Tuesday, 21 October 2014

The Cross

The Cross stands still outside St Mary's at Great Swinburn
The Cross stands still amid the turbulence of the world. The Carthusians had a whole theology about it (Stat crux dum volvitur orbis - the Cross stands still while the world turns). Nothing changed for them in their monastery while the world around them raged and revolved. It was said that they had never been reformed because they had no need to be reformed.

I believe they no longer say their old Mass nor read their old prayers. Everything build by man can and will wither and decay. Only the Cross stands.

This Cross is outside the Church in Great Swinburne. It stands against the bleak, rugged background of the Northumbrian countryside. There is something right about it. They fit together. The ground is stone with a thin covering of soil and grass. There would never have been great forests here, nor luxurious vegetation. What you see is what you get.

On the Cross, what you see is what you get.

In the Church, what you see is what you get.

It is our gift to the world.

Monday, 20 October 2014

The Things you Read...

I was re-reading "Light of the World" by Pope Benedict XVI, when I read this:

When, for example, in the name of non-discrimination, people try to force the Catholic Church to change her position on homosexuality or the ordination of women, then that means that she is no longer allowed to live out her own identity and that, instead, an abstract negative religion is being made into a tyrannical standard that everyone must follow... 
The danger is that reason - so-called Western reason - claims that it has now really recognized what is right and thus makes a claim to totality that is inimical to freedom...
No one is forced to be a Christian. But no one should be forced to live according to the "new religion" as though it alone were definitive and obligatory for all mankind.

That works for me.

Have I heard something like this recently from the Synod? Have I? Have I?


Wednesday, 15 October 2014

Fr Kevin Knox-Lecky r.i.p.

Fr  Kevin - photo from Clifton Diocesan website
We heard news of Fr Kevin's death a few days ago, and people all over the Diocese of Clifton and beyond are, I hope, offering up prayers for him.

We priests, even Diocesan brothers, can live quite independent lives, and do not necessarily meet up or support each other, but I can say that Fr Kevin was a kind and good friend.

I first came across him when I came to the Diocese of Clifton and became involved in signing for the Deaf Community. There were not too many of us signing priests around, and he taught me not just specifically Catholic signs, but a value of and deep connection with the Deaf Community in our Diocese. He had know them for years. He had seen their children be born and grow. He had buried and mourned with them.

Of course we do this with parishioners all the time, but this 'extra-ordinary' parish of the Deaf Community was solid and stable even as priests move from parish to parish. And the connection between a chaplain and this community is all the sweeter and more precious for the shared communication in a world which can sometimes be filled with deafening silence. He served them well, and Clifton Deaf Service will be infinitely the poorer for his death.

This really is all I want to say. This is where I knew him best, and giving a voice is all I can do for my deaf friends who are so very far away.

A Tridentine Requiem will be offered for him at his funeral, and I believe Bishop will Lang will preach. I am sorry I cannot be there to sign for him, or see signed prayers offered for the repose of his soul.

It was always funny, I thought, that the two of us were so caught up in both the Latin Mass and provision for the deaf and people who are hard of hearing. At one level it is a strange combination, at another it is the most natural in the world.

I have already offered Mass for the repose of his soul in the ancient Liturgy of the Church. I shall now sign his soul into the hands of our All-powerful and All-merciful Judge and King.

May he rest in peace.

Tuesday, 14 October 2014

Concerning the localised positivism of undifferentiated thought.

Now that is the title of a post. It is fantastic. If as you sit and read this your mind has started to think...

"Yeah, undifferentiated thought, now that is something that can easily lead to a form of positivism, and although I'm not sure I'd go that far, I suppose that you could argue that it is at times - though such language is not best used here - as kind of localised."

... then stop it, just stop it. Because I just made it up. Though I have to admit that it sounds just a bit spiffy and I am feeling distinctly cleverer for having written it down.

Now that's a well turned ankle
This is the danger of going back into academia. I had always loved the academic pursuit of a well turned phrase (rather like the bounder's pursuit of a well turned ankle - but I digress). But there are times when language can confuse rather than clarify, when it can make things much, much more complicated than what they actually need to be.

This is not to say that everything should be dumbed down to "John good. We do like John do" but if you get to localised positivism, then it's time to pack up and go home.

So what is the point of this. Well, apart from the fact I have been reading some dense theology and so I fear that my brain has started to leak from my ears, like jam that oozes from an overly filled doughnut, I am worried about the outcome of the synod in Rome on the family.

I just know that it is going to be very clever, and written in very clever ways, as Shakespeare said "full of sound and fury", and that in the process the purpose of writing it, namely to communicate to us what it is supposed to be saying, will be lost. Then we will spend years fighting over what it means. Sound familiar?

But then again, I may not want to know what the synod says, in which case I shall be as happy as Larry in not knowing what it is banging on about.

Anyway, here is a picture of a cat. They have no problems with undifferentiated thought, though some have been accused of positivism. It is, however, beyond my ability to say whether or not it was localised.

But I suspect it was.

Friday, 10 October 2014

Mass Times

From this Sunday there will be an extra Mass at Great Swinburne.

Holy Mass (Ordinary Form) 10.15am
Holy Mass (Extra-ordinary Form) noon

Everyone is most welcome. The postal code is NE48 4DQ, and here is a link to it on a map.

Listen to my voice

The church of Our Lady in Copenhagen. Now Lutheran, once Catholic.
When the Bishop of Copenhagen borrowed (sic) it for confirmations, he was forced to say Mass ad orientem.
Recently in Denmark, I went to some of the Lutheran churches and found them quite extraordinary. they were much more elaborate than I would have expected, but protestantism takes many forms.

The seating arrangement in one of the benches, rather similar to a train carriage.
Of note was the very strange seating arrangement. It seemed that in certain pews there were two benches facing each other. Now when I'm in Church I often wish I could put up my feet, so as to participate more fully in the homily, but here? In this Lutheran stronghold?

The answer is even better. The sanctuary is at the front of the Church, but the pulpit is in the middle. You could never be so rude as to have your back to the preacher, and so at homily time, you decamp to the other bench, so that the minister can eyeball you and remind you that time here is short and you'd better mend your ways!

I think we should insist on multiple pew benches, from now on.

Tuesday, 7 October 2014

Lines of phones

We three men of BT are. Two in a van and one in a car.

Yesterday, known sometimes as the feast of the Guardian Angels, shall from henceforth be know as "the day BT came".

At eight thirty a wonderful chap came to comment my telephone. It was his first day after training and working with someone else that he was working on his own. This was his first job, an easy job. Needless to say, of course, he only left at half past three in the afternoon, and after two other chaps came out as well!

They were, all three of them, charming and incredibly helpful. Good men, doing a diligent job. 

I think, from my limited experience (which immediately makes me an expert), that it is the relationship with BT and the customer at the first point of contact that makes it all so difficult. Why for example, can yoU not have an online chat? For me, I couldn't speak to them on the telephone because mobile coverage is so patchy here, and of course, I didn't have a telephone (hence the need to get in touch with the first place).

Oh well. The three men came and were excellent and now I have a telephone line. Now I start on trying to get internet...

Sunday, 28 September 2014

Jesuit Gubbins

I'm staying in the Jesuit House in Copenhagen, the Jesu Hjerte Kirke. And it is marvellously Jesuit of a certain age. In many ways it reminds me of the clergy accomodation which you find in Rome.

One thing caught my eye. It is an electronic system for telling people if you are in or out. It must have been very technological at the time, and is still used. There is an electric box in the downstairs corridor with light that light up, depending on whether you have indicated you are in or not. It is shown in your own room, with a series of little light bulbs, and is changed by a simple connection system next to the door. It is wonderful!

There is also the older system next to the door of each room. You slide the pointer to show what you are up to, or where you are. Same thing a few decades later.

Saturday, 27 September 2014

Monday's Mass

Den Hellige Messe

i den ekstraordinære form af den romerske ritus. 
Fejres på festen for den hellige Ærkeengel Michael
Den 29. september kl. 18:00 i Jesu Hjerte Kirke, Thorsgade 22, 8900 Randers
Med efterfølgende reception i Jesu Hjertes sognelokale.
This is from the site of Saint Canute (link here) which promotes the traditional liturgy in Denmark. Thanks to them I am here in Copenhagen where I will sing Holy Mass in the morning, and in Randers where I will sing it on Monday in honour of St Michael.
(By the way I can post this not because of the wonderfulness of any broad band packages, but because I seem to have got into the Jesuits of Copenhagen computer system! Gosh.)


I have to come to an airport to be able to blog! My move has gone very well except for one thing: getting a BT telephone line. 

The problem seems to be that my house does not exist, even though the priest before me had a line there and received bills. 

BT asked me on the telephone if the house was a new build. Not for a couple of hundred years - I replied. 

Sarcasm didn't work and I'm still waiting. 

The reason I'm in an airport is that I'm off to Copenhagen to sing Mass. How cool!

(I've tried to post this a number of times. I think BT are following me... And not in a good way.)
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