in the Catholic Church in the last few months that is quite instructive. Being somewhat involved in all this, it becomes a bit difficult to maintain a clear-eyed perspective. I've noticed that things have been unusually heated lately, but have not given it much more credit than other kerfuffles over the last ten years since I've been paying close attention. When I hear people talking about it, I usually point to other crises over the last two thousand years and more or less shrug.

But, putting aside the historical perspective, I have to say that the people who are noting (among whom are not a few of my own colleagues) that things seem to be "closing in" lately, particularly since the election of the new US president, might have something to say.

It could just be that the media is looking for someone to bash who makes an easy target, in order to take our minds off all our financial woes. It could even be that there really have been an unusual string of "blunders" from the Holy See lately that are deserving of criticism. It could simply be the normal spite and hatred of truth, goodness and the moral law that has become the normal cant.

But upon examining St. Louis C's list, one thing becomes perfectly clear. A lot of what is fueling this crisis, if crisis it truly is, is most certainly of the Church's (and by that I mean the "Vatican's") own manufacture. It is the fruit of forty years of neglect and inaction in the face of open heresy and defiance, appeasement of our enemies, a dedication to the mumbling of polite nothings in the face of what we have always known is the world's violent loathing of the Truth.

The following is a comment from St. L. C's blog but could be repeated by nearly everyone who has cared about the Faith over the last four decades:

Last Sunday the priest at my local Novus Ordo parish brazenly and unapologetically preached the Lutheran heresy on salvation based on faith alone.

I was tempted to question him about this, and then, perhaps write a letter to the bishop.

But I'm giving up on that. My letters to Abp. Rigali, Abp Burke and Bishop Hermann all accomplished nothing.

The Church, that is, the popes and bishops, have done nothing but make soothing noises to the world that is now ranged around it with daggers drawn chanting for blood. We wanted to make nicey-nice with the world, the flesh and, ultimately, the devil himself. And now we are getting only what we have sown ourselves.

Time to stand up.

Monday, March 23, 2009

Monastery Day


Fossanova on Saturday evening.

It was somethin!

Currently the home of the Conventual Franciscans, the monastery was built in the 12th century and is regarded as one of the finest examples of the Burgundian Early Gothic style, in Italy (according to Wiki).

Gothic vaulting in the abbey church.

The nave.

Rose window.

That snazzy mosaic decoration that I couldn't remember the name of last time, is "cosmetesque". But I am informed that this is not actual cosmetesque, but merely a later reproduction in the same style...cosmetesque-esque.

The big round thing in the middle of the little house is not, I am informed, a bird bath. Not officially anyway. (Note orange and lemon trees...this is the south of Italy, after all.)

Twisty columns.

I understand that these are Architecturally Significant.

The cloister.

The bird bath again.

From inside the cloister gardens.

The room where St. Thomas Aquinas died is now a chapel that one gets to by following one's nose (there are no signs), entering a little medieval stone house that looks as if you're not allowed to go into it, and climbing up a very narrow and dark marble stair, the steps of which are so slippery as to send an English Elf n' Saftey inspector into fits. (I seem to have a large number of photos of John Sonnen taking photos. It's turning into a little hobby.)

The altar piece showing...well, the death of St. Thomas, I suppose.

Gregory and Chris reading the Latin inscriptions telling visitors that this indeed is the room where St. Thomas died, and not a barn for storing oranges.

The monastery is quite large and it appears that on can rent flats or something there. This is the back side of

a little row of shops and a restaurant. It's kind of a mini medieval monastic theme park, actually.

Gregory on his fortieth birthday. (Hi Gregory's mum!)

It's spring at Fossanova.

The back half of the house where St. Thomas died.

The bad news. If you're looking for a monastery to join, I'd think twice about this one. The little gifte shoppe was full of the latest thing in theology and spirituality.

Am I correct in thinking that Anthony De Mello is among the very very few crazed delusional heretics investigative theologians who has been excommunicated under JPII?

But all in all, I have to say, it felt pret-ty darn holy. And you know, Ancient and Important.