Tuesday, 30 October 2007

The sheep of his flock

It used to be the custom in Ireland that a bishop, before confirming children, would personally examine them in their catechism. My father resented to the end of his life that his confirmation was deferred a year because the boy next to him answered a question wrong, and my father got the blame.

A parishioner here told me this about his own confirmation interview.

Bishop: Now if our Lord likens you laypeople to his sheep, what does that make me?
Nervous farmer's son: Er, the ram, me lord.

Dolly Mixture Rage in Sussex

This arrived by post today:

The Sussex Sweet Shop opened Christmas last year, and we were completely overwhelmed by our friends from the churches desperately in need of

- Dolly Mixtures -

… So we have arranged this

- Pre-order Form -

It then goes on to enable me to order 3kg sacks of Dolly Mixture (each sack containing 1800 sweets)

Somebody, please tell me this is all a wind-up! The secretary and I have been rolling around laughing all morning at the image of venerable archdeacons having a punch up over the last dolly mixture sweet.

Monday, 29 October 2007


This, from Zenit:

ROME, OCT. 28, 2007 (Zenit.org).- Benedict XVI's vicar for the Diocese of Rome expressed his hopes that religious men and women increase their use of information technology, and thus take advantage of what he called a new form of apostolate.

Cardianl Camillo Ruini spoke to the religious at the Pontifical Urbanian University during the diocesan gathering of the Union of Major Superiors of Italy, which represents 1,287 communities and 22,000 religious in Rome.

According to the Roman diocesan weekly RomaSette, Cardinal Ruini said: "A priest from Novara told me that the theme of 'Jesus' is very much discussed by youth in blogs. The focus, though, comes from destructive books that are widespread today, and not from Benedict XVI’s book ‘Jesus of Nazareth.'

"What will the idea of Christ be in 10 years if these ideas triumph?"

The true Jesus

The 76-year-old prelate admitted, "I don’t understand the Internet, but especially young religious ought to enter blogs and correct the opinions of the youth, showing them the true Jesus.”

“The teaching emergency is central in Benedict XVI's concerns," the cardinal said. "For him, education in the faith coincides with service to society, because to form someone in the faith means to form the human person.

"Simply giving motivations for living defeats nihilism and gives value to the human person, a value that is based on Christ himself, the fact that God became a man."

The cardinal asserted that an educator’s testimony and content can matter more than pedagogical techniques.

He called for catechists to be creative in finding occasions for promoting Benedict XVI’s book, saying it shows the solidity of faith in the historical Jesus of the Gospels, and bases the identity of the Christian in a personal encounter with Jesus Christ.

Cardinal Ruini said that in Catholic schools, "the religious can witness to Christ in all their lessons, in the sciences, in history and even in Italian literature, in an inseparable union of faith and culture. Your creativity ought to find new techniques for the vocational challenge, which ought to develop in step with society."

Well, I'm neither young, nor in religious vows, but I'll try and do the rest.

Saturday, 27 October 2007

To a Fish Finger

I found this on a Facebook page, by Andrew Cusack, and so loved it that I must make it my re-entry into the blogosphere:

'To a Fishfinger'

Thou shape impacted of Old Ocean's heart,
With frost imbu'd and golden crumbs bedight,
Casual thy vending and thy worth too light:
How soon thy form symmetric must depart!
In rangéd boxes at the supermart
Thou bidest with thy fellows day and night,
Nor dream'st thou'll't scale some culinary height--
Who fries and serve thee needs no subtile art!
And yet for thee the stalwart seaman rov'd
'Mid tempests' rage; and Iceland's anger keen
Endur'd; nor glimpsed 'mid perils dire the end
Sublime: that thou, scorned digit, should'st be so lov'd
Dearer than pizza or th' entinnéd bean,
For solitary men both food and friend!

(From The Oxford Book of Esperanto Verse, edited and translated by Julian Birdbath)

This is wonderful, and quite restores my belief in all sorts of things important. And particularly my appreciation of my alma mater, St Andrews University, for nourishing such a gloriously whimsical flourish.

Wednesday, 17 October 2007


for the prayers &c. I'm sorry to have been so mysterious recently, but my mother has had a horrid cancer scare, and as she has nobody else in the world, really, I have had a lot on my mind and hands. But the consultant told her today that things are probably going to be okay.
So thank you to those who have said a prayer, and, above all, thank God.