Friday, 18 May 2018

Pilgrimage

Its that time of the year again when all priests and people of a certain sort congregate in Paris for the great pilgrimage.

So all there is to do is bind up feet and hope for the best!

Tuesday, 8 May 2018

Cultural Appropriation?


There is a great deal of concern these days over cultural appropriation. You know, wearing Chinese dresses when you're not Chinese, or having dreadlocks when you're not a Rastafarian. Or white European actors playing oriental roles. Etc.

Maxine Peake as Hamlet.
Woman playing a man? Appropriation?
The fact that she is not Danish? Appropriation?
On one level of course it seems fine. The days of 'blacking up' are well and truly over. I think it is a little odd, however when it comes to actors and actresses as it seems to be part of their job to persuade us that they are someone else. Taken to its logical extreme, you would not have a black man or woman playing anything but an 'culturally appropriate' black role, which seems to me to be a backwards step. And of course, a woman playing a man would be verboten (please ignore the fact that women should only be played by young men when Shakespeare is being performed).

It also seems to go rather against the whole 'there are no fixed genders or identities' schtick. After all, if a woman can identify as a man, and I have to take her seriously, why can't a white European male identify as an Asian woman? But logic has never really been part of this conversation. And I fear it never will.


So I am feeling culturally appropriated against. My culture is being appropriated by fashionistas who have no faith. See here, here. They are using the cultural symbols and identity marker of my faith and wearing then to other ends. And please don't say that they are part of Western cultural identity, because a Bishop's mitre is not, and neither is the Sacred Heart (definitely not in a WASP culture).


Indeed our culture is not only being appropriated, but it is being mocked: what other conclusion could we come up with when a 'rainbow' cloak is worn? Let's face it, the designer is not referencing the berit with Noah.

So why can this happen for us, and not for others, and how can it be that we allow, and promote it? It would rather be like Malcolm X loaning the grease paint for 'black-up Thursday'.


Oh well, come the Revolution.

Tuesday, 1 May 2018

This is a good question


I was sorting out my laptop, moving stuff about, deleting duplicates etc. and I came across this picture.

I wish I could remember where I took it. I do remember that it was in a National Trust property, and this was in a garden building, and it was trying to make the building 'relevant' to the young!

And they came up with this!!!

Who is this man... (bed-hopping wife-killer)

Would you trust him... (NO)

Monday, 23 April 2018

Dr Peacock





I had my thesis bound. The colour is peacock. I can't remember why that colour stayed in the mind (here).


It looks very smart indeed. But I am not a doctor yet, so don't come to me with your ingrown toenails, or strange rashes, or megalomaniac tendencies to rule and destroy society.



Friday, 20 April 2018

The Resurrection



We have just celebrated the most important moment in human history. The Easter Triduum (the three days) recalls the Last Supper, the death of the Lord, and His most glorious resurrection. The resurrection shows us many things. It shows us things about Jesus, things about God, and things about ourselves. Over the next few weeks, we will look at each of these three aspects of the resurrection.

What then does the resurrection tell us about Jesus? It seems quite a silly question really. It tells us that He died and rose again. And because we have faith, and know what it teaches us, then it shows us that He is God. But that last fact - that Jesus is God - was not immediately understood by the disciples, and it took a few years for our brothers and sisters in the early Church to work that out. Of course it was all there in what Jesus had said and taught, but we human beings are never the quickest people at times!

First of all, the resurrection gave a strength and validity to what He had said. Before that, He was just a good teacher, a gifted preacher, even a moral leader. But after the resurrection, it changed all of these things from something you or I could have done, and lifted them to another level. You see, had I said these things, then it would have remained the message of a human being, and lets face it, we can take or leave the message of someone like us. But when He rose from the dead, then we listen to it in a different way. We have to take this man seriously if He is not bound by the same laws of nature as we are. This is not just a teacher - special or otherwise - no, this is something more.

And when we look at what He said, then we realise that He claimed divinity for Himself: He is God. Either He was lying, or mad, or telling the truth. The resurrection shows is that He was not mad. And He was not lying… no, He was telling the truth. He is the way the truth and the life. He and the Father are one. And when He raised up bread and said it was His body, and wine and said that it was His blood - then guess what? It was. No longer bread and wine, but now His body and blood, truly and really. And the teaching that He gave us could never be up for grabs, we could not just argue it away. The resurrection proves that He is God, and we have to listen to the TRUTH that He teaches us.

The temptation has always been to downplay Jesus into just an inspiring man. After all, we can control a historical figure. We can say that what He said and what He did was influenced by His time and His society… but if He is God, proven by His resurrection, then we cannot ignore Him, or put Him into a box, or on a shelf. The resurrection breaks into our life, and forces us to know and love this man, this God, this God-made-man.


Monday, 26 March 2018

Holy Week

The Times of the 
Ceremonies of the Sacred Triduum



Maundy Thursday
7.30pm Mass of the Lord's Super 
with watching until midnight at Glastonbury

Good Friday
Solemn Liturgy of the Passion
Noon at Glastonbury
3.00pm at Shepton Mallet

Holy Saturday
9.00pm The Easter Vigil
at Glastonbury


Tuesday, 20 March 2018

Thesis online

This is not my thesis
It is all official now. My minor corrections have been accepted and my thesis has been uploaded to the Durham University website, and is now there for all eternity (or until the revolution when imperialist theses concerning Nostra Aetate and the covenant - an ill conceived concept stretched beyond its limits, will rightly be consigned to the flames as propaganda).

If you want to see the great work, then here.


Come the revolution, I will have a few things to say about Nostra Aetate, let me tell you... and a certain German Cardinal...

Tuesday, 13 March 2018

The Agony in the Garden (2)



The Agony in the Garden (2)

In the Garden of Gethsemane, while the disciples slept, Our Lord prayed to His Father: “My Father, if it is possible, let this cup pass me by. Nevertheless, let it be as you, not I, would have it.” Then after this prayer, and checking on the disciples, He said “If this cup cannot pass by, but I must drink it, your will be done!”

For you or I the agony in the garden would be easy to understand. If suddenly you realised that you were going to be betrayed by your friend, taken away, mocked, spat upon, beaten to a pulp, dragged through the hideous streets to your death with your skin hanging from your bones and your blood congealing in the scorching heat while people laughed at you, and threw stones at you, then you would be in agony. And if you could see your mother over there, behind that crowd, her heart breaking, her soul being crushed by aching love and screaming horror; if you knew that all that was about to happen to you, then would you not fall to your knees and plead - no, not plead, but beg - that you did not have to go through it? For us, then, the agony in the garden would be fear of pain, fear of humiliation, fear of failure, fear of death. Yes, we can understand it well enough, if it had been you or I in that garden.

But it was not you or I, it was Our Lord, and it was His agony. All of those fears I have just described must have been there in the background (Our Saviour is fully man as well as fully God) but I guess that they were held in check, held at arms length by His divinity. So perhaps God’s agony was not so much that He knew what was going to happen, but rather that He knew that it had to be this way. That this was what His creation, His beloved creation, was going to do to Him. These men and women, who He had made, and who He loved with all His heart and soul, who He had walked among, ate with, laughed with, cried over. These men and women were going to do all of these things to Him. Indeed that these men and women would do these things to anyone.

Perhaps the agony in the garden in part was the final realisation of the depravity of human beings, baying for His blood like dogs. His blood which He still poured out for them, despite everything. His agony would not be the same as ours, for we would fear for ourselves. The agony of Our Lord would be that we would do these things to Him.


Saturday, 10 March 2018

The Agony in the Garden (1)


The Agony in the Garden


After the Last Supper, Our Lord went away with Peter, James and John to the garden of Gethsemane to pray. He had just celebrated the first Mass, when Our Lord had miraculously changed the bread into His Body, and the chalice of wine into His Blood. This miracle of the Mass is celebrated every time the Priest offers the sacrifice of God to God.

The time line was now fixed. The Mass had been given for all eternity. Judas had gone from it to betray our Lord - and whenever the reality of the Mass is denied and people depart from belief in it, the Lord is again betrayed. And then Our Lord goes off with this small group of His disciples to pray. The Gospels do not say that the disciples thought that this was a strange thing to do, and indeed, we know that Our Saviour would often go off on His own to pray, so perhaps it was not out of the ordinary for Him. And perhaps after such an evening - full of meaning and significance - the disciples were happy for a few moments of quiet and reflection.

We, of course, know what is to happen. We know that Our Lord is preparing himself for the final moments before His death. But the disciples, of course, do not know that. For them it has been an extraordinary evening, one which they will not fully understand until after the resurrection. In fact, that very evening they had become the first Bishops of the Church; a Church which would be born from the side of Christ as He hangs dying on the cross, and which would be constituted on the day of Pentecost, when the Holy Spirit would breath life and courage into the terrified Apostles. But for Peter, James and John, this was all in the future. All they knew was that their master had asked them to go with Him to Gethsemane, and there to wait for Him, while He prayed.

It was not much that He asked. Just to wait and pray with Him. But they fell asleep. The unutterable loneliness of bearing the burden of the sins of the world was taken on His shoulders, and all He has asked was that they wait for Him. He was contemplating His duty, His task for the salvation of the world. All He wanted was that humanity would be there are witness His prayer. But they could not stay awake. And for all eternity, we do not. We fall asleep to the presence of God. We take Him for granted, and He waits for us… not far off, just a stones throw away. Praying for us.


Tuesday, 6 March 2018

Strange Bed Fellows


No I am not talking about Morecambe and Wise - though I suppose that nowadays certain German Cardinals would be jumping through hoops to bless a couple of blokes sharing a bed. Though interestingly they would probably condemn the fact that Eric is smoking a Pipe. How things have changed - how funny!


I am talking about the aligning of Dr Rowan Williams and Richard Dawkins in common cause against the opening of new Catholic Schools (whoops, 'faith schools'). See link here from the Catholic Herald website. I shall refrain from saying 'by their friends shall ye know them' as Dr Williams lends his signature together with Dawkins and "Andrew Copson, Chief Executive of Humanists UK, Rabia Mirza, Director of British Muslims for Secular Democracy" inter alia. I shall also refrain from reflecting on the fact that it is rather difficult to know what the CofE stands for on any number of issues - and I'm sure this is not their official position.

Simply let us reflect on the one phrase quoted on the website (as I cannot get the premium site):


[it is] difficult to bring to mind a more divisive policy, or more deleterious to social cohesion
Really?? I knew Dr Williams at Oxford, and there is no way he would have allowed such an unsubstantiated phrase in an undergraduate essay. How about wealth inequality? How about unemployment? How about class cohesion? How about Freemasons?



Really?? Nothing more deleterious then allowing Catholics to open schools? What does he fear - that we will be teaching the moral basis on which this country and Western democracy was built? That we will be teaching complementarity of the sexes? That a moving, wriggling, sensing baby in the womb shouldn't be able to be treated as unwanted matter? That we shouldn't allow great aunt Alice to be bullied into telling her doctor to inject her with death? That we shouldn't allow state sponsored self harm?

I hope I'm wrong, but it seems that this fine intellect, this fine mind has been momentarily seduced by good old fashioned anti-Catholic bigotry. What a pity.

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