Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Noel


God rest ye merry, gentlemen, let nothing you dismay,

Remember Christ our Savior was born on Christmas Day;

To save us all from Satan’s power when we were gone astray.


Refrain
O tidings of comfort and joy, comfort and joy;

O tidings of comfort and joy.


In Bethlehem, in Jewry, this blessèd Babe was born,

And laid within a manger upon this blessèd morn;

The which His mother Mary did nothing take in scorn.


Refrain


From God our heavenly Father a blessèd angel came;

And unto certain shepherds brought tidings of the same;

How that in Bethlehem was born the Son of God by name.


Refrain

“Fear not, then,” said the angel, “Let nothing you afright

This day is born a Savior of a pure Virgin bright,

To free all those who trust in Him from Satan’s power and might.”


Refrain


The shepherds at those tidings rejoiced much in mind,

And left their flocks a-feeding in tempest, storm and wind,

And went to Bethl’em straightaway this blessèd Babe to find.


Refrain


But when to Bethlehem they came where our dear Savior lay,

They found Him in a manger where oxen feed on hay;

His mother Mary kneeling unto the Lord did pray.


Refrain


Now to the Lord sing praises all you within this place,

And with true love and brotherhood each other now embrace;

This holy tide of Christmas all others doth deface.


Refrain


God bless the ruler of this house, and send him long to reign

,And many a merry Christmas may live to see again;

Among your friends and kindred that live both far and near—


That God send you a happy new year, happy new year,

And God send you a happy new year.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Shakespeare a Catholic?

We have been occupying ourselves in composing irate letters to the Lord Bishop on the subject of Glynn Cardy and the Virgin Birth (see previous post), but we did notice that Father Longenecker thinks Shakespeare was a Roman Catholic.

read the details here.

The trouble with this thesis is exactly what Fr Longenecker writes about it--there is an awful lot of time in Shakespeare's life we don't know about.

The evidence we have is fragmented--it is likely, based on hearsay evidence, that Shakespeare's father made a Catholic will.

It is true that he went to a catholic minded priest to marry his wife.

It is true that his plays (like Hamlet, for instance) have many Catholic ideas in them.

And it's true Warwickshire was a bastion of traditionalism--accounting for plays like A Midsummer Night's Dream.

But half of England was still Catholic-minded in 1590, if not Papist--that's where the Civil War came from, and half the Church of England is catholic minded still. Distentangling Shakespeare from his culture is problematic on such small evidence as we have--he would hardly be the first son to reject his father's religion.

Shakespeare conformed to the Church of England at several points during his life, and there are lots of plays which seem to have Protestant ideas in them as well (Measure for Measure is not kind to the Poor Clares, or the Franciscans).

Finding signatures saying "William of Stratford" is interesting, but it's rather like having a signature saying "Jesus of Judea"--How do you know it's the famous one?

You can make the evidence say lots of things--not sure you could call our Will a Puritan (in fact, you can't). But gaps and fragments don't lead to much of anything, except an honest "I don't know" because very little is known about Shakespeare's life. Like most people back then, in fact.

Friday, December 18, 2009

Play it again, Glynn



The notorious Archdeacon Glynn Cardy, of St Matthews in the City, where cut price decaying heresies are warmed up like they're new, is in trouble.


He commissioned a billboard denying the Virgin Birth, and put it up on his parish grounds--coincidentally, about a block from the Roman Catholic cathedral.


Cue anger, agnst, paint, solvent, more debate, and finally, resolution.


His exercise in trendy sacrilege (see above) has been defaced by a heroic elderly woman and it will not be rebuilt. The bishop is irritated at the embarrassment, the evangelical and catholic-minded Anglicans are furious.
And the best thing of all?
The whole world has heard this pious fraud deny the Creeds printed in the Book of Common Prayer, the Articles of Religion, the teaching of the undivided Councils, the plain witness of the Bible, in favour of....

Himself.


At least the old pagans who mocked the Virgin Birth, and denied the purity of Mary had the decency to worship something other than themselves.


No adoring hordes will queue up outside St. Matthews to worship the Spirit Within Glynn Cardy (If you do, watch out for a distinct tinge of sulphur).

No one will write music, or compose liturgy, or praise in choirs of many voices The Great Man, and The Spirit of Joy represented by the warmed-over Archdeacon.


No-one will be martyred, confirming with their death the Sacred Faith of Nothing in Particular.

So, of course, he must continue to wear his clerical collar.


He must continue to preach Progressive Christianity.


Ditch the collar, and he's another half-baked guru, another Amway snake oil salesman, another travelling Salvation Show.


Lose the collar, and you can see him for what he is.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

"Action Man"

This is wonderful.

Defying predictions and doom-sayers, true blue Conservative Tony Abbott has won the leadership of the Liberal Party.

by one vote.

We are not quite sure who to thank for this frabjous event, the soft-liberal-to-the-point of squishiness MPs in the Liberal Party who just could not make up their minds, or the real heroes of the piece, the Liberal Party base.

Ordinary people who called their politicians. Ordinary people who put their wallets away.
Ordinary people who demanded the Party they wanted--that is, one that wasn't Labor's lapdog.

And now they have their man.

God bless the rabble, every one.

Sunday, November 29, 2009

ETS and the Peasants' Revolt

The Australian Liberal Party is in "meltdown" this week over the bungled Emissions Trading Scheme. It goes like this.

Leader of the Opposition Malcolm Turnbull does a deal with Labor to pass the ETS, so that Kevin Rudd can go off to Copenhagen to look like a good global citizen. Having drunk the David Cameron Kool-Aid, he's convinced being Green will play well in urban areas, and with moderate voters.

His own party, which has been long divided between "conservatives" and "moderates" does the maths, and figures out the following things.

The ETS is equivalent to a massive tax
The environmental benefits are uncertain (to put it kindly)
Copenhagen's outcome is equally uncertain (ditto)

And most importantly of all, the average Liberal Party voter, especially in the bush, hates the idea, and wants to hold off.

And they've been saying so.

Ain't that democracy a bitch?

Spooked by their full email inboxes and burning phone lines, the Liberal MP's and significant numbers in the Shadow Cabinet tell Mr. Turnbull to pull his head in.

Mr. Turnbull labels his opponents climate change deniers, wreckers, disloyal crazies, and generally acts like the Sun King on a bad day.

The result?

Revolt.

To the attack come the disloyal peasantry, demanding that the Opposition do its duty and oppose. That horrible rabble of farmers and businessmen and housewives, led by our favourite Mad Monk, and a reluctant standard-bearer press-ganged by the Mob.

This is glorious, it's quite like old times.

We're the first to fix bayonets against rebels in ordinary circumstances, but in these, we've only got two words.

Ca Ira!

Come

Today is the first Sunday in Advent--and Dr. Swift had the honour of reading the Gospel.

And there shall be signs in the sun, and in the moon, and in the stars; and upon the earth distress of nations, with perplexity; the sea and the waves roaring;

Men's hearts failing them for fear, and for looking after those things which are coming on the earth: for the powers of heaven shall be shaken.

And then shall they see the Son of man coming in a cloud with power and great glory.

And when these things begin to come to pass, then look up, and lift up your heads; for your redemption draweth nigh.

Advent is the season of waiting--we wait for the Holy Child to come (to come is what "Advent" means.) But it is also the season of groaning, the season of birth, the season of trembling.

In Advent, we hear in the readings the massive facts of human evil, of natural disaster, of the four Last Things: Heaven, Hell, Death and the Judgement.

Not fashionable, perhaps. But real.

In a world of tsuamis and terrorism, of child murder and sudden death, in a world of hunger and pain, we so desperately need Advent.

The season to feel our calamities, to repent, to cry out to God for a deliverer, for Someone to help us, to be with us, to aid, comfort, assoil and strengthen us.

And the message of Advent is that He comes.

He comes, and we have hope.

From Death will come Life.

In Judgement, we will have Mercy.

From the old, the decaying, the trembling, will come a Child.

Behold the Man whose Name is the Branch.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Something about Mary


Dr. Swift is an Anglican of a High Church Evangelical disposition.

We are quite comfortable in the bell-tower to chant our Psalm, to cross ourselves, to kneel at the drop of a hat, and we are entirely in favour of crucifixes, candles, and other such trifles allowed by Elizabeth, of blessed memory.

But at the same time, we find lace on men disturbing. We are quite happy with Latin Mass, but it must be the Latin Book of Common Prayer. And while we deeply admire the Pope, we are firmly convinced that he should mind his own business.

We are in short, good, catholic minded Protestants, c. 1570.

That means, among other things, we are suspicious of Mary.

Mary, idolatrous shibboleth of Polish boot-blacks and Filapina house-maids.
Mary, inspiration of Popish Queens, and odd, Lady Marchmain-like aristocrats.
Mary, prop of bad art, milk-sop milk-maid of sickly piety.

Mary, the plain weird.

But we are nearly in Advent. And we are forced to turn our minds, and our thoughts, to the Virgin Mother of the Lord.

Mary, the simple peasant girl, drawing water for Joachim and Anna.

Mary, betrothed to Joseph, the carpenter, a good man, a solid man--an older man.

Mary of the Magnificat, that soaring hymn of hope that the weak, the poor, the lowly and the broken will no longer be shut out.

Mary, the burning eyed, at the Cross, where the sword pierced her own soul, and her Son's side.

Mary, the mother of the Church, sitting in the kitchen with John Evangelist, and the other Apostles, dispensing wine, stew and advice.

Mary at Pentecost, receiving the devouring fire.

And we find ourselves awestruck. Mary isn't simply a model of virginal sweetness (pace bad art). She is a woman of fire, of faith, of blood, of suffering.

The woman who said "Yes."

Hail, Mary, full of grace.

Yes. Just one little word.

A word for the whole world.

Here's the gorgeous, if sadly rare, Caccini Ave Maria.


Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Hymn Search II

Our new favourite hymn search continues, and behind Door Number Two we have Immortal, Invisible, God Only Wise.




Immortal, invisible, God only wise,
In light inaccessible hid from our eyes,
Most blessèd, most glorious, the Ancient of Days,
Almighty, victorious, Thy great Name we praise.

Unresting, unhasting, and silent as light,
Nor wanting, nor wasting, Thou rulest in might;
Thy justice, like mountains, high soaring above
Thy clouds, which are fountains of goodness and love.

To all, life Thou givest, to both great and small;
In all life Thou livest, the true life of all;
We blossom and flourish as leaves on the tree,
And wither and perish—but naught changeth Thee.

We really, really, like this one.

Reverence: 10 (utterly sublime)

Theology: 6 (A bit disembodied--Christ came down in flesh, and unveiled Himself to our eyes--steady on with the Invisible bit...)

Musicality: 8 (a good, thumping rhythm)

Scrubbing Capacity: 8 (Un HAS ting Un WAS ting--floor scrubbed in ten minutes. Thurible, maybe not, it doesn't rock enough)

To the Death

The above photograph shows Mr. Hulk Hogan bleeding after a "press conference" in which he had an impromptu brawl with his opponent, for the edification of the watching media.

Watching wrestling, and the cruelties regularly perpetrated on "reality" TV shows like Fear Factor, we give it fifty years before we're back in Ancient Rome and people are fighting to the death.

Lose Christian morality, and the nice things about Western culture, like not exposing your children on bare mountain-tops, and not beating each other to death for entertainment start looking...kinda shaky. Note the blood--or the scripted blood, perhaps, which is in a way worse.

What is good? The Will to Power, Power itself, in Man.
What is bad? All that proceeds from Weakness....

Friedrich Nietszche

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Stop bugging me...

Hone Harawira is in trouble.

It appears the Maori Party are not happy with his display of anti-white prejudice, which demonstrates that some of them have functional political antennae.

We are not suprised that, having spent years shedding the image of extreme whinery, and mainstreaming Maori causes like the repeal of the sea-bed and foreshore Act, Dr. Sharples and Mrs. Turia are clearly cross about being forced into a corner by calculated running off at the mouth. Few want the radicalism, shouting and race-baiting days of yore back--except possibly, of course, those who continue to recall the New Zealand Wars with affection (and there are too many, on both sides, including our friend Hone).

The Maori Party are agressively implying that Mr. Harawira will sit as an Independent--or rather, that he's already acting like one.

Suspecting (and in our view rightly) he'd be toast without the label of the Maori Party, Mr. Harawira isn't budging.

It reminds us of one of those rather tragic playground situations--elder brother and sister playing cricket, and trying to persuade little brother he'd really be much happier playing somewhere else, while he wails and throws a tantrum, and insists on being as much trouble as possible.

Of course, tantrums look a little better when they are wrapped in the defence of the marginalised, my people, our tikanga, etc, but tantrums Mr. Harawira keeps throwing.

Little brother never wins in the end--Hone Harawira can take his medicine, pay the money back, submit to Party discipline, apologise (again) for race-baiting, and be re-admitted to his fielding position on the boundary. Or he can sod off for a permanent place in the pavilion.

If I were Dr. Sharples, I wonder which one I'd be hoping for?

Friday, November 13, 2009

O Crux Ave, Spes Unica



ABROAD the regal banners fly,
now shines the Cross's mystery:
upon it Life did death endure,
and yet by death did life procure.

Who, wounded with a direful spear,
did purposely to wash us clear
from stain of sin, pour out a flood
of precious water mixed with blood.

That which the prophet-king of old
hath in mysterious verse foretold,
is now accomplished, whilst we see
God ruling the nations from a Tree.

O lovely and refulgent Tree,
adorned with purpled majesty;
culled from a worthy stock, to bear
those limbs which sanctified were.

Blest Tree, whose happy branches bore
the wealth that did the world restore;
the beam that did that Body weigh
which raised up Hell's expected prey.

Hail Cross, of hopes the most sublime!
Now, in the mournful Passion time;
grant to the just increase of grace,
and every sinner's crimes efface.

Blest Trinity, salvation's spring
may every soul Thy praises sing;
to those Thou grantest conquest
by the Holy Cross, rewards supply.

Amen.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Lest we forget


In Flanders Fields the poppies blow
Between the crosses row on row,
That mark our place; and in the sky
The larks, still bravely singing,
fly Scarce heard amid the guns below.

We are the Dead. Short days ago
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
Loved and were loved, and now we lie
In Flanders fields.

Take up our quarrel with the foe:
To you from failing hands we throw
The torch; be yours to hold it high.
If ye break faith with us who die
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
In Flanders fields.
Armistice Day, 11.11.18
Lest we forget.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Indeed

Abp Cranmer, a blogger of erudition, has a reaction to the Apostolic Constitution, Anglicanorum Coetibus, which is about where we've come down on it.

Cranmer thinks there is an awful lot of fuss being made over the Anglicanorum Coetibus. It will be more honoured in the breach than in the observing, for those in the observing will be so few and far between that the breaches will attract far more attention than a few women priests ever did.

And there is more pleasure in its reading and contemplation than there will ever be in its practice and application. If ‘Ut Unum Sint’ made anything clear, it is that unity is unattainable this side of glory, if only because of the infinite theological variety of Christian nature: God loves symphony, not singularity. The only True Church is the Church Invisible - the 'communion of the saints'. Christ may have prayed that believers might be one, might be united in Him, but an awful lot rests on what we mean and understand by ‘one’ and ‘united’.

Not to mention ‘Catholic’.

And Cranmer finds it bizarre that there are some who are positively wetting themselves with infantile exuberance over the supposed creation of an Anglican branch of the Catholic Church: in case they hadn’t noticed, there has been one since AD597.....

. The doctrinal history of the Church of England asserts that it is both Catholic and Reformed; Apostolic and Evangelical; Prophetic and Protestant. The Prayer Book states: ‘Whosoever will be saved, it is necessary above all things that he hold the catholic faith...’.

Anglicanism is a worldwide universal communion, and repudiates some of the claims of Rome, not least its soteriology, ecclesiology, its unique claim to catholicity and and its understanding of authority. Unless salvation has ceased to be by faith; unless church governance has ceased to be synodical; unless infallible moral authority has indeed been imparted by God to one man, the doctrinal claims of the Church of England, founded on natural law through tradition, reason and experience, have as much validity now as they had four centuries ago.

What he said.

Monday, November 9, 2009

Hymn Search I

We are on the hunt for a new favourite hymn.

For reasons we won't go into, Work for the Night is Coming, Bickerstaff's favourite house-cleaning hit, really won't do any more, not least because it palls with repetition.

We'll be spotlighting the candidates for new favourite over the next few weeks, and behind Door Number One, we have Holy God We Praise Thy Name

Four criteria we examine: Reverence, Theology, Musicality, and ability to swing a thurible or a scrubbing brush to the beat.




Holy God, we praise Thy Name;
Lord of all, we bow before Thee!
All on earth Thy sceptre claim,
All in Heaven above adore Thee;
Infinite Thy vast domain,
Everlasting is Thy reign.

Hark! the loud celestial hymn
Angel choirs above are raising,
Cherubim and seraphim,
In unceasing chorus praising;
Fill the heavens with sweet accord:
Holy, holy, holy, Lord.

Reverence: 10.
Theology: 8 (pastiche of Te Deum Laudamus)
Musicality: 7 (tune a little complicated)
Scrubbability: 6 (Nice rhythm for a Thurible, not so much a scrubbing brush)

Death wish

Hone Harawira is sorry for his word choice.

He should have referenced "what European colonisers have done" apparently, instead of labelling white men as "mother-fu.....".

One might observe that whatever else "European colonisers have done" they built a country, which Mr. Harawira clearly enjoys taking advantage of in his comfortable armchair on Radio Waatea.

In any case, the gracious apology from the Honourable Member for Te Tai Tokerau lost some of its impact with his next sentence.

"If I should be suspended for swearing, him and his mates should be lined up against a wall and shot," he said.

"I'm saying to Phil Goff `beware mate, beware before you start throwing stones'."

Is this a call for armed revolution? An incitement to race war?

No.

It's an idiot who can't learn one simple word.

European New Zealanders have earned our right to contribute to our country's future. We've earned our right to be here, and just like Maori, the right not to be discounted in debates about the future of our land. The Foreshore and Seabed Bill should go. And so should the chip on Mr. Harawira's shoulder.

Let's hear from the Disney Channel:

Friday, November 6, 2009

Own Goal

"If you had kept your mouth shut, we might have thought you were clever"

Boethius

We are not sure what we find most annoying about the Hone Harawira saga.

We understand he didn't want to stay in Brussels to discuss yoof affairs and multiculturalism with boring Belgians and Eurocrats.

Who would?

Admittedly, the other MPs in the delegation did their jobs without complaining--we pay MP's to be bored so we don't have to.

But still, we don't mind him skipping the pretentious onanism for once--listening to posturing Belgians would tax anyone--and even a disciple of high taxes like Mr. Harawira should be cut a break once in a while.

He then told his Leader he was ill, and sloped off to Paris with the missus on the tax-payers dime.

Again, one might think, a warmly human fault.

The City of Love, Paris in the Winter, the Seine in the rain, the neo-brutalist pyramid outside the Louvre, Stalinist 1970's architecture, lots of Socialists and oppressed minorities to smarm up to.....

Who could resist?

Politicians, academics, mercenaries, models and whores chase the sun, and we find it difficult to blame them, given the soul-destroying nature of their jobs.

But when asked who paid for the escargots, Mr. Harawira replied:

"Gee Buddy, do you believe that white man bulls... too do you? White motherf...ers have been raping our lands and ripping us off for centuries, and all of a sudden you want me to play along with their puritanical bulls... "

Setting aside the enchanting idea that white men routinely fornicate with their mothers, we note that the basic idea of public accountability is now "puritanical bullsh..." Further, note the aggressive implication that what goes around comes around--the Taranaki Wars thus provide the justification for a free lunch at La Tour d'Argent for the well-fed descendents of the losing side.


I put in s...loads of hours and bucketloads of energy in my commitment to advancing Maori, and I am happy to put my body, my freedom, and my personal credibility on the line for that cause. And I don't do it because of the salary, or the political position I hold, or for any other reason than that I believe in fighting for Maori rights and I love doing what I do.

Although the perks don't hurt, clearly. This is what is known as A Sense of Entitlement, and it drives ordinary people, including the very Maori Mr. Harawira claims to represent, utterly nuts to spend their tax money supporting it.

After a heart-warming but irrelevant tribute to his wife, Mr. Harawira continues, shaking the earth with the force of his eloquence:


And quite frankly I don't give a s... what you or anyone else thinks about it. OK?

PS and if you want to take this to the press, go right ahead. I answer to my people, not to them or to anybody else.

Mr. Harawira might indeed deserve a break (although the accepted mode, we believe, is to put your wife on the New Zealand France Friendship Board (or a real equivalent) before you take her with you on the public credit card).

But there's no reason we should have to pay for it. And no reason at all he should react with such a detestable and plain rude sense of entitlement, showing arrogance as pretentious as his politics. He should resign--and speedily, for the honour of his party, and the credit of the country.

We wonder whether Mr. Harawira is tired of life--or perhaps of his job? To dare the recipient of the e-mail to release it to the press seems to us very like a kamakaze maneouvre.

Although, of course, even if he does resign, it will not wipe out the cruellest irony of all.

Has anyone told him that the Paris he was so desperate to see is also "white man's bullsh..."?

Take it away, Edith. They're playing our song......



Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Stupid Songs 50: So in Love

Dr. Swift has often noted the stupidity of the musac industry.

One wonders whether anyone actually reads the lyrics of the songs they publish.

Example Number 50: Cole Porter's So In Love, otherwise known as I'm a Doormat.





Strange, dear, but true, dear,
When I'm close to you, dear,
The stars fill the sky,
So in love with you am I.

Even without you
My arms fold about you.
You know, darling why,
So in love with you am I.

In love with the night mysterious
The night when you first were there.
In love with my joy delirious
When I knew that you might care.

So taunt me and hurt me,
Deceive me, desert me,
I'm yours 'til I die,
So in love, So in love,
So in love with you, my love, am I.

The unbridled stupidity of that last verse never fails to amuse us--even though Kiss Me Kate is our favourite musical here in the bell-tower, we have never been fans of the kind of woman who gets more slavish and devoted the more terribly she is treated.

Honey, dump the cad and make yourself some tea instead.

Saturday, October 31, 2009

Reformation Day

The last Sunday in October is Reformation Day.

For all the reformers, doctors, martyrs, theologians, parish priests, soldiers and friends of Christ who rescued his Holy Church from error, wickedness, and compromise.

Let us praise the Lord.



Great Captain, lead your fighting church to war! Arm us with the weapons of the gospel to defend the holy ground our fathers contended for. Stamp out the spirit of compromise, and keep us from yielding even the least particle of faith that was once entrusted to the saints. Be our mighty Fortress to protect us from the devil. As the clouds of evil darken and the stress of the last times increases, give us a double portion of the martyr-spirit, that we may be bold and steadfast in battle and appear at last before your throne with fearless hearts....

What is the nicest thing

about listening to Anglican Catholics talk?

No split infinitives.

Bewdeful.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Thin end of the wedge


It amused me to see this cartoon today at Fr. Finigan's--it is familar to me from my 19th Century History course, and shows Pius IX prying open the door of the Church of England with his brand new restored Catholic hierarchy. (c1850)

We welcomed the announcement of reunion with Rome a few days ago. But listening to the Anglo-Catholic Forward in Faith Assembly, we are prey to different feelings, as it seems the shell-shocked Anglican catholics present are.


The reaction of several (not all) of our Roman Catholic friends reminds us exactly how raw our history is.


Is the best we can do "Yay, we'll get our buildings back now?" or "Finally, the Church of Henry's Hormones is returning?"


This moment is profoundly sad. We are seeing a massive pastoral failure on the part of official Anglicanism, comparable to the Methodist schism (albeit on the other wing). We are driving out those catholic Anglicans who have always had an honoured place in our Church, since the days of Henry VIII, in so many ways the first of them.


The dream of corporate reunion nurtured by +Ramsey is dead, and has been since 1992.


That too is profoundly sad--we're talking about now picking up the mess.


Whither now the Church of England?


I would like to think that generous conscience provisions (preferably a Third Province) will leave in most of the Anglo-Catholics, and that the rest of the Church can coalesce around the Articles of Religion, and Anglicanism's historical reformed and catholic identity.


I would like to think that.


I don't.


Which leaves the question.....
What does this mean now?

Monday, October 26, 2009

Anglican Catholic reunion?

The Anglican world is buzzing with news of the Apostolic Constitution, which will allow Anglo-Catholic Anglicans to come over to Rome, bringing with them their liturgical traditions--in essence, conversion without letting goods and kindred go.

On one level, I am pleased about this development. It will give those Anglicans who are functionally Roman already somewhere to go, and safe space to sing the Salve Regina in peace.

But wild predictions of whole-sale conversions are unlikely to be fulfilled, not least because, although the cultural obstacles to reunion are now overcome (or might be), the doctrinal ones remain.

Is the Pope infallible?

Is the Church of Rome the true Church of Jesus Christ?

Do we now accept the Roman definition of the Real Presence?

Is Salvation by Faith alone?

Assumption, Immaculate Conception, Perpetual Virginity of Mary?

Veneration of relics?

Indulgences?

Latinisation of our most cherished and sacred formularies and traditions, the Prayer Book not excepted?

There will be some ready to do the Vatican Rag on these and other subjects--the Dom Gregory Dix school of thought, for whom Dr. Swift has a sneaking sympathy.

There will be many others who will not budge an inch.

Even some who might be attracted by Rome will stumble at re-ordination, clerical marriage, a hostile and liberal hierarchy, and all the other slips twixt cup and lip.

Let those who must go, go, with the blessing of the Lord.

And let those of us who stay pray even harder for the redemption of our Church, and the grace to maintain Christ's Truth.

O Gracious Father, we humbly beseech Thee for Thy Holy Catholic Church; that Thou wouldest be pleased to fill it with all truth in all peace. Where it is corrupt, purify it; where it is in error, direct it; where in anything it is amiss, reform it.

Where it is right, establish it; where it is in want, provide for it; where it is divided and rent asunder, make up the breaches of it, O Thou Holy One of Israel; for the sake of Him who died and rose again, and ever liveth to make intercession for us, Jesus Christ, Thy Son, our Lord.

Amen.

Bl William Laud, Archbishop of Canterbury, and Martyr.

Take it away lads, let them hear you!

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Quote of the Week

"We have returned to the Apostles and the old Catholic Fathers. We have planted no new religion but only preserved the old that was undoubtedly founded and used by the Apostles of Christ and other holy Fathers of the Primitive Church."

John Jewel, Lord Bishop of Salisbury. "Apologia for the Church of England" 1562.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Wahoo!

It has been announced from the Vatican today that the Pope has offered corporate renunion to traditionally minded Anglicans. Details are here in Vatican-speak, the simple version is here.

The Pope has been hugely generous--praised be God for a brave German.

Married clergy

Anglican bishops in union with Rome

Book of Common Prayer (corrected in a more Catholic direction)

The English Hymnal

Anglican Chant

It's all allowed, and encouraged.

This might be the biggest step forward for Church Unity since Michael Ramsey went to Rome.

An English Catholic Church--a real one.

The cultural obstacles to reunion with Rome removed.

Wow.


Sunday, October 18, 2009

St Luke's Day


Sunday was a High Feast, the feast of St. Luke the Physician. Author of Dr. Swift's favourite gospel, and an all-round steady and steadfast support and prop. He can be summed up in the words of the epistle reading for Sunday:

Demas has forsaken me, having loved this present world...Cresens has gone to Galatia, Titus to Dalmatia...only Luke is with me.


I've always thought of Luke as one of those very rare, but real people who can heal by their very presence, and without saying a word. You can hear it in his gospel.

I wonder if he is praying for Spain?

He hath brought down rulers from their thrones, but has lifted up the humble...


And they met a widow at the gate, weeping.....

And Zaccheus, being little of stature, wished to see Jesus....

And they said, "This man receives sinners, and eats with them...."

Luke, like his Master, has an eye for the weak, the broken, and the little.

Almighty God, who didst inspire thy servant Luke the physician to set forth in the Gospel the love and healing power of thy Son:

Graciously continue in thy Church the like love and power to heal, to the praise and glory of thy Name; through the same thy Son Jesus Christ our Lord, who liveth and reigneth with thee, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.

Collect for the Feast of Saint Luke (BCP)

Jamas!



1.2 million people have turned out on the streets of Madrid to protest an attempt to liberalise Spain's relatively sane and sensible abortion law.

Inasmuch as Spain's Socialist Party is an assemblage of angry activists still bent on making Holy Church pay for Franco, we are not suprised at the reaction of "Equality Minister" Bibiana Aido.

Equality Minister Bibiana Aido, who pushed the reforms, said she had "total respect" for the protesters, but added that "nobody has a monopoly on morality."

"No woman can be penalized for taking such a difficult decision as that of abortion," she told AFP.

Equality, it seems, only applies if you're born.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Modern Dictionary II

Moderate:

"This government is moderate and pragmatic..."

Real meaning: I agree with the majority of the poll I just had my spin doctors do.


Carbon Neutral

"By 2012 the Hole Punch and Post-it Note Marketing Board will be Carbon Neutral...."

Real Meaning: None. Meaningless phrase used to assert superior liberal credentials (cf tolerant, bigot...)

Carbon Foot-print

"The Stapler Counting Division in the Ministry of Social Development is reducing our carbon footprint..."

Real Meaning: Religious totem replacing Sacrament of Penance (cf Inclusive, Puritanism (displaced))

We

1. "We must do something about child abuse/we must look after the poor"

Real Meaning:We must have more Government Intervention (see ideas, failed)

2. "We must improve government services..."

Real Meaning: You must work harder, and pay higher taxes, in order to pay for 1.

More to come.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Modern Dictionary I

You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means. ...

Inigo Montoya

Most debates are a matter of language. Get the language right, and you can make the other guy look stupid before you even begin. Take Mr. Key's sermon against the flat tax the other week--he kept saying "fair" as in "the tax system should be fair..."

What he means by this is "the tax system should (look like) it's hurting the rich so I look moderate, unlike Roger Douglas."

Likewise, Labour's "listening tour" of the Provinces means "tell us what packaging we have to change on the same policies to persuade you they're different,"

In an attempt to decode similar political terms, here is the first installment of the Examiner Modern Dictionary.


1. Public Debate: (noun)

"I am calling for a public debate on changing the flag/capital gains tax"

Real meaning: "We'll talk about this really really stupid and politically suicidal idea until you get used to it and think it's inevitable. Then we'll throw in a few moderating amendments until you think it very well could be worse...."

2. Inclusive (adj)

"I believe in an inclusive society"

Real meaning: "I believe in a society which legally accommodates all those fashionable interest groups which could give me political trouble later on, or which can be the subject of a sympathetic documentary making me look bad..."

This is also known as the Bridget Jones Doctrine, as in: "Labour is for gays, single mothers, and Nelson Mandela"

3. Diverse (adj)

"I am concerned about the lack of diversity in the Cabinet..."

Real meaning: "Enough fashionable minorities (cf 2) to look culturally sensitive on television.

4. Efficient (adj)

"We are changing the government service to be more efficient"

Real meaning: Mechanical, and lacking in initiative (cf Market Forces)

More to come.

Locke gets lucky

Her Majesty the Queen of New Zealand (and some other places)

Green MP Keith Locke's Head of State Referenda Bill has been pulled from the ballot.

It would trigger a referendum on the monarchy, with three options:

1. The status quo, with Her Majesty continuing as Head of State

2. A directly elected President

3. A President appointed by a three quarters vote in Parliament.

If the majority voted for a change, then the two most popular options would have a run-off.

We are inspired to remark on a couple of things.

First, we hope that this Bill will spark some useful constitutional debate about our nationhood and constitutional arrangements.

But there is, that we can see, no appetite for change in our constitution, and there is no appetite for a republic.

There might be one among the elite and the politicians (some of whom have always resented the Monarchy as a colonial overhang), and there are republicans of conviction as well--Mr. Locke is from a well-known socialist family, and doubtless he is one such.

But where are the pressing reasons for change?

We are not opposed to debate on the constitution, and we think that if the monarchy was put to a vote, the status quo would win.

But we are suspicious of the idea that a republic is "inevitable" which is what our politicians and opinion-makers say. And we are opposed to the seeming Australian (and Irish) idea which is "ask until you get the answer you want, (and then, we're betting, never ask again)"

A republic is not the inevitable outcome of constitutional and national maturity (like our constitution needs an extra decade or two on top of the eight hundred we've had already). The march of Progress (dear, outdated, Victorian idea) does not necessarily lead to dreary Presidential democracy.

We think Constitutional reform should not come from a push by the snarkerati, however legitimate it is to put in a private member's Bill. It should come from a substantial public groundswell, leading to popular pressure, and backed by public support.

So here's the question:

Where is it?

Where are the mobs demanding a republic?

Where's the Republican Movement with a hundred thousand members? (In fact, like its Monarchist counterpart, the Movement is fairly small)

Where are the petitions calling for change?

The demands for a New Zealand Head of State?

What is it that necessitates Mr., Locke's referendum?

Where's the fire?

Of course, we would vote No. And, as we said, we think New Zealand would join us.

But why should Parliament indulge one Green MP's excercise in vanity, on his say-so alone?

Here's Hayley Westenra:


Hat Tip: Kiwiblog

Monday, October 12, 2009

The Beatitudes

The Beatitudes are the core of the gospel. Here they are chanted in Russian by the monks of Valaam monastery.

"Christianity teaches the utter worthlessness of that which the world deems valuable, and the utter value of that which the world deems worthless..."

Dietrich Bonhoeffer.



Hat tip: Father Stephen

Requiscat


It appears likely that little Aisling Symes, the missing toddler, is dead.

What a broken, and horribly dark world we live in; a world where little children die.


O God who madest this beautiful earth, when will it be ready to recieve Thy saints?
How long, O Lord, how long?

George Bernard Shaw, "St. Joan

For these things do I weep ; mine eye, mine eye
Casts water out ; for He which should be nigh
To comfort me, is now departed far ;
The foe prevails, forlorn my children are.

John Donne "The Lamentations of Jeremy"


Friday, October 9, 2009

"Surely, the voice of a god, not a man...."

The Nobel Committee has given President Barack Obama the Nobel Peace Prize.

This particular piece of slavish knavery leaves us speechless.

The man has done--well, nothing, for the cause of world peace.

No peace settlements. No conflict negotiation.

A trillion dollar bailout, and a few nice speeches. And that's it!

He is the king of sound-bites, the sultan of slogans, the scarily messianic usherer-in of utopia, to be sure. But he hasn't made any contribution to world peace that we can think of--unless of course the Committee feels that he is so super-duper wonderful, that he deserves the prize before actually doing anything--after all, is there anything Our Hero cannot do? Settling world peace is surely only a matter of raising that immortal chant, that anthem of hope:

Yes. We. Can.

The Nobel Committee seems to have given in to blind Bush hatred, falling down in worship before the personification of Goodness, the Great Black Hope and Teacher of Mankind--next thing you know they'll be calling him the Incorruptible.

We can think of only one fitting tribute to this moment. One song which can encapsulate the joys of many nations, as the People clap their hands together, saying: "Great is Obama of the Norwegians..."

Now, let our Powers Combine!

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Sad.

The case of Taito Philip Field is interesting for a number of reasons--it is always a sad thing to see a (former) Member of Parliament in the dock, especially on such a charge.

It is a relief, I suppose, that even Government MPs (which he was at the time) cannot dodge the law--at least, not forever. And it demonstrates that we have a functional judiciary, which is always reassuring and nice to know.

But the most interesting part of the whole thing is the insight it gives into the semi-feudal culture of parts of South Auckland--the culture of gift-giving, exchange, influence and patronage.

We are not, you understand, reflexively opposed to semi-feudal cultures--after all, in parts of Europe, similar norms prevail, and have for centuries under diverse names, and various forms, and we hesitate to write them off simply because they don't fit the mould. We suspect most groups of people have half-understood or tacit norms, and webs of influence.

But we advise our friends in Mangere: next time, for Heaven's sake, pick a better guy.

Monday, October 5, 2009

The Queen on the Monarchy

From the documentary Elizabeth R, Her Majesty talks for a rare ten minutes about her own conception of Monarchy: what it is for, and her job.

Shining through is the woman; decent, conservative with a small c, impartial and conscientious — Our Sovereign continues to rock my socks.



Cross posted at The Monarchist

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Her Majesty "appalled"



A report this morning, and not for the first time, that Her Majesty the Queen is "appalled" at the current direction of the Church of England.

Inasmuch as most people with functional cerebral cortexes are appalled at the current direction of the Church of England (downwards in a death spiral), this should be a suprise to no-one.

However, it remains to be seen whether Her Majesty will exert her considerable personal influence over the Church in order to halt said spiral.

We recommend the apocryphal words of the first Elizabeth, to the bishop of Ely:

Proud Prelate, you know what you were before I made you what you are. Comply with my request, or I'll unfrock you, by God!

Sunday Taster: Simon and Garfunkel



"Benedictus qui venit in nomine domini..." by Simon and Garfunkel. "Blessed is He who comes in the Name of the Lord..."

The perfect accompaniment to a rainy night. Peace be with you all.

God Save Ireland



The Irish Republic has said Yes to the Lisbon Treaty, thus subjecting her much vaunted, and hard-won independence to the European Union.

Eamon de Valera must be turning in his grave.

We know the argument from the Yes camp: Ireland isolated in Europe, Brussels cash, the unpopularity of the Irish government......

But what it boils down to is weariness--lack of confidence--a political kind of despair, and ultimately, an abdication of responsibility. Maybe the electorate were just sick of being asked.

We hope some other way can be found to sink the iniquitous Lisbon leviathan--but we are not hopeful. It would require guts, courage, confidence, leadership, and a strong sense of identity--the things Europe appears to be without. The deadly sin of accidie on a big scale.

From calamities and consequences, we pray God will Save Ireland--because the technocrats and failed politicians in Brussels sure as hell will not.

Saturday, October 3, 2009

"Love has no time constraints...."

Amy Welborn is always worth reading: thoughtful, interested and interesting, and never shallow.

Her latest meditation on doubt, death, suffering, lies and love is no exception.

The accusation, of course, is that believers offer nothing but pat, easy answers to life’s hard questions – wish fulfillment.

That’s frustrating because, of course, it’s a lie.

A lie!

Seriously!

Not that Pat Answers Blowing Off the Complexity and Mystery of Life have never been offered by religious people. But I don’t know about you, but when I read Scripture (those Psalms Kathleen Norris keeps telling you to read and live, you know?) and contemplate Catholic tradition, theology and spirituality, I don’t see Pat. I see..well, complexity, mystery and paradox and a peace and wholeness that comes when you see that the two actually match up. The Christian response actually answers the questions – and not just in their specifics but in their shape and general direction. I am sure that Chesterton or Lewis has said it better, but you get my point. Atheism has no answer for mystery, love, creativity, transcendence and suffering. At all. Christianity does, and it is not “The man in the sky will make you forget it. And while you’re absorbing that, give us some power and money.”

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Quote of the week

As he did with Augustine, so the Lord comes to meet each one of you. He knocks at the door of your freedom and asks to be welcomed as a friend. He wants to make you happy, to fill you with humanity and dignity. The Christian faith is this: encounter with Christ, the living Person who gives life a new horizon and thereby a definitive direction.

Benedict XVI, "Message to Young People in the Czech Republic."

Banned Books and the Guardian

The Guardian has published a list of the top 10 "Banned Books" in the United States.

Being The Guardian, stalwart defender of the snarkerati everywhere, it can't resist going on an anti-religious rant, targeting those convenient whipping boys, "American Fundamentalists"

As Pullman's high ranking shows, religion is another major cause of complaints, and within that an important subset are books featuring witchcraft. The subject was put in relief this week when Matt Latimer, a former speechwriter for George Bush, alleged in his new memoir of life in the White House that Bush had refused to grant JK Rowling the Presidential Medal of Freedom because her writing "encouraged witchcraft".

Okay then. That's surely evidence that "religion poisions everything...."

Some of the most cherished books in the American literary cannon have fallen foul of censorship rows by dint of their language or sexual content. (sic)

Oh dear. Whatever will the American Artillery Corps (Literature Division) do?

Dr. Swift is a strong advocate of the freedom to read. If The Guardian's list of banned books were actually banned (in the sense of being prosecuted by the government, burned in the streets, their writers persecuted, etc.), then we have no problem with highlighting the fact, and would join in the chorus of condemnation.

But looking at the list, alongside the breathless "sex, violence, homosexuality, witchcraft" which the Guardian repeats with glee, we notice something else:

"Inappropriate for age group"

Okay then. So what we're really talking about is parents who think, say, Uncle Buddy's Wedding (to another man), or books with mature themes in general, are too "old" at the moment for the kids in the school, and their child in particular.

That is at least arguable (although we may still disagree about it)--unless, of course, our Masters in the elite want to give every baby a copy of Lady Chatterley's Lover bound in with Lolita as a Christening present.

State schooling is compulsory. This means values conflicts like this are inevitable, and to a point valuable. But a little less breathless pontificating about Academic Freedom Under Threat (which it isn't, at least not where the Guardian thinks), and a little more analysis of the actual conflict (past a second-hand swipe at Bush, and an odd Georgia woman on a single-handed crusade against Harry Potter (oops, looks like the theocrats are weaker than we thought))--a little more of that kind of analysis would help.

That is, actual news, and analysis, not prejudice. A bit too much to expect from The Guardian.

By the way, Philip Pullman (who Dr. Swift regards as a good writer, although not an agreeable one) ends the article:

As for Pullman, he confidently expects to be back in the top 10 next year.
His forthcoming book, a novel for adults, is called The Good Man Jesus and the Scoundrel Christ."

Ah, the deathless march of Progress!

Monday, September 28, 2009

More on Michaelmas


Hail, you by whom Satan was cast down like lightning from heaven!
Hail, you by whom humanity preserved goes up to heaven!
Hail, splendid adornment of the most radiant world on high!
Hail, most glorious defender of the fallen world here below!
Hail, never-defeated by the forces of evil!
Hail, you, established forever by divine grace in truth and righteousness with all God's angels! Hail, Michael, great chief captain with all the hosts of heaven!

Akathist to Michael Archangel

Hail Michael!

It is the Feast of St. Michael today--Captain of the Heavenly Host, and Mighty Upholder of the Faithful--and his crew, usually referred to as "and All Angels...."

St. Michael gets all the cool stuff to do--wrestling the Great Dragon, rescuing God-fearing Greek monks, leading Christian armies against Infidel hordes, and binding the souls of the damned at the Last Judgement--among other incidents in his long and varied career.

Dr. Swift really likes him, and hopes he's around a lot--as have Christians throughout history.

The Akathist Hymn to Saint Michael (cutting edge worship c. AD 600) sets out all the cool stuff there is to love about the Archangel, and praises God for His protection.

Archangel Michael, you show in yourself the strength of an unconquerable zeal for the glory of God.
At the head of the choirs of angels, you have withstood the arrogant daystar Satan, exceedingly proud and breathing out evil when he and his dark fellow-servants had been cast down into the nethermost parts of the world, while the heavenly hosts led by you in your glory shouted as with one voice for joy before the throne of God:
Alleluia!

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Bravo, Your Grace!

A proud moment for Anglicans today--there are few of them, but they happen.

The Lord Archbishop of York, John Sentamu, has waded into the debate on assisted dying, whacking with crozier the Director of Public Prosecutions' attempt to dodge the will of Parliament, and decriminalise assisted suicide.

In a Telegraph column, His Grace puts it this way:

As a country we need to appreciate the sanctity of the human person and their uniqueness. Christians believe that their lives are given by God and that everyone has an important role to play in society. We do not believe that we own our individual lives and therefore we believe we should not choose to end them deliberately. I understand that others, especially those with terminal diseases, may take an alternative view, but I remain opposed to any move to legalise assisted suicide.

A truly caring society would not devalue or pressurise its most vulnerable and frailest members.

His Grace (like Dr. Swift) is a long-time supporter of hospice care. He sums up the argument in a Times column, this way:

The way forward for our society is to value how much can be done for the seriously ill and the dying. We need to learn to value both one another and ourselves, not for our economic output, our worth to society, but as those created in the image of God and deeply loved, by Him and by others.

In the words of the headline, "to choose death, rather than love and care, is a terrible mistake."

What he said.

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Sunday Taster: The Apostles Creed

The Apostles Creed is one of the most ancient Creeds of the Church: A distillation of the Faith recited by saints and elders, martyrs and doctors, children with their mothers, drunks and crazy people, holy fools and intellectuals. It is still recited today, before the Consecration Prayers in the Communion Service, and has stood as the quintessential statement of Christian belief for millennia.

Quinquinque vult salvus esse teneat catholicam fidem--"Whosoever will be saved, it is necessary that he hold the universal and catholic Faith. Now the catholic faith is this....."

Friday, September 25, 2009

Repent Ye


For the Kingdom of Gaia is at hand.....
For those of you who thought our last post on enviro-religion a little extreme, you can now go to confession for your biggest enviro-sins.

"Water (over)usage is my biggest eco sin. And every time I soak in a hot bath after a long day at work, I swear it'll be my last."

Dr. Swift is tempted to go on:

I accuse myself of failure to turn off the tap while brushing my teeth.

I accuse myself of having more than two point five polluting infants.

I accuse myself of failure to digest my own waste....

The parade of pseudo sins is endless--at the same time, we're forgetting the real ones. That'd be what you call irony--I suppose displaced guilt has to go somewhere.


But fear not.


"(I know, I know, a green blog shouldn't be rewarding bad behavior, but perhaps confessing your sins is the first step to reform.) "


Please stand for the Creed.

Hat tip: Hanc Aquam.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Twilight of the Muppets




The legislation introducing voluntary student unions has passed the first hurdle in Parliament.

We hope it is passed--and soon.

It is iniquitous that university campuses still run (with some isolated exceptions) what is basically a closed shop, collecting student levies by compulsion.

It is a shame that Student Unions are run by the same rag-tag bunch of socialists and sociologists who represent no-one, and pretend they do.

It is a shame that Student elections are run with low turnout, student levies squandered on trendy political causes, student services creaking and inefficient, and student engagement generally low.

The analogy is far from original--it resurfaces every time a student union does something crashingly stupid--and that, Dear Reader, is often.

Break the stranglehold of the mediocre, the fashionable and the bizarre, the power-hungry and the loutish. Let some fresh air in.

Ladies and Gentlemen, in the words of an old poster slogan, "it's time to get rid of the muppets."

Dedicated, with love, to the compulsory Student Unions: May they rest in pieces.

A one, a two, a one, two, three, four....



Tuesday, September 22, 2009

September Busting Out All Over




Young harridans are flopping out their bits again.

Yawn.

What we find more interesting past the-ahem- titillation is the in-your-face insistence on drooping skin to the (quite rainy) elements--a rather pathetic attempt at manipulation.

Toleration is not enough for these "poore tits", they must have approval. And despite their alleged unrepentant brazen-ness, they must have it from men who will not give their names, and hide behind dark glasses. Feminism changes little, methinks, where it really counts.



We cannot summon up much outrage, and we are not shocked. Just a little sad.


Give the poor girl a blanket--she'll be old, raddled and sad herself soon enough, without being wet too.


O GOD, whose nature and property is ever to have mercy and to forgive; Receive our humble petitions; and though we be tied and bound with the chain of our sins, yet let the pitifulness of thy great mercy loose us; for the honour of Jesus Christ, our Mediator and Advocate. Amen.


Penitential Office, BCP 1928.


Monday, September 21, 2009

More fun with Dan Brown

The release of Dan Brown's new book (which Dr. Swift will borrow from the Circulating Library when next in need of laughing very hard) has allowed a small current of dissent to surface--finally, people are realising that actually:



Dan Brown isn't all that good.



Even in the hand of a Dostoyevsky, an Austen, or an Evelyn Waugh, the mediocre pap that was the Da Vinci Code would have been thin. In the hands of Dan Brown, it's a train wreck.

Our friends at the Daily Telegraph have itemised the 20 worst sentences in Dan Brown's books--and they are very entertaining.

Favourites follow:

8. The Da Vinci Code, chapter 3: My French stinks, Langdon thought, but my zodiac iconography is pretty good.

(Qualifications to opine on Medieval and religious history: Tarot cards. Check.)

2. Angels and Demons, opening sentence: Physicist Leonardo Vetra smelled burning flesh, and he knew it was his own.

(I knew I could smell something burning.)

15. The Da Vinci Code, chapter 4: As a boy, Langdon had fallen down an abandoned well shaft and almost died treading water in the narrow space for hours before being rescued. Since then, he'd suffered a haunting phobia of enclosed spaces - elevators, subways, squash courts.

(NOooo! Not the SQUASH COURT!)

Much more entertainment available at the link.

When you're finished there, you can read Anthony Lane's review of The Da Vinci Code film and book.

As far as I am qualified to judge, the film remains unswervingly loyal to the book, displaying an obedience that Silas could not hope to match. I welcome this fidelity, because it allows us to propose a syllogism. The movie is baloney; the movie is an accurate representation of the book; therefore, the book is also baloney, although it takes even longer to consume.\

Yep. Pretty much.

Hat tip: MCJ

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Inside St. Paul's

No, the big one...


One of the glories of Anglicanism--and now there is a virtual tour.

Dr. Swift has many important matters to attend to today--servants to chivvy, sermons to write-but this tour is interesting enough that most of them can go hang....

Die Quietly

Here's a crashingly bright idea.

British Justice Secretary Jack Straw is in favour of prescription heroin.

“For the most problematic heroin users it may be the best means of reducing the harm they do themselves, and of stamping out the crime and disorder they inflict on the community," said Mr Straw.

Yes, the studies look good. And yes, trials in Switzerland have seen drug crime go down, and disorder and whatnot decrease.

Except, here's the thing.

The addicts (usually) remain addicted to heroin.

This is the governmental equivalent of

"Die quietly in a drug induced haze, somewhere you won't stain the rug."

A triumph for human dignity.

Hell, meet hand-basket....

On Stuff today, the top ten headlines under the title "Europe" follow:

Europe
Dead man named as barmaid sex killer
Contraceptives save the planet
Concern as swine flu rises in UK
One in seven Germans want Berlin Wall back
Europe missile defence plan scrapped
Man kills in-laws with flame-thrower
Nine hurt in school Molotov attack
Italian troops die in Afghan blast
Elizabeth 'hated Queen Mother title'
Teens cleared of 'UK Columbine' plot

Does that list really need commentary?

Friday, September 18, 2009

Sunday Taster III: Mass for Louis XVI

Perhaps it is too much Mauriac, but Dr. Swift is in a Counter-revolutionary mood today--
(when are we not?).

In that spirit, we present a small extract from the Requiem Mass for His Most Christian Majesty Louis XVI, King of France and Navarre, foully murdered by the tyranny of evil men, 21 January 1793.

Celebrated on the anniversary of the execution in 2009, by the priests of St. Eugene and St. Cecile in Paris, note the way cool black vestments in this stunning Dies Irae.

It appears "regretting the Bourbons" is coming back in fashion.


Thursday, September 17, 2009

The Dan Brown Sequel Generator

Slate has published the hilarious Dan Brown Sequel Generator.

Dr. Swift's effort follows:

The Last Crypt

When renowned Harvard symbologist Robert Langdon is summoned to the Pere Lachaise Cemetery to analyze a mysterious rune—etched into the floor next to the mangled body of the head docent—he discovers evidence of the unthinkable: the resurgence of the ancient cult of the Quintifori, a secret branch of the New York Times that has surfaced from the shadows to carry out its legendary vendetta against its mortal enemy, the Vatican.

Langdon's worst fears are confirmed when a messenger from the Quintifori appears at the Sacred Heart Church to deliver a sinister ultimatum: Turn over the archbishop, or one cherub will disappear from the Sistine Chapel every day. Racing against the clock, Langdon joins forces with the saucy and quick-witted daughter of the murdered docent in a desperate bid to crack the code that will reveal the cult's secret plan.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Song of the Week

We're not sure how seriously this was meant at the time (we suspect not very) , but this is the current sound track in the Bell Tower.

Bickerstaff! Stop head banging!


Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Find a Mob

Former MP Larry Baldock has come up with an idea.

He wants a referendum on whether Citizens Initiated Referenda should be binding.

Once you've untangled that tortured syntax, untangle the equally tortured logic behind it.

Putting things direct to The People seems like a good idea. Except that the Mob is a fickle beast.

Who wants lower taxes?

We do!

Who wants more government services (Health/Education/Pensions/etc.)?

We do!

Who is going to square the circle, untangle the knot, and reconcile the craziness?

Huh?

We elect representatives (as Mr. Burke points out) to excercise their proper judgement, and their consciences. We elect them to weigh up competing interests, do the maths, balance the books, and the country, on an even keel. We elect them to care about the things we need, and the things we are too busy to care about, but that we would miss--like sewerage, and paying for the Police, and road projects, and the even coverage of social services, and the efficiency of welfare procedures. We elect them to be bored stiff in our interest, and to work hard for our welfare.

Don't like the guy?

Don't vote for him again.

Think her conscience is smaller and more snappy than Paris Hilton's chihuahua?

Vote for someone else, or stand yourself.

But voting "Yes" to Mr. Baldock's proposed question is a vote to destroy the Supremacy of Parliament, a vote for sectional interest, demagoguery, and the mob.

We believe in the Constitution--and Dr. Swift says No.

Monday, September 14, 2009

Ritual prostrations and the ETS

"He throws down his language, and his words a foot and a half long..."

Horace.*

News has come this morning that the Government and the Maori Party have done a deal to pass the Emissions Trading Scheme.

We are receiving these Glad Tidings (tm) with crashing indifference.

In my capacity as resident sprite, I have observed many religious rituals, from Holy Communion to the Juggernaut. The discovery of a new cult is at the least interesting--and the ritual prostration of the Chattering Classes before Mother Gaia is certainly that.

They send their children on missionary trips. To the accompaniment of choirs of angels, they harken unto their High Priests. They send out snake oil salesmen to sell indulgences.

This insight is not new, but it bears repeating. People cannot live without a religion.

And now, we have one: the salvation of Holy Mother Earth, complete with heretics, sinners, priests, an economy of grace, and all the pompous and bloviating apparatus of sanctimony without goodness.

Is climate change real?

Who cares?

Even accepting the claims of global warming, the demonisation of dissidents, the glory in self denial, the evangelical zeal and the canting clap-trap which goes with it does no service to the cause of real environmental stewardship.

Does anyone think taxing cows will help save the planet?

Does anyone think New Zealand martyring itself in the cause of green-ness (as we arguably have for free trade) will make one jot of difference to rapidly industrialising India and China?

Does anyone really think that even if the threat is real, and we adopted the targets, they would save us?

And further, does anyone think that even if we can save the planet, we should hire the government to create the system and push the innovation?

(Health which doesn't cure sick people, an education system with a tail longer than a boa constrictor, and welfare which keeps far too many people down--and we want to give them the environment as well?)

Enough. Let us do what we can by all means. But let us not pretend that Salvation cometh with a government label--especially one worked out by Committee.

In honour of our New Missionaries, we offer the quintessential hymn of missionary urgency--a little adapted--and wish them good luck. If they want to keep Greenland's mountain Icy, they better start now.

From Greenland's Icy Mountain

From Greenland’s melting mountains, from India’s smoky strand;
Where Afric’s third world fountains smelt down their golden sand:
From much polluted river, from many a warming plain,
They call us to deliver their land from carbon's chain.

What though the sulfrous breezes blow soft o’er Zeeland's isle;
Though every prospect pleases, and only man is vile?
In vain with lavish kindness the gifts of God are strown;
The heathen in his blindness bows down to wood and stone.

Shall we, whose souls are lighted with wisdom from on high,
Shall we to those benighted the lamp of life deny?
Salvation! O salvation! The Greenful sound proclaim,
Till earth’s remotest nation has learned Al Gore His Name.




*Yes, yes, irony, we know....