Wednesday, September 29, 2010

The Catholic Bloggosphere has offended Aunti Austen's delicate clericalist sensibilities

Austen Ivereigh attacks Smeaton.

(Turn about is fair play, Austen).

I thought this was amusing.
And while his organisation, SPUC, does some useful research, its policies of refusing to engage with attempts by Parliament to reduce the numbers of abortions are at odds with the very clear and stated policy of the Catholic bishops of England and Wales...

Well, what I really thought was amusing was the thought that popped into my head when I'd read it: "There's a difference between 'getting engaged' and 'getting into bed with'.

But then, I'm a terrible, wicked, hidebound Taliban Catholic who blogs and criticises our keepers bishops. Pass me my shapeless plaid jumper and sneakers. Where's my mantilla?

But Austen has inserted a bit of unwittingly good news. It seems it's not just the UK bishops who want to shut down the bloggers. The bishops around the world are feeling the pinch:
Last June the bishop who chairs the US bishops' conference's communications committee gave a talk on what it means to be a faithful Catholic media organisation. During his talk Bishop Gabino Zavala noted:

As I talked with brother bishops in preparation for this presentation, there was consistent agreement that one aspect that is most alarming to us about media is when it becomes unchristian and hurtful to individuals. For example, we are particularly concerned about blogs that engage in attacks and hurtful, judgmental language. We are very troubled by blogs and other elements of media that assume the role of Magisterium and judge others in the Church. Such actions shatter the communion of the Church that we hold so precious.

Or perhaps I should say, feeling the heat as the Catholic bloggers hold their collective feet to the fire.

Isn't it funny. It seems like just last week that the liberal establishment was droning on and on about more lay participation in the Church. Didn't we hear from someone like Gumbleton or some other aging member of the tie-dye and Birkenstock club that the future of the Church doesn't lie in the hands of the clergy? Isn't this the time of the laity?

typical of the 'Taliban' mentality of many in the blogosphere [sic] who call for the banning of people they regard as "heretical", even when there has been no such call or declaration by those whom the Church's own law entrusts with the authority to do so. Catholic Voices considers this attitude unacceptable in a Catholic organisation, which is why it excluded those who shared it from being part of the project.

Wah! He won't let us play in his sandbox. That'll show us!

Funny how pre-Vatican II clericalism just keeps bouncing back...Ooo the irony!

Taliban Catholic bloggers unite! Throw off your chains of reactionary clericalist oppression!


Apparently, in Austen's World, not only can the UK Catholic hierarchy do no wrong, there is no anti-Catholic bias in the media.

Nope. None whatever.

It's all probably just part of the vicious imaginations of the Taliban Catholics.

How do I get to where Austen lives? It sounds like a wonderful world.


It's objectively true that there's no objective truth...

I laff...

Nope, no double standard under here...

My first Life Class

This was the result, after six three hour sessions drawing from the live model.

Before the values were put in during the last session yesterday.
(Sorry about the poor picture quality. The light in the room is deliberately diffused so it's a bit hard to take pictures, and the flash is useless.)

It took me a long long time, and cost me a few more gray hairs, to get the foreshortened foot on the right.

With the first set of values put in. It was also incredibly difficult to see where the shadow shapes were and which were the half-tones.

I was particularly pleased with the hand, which I got on the first go with no trouble.

Not great, but not terrible for a first go.

The real fun, of course, is doing it with other people.

The wonderful Laura, the model. She's also a singer and actress and reportedly once worked in a circus. She was incredible. I never knew it was possible to stand in exactly the same spot for so long.

Fellow students Danielle and Luigi, both much more advanced than I. They completed a whole painting each in the time it took me to do my little drawing.


How to do a Bargue by Sight Size

This is the first step in the Bargue Cours de dessin, the course of learning to draw by the classical method.

The steps are pretty straightforward.

You start with one of Charles Bargue's lithographs. These can be purchased in a big folio.

You stick one of them up on the easel at eye level. You stick a piece of paper next to it. You draw some guidelines, one on the edge and the other down the middle of the drawing so that about an even amount of information is on either side of the line.

Using a plumb line, you measure and mark the most significant points along the contour edge of the drawing, starting with the one the furthest away from your side guideline. This would be the tip of her nose, in this case. Then you join up the dots, going around the curves not with curved lines, but with a whole bunch of little straight lines. This way you can get the curves more accurately. Curves in nature are never even like a ball, but are always slightly lopsided, with the apex of a curve being closer to one end or the other, and little "hidden" straight bits that aren't immediately evident. You can soften the straight-line curves later.

Then you plot the significant points inside the contour line, and join those up.

Then you shade in the "values," (that's shadows in non-artfart speak) doing them all evenly with a light touch on your first pass. Don't try to darken in the darker bits right away. Just do them all the same for now.

When the values are in, it becomes easier to see where the faults are in placement of the stuff inside the contour edge, and the places where the contour edge is a little off.

Then you put in the deeper shadows, darkening the values progressively, being careful not to focus on one part of the drawing at a time, but doing the whole thing evenly all over.

Then you spend three weeks fiddling with it to make it perfect.

And Voy-Lah: Art!



Why I don't like Italy

Because this is where I'm from

Any more questions?

Yeah, actually. I have a question.

Just what the hell am I doing here, living on Planet Freakjob anyway?

And how do I get home?

(H/T to Vic for the pic.)


Saturday, September 25, 2010

Why I will never live in Australia

Guess who's coming to dinner?

Via "Snail's Eye View" one of my favourite Natural History blogs from downunder.


Friday, September 24, 2010

Finished another one

Been working on this. It's a detail from a Ghirlandaio painting of the Visitation (with extra saints).

You've seen this.

Finished it last night.

Here they are as they were on my easel. Look closely and you will see all the wonkey bits.

It's a funny thing though. The more I do it, the more I want to do it. And there are times, like last night, when it's going especially well, that I find it very difficult to stop. Even when my eyes are getting all sandy. And the urge to start another one immediately is extremely strong when you've finished one. I had to stop myself from putting up the next project last night at 12:30.

Go to bed! You can't draw when your eyes are all sandy anyway.

I don't wanna go to bed. I'll just finish this one little bit...

It's like living with a kid in your brain.


Thursday, September 23, 2010


We interrupt this Shatnerfest to bring you this important archaeology news bulletin.

They've found something cool in the desert.

3000 year-old Iron Age temple.

with a trove of figurines of ancient deities and circular clay vessels used for religious rituals.

Jordanian Antiquities Department, Ziad al-Saad, said the sanctuary dates to the eighth century B.C. and was discovered at Khirbat 'Ataroz near the town of Mabada, some 20 miles (32 kilometers) southwest of the capital Amman.

He said the complex boasts a main room that measures 388 square feet (36 square meters), as well as two antechambers and an open courtyard.

The sanctuary and its artifacts -- hewn from limestone and basalt or molded from clay and bronze -- show the complex religious rituals of Jordan's ancient biblical Moabite kingdom, according to al-Saad.

"Today we have the material evidence, the archaeological proof of the level of advancement of technology and civilization at that period of time," he said.


Because he's just so darned awesome

I think we've had enough serious for a while. So I've decided we're having a Shatner Day here at the Picnic.

...and I'll bet you never knew he could speak Italian either!

With everything the way it is in the world these days,

do you ever wonder if we've accidentally slipped into the Evil Spock universe?


And because you guys have been so good lately

Bonus: Kirkfight

Best one yet

Not a huge fan of Jason Alexander,

but BOY can he do Shatner! (Starting about 0:50)

Seriously, check it out.


Roman Ruins

Rude Language Alert (but we're all grownups here, right?)

From the Onion:
While the tradition of dicking around abroad can be traced back to a medieval European university system that encouraged putzing off in other cultures, the practice didn't become common in the United States until the 1970s, when an entire generation began pursuing higher education and looking for ways to do ****-all.

"I've dicked around in France and Australia," said Lehigh University senior Christie Oden, a psychology major who spent last spring in the school's popular Holy Shit, Melbourne Is Laid Back program. "I tell everyone I know: Definitely dick around abroad if you get the chance. It's the best thing I did in college."

For students like Oden, who are seeking opportunities to waste enormous amounts of time in a specific field, some schools offer specialized programs for dicking around abroad. Engineering majors at MIT, for example, can spend a semester in a drunken haze at the school's Munich location...

But it's not just Americans who are interested in an international education: The Department of Education has also seen a steep rise in the number of foreign students taking buckle-down-and-succeed programs here in the U.S.

According to the report, applications for IIT Bombay's Spend Every Waking Second Making the Most of Your Education Abroad program are up 30 percent since 2009, while in the past decade enrollment in Peking University's Get an American Ph.D., Don't Draw Too Much Attention, and Report Back for Duty program has nearly tripled

Oh, you don't know how funny this is until you have lived somewhere like Rome.

Nearly everyone I know here are "students". Some of whom came in the 1970s and simply never left.

Santissima Trinita should start a "Roman Ruin Programme" where Anglos can come and spend a year "working" in the sacristy.

How to be a Roman Ruin


Tuesday, September 21, 2010

I keep saying it,

Britain really isn't the monolith of cloistered self-congratulating leftism everyone outside it seems to think. If you land anywhere other than Gatwick or Heathrow, you can find real people who live in the real world. And none of them can stand all this crap.

--- On Mon, 9/20/10, J--- B--- wrote:

From: J--- B--->
Subject: Daily Mail Benedict
To: "Hilary White"
Received: Monday, September 20, 2010, 8:25 PM

Reaction from the Daily Mail.
Is the Mail that conservative? I cant really seem to find any articles critical of his visit. If anything, they seem to be saying the protests were pointless.

Aitchdub responds:
Yes, on some issues, the Mail is more or less on our side. More to the point, it is more or less representative of mainstream British opinion outside the Orbital. I keep telling anyone who'll listen that the hyperliberalism that we all equate with Britain is the product of a tiny, London-based elite, all mostly talking to each other.

I've said it a hundred times, Britain needs to secede from London. Invite the Queen to live in Winchester, the ancient seat of the Anglo-Saxon kings, and build a big wall. We'll have to give up the Thames estuary, but I hear Portsmouth needs some economic boosting.

Give a six month grace period during which anyone who wants to live in the real world with the rest of us can get out of London, and anyone who wants to live in Peter Tatchell's Wonderland, can go in. But then the wall goes up and we post armed guards along the border.



Concession speech

Holy Cow! when the Independent backs down, you know the argument's over:
I suspect the Pope's gentle manner and even his very evident physical frailty really did play a part in a reversal of rhetoric by what one might describe as the anti-clerical press. When someone is conjured up as a monster (or "a leering old villain in a frock" as Richard Dawkins put it) and emerges as a modest scholarly figure visibly ill at ease with the political bombast of a state visit, the opinion-formers sense that their readers will want a more gentle tone.

Maybe so

On the religious blog on the website of daily Corriere Della Sera, Alessio Altichieri:
“The Pope’s visit was only a moderate success because the curiosity and good manners [of the British public] cannot bridge the oceanic divide that separates the traditional Catholic Church (of which Benedict is the living embodiment) from today’s modern, multi-cultural, multi-ethnic world where everything is relative..."

But I had a lively conversation last night with Jamie Bogle, and he said that a lot of the wind has been taken out of the sails of Benedict's enemies. I've seen a lot of places where other people are saying that as well, and not necessarily from Catholics.

This from the Mail:
"By last night the protesters appeared defeated, with celebrity objectors virtually silent and demonstrations against the visit few and muted."

Jamie also pointed out that the protesters were having a bit of fun with the numbers. A friend in Vancouver said that 25,000 turned out for the demonstration, but I think this is just an example of the telephone game where a message can become wildly distorted over great distances, even with the internet shortening them. The National Secular Society, an outfit one would think personally interested in showing as large a number as possible, said it was "between 10 and 12,000". But Jamie told me he had spoken with some of the cops present, and they said it was no more than 2000. There was no "official" estimate made public by police and the media quotes of the numbers came exclusively from the protest organisers.

Quite honestly, if London is the "geographical epicentre of the culture of death," (and it assuredly is) then what a lame sort of culture it is when it can't get more than one Londoner in a thousand to come protest the archenemy of that culture. And as someone else pointed out, they certainly couldn't be bothered to turn up in Edinburgh, Glasgow or Birmingham where there were only representatives of the now rather quaint and endearing, old fashioned Protestant anti-pope sandwich boarders. Just can't stand to be separated from their lattes for a long bus ride Up Norff? or just clinically unconscious of the existence of a country beyond the Orbital? Hard to tell.

Fr. Hugh Allan was sober in his assessment of the possible long-term outcomes for the faithful. We know that no single visit by the pope, even with the cheering thousands, is going to uproot the advanced cancer of liberalism in the Catholic hierarchy and their lay fellow travellers in the Catholic institution. Indeed, Benedict himself seemed to be aware of this. When he spoke to the bishops at Oscott, he had very little of substance to say to them, at least publicly, and from their smiles and eager applause, they didn't have the look of men who had been castigated over their luncheon lamb and treacle pud.

I think the value of the visit has been for the ordinary Catholics and non-Catholic British who have, finally, had an opportunity to hear him first hand, and unscreened by either the hostile media or the hostile Catholic institution. As Fr. Allan told me, he had parishioners who had deep-seated animus against the pope (one had spent time in a German concentration camp in the War) "completely" change their minds upon seeing him and hearing him talk.

More later...


Monday, September 20, 2010

It's too bad no one ever actually reads anything he's written

This just in via Facebook:

Note to organisers of/attendees at, papal liturgies in UK: “Wherever applause breaks out in the liturgy...because of some human achievement, it is a sure sign that the essence of liturgy has totally disappeared and been replaced by a kind of religious entertainment.” BXVI, Spirit of the Liturgy


Johann Hari

This is what journalistic objectivity looks like in Britain's leftist press.

I realise it's not pretty, but take a good look. This is the kind of schoolyard silliness that passes for reasoned discourse in Britain.


All religions are equally valid

They all have basically the same moral code and really what are the real differences between them?
Some girls are dedicated to the goddess at age two or three. They won’t actually enter into sex work until they reach puberty at around twelve. The girls most at risk of being dedicated will have grown up in very matriarchal Devadasi communities. There aren’t any men. They don’t have fathers. So there probably is some understanding from a young age that they’re not from traditional families, they don’t have husbands.

The girls probably won’t have a real understanding of the sex work element until what they call their ‘first night’. This is when their virginity is sold to a local man, normally the highest bidder. He might be a local farmer, landowner or businessman. Some of them say, “I was dedicated to the goddess, but I didn’t know this was what was expected.”

Don't they all point the way to God by different paths?

Blah blah blahbbity blah...


Sunday, September 19, 2010

I must be getting more right wing,

(just pause and contemplate that for a second) because I really don't like QI any more.

Yes, it's often funny. It's certainly what the English call "clever", but it's just so much a product of smug British elite liberalism that it's almost painfully embarrassing to watch. It's almost a kind of trite parody of that self-enclosed world of London's leading "brights", all busy congratulating each other and demonstrating every time they open their mouths how little they know outside their own shrinking sphere.

Stephen Fry really disgraced himself this week with his bigotry and stupidity, his ignorance and intolerance. And I'm disappointed. His good humour, his courtesy and his likeableness have vanished behind a sneer and a spray of vitriol, and I am left wondering what on earth has happened to the man.

Everyone says he's terribly intelligent. He's supposed to be one of Britain's "leading intellectuals". But I think what is meant is that he is Britain's leading TV intellectual. Which means, in practice, that there is a vast gulf between "clever" and "intelligent". And I think we've seen that difference thrown into sharp contrast this week.

I used to like him. And I'm still a huge fan of his portrayal of Jeeves. I liked him in Peter's Friends, and a few of the other things I've seen him in. I really enjoyed his book about poetry, and agreed with him wholeheartedly that the technical aspects of poetry need to be preserved in schools and taught properly. I felt terribly badly for him when he went through his difficulties and I've made a point of praying for him sometimes. But my admiration for him has been draining away steadily over the last couple of years.

I read a novel of his once, and found it loathesome. Just stupid and filthy.

But it has been his jumping on the Cool Kids' bandwagon against the Church that has really disappointed me. I had hoped he would be a temperate and intelligent voice on the other side. That he would give a nod to natural justice and take the trouble of looking things up in his criticism. I would have expected at least as much responsible comment from him as I get from someone like, say, John Allen, a man who at least takes the trouble to understand what he is writing about.

But he's just become another idiot anti-Catholic ranter. A "hater," in fact. A bigot. And I'm so disappointed. I just can't say.


I guess it's really not something you see every day in London

Update: This just in via FB from Fr. Hugh (the gentleman in white)

At Twickenham (where the pic was taken) I left early because I had to get back for a requiem. As I left, the protestors screamed at me and were pretty ugly. the moment was redeemed by an African nun in blue appearing out of nowhere and giving them all the "V" sign. I was soooooooooooooooo proud!

Ah yes, the Peace n' Tolerance crowd distinguishing themselves by their good manners and intelligent commentary.

The nun, btw, is a Visitation sister from this monastery.


Saturday, September 18, 2010


Someone must have lured all the Ecclestone Square papal visit liturgy team into the basement of the bishops' offices with a promise of free felt banners and locked them in.

The Hyde Park Prayer Vigil was actually Benediction.

80,000 people were utterly, totally silent during exposition and adoration of the Blessed Sacrament.

Tens of thousands lining the route to the park, and who knows how many people watching on TV and on the live feed on the net. As predicted, the Pope himself and the force of the truth of his message has totally overshadowed and out shouted the secularists, and he barely raised his voice above a whisper the whole time.

Here's some of my facebook notes:

Hyde Park crowd chanting "Benedetto!" in the Italian manner.


Doh! altar girls.

Dang. Doing so well for a minute there...


A resounding well done! to the liturgical team organising the Hyde Park prayer vigil. And they did have a gorgeous crucifix, just a little one.


Lead kindly light, amid th’encircling gloom, lead Thou me on!


wait... what's this?

Did they make up a new Sacred Heart Litany?


one woman in the crowd, kneeling, nodding her head in acknowledgement of the name of Jesus.


‎ everyone's looking up "divine praises" on Wikipedia...


absolute silence in Hyde Park. With 80,000 people adoring Christ in the Eucharist...

Who'd have ever imagined!


humeral veil, beautiful monstrance, six (?) candle lanterns, proper choir dress, and all of Britain, and the world, watching Benediction happening. Everyone switching over to Wikipedia to find out what "eucharistic adoration" means...

The doors have finally been opened.


"it's as if he's a sort of counter culture" NOW you're getting it!


Eucharistic Adoration as a normal part of the spiritual life has just been introduced to all of Britain. If nothing else good comes of this visit, that one is the most likely to change everything in hopeless Britain.


‎"even now, His heart is speaking to your heart"


holy cow! did he just say "hung drawn and quartered"?! +Peter Smith, paying attention to who the real martyrs were at Tyburn?


I love hearing his voice, especially the accent. It does remind me a bit of Peter Lorre, though.


wait! liturgical alert!! are those traditional candle lanterns? And incense? Who locked the Yookay bishops' liturgical people in the basement of Eccleston square? They're going to be very annoyed when they get let out.


‎"Catholic and Anglican martyrs" were put to death at Tyburn to witness to their faith in Christ?



Are these people actually insane?


is watching the pope live on the BBC and the Bishops live webcast simultaneously, sending notes via email, Messenger and Skype and being kind of weirded out by modernity

Keep this sight in your mind's eye

Now there's a sight to remember. Vatican flags hanging down the Mall to Buckingham Palace.

Photo by Edward Pentin.

Friday, September 17, 2010

Calling for bets

on how long it takes the BBC/Guardian/Times triad to start calling the pope's comments on radical atheism a "gaffe".


God's friend

Good Grief!

What on earth is that thing? Are my eyes deceiving me, or is that actually tie dyed?

Do these people not get that the whole "wrinkly hippie/birkenstock/tie-dye/grey pony tail" thing is a joke?


Journalists, I think he means

As Kathy likes to say, "our moral and intellectual superiors"

Benedict is known for baffling lay audiences with abstruse dissertations on the faith. But on this occasion, he made a point of talking in a language that was calculated to reach his listeners.

One of the things most of the people around here like about Bennie's style is his scrupulous clarity. He refuses to engage in the kind of bafflegab we had grown accustomed to. It's like having your nose suddenly come unblocked after a long time with a cold. A huge relief.


Oh Wah!

Those historical facts really bite, huh?

"Despicable outrage," Dawkins howled, describing himself as "incandescent with rage".

Yep. That's him.

Dr. Dawkins has apparently recently complained that no one who disagrees with him ever comes to his lectures.

Of his travels in the USA’s Bible Belt, he said that no one who disagrees with his view “ever comes to my lectures – or, if they do, they keep very quiet afterwards.”

It's just that we can't be arsed, mate.


I agree.

Kasper certainly should apologise to the Third World nations whom he insulted by comparison to Britain.


Yikes! Seattle!

I hope the poor guy knows how to sleep with one eye open.

I can imagine the Weird Sisters are firing up their cauldrons as we speak.


Thursday, September 16, 2010

Butbutbut...everyone's being so NICE to him!

How dare they!

I thought these guys might be annoyed.

A huge wave of propaganda has engulfed us as the Pope’s every step is broadcast on TV, his every utterance slobbered over by fawning journalists and his critics called “hate-mongers”.

It reminds me of an exchange between Peter Kreeft and a homosexualist who had come to shout him down at University of Toronto.

The young man had said his piece, but looked fit to go on.

Professor Kreeft, who had listened and answered the poor little idiot perfectly calmly, said, "No. Sit down. We've heard everything we want to hear from you today."


He DID mention the War!

Gosh! He said on the plane that he's not interested in making the Church "attractive" but in proclaiming the Truth.


The monarchs of England and Scotland have been Christians from very early times and include outstanding saints like Edward the Confessor and Margaret of Scotland. As you know, many of them consciously exercised their sovereign duty in the light of the Gospel, and in this way shaped the nation for good at the deepest level. As a result, the Christian message has been an integral part of the language, thought and culture of the peoples of these islands for more than a thousand years. Your forefathers’ respect for truth and justice, for mercy and charity come to you from a faith that remains a mighty force for good in your kingdom, to the great benefit of Christians and non-Christians alike.


Even in our own lifetime, we can recall how Britain and her leaders stood against a Nazi tyranny that wished to eradicate God from society and denied our common humanity to many, especially the Jews, who were thought unfit to live. I also recall the regime’s attitude to Christian pastors and religious who spoke the truth in love, opposed the Nazis and paid for that opposition with their lives. As we reflect on the sobering lessons of the atheist extremism of the twentieth century, let us never forget how the exclusion of God, religion and virtue from public life leads ultimately to a truncated vision of man and of society and thus to a “reductive vision of the person and his destiny” (Caritas in Veritate, 29).

Dr. Dawkins, call your office...


Don't mention the War!

Sorry. It just popped in there, and I couldn't resist.

Won't happen again.


Ok, so now I'm all nervous

like maybe I'll get hit by a stray meteorite, or a piano will fall out of an airplane and land on me or something.

First, my art teacher tells me that she won't be moving back to Australia for at least another year so I don't have to make the awful decision about how to keep learning what she's teaching me without moving to Florence. (Thought about moving to Florence).

I'm willing to let that one slide. No need to start getting all warm and buttery over that. Life is still dangerous and precarious and the vague feeling of impending doom remains settled over my head. All is well normal.

Then the agency lady, who everyone said was pazzo, gives me a freezer, and it works.

I become suspicious.

Then the Fixing Things for a Measly Fifty Bucks guy doesn't charge me 300 Euros to fix my electrical sockets.

Now, I'm starting to worry.

Then, something really weird happens. The landlord just texted me with the phone number of the guy to call to fix the hot water heater. And told me to call him to make an appointment and he would pay for it and everything.

Holy Cow!

What, have I got cancer or something? Are my teeth all about to fall out? What?!

What is going on??!!!

Update: The landlord told me today that if the hot water heater was just worn out, he would pay for it to be fixed, but if it has been broken by the tenant, (me), I would have to pay...

I think I sense the universal order of things reasserting itself.


Ah yes, the great and glorious "New Movements"

The New Springtime just keeps on springing, don't it?

The founder of Miles Jesu was removed from office because of “serious mental and physical health problems”, it was announced today.

Fr Alfonso Durán, who founded the ecclesial family in 1964, stepped down as superior general of Miles Jesu in 2007 because of mental and physical problems, Fr Barry Fischer, the priest appointed to reform Miles Jesu, said on the institute’s website today...

After Fr Durán’s removal, 13 members of the institute asked for an investigation into irregular practices. Cardinal Camillo Ruini appointed Fr Anthony McSweeny to conduct an Apostolic Visitation which brought to light “a number of irregularities and questionable practices”.

He said: “Some members have identified wounds caused by the inappropriate exercise of authority under his leadership. The mistaken sense of allegiance and obedience instilled in the membership facilitated his behavior, which was totally unacceptable and not in accord with the discipline of the Church nor supportable in any way by a healthy sense of consecrated life.

Members who challenged his actions or behavior were often ostracized. The internal discipline and customs of the Institute provided protection for the Founder. It must be said in justice, that most of the members had no idea of the improper conduct of the Founder...


In 2009 Cardinal Agostino Vallini appointed Fr Fischer to act as Commissary for Miles Jesu and write a new constitution “which defines the charism, spirituality, and apostolic nature of the Institute; to develop adequate vocational discernment and formation policies (ratio formationis); to review the financial policies, and in general to completely revise all its practices and customs”.

Or, hey, I've got a better idea...

Oh, never mind.

How do you know it's autumn in Italy?

I had to turn down the office air conditioner a bit today.


Dear Pope Benedict,

Just a quick little note today, since I see you're quite busy. I noticed that Her Majesty was worried that you were too cold. It certainly is quite different in Scotland. Rome was very warm again today, though not so much as yesterday. Wasn't it dreadful! Like me, I know you are from a cooler climate, and I'm sure you appreciate a breath of fresh northern air as much as I did when I was in England in August.

Oh, I almost forgot to mention, Auntie Gill asked me to say hello if I got the chance. I was there for two weeks and it was very strange to come back to Italy's burning heat after a fortnight in jackets again.

I do hope that you have packed something warm to wear. I completely forgot what Britain can be like, even in August, and had to buy warmer clothes when I was there. Though I'm sure your helpers have thought of that. Still, do be careful not to catch a chill or wear yourself out. Visiting can be very tiring, as I'm sure you know.

I noticed the lovely gift Her Majesty gave you of the folio of Holbein drawings. It just happens that I was discussing with my art teacher the other day which of the great masters were the best to copy for drawing, (not painting yet), and she said Holbein. What a coincidence then that you should receive such a lovely gift.

Of course, I wouldn't dream of asking for a Holbein, since that really is the sort of thing that is best kept in a museum (you haven't forgotten the rug, have you? I've not yet heard from Msgr. Ganswein about it. Still, I'm sure you are both very busy.) But I do hope that the Holbeins will be shown in the Vatican Museums soon.

A friend has just mentioned to me that the museums are open for free one day a month, though I must say that this really isn't quite enough. I understand that people used to be able to go in to sketch the important works in there, like the Belevedere Torso. I can't imagine being able to do such a thing now. It would take hours and hours and one can never get a moment of peace in there nowadays. A great pity.

I do hope you have a lovely time in Britain, and that everything goes swimmingly. But please, be careful. You just can't imagine the dreadful things some people over there have been saying.

Aren't people odd?!

Hope to see you soon,

Your friend,



Oooooooh he'sherehe'shere!!


He's here... Eeeeeeeee!

I mean, there...


Wait, where do I live again?


An honest business man in Italy

Most people think it's an oxymoron. But I am happy to report that today I paid a bill for the guy who came over to my place last week to fix things, and it was way less than I thought it was going to be.

He couldn't do anything with my antiquated hot water heater (Yay! Cold showers! Every day! Since June! Yay!) but he fixed three broken electrical sockets and made the fourth burner on my stove work. And he brought me a freezer. That the agency lady (whom everyone warned me was pazzo) gave me for nothin! (And the freezer works. I have ice cubes! The wonder of it!)

I took out a giant wad of money today from the bancomat, and he only wanted €50. I was so happy it wasn't 300 that I was actually grinning when I slapped it down. I took myself out for Chinese for lunch to celebrate.

What no one tells you when you are becoming infatuated with Italy on holidays, is that the actual work of living here more or less cancels out the fun most of the time.

But one thing it does is teach you to lower your standards, so that actually getting a guy to come over to your house and fix an electrical socket, and only charge you fifty bucks, is cause for celebration.

It's the little things...

I'm starting to think that Santa Marinella is outside the Rip Everybody Off Zone. The bike shop guy has been amazingly great too.


Aliens among us

There's a fad among Italian youffs, for gelling their hair, which is cut quite short, into a kind of mohawk along the middle of their skulls. They also wear sunglasses all the time and wear quite tight clothing. For a long time I couldn't figure out what this combination reminded me of. Then one day it came to me: Sleestak.


While Papa's out of town,

you can watch him here.

24/7 Live Papal Visit webcast.

And Fr. Tim is liveblogging.

The Pope is now at Holyrood House with the Queen. It was good to hear the firmly shouted commands to British soldiers who do drill quite well, and the stirring sound of the pipes. It was rather windy outside; on entering the room where the Holy Father and the Queen exchanged gifts, the Queen said that it was a little warmer in here, and asked the Pope where he would like to sit.

The Queen presented the Holy Father with a book of Hans Holbein prints. Included was the famous drawing of St Thomas More.

Awww man!

Holbein! I'm jealous.


News of death

I had a note yesterday from a friend in St. Catherine's, Ontario of the death of Anne Muggeridge. It has made me wonder, again, if one ever "gets over" loss. Or even if we should want to. When we get over something, haven't we forgotten it? Isn't it better to be in pain than to forget someone or something, like a love, that is terribly important?


Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Holy Cow! He was right

Rob Paravonian said that Pachelbel's canon is everywhere in pop music.

Listen to the chords in this one. And this one. And this one.

It really is just Baroque.

More free stuff in Rome

Many Red, Red Roses: Roseto Comunale. Imagine 10,000 square meters of exotic roses: striped. Speckled, brilliantly colored and contoured, including hybrids that smell more heavenly than all of the city's pastry shops and pizzerias combined. Originally the site of Rome's Jewish Community) Cemetery, the Municipal Rose Garden contains thousands of new bud varieties that are sent to the gardens for the annual international "Premio Roma" competition. The gated garden, across the street from the Circus Maximus and surrounded by the dusty brown ancient ruins of the Roman Forum. Offers visitors a tranquil, sweet-smelling haven above the chaos of the city center. Signs invite visitor~ to walk on the grass around the roses to get a better sniff. Take a sketchbook or a good novel and plor yourself on a bench, relax and listen to classical music, which is piped in to the outdoor garden. Directions: Take Metro Line B to Circus Maximus, Via di Valle Murcia, 617. For more information. call 06.574.6810 or e-mail

How to have fun in Rome for free

Rome doesn't have to be expensive to visit and have fun in. There are the two periods a year, in the spring and the autumn, where all the city museums are free (remember that this doesn't include the Vatican museums). There are the churches, 900 of them within the Aurelian walls that frequently contain very significant works of art by major figures (Bernini, Caravaggio, Reni and Michaelangelo are not-uncommon). There are tons of Big Things that don't cost anything to look at.

And if you get on the internet, you can find out what sort of daily, weekly and annual things are going on.

Like this:

This Friday 1pm-4pm: Saturday & Sunday 10am-12.30pm. Hardback and paperbacks preloved books for sale, Fiction, Childrens and Travel plus some English Literature. (All books are in English, with a few Italian books) Prices start from 50 cents and everyone is welcome. Further info contact Tonia via email:
Love reading but find books in English too expensive? Then think about becoming a member of the Santa Susanna English LIbrary, Via XX Settembre, 15 (next to the Santa Susanna Church). We have the best fiction, childrens and non fiction books with very recent titles. Memberships can be from 3months to yearly and can cater for the individual or families. We are open Sat & Sun 10-12.30pm; Tuesday 10-1pm; Wednesday 3-6pm; and Fridays 1-4pm.
Are you a native English speaker or have a very high level of English and would like to volunteer at the Santa Susanna Library? Contact Tonia via email:

Another great one passed

I have had a message today from a friend in Ontario.

Of your charity, please pray for the repose of the soul of the great Anne Roche Muggeridge, a person who, through her books, had a great influence on many of us.

John and Anne, united at last.

Later, when I feel up to it, I will try to write something of my experiences with Anne and her family.

Requiescant in Pace.


Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Does Vincent Nichols read the newspapers?

One has to wonder. Some of the comments he made to this Tweedie bloke are utterly amazing.

It's quite difficult to begin figuring out the truth from the bullshit in this article, not least because, as with nearly all the mainstream press, the Telegraph's apparent editorial policy is to keep a firm clamp on the nature of the so-called "pedophilia" scandals. Tough to keep that one under wraps when there are publicly available reports that demonstrate that over 90 per cent of the victims were adolescent boys and young men between 14 and 17. That's not pedophilia, kids. There's another name for that.

But one does wonder, and wonder, how long the bishops can keep up this incredible pretense:

The crimes of the past, he says, will not be repeated. "It is a difficult and painful issue. It is vital that we ask advice from people from outside the Church, and that they take the lead. The sexual abuse of children is the most hidden crime, and it's taken a long time to be understood.

"Let me give an example: there was a priest in Birmingham who in the late Sixties or early Seventies was reported to the police by the diocese and brought before the court. He was given a £600 fine and told not to offend again. It wasn't just the Church that didn't understand the nature of the offender and the gravity of the offence. Remember, there was a movement in the Seventies to make sexual intercourse with minors of 14 legal. So there was a whole different culture.

I'll just give you that last one again, shall I?

"...there was a movement in the Seventies to make sexual intercourse with minors of 14 legal. So there was a whole different culture.

Yeah, you read that right. That's really what he said.

Whatever you were smoking in seminary in the 70s, Your Grace, must have been pretty powerful.

That culture is still in full swing, (so to speak). Lobbying and producing BBC documentaries on the pope.


Not that we're into biased reporting or anything...

Archbishop Nichols is the man preparing the way, the salesman for an event which, if polls are to be believed, is actively supported by at best a quarter of the population, and regarded with varying degrees of indifference or opposition by the rest. Safe to say that Pope Benedict, the quintessential Vatican insider risen to ultimate earthly office, is a less sympathetic figure than John Paul II, who visited Britain in 1982. A theological conservative, he has been accused of condemning the Catholic Church to increasing irrelevance in a liberalising world, while overseeing a cover-up in regard to sexual misconduct by clerics, particularly paedophilia.

Safe to say it huh? Safe with whom? Safe with the Archbishop of Westminster?

Let's see. From this, I think I can make a wild stab at the Telegraph's list of editorial requirements for writing about Benedict.

-- Benedict less popular than JPII
-- theological 'conservative' (optional: 'hardliner')
-- Church refuses to update to modern world/20th/21st century
-- traditional Catholic teaching 'irrelevant'
-- pedophilia crisis (any mention)

Perhaps Mr. Tweedie is very young. Maybe he doesn't remember all the journalists calling John Paul II a "hardliner" who refused to bring the Church into the 20th century.

Plus c'est la same crap...


One does indeed wonder that.

Benedict to the new German Ambassador to the Holy See:

One might wonder whether there are still Christians who, without compromise, become guarantors of their faith. Conversely, many men show an inclination towards mostly religious ideas more permissive for themselves. Instead of the personal God of Christianity, which is revealed in the Bible, replaced by a supreme being, mysterious and indeterminate, which has only a vague relationship with the personal lives of human beings.

These ideas motivate more and more discussion in society, especially around the area of justice and law. But if one leaves the faith in a personal God, there is the alternative of a "god" who does not know, can not hear and speak. And, more than ever, has no will. If God does not have its own will, good and evil are no longer distinguishable in the end, good and evil are no longer at odds with each other, but are in opposition that would be complementary to each other.

The Google translation might be a little vague, but I think we still get the gist.

In this situation, therefore, Christians have the task of following this development in a positive and critical and to sharpen the senses for the fundamental and continuing importance of Christianity in laying the groundwork to form the structures of our culture.


It is Johann, actually...

Here's just one

There are about 180 million little things about life in Italy that drive Anglos to the point of shrieking madness.

This is one of them.
The double standard was initially adopted because in Italy, up to the second half of the twentieth century, the electric power used for lamps (Luce = lighting) and the one used for all other appliances (Forza = electromotive force; or Uso Promiscuo = general purpose) were sold at different fares, charged with different taxes, accounted with separated electricity meters, and sent on different wire lines that ended with different sockets.


Calling Fr. Paul MacD.

what's your email? The last thing I sent to you bounced.

Hey, stupid hippie priests!

This is why nobody likes you

This week, we had a visiting priest (visiting his mom and sister in the parish, so a regular contributor to our liturgical disaster) I think I mentioned. He's had his head shoved up his ass since the 1970's and doesn't seem to realize what a sissy he sounds like constantly calling us "folks" as he editorializes every bit of the mass and tries to make it relevant. Also, he inserts the phrase "and then he said" into the words of institution, as in, "He took the cup blah blah blah, and then he said, do this in memory of me". I call it Story Time with Father Goofy. I hate him and wish bad things on him.


Monday, September 13, 2010

Art Lover's Paradise

I've been told that Italy is really deeply in the grip of the horrible movements of modern art, and I've certainly seen some truly gag-inducing stuff in the Vatican, but really if you're interested in art, you can't not look at Italy. This statue is in the atrium of the mansion of Gabriele D'Annunzio in Gardone Riviera.

On the Rialto, Venice.

In the church of San Zacchariah, Venice.

This woman was sitting at her easel painting in her studio in Venice. I just thought it looked like a lovely sort of life.

In the courtyard of the Villa D'Este in Tivoli.

Statue of St. Matthew in the Church of the Holy Trinity of the Pilgrims, Rome.

On St. Mark's, Venice.

It all makes you want to have a go yourself.


Coming to the gig tonight?

If one were looking for a demonstration, in a single piece of paper, of everything that is wrong with EngBishCorp, (a wholly-owned subsidiary of BritCathCorp)

he need look no further than this helpful pamphlet produced by the Church organisers of the papal visit.


Friday, September 10, 2010

You keep using that word...

I do not think it means what you think it means.

"We talked about her Muslim faith and I wished her happy Ramadan," Dorsey said. "I might be wrong, but my guess is she had some people that she had issues with and a personal agenda, a score she had to settle.


I knew this little old lady when I was growing up. In fact, I knew a whole bunch of them. They were every bit as great as this, and showed me how you are supposed to be in life. I want to be this little old lady when I grow up.

Calling all Art Farts

Let's go to this.

Palazzo Barberini, on Via delle Quattro Fontane, presents an event on the evening of 19 September in honour of the renaissance painter Raphael (1483 – 1520). To celebrate the inauguration of the recently restored gallery, the public's focus will be centred on one of the highlights of the collection, Raphael's enigmatic painting La Fornarina. Known in English as Portrait of a Young Woman, the protaganist is believed by many to have been Raphael's mistress, Margherita Luti.

The €5 million project undertaken by the ministry of cultural heritage two years ago has seen the renovation of the gallery's ground floor and first floor, including the Salone Grande, Sala dei Marmi and Sala Ovale.

Built in the first half of the 17th century for the Barberini family, three architects were involved in the building's design. The first was Carlo Maderno, who began work in 1627 and was assisted by his nephew Francesco Borromini, while it was Gian Lorenzo Bernini who oversaw the building's completion in 1633. Until recently, in addition to the palazzo being home to the state-run National Gallery of Ancient Art, a section of the building was used by the officer's club of the Italian armed forces.

As part of the programme of events for the public on 19 September, visitors will be offered free guided tours of Palazzo Barberini, beginning at 18.00. [that's six o'clock in the civilised world]

National Gallery of Ancient Art, Palazzo Barberini, Via delle Quattro Fontane 13, Rome,

tel. 0632810.

Thursday, September 09, 2010

Sturm und Drang!

I've looked all over town, and you would not believe it but I can't find a copy anywhere.

Not in English.


You know, if you feel like contributing...

UPDATE: found a shop in Rome that carries this title.

UPDATED UPDATE: This just in via Tom, in New York.

Hello from

We're writing about the order you placed on September 09 2010 (Order# 002-7714285-8409856). Unfortunately, we are unable to ship the item(s) as soon as we expected and need to provide you with a new estimate of when the item(s) may be delivered:

Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, et al "Italian Journey: 1786-1788 (Penguin Classics)"
Estimated arrival date: October 08 2010

I have the best readers in the e-world!


Wednesday, September 08, 2010

Y'all can guess what I'm going to be writing about in the next few days

It may all be unpleasant, even distressing; but difficult though it may be to realise it now, this present hostility is to be welcomed: it means that we are beginning once more to count for something.

The atheists’ utter loathing, all the same, is at times a little frightening in its sheer vicious irrationality. These people are in the grip of a barely restrained hysteria. Take the current issue of the New Humanist, subtitle: “Ideas for godless people”; this issue gives a good idea of what it must be like being godless, and at least it makes you grateful not to be godless yourself.

"Beginning once more to count for something."

It's a funny thing that the same burst of insanity didn't happen when JPII made his "pastoral" visit to Britain.

Can't imagine what the difference is now.

Mr. Oddie continues, "...when the Church is being faithful to her mission, this is how the world will regard her."


But the event wasn't stacked against them or anything

Heck no!

I'm sure it was all completely civilised, fair and even-handed. Everyone speaking based on verifiable facts with complete, reliable documentation.
"Journalist Austen Ivereigh, who runs Catholic Voices, a team of young Catholics trained to speak to the media, and Fr Christopher Jamison, former abbot of Worth Abbey, spoke against the motion “The papal visit should not be a state visit”, but were defeated by a hostile crowd. Human rights activist Peter Tatchell and philosopher A C Grayling spoke for the motion at the event in the South Place Ethical Society building in central London.

The debate, organised by Central London Humanists together with the British Humanist Association, was chaired by Guardian columnist Polly Toynbee."


Benedict's brave defenders in the English episcopacy

Archbishop Peter Smith:

I’ve always said, thank God in this country we have free speech. They are perfectly entitled to protest. What I would ask of all of them is to do so in a dignified way, which does not disrupt the joy of the Catholic community in welcoming the pope. I hope they would show respect to those of us who do have [religious] convictions.

...and gallantly he chickened out...

(thanks Zach)

That's mighty white of 'em.

Reality really does bite, doesn't it?

Leaders of the Protest the Pope coalition
now admit that the Pontiff cannot be arrested as Britain acknowledges him as a head of state, granting him sovereign immunity from criminal prosecution.

Why do all the tv shows I really like get cancelled in one season?

Or, alternately, why do I like such weird stuff that no one else wants to watch it?

It's hard being me.

Tuesday, September 07, 2010

Must have been a slip of the pen

The Guardian comes clean about media bias against the pope and the Church:

...Jack Valero, the director of Opus Dei in the UK, have combined with the Catholic Union to create Catholic Voices. Ivereigh says the model for Voices "is inspired by the experience of the Da Vinci Code Response Group in 2006, when the release of the Dan Brown film created a similar demand for Catholics to be ready to discuss its claims, however far-fetched".

The fact that the media may not want to hear from these people seems to have escaped the organisers' notice. It is good copy to get the most outrageous Catholic voices who can be found on issues such as abortion, civil partnerships and child abuse.

Many in the media are not interested in a rational voice from the Catholic church – it's not good box office. What is more, Catholic Voices has already hit choppy waters, being accused of ageism because of its upper age limit of 40, and a rival group called Catholic Voices for Reform has already been set up.

The question is: how will this all pan out? The worst-case scenario for the Catholic church here is that before the pope's visit journalists discover recent abuse cases. This would shoot to pieces the strategy that has attempted to separate the church in the UK from the rest of the world on child abuse, arguing it acted properly and put in place rigid guidelines.

Now that bit about "ageism" is pretty funny.

It looks like the be-Birkenstocked wrinklies continue to be irritated by their own loss of relevance.

But of course, this doesn't stop intrepid reporters from making sure their voices get heard:

It's all about speaking truth to power, right, Ruth? Long live the Revolution!


Ohh! I'm in nerd heaven!

I am of the opinion, despite my addiction to SG1, that there really have only been two original science fiction television series produced in the last 40 years.

After all, we do create our own reality

Flea notes:

At the tail end of his Rush Limbaugh guest hosting duties, Mark Steyn claimed he always checks the census boxes for Transgendered and Pacific-Islander in an attempt to undermine their statistics. It is a gesture Michel Foucault would have described as "resistance".

Which got me thinking. If I can decide to be a woman and everyone from the tax man to my employer has to empower me, why can't I just decide to be black* (too) and start applying for grants and tenure-track jobs accordingly?

* You heard me: Black. Don't tell me how to describe myself, whitey.

As I believe I've said before, if a man can "self-identify" as a woman, and vice versa, all bets are off.

I hereby self-identify as a 23 year-old Dianna Rigg look-alike who's fabulously wealthy.

Just keep clicking those heels together...


Kathy, still making me laugh

Apparently, some US proddies are burning the Koran.

...burning a book -- any book -- is a fascist and destructive.

Admittedly, this distinction may be too subtle and artsy for Reverend Stereotype to figure out, since he probably thought "WWJD?" was as "deep" as stuff gets.


Let Muslims retain their reputation as the ones doing the burning.

That's the trouble with so many "conservative" critiques of the Ground Zero mosque; you're saying the same thing as the anti-Mo-toon people said. We can't pretend to suddenly care about "sensitivity" or forget about the Constitution.

The critiques of the Ground Zero mosque are being too subtle for their, and our, own good.

Building the mosque is wrong because they're the bad guys and we can't let the bad guys **** with us.

That used to be a good enough reason for pretty much anything, until men stopped being men and started becoming lawyers instead.

As I said below. I wish there were more men.


Mainstream Media at Work and Play

Just a little sample.

What does this headline have to do with the world outside the venomous imaginations of the editors of the Independent?

Pope chooses rap song as soundtrack for his UK visit

He is a liturgical traditionalist who is known to favour the Latin mass with all its ancient trimmings. But when it comes to finding a song that will appeal to young worshippers, the Pope has opted for rap.

Don't know. Maybe we should ask the "committee overseeing Pope Benedict’s itinerary in Britain next week". Maybe they'll have something to say about media misrepresentation.


Monday, September 06, 2010

A prayer for Oscar Wilde

The tree of life my soul hath seen,
Laden with fruit and always green:
The trees of nature fruitless be
Compared with Christ the apple tree.

His beauty doth all things excel:
By faith I know, but ne’er can tell,
The glory which I now can see
In Jesus Christ the apple tree.

For happiness I long have sought,
And pleasure dearly I have bought:
I missed of all; but now I see
'Tis found in Christ the apple tree.

I'm weary with my former toil,
Here I will sit and rest a while:
Under the shadow I will be,
Of Jesus Christ the apple tree.

This fruit doth make my soul to thrive,
It keeps my dying faith alive:
Which makes my soul in haste to be
With Jesus Christ the apple tree.

Classical Realism

Oxford will not print another OED

This news actually made my chest clench in fear.

The next edition of the Oxford English Dictionary, the world’s most definitive work on the language, will never be printed because of the impact of the internet on book sales.

Dictionaries are the canaries in the coalmine of civilisation.

Sunday, September 05, 2010


I wish there were more of them.

Saturday, September 04, 2010

Deborah, sure.

Hilary White, will you be my girlfriend? (chastely, of course)

I take my tea fairly strong, with half a sugar and a bit of milk. And I like it to be brought to me in bed, about 8:30 in the morning. (Nine on Saturdays).

Oh, and seriously, you need to do something about all that ridiculous sign-in gobbeldygook rigmarole on your blog to leave comments. My attention span/patience lasted about fifteen seconds before I gave up.

Youth Defence is wicked

Dreadful. Awful people. Controversial. Divisive.

The brother also shall deliver up the brother to death, and the father the son: and the children shall rise up against their parents, and shall put them to death. 22 And you shall be hated by all men for my name's sake: but he that shall persevere unto the end, he shall be saved.

23 And when they shall persecute you in this city, flee into another. Amen I say to you, you shall not finish all the cities of Israel, till the Son of man come.


26 Therefore fear them not. For nothing is covered that shall not be revealed: nor hid, that shall not be known. 27 That which I tell you in the dark, speak ye in the light: and that which you hear in the ear, preach ye upon the housetops. 28 And fear ye not them that kill the body, and are not able to kill the soul: but rather fear him that can destroy both soul and body in hell.

Friday, September 03, 2010

Calling all bloggers: bump up

Keeping this one on top for a while...

So, at that meeting I managed to weasel out of sadly was unable to attend last month in Ontario, it was decided that would start up a group blog for our writers to give us even MORE space on the net to say what we really think educate and enlighten the public.

And we've got a little thing going on the LSN intra-net about what to call it, and honestly, the offerings so far have left me kind of flat.

Now, while I'm the first to admit that I'm the world's worst name-thinker-upper, every now and then, sometimes something pops in there and I'm surprised. So, I'm not giving up hope that I'll come up suddenly with a real corker. My blogs have mostly been "Catholic" oriented until this one, so I went for really obvious Catholic-themed names like FiatMihi and The Devout Life, so not a lot of imagination was needed. Latin is always impressive, or was.

I think "Orwell's Picnic" was pretty good, and it seems to have been more or less branded now so other people seem to like it. But it was a fluke. I was intending to do more Orwell-related stuff when I started this, but it just morphed naturally back into me ranting about things and making dumb jokes, and so it lost most of it's Georgeness. "Liveblogging the apocalypse" as a sub-head was all mine and I'm still pretty happy with it.

So, what I mean is, I'm not really one to count on for names of things. All through my childhood my bears were always named "Bear" and all my dollies were "Dolly". I'm amazed that Winnie ended up with a real name, since most of the time I address her as "Hey fuzz-brain" or "move, cat". (Which is OK, since I think she thinks my name is "Get out of my chair, monkey".)

Anyway, if anyone can think of a great name for the new group writers' blog, drop a note in the commbox. All submissions, no matter how sarcastic are welcome and the winning title gets...


a mention.


Here ye go, Nick

It's one of my favourites too.


I told you so.

Calling all bloggers

So, at that meeting I managed to weasel out of sadly was unable to attend last month in Ontario, it was decided that would start up a group blog for our writers to give us even MORE space on the net to say what we really think educate and enlighten the public.

And we've got a little thing going on the LSN intra-net about what to call it, and honestly, the offerings so far have left me kind of flat.

Now, while I'm the first to admit that I'm the world's worst name-thinker-upper, every now and then, sometimes something pops in there and I'm surprised. So, I'm not giving up hope that I'll come up suddenly with a real corker. My blogs have mostly been "Catholic" oriented until this one, so I went for really obvious Catholic-themed names like FiatMihi and The Devout Life, so not a lot of imagination was needed. Latin is always impressive, or was.

I think "Orwell's Picnic" was pretty good, and it seems to have been more or less branded now so other people seem to like it. But it was a fluke. I was intending to do more Orwell-related stuff when I started this, but it just morphed naturally back into me ranting about things and making dumb jokes, and so it lost most of it's Georgeness. "Liveblogging the apocalypse" as a sub-head was all mine and I'm still pretty happy with it.

So, what I mean is, I'm not really one to count on for names of things. All through my childhood my bears were always named "Bear" and all my dollies were "Dolly". I'm amazed that Winnie ended up with a real name, since most of the time I address her as "Hey fuzz-brain" or "move, cat". (Which is OK, since I think she thinks my name is "Get out of my chair, monkey".)

Anyway, if anyone can think of a great name for the new group writers' blog, drop a note in the commbox. All submissions, no matter how sarcastic are welcome and the winning title gets...


a mention.


Thursday, September 02, 2010

Because it worked so well for the Catholics

Rwandan House of Bishops Urge Conciliar Process to Resolve Anglican Crisis

Hey, Anglicans!

It's over. Time to come back.

Shake that tailfeather!

You boys need some churchin' up

John Muggeridge's favourite movie.

I'm not kidding. He said his favourite scene was the one with the Penguin.

Well, who doesn't love that one?

Now, who'd have predicted this?

Come on, hands up, everybody...

The government’s poor response has even invited military involvement. The army had to get involved over the Sukkur Barrage struggle, and the government may “face the threat of social unrest or even military takeover after its shambolic response to the floods.” Some disagree as to the level of future involvement, arguing that, “despite the government's perceived failure to tackle the crisis, a military coup is unlikely. The army's priority is fighting Taliban insurgents, and seizing power during a disaster would make no sense . . . .” Nevertheless, the government’s initial sluggish response has threatened the democratic process in Pakistan and provided an avenue for military control..

Yeah, it doesn't make any sense to us either

Mr. Blair's new book has a few amusing anecdotes about his experiences with the High and Mighty.

He relates a conversation he had with former US President Bush at a G8 Summit:

He then turned to me and whispered, ‘Who is this guy?’

‘He is the prime minister of Belgium,’ I said.

“Belgium? George said, clearly aghast at the possible full extent of his stupidity. ‘Belgium is not part of the G8’.”

Mr Blair explained to Mr Bush that Mr Verhofstadt was there as “president of Europe”. Belgium held the presidency of the EU council at the time.

Mr Bush responded: “You got the Belgians running Europe?” before shaking his head, “now aghast at our stupidity”, Mr Blair writes.



...and everyone knows that pro-lifers are all sour, cranky and no fun...

Wednesday, September 01, 2010

Nothing to see here... move along...

Edmund Adamus, a fine chap and all 'round good egg, who has the no doubt thankless position of director of Pastoral Affairs for the Diocese of Westminster, told Zenit news this weekend that the pope is visiting a country that has become in the post-war years the “geopolitical epicenter of the culture of death”.

Britain has become an "aggressive anti-Catholic bias towards the church and the pontiff," he said, that exceeded even countries that violently persecuted Christians.

"Geopolitical epicentre of the culture of death".

Quite a nice little turn of phrase there, I'd say. If Edmund gets the sack, there is a future for him as a conservative Catholic columnist...if he can find someone who'll pay for it.

Britain is in “a time of shadows especially threatening to the fundamental cell of society -- the family -- and the rights of parents.”

He was likely referring to the laws that allow schools to teach children in their sex education classes the joys of gay sex and where to obtain abortions and contraception without parents’ knowledge or consent.

Britain a “selfish, hedonistic wasteland” indulging in the “objectification of women for sexual gratification” and “ever-increasing commercialization of sex, not to mention its permissive laws advancing the gay agenda”.

“Our laws and lawmakers for over 50 years or more have been the most permissively anti-life and progressively anti-family and marriage, in essence one of the most anti-Catholic landscapes culturally speaking than even those places where Catholics suffer open persecution.”


I wrote a piece for an American newspaper the other day in which I described Britain's response to the Pope's visit as reminiscent of
the reaction of teenagers who, left alone for the long weekend, are caught short by the sudden arrival of their parents early on Sunday morning. They have not had time to tidy up or hide the incriminating debris and so have chosen to stand defiantly amidst the wreckage of empties, take-away wrappers and broken heirlooms, arms akimbo, ready to deny all wrongdoing.

Now it seems that at least two British Catholic bishops are desperately trying to push the empties into the closet:

A spokesman for Nichols said the views expressed by Adamus "did not reflect the archbishop's opinions".

But this little duck and cover was as nothing to the glowing comments from Bishop Kieran Conry of Arundel and Brighton who wagged his finger firmly at such nay-saying: "I am often told by those Catholics who dislike the way our church operates in this country that they are the 'silent majority', denied a voice by people like me in the hierarchy. The reality is that they are a very small minority."

But get this...
Pope Benedict is coming to a country where Catholicism is unusually stable, cohesive and vibrant enough in the current overall context of decline of interest in the church in western Europe. Indeed, I think he may well be relieved to be coming to a place where, unlike some of his other recent trips, there are no big problems for him to sort out."

Now, if I'd made that up, y'all would have rightly told me that I was going over the top, that even an English Catholic bishop couldn't plausibly have said such things with a straight face. But the Guardian swears it's a straight-up quote.


I'll give it to you again, shall I?

"Indeed, I think he may well be relieved to be coming to a place where, unlike some of his other recent trips, there are no big problems for him to sort out."


Do popes still do interdict?


So hard to keep score!

OK, let's see if we can get this all straight (pardon the pun).

Maybe we can sort it out in point-form.

1. The Pope/Catholic Church is evil because (among other things)

a) he wants to stop homosexuals from acting on their God-given impulses to put their parts into other men.

b) he didn't do enough to stop priests from molesting adolescent boys

c) he said that homosexuals shouldn't be ordained.

2. Homosexuals

a) are all just interested in a normal picket-fence-ish, PTA meeting, mom dad-and-apple-pie sort of life as everyone else,

b) have just as much right to get married (to each other, that is) as everyone else and opposing "gay marriage" is a gross injustice

c) have no general predilection whatever for meaningless sexual encounters or young men

3. In general there is a vast difference between your "average" normal homosexual and a priest boy-molester because

a) priest molester problem is "all about power" and has nothing whatever to do with homosexuality

b) when a non-ordained homosexual is interested in 14 year-old boys, it's really only a natural, normal expression of his God-given sexuality that would be wrong to suppress.

Therefore we must arrest the Pope when he comes to Britain while we lower the age of sexual consent from 16 to 14.

Do I get a prize?


Nice religion you got there, Abdul.

In Kandahar, population about 500,000, and other towns, dance parties are a popular, often weekly, pastime. Young boys dress up as girls, wearing makeup and bells on their feet, and dance for a dozen or more leering middle-aged men who throw money at them and then take them home. A recent State Department report called "dancing boys" a "widespread, culturally sanctioned form of male rape."

So, why are American and NATO forces fighting and dying to defend tens of thousands of proud pedophiles, certainly more per capita than any other place on Earth? And how did Afghanistan become the pedophilia capital of Asia?

Sociologists and anthropologists say the problem results from perverse interpretation of Islamic law. Women are simply unapproachable. Afghan men cannot talk to an unrelated woman until after proposing marriage. Before then, they can't even look at a woman, except perhaps her feet. Otherwise she is covered, head to ankle.

"How can you fall in love if you can't see her face," 29-year-old Mohammed Daud told reporters. "We can see the boys, so we can tell which are beautiful."

Even after marriage, many men keep their boys, suggesting a loveless life at home. A favored Afghan expression goes: "Women are for children, boys are for pleasure." Fundamentalist imams, exaggerating a biblical passage on menstruation, teach that women are "unclean" and therefore distasteful. One married man even asked Cardinalli's team "how his wife could become pregnant," her report said. When that was explained, he "reacted with disgust" and asked, "How could one feel desire to be with a woman, who God has made unclean?"

Very nice.

One boy, in tow of a man he called "my lord," told the Reuters reporter: "Once I grow up, I will be an owner, and I will have my own boys."


"The Church teaches..."

I say it all the time. I hear other people saying it all the time. You read it all the time in the newspapers and magazines and on the 'net.

"The Church teaches..." that homosexual acts are sinful...that women cannot be ordained...just to take a few of the MSM's favourites. And sometimes you will even see the (1992) Catechism quoted (well, of course, not often and never in the New York Times, but occasionally) directly on the subjects.

But what is much more infrequently (ie. never) mentioned is the reason the Church teaches the things she does. And the reason she remains "intransigent" on things like women's ordination and same-sex marriage. Here's a little secret that we would like journalists to understand better: When a Catholic, from the pope on down to the parish tea-lady, says "the Church teaches..." they mean "it is objectively true that..." In other words, neither the Pope, nor the parish tea lady has any more power to change it than they have the power to change the rate at which gravity makes things fall down.

What is rarely understood is that the Church approaches these things like a scientist approaches an observable phenomenon. The scientist, when looking at something through a telescope or microscope, asks himself "What is this? What does it do? What is it made of?" He wants to know what is the actual, objective truth is about the phenomenon. He observes its characteristics and writes them down. He tests his observations by setting up experiments and repeating the experiments to see if the observations are always the same. He asks a set of questions about it based on axioms, things that are self-evidently true and are impossible to doubt. In the Laws of Rational Thought, an axiom is what you have to start with, to base your investigations on, if you want to understand anything.

For the Greeks, who invented the idea, an axiom was a claim which could be seen to be true without any need for proof. The deductive method of finding things out means observing a phenomenon, and asking questions about it based on existing premises, or things we already know. When all these pieces fit together, then you can be pretty sure (Thomas might say "morally certain") that the thing you conclude is true.

The Church, similarly, when presented with a new thing, cloning and embryonic stem cell research for example, starts by examining it and asking a set of questions based on what we already know. Both the Natural Law and Revelation give us a set of moral axioms to build with. "Thou shalt not kill," being one that most people are familiar with. Understood properly, it means no individual may kill another individual unless it is for self defence or defence of another.

From this moral axiom, we can draw all kinds of helpful conclusions about things that St. Augustine and Thomas never heard of, like the Vietnam War and germline gene splicing.

One of the best and contemporarily most useful documents the Church has put out recently demonstrating not only What the Church Teaches on embryo research, but the methods the Church uses to come to binding moral conclusions was Donum Vitae, the 1986 document put out by Cardinal Ratzinger's CDF on the new reproductive technologies.

I'd recommend reading it, or at least taking a look, because it really does give an excellent demonstration of the theological scientific methods used by the Church to make conclusions. The question and answer format makes it clear why, exactly, you can't do the various things the Church says you can't do to embryos. And here's the kicker, it's based on real science, not the pseudo-scientific mush most modern Bioethicists ("pre-embryo" anyone?) cite when they say that cloning and embryo research are just fine and dandy.

In other words, despite what the likes of the Dawkinses and the Sr. Grammicks of the world might think, there is really nothing arbitrary about Catholic teaching. And, as Michael says above, when a Catholic says, "The Church teaches..." he is saying, more or less, "It is objectively true that..." He is, moreover, saying, "...and we can prove it."