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Prudent charity ... a thoughtful response to immigration

Recent posts

Saving humanity, and the humanities ... The narrowing of the curriculum and the new anthropology

(Two challenges facing education today … and what we can do about them.)
Ferdi McDermott (Talk given at the London Oratory, 26th April 2018).
In a Catholic school the finality of all that we study is the Truth Himself, Jesus Christ, the Saviour of the world. And as Blessed John Henry Newman and St John Paul II so tirelessly taught, there can be no conflict between Faith and Reason, because both are bound up in a love for truth. This service of the Truth who is Christ has an evangelical dimension: this is the “authentic reality of the Christian faith, which is not simply a set of propositions to be accepted with intellectual assent. Rather, faith is a lived knowledge of Christ, a living remembrance of his commandments, and a truth to be lived out.” (John Paul II, Veritatis Splendor, 88; 1993.) As St John Paul II taught, well educated young people will be able to serve the common good of society as well as spreading the Good News of Jesus Christ, because the authentic educational experi…

Taking delight in the dead

A couple of times in recent years I have been to visit the Crypt of the Capuchins in Palermo. It is full of dead people dressed in their everyday clothes, and the first time one visits can be an eery experience.

But once one gets used to it, spending time with the dead is salutary and rewarding. Edmund Burke wrote: "The state is a partnership not only between those who are living, but between those who are living, those who are dead and those who are to be born." And being with the dead gives us a sense of perspective; it gives us a chance to think that soon we will be like these dry bones ... what else will we leave behind? Will our legacy be something to be proud of? Have we been faithful both to those who have gone before us and to those who will come after us?

This week, in England, people are talking about who will be the next poet laureate.  A man who did that job for thirty years wrote these lines about our debt to the dead:

MY days among the Dead are past;
Around me…

Bach's beautiful prayer for the Church

Nun komm, der Heiden Heiland, first performed 2nd December 1714.

The Tenor Aria:

Komm, Jesu, komm zu deiner Kirche   Come, Jesus, come to your church
Und gib ein selig neues Jahr!   
and grant us a blessed new year!
Befördre deines Namens Ehre,   
Increase the honour of your name,
Erhalte die gesunde Lehre   
Preserve sound teaching
Und segne Kanzel und Altar!   
and bless pulpit and altar!

Chavagnes Summer 2018 Conference highlights

'Tis the season to be merry!

A wise friend just wrote: "I know I'm in the minority here but every year around this time of year I dread the onslaught of posts about Christmas trees "being up too early" or Christmas carols being "played too early." Then too about Christmas trees being "down too early" or carols "stopped too early." It seems to me that in reacting to one extreme people have created another."
Yes, Scrooge lives on, despite all the ghosts who came to visit him ...
The liturgy is saner on the question : we sing the same Marian antiphon, focused on the Christmas message, through Advent right up until Candlemas. And Advent moves steadily foward to anticipation of the Nativity, like a mad hand-to-hand dance, with no-one sure when it starts or stops.

From the 17th December, the O antiphons ask the Saviour to come, but the 8th December also lays the ground for the mystery of the Incarnation .. and of course St Nicholas, in medieval tradition, marks the…

Catching up with Custance

For the latest of my researches on Olive Custance, a forgotten Victorian/Edwardian poet, check out

Yes, Edwin King is my literary pseudonym.