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Remember how Blair mended the wicked undemocratic upper house of parliament by throwing out all those wicked hereditary peers and replacing them with his nice friends?

Read this little bit of journalistic provocation. I found this on the Devil’s Kitchen, but since not everyone’s muckymouth tolerance has been built up by going to a school that features by name as Not A Good School in Trainspotting, I have put it here without the completely gratuitous swearing and worse in which that otherwise funny, informative and endearing blogger indulges.

Here’s a wee excerpt of their conversation:

Baron Truscott of St James’s took a bite of his teacake before explaining to the two lobbyists in front of him just how much it would cost to hire a peer of the realm.

“Rates vary between £1,000 and £5,000 a day,” he said quietly, his voice almost drowned by the chatter in the House of the Lords dining room. It was a question, he agreed, of getting the right person rather than haggling over the money.

Truscott — a former Labour MEP who was a government minister until 18 months ago — made it clear he had exactly the right credentials.

In the course of their short tea-time conversation he agreed to help them amend a government bill that was harmful to their client, in return for cash. He said he had done similar work before. He said he had intervened on the Energy Bill — a piece of legislation he had been responsible for as a minister only months earlier.

However, he confided to the lobbyists, he had to be a “bit careful” and could not table the amendment himself. “There are ways to do these things, but there is a degree of subtlety . . . work behind the scenes,” he said.

Now I must try and remember where I put that grindstone before I began procrastinating.

See SPUC release and John Smeaton’s blog post. The HFE bill goes before the House of Lords tomorrow. I know it’s a massive pain, especially if you have not been following things all along – trying to work out exactly what horrors this particular bill legislates for, trying not to get anything mixed up, working out how you address whoever it is you are writing to, etc etc – but even if you can only cobble together some only-slightly-altered paraphrase of SPUC’s outline – SEND IT! Every email represents a voter. Or, for the Lords, moral support for their better inclinations. WRITE NOW!

https://i0.wp.com/www.dbu.edu/mitchell/images/HNRS%203301/bruno.bmp


Hail, light and model for all Carthusians, fruitful olive tree bursting forth from the cleft in the rock,

fragrant lily springing up in solitude, flowering and diffusing a life-giving perfume of sweetness.

May we exult for ever in the mercy of Him Whose glory fills you with joy.


V/. The just man shall blossom like the lily,

R/. He shall strike root like the Lebanon cedar.




Deus, qui Sanctum Brunonem ad serviendum tibi in solitudine vocasti:

eius nobis intercessione concede, ut inter mundanas varietates,

tibi iugiter vacemus:

per Dominum nostrum Iesum Christum Filium tuum,

qui tecum vivit et regnat in unitate Spiritus Sancti,

Deus,

per omnia saecula saeculorum, amen.

The Latin phrase “vacare Deo” is hard to translate exactly in English. It has all the connotations of being vacant or empty, being at leisure, being free or unoccupied, being on holiday for God. It occurs in Psalm 45(46):10 “Vacate et videte quoniam ego sum Deus” – “Be still, and know that I am God”. St. Paul uses it in 1 Cor 7:5, about married couples being “free for prayer”. The idea is present also in the story of Mary the sister of Martha, who sat at the Lord’s feet, and was commended for having wisely chosen the one thing necessary (Lk 10:42).

(From the Pluscarden oblate newsletter. Translation of prayer in combox.)

Click to view full size image

To have known the things that from the weak are furled,
Perilous ancient passions, strange and high;
It is something to be wiser than the world,
It is something to be older than the sky.
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I was chatting with an old friend yesterday (a priest) over a glass of brandy. We were discussing the strangeness of being a Catholic, of carrying an immortal fire in one’s breast in the midst of a perishing world, of belonging to ‘a high-born race of foreigners on earth’. Everything around us is marked for destruction. The rulers of the world sit complacently in their palaces and parliaments – the very elements of which will one day dissolve in fire – while the simplest slum dweller, upon whose poverty their seeming security is founded, participates in the divine nature and will pass unharmed through the flaming deluge. We got onto discussing marriage and its strange and ambiguous position as the quintessential this-worldly activity and yet the sacramentum magnum the only natural symbol of that union of divine and human natures which lies at the heart of the mystery which will destroy this world and create a new one. We had spent the entire weekend discussing metaphysics, the miracle of being and the purity and splendour of the divine being the abyss of all perfections. It is because the slaves of this world do not dare to look into that abyss that they cannot shake off their chains. It was no earthly courage which permitted any of us to gaze into its depths. Grace and providence seized us and turned our eyes into the face of its piercing light without any merit of our own. I was reminded of Chesterton’s incredible poem ‘The Great Minimum’ which seems to be a hymn to being, to his wife and to the Catholic Faith. It expresses with terrifying precision the strangeness of knowing everything, of knowing where we have come from and where we are going, the meaning and reason for the struggles that wrack the world, of the true war which the earthly ones disguise.
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“It is a serious thing to live in a society of possible gods and goddesses, to remember that the dullest and most uninteresting person you talk to may one day be a creature which, if you saw it now, you would be strongly tempted to worship, or else a horror and a corruption such as you now meet, if at all, only in a nightmare. All day long we are, in some degree, helping each other to one or other of these destinations.”
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We must never forget these vertiginous facts, terrifying though they are. They are the only things which matter. The one thing necessary is to seek His face. We will not help our mortal friends and countrymen by living as if their predicament was any less terrible than it is. No earthly glory can be obtained from the quest for earthly glory that will not be tied around our necks and cast with us into the lake of fire. ‘Seek ye first the Kingdom and God and His justice and these other things will be added unto you.’ Only in the light of these truths is the sordidness and absurdity of sin exposed for what it is. The sheer pathetic indignity of voluntarily resuming one’s chains and seeking re-admittance to the flesh-pots of Egypt is unbearable. The one and only Ark is prepared and the deluge is coming. The earth is groaning for the revelation of the sons of God. Outside of the Ark everything which subsists upon the earth will be destroyed.
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Most sweet Jesus, Redeemer of the human race, look down upon us humbly prostrate before Your altar. We are Yours, and Yours we wish to be; but, to be more surely united with You, behold each one of us freely consecrates himself today to Your Most Sacred Heart. Many indeed have never known You; many too, despising Your precepts, have rejected You. Have mercy on them all, most merciful Jesus, and draw them to Your Sacred Heart.

You are King, O Lord, not only of the faithful who have never forsaken You, but also of the prodigal children who have abandoned You; grant that they may quickly return to their Father’s house lest they die of wretchedness and hunger.

You are King of those who are deceived by erroneous opinions, or whom discord keeps aloof; call them back to the harbour of truth and unity of faith, so that soon there may be but one flock and one Shepherd.

You are King of all those who are still involved in the darkness of idolatry or of Islamism; refuse not to draw them all into the light and kingdom of God. Turn Your eyes of mercy toward the children of that race, once Your chosen people. Of old they called down upon themselves the Blood of the Saviour; may it now descend upon them a laver of redemption and of life.

Grant, O Lord, to Your Church assurance of freedom and immunity from harm; give peace and order to all nations, and make the earth resound from pole to pole with one cry: Praise to the Divine Heart that wrought our salvation; to It be glory and Honour forever. Amen.

Blair loads Lords with new peers

LABOUR will become the dominant political force in the House of Lords in the next parliament when Tony Blair creates 16 new Labour peers.

The Prime Minister’s ennoblement of retiring MPs will end the Conservative’s historic dominance in the upper house and potentially embroil Labour in a row about “Tony’s cronies”.

The Scotsman

Blair loads Lords with new peers

LABOUR will become the dominant political force in the House of Lords in the next parliament when Tony Blair creates 16 new Labour peers.

The Prime Minister’s ennoblement of retiring MPs will end the Conservative’s historic dominance in the upper house and potentially embroil Labour in a row about “Tony’s cronies”.

The Scotsman

At last! A modern theologian who supports Exsurge Domine 33

“If in order to save an earthly life it is praiseworthy to use force to stop a man from committing suicide, are we not to be allowed use the same force — holy coercion — to save the Life (with a capital) of many who are stupidly bent on killing their souls?”

– Jose Maria Escrivá, The Way: 399

At last! A modern theologian who supports Exsurge Domine 33

“If in order to save an earthly life it is praiseworthy to use force to stop a man from committing suicide, are we not to be allowed use the same force — holy coercion — to save the Life (with a capital) of many who are stupidly bent on killing their souls?”

– Jose Maria Escrivá, The Way: 399

Popular apologist Jimmy Akin (appropriately distinguished by the fact that he sports a cowboy hat) has been propagating a serious error concerning the authority of the Fathers of the Church. He has been claiming that because Trent’s Decree Concerning The Edition And Use Of The Sacred Books was issued on the same day as the Decree Concerning the Canonical Scriptures (8th April 1546) it should be taken as a disciplinary decree and therefore its requirement that the Scriptures never be interpreted ‘contrary to the unanimous teaching of the Fathers’ should be taken as purely disciplinary. Furthermore, he opines, because the 1983 Code of Canon Law makes no reference to this ‘rule’ it is lapsed and no longer binds the faithful. The motive for this preposterous claim appears to be the desire to unburden himself of unfashionable teachings of the Fathers and to clear the ground for ultramontane magisterial positivism (especially in regard to the interpretation of Genesis).

The problem for Mr Akin is that, even granting his claims about the disciplinary character of the Decree Concerning The Edition And Use Of The Sacred Books, the requirement that the Scriptures never be interpreted ‘contrary to the unanimous teaching of the Fathers’ is not confined to this decree. Exactly the same requirement in included in the Creed of Pius IV or Professio Fidei Tridentina the Church’s rule of faith for four centuries proclaimed at the end of Trent by Pius IV and solemnly affirmed not once but twice by Vatican I. This dogmatic and irreformable statement of the ‘true Catholic faith, outside of which no one can be saved’ resoundingly affirms that:

“I also accept the Holy Scripture according to that sense which holy mother the Church hath held, and doth hold, and to whom it belongeth to judge the true sense and interpretations of the Scriptures. Neither will I ever take and interpret them otherwise than according to the unanimous consent of the Fathers.”

The authority of the Fathers, which reaches its highest point in their unanimous interpretation of scripture, is the guarantee of the unchanging sense of the Church’s teaching delivered once and for all to the Apostles and preserved inviolate until the Lord’s return. As Vatican I put it,

“For the doctrine of the faith which God has revealed is put forward not as some philosophical discovery capable of being perfected by human intelligence, but as a divine deposit committed to the spouse of Christ to be faithfully protected and infallibly promulgated. Hence, too, that meaning of the sacred dogmas is ever to be maintained which has once been declared by Holy mother Church, and there must never be any abandonment of this sense under the pretext or in the name of a more profound understanding.”