Wednesday, September 29, 2010

A Theologian's Highest Thoughts

I am indebted to the 'Irish Post' for carrying a report of a debate on clerical celibacy which was recently held in London.
During the course of the debate, Professor Tina Beattie of the theology department of the University of Roehampton, remarked that, "The emphasis we have heard on Jesus Christ being essentially male and celibate says to me that the defining characteristic of God incarnate is the fact that he had a penis that he didn’t use".
Oh! Oh ! Poo! Bums! Willies!
The Catholic Times has described the remark as 'crude and offensive', an assessment with which one can only concur. That newspaper also records that it drew a cry of 'shame' from a female religious who was present. While I would also add that it is ignorant and juvenile, the comment shows what, in my opinion, is the essential dirty mindedness of those who feel compelled to bring sex into every aspect of Catholic doctrine and teaching. Idiotic and stupid, Professor Beattie's remark is of the kind one would have expected to see on the late night debates that used to be broadcast on Channel 4; the ones it stopped showing long before it started showing 'Big Brother'.
If nothing else, Professor Beattie has shown, in my opinion, that she can't even take the piss properly.

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The 'Next Top Model' Format

While one can understand why the real runner up of 'Australia's Next Top Model' might feel a little put upon, one can also safely say, pace Tom Lehrer, that irony is now quite definitely dead.
As someone who has watched, or rather been in the room at the same time, as America's, Canada's, Australia's and Britain's next top models have all been selected, I have come to think that the best thing for the format might be branching out; I await the announcement of the Saudi, Afghan and North Korean versions with great anticipation.
On the other hand, such shows might not be much different from the versions which have already been produced. The fashion world they portray seems full of tyrants already.

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My Thoughts On The New Leader Of The Labour Party

Thursday, September 23, 2010

John Simm's 'Hamlet'

Masterly?

They'll have Bernard Cribbins doing one next. Then Catherine Tate.

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Uncle Vince And The Pie In The Sky Fairy

While Dr. Vince Cable's reputation for insight and gravitas should be baffling to anyone who's read his book 'The Storm', one never ceases to be amazed by the ongoing attachment felt in some quarters to the memory of The Pie In The Sky Fairy, possessor of one of the worst cases of Tourette Syndrome on the books.

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The Commonwealth Games

Could they go Delhi up?

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Strikes At Tunnocks

Given the quasi-religious attachment to Tunnocks confectionery felt by some in the West of Scotland, one can only hope that the current dispute doesn't snowball.

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Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Contradictions

Something has been bothering me for a few days.
The soi-disant, ersatz, 'Scottish Government' is desperately keen to save jobs in shipbuilding on the Clyde. At the moment, these jobs' holders are building warships. The Scottish National Party has condemned most recent military action taken by the British Government as either illegal or unjustified. Accordingly, it supports the construction of articles the use of which it would be likely to condemn.
And they're running the country. Scary.

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Sunday, September 19, 2010

An Astonishing Success

It has been wonderful to see how just how successful the state visit of His Holiness Pope Benedict XVI has actually been. Te Deum Laudamus! The retiring Bavarian academic has laid ghosts and put the cat amongst the pigeons. He has made it absolutely clear that the message he preaches will not be silenced. He has made it crystal clear that attempts to consign religion to obscurity, which are in reality nothing but attempts to consign Roman Catholicism to obscurity, will be resisted. It has been astonishing to see just how little leverage militant atheism's usual suspects and their assorted hangers-on, the freaks, whackjobs, and bottom-feeders of the Enlightenment, have gained from this visit.
The liturgies have been tasteful, with no indication that anyone involved in their preparation still resents Bob Dylan playing electric at Newport in 1965. Those prepared to make the sacrifices to attend the Masses seem to have participated in very holy events, words I write with a certain 'esprit d'escalier'; I regret not having attended Bellahouston, but my physical limitations would have rendered it nearly impossible to do so and go to work the next day.
All in all, it seems to have been a very good visit. Don't forget us.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

The Visit

I do hope that it passes off well, by which I mean without incident.
One sometimes feels that the best thing that His Holiness Pope Benedict XVI could do for the United Kingdom would be to perform the rite of exorcism over it.

Tuesday, September 07, 2010

Obedience

The only suitable reply one can imagine to Madeleine Bunting's apparent public apostasy in 'The Guardian', an India Knight moment for besandalled nut eaters, has already been made in the lower paragraphs of this post by Mark Shea -
"Oh, and speaking of strong messages: repent and return to the Church Jesus Christ founded or you risk the everlasting fires of hell for your pride. Jesus said of the Eucharist "Do this in memory of me." How dare you disobey him and ignore his final command and greatest gift?"
It is not enough to be faithful. We must approach God like children, and as such it is necessary for us to be obedient. If you can't handle being obedient and accept the direction of those in the line of apostolic succession, then The Sage of Seattle has done you the favour of telling you what might be in store far better than I can.
It is sometimes both astonishing and depressing to actually see how many well read and literate people seem to regard their duties as members of the Catholic Church as being less onerous and more flexible than the rules attaching to their membership of the gym, or the bowling club.
In the same vein, it is depressing to see someone who may or may not be the composer James MacMillan writing of the arrangements for The Holy Father's public Mass at Bellahouston Park, in, of all places, the comments section of a blog by Damian Thompson, a commentator whose conception of obedience often seems, in my opinion, to be elastic, that,
"The letters to Scottish parishes from "Mission Control" have all been negative, stressing the difficulties of going to Bellahouston etc. It feels as if there are some in the Church who are keen on making this visit a failure. When the dust has settled there has to be an investigation.
Some priests "of a certain age" have deliberately gone out of their way to discourage attendance at the Mass. They need to go. The new generation is orthodox, and loves the beauty of the Faith and Christ's legacy on earth - the Church. As soon as the weeds are swept away, the garden can grow again."
In my opinion, it is unconscionable for any Catholic, no matter how distinguished they might be, to suggest that any Catholic clergy might seek to discourage attendance at a Papal Mass. For the avoidance of doubt, this has not been my experience in my parish, where efforts to encourage the faithful to attend have been consistent. The person making this statement should be called upon to produce evidence in its support, or else they risk doing great damage to their credibility.
Sadly, the recent public interfaces between ecclesiology and criminology have shown that the Catholic clergy has contained more than its fair share of bad apples, but to describe those untainted by scandal as 'weeds', fit only for the compost heap, shows, in my opinion, a profound lack respect both for the priesthood and our priests. While clericalism is corrosive of trust in our church and its institutions, anti-clericalism is equally corrosive of our duty to be obedient towards its teachings and, by extension, to accept the direction of her priests. While the person who wrote that might consider themself to be orthodox, in reality their sentiments are the tawdriest mirror image of the southern European anti-clericalism which may have led souls to Hell. It is not appropriate for any layman to publicly pontificate upon whether any priest or any bishop is unfit for office. Whoever wrote it might care to moderate their language in future.

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Friday, September 03, 2010

A Reflection On The Impending State Visit Of His Holiness Pope Benedict XVI

The Roman Catholic Church has been the greatest and most vocal opponent of totalitarianism that the world has ever seen. Given the historic vigour of British anti-Catholicism, it should be no surprise that the marching song of soft British totalitarianism is one that preaches the importance of equality while denying it to those, such as the staff of Catholic Care, who wish to live their public lives and adhere to their callings according to their Catholic faith. The forces of British institutional anti-Catholicism have gone desperately quiet in recent months. Perhaps they are planning some kind of Ardennes offensive for the week before the Holy Father's arrival. Perhaps the majority have come to understand that no amount of crass and uninformed mudslinging about what he did or didn't know about clerical abuse, or what he did or didn't do to punish perpetrators, will stop him coming. Perhaps the majority finally understand that no volume of crapulous attacks on the Vatican's statehood will stop him coming. Hopefully, his critics will just leave it at that, and permit him come and go without incident, and without feeling the need to make spectacles of themselves.
On a local note, it is to be hoped that the Scottish part of the visit is not 'Scottified' by the waving of Saltires. The anti-Catholic extremists in Scottish public life would delight in nothing more than making specious comparisons between Benedict XVI and Abdelbaset Al-Megrahi, two controversial figures seen disembarking from planes in front of crowds waving Saltires. This is a state visit to the United Kingdom, and must be treated as such, and it is incumbent upon the Scottish clergy to remember that while the Holy Father is here. His itinerary will not take him anywhere near Stow on the Wold; but neither should he think he's been in Woad on the Stole.

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Wednesday, September 01, 2010

Random Musings On The Political Scene

While one must take William Hague's statement at face value, there's no real doubt that, this time, the coalition's hit bottom.
What is truly galling about this affaire seems to be the arrogance, almost the cheek, of the appointment process for special advisers. In this case, Hague is Foreign Secretary, a former Leader of The Opposition, one of the very few now in the Cabinet previously to have held Cabinet rank, and a parliamentarian of long standing - why does he need to be advised by a 25 year old with no apparent relevant experience of the conduct of foreign affairs? This does not compute. One can only wonder what actual duties Mr. Myers was qualified to perform at the Foreign Office, let alone to be paid a salary of £30,000 a year from the public purse for performing them.
As an aside, one can only observe that the coalition's handling of public relations makes the British Catholic hierarchies look like Madison Avenue marketing gurus, a state of affairs upon which the hierarchies should feel no compulsion to congratulate themselves.
The only really pertinent point that could have been made by the former Marina Dudley-Williams, a journalist whose career seems to have been devoted to proving that education is often wasted on the educated, in what was to my mind her nasty and very snobbish attack on Liam Fox was not questioning Dr. Fox's intelligence, but what might be the terrifying narrowness of his reading list. From what reads and hears of Dr. Fox's utterances, his reading could be comprised almost exclusively of the worst kind of extreme neoconservative, and extremely Russophobic, online commentary. Needless to say, the intellectual titan Marina Hyde failed to make it, once again stoking the prejudice that 'Comment is Free' exists to give a certain type of underemployed lassie something to do.
And lastly, in less than three weeks' time the Holy Father will beatify John Henry Newman at Cofton Park. Given the disgusting public emphasis on the cost of this particular state visit by elements who claim to be inimical to religion but in reality just really hate Catholicism with all the fibres of their beings, I will consider it my duty to question the cost of state visits to the public purse for the rest of my life. Newman is a famous convert of whom I know too little, and the fault for that is mine. However, I do know that one of his major works was entitled 'Apologia Pro Vita Sua'. It is ironic that the vulpine Anthony Blair, a famous convert of whom we know too much, mostly through no fault of our own, should publish his memoirs so shortly before this event - yet also how typical that they should seem to contain no hint of apology.

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