Tuesday, 23 November 2010

Windows malfunction

I recall that John XXIII made a comment about the Church “opening its windows” onto the world which largely shaped the debate in and around Vatican II. Charitable commentators said he was seeing the Church as a lighthouse and the “window opening” as a metaphor for getting the Church’s message (Lumen Christi) across to the world. Other less charitable commentators had mentioned all the nasty niffs that entered the Vatican as a result of opening those windows.

I’d just like to say that there were many malodorous presences in the Church prior to VII, they were not just a product of its engagement with modernism. I also feel that our current pontiff is doing a very good job of continuing this lighthouse mission of John XXIIIs. People listen to what he says. We must remember that those who have no concept of church teaching and the Magisterium will take note of the man who is pope. The cult of personality is alive and well. The Seewald book that is about to be released is meant to engage with those who are interested in the person of the current pontiff. If through this book people gain a favourable appreciation of the mission of the Church then all fine and dandy. Catholics are not the primary audience for this book. We ought to be more interested in the official encyclicals, letters and apostolic exhortations from the Church that help guide us to a clearer understanding of the mission and being of Our Lord and Saviour, than in the musings of a pontiff. We do not need to be dragged into the cult of personality too, it will not strengthen our faith.

By the way, there are two framed pictures of Pope Benedict XVI in our house, and we pray for his intentions together every night. I do hope you understand what I’m saying.

Sunday, 21 November 2010

Latex latest

There is a natural, good, common sense that is inherent in all people. It will, I feel, mean nobody of sound mind would contradict the following statement; “Nobody ever masturbated their way into heaven”. People may disagree about the existence of or need for heaven but people are not going to disagree about how to get there (whether or not “there” has any real meaning for them).

Let me take this further. Surely the statement “fornication won’t get you into heaven” is unlikely to be contradicted by anyone, even the most ardent liberal.

Now there are some statements that may have supporters, these statements are less clear cut, but it should be clear however that they are both wrong:

“Wearing a condom will get you to heaven”
“Never using a condom will get you to heaven”

There is a statement that we can make about condoms that is true, and which we should never forget:

“Condoms can never be used in the context of real, divinely ordained, loving intercourse”

Personally, I wish we had the attitude of the Orthodox Jews to the sin of Onan. They are quite clear that the “spilling of seed” outside of a woman’s vagina (and not in direct contact with same) is always wrong. (Though it needs to be added that it is not always right either.) For them condoms are a near blasphemy.

This whole hoo haa in the press is an ideal time to engage with our non-Catholic brethren and our luke warm Catholic brethren, what an excellent opportunity for evangelisation!

Remember folks, we are all Catholic Voices, we don’t need to be Oxbridge educated and from the home counties to speak the Truth.

Tuesday, 16 November 2010

I Write Like by Mémoires, journal software. Analyze your writing!

Vanity, vanity, this is my forth attempt! Previously, it was Dan Brown, Rudyard Kipling and James Joyce. Am I incapable of writing like a woman!!!?

Sunday, 14 November 2010

Remembering the Dead

The frangipani trees with white flowers are popular in cemeteries all over the Far East. White is more commonly seen as the colour for death than black.

In the north of Malaysia is a town called Alor Star. I remember driving through there with my grandfather many years ago. It is a dusty town, full of thundering lorries traveling between Thailand and the Malay peninsular. The main street is lined with frangipani. My grandfather told me about the appalling shambles of the battle of Alor Star as the British lost control of the town to the advancing Japanese in 1941.

I picture the frangipani blossom as I remember the dead today. I used to work in a school where there was a memorial plaque to the war dead from the school, two of the boys remembered are cited as “lost, fallen in Alor Star”, a million miles away from the cathedral cities of the West Country. I wonder if their bodies now lie rattled and shaken close to those thundering lorries and luminous white blossom.

I remember also, JW a Chinese-Malay and friend of the family who enlisted with the Chindits. He served and survived Burma, went to live in England, anglicized his name, married a local girl and marriage didn’t work out. By the time I met him, he lived in a condemned Victorian terrace backing onto a major railway line. He was living in poverty, with only his accordion, his calendar of Cantonese beauties, a stone sink and a one ring electric hot plate for company. Maybe not strictly a casualty of war, but a casualty of Empire and broken dreams, nevertheless.

I remember also, civilian casualties, in particular the many Eurasians (mixed-race people- like myself- on the Malay peninsular) who were singled out for exceptional cruelty at the hands of the Japanese. When you’re mixed race, nobody instinctively runs to your aid as a brother, many will assume you are a spy.

I also remember a later conflict out in Malaya and Borneo as the British and her allies fought the Communists in the 1950s. One man who served out there with the Royal Marines, ended his days homeless on the streets of Manchester; taciturn, dignified and haunted. He was not alone and it still breaks my heart when I see ex-service men in destitution on the streets of our major cities.

I pray for the forgotten, especially those involved in conflicts that could disappear off the radar of our memories.