Saturday, 29 August 2009

Is there any finer sound than that of the door to the Confessional opening and shutting? The sound of Grace being won.

Friday, 28 August 2009


Here is Wikipedia on what a Tory is:
Toryism is a traditionalist political philosophy, which grew out of the Cavalier faction in the Wars of the Three Kingdoms. It is most prominent in Great Britain, but also features in some parts of The Commonwealth — particularly in Canada. Historically it also had exponents in former parts of the British Empire, for instance the Loyalists of British North America who sided with Britain and Crown during the Revolutionary War. The Tory ethos can be summed up with the phrase God, King and Country. Tories advocate monarchism, are usually of a High Church Anglican or Recusant Catholic religious heritage and opposed to the radical liberalism of the Whig faction. Some call their stance counter-revolutionary, neo-feudal and medievalist.

Sounds pretty good to me, minimal state interference and a love of the land and a sense of its history. I could quite happily live a feudal lifestyle. I have no objections to tytheing myself to a land owner for so many days of my labour each year in return for a reasonable rent on a reasonable dwelling and some land to cultivate as I like. Toryism needs separating from the shabby and morally inept modern Conservative party, most of whom are definitely NOT Tories. Most of the people round here in deepest Wessex, the county that doesn't exist, are Tories. Most are compassionate, charitable, generous and hard working, unfortunately they have coupled themselves to the workings of the Conservative party for too long. Some are flirting with UKIP, now there (IMHO)is a complete set of jokers. Anti-European sentiment is devoid of sense and has so much to so with the mindset of Henry VIII to be anything other than bankrupt. Yes the EU is a mess, but we need Europe and we need to be influencing it from a position of strength and with full knowledge and greater control of our own assets. Our shared and largely Catholic heritage (I'm not just talking about buildings and art here)is of great importance.

Why am I writing this? Well, we need an opposition. For the good of this country, we need those that own and work the land to have a greater say in the fair governance of this land. We need de-centralisation, local solutions for local problems, we need to wake up before we loose everything, including the ability to think.

PS. I may have an appointment with a consultant, the GP has run tests for the 4th time and they are still giving bizarre results. There IS something wrong with me. However, with language like this on the booking form to see a consultant, I am skeptical:

You can use any of the options below to get information to help you make your choice of alternatives below.

That is NOT English, all I want to do is see a consultant, choice doesn't come into it.

Wednesday, 26 August 2009

Prayer of Bl Dominic Barberi

My Jesus, you alone are my Light, my Strength, my All.
You have taken my weaknesses, to give me in return, Your Strength.
Blindfolded, you give sight to my eyes: bound, you loosen my chains;
Experiencing bitterness, You give sweetness to all who come to you;
Humbled, you raise others to glory; dead, you Give back life to me.
My Jesus, in you I find all things, outside of you I find nothing.
Let those who will seek find but you in this poor world,
for me it is enough to have found Jesus.
Henceforth, my life must be consecrated to Jesus, to his glory, to his love.

But Lord, sustain me, support me,
do not trust in me nor in my poor resolutions.

Monday, 17 August 2009

Yup, sorry for the quietness from Wessex, but blood sugar way down, blood pressure way down, brain on walkabout. Apparently I need a General Physician but in the brave new internal market NHS, they no longer exist.

I'm just so grateful I can get to Mass, I can slump before Our Lord and none of my health problems matter any more.

Thursday, 6 August 2009

For he knew not what he said

I love this feast of the Transfiguration! But I've said that before.

Today we heard Mark's account of the Transfiguration, here is the first half of the Gospel account:

1 And after six days Jesus taketh with him Peter and James and John, and leadeth them up into an high mountain apart by themselves, and was transfigured before them. 2 And his garments became shining and exceeding white as snow, so as no fuller upon earth can make white. 3 And there appeared to them Elias with Moses; and they were talking with Jesus. 4 And Peter answering, said to Jesus: Rabbi, it is good for us to be here: and let us make three tabernacles, one for thee, and one for Moses, and one for Elias. 5 For he knew not what he said: for they were struck with fear.

This time I want to concentrate on Peter. Peter so often appears to get a raw deal, especially in Mark's Gospel. You can hear Peter recounting the stories to Mark and every inward cringe of Peter's at his own foolishness and unworthyness is highlighted in the text. The point I want to make is that only Peter has the right to be hard on Peter. Only Peter can possibly criticise his own actions. It is not for us to say Peter was silly, said stupid things, was impetuous, wasn't the sharpest of the bunch....though I've heard many say such things of him.

We forget that when the transfiguration takes place, Peter had recently made his great profession of Faith. Our Lord had seen what was so special about Peter, we should think about what those qualities are.

The Gospel text above gives us many clues. Firstly, despite his fear Peter calls out to Jesus, "Rabbi". He acknowledges Our Lord and he acknowledges that Jesus is teaching them something they as yet don't fully understand. "It is good for us to be here", Peter is filled with joy as well as fear, Peter loves the Lord. "Let us make three tabernacles", Peter understands, instinctively he is to serve the Lord, even if he is unsure how to do it. James and John do not say or do anything that is recorded.

This is why Peter was the first Pope, he observes and listens to Christ to teach him. He loves the Lord totally. He instinctively seeks to serve the Lord.

These are characteristics that the successors of Peter must have too.

Surely the transfiguration reveals something of the strength of Peter, not his human weakness.

Wednesday, 5 August 2009

A bit of art

Mooching around the fine art on the Internet, I came across this painting by an artist I am very fond of. The painting is of St Juliana of Nicomedia and you can read the Golden Ledgend account of her martyrdom here.

The painter is Domenico Feti (1589-1623), an Italian Baroque bad boy whose untimely death was probably a result of his excesses. He has a beautiful eye for humanity and to my mind is one of the finest baroque painters of women. St Juliana is totally unsexualised, despite the depictions of the torture she endured before her martyrdom which could lead to more racy depictions of the 4th Century martyr. He shows her with a devil who had been tempting her to make sacrifices to idols in order to be spared her fate. The devil lost. He truly looks "sick of sin". How did Juliana beat him? She looks to help from the Father, she looks to heaven. She didn't beat him with clever arguments, just trust and faith in God. It is unclear whether the irons at the bottom of the picture are those that will chain the martyr or those that chain the devil to his unreedemable, miserable state. She has bound him with the flimsiest of cloths, it is the Lord who has given her all the power she needs to overcome him. She is beautiful in her innocence and in her plainness and even dull appearance because she is illuminated by God. I think it is a great painting.

He also painted my favourite Mary Magdelene. She is modest, feminine and has obviously regained her lost innocence through her love of Christ. Surely this painter must have had a great devotion to her.

Tuesday, 4 August 2009

Passing it on

Over the weekend, our newspaper gave the story of an 11 year old boy as a vignette on modern parenting. His mother was Jewish by birth, she had married a “Christian-in-name-only”, in effect both parents were agnostic/atheist in their beliefs. His maternal grandparents were also non-practicing Jews. I found the story quite sad. The boy wanted to become more Jewish, he felt a connection with his past that had not been given him by his relatives. He wanted to wear a kippah and he wanted to have his bah mitzvah. Then all the problems started. Firstly they had to find him a synagogue liberal enough to allow him to go through instruction for his bah mitzvah even though he was uncircumcised. Then they found out that really his Mum should help him with his instruction. She really struggled with this as she couldn’t believe in any of it. Eventually, the strain of not having his mother’s support and having to go alone for instruction surrounded by boys whose families supported their sons proved too much and he gave up his idea of being Jewish. He gave the resigned and gentlemanly sigh “Oh well, may be I can give it all a go when I’m older”.

I was deeply touched by the boy’s story mainly because it had parallels with my own life. My parents had no interest in their Catholic faith (in fact we had quite a bit of anti-Catholic invective off them) and my grandparents were all hundreds of miles away and not seen often enough to make a difference to my upbringing. So when I decided I wanted to look deeper into my faith and become more Catholic, my request was greeted with astonishment. I couldn’t possibly go to the local Church, no reasons given, but I think it was because Mum didn’t want the locals knowing she was a Left-footer. So I was sent to see a priest from some parishes away. I found the whole experience bewildering and I really didn’t like having to fit my instruction around times that were both convenient to my parents and the priest. There was no sense of belonging to a church, let alone the Church. It was like going to see a tutor for extra maths lessons, devoid of context and eventually the whole experiment floundered.

It would be another 13 years before I fully embraced my faith. In the intervening years I’d do a lot of bad stuff and feel totally bewildered and empty. Experimenting sexually because intellectually it seemed a logical thing to do. The heart was somewhere else and I was only aware of a complete emptiness in everything I was doing.

I hope that young boy doesn’t have the rocky road to finding his faith that I had.

My parents were unable to pass on their liberalism to me. Liberalism to me just seems a way of avoiding the truth. Maybe they were hurt by the Church or by a particular priest, it is very hard to get to the bottom of why they turned away. In fact I genuinely hurt now at their lack of faith and how they managed to turn away from such a priceless gift. If they do ever come back to the faith, they will hurt so much at what they ridiculed in front of their children. It is parents that are supposed to hurt at the waywardness of their children, it has been the other way round for me. Not that it will it stop me hiding a green scapular in their house next time I’m up North.