(The author is writing about the meaning of vocation, and has gone on to describe the vocation to marriage and to the religous life. She continues:)

 There is a third way – consecration to God in the world. Cecila Plater-Zyberkówna writes that „it differs from the first two in that God most often makes it known only later in life”, that it often matures in the soil of what appear to be failures. Young people engaged in some task, entangled in some unusual domestic situation and responsible for it, not finding (despite their desire to do so) a person suitable for them or rejected by someone in whom they were interested – remain alone. Plater-Zyberkówna writes „this does not all happen by chance (for a Christian there is no such thing). They are circumstances permitted or brought about by Providence for rational and deep ends which should not be missed. In these ways God says to souls not to enter into marriage, but to give themselves to him for the carrying out of many tasks that can only be carried out by people in the world consecrated to God and at the same time flexible, familiar with a given area of life or society, well prepared for the performance of their profession, trade or function”. Their task is to sanctify the world from within. They do not as a rule leave their place in society. They are in families, in the work place, in social life and the life of society. The fact of consecration changes nothing on the outside. The consecration must let down roots in ordinary human life in order to bring God into it, in order to save the world by imparting to it the fire of love brought to earth by Christ and by pouring His spirit into every area of life. Christ does not wish to take them out of the world, but to guard them from sin.

Taken from a text posted by Pianticellawhom I caused to wipe four days of work sorting WYD photos by gmail-chat-quizzing her about Calvinist novels as she performed a crucial Picasa maneouvre(?sp?). 

You have become a brilliant light, O priest-martyr Josaphat. You gave up your life for your sheep like the Good Shepherd. You were slain by the lovers of heresy, and you have walked into the Holy of Holies to rest in the company of the angels. O long-suffering saint, we make this petition to you: Beg Christ, the Prince of Shepherds, to save our souls and to number us among the sheep on his right hand.

Priests on the Rails – the occasionally updated blog of the Scottish Clergy Railway Circle.


With esoteric patristic references in the comboxes.

Hymn at Matins this morning “when Matins is said during the day”, second verse:

in te nostra cupiditas
et sit in te iucunditas

ps 37:4:

Delectare in Domino,
et dabit tibi petitiones cordis tui.

Perhaps not. Only Ronnie Knox translates this as “place all your longing in the Lord”, so I suppose for this to be a paraphrase this hymn would have to be one of those newly written for the Office, and the writer would have to be familiar with the Knox translation.

Unless he was reading “delectare” as really passive, and not as a deponent, “be delighted” and not “delight”. This might explain where Knox got his version from as well. Arrrrrrr. I have been wondering about this ever since I read this verse  quoted in Betty Knot’s translation of the Imitation, loved it, and then discovered that no-one else at all thought this verse says this.  Hmm.

Actually the joy and the desire are the other way around, aren’t they? So it’s probably not any kind of paraphrase, it just happened to remind me of a favourite verse. Och well. In which case I will share with you a great way of spending some time piously. You need a Bible with lots of cross-references or you could, I suppose, use the search option on a Scripture website. Take your verse-of-the-moment and write it down. Look up all the cross-referenced verses and write them down too. Look up all the references to those verses, and write them down. Etc.

You can start off quite mechanically, but if it’s a verse that you are really “into” at the time, some of the cross-referenced ones will be more striking than others and you can stick with those, and choose which of the “threads” or ideas that come to follow. Writing the verses out slows you down, and lets the associations and whatnot form and reform in your head. It’s very good thing to do when you are looking for a pious “pastime” or trying to avoid timewasting (even if you should be doing something else, it makes you all clean and happy inside and inspired to attack life anew) or feeling blue (gloomy, not lightly cooked).

Having written so much about Sweden lately I feel I might as well give a short report about my recent visit to the British Isles.

IMPORTANT NOTE: Someone – it does not matter who – lately remarked to me that to the stray reader coming across this blog its intellectual content might not become immediately obvious if the top post is about shoes. So, dear stray reader: Though not about shoes, this is a shoesey post; please do scroll down a bit for far more substantial reading.

Back to my topic. A friend of mine who steadfastly refuses to choose a pseudonym and therefore, for the moment, shall remain Nameless, and myself first went to Edinburgh, in which beautiful city we stayed for a day and where most generously and most pleasantly entertained by no one less than Mr. Benedict Ambrose himself.

From there we travelled to Ullapool, where one not only can take refuge from the sheer unbearable heat and sunshine in a nice refreshing bath in the Atlantic (my nameless friend did not wish to join me in this for some reason), but also has much opportunity for hill-walking. Ullapool is a pleasant little ex-fishing and now ferry village with a satisfying number of pubs and restaurants and, who would believe it, a Catholic church! When we went to Mass there one day the congregation was formed by an elderly lady (also a holiday guest), my friend and me. The next day, as my friend reported (I was, less piously, hill walking at the time, at the place shown in the photograph), there were four people apart from her: the same lady, a local, and two Polish girls working in one of the restaurants over summer. When we spoke to the very kind priest who spends his retirement there (and who liberally supplied us with little articles he had written in defence of Humanae Vitae) I said that certainly his congregation was larger on Sundays. “O yes, sometimes”, he replied.

Our next stop was in Uig on the Isle of Skye. Much as I love this island – it was my third visit there – I must conclude that I probably would not move to a place where there are at least two Calvinist churches per agglomeration of fifty cottages. Not only did the pubs close at 10:30 pm (this, I know, is usual) and restaurants stopped serving food at 8 pm, no – even before we never actually saw anyone in there as we passed by in the evenings. Now I know this is a flippant and unjust charge; however, I think it must be the Calvinist heritage to which the newspaper article referred which praised the newly built Catholic church on Skye as a remarkable piece of integrating local tradition and culture. For, as much as its attempts at symmetry initially inclined me to like it (and it is, for a newly built church, a rather nice church), it quite obviously tried to refrain from looking terribly Catholic. Some tiny little Stations of the Cross nearly invisible on the walls constituted the whole of the figural decoration. The only cross was the cross-shaped window behind the alter, a statue of Our Lady (however much the church might be named St Mary’s) was nowhere to be found, and the tabernacle, though admittedly rather beautiful, was hidden in a side chapel. The newspaper article already mentioned, which I read afterwards during the “sacrament of tea and biscuits” (quote: Berenike), to three quarters of its length particularly praised that fact, as it helped keeping people from inappropriately paying adoration to God as present in the tabernacle instead of being fully part of the community celebrating Mass. My nameless friend had some business to prevent me from drawing the attention of everyone on us by my angry hissing and pointing.

Again, during this stay, I received ample proof for the adventurous nature of the British concept of a “footpath”. In England, it means: “You may walk here, if you dare” In Scotland you are allowed to walk wherever you like, hence, there are no paths (my friend, even more German in this respect than I, only learnt towards the end of our stay that, if you want to stick to footpaths, you will get nowhere in Scotland).

Of course the crowning end of my stay was the glorious Evangelium Conference. Everyone who could have been there but did not go: Regret! During the conference I experienced the so far most terrible occasion of being asked where I was from, since the interlocutor was Roy Schoeman, whose Jewish parents had both fled, his mother literally in the last moment, from Nazi Germany. Mr. Schoeman’s talk about his conversion to the Catholic Church, the substance of which can be read at his website, was undoubtedly one of the highlights. Great was my joy, too, to finally meet the famous Don Reto Nay, who fully lives up to all I heard before about him. Fr. Jerome Bertram gave us what has been to me the most enjoyable and amusing thrashing of modern Biblical Criticism so far. Of course, the Masses were celebrated most reverently and some of the homilies could vie with the talks for the impressions they left. Finally, who would I be if I could forget to mention, on just a little more secular note (for they were all, well, kinda pious questions after all), the bar quiz. To conclude: If you have not come this year, come next. And bring your friends.

By someone inspired by McIntyre, I expect:

With a Benedictine twist, ‘How the west was lost’ will look at how to win it back again .

And I surmise Scots, because of this:

Called to Love is the Scottish Catholic Education Service (SCES) relationships and moral education programme that is set to be rolled out in Scotland following piloting in a number of Scottish secondary schools. I was at one of their training days last week.

So there we are. How the West was Lost.

The following citation has appeared on this blog before.

“Pope Gelasius in his ninth letter (chap. 26) to the bishops of Lucania condemned the evil practice which had been introduced of women serving the priest at the celebration of Mass. Since this abuse had spread to the Greeks, Innocent IV strictly forbade it in his letter to the bishop of Tusculum: ‘Women should not dare to serve at the altar; they should be altogether refused this ministry.’ We too have forbidden this practice in the same words in Our oft-repeated constitution Etsi Pastoralis, sect. 6, no. 21. ” – Benedict XIV, enc. Allatae sunt, 1755

An interesting question arises. Was Gelasius’s 494 condemnation of serviettes dogmatic? If so any purely disciplinary statements made since to the effect that serviettes are allowed would be null and void. The only passage from Gelasius’s letter I have been able to find online reads,
Nihilominus impatienter audivimus, tantum divinarum rerum subisse despectum, ut feminae sacris altaribus ministrare firmentur, cunctaque non nisi virorum famulatui deputata sexum, cui non competunt, exhibere.”

“Nevertheless we have heard to our annoyance that divine affairs have come to such a low state that women are encouraged to officiate at the sacred altars, and to take part in all matters imputed to the offices of the male sex, to which they do not belong.”
the reference given is:
Ep. 14, in A. Thiel, Epistulae Romanorum pontificum genuinae (New York: 1974, first ed., 1867), 360-79. 

If anyone has access to this and can check the wider context that would be great.

[taken from Ask Sister Mary Martha]

I’ve often heard people complain that the Catholic Church has so many rules and so many things to remember. But the Church doesn’t sit around making up rules for the fun of it. We just have to answer so many questions.

We used to get this type of thing:
“Sister, I have to fast before Communion. Say I am playing with a blade of grass bewteen my thumbs, making it into a whistle and I accidently swallow it and then I go to Communion. Is that a sin?”

Do you think the Church has a Canon Law for the accidental swallowing of grass whistles before Communion? Should I just put my fingers in my ears and sing, “La! La! La! La!” until you go away?

No. I have to come up with an answer. There is an answer. (Hint: sin is about intent.)

But if I snap and give you an absurd answer (Jesus loves grass whistles, why, when He was a child He often played with grass whistles and was thinking about them on Palm Sunday, like Orson Wells at the end of “Citizen Kane”), how can you tell that answer from when I tell you it is a mortal sin to miss Mass on Sunday? Purgatory for me.

Some of you may have noticed that from time to time a nun simply disappeared from her post without explanation. Maybe you heard vague whispers that she went ‘back to the Motherhouse’. Sometimes she would return with equal mystery. I can tell you, that nun had had to deal with one too many grass whistles. Or Tuberculosis. One of the two.


Here the blog of the website of the project Pray for Priests.

We are a group of Catholics who pray daily for the priests of the Archdiocese of Glasgow, reciting prayers for our Archbishop, our diocesan priests, and for more vocations.

Our priests work so hard for us. They have dedicated their lives to serving God by serving His faithful, providing the sacraments and ministering to the spiritual needs of the laity. They work unceasingly, often without thanks or recognition for what they do. They need our prayers, and they need the encouragement of knowing they are being prayed for.

A list of all the priests of the diocese, and you sign up to pray for one (or more, I suppose) of them.

I think this is sufficently dead brilliant not to need any commentary.

The Glaswegian just sent me a link to the webpage of St Patrick’s, Anderston, or at least of their ad orientem, Latin, Gregorian chant, ressourcement, noble simplicity, actuosa participatio, all the reforms of Vatican II Holy Mass.

Sundays at 4 pm.

I am moving to Anderston, wherever it is.

[edited on Thurs: I can’t get over this being in Scotland. I mean, Scotland. Mass in Scotland as advertised on the tin, without Fr Pat’s (hello Linlithgow!) or Fr whoever’s idea of improvements. Mass without This Is How We Do It Round Here, We Like A Bit Of A Laugh Monsignor who-shall-remain-nameless (Edinburgh), or We’re Only Having One Reading At Christmas Day Mass Becuase The Gospel Will be Acted Out By the Children And Will Take A Long Time (Winchburgh), Mass Absolutely Must Be Celebrated Ad Populum Even If It Means The “Sanctuary” Takes Up 1/3 Of the Nine-Square-Metre Chapel (Aberdeen), Mass with improvements in reference to which PP says There Is Nothing In That Redemptionis Sacramentum Thing That Applies to Our Parish Our Viewpoints Differ (Edinburgh) , or No Sermons This Month I Will Read Some Jokes Instead As It Is The Holidays (Winchburgh), or  Re-Arranged Mass Yeah, the Bishop Knows, We First Did It With Him In Lourdes (Edinburgh). ]

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