Wednesday, 7 December 2016

I’ve just discovered J


NO this is not some ghastly drug, which leaves the recipient comatose and open to all manner of suggestions: like… it’s better to have the liturgy in English, Vegemite is an acceptable replacement for Marmite, watching Youtube in the library counts as work (yep, I’m in the library and that is exactly what the chap opposite me is doing. OK, OK so I’m writing a blog post but sheesh! Youtube, really?!)

Rather it is a mystical drive. It is a place which exists and yet doesn’t exist. It is a tale told by an idiot, full of sound and fury… no hang on that last one is a lime from Macbeth. It is a J drive.


This is something which my beloved university, by the grace of God, Durham, provides for people. You do something to your computer and it finds the J drive, then you put copies of your work there and its safe, even if your computer is eaten by a wild mountain goat, and your USB key finds itself in the inner parts of a wallaby. Yes even then, your work is safe. Safe as houses. Safe as houses all called ‘J’.

I mention this for it would have been good to have found out about mystical J before I lost my USB key and all of my work. Yep, all of it. I had to go seriously Zen. I lost it for about three weeks.

Eventually I found it in the mud, soaked through, next to the place where I park my car, and mirabile dictu, even after being out in the elements for three weeks, it worked.  And so, dear reader, I married it. No, that’s not right. And so dear reader, I made myself the promise never to do anything so mind numbingly stupid again.


And now I have found J and my life is complete. J will help me. J will be my friend. J will look out for me when times get tough and I’ve lost my way (and all my PhD work).

And do you know what? J is the first letter of the German translation of the vocalised transliteration of the Name of the LORD in the Old Testament.

WHO can believe in coincidence after that????

WHO!!! 

Tuesday, 6 December 2016

Do we still believe in Maniples?


By this title I do not mean the Roman army formation which came into common practice during the Second Samnite War in 315 bc (though its importance cannot be underestimated). Rather I mean those little bits of cloth that some Priests wear over their left arm when saying Mass.

The history of the maniple is quite interesting. It is common in the liturgy of the West from about the sixth century onwards, and probably came about much earlier than this from the practical need of the Priest to wipe his face and hands when celebrating Holy Mass. This may sound a little strange to us in the frozen North, but around the Mediterranean in the height of summer, with no air-conditioning, a priest would have been glad of a small piece of cloth to mop his brow – his body being encased in binding vestments for the offering of the Divine Sacrifice. So by the 6th century, the maniple had become a liturgical garment corresponding to the colour of the other vestments. Although in shape and style it developed at various times in various ways, it retained its place on the left arm, and always with something of its original meaning. A translation of the prayer which the Priest says when he puts on the maniple is “May I deserve, O Lord, to bear the maniple of weeping and sorrow, in order that I may joyfully receive the reward of my work.” With weeping comes the need to wipe the face, and balance of sorrow and happiness typify the Priests’ offering of his life in sacrifice and joy.

Pope Paul VI, famous simplifier of vestments

The maniple was an obligatory part of the Mass vestments until 1967. In that year the Sacred Congregation of Rites issued the decree Tres Abhinc Annos, which stated “the maniple is no longer required.” So Priests threw them away. Or sent them to the missions. Or used them for goodness knows what. They even said that it was wrong to wear the maniple as it was no longer ‘required’. Well, we know that that is not true: just because something is not required does not mean that it is forbidden. It seems to me monstrous and wicked that sets of vestments were ravaged and torn asunder by the destruction of the maniple.


So why am I banging on about this? Well, as I am writing this I have just celebrated the New Rite feast of Ss Margaret Ward, Anne Line and Margaret Clitherow. St Mararet Clitherow was a convert whose brother was a Priest and who sent her son abroad to be educated in Catholicism. She harboured Priests and provided a place for Mass to be said. She cried out against the new religion and refused to go along to the state-sponsored services, and as a result was imprisoned. Her third child, William, was born when she was locked up in gaol. When in March 1586 her house was searched, the Queen’s officers found Mass vestments, and the possession of these was enough to have her pressed to death in the most foul and cruel way.

Cardinal* Burke wearing a maniple.
(Title of cardinal correct at time of writing.
As many know, Cardinal Burke has asked a question, and so might be punished)

Let me reiterate, she died because they found vestments in her house. I can imagine this holy saint looking down from heaven and crying out “I died for that cloth which you so easily put aside and destroy” as modern Priests scorn the maniple and other holy garments. Though I am sure that it was not just for the possession of a maniple alone that St Margaret was humiliated and tortured at the age of 33, leaving three children motherless, yet I am convinced that a maniple would have been there among the vestments which were mocked by ‘lewd men’ at her so-called trial. She died for the faith, and the faith is the Mass, and the Mass needs the Priest, and the Priest needs his vestments.

Naughty maniple

And in 1967 at a stroke “the maniple is no longer required”, and the Priest stopped saying: “May I deserve, O Lord, to bear the maniple of weeping and sorrow, in order that I may joyfully receive the reward of my work.”

I will be your knight and fight for your honour

I firmly believe in the maniple. It would be a great thing if Priests would take up again this holy garment in celebrations of both forms of Holy Mass, just as a knight of old would take up the token of his lady before going into battle. St Margaret, the ‘pearl of York’, could be our mistress and our defender in heaven, and her handkerchief, our maniple, will be that very token.


Saturday, 3 December 2016

Advent Calendars 2016



Its Advent time. In the past I have tried to mirror the true meaning of Christmas, and I believe that I have managed to continue the tradition. here, here, here, probably somewhere else.  

Mr Simpson is well know as a sign of giving and love, and who could not help but love animals and the like.

Sadly the chocolate in the animal one is foul, Simpsons not too bad.

Wednesday, 16 November 2016

Formal Act of Correction


Look at this!!! "Cardinal Burke: we will make ‘formal act of correction’ if Pope doesn’t issue Amoris clarification"

I think when I was teaching in Chavagnes that I used to issue formal acts of correction.


They were usually written in red ink. When I was doing my PGCE we were told that red ink was aggressive and that some of the pupils would react badly to it, and it was setting up a confrontational attitude. Personally I think factorising x squared plus five x plus 4 incorrectly deserves and act of aggression, and I would expect them to react to it - hopefully with shame. If their reaction was 'bad' and they stuck to their incorrect result, then it would have to get confrontational.

Think what would happen if factorising went wrong! Actually it would be horrendously serious, not that technology and algorithms run the world.

So my formal acts of correction were justified. Always polite (except when the boy refused physically to listen to me) and always clear (even when they refused to accept the blatant truth of the laws of factorisation... and so lengthy explanations ensued until they finally got it). And always with a red pen.

I wonder if that is why Cardinals wear red??????

Thursday, 3 November 2016

All Souls


One of the many wonderful things about the Old Rite is that on All Souls day the Priest can celebrate three Masses without leaving the Altar. It gives an excellent idea of Mass as the Priest's work, and although it is nothing compared to physical labour, it is supernaturally tiring.


Anyway. This year I said the Masses at Bellingham, and these are pictures of the inside of the Church set up for the Masses.


Thursday, 27 October 2016

This could be yours


This was my view this morning as I went down to say Mass.

This could be yours (if you are a priest in good standing etc... see previous post)...


Wednesday, 26 October 2016

Advertisement


As I will be returning to my Diocese in September 2017,  the good family here at Swinburne will again be without a chaplain.

If you are a priest in good standing, with permission from your Bishop, and would be free to serve from September 2017, then please get in touch and I can give you more exact details of what being here entails.

I've had immense fun, if that helps!

achaplainabroad@hotmail.fr

Saturday, 24 September 2016

Bellingham


Update: From next weekend (Sunday October 2nd) Masses will be as follows

Swinburne 9.00am
Bellingham 11.00am

I will sort out the Latin Mass a few weeks after that once I know what the whole Sunday schedule is working.

Please keep Abbot Cuthbert Johnson in your prayers.

Monday, 12 September 2016

Temporary/Semi-permanent change


My neighbour in Bellingham is not too grand at the moment, so please pray for him.The upshot is that I am covering his Sunday Mass, so for the moment

THE LATIN MASS IS PUT ON HOLD

in Swinburne. As soon as possible I'll reschedule it... I am saying private Latin Masses, but they are a bit as-and-when. I am hoping that in a few weeks, things will settle back down, and I'll let you know what is up.

If you are in the region, then email me (address to the right) and I'll fill you in.

Sunday, 11 September 2016

The Great North Run


Today is the Great North Run. It is a fantastic thing which takes over huge chunks of south Tyneside. As a boy we used to go and watch them running past... after church of course.


Those of you know know me will find it very surprising indeed to know that I once did the Great North Run. Actually it was the junior Great North Run, but as allergic to activity as I am, let's not quibble. I remember lots about it. I used to try to practice (not too much I seem to recall) by going for a run in the evening. I would listen to Aha on cassette which I played through a cheap version of a Walkman. "I've been losing you" takes me immediately back.

I cannot remember much about the run itself, but it definitely happened as I have a medal.



It was 1987 and I was still 16. A whole life ahead of me.

It is a strange thing, time.

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