Sunday 28 March 2010

Holy days and holidays

During the week both Bernie and Charlie had their music exams, which all seemed to go ok, but not spectacularly well, so I suspect we're on course for a couple of Merits there.

Now it's the holidays: so this week will be holy, and next week profane (apart from anything else, Anna and I will be back on the booze...)

Hope to get some decent walks in during the holidays - walking is always a good way to re-connect with each other, and there's a lot to talk about, not least Bernie's possible university choices....

And then of course there's the triduum to look forward to and prepare for: confession the first and perhaps most important step.

Palm Sunday -and together again

Wonderful chant at Mass today: Hosanna Filio David, Pueri Hebraeorum, Gloria Laus et Honor, before Mass for the blessing of palms and procession, and then the Vexilla Regis at the end - as well as the usual Proper and Ordinary (Orbis Factor today).

And it was the first time we've all been at Mass together for a while: Ant is back from University.

Sunday 21 March 2010

Expenses - a great new party game

A great new party game. All present are divided into two groups, players and punters, with many more punters than players. All punters are required to put up a substantial stake.

The punters can then vote which of the players are in and which are out (though this makes little practical difference).

The players convene a secret meeting to agree the rules.

The game is then played. The players appropriate large sums of the punters’ stakes to themselves and if challenged can demonstrate they they have not broken the rules (which they themselves agreed, of course).

NB this is normally more fun for the players than the punters, but that’s life...

Saturday 20 March 2010


...or rather the fear of the accusation of it, sometimes stops us from saying things we should.

Is it hypocritical to say I believe lying is wrong, even though I am myself mendacious? If I said lying is wrong and also said or implied that of course I never lie - that’s hypocrisy.

The alternative is to say that moral behaviour is defined as the way I behave - and believe me, that would be a poor morality indeed!

Wednesday 17 March 2010

Life with grandma

It’s not always easy living with Anna’s mum. The other evening, Bernie had boiled some custard over in the microwave and forgotten to clear it up. Grandma arrived in her dressing gown, wanting to make her evening Horlicks and found the thing a mess. Instead of either calling for Bernie, or or Anna or me, or simply getting on with it, she got herself in a real stew. She did clear it up, with bad grace, but then stormed into the drawing room in a state to ask (or demand) that Anna put the glass dish back in the machine as she ‘couldn’t possibly reach. And it was a bit much expecting her to clear up all that mess...’ As we hadn’t known about the mess, that felt a little OTT, and then when Bernie appeared and tried to apologise she wouldn’t listen. She said goodnight to us and slammed the door - leaving me wondering who is the child in all this... and also whether I should address her bad behaviour, which had escalated a minor misdemeanour that had upset her into a situation when Bernie, Anna, and I - as well as she - felt thoroughly disgruntled.

Tuesday 16 March 2010

What we're up to...

Things have moved on since I last posted about the kids.

Ant is now at University and managing both to enjoy herself more than I did and to get good grades (which I never did). Seems to have made a good bunch of friends, too.

Bernie is in the 6th form: everything she likes about school (subjects she enjoys, friends etc) without the bits she disliked (uniforms, dud teachers, subjects she disliked etc). and currently working for grade 7 (piano) and 8 (flute).

Charlie is just choosing his GCSE options and has just taken a second prize in the local music festival on the piano.

Dominique has learned that she has a place at the (good) school the others all went to - and also took second prize on the piano (in a different class) in the music festival with the exact same mark as Charlie.

Why they hate us...

Watching the unedifying press attacks on the Pope and the Church in general, I was struck by a thought. What they hate about us is not the failings (priests who abuse their position and others etc) it's the witness to truth. Particularly the moral teachings of the Church and the fact that the vast majority of priests and religious can and do live fulfilled celibate lives; that Catholic couples who follow the Church's teaching do stick together and achieve long and ultimately happy marriages (whatever travails there may be along the way).

I guess that troubles the consciences of many....

Saturday 13 March 2010


We all went to confession today (except Ant who is away at University these days); and learning from past experience were all particularly careful immediately afterwards not to start bickering etc.

We have learned the hard way that you only have to be cleansed from sin to become an immediate target for silly temptations...

AGF - Global Gender Change

Never mind about Anthropogenic Global Warming , we’ve a new crisis on our hands: Anthropogenic Global Feminisation. The huge volumes of oestrogen being deposited in the water supplies through urine, thanks to the Pill and HRT, is apparently causing some fundamental changes in the biology of both humans and animals. Read the story here.

At this rate we won’t have to worry about global warming (if we ever did) because we will die out due to a lack of fertile men...

H/T Joanna Bogle.

Friday 12 March 2010

A Bright Idea

I received this email recently - sounds like a good idea...

The reason for writing is that I wanted to inform you of an initiative which is designed to raise funds for those organizations who work so hard to protect the dignity of human life from conception to natural death in the UK.

The idea itself is simple. Earlier this week, we (Catholic Values Ltd) launched a non-profit making price comparison website -  You may be familiar this type of service, where lots of different suppliers of services (such as car insurance) are brought together so you can compare their prices side by side and get the best value. does this too, only we’re different. We’re a non-profit making organization and as such will be donating all our income (less any admin costs) to pro-life charities. 

We make our money through the commission generated every time someone buys a service via the website. So from the customer’s perspective, on the one hand they’re saving money on their household bills and on the other they’re able to pass funds onto causes they care about, without actually spending a penny more. It really is that simple.

Anyway, the hope is that the not only will you give the website a once over but also you’ll help me spread the word about our services by writing about us and forwarding this email to as many people as possible.

I have attached a few items that help explain our service – Press Release, Q&A, Price Comparison Guide and a flyer that is ideal for noticeboards.

Many thanks in advance and feel free to come back to me with any questions at
Kind regards
Agostino Di Falco
Catholic Values Ltd
07771 847601


Worth a look, I think!

Human Love and the Devil part two

The fundamental problem with human sexuality is that we are all damaged. This is the great truth that springs from a correct understanding of Original Sin, and it is largely untaught.

The reasons for it not being taught are many. I suspect some are:

1 that it entails belief in the Devil, which is not very fashionable;

2 that people think it engenders fear and guilt, which are not very fashionable.

However, with regard to 1, it is clear that Our Lord believed in the Devil - and indeed met him. With regard to 2, fear and guilt are appropriate responses to, respectively, the prospect of eternal damnation, and sin. They may not be the best or highest motivators to the devout life, and inappropriate fear or guilt can be very destructive, but to negate them all together is folly.

Moreover, Original Sin makes sense: we need to understand that at the start of the human race, our first parents ceded power in the world to a malevolent and powerful fallen angel (‘the Lord of this World’) and also did damage to themselves and their offspring. Then we can make sense both of natural disasters and of human frailty.

We are particularly damaged in the area of sexuality precisely because the Devil hates it. He hates love and he hates our ability to co-operate in the creation of new life. So he has focussed his attack there and caused great damage. Hence abortion, contraception, infidelity, homosexuality, paedophilia, pornography, promiscuity, frigidity,and every other destructive tendency in human sexuality: all spring from this fundamental damage - and we are all vulnerable to one or more of them...

Saturday 6 March 2010

Human Love and the Devil (part one)

What even the Catholic Church won’t tell you about sex is the role of the Devil, Original Sin and the Fall of Man.

One sometimes gets the impression that if we could quietly discard all that stuff about the Devil, Original Sin and the Fall we would do: and in practices one never hears them mentioned in classroom or pulpit. It all seems so harsh and rather out of date.

There are (at least) a couple of problems with that approach: one is that Our Lord clearly believed in the Devil - and indeed met him on ore than one occasion. The other is that Original Sin is a compassionate doctrine that makes so much sense of our actual experience.

I will go on about this over the next few posts, but for now, I will simply remark that the Devil hates human love: it is where in our nature we are closest to God. So it is unsurprising that he attacks it with a particular vehemence. I think that marriage preparation should include this simple fact: that by getting married a couple are placing themselves in the front line, they will be attacked, and they need the strength of the sacraments, not just of matrimony which of course gives them the grace of state, but also of frequent confession and holy communion, if they are to have the best chance of repelling these attacks.

Tuesday 2 March 2010

Sex Education - what’s it really about?

This is the question that is rarely asked. But it should be, because in the answer to it lies the unease (to say the least) many of us feel about the government's dictatorial approach to the subject.

What it is not about is fairly easy to see: it is not about teaching kids how to have babies. Oddly enough, humans are pretty good at that. Nor is it about teaching kids the context within which sex is healthy, life affirming, life giving and ever more joyful: that is in a lifelong marriage, open to chiildren.

So what is it about? Looking at what it entails, as currently practiced, only one sensible conclusion can be reached: it is about normalising promiscuity and deviance (because we must take a non-judgemental approach), and trying (ineffectively) to limit the damage caused thereby.

That is why the collusion of the CES (an official agency of the Catholic Church, which knows the truth about human love and sexuality) with the government on this issue is such a scandal; and it is why all parents should take seriously their responsibility to educate their children properly in this field and remove them form the line of fire if necessary - whether or not they are 'allowed' to do so.