Thursday, November 23, 2017

A reader...

...of this blog, after reading about Bishop Keenan (see the description of the Maryvale graduation),  has drawn attention to the joint Catholic/Jewish school  in his diocese. It sounds a really lovely school. Read more here...

Want to know about Christmas customs?

Why we eat/do/sing/ the things that we do?  How it fits in with the rest of the calendar?


See here


Something to ponder....

"Another effect that gives cause for alarm is that a man who grows accustomed to the use of contraceptive methods may forget the reverence due to a woman, and, disregarding her physical and emotional equilibrium, reduce her to being a mere instrument for the satisfaction of his own desires, no longer considering her as his partner whom he should surround with care and affection."

Who said that?

It seems extraordinarily prophetic, now that the ugly subculture of recent decades in Hollywood, the BBC, etc has been revealed by various women who have tales of molestation...

Click on to the Comments box to reveal who spoke so accurately over half a century ago.

And give him honour: he was bitterly attacked and hounded at the time, notably by people who should have been his staunchest allies.

Wednesday, November 22, 2017

You can listen to...

...the Redford Lecture here....Fr Richard Conrad on "Christ as the Father's face".

CAROL SINGING...

...at London Bridge railway station on Dec 19th, with the LOGS, Ladies Ordinariate Group. We've just been finalising plans - we always enjoy the singing and a tradition has developed in which we finish by having a celebration dinner together. This year, our youngest LOGS member has offered to cook it for us and it will be a full three-course event, and promises to be a real treat.

Come and hear us at London Bridge! From 6pm.

Where the sexual revolution has taken us...

...read this...

Tuesday, November 21, 2017

St Chad's Cathedral in Birmingham...

...is a rather magnificent setting for a graduation ceremony. Maryvale holds its graduations there each year, with the Archbishop attending.  This was the first time I had taken part in such a ceremony as a member of the academic staff, and it was rather exciting to see it all from that perspective. A splendid array of academic gowns and hoods as we walked in - a great contrast to the grey concrete and car parks and traffic jams of Birmingham as the rain drizzled down on the city.

Bishop John Keenan of Paisley presented the Awards - a  large number of deacons in Scotland do their training at Maryvale - and spoke very well, linking us to the centuries of Christian history: Celtic saints and Bl John Henry Newman and more...

All the academic staff stood to make the full Profession of Faith. Rather powerful stuff: "Moreover, I adhere with religious submission of will and intellect...." Things finished with Vespers: the psalms rolling back and forth, across the Cathedral...the Archbishop gave his blessing....we had a final hymn written specially for Maryvale and echoing the words of Bl John Henry Newman, sung to a grand old tune...and the Cathedral glowed with the candelight...

And then back to Maryvale for tea, the two main lecture halls opened up to create a large space with a generous buffet. It was a great delight to meet many old friends, including Fr Guy Nichols, who lectures at Oscott seminary as well as at Maryvale. We had enjoyed greeting one another in our academic robes, and it was fun later to be catching up on family news...


It was all countryside, meadows and lush fields...

...between Old Oscott and Birmingham when Newman first came to Old Oscott House in the 1840s. The house had been a Catholic family home for centuries, and had been a Mass centre in recusant times. Following the various Catholic Relief Acts and then Catholic Emancipation in 1829, its chapel had become more or less known.  John Henry Newman and his colleagues, newly received into full communion with the Catholic church, and needing somewhere to stay while they made plans for their future lives,  were made welcome in this old house....they formed a community and Newman named the house Maryvale.

Over a century and a half later, crunchy golden leaves cascade down on the garden paths, and the old house welcomes us in the November dusk, and we talk of Newman. A most agreeable dinner, and a sense of feeling at home - I love this place. On Monday morning we join the Bridgettine sisters for Mass, and then there is time for some quiet work as well as a meeting for associate staff. I always get a lot of work done at Maryvale: the house is peaceful, with good wifi access, and the presence of others quietly busy too...

An excellent lecture in the evening: the Redford Memorial Lecture, given by Fr Richard Conrad in the Maryvale chapel.  His topic was "the face of God", a rich Trinitarian exploration.

Saturday, November 18, 2017

...and now I am off...

...to Birmingham, with my academic robes, to take part in graduation ceremonies at the Maryvale Institute: among those graduating are students to whom I have been lecturing over the past couple of years.

I will also be attending the Redford  Memorial Lecture : Canon John Redford was a superb teacher and a formative influence on so many of us...

ON a crowded Tube train yesterday evening ...

...a kind young lady offered me a seat. We got chatting, and her accent revealed her to be French. We started to talk in that language  (haltingly, on my part - haven't used French since last visit a couple of summers ago)  - and she suggested that I might be interested in the lectures held by a group of French academics in London, which she attended regularly.  The next  happened to be on Saturday, and on the subject of the Hugenots: would I like to join her there?  I gave her my email and she promised to send the information to me:  I didn't think I would follow it up but when the email arrived, it  sounded interesting so I thought I would go.

The lecture was at More House, in South Kensington...the name was immediately familiar to me as a  Catholic chaplaincy residence  for the University of London. The French group meeting there has no Catholic connection - but More House is near the French Consulate, and the Lycee, and so it's  a convenient place. The room - under the solemn gaze of Thomas More, a large bust of whom stood by the door - was packed, and I squeezed into the last available seat. I couldn't see my kind Tube passenger. The lecture was fascinating - the Hugenot story is a grim one, but there  are many fascinating aspects including John Henry Newman's Hugenot  ancestry, a subject that I have actually coincidentally been researching...

When it came to questions and discussion, I  explained how I had come to be there....but the young lady from the Tube was not present! Much amusement. "Un ange, Certainement!"  I've now been warmly invited to attend future lectures.

On arrival home, I emailed my Tube friend...and have just had a cheery email back: at the last moment she had been unable to make it to the lecture. But some day we'll meet up....

Sometimes London feels like a sort of village...

Friday, November 17, 2017

THE CATHOLIC UNION...

...a voice for Catholics in public life in Britain for over 100 years, had a packed annual meeting this week, following the Sung Mass at Westminster Cathedral.  Big topic: Catholic schools, and the Govt's promise to lift the ruling that any new such schools cannot have more than 50 per cent Catholic children. President of the Catholic Union, Sir Edward Leigh, spoke to us on this:   the Govt's concern, of course, is Islamic schools and the creation of "ghetto territory". But this is not an issue for Catholic schools, and the 50-per-cent rule is most unjust as it will mean that Catholic families will not be able to have the schools they need.

 Other issues also discussed: rights of conscience for doctors, nurses, and pharmacists, freedom to protest/offer counselling outside abortion clinics...also the rights of parents with regard to sex education...

I reported on the 2017 Catholic Young Writer Award - an initiative of the Catholic Writers' Guild, now run by the Catholic Union, and also the "Our Father" project, initiated by the Ladies Ordinariate Group and now also supported by the Catholic Union.  The Catholic Union Charitable Trust has funded a lovely Prayer Book for children - published by Gracewing -  to be used as prizes in the "Our Father" project, and I brought along some copies...they were quickly snapped up by people anxious to buy them for children/godchildren/grandchildren for Christmas, and I took further orders to be posted this weekend...

Monday, November 13, 2017

Remembrance Sunday...

...and we took part in the service at the War Memorial at The Borough, London Bridge, walking in procession from Precious Blood Church, J. wearing his medals. The memorial is a particularly fine one, and the service was all traditional:  The Mayor of Southwark,  the Deputy Lieutenant for Greater London, local Members of Parliament, "O God our help in ages past...".   And then back to the church for Mass...again traditional hymns...the children's choir sang a beautiful Pie Jesu...and then on to a long and talkative lunch...

In the evening, J. went to an Army gathering, and I walked back along the river to Westminster with a young friend. A cold, clear night, the Thames glittering.   Parliament, especially Big Ben, looks odd, lit up but all stacked with scaffolding.  We dropped in to the St Stephen's Tavern for a drink, and immediately got talking to people, ended up spending two hours there in good company...it was all older-chaps-with-medals, and it was the easy, comfortable,  feeling of a Britain that somehow gets numb and forgotten most of the time. Remembrance Sunday seems to unlock the inner normality of people.

read here for more of Auntie's thoughts on this...

Saturday, November 11, 2017

One hundred and fifty years...

...of the Catholic Truth Society was celebrated with a gathering at Our Lady of Victories church in Kensington High Street this week. It was grand to be there. Old friends, new friends, lots and lots of talk, delicious food, some lovely music from young musicians, and a wonderful talk by special guest speaker Magnus Macfarlane-Barrow of Mary's Meals.  It was an inspirational idea to have him, talking about a new venture - just marking its 25th anniversary - as we were honouring one that has thrived for over a century. There was a sense of excitement, of the Church being very much alive and all of us uniting in something large and glorious...

Plans for new work for 2018: it was fun to talk in person after good email exchanges, and there is a delight in tackling new projects, seeing the challenges and the possibilities. When I first started writing for the CTS, it was one of my first ventures with a computer - it seemed semi-miraculous to be able to check spelling and put things into italics and move things about to create
Sub-Headings
and so on, and not have to rely on typewriter-correction fluid, and carbon paper, and complicated hand-written corrections or phone messages.  But none of us knew then about the Internet, or the horrors it would unleash, or the way it would change so many things...

Litter-picking...








...was organised by our two local Borough Councillors in our road and neighbouring roads today. Volunteers turned out - I joined in with a will. We were equipped with proper gloves and pick-up sticks with useful big tweezers.  Here we all are, standing by the local railway station, with just some of the vast bags of rubbish that we collected.

At 11 am we stopped, stood still,  and observed the Two Minutes Silence.I hope all my readers in Britain did too.