Thursday, August 23, 2012
We had a little celebration to mark the tenth anniversary of our wedding. We managed to include, in the course of the evening, Low Mass,
punting on the river, and
Scottish Country Dancing. Not to mention dinner.
It was a truly Catholic evening. Not in the sense of universalism, of course, it was rather culturally specific, but this was the instantiation of universal human instincts, conviviality, and innocent enjoyment. In other words, we had fun. As Belloc wrote
Wherever the Catholic sun doth shine
There is always laughter and good red wine.
At least I have always found it so.
There is a Savoranola tendency among some of the saints which was hostile to dancing, but I don't think St Jean Vianney, for example, would have minded this. It was the Calvinists in Scotland who tried to do away with music and dancing, and the Catholics who preserved it. Scottish Country Dancing is not the spontaneous, if not drug-fuelled, emotional effusion of modern disco dancing; it is far more interesting and satisfying, because it involves form and structure, and even discipline. Nor does it display the coupely nature of modern ball-room dancing, which seems designed to separate couples from the rest of the world, unless they are showing off. It is a truly social activity. It is difficult to express it, you have to experience it. We had a couple of live musicians and a 'caller' for the less experienced, and it was a hoot.