Monday 30 June 2014

Lancaster Diocese Masses in the Extraordinary Form July and August 2014

Sunday July 6th at 6.00 pm 
Fourth Sunday after Pentecost Christ the King, Harraby, Carlisle

Sunday July 13th at 3.00 pm
Fifth Sunday after Pentecost St Peter's Cathedral, Lancaster

Sunday July 13th at 6.00 pm
Fifth Sunday after Pentecost
Our Lady & St Wilfrid, Warwick Bridge, Carlisle

Friday July 18th at 12.30 pm
St Camillus de Lellis
Sizergh Castle Chapel, Sizergh, Nr Kendal

Tuesday August 5th at 6.00 pm
Our Lady of the Snows (Feast of the Dedication of the church) Our Lady & St Joseph, Carlisle

Sunday August 17th at 6.00 pm Tenth Sunday after Pentecost
Our Lady & St Wilfrid, Warwick Bridge, Carlisle

Please note there will not be a Traditional Mass at Christ the King, Carlisle or St Peter's Cathedral, Lancaster in August.

Mass is also celebrated every Sunday at 9.00 am at St Mary Magdalene, Leyland Road, Penwortham. 

Sunday 29 June 2014

About the quilisma

The quilisma is one of those enjoyable topics about which nothing is known with certainty, and therefore everyone is entitled not only to have an opinion, but to deride those who differ.

For those who don't know what I'm on about, here is a quilisma: 

In context, it often looks something like this: 

That is to say that it is a little squiggly neum, always found in an ascending scale, in chant.

There are many and varied views on how it should be interpreted.  The Liber Usualis says this: 
5. There is another kind of tremolo note, i. e., the Quilisma, which appears in the chant like a "melodic blossom". It is called "nota volubilis" and "gradata"', a note with a trill and gradually ascending. If one has not learnt how to execute these tremolo or shaken notes, o r , knowing how to render them, has nevertheless to sing with others, he should merely strike the preceding note with a sharper impulse so as to refine the sound of the Quilisma rather than quicken it.
I have to say, I have never knowingly heard the quilisma performed in that way.

The most frequent interpretation, at least in my experience, is to lengthen the preceding note, and sing the quilisma lightly, before moving on to the next note in the scale.

Consider, for example, the Sursum corda at Mass. 

This is typically sung with the first note lengthened (and frequently sat on heavily...) Su- u- ursum and the congregation respond in kind with the Habemus: Ha- be - e- emus...

However, somebody (and I think it was Nick Gale, one-time Director of Music at Southwark Cathedral) told me that a more recent theory (and I don't know if it is just his, or has some other academic provenance) reverses that.  That is, the quilisma should be sung lightly, with the following, rather than the preceding, note being lengthened.

In the phrase Sursum corda, that would seem to make more sense: the music would better convey the lifting of the heart, if the motion of the phrase is taking off towards the top note (Su- u- ursum...), rather than sitting on the first.  

Since hearing that, I have been trying to sing the quilisma like that wherever I come across it, to see how it works musically; and I have to say I am fairly convinced.

Consider the Salve Regina, for example; try to sing the last few phrases with the quilisma interpreted as I've just suggested.  Once you get over the shock, you may find that you prefer it.

Of course, it is difficult to break the habits of a lifetime (and if you wish to get a priest or congregation to change how they sing the Sursum corda, I wish you the joy of it) but it is also strangely rewarding: not least because it makes you think of what (and how) you are singing when it might be easier to be on auto-pilot.

Perhaps my favourite application of this is in the Ave Maris Stella:

I think the phrase on Virgo works much better with the new interpretation.

However, I am well aware that I am basing all this on very little knowledge and would welcome any insights, counter-arguments or (better still) enthusiastic agreement.

Feast of St Peter and St Paul

Here is some chant for today's feast: the traditional Alleluia and Verse for the Feast.

And here is some polyphony: three contrasting settings of the Tu es Petrus.

The first is possibly the most famous, by Palestrina.  The second is by one of my favourite modern composers, Maurice Duruflé.  The third is by James Macmillan, at the Papal Mass in Westminster Cathedral.

Happy Feast Day!




Tu es Petrus et super hanc petram ædificabo ecclesiam meam et portæ inferi non prævalebunt adversus eam. Et tibi dabo claves regni cælorum.

Thou art Peter and upon this rock, I will build my Church, and the gates of hell will not prevail against her; and I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven.

Remember to pray for our Holy Father, Pope Francis, and also for his predecessor, Pope Emeritus Benedict XVl today - and every day.

Sunday 22 June 2014

Young Catholic Adults Event at Douai

I have been asked to publicise this, and am pleased to do so.


Guest Speakers - John Pridmore, Fr. Gregory Person OP, Fr. Matthew Goddard FSSP

There will be:-
Sung/High Masses
Marian Procession

Cottages (student style dormitory accommodation) £18 per person per night (incl. food).

Guest House (mostly single rooms - hotel style accommodation) £60 per person per night (incl. food).

Day Guests. For those wishing to come for the day on Saturday or Sunday - please bring a packed lunch. It will not be possible to provide food in the Guest Refectory for people coming for the day.

Please note, to guarantee your place this year Douai Abbey have requested that everyone books in 3 weeks before the start of the weekend i.e. 29th August 2014.

How to book

For more details, please see:-

Or use the online booking system at:

Moving on...

It has been busy since my return from the Chartres pilgrimage (qv).  

Charlie has finished his A Levels, and we now await his results with a high level of interest: the bookies are not taking any bets on this one. There is only one university he wants to go to, so there is no insurance offer on his UCAS form; and they want AAB, which he should be able to get (but fell far short of at AS level...)

Bernie has just finished her Fine Art degree: we went to her degree show the other day to see her final pieces and were hugely impressed by her work and most of her peers'.  She had had her confidence knocked a bit in her second year by poor tutors, but had bounced back a bit in her final year. However, I was particularly pleased that her only piece on sale was quickly snapped up for £400, which will be a morale-booster. Her main piece is more of an installation: a 3-d walk-in watercolour landscape, including a large waterfall, a cliff and a fellside. So not very easy to sell and install elsewhere; but it is very impressive in her studio.

Meanwhile, Ant has just left to start her training for Teach First, which is her next step.  She has a few weeks' intensive training, then a break in which she gets married and goes on honeymoon, and then starts in a school next term.

And Dominique is waking up to the fact that next term, if Charlie gets into University, she will suddenly be the only child at home.

And Anna and I plod on...

Friday 13 June 2014

More pedestrian reflections on Chartres

And another thing...

The people with whom one walks on a pilgrimage are not chosen; a motley crew, perhaps, and including some with whom one would not usually choose to spend three days of one's life. 

If I am honest, there are one or two people whom I have, in previous years, found quite irritating.  There is one who shouted at me and others one year in an intemperate fashion (dubbed the Sergeant Major in my mind ever since); there is one who has fussy mannerisms which drove me to distraction; there are some who seem preoccupied with self to the exclusion of others: talking through the meditations, not following the simple instructions given by the Chefs de Chapitre... and so on.

Yet this year, many of those whom I have found annoying in previous years had a different effect on me. 

After all, how would I like to be perpetually loathed as a bully because on one hot afternoon, several years ago, I had been a bit short with some people who were out of order? And who is to say that my mannerisms are not irritating to someone else in the chapter? And how often have I thought first of myself and my concerns when struggling to keep going through the heat and tiredness?

And so, some of the very people I once found irritating are those I now look on as old friends and marching companions.

It is all too easy to choose to spend our time with those we find congenial, and to avoid those whom we do not.  But the pilgrimage reminded me that such was not the way of Our Lord, nor is it the way of the Church. And if we persevere with those we find irritating, we may realise that our irritation says more about us than about them, and they, of course, are loveable.

Thursday 12 June 2014

More pained thoughts on the Chartres Pilgrimage...

One of the many odd things about the pilgrimage is how the discomfort moves around.  On the first day, my left hip was sore, and got gradually worse during the day, and over night.

The next morning, I was slightly worried that if it continued to get worse, I might struggle to walk the whole pilgrimage.

And at the first break, I suddenly noticed that it was no longer hurting.

By then, of course, something else was: I forget what, it may have been my right knee or my shins, or... 

But that was very much the pattern.  And the way to cope with these passing discomforts was largely to ignore them. (I am not saying that I didn't put blister plasters on my feet as the occasion arose: when something needs attention, it needs attention - but worrying about it really doesn't help).  So singing the rosary, really attending to the meditations, engaging in cheery chat with other weary pilgrims, singing the secular songs and rounds that keep us marching... any of these was vastly preferable to thinking about how sore a hip, knee or shin was.

The poorest strategy was to slow a little, drop behind the chapter, and then struggle along with no company but one's own misery - and still having to march the same distance at the same pace, but getting to the rest break a little later, and therefore having a shorter rest, and thinking all the while about how much one's hip, knee, or shin is hurting.

Yet that is very tempting, nonetheless.

There's a metaphor there, somewhere, too...

Another painful reflection on Chartres...

One of the features of the Chartres pilgrimage is the physical discomfort. The days are long, and the miles longer; the heat and the rain both increase the discomfort in their different ways. People get tired and raw. Camping in a huge site doesn't guarantee a good night's sleep, and as for the portaloos...

It is easy to fantasise how much better the pilgrimage would be if one's feet were not tired and blistered, if the sun did not blaze so, nor the downpours descend, if people didn't barge in front of you in the queue for what the French pretend to be soup, and if only that chap in the next tent didn't snore so loudly, and one had private facilities.

But of course, it wouldn't be.

If one got to the end and it really did feel like a stroll in the park, one would feel cheated.

There is, of course, a long tradition of mortification as part of the spiritual life, and the most obvious reasons are solidarity with Our Lord's suffering, and penance for sins.

But I think there is something else, too. Physical discomfort has some very immediate effects. It is a great leveller, stripping away pride and pretension very effectively; it also keeps us very grounded in the here and now; and it does get you to realise your reliance on grace to take the next step, and the next.  It makes thinking simpler, contrition more acute, and resolutions less pretentious and more focused (and indeed memorable).

And the most curious thing is, that it is partly the feeling of having endured that makes one think, even when tired and raw at the end of the pilgrimage, that one must definitely come back next year.

More reflections arising from Chartres...

As my blisters heal, and my tiredness recedes, more reflections are coming to the surface, which I thought I should record, mainly related to blisters.

One was the wonderful reflection (I think by Fr Byrne) after a meditation on St Francis.  One of the themes of the pilgrimage was Creation for the adoration of God. St Francis is naturally a prime exemplar of that philosophy, and Fr Byrne (if it was he - memory is necessarily somewhat hazy) pointed out that we should therefore welcome as friends 'Brother Mud and Sister Blister.'

(Perhaps you had to be there....)

But I also reflect on the body's capacity to heal itself - or not. Many of us got blisters, and our feet will heal themselves of their own accord - as long as we do nothing foolish and follow the advice we are given. However, others had more serious problems and needed medical attention. Without it, they could make their various problems very much worse.

All of which prompted me to reflect on sin: some sins (venial) we will recover from as long as we are repentant, make an act of contrition, and indeed receive Holy Communion with the right dispositions. But for more serious harm to our soul (mortal sins) we need more serious intervention: that is sacramental Confession. If we ignore that we risk doing more damage to ourselves...

Of course, one of the glories of the pilgrimage is the availability of chaplains to hear confessions as we walk: there is always a gap between the chapters, in which the chaplains often walk, and penitents can join them to have their confessions heard.  I think the vast majority of our chapter went to confession over the three days, and some more than once.

Doubtless, as my mind catches up with me, further reflections will follow.

Wednesday 11 June 2014

Back from Chartres

We got home earlier today from the magnificent pilgrimage from Notre Dame de Paris to Notre Dame de Chartres.

I blogged about this extensively last time I went (see here and following posts), so I will not repeat myself.

However there are a few new things I want to comment on, this year.  One is the powerful effect of singing our prayer.  I knew this theoretically, of course: to sing is to pray twice and all of that...

But in a very practical way, I learned it afresh.  We sang the rosary every day: 20 decades on the Vigil of Pentecost, and Pentecost itself, and 15 decades on Monday (as we were marching for much less of the day). And I noticed that when I awoke in the night, and first thing in the morning, I was mentally singing the Ave Maria, consistently.  How much better to fill one's head with that rather than the latest pop ditties or advertising jingles...

The people were wonderful this year. Frs Martin Edwards and Gerard Byrne were chaplains to the Chapter of Our Lady of Walsingham, and Frs Mark Withoos and Alex Redman were chaplains to the Juventutem (youth) Chapter, under the patronage of St Alban.  Both chapters were full of lovely, interesting and varied characters, including several (all of whose names began with A) who are shortly to be married.

The other distinctive feature of this year's pilgrimage was the weather.  It was both very hot, at times, and also very stormy.  We had some magnificent lightning displays, with accompanying rolling thunder.

One of the highlights of the pilgrimage was as we started, at last, to climb the hill in Chartres towards the Cathedral, and the heavens opened, and the storm was on top of us. Nothing daunted, we started to sing the round Jubilate Deo, and competed with the thunder. We kept it up for the half hour or so it took to climb the hill and reach the Cathedral, with everyone singing out loudly and making a tremendous sound.

And when we reached the square outside the Cathedral, where we were to attend the Mass, as the Cathedral itself was already full with the 5000 who had preceded us, the rain stopped, the sun came out, and we dried out.  We also had a fabulous view of the Mass, thanks to the large screen erected outside the Cathedral, and were blessed by two bishops as they processed in, and then out at the end of Mass.


The only negative part of the whole experience was the mysterious disappearance of Ant's luggage. We put all our bags on the coach at the start of the day on Monday, and when we got to the hotel after the High Mass in Chartres Cathedral, we found all the bags there: except Ant's. Fortunately, after the episode of the passport last time, I had taken charge of all three passports. But all her clothes and various other things (wallet with driving licence and credit cards etc) have disappeared.

However, she took it very well, and in truth it is a small price to pay for a wonderful experience.


The other thing I really meant to mention was that we were followed in the pilgrimage by the Chapter from Chavagnes International College, led by the indomitable Fr Bede Rowe. He particularly impressed by his rendition of what I understand to be a happy-clappy sort of Charismatic Alleluia, which he transformed into the most plangent, heart-rending and (let's be quite clear about this) loud Alleluia I think I have ever heard.  And he kept it up for ages!

Thursday 5 June 2014

Off to Chartres

So our bags are packed, and Ant, Dominique and I are soon to head off to London.  Tonight we stay with some old friends (one of whom, in fact, was my best man, when I got married 30 years ago). Tomorrow we meet the rest of the pilgrims for Mass in the crypt of Westminster Cathedral (which is where we got married 30 years ago), and then set off for Chartres.

For a full account of the Pilgrimage, see my post here (and the following posts) which detail the 2012 adventure. When I get back, I will probably delete 2012, insert 2014 in red crayon, and re-post them...

Please pray for us all, as we will pray for all our online friends.

And have a very blessed Pentecost.

Tuesday 3 June 2014

SRE Consultation

I have just been working on my response to the Inquiry on Sex Education (with thanks to James Preece for the reminder, and to SPUC for their guidance notes

I note that once submitted, they may not be used for any other purpose - including, presumably, as matter for a blog post.  However, I can see no reason why I should not publish my draft notes, and invite others interested to comment and help me clarify and correct any points.

And, of course, if anyone wishes to contribute to the inquiry himself or herself, my draft notes might help provide a stimulus to his or her thinking.

So without further ado (except a request to put me right if I have got anything wrong)...

1            Executive Summary

1.1  It is troubling that this inquiry is being held so soon after the last: it gives the impression that parents gave the ‘wrong’ answer and the powers that be will not rest until the 'right' answer is given.

1.2  At the heart of this issue are two opposed ideologies: one which sees young people as active consumers of sex, and one which sees sex as properly reserved for married life.

1.3 PSHE ought not be made compulsory.

1.4 Schools should be accountable primarily to parents (and those acting in loco parentis) in the provision of PSHE.

1.5 Provision should be developed in the context of parental wishes and the overall aims of promoting stable family life, which is the bedrock of society, rather than the promotion of hedonism. It should be based on research into what supports stable family life, not a permissive ideology.

1.6 The involvement of Brook  et al in the development of  Supplementary Advice demonstrates which ideology (see 1.2 above and 3 below) is dominant. That is unacceptable to many parents, who believe their approach inimical to civilised society.

1.7 In order for the effectiveness of SRE to be measured, the goals should be clear. I propose the goal should be the reduction of early sexual activity, and the reduction in the numbers of those engaging with multiple sexual partners; measures would then be the associated reduction in STIs, teenage pregnancies and abortions.  All of which would be measurable and all contribute to the Common Good.

2            The present inquiry

            2.1    There has been a very recent consultation by the Department for Education, with a report published in March 2013
Many parents responded (more than any other category of respondent) and the messages were clear: many parents are concerned about SRE, they believe it is primarily the responsibility of parents, they do not wish schools to be able to push material or views they deem inappropriate on their young children, and they reject the idea of compulsion.

            2.2 Given that context, and allied with the strong lobbying by interest groups such as Brook, it is hard to avoid the conclusion that this inquiry is an attempt to overturn the findings of the previous one. According to those who deem themselves ‘experts,’ the parents got it wrong.  However, many parents trust their own judgement, particularly when based on traditional wisdom (ie the collective learning of the generations which preceded us) or religious or philosophical systems which reject the implicit hedonism of the ‘experts’ preferred approach.

3            Opposing ideologies

            3.1 At the heart of this inquiry are two opposing ideologies.  On one side there are those like me who believe that we should be educating our children for life-long monogamous marriages; on the other, those who want to see children as informed, active, consumers of sex. Lest anyone think I am over-stating the position, visit the www sites for fpa and Brook, where they make their position, including condoning under-age sex, very explicit. They are advocates of children’s right to enjoy their sexuality, and are among the country’s leading campaigners for and providers of abortion.

It is evident that Brook and fpa talk the language of ‘relationships’ to get their material past parents: there is none of that concern in their www sites. But of course any teenager can convince himself or herself that the current infatuation is ‘a meaningful loving relationship.’ That kind of thinking provides no protection against promiscuity - but then it is not intended to.

The middle ground is made up of those who would prefer children to delay having sex and not be too promiscuous, but believe that they can’t be stopped. That risks being a self-fulfilling prophecy, transforming the historical pattern of a very small number of children being sexually active into a much larger number being so.

The evidence on early sexual activity and multiple partners seems pretty clear: the two go together, and are an unhealthy combination, physically, emotionally and psychologically. Oddly, Brook and fpa, who are so keen to deal in fact, ignore these facts absolutely - as they ignore the research which shows that 70% of girls who engage in sex early (pre-16) regret it later on and wish they had waited.

These different ideologies naturally lead to radically different approaches to sex education. Those who think as I do, believe that sex is private (indeed sacred), and that taboos (and even some things labelled by the ‘experts’ as prejudices) are often helpful in protecting children from premature exposure to adult issues and from aberrant thoughts and behaviours. The other side believes that anything goes (as long as it is consensual), and that openness and choice are the primary virtues.

3.2            Given that ideological division, it is clear that large numbers of parents are rightly suspicious of any approach that is informed by the thinking of Brook and its ideological allies.

4            Consultation Point One: Compulsion?

4.1            Compulsion is a significant decision in any democratic society. It should only be used on those occasions where it is just, proportionate and necessary for the good of society and individual members of society. Such a case pertains in both negative compulsions (laws which restrain behaviours which would be harmful to others, such as driving at excessive speeds) and positive compulsions (laws which compel behaviours for the good both of society and of the individual, such as the education of children).

4.2            In this case, it is not clear that compulsion would be just, proportionate or necessary. Indeed, in the view of many parents it would be unjust, disproportionate and harmful.

4.3             It is a serious business to bring the law and the legitimate authorities of the country into disrepute: introducing compulsion against the wishes of parents in pursuit of a contested agenda pushed by partisan experts would undoubtedly do that.

4.4            Compulsion would be a derogation to the state and the education system of responsibilities which rightly rest, in the first instance, with parents.  The fact that some parents are unable or unwilling to meet their responsibilities is no just reason to strip all parents of their rights. In terms of the Common Good, parents should be encouraged to undertake their responsibilities, not prevented from doing so.

4.5            Compulsion would also absolve schools of the practical need to work in partnership with parents. A compulsory system would mean simply that the programme recommended by ‘experts’ drawn from one side of the ideological division over this issue, could be imposed with no right for parents to withdraw their children from it.  Given that some of the materials promoted by such ‘experts’ are deemed not only inappropriate but actually damaging by many parents, that would be grave indeed (for example, Living and Growing is an assault on the sensibilities of those who wish their children to grow up chaste – indeed it works directly against such parents’ intentions for their children’s formation).

4.6            For all of these reasons, compulsion should not be introduced.

5            Consultation Point Two: Accountability?

5.1            The family is the place where children naturally learn civilised behaviour, ranging from courtesy, to making sensible decisions and acquiring good habits (for example) about diet and exercise; and also refraining from harmful activities such as taking drugs.

5.2            As before, the fact that some parents are unable or unwilling to meet their responsibilities is no just reason to strip all parents of their rights. In terms of the Common Good, parents should be encouraged to undertake their responsibilities, not prevented from doing so.

5.3            Moreover, many of the issues covered in PSHE are morally contested; parents from different cultures and belief systems will have different views as to what is most appropriate for their children. They should not find themselves in a position where the school is working against their programme for their children. There may, necessarily, be exceptions in extreme cases (such as cultures that support FGM).  Teaching children chastity is clearly not such a case.

5.4            For these reasons, and in recognition of the importance of the parents as the primary educators of their children, schools should be accountable, in the first instance, to the parents of the children who attend the schools. In that way, teaching is not driven by experts’ ideology, but rather is sensitive to the variety of values and cultural norms that local families may adhere to.

6            Consultation Point Three: Provision?

6.1            The provision at present is subject to several criticisms:  it is hedonistic, frequently pornographic, assumes promiscuity as inevitable, and is not based on sound and appropriate research. Further schools are often poor in communicating with parents either about the content or the underlying research and philosophy of the provision.

6.2            It is based on a hedonistic philosophy that many parents find abhorrent, and believe to be damaging of individuals and families and therefore of society. That philosophy equates moral good with only two considerations: pleasure and consent.

6.3            It frequently involves the use of pornographic material: that is, material showing intimate sexual behaviour. Indeed, if anyone other than a teacher were to show such material (eg some parts of Living and Growing) to a minor, he or she would probably be prosecuted.

6.4            It is based on an assumption that young people are going to be promiscuous, that risks being a self-fulfilling prophecy.

6.5            It is not based on research into what will help children to grow up into responsible adults capable of forming stable loving relationships; despite plenty of research demonstrating that such relationships are the best environment to raise the next generation to be happy and healthy.

6.6            There is much anecdotal evidence to suggest that my experience is not atypical.  I was told that my children would be learning about growing up and puberty, and a meeting was arranged for parents interested.  I had to book time off work to be able to get to the meeting, which was at the end of the school day (and thus before the end of the working day). I found that the material about growing up and puberty included information on masturbation, animated cartoons of a couple having sex, and so on. And this at junior school! Most parents will have been wholly unaware what their children were being taught, until after the event.  The Headmaster gave us a handout (provided by Brook) telling us research backed up this approach. He was unable to cite any such research. I withdrew my children from the programme (but if the experts have their way, that will be outlawed).

7            Consultation Point Four: Adequacy of recent steps?

7.1            As far as I can see, this refers to the supplementary advice drafted by the PSHE Association, Brook and the Sex Education Forum. Given that these are all very clearly on one side of the ideological division to which I referred earlier, it is not surprising that they seem not only inadequate, but positively harmful to me.

7.2            Parents are excluded from any consideration at all. The student-centred approach is taken to an extreme that would not be tolerated in any other subject. It is inconceivable that one would teach maths simply by asking children what they want to learn.

7.3            The requirement for SRE to be taught by people who are trained to talk about ‘healthy and unhealthy relationships, equality, pleasure, respect, abuse, sexuality, gender identity, sex and consent,’ raises the worry of Brook-trained ideologues being given licence to teach children according to their own values and beliefs, which may be a long way from those of the parents.

7.4            This is made explicit in the guidance that teachers should “treat sex as a normal and pleasurable fact of life.” For Christians, Jews, Muslims and many others, that is a completely inadequate philosophy. Sex is seen as sacred, relating as it does to the work of the Creator.  It is not simply another recreational activity. We do not expect that view to be accepted by schools, but we do not expect it to be systematically undermined, either.

7.5            It is therefore the opinion of many in this country that the philosophical underpinnings of the approach advocated by Brook et al is inimical to society, tending to raise promiscuous children, disconnected from their cultural roots, and severely damaged in their ability to form stable families.

8            Consultation Point Five: Measuring the Effectiveness of SRE?

8.1            In order to measure the effectiveness of SRE, it is important to be clear about the goal. Effectiveness is then measured by progress towards that goal.

8.2            According to my analysis at 3 above, there are two quite different sets of goals that could be considered: on the one hand the goal of making children into competent consumers of recreational sex in pursuit of pleasure; and on the other, raising children to grow into adults capable of forming stable monogamous relationships for the good of their families and society as a whole.

8.3            Given that the role of the civil authorities is to pursue the Common Good and the well-being of individuals, I believe that the second type of goal is legitimate for the education system, whilst the first is not.

8.4            Therefore I propose that the immediate goal of SRE should be the reduction of early sexual activity, and the reduction of those engaging with multiple sexual partners; measures would then be the associated reduction in STIs, teenage pregnancies and abortions.  All of which would be measurable and all contribute to the Common Good.

9            Conclusions

9.1  This inquiry should not be used as an excuse to disregard the clear messages sent by parents in response to the last consultation.

9.2  The education system should not adopt the hedonistic philosophy of Brook and its ideological allies.

9.3 Schools should not be required to make teaching in this area compulsory.

9.4 Schools should teach in the context of their children’s families’ values and beliefs, not an ideology.

9.5  Provision should be focussed on raising the next, and subsequent, generations in ways compatible with a civilised society and the Common Good.

9.6 Reliance on experts from one side of an ideological division is deeply damaging.

9.7 The true educational goal of SRE should be to develop emotionally mature adults, capable of forming monogamous relationships and raise the next generation of society. The interim goals should therefore be to work against the culture of promiscuity and early sexual experience; and the effectiveness of SRE should be measured against those goals.

Sunday 1 June 2014

Yesterday's Mass

Yesterday we were joined by our Bishop, +Michael Campbell, for High Mass in the traditional Roman Rite, at the beautiful Pugin church of Our Lady and St Wilfrid, in Warwick Bridge.

The music was sung by an impromptu choir of four, who sang both the polyphonic Ordinary (Victoria's Missa O Quam Gloriosum Est, and the accompanying motet at communion) and the chant Proper.  They were very talented, but under-rehearsed. The music was good, but there were some dodgy moments, and with a little practice it could have been truly excellent.  For some reason, people imagine that chant is easy, because it is monophonic: then when they sing it, they realise that it is not, and that each person is interpreting certain neumes differently...

The altar team was kept in order by MC George Steven of the LMS: no mean feat with thirteen people (including the Bishop and his secretary) in a very small sanctuary.

One of the peripheral treats of the Mass was the vestment worn by the principle celebrant: it is reputed to be one of three embroidered by Mary Queen of Scots when she was imprisoned in Carlisle Castle. All three are in the possession of local parishes, and all date from the right period.  You will notice that St Andrew features prominently on this one (also on the verso).

The bishop preached well (after an unfortunate lapse at the start, when he greeted everyone with 'Good morning everyone' as though at a school assembly - and like Pavlovian puppies many responded...).  He preached on martyrdom as witness, as we were celebrating the feast of St Petronia, an early virgin martyr; and he called us to be brave in witnessing to the faith in these difficult days.

I managed to kiss his ring after Mass, but unfortunately he had a busy schedule and had to rush away fairly promptly, after making time to thank everyone who had contributed to the celebrations. But it was good to hear how positively he spoke of the Mass, unlike a bishop I remember who visited another Latin Mass community and was appallingly rude...

So please pray for him, and for all our bishops, that they too may be courageous witnesses to the Faith, even to martyrdom.