Thursday, March 26, 2020

A piece of history will be slotted into place...

...this Sunday, when an initiative of King Richard II is renewed, at a particularly strange and difficult time in England....

Read here....

and join in...


Tuesday, March 24, 2020

In the classic WWII film....

...Mrs Miniver, which we watched again the other day, a child asks, as the "all clear" sounds following that first air-raid alarm: "Is the war over now?"
"No, dear" his mother answers "This is only the first day".

Sunday, March 22, 2020

SUNDAY in lockdown...

...begins with MASS, live-streamed from Walsingham.   Recommended. 9.30am daily.

Then prayers with next-door neighbours - all keeping the right distance from one another. A lovely Evangelical family. We each chose a psalm - mine was "The Lord is my shepherd".

This afternoon a walk  - meeting some friends but again keeping distance.  Hot coffee and delicious cakes from a German takeaway coffee-shop, eaten on a breezy corner - no eating inside allowed, and everything done at a distance, but very, very much enjoyed.

Bright spring sunshine, and daffodils everywhere.  Yesterday, on a walk along the river at Kingston with a friend, we dropped in to the ancient parish church, where people have worshipped for over a thousand years. It's where our Saxon kings were crowned...and where my father's Regimental colours hang in the regimental chapel. A plaque on the wall recalls the ceremony. I remember it v. well...

For future walks, all all cafes etc have to close, even takeaways, I'll use the excellent backpack picnic set given us by friends for our Silver Wedding some years ago - huge thanks to Alenka and John! - packed with a thermos of coffee and some sandwiches and buns...

Back home for our 6pm rendezvous with neighbours, all greeting one another out in the road. Mood so far is cheery, and everyone is being wonderful...and people boost each other, breaking the sense of isolation.   But, as I returned to the house, I thought of long weeks ahead with  a sense of  the weird unreality to everything.

Tuesday, March 17, 2020

ONE IDEA....

....organised with a neighbour. We're putting a note through everyone's door suggesting that at 6pm every day, we go to the front of our homes and call out and wave to each other. At least that way we can keep in touch and in addition to greetings people can call out for  help etc...or even break into song, or call out jokes, if that would help!

We are small houses, all terraced, so at least there could be a neighbourly feeling, even if we can't go into one another's homes or hang around chatting properly.

These are neighbours to whom I give jars of home-made jam each summer, and with whom I've celebrated street parties for the Queen's jubilees, and who greet each other and linger to talk on summer evenings coming to and from the shops or the bus....perhaps in this enforced stay-at-home period, we can at least cheer and boost each other....


....and so into grim coronavirus-time...

...on Monday evening I gave a talk at Holy Ghost parish in Balham, about St John Paul. We all obeyed the rules and sat some distance apart. It is a church with which I have many links: I wrote the parish history at the start of this century, a project I very much enjoyed. The parish priest, Fr Richard Whinder, is a good friend, the church looks very beautiful at present, and the parish is thriving. It felt bittersweet to walk home at the end of a lovely evening, and to know that all such pleasant gatherings will shortly be banned.

And so it has come to pass: I spent today answering email after email announcing the cancellation of various talks, events, and conferences. A Women's Institute in Surrey, a St John Paul conference in Scotland, a lecture about St John Henry Newman...and all sorts of get-togethers connected with different projects. The Schools Bible Project will be affected: few schools will be thinking about such things at present but simply dealing with special arrangements for exams etc as closures are planned. The LOGS project for primary schools will also fade away...and with it our planned cheery afternoons of reading the entries and packing and posting the prizes. And of course the launch of my book on the history of St Mary's University has been postponed. We must hope things return to something approaching normality in the Autumn....but....

But the worst thing about this crisis is not being able to do anything useful. Cancelling everything wouldn't be so bad if we were all busy out scrubbing down bus shelters or collecting litter from the streets, or something. The really horrible thing is being told to go home and do nothing. Of course we have contacted elderly neighbours to ensure help with shopping etc...but we can't offer to sit with them or have a big neighbourly gathering to cheer us all up...it all horrible.


Monday, March 02, 2020

The bogus propaganda about so-called...

..."International women's day" is simply horrible. It was invented in the Soviet Union in the 1930s - to tell lies about Soviet life when women  and their children were being starved to death in Soviet-dominated Ukraine,  when labour camps were established for women to be in forced-labour in mines and factories - and today is being imposed on us here in Britain by unelected lobbyists using public funds. Read here...

Monday, February 24, 2020

A wonderful walk with children...

...across London Bridge, learning the story of St Olaf, and the Viking  battle, and finishing at The Monument with the story of the Great Fire...and the song...

Want to join in the fun of this sort of thing?

COME ON A CATHOLIC HISTORY WALK!!!

Lots of Walks planned for March.  Read here...


Thursday, February 20, 2020

Well, it was quite amusing, wasn't it?

There had been quite a lot of plotting....much  internet  chatter...preparation, one suspects, of joint letters of indignation with hints of  necessary schism...emails and phone calls and texts and worry... slightly gleeful anticipation of exciting times with stand-offs and so on.

And in the end the Pope affirmed orthodox Catholic teaching and the noises wafted away and became silent.  So it was all a bit disappointing, perhaps, for some. Some wistful hopes among Lefebvrists  who had half-believed in renewed zeal for schismatic opportunities? All gone.

Worth reading Pope Francis' Exhortation  Querida Amazonia And this commentary is useful.   But there will be plenty of people who are  unhappy,  both among those who think the Church can have priestesses, and those whose dislike of the Pope is so deep-rooted that it will be annoying to discover that they can't justify it with his latest action.

There's still the German bishops and their synodical aspirations to come, which won't be enjoyable.  They are being very tiresome,  and will achieve nothing useful.

Meanwhile the real tasks are to worship God (and give him thanks, as with Humanae Vitae), to evangelise, and to help the poor.

Saturday, February 15, 2020

Affirming traditional Catholic teaching....

...who said this?


This summons us to broaden our vision, lest we restrict our understanding of the Church to her functional structures. Such a reductionism would lead us to believe that women would be granted a greater status and participation in the Church only if they were admitted to Holy Orders. But that approach would in fact narrow our vision; it would lead us to clericalize women, diminish the great value of what they have already accomplished, and subtly make their indispensable contribution less effective.

 Jesus Christ appears as the Spouse of the community that celebrates the Eucharist through the figure of a man who presides as a sign of the one Priest. This dialogue between the Spouse and his Bride, which arises in adoration and sanctifies the community, should not trap us in partial conceptions of power in the Church. The Lord chose to reveal his power and his love through two human faces: the face of his divine Son made man and the face of a creature, a woman, Mary. Women make their contribution to the Church in a way that is properly theirs, by making present the tender strength of Mary, the Mother. As a result, we do not limit ourselves to a functional approach, but enter instead into the inmost structure of the Church.

Saturday, February 08, 2020

When the Church of England...

....issued guidelines stating that marriage between a man and a woman was the only proper place for sexual union, I thought "Well, at least they've made the right stand, at last!"

But no. Poor Dr Justin Welby and his counterpart of York have now apologised for the statement and announced that the CofE is still...er...finding its way forward. Or something.

Oh dear.

Tuesday, February 04, 2020

Have you signed this petition?

It's important...a matter of freedom

https://www.change.org/p/itv-get-alastair-stewart-reinstated-back-on-itv





The Candlemas lantern-lit Walk across London Bridge...


was a great success...a cheery group and we finished at St John Henry Newman's birthplace, round at the back of the Bank of England.

DO COME on one of the next HISTORY WALKS...

Friday 21st February 2020 NEWMAN WALK:  to mark the Birthday of St John Henry Newman. 
We will walk to Newman's birthplace near the Bank of England. 
5.00 pm at the Newman Shrine, Church of the Most Precious Blood, OMeara Street London SE1 1TE 
Nearest tube: LONDON BRIDGE  


Saturday 22nd February  LONDON BRIDGE:  Viking battles, and the City.    HALF TERM SPECIAL 
Families specially welcome,  this walk includes information and fun for any children who come along.
2.00 pm,  Church of Our Lady of La Salette and St Joseph,  Melior Street, London SE1 3QP 
Nearest tube: LONDON BRIDGE 

MARCH

FRIDAY March 13th, 11am (note time, there is Mass at 10am) St Elizabeth's RC Church, The Vineyard, Richmond. Nearest tube and main line train RICHMOND.  We will explore the Old Palace (Henry VII, Henry VIII, Elizabeth I) and then walk along the river to St John Henry Newman's family home at Ham

SUNDAY March 15th, 3.30pm at St John the Divine, Islington, London N1 (nearest tube ANGEL). We will learn about the ancient shrine of Our Lady of the Oak, and a modern Catholic heroine.

Thursday March 19th, 7.30pm at Ham Library. A lecture on St John Henry Newman, organised by the Ham amenities society. Nearest stations RICHMOND or KINGSTON, then 65 bus. Check map for details. All welcome. Admission £3.00p

SUNDAY March 22nd. 3.30pm History Walk RICHMOND. Meet St Elzabeth's RC Church, Richmond

MONDAY March 30th, 6.30pm (after 5.30pm Mass) meet steps of Westminster Cathedral.  We will explore Westminster, the Abbey, Parliament etc.

Monday, January 20, 2020

STAND UP TO THE BULLIES....

...who are trying to impose beliefs, Soviet-style. Read here...



Thursday, January 09, 2020

...and there are HISTORY WALKS....


...through February and into March, with a special one for families at half-term, focusing on London Bridge and the Viking battle....


Read here: HISTORY WALKS


Wednesday, January 08, 2020

NEXT HISTORY WALK...

...is on

TUESDAY JANUARY 14th, starts 3pm, steps of WESTMINSTER CATHEDRAL.

Come and join us!!




Tuesday, January 07, 2020

Hic est consilium meum...

de  eventorum:

Praeses Americae  debere conari ut attingamus in virtute prudentiae 

Sunday, January 05, 2020

And today...

... more Epiphany celebrations, with a  traditional London Tea, hosted by Stephen de la Bedoyere - longtime friend and wonderful worker for many good causes. We had mince pies, and  a delicious Galette, with a silver sixpence for the King.. We had each been asked to bring something amusing or poignant to read or recite. John Pontifex - who works for Aid to the Church in Need and has his own share of adventures to tell - had recently rediscovered the wartime diary of an uncle who served as a chaplain with the Army in France and was killed at Dunkirk...moving and powerful.

The tea party was in a flat high over South London and talk turned to local history. A book A Parish in wartime has been produced by St Anselm's, Tooting Bec and on the way home I dropped in to the church to get a copy. It's fascinating - warmly recommended.

Traditional...

...Twelfth Night celebrations with Polish friends, hosted by Gosia Bryzinska and family. Gosia is a talented writer and also an artist -  her lovely sketches illustrate my book on Newman's London.. Delicious food (barsch, bigos, a buffet of cheeses and pate and salads...).  The sharing of the oplatek with hugs and blessings all round. The Fourth King was chosen via a tray of gingerbread covered with silver sugar: whoever got the Star was the King and was duly crowned, and a box went round for charity which the King will send to Aid to the Church in Need.  And  we sang carols. By turn Polish and English, with young voices providing descants, and some really glorious music soaring.... It was absolutely wonderful - the cosy room, people seated on sofas or chairs or the floor, candles glowing, wine and coffee going the rounds...joy.