Showing posts from July, 2010

Pope kvetchers: kvetching about papal visit costs, but forgetting to backbite about other causes of expenditure?

According to Lord Patten, the momentous occasion of the papal visit may cost up to £12 million. This is causing some organisations to have angry outbursts, tears-popping-at-the-eyes and hands clenched frenzies, while they kvetch such sums of money should not fund the papal visit. Lord Patten has been quick to articulate that the one-day G-20 summit cost £20 million. But why do we not hear the Pope detractors/Pope kvetchers complain about this enormous expense? Could it be that they are not sincerely concerned with kvetching about costs, (I mean, why don't they take issue with other public expenditure budgets?) but more interested in detracting from the papal visit?
English is an enormously rich and eclectic language with words from Yiddish that were derived from the Pope’s mother tongue, German. I’ve chosen the Yiddish word ‘kvetchers’ (‘keh-vet-cher’ as in rhyming with ‘Jessica Fletcher’) for the Pope …

He took two motorists to court, blaming them for his wife's abortion

Recently in Ireland, a High Court judgment was passed that denied compensation to a married couple. The middle-aged married couple had taken an action against two motorists, claiming that the careless driving of the two motorists had been responsible for the wife’s abortion, and secondly the man’s vasectomy. Yes, this is not a made-up court case! The wife had been involved in a road crash in 1996, and afterwards suffered soft tissue injury to her neck and back, tinnitus and stress. After the crash, she became pregnant, but had an abortion in England because she feared the pregnancy would aggravate her health problems. In the past few years regretting the abortion, the couple sued for damages because they hold the motorists who caused the crash responsible for the wife’s abortion. If they hadn’t caused the crash which caused her back problems then she wouldn’t have sought an abortion… The judge rejected this attempt to blame others for the wife’s abortion, on the basis that the wife’s li…

It's still outrageous bullying, even if the victim has mental illness

For my once-in-a-lifetime good deed, I made a map, packed an energy bar and set out to find a London hospital. My intention was to visit an elderly acquaintance who, during this last week suffered her umpteenth nervous breakdown.
I rang her unit, told them to expect me, and when I arrived a care assistant was waiting outside to take me through the maze of corridors where humorous cartoons hung on the walls. I was taken to see ‘Enid’ in the day-room where several elderly people were parked around a loud TV set watching the most dire 1980s American soap opera with characters screaming such intelligent lines as “I can make the earth move with one flick ma’ hah-and”. Watching this stuff would…
Enid was delighted to have a visitor, and the lady who sat next to her insisted that I took her seat. Enid was quite overcome, ‘no one here gets visitors…’ and forgetting her audience she said, ‘some of them over there have never had anyone come in.’
Looking down at her clothes she apologised, ‘sorr…

CS Lewis on Contraception. Part Two

When the user becomes the used… A friend of CS Lewis, Sheldon Vanauken in his autobiography A Severe Mercy included many letters written to him by Lewis. Including letters which pour scorn on Vanauken’s decision never to have children with his wife and instead to contracept. Lewis reprimanded Vanauken for his ‘voluntary sterility’, and for not letting his wife become a mother. Lewis illustrated the matter with allusion to the Gospels,  "Chris­tians…would of course agree that man and wife are ‘one flesh'…. But surely they would add that this One Flesh must not (and in the long run cannot) ‘live to itself' any more than the single individual. It was not made…to be its Own End. It was made for God and (in Him) for its neighbours — first and foremost among them the children it ought to have produced." In his academic work (that is oh-so accessible and easy to read) writing in 1960, after societal acceptance of contraception had grown throughout the fifties, CS Lewis descri…

Patience is a virtue, but essential for priests...

He was dressed in grungy grey clothing and he looked as if an inch of dirt clung to him. Grey curly hair straggled around his face, but I could see an obvious sneer as he brushed past the Oratory father who was leading us in prayer. A small group of us (the Confraternity of the Precious Blood) were assembled in the Our Lady of Sorrow chapel to pray. Before passing us, the grubby grey man scoffed gruffly and cleared his throat. Then he leered at the priest. What’s he doing in this church? Is he a down-and-out?
Several minutes passed, and the man came back with a lighting candle in one hand, and a large white and black lump in the other. We kept praying The Seven Offerings of the Precious Blood. Grubby grey one giggled under his breath, and then put the lighting candle into one of the confession boxes. A woman quickly went into the box and blew out the candle. The priest’s attention was no doubt distracted, but more so when the man strutted up to him, and standing very close to his face,…

Prayer Meme

Kate (At Home in My Father’s House) tagged me for Mulier Fortis' prayer meme (thank you Kate), and here I detail which are my three favourite prayers. 
I hereby proclaim the rules of the meme:
"Name your three most favorite prayers, and explain why they're your favorites. Then tag five bloggers - give them a link, and then go and tell them they have been tagged. Finally, tell the person who tagged you that you've completed the meme... The Liturgy and the Sacraments are off limits here. I'm more interested in people's favorite devotional prayers."

My favourite prayers are:
The Joyful Mysteries of the Rosary – Our Lady of Fatima asked for the daily recitation of the Rosary six times. And whilst I find the Glorious hard to concentrate on, I find the Joyful much easier to meditate on. The Presentation in the Temple is my favourite decade. I pray a lot to Anna-in-the-temple, and last year prayed for a friend who was pregnant and who later called the …

CS Lewis on Contraception. Part One

Did CS Lewis ever condemn contraception outright? A detailed review of his writing affords knowledge that CS Lewis arrived more firmly on the anti-contraception side.

1931. In a letter to Warren, his brother, CS Lewis gave the following observation, "we had tea at Wheatley, Barfield denouncing birth control. I could not help thinking, though I hardly cared to say, that a man married to an obviously barren woman was in this matter an arm chair critic." 1947. In a personal letter he wrote that he didn’t have "a general position about contraception. As a bachelor I think I should be imprudent in attacking it: on the other hand I should not like the job of defending it against almost unbroken Xtian disapproval. But it isn't my business." And in another letter, addressed to a Mrs. Johnson nine years later, he wrote simply, "Birth control I won't give a view on; I'm certainly not prepared to say that it is always wrong."

1933. The Pilgrim's Regr…

Never again could ‘they’ say it was ‘a sin’ to go to the Tridentine Mass

Prior to 7/7/2007, how these invectives used to fill the air; ‘you have no right to go to a Latin Mass. That was banned!’ ‘It’s an act of disobedience to go to a Latin Mass, it’s only obedient to go to the Pope’s Mass, which is the English Mass.’ Or worse of all, ‘it’s actually a sin now to go to the Tridentine Mass.’  A minute before the Motu Proprio was announced anti-Latin Mass nonsense was thought to be valid intellectual speechifying. But that changed instantly with the Pope’s pronouncement that the Latin Mass was ‘never abrogated’; and ‘the love’ that young people in particular have for the Latin Mass was acknowledged. The Motu Proprio was a groundbreaking, historical occasion – and put the kibosh on that ‘disobedience’ double-talk. The Motu Proprio had a hugely positive influence on my teaching of the faith. The year after the Motu Proprio, I was teaching history to a bunch of ten year old boys. The Irish curriculum prescribed that they learn about life in 1950’s Ireland, when …

'Living in sin'

Marriage is becoming the endangered institution according to latest research; marriage will be down by a half in the next generation. People who Never marry will outnumber (for the first time) married couples. But it’s not as if parts of the population en masse are taking religious vows and that the Jesuits are having a revival (as if…) but rather that many more are cohabiting. It’s estimated that there will be a sixty five per cent swell in cohabiting couples. Cohabiting will increase that much, really? But if marriages are set to radically decline, than the prognosis is that the majority will never say ‘I do’, instead they might ‘shack up’ and ‘live in sin’ interminably. Oh no, I've used really anti-social lingo, and to say this term in public risks volcanic emotional reactions from 'shaker-uppers' or cohabitees. Some may even start crying, and scream, ‘why did you say ‘living in sin’!?’  It’s amazing that anyone is ‘free’ to live with whomever they want, and have the ‘c…

'How Cameron can show more love to his party...'

I was caught by the cheeky headline ‘How Cameron can show moreto his party’ to Tim Montgomerie’s article; it argues that Cameron’s weakness is his lack of bonding with die-hard Tories, and with people of a more conservative mindset who are most likely to vote Tory. My personal opinion is that there is much in Tory policy that is enormously beneficial for Catholics, but it’s veiled because of a hypersensitive reaction to the Guardianistas who promptly sneer at any ‘favouritism’ to institutionalised religion’. But if the ‘good’ policies remain poorly communicated, and in essence ‘hidden’, they risk seeming apocryphal. Also, there’s a lot of love-ins with the ‘progressives’ but not with those of a traditional religious way of life. Hence an interesting point from Montgomerie ‘it was great that Cameron held a reception for gay Britons but where, asked Paul Goodman, is the reception for church leaders?  In a thousand ways like this Cameron should be honouring traditional as well as new sup…

Ah Tony, Ed and Mandy, at last we agree on something...


‘Guidelines’ aborted in the north! Cheers!

The abortion ‘guidelines’ have been officially dropped by the health department in the north of Ireland. Together the ‘guidelines’ form a document that could potentially have been used to legalize abortion through the back door, and in doing so legalize abortion in the land mass of Ireland. These ‘guidelines’ were re-introduced in February, but just two days ago Jim Wells, Chairman of the Health Committee received a letter declaring the withdrawal of these interim guidelines that allow for ‘legal’ abortion in certain cases. Instead, there will be a public consultation launched. Public consultation? Precisely, what is this? One hopes this public ‘consultation’ will be respectful of Northern Ireland’s very pro-life public.

In the wake of this great news, Liam Gibson, of SPUC Northern Ireland commented that;
"We are very pleased that the health minister has withdrawn the interim guidance. This was the aim of the SPUC's application for a judicial review, due to be heard in Septem…

The importance of a mother's role