Saturday, March 03, 2007

My last post...

...yes, it is.

I want to get away from relying on other people's servers, or at least, to have my own server space paid for.

Does anyone know a good way to get cheap hosting (and preferably ready-made website and blog facilities)?

This bleg will be the last one for me because I want to focus more on quality.

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Civil Christianity

I just finished a long break in blogging, so I doubt that anyone is reading this thing anymore.

However, the one thing that has struck me recently is the almost total lack of Christianity from our public life in the UK.

If it hadn't been for the particularly amazing education that my parents gave me growing up, I never could have searched so long and hard (and even that was not so impressive!) for meaning and finally been lucky enough to meet someone who lived Christianity simply and humanly enough for me to recognise Christ in my life.

I think this must be a rare phenomenon.

Christians today hardly say anything positive, realistic or concrete at all; at most we appear to the world utterly negative.

Let us look into our experience and re-discover the fact that someone had the courage to propose a fact to us; the fact of Christ.

Sunday, December 24, 2006

O'Connor goes National At Christmass!

Tomorrow is Christmass day, and the Cardinal Archbishop of Westminster is going on BBC Radio 3 at 9.30pm to explain, as the first of a series of relatively famous people, "the influences that have shaped them, the ideas they have about life's big questions and how what they believe affects both their personal and working lives".

Well, the show has got one thing right straight away: "the arena of belief has become increasingly personal and subjective...". That's true, very true. Personally, I look forward to what he has to say.

Happy Christmass, to both of our readers!

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

News from Norwich

Norwich is one place in Britain I have never been to, and it looks like I have even less of an incentive to pay a visit:

A ROW has broken out after a primary school decided not to hold a Nativity play this Christmas - preferring instead to replace it with a multicultural performance.

Knowland Grove Community First School has defended its stance saying the show will explore different religions and help youngsters understand other cultures while still learning about Christmas, but some parents with children at the school have been enraged by the decision.

Full story here.

Friday, December 08, 2006

Much ado in St. Blog's UK

There seems to be a burgeoning crop of UK Catholic Blogs about now. A lot of them are priests, who are, I suppose, realising that we can use the internet for the New Evangelisation and all that (remember that? yes, it's still a good idea!!!).

So I think I'll have to start using Blogrolling to keep track of them all, or just give up on this whole project!

Watch this space.

New Year is fast approaching. I suggest you join this Blogger in Balham for the Youth 2000 New Year's retreat. A whole smorgasbord of chaotic Catholic Youth Work!!! Just as little sleep and organisation as a real World Youth Day. But worth it. Nice people. And really cool music.

See the video of last year! (Watch out for the Usual Youth 2000 Suspects appearing in this holy yet cheesy production!).

Get the details here!

As much as I love St. Blog's UK, it's really become a bit boring.

The fact is that we have lost sight of the Faith as our life; instead it becomes theory (e.g. "Why Protestants Are Wrong and We Are Not" and "Which Mass is Best" etc) or a morality ("Sex etc" or a hundred other protesting groups you can easily meet in London).

Thank God for the new movements, especially CL, I am totally unashamed to say that it has enabled Christ to save my faith and maybe even my life!

A poor, timid and bookish convert like me has little or no influence in "The Church", but I am just utterly thankful that Christ has had, frankly, the humility, the affection for me, that made Him lead me down these strange paths to my own heart, to the point where I can recognise that He is God and man, and that He is alive here and now!

Just to live the nothing that I am, knowing that He loves me, that He likes me, that is a real miracle.

Personal news: I got accepted to do a Library Studies Masters next year (September).

This is another miracle: one year ago I was one my way up to London with very little concept of a career plan except that I had to work, and that a friend had helped me find a vacancy. Hmmm, big plan!

I'm not totally content with this plan, still, but beleive me, it's fantastic! I can't wait to see what can be made of it, rather, what He can make of it. It becomes very clear that Christ is the one who "re-creates" me, in the concrete circumstances of life. It was a friend from the Movement who suggested me to look at library work in the first place (though I'd thought about it before) and now: it's happening!

I've been wondering: what would a Catholic political party look like?

I suppose it would support pro-life policies (although to get my vote it wouldn't criminalise desparate women, only the doctors who carry out certain "operations" - how would this actually work in practice, given the huge emotional impact of such a policy reversal? Could there be a kind of amnesty for doctors to change their practice within a certain time?). It would also have to go beyond legislating against "pro-choice" and "euthanasia"; it would have to pro-actively support hospices for the dying and for unsupported mothers and children. Perhaps it would have to introduce rather large taxes, or give priveledges to charitable groups to do this?

It would also have a "strange" stance in other areas: "just war" is not just a nice idea for a serious Catholic: and in recent years (actually, over the last century, but who's paid attention?!) the Church has developed a huge body of political theory and international law ideas. We would have to start seriously educating people about the UN Convention, perhaps, instead of just giving it lip service.

Education would be another area (the Church, as far as I can see, concurrs quite well with the UN Declaration on this point): the hypothetical party would encourage educating children in the tradition of their parents and community of origin.

Given this pluralistic education, it would have to actively promote open dialogue between all traditions present in a country: this could impact heavily on the use of mass media like TV and newspapers (does anyone actually read papers anymore?).

There is also the issue of property. Now, I really don't think that those neo-traditionalist "Catholic" organisations represent the Tradition of the Church on this point. I shan't name any names... however, there are quite big names like Chesterton and Belloc (and a few Popes, I would think) who might advocate redistribution land through democratic and peaceful means. This could potentially form another policy for the Hypothetical Catholic Social Teaching Party.

There are already Christian parties and other political bodies active in the UK; there would have to be a circumspect collaboration with them, and of course respect for, and working together with, the other religious traditions represented in our remarkably free country. This would be quite a challenge for a fledgling party.

Possibly the biggest challenge would be the fact that a lot of Catholics probably don't know about the Church's Social Teaching, and some might even actively oppose it, knowingly or not.

What do readers and other Catholic UK bloggers think? You know where the comments box is.

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Live Nativity Play

I beleive there should be real animals (treated with respect of course).

Date: Saturday, 09 December 2006

Where: Lady of Compassion Catholic Church, Upton Park

When: Starts at 09:00 with Mass
Ends at 17:00
Live Nativity: 16:00 – 17:00

How to get there:

Tube:Take the Hammersmith & City or District Line to Upton Park Tube Station.At the station turn right on Green Street.
On the left you will see St Edwards Catholic School.
You’ll then see Westham Football Stadium.
Our Lady of Compassion Catholic Church is on the left where the stadium...
If you hit Barking Road you have gone to far!

By Car:
Our Lady of CompassionThe Presbytery
Green Street
E13 9AX

(does every driver have sat-nav these days??)

Anyhow, thanks to Jimbob for this invitation!

I won't be there because of a CL thing.

Saturday, November 25, 2006

Real UK Catholics

Since I have 7 mins of Internet time left, I'll make it a quick post!

It seems to me that what is lacking on this blog, which is why I've left it fallow for so long, is a cultural activity among UK Catholics.

As I was remarking to a friend an hour or two ago, suddenly - in Church history, a hundred years is pretty quick! - suddenly no-one is persecuting or publically ridiculing us any more... and we don't know what to do.

Suddenly we have all this freedom of religion, when you think of how it is in many other countries, really a lot of freedom, but what do we use it for? The Catholic Church in the UK is really numerically pretty big and could influence people a lot for the good, but the fact is we don't manifest much unity.

I don't mean that we are not all "trads" or into new kinds of liturgy, or that some of us have more moral probity, education or even dress sense (!) than others. Unity is the characteristic of life that we live, in fact the problem is that the unity exists already, Christ hasn't deserted us for a second, but we have forgotten Christ.

We don't live the unity which already exists among us; instead we reduce our experience to political or cultural or aesthetic or (oh, boy!) some obscure philosophical or textual argument. But it is none of these (primarily, not primarily, though they are all important), it's the truth. We don't acknowledge the fact before our eyes.

That's my experience; the lack of a common Catholic culture in the UK, which would enhance and enliven and help to unite all the extant cultures, is just because we don't acknowledge and live our unity in Christ. That's why Catholic blogs can be (for me at least) a bit boring; we don't speak each other's language.

So, let's pray "Veni Sancte Spiritus, veni per Mariam" some more... and look for and acknowledge the signs of His presence.