Thursday, January 09, 2020

The Papal Slap

I wrote this for Rorate Caeli.

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A lot of people have weighed in on Pope Francis repeatedly slapping the hand of a pilgrim in St Peter’s Square. Reactions have not divided simply along ideological lines. Austin Ruse suggested, on Twitter, that Pope Benedict and Pope John Paul II would have reacted even more fiercely to a pilgrim grabbing their hands and not letting go. I was undecided myself at first. The pilgrim’s action did seem a little aggressive. On the other hand, there she is, in the video, a rather small Chinese lady, making a sign of the cross to steel herself to take the hand of the much larger Pope, surrounded by body guards. From what one can see of the timing of the incident, the Pope reacts as he does not to the surprise of the physical aspect of the gesture, but to what she is saying. She is saying something about Hong Kong…

Read the rest on Rorate.

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Wednesday, January 08, 2020

Roger Buck's 'Gentle Traditionalist' returns

My latest for LifeSite. Buy Roger Buck's latest book through this link which gives him a little more of the cover price.


In 2015, Catholic convert Roger Buck published The Gentle Traditionalist, a work of apologetics in a dialogue form which, like some of Plato’s dialogues, is flavoured by a fictional dramatic setting set out at the beginning and the end. Despite its classical antecedents this is an unusual format, but Buck’s work was very successful. I have been recommending it to everyone ever since, as the ideal non-threatening introduction to traditional Catholic concerns on culture, education, and politics, the issues which motivated Chesterton, Belloc, and Evelyn Waugh.
The Gentle Traditionalist was followed in 2016 by Buck’s magnum opus, the 450-page Cor Jesu Sacratissimum: From Secularism and the New Age to Christendom Renewed. This is partly autobiographical, featuring Buck’s former life as a New Age practitioner and activist. Buck’s latest book, The Gentle Traditionalist Returns: A Catholic Knight’s Tale from Ireland, returns to the characters and format of the first book but more of the issues of the second. It is an exploration of the New Age as it is invading a newly-post-Christian Ireland, Buck’s adoptive country, in the context of the abortion referendum of 2016.

Carry on reading there.

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Monday, January 06, 2020

Learn to cook in 2020

My latest on LifeSite News

I’ve mentioned more than once the importance of culture. Catholic culture, I wrote in one article, presupposes culture. I would like to say more about this issue, not only because it is important in itself, but because people want to know what they can or should do about the current crisis in the Church. Well, they — you, we — should learn how to cook.
Our Lady of Fatima’s message to the children in 1917 was, Sr. Lucia later explained, was not primarily about the First Saturdays or the rosary or the brown scapular, important as those devotions are. It was “the faithful accomplishment of our daily duties.” The world would be converted if Catholics performed their daily duties more faithfully. That is why the enemies of the Church have attacked precisely those daily duties. For most Catholics, online zealotry is easy, or at least appears so; it is being a good Catholic father, mother, husband, wife, son, or daughter that has become extraordinarily difficult, not to mention being a good Catholic employer, or employee, a good Catholic citizen, or a good Catholic public servant. One might say, perhaps, that being a good Catholic public servant — an elected representative or career civil servant — has become impossible in some places, and that this kind of public engagement is best avoided. We wouldn’t dare say that it has become impossible to be a good Catholic spouse or parent, though, because that would imply that we could not have families at all. Somehow, we have to face the difficulties and overcome them.
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Thursday, January 02, 2020

James MacMillan interview: music, culture, politics, religion

I've just round to watching this, and it is very interesting.


Sir James is a Patron of the Latin Mass Society.

He mentions a recent book of his reflections, which can be found here.


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Tuesday, December 31, 2019

Blessing of Wine for the feast of St John

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At SS Gregory & Augustine's, Oxford, following the EF Low Mass.

Monday, December 30, 2019

The Logic of the Incarnation

My 'Christmas article' for LifeSiteNews.

In Advent, we expect Christ’s coming in several senses. There is an eschatological sense: we expect Christ to come as Judge at the end of time, an expectation key to the Christian life. There is a sacramental sense: we expect the coming of Christ in the Eucharist, where He will be as real as He was in Bethlehem. There is the spiritual sense: we hope and prepare for Christ to come into our hearts. And then there is the most obvious one, which forms the backdrop to the others. The Second Person of the Trinity, Jesus Christ, is to be revealed as a baby.

Christ has been present on Earth since the Annunciation, hidden in the womb of His Mother. That day, 25 March, was for centuries the start of the English financial year; it is also the date JRR Tolkien chose for the final destruction of the Ring in the Lord of the Rings trilogy. It is, in truth, the date of the Incarnation. In His birth, however, Christ is revealed to us: He becomes, as a man, a public person. It is now possible and appropriate for Him to be venerated by the shepherds and the Wise Men. In His birth He becomes subject to the Law of Moses, at least apparently, though really He is the Lord of it: it pleases Him and His Mother to fulfil the Law scrupulously. In His birth He also becomes vulnerable, and He must be carried into safety from the wrath of Herod. We might say that in His birth, the logic of the Incarnation is worked out more fully.

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Wednesday, December 18, 2019

Iota Unum talks confirmed for 2020

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Fr Edward van den Bergh giving the last Iota Unum talk of 2019

In 2019 the Latin Mass Society undertook a number of new initiatives in London: notably, a new chant schola, the Schola Cantorum Sancti Ioanni Houghton, to train new singers; a series of Server Training days under the Society of St Tarcisius; and a monthly series of talks, the 'Iota Unum' talks.

These three initiatives have each been a great success. I have already announced the early 2020 dates for server training, and I am delighted to announce another 6 months' of Iota Unum talks have also been confirmed, with some great speakers and topics.

They take place in the basement of Our Lady of the Assumption, Warwick Street (please enter through the basement stairs from Golden Square), on Friday evenings.

Doors open at 6:30pm for talk at 7pm.

All welcome. £5 on the door; light refreshments.

Join the mailing list for London events here.