Friday, March 28, 2014


...visiting friends and attending a conference (more on that later).

Dropped into the magnificent St Stephen's Cathedral - teeming w. visitors. A good number of people praying before the Blessed Sacrament. But among the tourists brandishing phone-cameras and talking,, a new trend that I have noticed elsewhere - men no longer automatically remove their hats. I indicated to one, and he apologised and immediately took his hat off. Then another - this time an elderly man with a baseball hat - and then a third. It was beginning to become a full-time job. Each time, the gentleman concerned was (a) not young and (b) perfectly pleasant and understood at once. It is as if there is a sort of general forgetfulness. The reality of the great cathedral,  sweeping arches leading up to a great high altar, people kneeling in prayer with a glowing sanctuary lamp, statues and sacred images all around,  ought to be adequate in explaining that this is a house of prayer, but it seems that modern Western man has lost his memory...I think it is now necessary to put up a notice saying "Gentlemen: please remove your hats as a sign of respect for this house of God".

A large troop of children surged down one aisle, the boys mostly woolly-hatted. Too noisy and complicated to run after them and start to explain. Further evidence that we need to teach and remind everyone. Now.

All the shops are selling the most lovely Easter eggs and choc. bunnies and decorations, much prettier than those at home.

A wonderful talkative lunch with friends, catching up on news and views. General gloom about govt-imposition of same-sex unions, increasing denunciations of Christian and human values. Happier swapping of info on family, books, mutual projects...

Evening Mass at St Peter's church. Fabulous baroque. Numbers here seem to be in reasonable shape. This is in the care of Opus Dei. Sermon - evidently one of a series -  on the Seven Last Words of Christ from the Cross. It sounds more dramatic in the German "Mein Gott, mein Gott, warum hast..."

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