Saturday, August 28, 2010

St Augustine, Bishop and Doctor of the Church

Yesterday we had the feast day of St Monica. Today we celebrate the feast of her son, St Augustine of Hippo, Bishop and Doctor of the Church.

The life of Augustine is well documented. He was born at Thagaste, in present day Algeria, in 354 and raised as a Christian by his mother but left the Church as young man, becoming first a Manichaean, then a Neoplatonist. He took a concubine (whom he later abandoned for an arranged marriage - which never took place) and fathered a son, Adeodatus. After a distinguished academic career at Carthage, Rome and Milan, he was drawn back to Christianity and was baptised in 387.

Returning to Africa, he sold his possessions and gave the money to the poor. He was ordained to the priesthood in 391 and made coadjutator Bishop of Hippo in 395, becoming Bishop in 396, a position he held until his death 34 years later in 430.

Augustine was a prolific writer, including copious apologetic works and texts on doctrine and against the various heresies of his day. His best known work is certainly his Confessions.

As an aside, Thagaste remains a titular see today, with Archbishop Ivo Scapolo, the Apostolic Nuncio to Rwanda, the current holder of the see.

Friday, August 27, 2010

St Monica

27 August is the feast day of St Monica, mother of St Augustine. From Universalis:

She was born at Thagaste in Africa of a Christian family. She was married young, to Patricius, and among her children was Augustine. He had a brilliant intellect and uncertain morals and his wayward spiritual career saw him at one time a Manichee and then a Neoplatonist. With many tears she prayed unceasingly to God for his conversion and her prayers were answered shortly before she died. She had a deep faith and outstanding virtue and is a wonderful example of a Christian mother.

Monday, August 23, 2010

Official prayer of preparation for the Papal visit

God of truth and love,
your Son, Jesus Christ, stands as the light
to all who seek you with a sincere heart.
As we strive with your grace
to be faithful in word and deed,
may we reflect the kindly light of Christ
and offer a witness of hope and peace to all.
We pray for Pope Benedict
and look forward with joy
to his forthcoming visit to our countries.
May he be a witness to the unity and hope
which is your will for all people.
We make our prayer through Christ our Lord.

Our Lady, Mother of the Church - pray for us
St Andrew - pray for us
St George - pray for us
St David - pray for us 


Friday, August 20, 2010

Good old Sharia law

And the really scary part is the liberals in Europe and America who love to preach to us about "the relion of peace" or "it's only a minority of extremists" and who see no problem with Sharia as a system. Even in this report the suggestion is there that this barbaric behaviour is some kind of unusal or occasional occurence in Sharia - aye right.

From The Guardian:

A Saudi judge has asked several hospitals whether they would punitively damage a man's spinal cord after he was convicted of attacking another man with a cleaver and paralysing him, local newspapers reported today.

Saudi Arabia enforces strict sharia law and occasionally metes out punishments based on the ancient code of an eye for an eye.

Abdul-Aziz al-Mutairi, 22, was left paralysed after a fight more than two years ago, and asked a judge to impose an equivalent punishment on his attacker under sharia law, reports said.

The newspaper Okaz said the judge in northwestern Tabuk province, identified as Saoud bin Suleiman al-Youssef, asked at least two hospitals for a medical opinion on whether surgeons could render the attacker's spinal cord nonfunctional.

The attacker, who was not identified, has spent seven months in jail. The reports cited the letter of response from one of the hospitals and the victim.

Two of the hospitals involved and the court were closed for the Saudi weekend beginning today and could not be reached for comment.

Okaz reported that a leading hospital in Riyadh – King Faisal specialist hospital – said that it would not do the operation. The article quoted a letter from the hospital saying "inflicting such harm is not possible", apparently refusing on ethical grounds.

The story was also reported by Saudi English-language paper Arab News, though neither paper carried any response from a second hospital that reportedly received the request, King Khaled hospital in Tabuk province.

Sharia law in Saudi Arabia allows defendants to ask for a similar punishment to harms inflicted on them. Cutting off the hands of thieves, for example, is common.

Under the law, the victim can receive blood money to settle the case.

Human rights group say trials in Saudi Arabia fall far below international standards. They usually take place behind closed doors and without adequate legal representation.

Those who are sentenced to death are often not informed of the progress of legal proceedings against them, or of the date of execution until the morning on which they are taken out and beheaded.

The headless body can then be crucified in a public place as a way to set an example, according to the kingdom's strict interpretation of Islam.

Saudi Arabia's King Abdullah has been trying to clamp down on extremist ideology, including unauthorised clerics issuing odd religious decrees.


Thursday, August 19, 2010

Harriett the Horrid, and Horrid Hymns

Damian Thompson has this piece on his blog today.

Here's a taster:

There was no way the organisers of the papal visit could have protected Pope Benedict XVI from a “courtesy call” by the Acting Leader of the Labour Party, Harriet Harman. That detail was confirmed today and I guess it’s just one of those things. The poor man.

Also confirmed today: the music for the Hyde Park Vigil on Saturday September 18 – and it’s a victory for the cloth-eared philistines of the Bishops’ Conference.

Everything from from the awful "Shine, Jesus, Shine" to (Protestant) Taizé "chant" with precious little in between.

How Tantum Ergo managed to slip in we'll never know!

And as for the Holy Father being subjected to that poisonous creature Harperson...

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Can I hitch a ride?

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

No comment

Got my son an iPhone for his birthday the other week, and recently got my  daughter an iPod for hers, and was dead chuffed when the family clubbed together and bought me an iPad for father’s day.Got my wife an iRon for her  birthday.  

It was around then the fight started......

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

St Laurence, Deacon and Martyr

Saint Laurence was one of the seven deacons martyred during the persecution of the Emperor Valerian in 258. 10 August is his feast day. The breviary entry about him says:

Laurence was one of the seven deacons of the Church of Rome and was executed on 10th August 258, four days after Sixtus II and his companions. By now, few of the facts of his life are known for certain: he was probably a Spaniard from Toledo.

A basilica was built over Laurence’s tomb fifty years after his death, by the Emperor Constantine, and the anniversary of his martyrdom was kept as a solemn feast – with considerably more solemnity than that of Pope Sixtus II (we do not know why). By the sixth century, it was one of the most important feasts throughout much of western Christendom. His name occurs (with Sixtus’s) in the Roman Canon of the Mass.

Sunday, August 1, 2010

Remarkable photographs

Have a look at these amazing photos here.

Basically what the photographer has done is source a lot of old photos from 1941, then gone out and taken new photos from the same positions, same perspectives, etc, and photoshopped them together.