Archive for the ‘life’ Category

Getting to a daily Mass is harder than what one might think. Especially so if you want to go only to the classical form of the Mass. There simply doesn’t seem to be any around that fit into my commuting times, they are either a bit too late in the morning or then too early in the afternoon for me to be able to get to them.

What then of the NO options? There too the Mass times mostly keep outside the hours that would be suitable. Of the churches around where I live and work only two seem to have Mass times that are suitable for daily attendance, both unfortunately NO. (Curiously both happen to be priories, one Carmelite on my way to work and one Dominican a short buss ride from the office.) Every now and then the LMS throws a Mass far away in the city which one might be able to get to every now and then.

So are NO Masses the answer if one wants to go to a daily Mass? I’m not happy about the idea but I don’t see very much else around.


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There was a rather embarrassing documentary called “Jesus Camp” on yesterday. It primarily followed kids on the way to and on a Bible camp, also giving ample time to a ‘youth minister’ of the female persuasion. A bit of a battleaxe. Interspersed with the takes from the kids was those of a radio DJ -if that’s the word I’m looking for- who was not very taken with the ‘evangelical Christian’ ideas for society. Something of a woolly-eyed liberal. Much was made of the increasingly political role of the Christian Right in the American colonies, perhaps more than of the treatment of the kids. Now, is it bad if I think that their take on how to organize a Christian society is, well, a bit liberal? Thought so…

These commentators, camp leaders etc. still fall into the heresy of Americanism which is an idea of accommodation to secular society and a form of proto-modernism e.g. separating Church and state, supporting all-out parliamentary democracy etc. contrary to the prescriptions of among other writings of the Holy See; Quanta Cura. Therefore their ideas of a happier, more Christian USA are deeply flawed. These ‘radicals’ simply aren’t radical enough. That of course is apart from them basing their ideas on the false, sandy foundation of protestantism rather than on the bedrock of Catholic Truth.

Most of what made it an embarrassing thing to watch was the simple thing that the objects of the documentary were some of the worst happy-clappy charismatics I’ve seen on TV, helped of course by some prejudicial editing. The lack of intellectual depth and prudence among some of these groups keeps surprising me, adding to the embarrassment.

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The Dominicans baffle me. I have heard some very good things about them during the last year or so, one of their number was highly praised by a friend in Leicestershire for his devout celebration of Mass – in the old form of course. Another one is the chaplain to the Society of Saint Gregory the Great, the Finnish Latin Mass Society. Yet a third skillfully refuted the atheist ramblings in Dawkins’ “The God Delusion”, the billboard makers that sold Dawkins and told you to “join the debate” chose to make it a monologue and never advertised the refutations, as one could expect. Beginning on the real Corpus Christi and ending on Sunday they have the Quarant’ Ore (40 hours devotion)- at least at the priory in London.

Now, some of the readers here know that I’m discerning a vocation to the priesthood, at the least my post about visiting the seminary should have made that clear. Following a recommendation from someone who encouraged me to get in touch with the Order of Preachers I went up to St Dominic’s Priory at Southampton road here in London the other day. Mass was pretty mainstream; altargirls(poorly trained), something that definitely wasn’t the Roman Canon, an Altar facing the wrong way, communion in the hand, Eucharistic monsters handling the chalice .. However, the music was fairly good -gregorian- despite several choir members being on pilgrimage to Walsingham. The priests seemed sound enough in a conservative, NO sort of way, until full of enthusiasm one of them told me about the upcoming visit to Blackfriars Hall in Oxford (their house of study) by none other than the Dalai Lama. The mixed messages leave me scratching my head in some confusion as to what to think about them.

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I just got back from the Paris to Chartres pilgrimage on Tuesday evening, complete with French Royalist propaganda and sore feet.

The sun shone down on us mercilessly throughout the pilgrimage, I got away with some minor sunburns on my arms. The whole event was very impressive and for three days or so one could almoust forget about all the problems in the Church today, there was nothing but full, traditional Catholicism as far as anyone could see. Granted, proper posture and dress sense is lacking among some of the younger pilgrims but perhaps one can be charitable and assume that the kid who was sleeping his way through the final Mass was suffering from heat exhaustion. I must admit that I too dozed off during the homily outside the cathedral in Chartres, not knowing french it simply wasn’t engaging at all.

All in all it was a hot, grueling, exhausting and lovely little stroll.

Pictures and more when available.

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There was once the possibility of gaining a plenary indulgence by visiting a seminary. No more. Regardless of that the vocations weekend at Allen Hall, the seminary for the diocese of Westminster, was a grace filled time. That it was placed at the beginning of the Novena to the Holy Ghost might have helped. We had a lovely time of sharing our stories with each others and his lordship bishop Longley, one of the auxillary bishops of the archdiocese. There was also a time set apart for speaking with some of the seminarians. To end the first day there was a get-together in the seminary pub. This gathering gave us, well me and one of the others, a happy surprise as three mutual friend turned up – one of which is beginning his studies at the seminary in September.

I spoke a bit with the philosophy professor, trying to find out about the level of the studies and was told that all the academics they teach in the seminary itself is the first two years of philosophy. The theology is all handled by Heythrop College – the philosophy and theology college attached to the University of London. I can say nothing of Heythrop save that the staff seem to have a generous sprinkling of Jesuits.

The lifestyle of the seminary seems rather relaxed and unlike the last seminary I visited there is no specific dress code. This is reflected at Mass as well; jeans, T-shirts and sneakers. The Saturday evening Mass was the main disappointment at the place There was a coffee-table-altar, a JPII size Host for the main celebrant and the rest of what you might expect, up to and including questionable music.

All in all the hospitality was great and the atmosphere Grace filled. It leaved me inspired to pursue a vocation to the priesthood but unconvinced as to where Allen Hall fits in.

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I’m of to the seminary this Saturday morning for the annual vocations weekend. Fr Viper, the vocations director for the archdiocese of Westminster tells me there will be about fifteen of us staying at Allen Hall over the weekend. I know of at least one other of these but the rest are unknown and will be interesting to meet. So, prayers for us all please.

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Back Again

I haven’t written anything here for quite a while now and was even thinking of closing down the whole blog. However, following popular demand (=3 friends and my neighbor’s cat) I’m reviving the thing. One of the things that made me stop was the lack of editing tools available from WordPress, coming back I see that there are some additions to the tool bar that makes things a bit clearer. One of the things I was doing before my brake was commenting on some news items, with the previous tools it was almoust impossible to make a clear distinction between my own comments and those in the texts. That has been improved on. So, ‘Once more upon the breach dear friends..’

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