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Showing posts from November, 2011

First Sunday of Advent

Amen, amen
Komm, du schöne Freudenkrone,
bleib nicht lange!
Deiner wart ich mit Verlangen

Amen, amen
Come, O fair crown of joy
No longer tarry!
I fervently await Thee.

Text Philipp Nicolai
Music: JS Bach

A Difficult Choice for St Nicholas' Day ...

At today's staff meeting we'll be electing the annual boy bishop of Chavagnes ... an ancient medieval tradition which we revived here nearly ten years ago.
To qualify, one must be a boy treble, and well-behaved ... but the lucky student gets to celebrate Pontifical Vespers and then govern the College until bedtime. Just like real bishops, it can be a risky business if one picks the wrong sort ...
It is meant to teach the pupils about the nature of authority, and it teaches the Masters (usually condemned to an evening of cleaning and washing up) something too.

Learning lessons from the monks

The recent disastrous revelations about child abuse in England's Benedictine schools (most recently at St Benedict's Abbey, Ealing) raise an important question about the nature of a religious vocation as well as being a very painful embarassment for Catholics in the UK. The Carlile report, which has recommended that the monks at Ealing should be relieved of the governance of the school altogether, drew attention to what Carlile saw as the monastic community's commitment to forgiveness and trust on the one hand and the welfare of the children on the other.

There are many issues here about governance, about procedures and about priorities. (Children, in a school, always come first). I think however, that in the long term this is going to be good news for the monks because it will probably force a return to old priorities. For the vocation of a monk is to pray, not essentially to run schools. The kind of person who can keep his head in a modern school is not necessarily the s…