no “disgruntled of Peebles”

Is br Paul Coleman. He hath a blog. See that Eucharistic flash mob? That was him, that was.


Life is good. Litanies. Motorbikes. Warm weather. The parish choir sang Vidi Aquam on Sunday, and Monsieur Le Organiste has just told me that he heard them practising the Missa de Angelis this evening. As he said, competition is healthy 🙂 (cf. here for an explanation – chant hasn’t featured in prominently in their repertoire in the past.) He’s also lent me a rocking recording of Alain’s organ works, so I am at once dancing around the sitting room (maybe I should get curtains :/ ) and weeping inside at the thought of the hours and hours and hours and months of practice it would take to be able to play even just as badly as I used to.

Aelianus – I’ve not forgotten. But I’m still struggling with this stupid Polglish account of the rationality of the operations by which we build classical metaphysics (snore).

A post on a Bitter Lunatic Trad blog (I was googling for something, okay? And don’t pretend you don’t sneak a peek at Catholic Truth Scotland a couple of times  a year. And I’ve just attended an entire course of Neocat catecheses, and only ran away once. So don’t call me a trad.) publishes a Letter to the Editor from a seminarian of the Warszawa-Praga diocese (the right bank of the Vistula):

As a student of the Warsaw-Praga seminary I should like to inform [you] that in the seminary where I study there is, as of this year, a class  (two hours a week) “The Extraordinary Rite of the Liturgy of the Roman Church”, in which we learn to celebrate according to this rite. From what I have heard it appears that we are the first diocesan seminary in Poland to introduce this.

My best wishes.

Ut in omnibus Deus glorificetur!

[name and address supplied]


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


With esoteric patristic references in the comboxes.

Berenike's Barry BikeNot quite my old Lamborghini, but I love it very much anyway. The basket for the front has to sit very high to avoid the lamp, which makes for an amusingly wobbly ride when it is fitted (or did – it’s a bit knackered after my destruction testing it with books and vast quantities of potatoes). It has a broad sturdy luggage rack at the back with strong built-in stretchy  bands for holding things on, a 100% chain guard, and a tres helpful immobiliser thingy so I don’t have to find somewhere to chain it outside the ironmonger’s, the butcher’s, the grocer’s, the patisserie, the chemist’s, the newsagent’s, the optician’s, the other grocer’s, the shop with herbal stuff, the cobbler’s, the bookshop,  …

Today’s Mass has offered me material for an edifying post for a change – I hope. At least, it has left me really fidgety with excitement and joy.

I am at home at my family’s in Leipzig, Eastern Germany. Our diocese of 175,000 Catholics covers an area where the mean percentage of Catholics is 3-5 %, and this includes Lusatia, where Catholicism is much more widespread. In Leipzig, 17,000 of 500,000 inhabitants are Catholic, a further 70,000 Protestant. The rest are un-missionised agnostics/atheists/”never-thought-about-religion”s. If you want to set up a missionary station on a fertile field, please come.

As I only know the Eastern German Catholics as an outsider, I can say little about them. It appears that there are far less “habitual” Catholics, paying Church taxes but never appearing at Mass (apart from baptism, marriage and funerals) – these mostly have “slipped” (if this expression has any meaning in this context) under the Communists. The leftovers are probably quite eager. There are, however, some problems connected to the diaspora situations: There are no beautiful old churches left over, and many customs you find in old Catholic regions have never really taken hold. A tiny minority amongst unbelievers, Catholics and Protestants naturally have co-operated a lot, which, though in itself a good thing, has also led to the common ecumenical effect of the lowest common denominator and a very “Protestant” form of the liturgy (many hymns, not necessarily linked to the liturgically apropriate ones, i.e. Christmas carol instead of sanctus, little incense, and so on).

propstei_leipzigToday, I went to our Probsteikirche, from rather carnal reasons, I must say (they have Mass at 11 am). The church building is of really exceptional ugliness which the picture does not quite capture. It was built somewhat outside the city center in 1980, and in this case it was not liberal Catholics, but the socialists who were responsible for a building looking as little as a church as possible. This had been their condition for permitting it to be built at all – 37 years after its predecessor had been destroyed by bombs. The interior is somewhat more apropriate for a church and can be seen here.

Anyway, to this building I betook myself in the not-so-early morning today. In the front of the church, parishoners coming from the 9:30 am Mass mingled with those going to the 11 am Mass, resulting in a l hustle and bustle which involved many young people and families with children. This was a delightful view enough, but imagine my immense surprise when I discovered – our bishop! – at the side of the provost at the beginning of Mass. The occasion for his presence was the Confirmation of three adults, a woman and three men, one of whom also had his first Communion today. The bishop preached very beautifully about the Sacrament he was about to administer, drawing connections to today’s Gospel. He started by talking about the Holy Spirit who was to “come over” those who would be confirmed today, a thing so marvellous, he said, that it should bring us to our knees. He spoke about how each of the three would be called by their own names, a Mary was called by hers; and as Mary=Miriam meant “the beloved of God”, so they should know how the fact that they were to receive this Sacrament today meant they were beloveds of God, too. He then referred to Our Lady as our supreme example in giving everything, that giving everything could well mean the sword piercing our heart, and that it was most wrong to conceive of being part of the Church as entering some sheltered, comfortable place. Only the gift of the Holy Spirit could give us enough strength rfor the strife awaiting us. He ended by saying that the greeting of Gabriel “χαιρε” also meant “be joyful”, and how well we could be joyful when God dwells in us as in a house He himself has built.

I was beaming with joy already at such a marvellous homily where I little expected it, but everyone joined me, including the parish priest, when the three came forward to receive the sacrament of confirmation. The woman (who did not have to wear a white dress as the priest made obligatory for me!) is a mother of three children of 2-8 years and had her husband as one of her confirmation sponsors; all three took confirmation names (one of them chose “Benedikt”), and it was all really, really satisfying and gladdening.

At the end of Mass it was mentioned that a new church building will be built: the old one is not only ugly, but also in imminent danger of collapsing, having been built very badly. The new one, for a parish of 4000 increasing by 150 every year (!) (average age: 37 years) will be built directly in the city center, as the old one had been. It will cost 10 million Euro, and to gather this money the German bishops’ conference has agreed to hold a collection on the 8th February in all German Catholic churches – something that has never happened before! These marvellous developments in my home town have left me with a broad smile of pleasure till now. If anyoney feels the wish to donate, by the way, here is an opportunity. (Not that I think it very likely, but one should never restrict magnaminity in artificial ways by not offering relevant information!)