Thursday 25 April 2013

Lucinda Creighton slams Olivia O'Leary on abortion

A couple of pro-life protests for those who can attend:

Friday 26th April at 9.30am, 
Outside Paschal Donohoe, T.D.'s office, 
344 North Circular Road, 

Friday 26th April, 10.30am - 2.30pm, (Campaign for Fairness and Balance)
Front of RTE Studios,

I think Lucinda Creigthon, T.D., Minister of State for European Affairs is pinning her colours to the mast.  Her public statements are becoming clearer and more obviously pro-life;  she will not be able to vote for abortion legislation based on the X judgment. 

In her blog she takes on the favourite of RTE, the liberal media in general and the whole Dublin 4 intelligentsia, Olivia O'Leary.  The whole post below:

The debate on abortion became a bit surreal this week. Olivia O Leary in a radio piece on Tuesday urged that we “kick the Taliban out of our constitution” while proclaiming that “Ireland is no country for young women.”

I beg to disagree. I am a relatively young woman and I consider Ireland to be a fantastic, safe, free and open country in which to live. I am proud of my country and I will defend Ireland to the last. We are extremely fortunate to live in a country where human rights are protected by a constitutional and legislative system which is second to none.

To compare Ireland or our Constitution to the Taliban is grossly misleading. Olivia O’Leary should, and I’m fairly sure does, know better. Could she really believe that the Shia women of Mazar-e-Sharif, whose husbands were executed and had their throats slit before their eyes and those of their children, would agree that Ireland is a terrible, oppressive place to live? Many of those same women saw their children stuffed into containers and sent to unknown destinations, left to suffocate in a slow and painful death. Would those women, I wonder, condemn the Irish legal system which strives to protect the lives of all children?

Does Olivia also wish to compare Ireland and our treatment of women with the Taliban leaders who routinely abduct women and sell them into sex slavery like animals?

I would kindly ask Olivia O’Leary and the many other people who have been using this Taliban analogy in recent days, to take the trouble to inform themselves.

Perhaps read the chilling report ‘The Taliban’s War on Women’ which was published by the organisation Physicians for Human Rights. It graphically outlined the total oppression of women in Afghanistan by the Taliban, with over 50% effectively under house arrest, with no freedom to travel, to drive a car, to wear what they choose, marry whom they wish, with no sexual freedom or economic freedom or any real freedom.

She should reflect on just how lucky we are – how privileged we are to live in the free, open, caring, tolerant society that is Ireland. And perhaps reflect on how much we take this for granted.

I respect the views of the many people who disagree with me on the question of how we should handle the issue of abortion. But I cannot respect the sort of hysteria and incitement which poured forth from Ms. O’Leary on RTE radio the other day. You may want abortion to be brought in Olivia, but please do not suggest that ours is a country comparable with one ruled by an Islamic fundamentalist terrorist movement. Get a grip.

For my part, I am genuinely trying to have a reasoned and rational debate on this issue.

I hope that, notwithstanding the strong and genuinely held views on both sides of the debate, we can respect the right of everyone to speak freely and honestly about their hopes and their concerns.

I fully support steps (regulatory or legislative) to give certainty to pregnant mothers and doctors in cases where there are medical complications and a woman’s life is at risk. That makes absolute sense. Why would I, or anybody else, want to see a woman’s life endangered in any circumstance?

I do have concerns about the proposal to legislate to for suicide as a ground for abortion. Legislating for suicidality worries me, because as 113 consultant psychiatrists said clearly today, such a step has “no basis in medical evidence”. Surely we should legislate on the basis of medical facts, and be guided by the experts who know their patients and their conditions better than anyone else.

The statement of the 113 consultant psychiatrists reads:
“As practising Psychiatrists we are deeply concerned at the Government’s stated plan to legislate along the lines of the X-Case, as this will mean legislating for suicidality. We believe that legislation that includes a proposal that an abortion should form part of the treatment for suicidal ideation has no basis in the medical evidence available.”

I have been accused repeatedly of being some sort of a fanatic or fundamentalist. Anyone who knows me – my friends, my family, my colleagues – knows that is simply nonsense. For the record, I do not come to this debate with any religious or idealogical ‘hang-up’. Like 85% of the population I have been brought up as, and describe myself as a Catholic. I am not a particularly devout one and I am not diligent in attending religious ceremonies. So I suppose I am like most Irish Catholics in that respect.

My support for human life is not based on any blinkered ideology. When I was a student, I would have regarded myself as liberal on the issue, being in favour of abortion. I suppose I simply bought into the accepted notion that a foetus is simply an extension of a woman and not a person.

However, I have come to believe that I was wrong. And I don’t change my view lightly. My opinion is, I suppose, shaped by a number of factors, personal experience with family members and friends, a more objective analysis of the arguments on both sides and of course the facts, which are all important. The clear view of those practicing psychiatrists is most convincing. I cannot ignore either, the very compelling experience of having dealt with so many parents going through adoption procedures, who have been through IVF and are doing everything they can to support human life. Life is precious. We cannot change that.

I personally consider this debate, on a very basic level, to be a human rights issue. It is about the human rights of women and of their unborn babies. The fact that a baby is not born does not mean that it is not a life and therefore worth defending. There is a great irony in the fact that we throw all the resources in the world (and rightly so) at saving the life of a premature baby born at 23 or 24 weeks, and yet some may consider the abortion of that baby, at the same stage to be right and just. I don’t.

I oppose all intentional taking of human life. I consider the use of the death penalty to be barbaric because essentially it bestows on certain human beings a higher power to determine the right to life of other human beings. I think most of us agree that no person has the right to end the life of anyone else. If we somehow modify that basic core value of humanity, then we start to calculate human life in terms of worth. Is your life worth more than mine? If you are “unwanted” are you fair game? Is one life somehow ranked higher than another? If so who decides? And where does this ranking of human beings end?

For me this is a very important core question – whether we choose to protect the fundamental rights of all people, men and women, young and old, babies and adults. Whether we do or not very much informs how we view abortion.

I am so glad that I live in a country which does defend life with the full rigour of the law. I accept that there is a need to provide clarity for doctors so that they can ensure that they legitimately defend the lives of pregnant women without fear of legal or criminal sanction. I believe that the medical profession has done this admirably for a long time, within the parameters of the existing Medical Council guidelines. I have no fear of the Oireachtas giving legal underpinning to this. It is of course, also in full alignment with our clear constitutional obligation under Article 40.3.3 to defend and vindicate the rights of the mother and unborn child equally.

Unlike Olivia O’Leary, I believe that the Ireland of today is a great country for young women. Thankfully it is also a great country for all people, including young babies.

Wednesday 17 April 2013

Friday 12 April 2013

55th daily sayings of light of love (St John of the Cross)

Souls will be unable to reach perfection who do not strive to be content with having nothing, in such fashion that their natural and spiritual desire is satisfied with emptiness; for this is necessary in order to reach the highest tranquility and peace of spirit.  Hence the love of God in the pure and simple soul is almost continually in act.

Thursday 11 April 2013

The (welcome) return of the Scorzelli ferula

Pope Francis
I am quite happy to see Pope Francis has begun using the Lello Scorzelli ferula again.  It has been used by all Popes at some point since the Servant of God, Venerable Pope Paul VI.

Servant of God, Pope Paul VI
Pope John Paul I
Blessed John Paul II
Pope Benedict XVI

Pope Michael, Bishop of Meath
 It is also driving the traddies to distraction.  With each passing day they search for new things to accuse the Pope of.  Over in Rorate Caeli a commentator has a list of about fifty things - the usual black shoes, no mozzetta stuff, but also the distinctly weird, like drinking tea in public.  Apparently the only thing we should see the Pope consuming is the Blessed Eucharist.  Who knew?  They think the cross is Jansenist because the arms go up.  Don't remember Jansen promoting that.

I'm not a massive fan of modern art - the blue square, black wall sort of stuff.  But I do like some of the dramatic such as La Resurrezione by Pericle Fazzini in the Paul VI audience hall.

Scorzelli's cross looks very much like it was inspired by the famous drawing of the crucifixion by St John of the Cross and subsequently Dali's painting.  If you're ever in Glasgow be sure and go to the Kelvingrove Art Gallery and see it.

Dali drawing
I always felt that Blessed Pope John Paul II took great support from it, physically and spiritually.  Scorzelli made one specially for him that was lighter to carry.  Pope Francis is using the original one made for Paul.

54th daily sayings of light of love (St John of the Cross)

Going everywhere, my God, with you, everywhere things will happen as I desire for you.

The utter disdain for the word "Catholic"

I have been following the inquest of Savita Halappanavar to some extent, but really find the coverage so awful - so biased, nuanced, untruthful - that I tend to turn the radio or TV off when it comes on.

One thing really struck me today was the absolute disdain in which the word "Catholic" is held by the powers that be.  The midwife who uttered the word found herself treated as if she'd turned up at the NAACP in a KKK outfit.  She had been explaining the Irish law on abortion to people who were Hindus from India and she dared to mention that the law reflected the fact that most people in the State are Catholic.

The coroner went on a little rant at her expense and how her Catholic remark "went all around the world" even though all public hospitals in Ireland are legally barred from following tenets or dogma of any religious persuasion.

Of course when Galway University Hospital was a workhouse they had no such qualms and required that all foundlings be baptized as Anglicans!

And the coroner, like many pro-choice Catholics, presents Catholic opposition to abortion and support for the unborn as if it were a dogma or a tenet.  It's not - it's a human right based on reason.

Meanwhile we learn that Savita was upset after a scan revealed on the Tuesday morning that her baby’s heart was still beating.  Most mothers in my experience who think they are miscarrying are hopeful to the bitter end that their baby will be all right.

Maybe it's a Catholic thing.

Wednesday 10 April 2013

Kicking the habit

I had a fight/discussion recently with a friend on the status of priests from religious orders who are ordained diocesan bishops.  I said that I thought they ought not to continue wearing the habit of their order.

At the time I couldn't find the evidence but I have today come upon the Instruction of the Secretariat of State, Ut sive sollicite, on the dress, titles, and coats-of-arms of Cardinals, Bishops, and lesser Prelates (31st March, 1969).

Section 17 says:

Episcopi ex Ordinibus vel Congregationibus religiosis delecti utentur veste talari violacei coloris, veste talari cum vel sine torulo, globulis, ocellis ac subsuto rubini coloris, haud secus ac ceteri Episcopi.

Bishops chosen from religious Orders or Congregations will use the purple cassock, and the cassock with or without red trimming, buttons, buttonholes, and lining, just as other Bishops.

That seems pretty definitive to me.

Another JP2 miracle? - Rev. Stephen Dickinson gets his just desserts

I have been rather enjoying the recent kerfuffle involving the Reverend Stephen Dickinson.

He has been removed from office at Cairnalbana and Glenarm churches following an internal probe by the  judicial commission of the Presbyterian Church in Ireland.

You can read the details in the BBC and Belfast Daily which reports:

In a statement last week, the Presbyterian Church in Ireland said: “It is with regret that the judicial commission has concluded that the minister’s usefulness has been seriously impaired and that he has, in part by his own actions, placed himself in a position where it is impossible for him to satisfactorily discharge the duties of his charge.”

Before you begin to roll out your sympathy [Editor: Unlikely for readers of this blog] you may wish to recall that the Rev.  Stephen Dickinson is a former deputy grand master and grand chaplain of the Orange Order.  He left the organization in 2011, claiming it had ” betrayed its roots “. Two years earlier, he had set up the hard line independent group Orange Reformation, which campaigned to "put Protestantism back into Orangeism".

In his days as Orange chaplain he used to do impressions of Pope John Paul II who was suffering from Parkinsons disease.  His hiliarious skit included making spastic movements.  He was so obnoxious that even fellow Orangemen and unionists were embarrassed by him.  From the Breaking News report:

Ulster Unionist councillor Jim Dillon said today that Mr Dickinson had also caused great offence last September at the Lord Mayor of Lisburn’s inaugural dinner.

“He left a lot to be desired. There was nearly a walkout because he was derogatory about the Catholic faith and the Pope.  Any Catholics that were there were offended. Some Protestants also felt uncomfortable,” he said.

Sam Foster, a former Stormont Environment Minister, who had to retire because of Parkinson’s disease, labelled his impression of the Pope an absolute disgrace.

“You don’t make mockery of Parkinson’s disease. You don’t make a mockery of any disease whatsoever,” he said.  “I think it is totally and entirely uncalled for, grossly offensive and very, very insulting.”

Alliance councillor for Belfast David Alderdice said that while religious leaders should be allowed a sense of humour, Mr Dickinson’s actions displayed a lack of understanding and sensitivity.

“Making jokes at the expense of someone who was extremely ill at the time, no matter who it was, is something Rev Dickinson obviously needs to think hard about,” he added.

For added amusement you can check out Ivan Foster's comments (Free Presbyterian) on a letter Dickinson wrote attacking Fr Alec Reid.  For every hard line Protestant clergyman there is a harder one waiting in the wings.  Foster rebukes Dickinson for using the term "Father" in "speaking of one who is purveyor of Romish nonsense".  He admonishes him further for quoting "a translation of the Holy Scripture other than the Authorised Version when he refers to the verse in Matthew 12:34. “O generation of vipers, how can ye, being evil, speak good things? for out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaketh,”.  His use of such another version is but evidence that you “cannot live in Rome and fight with the pope”!

53rd daily sayings of light of love (St John of the Cross)

If you wish to attain holy recollection, you will do so not by receiving but by denying.

Tuesday 9 April 2013

The Iron Lady is dead

Rust in peace.

Four churches, four holy hours for life, Drogheda, Wednesday 10th April

More Dawsons Creek?

The Romantics
Saw two films last week with a mate of mine.

First was Trance which we saw in the Savoy in Dublin.

It was one of those multi-layered films involving deception and hypnosis and confusing relationships and we saw a lot more of Rosario Dawson than we were expecting.  It wasn't bad, though I must confess to falling asleep during it which probably added to the sense of confusion.  Directed by Danny Boyle it's doing well on Rotten Tomatoes which describes it thus:

Simon (James McAvoy), a fine art auctioneer, teams up with a criminal gang to steal a Goya painting worth millions of dollars, but after suffering a blow to the head during the heist he awakens to discover he has no memory of where he hid the painting. When physical threats and torture fail to produce answers, the gang's leader Frank (Vincent Cassel) hires hypnotherapist Elizabeth Lamb (Rosario Dawson) to delve into the darkest recesses of Simon's psyche. As Elizabeth begins to unravel Simon's broken subconscious, the lines between truth, suggestion, and deceit begin to blur.

When we got back to the house I made him watch The Romantics.  Which is a far superior picture, or as he described it "Is this more Dawsons Creek?"  The New York Post review says:

with its tart dialogue and its perfect ending, it is sensitive as well as sagacious. It’s a rare combination.

After he'd gone home I watched it again and typed out some of the dialogue as well as I could catch it to give you a flavour:

Tom (Josh Duhamel): I was a lifeguard in highschool, you remember that?

Laura (Katie Holmes): Yeah, I remember.

Tom: It was my favorite summer job.

Laura: You and every other guy in America.

Tom: I would sit in that chair itching, itching to get out, dying to get into the water. And after eight hours my shift would end and I would make a break for it. But as soon as I got into the water, the strangest thing happened. I would start to panic.

Laura: Ambivalence is a disease, you know. An actual mental illness.

Tom: That’s not funny.

Laura: Let me guess, when you were a kid you would order chocolate ice cream, then immediately wish you’d gotten vanilla?

Tom: That’s not what I’m talking about.

Laura: No, I get it. You’re torn between two women.

Tom: What I’m trying to say is… I’m afraid of the ocean.

Laura: I’ll remember that the next time I swim on your clock.

Tom: You think you have kind of a special gift for knowing what is in my heart, Laura?

Laura: No, no, I think we both do for each other.

Tom: Has it ever occurred to you that I might need a woman like Lila?

Laura: And what kind of woman is that?

Tom: I don’t know, somebody happy.

Laura: Meaning numb?

Tom: Somebody practical.

Laura: Meaning busy?

Tom: Somebody confident.

Laura: Meaning rich?

Tom: Somebody stable.

Laura: Meaning frigid?

Tom: Someone who doesn’t tear other people down to build herself back up.

Laura: In other words your polar opposite.

Tom: Yeah, yeah maybe.

Laura: Well, haven’t you heard? Opposites attract and then they bore each other to death.

Tom: You know, boring is better than maddening.

Laura: I’d rather die of excitement.

(She walks away from him)

Tom: Hey, hey, hey. (Goes after her).

Laura: (Turning around) Do you remember that paper, junior year?

Tom: Yeah, of course. ‘The Hopeless Romantics: Misconceptions of a Movement’.

Laura: Yeah. Only you could start a 50 page paper the night before.

Tom: And still get an A-minus.

Laura: Because I wrote it.

Tom: You maybe wrote half of it.

Laura: Ode to a Nightingale: A love song to inspiration.

Tom: The Romantics weren’t writing about love, they were writing about religion.

Laura: Then I’m not sure I know the difference. “Forlorn. The very word is like a bell tolling me back from thee to my sole self”. What’s the next line?

Tom: I can’t remember.

Laura: Liar.

Tom: Anybody can make a big romantic gesture, all right? The question is: What happens after? Do you remember? Do you remember what you said to me that night?

Laura: Yeah, I remember everything.

Tom: So, what’d you say?

Laura: I said it was the perfect night.

Tom: You said it was the perfect night.

Laura: So?

Tom: So? How do I top that?

Laura: We had so much fun.

Tom: We had so much fun.

Laura: So what’s the problem with that?

Tom: The problem is, every time we had one of these amazing nights, I would wake up the next morning in a freaking panic. So why don’t we just spare each other a mundane life of crushing disappointment, and just do it with somebody else.

Laura: That is the weakest excuse I have ever heard. Just say you are in love with Lila.

Tom: Say what? Want me to say that I want to marry you? That I’m gonna spend the next 50 years regretting this very moment?

Laura: You inspired me.

Tom: You inspired me too.

Laura: Then we were supposed to be together.

Tom: I know.

Laura: I’m gonna go and I’m gonna tell everyone that you’re ok.

Tom: But I’m not. I’m not ok.

Laura: You chose this. (She walks away)

Old translations, pagans, tightropes and balls

At Mass in Dublin today.  Treated myself to visit to the Jesuits on Gardener Street.  The Pro-Cathedral is ghastly and the Blessed Sacrament Chapel on Bachelors Walk is claustraphobic.  But one thing they all have in common is that almost no one in the congregation uses the "new" translation of the Mass.  Loads of "and also with you"s.  And no one, but no one says "it is right and just".  The Sanctus is confused mess.  The Non Sum Dignis likewise.  The priest doesn't even know the acclamation of faith.  And the dismissal has become a meandering "Go, and proclaim the gospel with your lives and live it with your peace" sort of thing.

Mustn't grumble though.

My six year old announced on Sunday that she wished she were a pagan as she was fed up going to Mass. 

Her mother responded: "Of course there'd be no Christmas, no Easter eggs".

Six year old:  "Well there'd still be Hallowe'en".

Continuing the digression, what to do when a bunch of local kids or teenagers decide that your front wall is the perfect place to congregate.  I was advising a neighbour recently that he should do what St John Bosco {or was it Philip Neri?} did, get a tight rope and some balls and teach them to juggle.

52nd daily sayings of light of love (St John of the Cross)

That person has truly mastered all things who is not moved to joy by the satisfaction they afford or saddened by their insipidness.

Monday 8 April 2013

51st daily sayings of light of love (St John of the Cross)

O Lord, my God, you are no stranger to those who do not estrange themselves from you.  How do they say that it is you who absent yourself?

Sunday 7 April 2013

50th daily sayings of light of love (St John of the Cross)

If you purify your soul of attachments and desires, you will understand things spiritually.  If you deny your appetite for them, you will enjoy their truth, understanding what is certain in them.

Saturday 6 April 2013

49th daily sayings of light of love (St John of the Cross)

O mighty Lord, if a spark from the empire of your justice effects so much in the mortal ruler who governs the nations what will your all-powerful justice do with the righteous and the sinner?

Friday 5 April 2013

RTE and its lapdog, the BAI

Decisions of the Broadcasting Authority of Ireland were published recently, most of them against RTE concerning its biased and imbalanced reporting on abortion.

As is hardly surprising, in all cases the BAI failed to uphold any of the complaints.

The margin of editorial appreciation granted to RTE is quite extraordinary.  They are allowed to determine the "news value" of basic information.

A classic example was today's coverage of the the Irish Medical Organisation Annual General Meeting which rejected three motions to support abortion.  Any reasonable person would think that in the context of the massive coverage of the Savita Halappanavar death, the Government's plans to introduce abortion legislation, the recent Oireachtas hearings - that RTE would regard a decision by the medical profession to reject three proposals to support abortion - along X case lines, for rape and incest, and for foetal deformity - as massively newsworthy.  You would have expected it to be the lead story.  Instead of which it was, what, the 4th or 5th story. And not even a stand alone story, but buried in another IMO story about the allowance paid the president of the IMO.  The little bit of coverage they gave focused on the disagreement in the IMO, not on the vote.  Their main coverage was off the pro-abortion doctor who moved the motions which were rejected.  And then they threw in a pro-life doctor talking about the Nazis!

And if you complain to the BAI - well RTE will say they covered the story perfectly adequately and the BAI will agree.

Bob Collins, former director general of RTÉ, is the chairman of the Broadcasting Authority of Ireland (BAI).

Three graces

Check out these beautiful paintings of Popes Benedict, John Paul II and John Paul I.

They're by the Vatican's newest official court artist, Natalia Tsarkova, an ebullient Russian woman with a pet owl. An Orthodox believer in the heart of Rome, Natalia Tsarkova paints her classical-style portraits in a flat filled with Vatican memorabilia by the walls of the Holy See.

48th daily sayings of light and love (St John of the Cross)

If you make use of your reason, you are like one who eats substantial food; but if you are moved by the satisfaction of your will, you are like one who eats insipid fruit.

Thursday 4 April 2013

47th daily sayings of light and love (St John of the Cross)

Lord, you return gladly and lovingly to lift up the one who offends you, but I do not turn to raise and honour the one who annoys me.

Wednesday 3 April 2013

46th daily sayings of light and love (St John of the Cross)

Blessed are they who, setting aside their own pleasure and inclination, consider things according to reason and justice before doing them.

Peanuts for life

Too good not to share:

And this one too:

Tuesday 2 April 2013

3 for 2 when you pick a Pope and why it's right to wash women's feet

You know those deals in bookshops?  3 for the price of 2, a carryover from supermarkets but always a difficulty in books.  You go in to buy a specific book as I did in Easons today and it has a 3for2 label on it and suddenly you have a quandry - do you fall for the marketing ploy or do you stubbornly resist and only buy the book you want while quietly fuming that somehow you are being short changed by the shop?

Electing a Pope is like that.  We all have the qualities we want in a Pope - holiness, intellect, patience, a hard man, a good manager, a great speaker, a man of prayer.  No one person can have all those qualities and we usually prioritise.  You pick one, and then you have to look for other qualities.  And sometimes you get things you wouldn't have picked if you'd a free choice.  We loved Benedict for his teaching, his fidelity, his creativity, his love of liturgy, his humility.  But we had to take his history which the press always misunderstood.  We had to take his not really getting on top of his staff and perhaps being overly loyal to them.

With Pope Francis we get a lot of good things too.  Perhaps someone not afraid to tackle his staff - but that means someone who might refuse to wear a mozzetta or even a stole.  We get a simple preacher, with a clear direct message, but perhaps his writing won't be so good.  We get a love for the poor and a sense of the real need for new evangelisation and a Church cut to fit that cloth.  There is a thin line between determination and stubborness as I know only too well and we'll have to see where Pope Francis falls - I hope on the right side.

Lots of you have asked me about his washing of the feet of girls and muslims.  My views are mixed.  In terms of the process, I think the Pope, as supreme legislator for the Church, should respect his own laws and if he wanted to change them he should have changed them, not simply ignored them (Creative Minority Report takes the same line).  Only he has the power to change the liturgical laws but there is a process.  He could have done that very simply on Spy Wednesday.  By breaking his own laws he has rather left the door open for other priests to break the laws for the usual "pastoral reasons".  So the priest in Newry who thought it a good idea to celebrate Mass wearing a soutane and red chausable (no alb) because Down were in the All-Ireland might claim the right to do so.

That said, on the issue itself, I think it is right and proper to open up the so called mandatum ceremony to women.  "But Jesus only washed the feet of the twelve apostles" you cry in protest at my descent into quasi-liberal madness.  Indeed He did.  And He only gave Holy Communion to the Twelve.  Are we to presume that only men may receive Holy Communion?  Only bishops?

The mandatum ceremony re-enacts a scene from John's gospel - but not in the same way that the Mass re-enacts the Last Supper and sacrifice of Calvary.  We are not doing something sacramental.  What was the purpose of what Jesus did?  It was to show that those in authority - himself, the Twelve, monarch, bishops and priests - are there to serve those whom they have authority over.  So it makes sense for a bishop, including the Pope, to wash the feet of twelve of his priests.  But for a priest in a parish, it makes more sense for him to wash the feet of a range of ordinary parishioners, including women and even non-Catholics.

There, now it only took me five minutes to write that - that's what Pope Francis should have written on Spy Wednesday when he change the rules.

By the way - my 3 for 2 books - Department 19:  Battle LinesThe Maleficent Seven;  and Light.

Salt of the earth

On Sunday morning I heard my wife giving out to my football playing eleven year old who had somehow managed to get muddy water all over the front door which my wife had cleaned during the previous week. [Editor: Really?  Who cleans a front door?  Catholicus Nua: Womem, apparently.]

I thought little of it.  Then that evening decided to go to Mass - it was Easter Sunday and the whole family, for the first time, had gone to the Easter Vigil, but I fancied a Mass on Easter Sunday itself.  I looked at the door, then I noticed the front of the car, similarly marked, the windows of the front room. Not muddy, but more white.  A sort of white passover.  And it dawned on me.  I have a tradition, inherited from my childhood.  Get a bottle of Easter water at the Vigil and as soon as you come home you bless the house, outside and in (and the car). 

All I can is my parish priest must have used a hell of a lot of salt in the Easter water.

45th daily sayings of light and love (St John of the Cross)

Be attentive to your reason in order to do what it tells you concerning the way to God.  It will be more valuable before your God than all the works you perform without this attentiveness and all the spiritual delights you seek.

Monday 1 April 2013

The Joy of Six

I have a six year old daughter with oppositional defiance syndrome - or as we used to say in the old days, "I have a six year old daughter".

She is a delight.  Just found her playing in her room three hours after going to bed, the whold bed covered in books to create a flat surface, covered in her "little people", an enormous army of characters, little dolls, lego creatures etc and she has the most marvellous interior life with them.

On Saturday night at the Easter Vigil as we sat in the dark with our candles listening to the readings from the Old Testament (yes, the rubrics were ignored - blame Pope Donal) she announced "I'm bored with this stuff".  Then as we prepared to renew our baptismal promises and we explained how you had to say "I do" when the priest asked the questions, she of course said, "What if you don't agree?" and proceeded to shout out "I don't".

Two days ago she asked me how you become a Nazi.

44th daily sayings of light and love (St John of the Cross)

Bear in mind that your flesh is weak, that that no worldly thing can comfort or strengthen your spirit, for what is born of the world is world and what is born of the flesh is flesh. The good spirit is born only of the Spirit of God, who communicates himself neither through the world no through the flesh.