Friday, February 22, 2008

The Real Dorothy

I am greatly enjoying a collection of essays by the great Dorothy L. Sayers, creator of the aristocratic English detective, Lord Peter Wimsey. A woman as large and jolly as Chesterton, who, of course, also created a great detective, she enjoyed a good debate - and a good cigar! Like Chesterton, her debates, even with obvious heretics, kept Othello's maxim: "Nor set down aught in malice," advice the Owl attempts to follow, even when lampooning soft-rock crooner's from the 1970's. She has Lord Peter Wimsey say in 'Gaudy Night,' - "A facility for quotation covers the absence of original thought" - with that out of the way, and not an original thought in my head, I'll quote some goodies from the real Dorothy.

"We have very efficiently pared the claws of the Lion of Judah, certified him 'meek and mild,' and recommended him as a fitting household pet for pale curates' and pious old ladies."

"Surely it is not the business of the Church to adapt Christ to men, but to adapt men to Christ."

"It is the dogma that is the drama - not beautiful phrases, nor comforting sentiments, nor vague aspirations to loving-kindness and uplift, nor the promise of something nice after death - but the terrifying assertion that the same God who made the world, lived in the world and passed through the grave and gate of death. Show that to the heathen, and they may not believe it; but at least they may realize that here is something that a man might be glad to believe."

"Nothing is more intoxicating than a sense of power: the demagogue who can sway crowds..... the parliamentary candidate who is carried to the top of the poll on a flood of meaningless rhetoric...are all playing perilously and irresponsibly with the power of words, and are equally dangerous whether they are cynically unscrupulous or (as frequently happens) have fallen under the spell of their own eloquence and become the victims of their own propaganda." ......yes, we can....!

Tu es Petrus

Feast of the Chair of St. Peter

"Tu es Petrus, et super hanc petram aedificabo Ecclesiam meam, et portae inferi non pravalebunt adversus eam."

"Peter holds the primacy so as to show that Christ's Church is one, that his Chair is one. God is one. The Lord is one. The Church is one. The Chair founded by Christ is one."

St. Cyprian, Third Century.

"In Peter the strength of all is strengthened."

St. Leo the Great.

"What else could we ask of Peter for our own good; what else could we offer in his honour other than our believing exactly what he believed, which is the origin of our spiritual health, and the promise he demands of us to be strong in the Faith?"

Pope Paul VI

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Extraordinary Form of the Corned Beef

Due to St. Patrick's Day falling in Holy Week this year, the Bishops have shifted the date of his liturgical celebration to Friday 14th March. Canon lawers have been working furiously to find a way out of the corned beef dilemma. It has never been a dilemma for me, because, even though I am 100% Irish on my Father's side, and entitled to an Irish passport should I feel the urge, the sight of a plateful of corned beef and cabbage turns my stomach. The fact that this particular "traditional Irish meal" was unheard of in the Emerald Isle until the 'Irish-Americans' started exporting the St. Patrick's day hoopla, doesn't seem to matter. A real Irish meal would be a nice plateful of boiled spuds, with skins melting off, slathered in nice Kerrygold butter - yum!

The Canon lawers have come up with the 'Corned Beef Indult - Extraordinary Form' -:Friday of the last week of Lent will not be Friday, even though it will be the day after Thursday and the day before Saturday. As Tiny Tim might say, were he thinking of Canon lawers (and we have no evidence he wasn't) "Gawd Bless 'Em, one and all!"

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Note to Presidential Candidates

" At the centre of the endeavours of the coming culture will loom this problem of power. The solution of it will remain crucial. Every decision faced by the future age - those determining the welfare or misery of humanity and those determining the life or death of mankind itself - will be decisions centered upon the problem of power. Although it will increase automatically as time moves on, the concern will not be its increase but first the restraint and then the proper use of power."

Romano Guardini.

The Purpose of the Church: "She must steadily hold out to man the final verities, the ultimate image of perfection, the most fundamental principles of value, and must not permit herself to be confused by any passion, by any alteration of sentiment, by any trick of self-seeking."

Romano Guardini.

Owl's 100th Birthday

The real Owl of the Remove is 100 years old this week - I may have to break my Lenten fast and visit the Tuck shop!

Monday, February 18, 2008


For all those who are struggling with whatever you have given up for Lent - a picture to keep you on the straight path.

Bishop Hilarion and Cardinal George

Various blogs have noted the recent comments of the young Russian Orthodox Bishop, Hilarion, at a Council of Churches meeting in Switzerland. Rather like Daniel in the lion's den, he declared that "liberal Christianity will not survive long and political correctness within the Christian community is destined to die." This reminded me of a quote from Cardinal Francis George of Chicago, easily the most intellectually able of the US Bishops:

"We are at a turning point in the life of the Church......liberal Christianity is an exhausted project. Essentially a critique, even a necessary critique at one point in our history, it is now parasitical on a substance that no longer exists. It has shown itself unable to pass on the faith in its integrity and inadequate, therefore, in fostering the joyful self-surrender called for in Christian marriage, in consecrated life, in ordained priesthood. It no longer gives life."

Saturday, February 16, 2008

Marini's Silence Explained

Archbishop Marini being taken into rehab.

Commentators have been wondering about the apparent silence of Archbishop Marini, the former Papal MC and leading exponent of the "soft rock hits of the '70's." I can now reveal, from various sources close to the Vatican, the reason for the silence. Pope Benedict has insisted on a course of liturgical rehab of between three weeks to six months. All those given to 'Coco the Clown' style liturgies are now experiencing interventions. This is also the reason behind the recent quietness of Bishop Donald Fishperson. My sources tell me that the typical intervention occurs around 1.00am - with a crack squad of the Priestly Fraternity of St. Peter arriving in an unmarked vehicle. Armed with tazers (in the extraordinary form), they quickly subdue the liturgical bandits, blindfold them with old Mantillas and take them to rehab. Although the location is meant to be a secret, to deter Marty Haughen and the St. Louis Jesuits from attempting a rescue mission, the name "St. Guantanamo's Retreat" is believed to be the epicentre of operations. Run by the Institute of Christ the King Sovereign Priest, the rehab course is tough, and no-one leaves until they can say the Mass of Pope John XXIII by heart. There is some debate about whether certain techniques performed at St. Guantanamo are actually liturgical torture, but Pope Benedict is believed to feel that, after all the torture they put us through, a little bit of rough treatment may be in order. Among the techniques are: 1)Gregorian chant piped into their cells, 24 hours a day. 2) Liturgical 'water boarding,' consisting of a soaking with Holy Water while singing the "Asperges." 3) Wearing a maniple - even in the shower.

Marini's intervention took place last Saturday, shortly after he had returned from judging a 'Liturgical Dancing With the Stars' competition, sponsored by the Sisters of Mercy. As he was dragged into the back of the waiting vehicle by two burly Priestly Fraternity members in bullet-proof cassocks, Marini was heard to wail: "I'm not going to rehab, no, no, no."

Friday, February 15, 2008


Couldn't resist stealing this picture of the Canterbury Imam. Apparently we have all the been rather unfair to Dr. Williams - but this picture is still fun! Thanks to Fr. Justin at Nova et Vetera.

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Not Just St. Valentine's Day

February 14th is also the Feast of St. Cyril and St. Methodius, who are also joint Patrons of Europe, where it is celebrated as a Feast. Pope John Paul the Great said that the Church must breathe "with both lungs," - the East and the West - rather than the commercial hype of "Valentine's Day" (when was he de-canonized?) let us pray for the union of the Church of Rome and the Church of Constantinople.

The St. Valentine's Day Massacre

Sunday, February 10, 2008

News from the Campaign

I have been inundated with requests to know how the Presidential campaign of the Owl is progressing. The Owl is known as the stealth candidate, also known as the Third Party choice. When the country is exhausted with the poor choice on the Democratic and Republican tickets, the Owl will emerge, to a grateful nation, as the only obvious candidate. Part of the Owl's new strategy is to have crowds chant "yes, we can" until they go into a Sufi trance. (Whirling Dervishes will be provided) What "we can" do doesn't really matter, it is enough to chant it. The Owl's political team believes policies should be revealed on a "need to know" basis - and the people really don't need to know. I can reveal that the Owl believes in Global Warming: that it's a good thing, because anything that warms Vermont up can't be bad. He encourages the use of gas-guzzling SUV's, and wants to be known for his big, fat, carbon footprint. Among other policies he is prepared to reveal: 1) Life in prison, without parole, for the use of cell-phones in Church. 2) The introduction of the stocks on village greens, and free rotten vegetables to throw at the people in the stocks. 3) Punishment of a day in the stocks for anyone who uses the word "like" as punctuation. 4) A humble apology to be offered to Her Majesty the Queen for the act of treason in 1776, and a petition to be allowed to enter the Commonwealth.

On a serious note - as an ignorant resident alien - can anyone explain to me how political candidates are allowed to make speeches in churches? Do these bodies not have tax -exempt status? If they do, why is that status not removed when the Sunday service is turned into a political rally?

Thursday, February 7, 2008

Britain's New Grand Mufti Speaks

Imam Rowan, of the Canterbury Mosque

According to reports in today's press, the new Grand Mufti of Britain, Imam Rowan Williams, the Grand Mufti of the Canterbury Mosque, has said that Muslim Sharia law is "unavoidable" in Britain. In years past, the Canterbury Mosque was both a Catholic and then an Anglican Cathedral, dedicated to Christ the Saviour, who was believed, by orthodox Christians, to be the Son of God.

Wednesday, February 6, 2008

The Light is On

As Lent begins, I am intrigued by reports on the Web that finally, people are starting to return to the practice of Confession. Apparently the Archdiocese of Washington had a highly successful campaign last year entitled "The Light is On," which encouraged every priest in the Archdiocese to be in his confessional from 6.30pm till 8.00pm every Wednesday in Lent. The campaign was so successful, and so many people came back to confession that they are running the same campaign again this Lent. My experience has been that availability and preaching are the key - and availability when the people CAN come - not on a Saturday afternoon any more. Evenings DO work - it has been my practice in the last two parishes to offer people, apart from the Saturday afternoon, the opportunity for Mass, Adoration and Confession on a Tuesday evening. Following the wise advice of another priest, I also go into the confessional after all the weekend Masses during Advent and Lent - slowly but surely, people are coming back. Of course there are some who will never return - they have convinced themselves that they are without sin and will get to Heaven without God's help - the return of Pelagianism - but sitting in the confessional giving people the opportunity if Grace strikes - is much more important for a priest than endless meetings - and good penance for the priest!

Tuesday, February 5, 2008

Last Gasp II

"Spirit of Vatican II" finally buried.

Sunday, February 3, 2008

Last Gasp

Father Richard McBrien addresses a 'We are Church' gathering

I return to see that the few relics from a dying Church are still trying to fight their desperate rearguard action against the leadership of both Pope Benedict and John Paul the Great. Some younger folks may not realize that John Paul began the "reform of the reform" way back in 1980 with "Inestimabile Donum," warning about liturgical abuses and firmly attempting to correct them. So, for 29 years, the teaching office of Peter has been clearly teaching the authentic interpretation of the Second Vatican Council, not what people want the Council to say. Following soft-rock crooner Marini's disloyal attack on his former boss, the old liberal cadaver Richard McBrien now comes out with an absurd review of the crooner's tosh. Included in the piece is the unbelievable clericalism (yes - clericalism!) of McBrien's comment that receiving Communion in the hand means that people are now equal and not kneeling like "serfs before their Lord!" In case you didn't know - if you choose (you have that right - but not obligation) to kneel to receive your Saviour, strangely enough you are not kneeling to the priest, whatever Father McBrien may believe - you are kneeling before the living God - as far as I know, we are not yet equals with the one whom Moses had to remove his shoes before. I presume the new prayer in 'McBrien-Church' will be: "Lord, I AM worthy to receive you!" As some of you may know, I love zombie movies, and each time one of the living dead, like the old fossils Greeley, Joan Chittister or "Zombie" McBrien are wheeled out, from the high security liberal nursing home where they are kept in 24 hour lockdown by the evil forces of the CDF, to give a comment about current Church practice - (always negative - have you noticed that?) - I am reminded of a George Romero movie. These creatures now move slowly, they are still alive in a sense, but can only survive by eating living human beings. How they must long for the days when they were alive, those heady days, when they could dance the liturgical night away and get down and boogy to the super-sounds of the 70's. What happened to their dreams - why are these young folks asking for reverence and worship at Mass? What hope they had that the vocation crisis would usher in an age of priestless celebrations - how sad they must be to see seminary numbers once again rising and young people with none of the baggage of their glory days coming forward for priesthood and the religious life. Take a look at the 'We are Church/Voice of the Faithful' gatherings - and then look at the website of the Nashville Dominicans or the Sisters of Life.

For light reading on my break, I read Philip Hughes magnificent 'History of the Catholic Church' - that puts everything into perspective - and reminds one that we have seen it all - literally - before - but the Church goes on - founded upon the promise to Peter. Now I must, like one of my good readers said on his blog, go and pray.

Owl Returns

I am back in the blogosphere, to the delight of my three readers. I was in a former British colony (yes, I know I live in a former British colony) - this colonial outpost was a little warmer and served good rum - enough clues? The break was good, although I caught another cold - one after another seems a little unfair, I was obviously a good candidate for any germs flying around.