Tuesday, 30 December 2014

Margate Missa Cantata

2014-12-29 18.45.57

There was a superb Missa Cantata for the Feast of St. Thomas of Canterbury at St. Austin & St. Gregory's Church, Margate, yesterday. The church itself is very pretty, and I took a few photos, which are now up on Flickr.

Unfortunately, my camera phone, which is normally wonderful, can't quite cope with the low lighting levels inside the church. I shall have to make greater efforts to get to grips with my proper digital camera. I don't suppose anyone knows how to reduce the shutter noise on a Fujifilm FinePix S9500...?

Sunday, 28 December 2014

Who Am I To Judge...?

This weekend, in the Archdiocese of Southwark, we had a Pastoral Letter from Archbishop Smith instead of a sermon. I have to admit that I groaned when I discovered this, as his letters are long-winded, badly-constructed and rather tedious; his last letter was particularly dire.

As it was read out, I started to feel rather guilty. The letter was still too long, but I noted with pleasure that the family unit was clearly and unequivocally described according to Catholic teaching, stating that children are undoubtably brought up most successfully within the stable union of a man and a woman in marriage. I was sure that this must have taken some courage to write, as it is bound to attract flak from the more liberal wing of the Catholic press, when they get to hear of it. Archbishop Smith then went on to explain that the Church's views are seen by many as illiberal, restrictive, authoritarian, irrelevant and arrogant.

Up until that point, I was feeling rather encouraged by his words, and berating myself for my previously critical attitude. Alas, the second part of the final paragraph undid all that...
"In particular we need to give a new start to those families which have been broken and grievously wounded through separation or divorce. For these especially we must all have the greatest love, respect, gentleness and compassion. These are our brothers and sisters, deeply wounded and suffering. Let no one judge them. Welcome them within the community of the Church..."
I'm no theologian, but nowhere in the Catechism do I recall reading that the families which have experienced separation or divorce are to be shunned. And I am also unaware of any Church demands that those who are separated or divorced are excluded from the Sacraments. The people who are excluded from the reception of the Sacraments are those individuals who have married civilly after a divorce, or are living together in a state of sin.

Since such people do not usually walk around with "adulterer" tattooed on their foreheads, I am not aware of any judging which might go on just because they do not approach the Communion rail. Curiously enough, it is within more traditionally-inclined circles that a failure to present oneself for Communion would attract least judgmental attention, as there are many times when a person might refrain from receiving: the stricter observance of the Communion fast being an example.

And anyway, as for "not judging" - really? Are we supposed to look on indulgently while a man who has heartlessly ditched his wife and family proceeds to "shack up" with a bimbo half his age? Or to smile encouragingly if a woman decides to abandon her spouse and go off to "find herself"? Of course we should judge - at least the actions! It is possibly the lack of society's negative judgement of such behaviour which has allowed it to increase.

So please, do not tell me I should not judge. Right judgement is, after all, one of the gifts of the Holy Spirit...

In The Kitties' Bad Books...

I overslept this morning.

Ordinarily, it being my Christmas holiday, this wouldn't be a problem. Unfortunately, as I'm leaving the house for work so early these days, Cardinal Furretti and Monsignor Miaowrini have become accustomed to being fed at about 5am on weekdays, with a little leeway at weekends allowed to about 8am.

Waking up at 10:50am today obviously meant that I was seriously overstepping the mark, according to my feline overlords. They were definitely not amused...

2014-12-28 10.53.42

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