Tuesday, 28 December 2010

National Secular Society: They Want No 'Catholic TV'

Damian Thompson
Damian Thompson writes for the Daily Telegraph. I enjoy most of his blog entries (I'd say all, but I don't read it as often as I should and there may be one somewhere I may disagree with).

I find his writing witty, not po-faced in the slightest and he gets to the nub of the matter.

A post of his a few days ago, dealt with a matter that I had been thinking of over Christmas.

As you will remember, the Holy Father, Pope Benedict XVI, gave the Thought for the Day on Radio 4 on Christmas Eve. As predictable as night following the day, the National Secular Society (NSS) complained at the BBC promoting the Pope and the Catholic religion.


Usually the BBC's programmes promote the secular society, or homosexuality, or multi-faith/culturalism, or evolutionary theories dressed up as unassailable facts -- in fact almost anything but Catholicism.

The normal religious output of the BBC is the fuzzy, soppy 'Songs of Praise' which is usually so ecumenical as to be watered down, semi-secular "niceness" which turns people away from Catholicism.

On the other hand, turn the BBC (ITV, Channels 4, 5, Sky etc.) on any day and you will see secular, atheist, agnostic, pagan, homosexual, smutty, pornographic, blasphemous and other "entertainment."

We have a veritable storm of secular programming washing over us all, with "normal" programmes (magazine programmes, the soaps, radio music programmes, news output etc.) usually promoting a secular/atheist/pro-homosexual/pro-abortion agenda which many Catholics (and others) find offensive.

An independent poll recently gave the homosexual population at circa 1% (even after many years of promotion, government funding etc.) whereas the Catholic population stands at circa 5 or 6% as I understand it.

Can anyone reasonably suggest that Catholicism is promoted 5 or 6 times more than homosexuality in the media?

Now I don't believe in relativism or majoritarianism, so even if there were 1% of Catholics and 40% of homosexuals, the Faith would always be right. But the BBC claim to be "democratic" and so, by their own criteria, the TV and radio should have far more Catholicism than it does!

Yet whilst the NSS chokes on its muesli at the thought of the leader of the world's largest religion (and more importantly the only founded by the Son of God, Jesus Christ, but they don't care for those kind of facts) getting a few minutes early in the morning we hear nothing from them about these two choice little numbers put out (multiple times at peak-viewing hours) this Christmas:
  • Louis Spence's Christmas Message, full of homosexual double-entendres and outright entendres.
  • QI Christmas Special - Witchcraft Special with spinning Satanic pentagram symbols.
I dare say there were lots more too (do bear in mind I don't watch as much TV as the average chap), not least Hollywood's output (repeated on TV) which tends to be full of blasphemous language and much worse.

In short, by screeching their disgust and banging their little fists in a tantrum over a few minutes given to His Holiness the Pope, the NSS expose how little airtime genuine Catholicism actually gets.

Just as when they gathered their atheist forces in London to oppose the Pope, they were drowned out by a sea of pilgrims flocking to see the Holy Father and showing that they were willing to publicly defend their Catholic Faith.

The NSS: you have to feel a little sorry for them. Poor little loves. They just can't help themselves.

Damian Thompson on the NSS

Monday, 27 December 2010

What is St Wenceslas's Favourite Food?

Equestrian State of St Wenceslas
After my comment on my last post (responding to a comment), comprising of a terribly awful Catholic joke, it reminded me of another which, although a day late (the Feast of St Stephan being yesterday), is worth the telling.

Who knows, we may between us get enough cheesy, corny Catholic jokes to bring out our own range of Catholic crackers next year.

Think of the possibilities - crowns of Catholic monarchs (bags me the Crown of Charlemagne!), a Catholic treat (bags me a St Dominic medal) and a cheesy Catholic joke, so here's my effort:

Q: What is King St Wenceslas's favourite food?
A: Pizza. Deep pan, crisp and even!

Great Present for Catholics

A perfect present for all Catholics - great for a child's bedroom (as in our case) or for a professional's office (we don't have any professionals in our house - only very good amateurs!).

This is a globe of Rome and includes many sites of antiquity and many sites of great interest to Catholics, including - of course! - many from Vatican City - and other famous Catholic Churches from around the Eternal City.

Some examples:
  • Santa Maria Maggiore
  • Piazza San Pietro
  • Cappella Sistena
  • Porta Santo Spirito
  • San Pietro in Vincoli
  • Santa Maria in Cosmedin
  • Santa Maria in Trastevere
  • Santa Cecila in Trastevere
  • Via Di Porta Angelica
  • Santa Bibiana

and many other famous sites including the Colosseum and others.

The globe has people, cafés, priests, nuns, praying pilgrims, tourists, cardinals and even a Swiss guard and the Pope at the window in St Peter's Square!

It really is a wonderful item and also comes with a small booklet explaining all the sites of the Rome globe (especially handy for children - or anyone who knows little of Rome).

Now -- tell me what was the bestest and most Catholic(est!) Christmas pressie in your house: A pair of Bl. Cardinal Newman socks? A Leo XIII tie? A St Peter space-hopper? A Hilaire Belloc wine rack?

Friday, 24 December 2010

Nadolig Llawen

Santa eventually gets bail from the Greenland gendarmerie

Only to fall foul of Ryanair's excess baggage rules
Merry Christmas!
Nadolig Llawen!

The Pope's Thought for the Day on Radio 4

Recalling with great fondness my four-day visit to the United Kingdom last September, I am glad to have the opportunity to greet you once again, and indeed to greet listeners everywhere as we prepare to celebrate the birth of Christ. Our thoughts turn back to a moment in history when God's chosen people, the children of Israel, were living in intense expectation. They were waiting for the Messiah that God had promised to send, and they pictured him as a great leader who would rescue them from foreign domination and restore their freedom.
“God is always faithful to his promises, but he often surprises us in the way he fulfils them.”
God is always faithful to his promises, but he often surprises us in the way he fulfils them. The child that was born in Bethlehem did indeed bring liberation, but not only for the people of that time and place - he was to be the Saviour of all people throughout the world and throughout history. And it was not a political liberation that he brought, achieved through military means: rather, Christ destroyed death for ever and restored life by means of his shameful death on the Cross. And while he was born in poverty and obscurity, far from the centres of earthly power, he was none other than the Son of God. Out of love for us he took upon himself our human condition, our fragility, our vulnerability, and he opened up for us the path that leads to the fullness of life, to a share in the life of God himself. As we ponder this great mystery in our hearts this Christmas, let us give thanks to God for his goodness to us, and let us joyfully proclaim to those around us the good news that God offers us freedom from whatever weighs us down: he gives us hope, he brings us life.

Dear Friends from Scotland, England, Wales and indeed every part of the English-speaking world, I want you to know that I keep all of you very much in my prayers during this Holy Season. I pray for your families, for your children, for those who are sick, and for those who are going through any form of hardship at this time. I pray especially for the elderly and for those who are approaching the end of their days. I ask Christ, the light of the nations, to dispel whatever darkness there may be in your lives and to grant to every one of you the grace of a peaceful joyful Christmas. May God bless all of you!

BBC Radio 4 - The Pope's Thought for the Day

Is Our English Catholic Leader letting Down the Troops?

An insult to God and man.
Certainly many Catholics in London feel so.

There has been a furore over the treatment of a Catholic school in London:

A Letter to Archbishop Nichols

Meanwhile the latest issue of Christian Order has a blistering editorial and article on the "Soho Masses" put on for homosexuals (running to some 50 pages all-in).

I don't know all the ins and outs of the Cardinal Vaughan School saga, but I have read quite a bit on the 'Soho Masses' and the fact that a practicing homosexual is a "Eucharistic Minister" (in and of itself a grave sin against Our Lord in the consecrated species in my humble opinion) is shameful in the extreme.

Archbishop Nichols has been informed of many of the scandals around the 'Soho Masses,' and has failed to act other than to call on Catholics not to be judgemental.

These Masses do not seek to reinforce Mother Church's line on homosexuality or call the sad souls mired in this sickness to a life of chastity.

Some of those who organise and attend boast of living active homosexual lives, and even of being "married" to their homosexual "partners."

Christian Order (CO) goes so far as to say that the Church in England & Wales is acting in opposition to the guidance on these matters given by the Vatican (certainly the Holy Father was crystal clear on relativism, atheism and immorality on his recent visit to Britain).

The journal asks why is it that the 'Extraordinary Form' of the Mass is not yet freely available to those who want it, against Vatican rules, whilst Masses that promote homosexuality as a 'valid choice' for Catholics are allowed?

If you get the chance, do read the November issue of CO, it makes for disturbing reading!

Am I alone in finding the following deeply disturbing. It includes nothing about homosexuals being celibate and gives the impression that active homosexuals are welcome to receive Communion (they are not according to Church rules!). The interviews herein smack of the double-speak and lack of clear Catholic leadership that CO says is an outrage against God and His Church:

Soho Masses

And here is a site that gives bidding prayers for "Civil Partnerships" at an official Soho Masses site:

Civil Partnerships

Note the images of icons of women and male Saints embracing.

Where are our Catholic leaders to condemn homosexuality and to help the homosexuals out of the horrid world of sin and hatred they dwell in?

All they have to do is obey and follow the Holy Father! Surely for Catholic Archbishops, Bishops, priests and laity, following the Pope can't be that difficult?

Tuesday, 21 December 2010

BBC's Nativity: An Ignorant View of History for Simpletons

The BBC's Nativity reduced this to a natter in the garden
After being prompted to do so by various comment-leavers after yesterday's post on the BBC's Nativity programme, I watched Part 2 tonight.

I remain opposed to it.

  • Mary thinks she had a dream with some sort of man in it.
  • Gabriel looked like Dave down the pub.
  • The 'Ave Maria' was changed beyond recognition.
  • The Magnificat, that beautiful canticle, was ignored.

In short a sublime, moving history of Our Lady and the birth of Our Lord is being turned into a "maybe" event, open to interpretation.

It is another shoddy attempt to con the naive that lip service is being given to Catholic/Christian history, whilst giving the generation that thinks Hitler was a German world-cup squad goalkeeper more muddled half-facts to increase their ignorance:

Yeah mate, Mary 'ad a dream fing, and this bloke from the pub said 'wotcha Mary, you've played a blinder and god is well chuffed' and then she had a baby and all that, and some people said it was a Messiar (which I fink is like a make of car or sumfink), but some other people said it was porky-pies an that, innit. Anyway,that Hitler bloke he wuz the goalkeeper for Germany an that, innit.
Suggesting this BBC programme enhances Catholicism is akin to rejoicing that Songs of Praise adds to the liturgy of Mother Church.

The dumbing down of our Faith, and Christianity in general, has delivered us empty pews and whole families that are Catholic in name only.

So, after watching the second episode (free, as yet, from the vile smears against Our Lady) I stand by my initial treatise against the series.

Can we PLEASE Have a Fully Catholic Press?

George Bernard Shaw, Hilaire Belloc and G.K. Chesterton
I saw this article on the wonderfully devotional and dare I say chaotic (kitchen renovation ongoing) blog Lead Kindly Light (see link below).

I must confess to not reading the Catholic press, partly because much of it depresses me. The Tablet seems to be following an anti-Catholic line on matters of morality, opposed to the teaching of the Popes. Many moons ago I used to get The Universe, but only found the historical material 'floated my boat' (and their spin-off historical mags have been wonderful).

I think I am wishing for a Catholic press of yesteryear, one that was Traditional and Faithful to the teaching of the Church down the ages, whilst fighting for the poor and needy (in the footsteps of Popes like Leo XIII and Pius X).

I yearn for a GK Chesterton or Hilaire Belloc to lead the Catholic press back to tradition, to a crusading zeal, to a hearty humour, to a fearlessness in defending the Truth.

Is it a by-product of Vatican 2 that the Catholic press is always walking on egg-shells, wants to defend multi-faith initiatives and ecumenism?

Please let us have our Catholic press back! Please let us have Catholic writers not afraid to tell the Truth. Our Lord said 'the Truth will set you free,' only I feel I have had to read lies, half-truths and the output of mumblers and those so eager to apologise for being Catholics for most of my life.

When Pope Benedict visited the UK this year we felt a brief respite; though the Tablet lined up on the BBC to attack him for being too... erm... Catholic! This shows that with strong leadership, unapologetic for being Catholic, the Faithful will rise to defend their Faith, so long maligned and (to be frank) undefended.

Why must we always look back to GK Chesterton for inspiration? Where is today's GKC? Where is today's Catholic press?

GKC - Saint of the Blogosphere

Monday, 20 December 2010

BBC's Nativity: Modern Spin we Don't Need

The beauty of this scene would thrill a film audience and stir their souls.
One of my favourite Catholic bloggers is Linen on the Hedgerow (a great fighter for Catholic orthodoxy), and this (see link below) is one of the articles I've read on the BBC's 'Nativity'.

Now I know many a liberal will bemoan the fact that I won't watch it, whilst I will condemn it -- but I don't need to see a dog in the act of fouling the pavement down my street to understand how wrong it is when the children walk to school.

The obscenity that Our Lady, the Blessed Virgin Mary, was in some way raped, or a prostitute has been repeated ever since the days of the sadducees and pharisees and those who claimed (be they the Jewish authorities, gnostics, or other evil men) this have repeated the same old lie in the mistaken belief that their repetition of the lie will make it more acceptable.

Should we be shocked at the BBC's role in defaming the Virgin Mary, the Mother of the Redeemer of the World during Advent, as we approach the Feast of Christmas?

Yes - we should be shocked (but not surprised) and I think that all Catholics (and men of good will) should take this up with the BBC.

This is not an upset. This is not an offence. It is an absolute outrage that strikes at the very heart of our Faith, and at the very root of Christian history, and the central message of Christmas: that Our Lord was born of the Virgin Mary to save mankind.

That men with blackened hearts cannot accept this and so have to invent horrendous stories about the Blessed Virgin Mary reflects badly on them. There is not, has never been, and can never be, a single blemish on the Immaculate Heart of Mary.

We are reminded of this when we read that beautiful verse that is the Magnificat:
My soul doth magnify the Lord.
And my spirit hath rejoiced in God my Saviour.
Because he hath regarded the humility of his handmaid;
for behold from henceforth all generations shall call me blessed.
Because he that is mighty,
hath done great things to me;
and holy is his name.
And his mercy is from generation unto generations,
to them that fear him.
He hath shewed might in his arm:
he hath scattered the proud in the conceit of their heart.
He hath put down the mighty from their seat,
and hath exalted the humble.
He hath filled the hungry with good things;
and the rich he hath sent empty away.
He hath received Israel his servant,
being mindful of his mercy:
As he spoke to our fathers,
to Abraham and to his seed for ever.
Luke 1:46-55

As Richard at Linen on the Hedgerow says, why must we have these "contemporary" versions and stories, when the Gospel is written so beautifully?

Might we hope, one day, for a faithful, beautiful, moving and stirring Catholic telling of the nativity - perhaps on a par with Mel Gibson's The Passion of the Christ? That film won over so many souls to Christ; even I knew agnostics and atheists who opened their hearts to Catholicism as a result of that film. Not all converted, but some did and others at least softened their stance re. the Church and Christ.

With all the influence, intelligence and (dare I say?) money that the Church and we millions of Catholics have between us (we could put in £5 each!) we could make a film that could win countless more souls for Christ and His Church...

Apologies for rambling on. But for every evil and smear the BBC can put out, if we Catholics even answered one in ten, it would have a great impact.

Years ago the Church won hearts, minds and souls with the beauty of its liturgy, buildings, altars, statues and the way all was bound seamlessly together (lessons I believe we have forgotten or neglected after Vatican 2 - to the detriment of both Catholics and mankind in general).

Just imagine if we remembered how to win hearts and minds again? A crusade to win souls for Christ using the tools that the enemies of the Church in the BBC and Hollywood have used to besmirch Christ and His Church, and to blacken more souls with the filth and blasphemy they spew forth.

We all saw how, when Pope Benedict visited our shores (I know he didn't visit Wales, but perhaps it would have been too emotional for him ;-) ) Catholics and men of good will rallied to the Papal banner to proclaim the Christian roots of these islands and to make a stand, to show that people of goodwill still exist, that beauty still has a place in a world we all too often think are full of drugs, violence, obscenity and evil.

The BBC (and others) hinted that the visit would be a failure, that people in Britain were living in a 'post-Christian multi-cultural' land in which homosexual rights now counted for more than Catholic artifacts, or where atheists' writings were devoured more readily than the turgid output of a maligned and shamed priesthood.

They were wrong.

And they can be proved wrong again.

That is my sincere hope and prayer today in the face of a moribund and moth-eaten output by the BBC, for these lies that they tell are old lies.

Meanwhile let us all pray to Our Lord and Our Lady that the calumnies of the media-men might be forgiven, in the words of Our Lord crucified: forgive them, for they know not what they do.

Linen on the Hedgerow

Wednesday, 15 December 2010

Sunday, 12 December 2010

European Christmas Traditions From St Nicholas' Day to Epiphany

This is an interesting page on the BBC Web-site, detailing Christmas traditions across Europe.

To be honest I have long thought the tradition of the Spanish in giving gifts on the 6th of January - the day the Three Kings gave the gifts to the Infant Christ - has more relevance to the Christian Nativity story, and would allow us to celebrate the spiritual nature of Christmas, then the gift-giving of Epiphany (in turn 'rounding off' the 12 days of Christmas).

I think I read previously that in the Czech Republic that the main Christmas meal is fish... which to my sensibilities just seems wrong, but then I'm no fan of Turkey either, preferring beef, chicken, lamb or pork (or a mixture of a few of them given the choice!).

From ChurchYear.Net:
Officially called "The Epiphany of the Lord," this feast celebrates the epiphany (manifestation) of Christ to the Gentiles, symbolized by Christ's manifestation to the Magi (Wise Men). The feast originally was more closely connected to Jesus' baptism, the primary theme of the feast in Eastern Churches to this day. In addition, other manifestations of Christ were often commemorated during Epiphany, including the miracle at Cana. In fact, it has been asserted that the Baptism of the Lord, the adoration of the infant Jesus by the Magi, and the miracle at Cana all historically occurred on January 6 (see Abbot Gueranger's works). Whether this is true is contested, but either way, the Epiphany solemnity is celebrated on January 6, which falls within Christmastide. In some Catholic regions, the feast is translated to a Sunday. The Eastern Churches often call the holiday Theophany, which means "manifestation of God." Eastern Christians also refer to the Epiphany as "Holy Lights" because they baptize on this day, and baptism brings about illumination. Traditionally, Epiphany marked the end of the Twelve Days of Christmas.
And as this is a Welsh site I've put a link to some Welsh Traditions too.

BBC Languages - Christmas
Welsh Christmas Traditions

Saturday, 11 December 2010

Llandysul - the Site of St. Tysul's 6th Century Church

St Tysul's Church
Today we travelled to Llandysul beyond the hinterland of Carmarthenshire, just across the border (yes, we took our passports) into Ceredigion, to look at a second-hand Rayburn cooker.

Driving into the (twin?) villages of Llandysul and Pont Tyweli, all we could say was wow. The Christmas lights were delightful, especially down Llandysul's high street, and dotted throughout the village were large painted boards of Christmas scenes (carol singers, an Angel blowing a trumpet etc.).

It really made Llandysul feel really 'Christmassy' and the charming local shops looked warm and welcoming.

So it was as we circled around the town searching out our destination (being Luddites we don't use satnav) we saw a bit of the town and I couldn't help but be drawn by the beautiful and clearly Medieval Church. I'm always pleased to see such lovely Churches, which would have drawn all the local populace for countless Liturgical events, whilst being sad that the Sacraments are no longer practiced there, that Our Lord is no longer present.

According to the history of  Llandysul and Pont Tyweli site (see link below) St Tysul was a member of a very distinguished Holy Welsh family:

The fine old church is the oldest building in Llandysul dating from the 13th century, but standing on an ancient foundation named after St. Tysul who founded it in the 6th century. St. Tysul was the son of Corun, the son of Ceredig, who gave his name to the kingdom, now the county, of Ceredigion.

Ceredig had another son, Sant, who was the father of our Patron Saint, St. David. Thus Tysul and St. David were first cousins.

After seeking and finding our prey, we decamped to the High Street to enjoy a coffee and Welsh cake (each!) in an Italian coffee bar (stocking up on wafer thin sliced salami whilst there), before setting off for home.
Ogham script

According to the same site, there is evidence that Irish Catholics lived in the area:

In the Choir Vestry are a collection of early Christian inscribed stones, amongst which is the Velvor Stone commemorating Velvoria, daughter of Brohomaglus. This stone has a bilingual inscription, in Latin and Ogham - the ancient Irish language, and this gives evidence of the Irish population settled here at the time.
There is much else of interest on the web-site, including links to Owain Glyndwr and his family, the English Civil War resulting in the bridge between Llandysul and Pont Tyweli being partially demolished.

Indeed, given that Owain Glyndwr owned lands in the area, it is no stretch of imagination to envisage the Welsh warlord and his family and followers attending Mass, going to Confession and much more at St Tysul's Church when it (as it stands today) would have been only over 100 years old, and thoroughly Catholic!

History of Llandysul and Pont Tyweli
Wikipedia on Llandysul 
Fantastic S4C (Welsh Channel 4) Slide Show on Llandysul (in English)
Llandysul and Plogonnec in Brittany

P.S. Those of you who weren't paying attention, see my last post, Llandysul literally means the Church of St Tysul (Llan: Church of. Dysul: St Tysul).

Wales: The Land of Mary & Catholic Churches

If you travel through Wales (you lucky sausage!) you will soon discover a preponderance of places called "Llan...", i.e. with the prefix Llan.

Llanfair-ar-y-bryn Church
The vast majority (there are a tiny number of exceptions) of these mean 'The Church.' As most of these place names go back into the mists of time and commemorate Saints from the Age of Saints (circa 5th Century) again the vast majority of these Churches were established to celebrate the Sacraments, and let the Welsh people receive the Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity of Our Lord to be received in Communion.

Furthermore, amongst the myriad of places in the land that gave these Isles its tradition of monasticism (embraced by the Irish under the Welshman, St Patrick and carried from there to the non-Welsh parts of Scotland and Northern England)), you will see many that begin "Llanfair..."

The prefix Llanfair means the place, the village, the Church there was dedicated to Our Lady, the Blessed Virgin Mary. The Welsh, the descendants of the original Britons who embraced the Catholic Faith as Romano-Britons, were dedicated to the Virgin Mary, just as the English Saxons and the Norman-English would be in later years.

Following the Reformation sadly after many years the Welsh (with few brave exceptions) lost their ancient Faith, and with the protestant Bible published in Welsh and Welsh nonconformist chapels opened, to save their language and keep their communities alive, most Welshmen became nonconformist (no doubt their love of Biblical and Welsh hymns playing a part).

Yet our Welsh Catholic past is all around us, in the names of the Saints and the Blessed Virgin Mary in the very towns and villages throughout Wales, North, East, South and West.

Please pray for the conversion of the Welsh to their Catholic Faith.

BBC Site on Llan Names in Wales

Thursday, 9 December 2010

Rejoice! Gaudete Sunday: The Birth of Christ is Near

This coming Sunday is Gaudete Sunday. A genuine time to "rejoice" at the coming birth of Our Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ, born of the Blessed Virgin Mary.

As Catholics we should always rejoice, mindful that our God-made-man lived among us, was born into relative poverty and obscurity, to deliver us from the grip of sin and open the gates of Heaven to us all, if we make our lives worthy of that reward.

I loved this song/carol when I first heard the Steeleye Span version (a great band - get their best-of CD for some wonderful English folk music). The words are particularly moving (see bottom clip for English translation) and encapsulate all that Catholics have held dear about Christmas for 2000 years.

Funnily enough I came across a protestant site all about Carols (sorry I don't recall its name) and it said that Catholics frowned upon Carols, keeping them outside the Church, so that they only became popular in later years.

What rot! As this moving Christmas Carol testifies. It is true that the Mass was virtually unchanged throughout the Medieval period - codified in the Council of Trent to stay absolutely unchanged until the New Mass post Vatican 2; but the idea that Catholics did not celebrate Christmas ignores the fact that the Mass was the central part of spiritual life for Catholics, but there was much else celebrated too, especially on Feast/Holy Days and especially at Easter and Christmas.

Such airbrushing of history to make Catholics seem like cheerless automatons is typical of such sites - ignoring the fact that it was the protestants themselves who ripped apart our beloved Liturgical year, banning Christmas, banning Holy Days, stopping pilgrimage, and so much more to overturn the Catholic Traditions which were the very lifeblood of Europe.

As Belloc said, Europe is the Faith, the Faith is Europe - so in celebrating Advent, Gaudete Sunday and Christmas itself we in Wales, and our fellow Catholics in England, Ireland and Scotland are remaining very much part of a European and Catholic Tradition that centuries of penal laws and enforced protestantism has not been able to destroy.

So this Sunday go to Mass, pray the Rosary and raise a glass! Let us celebrate our Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Faith and the coming birth of the Saviour of the World, Jesus Christ.

The following has terrible sound quality but is handy for its English translation of the Latin:

Catholic Encyclopedia on Gaudete Sunday

Sunday, 5 December 2010

Romano-Celtic Britain and the Coming of the Saxons

I found this interesting article on the internet which deals with the decline of Roman Britain, the encroachment of the Picts, Scots and Saxons on "Welsh" lands from Strathclyde to Kent.

Right: Britain circa 600AD. See how the 'Welsh' (Britons) Stretch from Cornwall, through modern Wales, Lancashire, Cumbria to Southern Scotland.

It's interesting that the writer of the piece shows how a Saxon cleric says that the sins of the English led to the scourge of the Danes on their lands, just as the sins of the Britons/Welsh led to the scourge of the Saxons; in effect that the failings of the Catholic inhabitants of these isles delivered them to the assaults of vicious pagans.

Students of our Welsh and Catholic past will find this article of great interest:

Roman Britain and the Saxon Advent

Those pesky wandering shepherds!

On coming downstairs this morning to make tea and toast I discovered the shepherds had "done a runner" from our newest nativity scene in the living room.

Were they indeed, as we used to sing during Advent morning assemblies in Marlborough Road Junior School, back in the mists of time when everything was in sepia, washing their socks by night?

I let the cat in (as a rescue cat she seems to meow more than the average moggie) and she walked into the living room, looked in disgust (OK, I'm embellishing the tale, but bear with me kind soul) and turned tail (literally) and padded out of the room.

What could cause such feline consternation? What had garnered such disturbance in the heart of the home?

Further investigation was required (mindful of the role of GKC's Fr Brown and the Tridentine-defending Agatha Christie in crime-solving) as to the nocturnal sojourn of the shepherds and the cat's cattiness.

Looking smug - the runaway shepherds
I donned my deer-stalker and grabbed my spy-glass, kept for just such occasions, and made my way to the cat's cushion where she normally sits and there, with pleased looks on their faces, were the errant three shepherds.

Was this going to be a daily affair? Would the wise men be next? Where would the animals opt for? Might the Holy Family set off early for Egypt?

Furthermore should I call in the media? How would the world react to our wandering Nativity scene players?

Or should I just have a word with our youngest who tends to get up very early, potter around getting toys, and then heads back to bed?

Which is the more credible explanation?

Saturday, 4 December 2010

A Dominican Fighting for the Common Good

"Nobody who ever met or saw or heard Father McNabb has ever forgotten him."  G.K. Chesterton.

A book I read quite recently and which I highly recommend is The Church and the Land by the Irish Dominican priest Fr Vincent McNabb.

Living at the time of Cardinal Newman, Pope Leo XIII and GK Chesterton, he witnessed a world in which conversion to the Church was common, and promotion of the Church's social teaching was winning hearts and minds.

I think it's fair to say that the Catholic Church in England - of which this Irish Dominican was a part - was very much in the ascendancy in his lifetime, very much a part of the universal church yet in parts quintessentially English (as embodied by GKC).

In his book McNabb promotes the Common Good of the people, and tackles issues from agriculture to the notion of work and employment. One of his essays refers to a conference in Cardiff too! It doesn't take much to excite me... ;-)

The Church and the Land by Fr McNabb
Wikipedia on Fr McNabb
Fr McNabb (inc painting on this page).
Fr McNabb on CatholicAuthors.com

Friday, 3 December 2010

Look Whose On Our Tree: It's a Rotund GKC

There are so many lovely things about Christmas, Advent and the growing anticipation of the Feast Day we are all waiting for on the 25th of December!

Having children, the appearance of decorations usually begins on the 1st of December: the start of the month being a green light to all the excitement. This year some decorations even began appearing slightly earlier whilst I was in hospital (as if a conclave was held and the outcome was "Dad's not here, let's get busy way before time!").

Today I partook in an annual ceremony, now that the halflings have put up a Christmas tree.

Yes, GK Chesterton came out of the drawer where he has been ensconced since January 6th.

Now he is settled in, and this year he has been joined by a great set of Nativity decorations (Holy Family, animals, shepherds and wise men).

Putting GKC on the Christmas tree is a very exciting moment! And, without being disrespectful to one of, if not the, best Catholic writers and apologists, GKC's portly shape lends itself well to being a bauble.

What better way to ensure that Christmas is thoroughly Catholic and full of wit, wisdom and good cheer?

The GKC bauble was bought a few years back from the American Chesterton Society. I don't know if they still sell them.