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Showing posts from December, 2009

Public Law and Private Morality in Uganda

Following my last post about The kiss of the Moon, I notice that in Uganda over the last week or two, debate has been reaching fever pitch on the new Anti-homosexuality law which has received universal support from Ugandan religious leaders and most politicans. The country's president has been pressurised (by the US) into promising to veto the bill, but this move would likely lose him his job, so this seems unlikely.

It seems that the bill is largely in response to encroaching 'alternative lifesyle' propaganda from UNICEF and other international organisations (this has been getting into their schools for years) plus recent revelations about child abuse, similar to the recent Report in Ireland. There is also, in the popular imagination, some link with HIV, although this disease is now very much a heterosexual phenomenon in Africa.

The finer points of the argumentation, and the sanctions, which go as far as the death penalty (for active 'recruiters' among the young) ar…

Gay goldfish for French nine-year-olds

France's children are now going to be treated to the ridiculous spectacle of a batty old right-wing cat, abandoned and trapped in a fairy-tale castle tower, which is all that is left of the old ways. This old pussy-cat, predictably named Agathe (Agatha is a really old-fashioned name in France as in England), is ripe for conversion to the beautiful, modern lifestyles emerging beyond the confines of her castle, (in which the only love imaginable is that dry and dusty old kind that exists between handsome princes and beautiful princesses ... )

Enter Felix, a lively young green boy-fish who feels drawn to the equally lively and somewhat slimmer Leon, another boy-fish, this time coloured a lovely shade of blue. All the old nastiness of Agatha-melts away when she sees the free and happy way these two boyish fishes frolic around in the flooded ruins of the old heterosexual society, presumably wiped out by global warming. Now she herself begins to wonder whether she should leave her old ca…

Saint Austin Press US Store

I've been setting up a Catholic storefront on Amazon, including some new titles from Saint Austin Press plus a selection of other great books and films for Catholics.

The weak dollar and's reasonable delivery costs means that this is usually cheaper than shopping for these in bookstores in the UK and Europe.

Please visit the new Saint Austin Press US online store, whether you are ordering from USA or from Europe. One thing to watch out for, however, is that US-format dvds might not work on old dvd players. (Most machines now accept all formats.)

The proceeds from this store will help Chavagnes.

Mindblown by Macbeth

Wonderful evening (even if a bit chilly) watching our pupil's production of Macbeth for its first night yesterday.

Mr Haydon was terrific as Macbeth, and Maggie Boyles sparkled as Lady Macbeth. There was a real tenderness between them, which is the only way one can understand how Macbeth follows her counsels so readily and then, even when he sees that all is lost, does not blame her for a minute. Mr Haydon's 'stiff upper lip' suited Macbeth very well, I thought.

Duncan (Dominic O'Leary) was majestic. Macduff (Patrick Adams) was extremely powerful and mysterious. His rage seemed genuine. The lead assassin (Edmond de Poulpiquet) was impressive and looked the part (he and fellow killer Baudouin de Rambures had recently had their heads shaved for that extra menacing look !)

The 'toil and trouble' cauldron scene always struck me as being pseudo-comical, although many directors try to make it very serious. Our witches went for the light relief element, whilst someh…

Popularity contest for world leaders from France 24

The French international channel France 24 has carried out a 'popularity and influence' survey in various countries across the world.

The upshot is that Obama and the Dalai Lama are the most popular leaders in the world, with Angela Merkel coming in at number three.

The Pope, interestingly, comes in a number five, ahead of Nicholas Sarkozy. In the UK, Benedict the XVI is considered as more popular and more influential than both Tony Blair and Gordon Brown, which should give the British press something to meditate upon.

I am not sure what this information really means. Commentators have suggested that the high score for the Dalai Lama is something to do with 'boboisme' ... He is certainly very much in fashion in France. But the high score for Benedict XVI suggests to me that there are many people out there (at least a third of the population) who think he has something important to teaching the modern world.

The full report is online (as a pdf) at:…

Minarets again ...

On the issue of minarets again ... I now remember something I heard from Phillippe de Villiers, the leader of our local government in the La Vendee. It was at the time of negotiations on the EU constitution (from which a 'Judeo-Christian' preamble was dropped to appease the Turks). The pro-Islamicisation prime-minister of Turkey, Erdogan is supposed to have said: “The minarets are our bayonets, the domes our helmets, the mosques our barracks and the faithful our army.”

In this context, this poster of the Swiss People's Party (above) was not so much of an exaggeration as many people supposed. Moderate islamic statesmen are allowed to speak of minarets as a symbol and tool of a programme for the islamicisation of Europe, but when the Swiss say the same thing, they are accused of over-reacting.

Politicans in other countries (Holland and Italy will probably be the first) are talking of introducing similar referenda. What is one to think? Minarets are not the main point, I think.…

Freedom of religion or freedom from religion?

That's the question many of my friends have been asking over the course of the last couple of weeks, in the wake of the European Court of Human Rights decree that the Italian law mandating a crucifix in every state school classroom is an infringement of human rights.

Italy's response has been to put up new crucifixes in public buildings all over the country, at state expense, and the issue has mobilised even Italian atheists in favour of this symbol of Italian national identity.

The judgement states that religious neutrality must reign in all state schools; which could spell the end of compulsory acts of worship in UK and Irish state schools and the abandonment of nativity plays. Most state schools in the Republic of Ireland have also historically displayed Catholic religious symbols: these will have to come down unless the ruling is overturned.

In the same month that the ECHR made this decree, the Swiss voted to change their constitution to ban the building of Islamic minarets i…

Q: Aren't religious boarding schools all about taking away choices?

A: Well, at Chavagnes we are Catholic boarding school, and a strong Catholic community. Families choose us for that reason. The mutual support offered by fellow young believers in a school setting can be a very powerful influence in a young person’s life.

Also, children who come from a strong faith background at home would be disoriented in an environment that did not give them the same kind of support.

So, far from being about limiting choices, strong religious schools actually provide choice for believing families. They provide a school environment which is still what schools always used to be: the traditional extension of the family values of the home.

At out Catholic boarding school for boys, our pupils are happy to live, work, study, play and pray together, just as they would with their brothers and sisters at home. And the role of the teachers at the school is to provide solid religious role models for the boys as well as sound academic training.