Monday 31 May 2010


Just got back from a weekend there on the NACF Pilgrimage.

It was a great weekend, if a little iffy in the weather department. It was fun and and nice to hang out with lots of people. These included people I know by sight but have never spoken to from Church, who it turns out live round the corner.

Now thoughts turn to Brighton and the LU for Thursday....

Tuesday 25 May 2010

I'm with Auntie Joanna


Grandma did Galway Race Course and JPII with her brother and sister-in-law in 1979, no problem. (Bit muddy.)

I saw JPII in Canterbury in 1982, no problem.

I went to Rome in 2000 for WYD where there were 2.1 million people, the city was heaving, like we had to wait 40 minutes underground to get onto the Underground to get back into the city centre after the Papal Mass. No-one pushed, no-one got agitated, people just chatted to each other and then got on a train. There was plenty of water and food and it was all fine. ( A little hot to be fair, but the Fire Brigade sprayed the pilgrims with hoses at regular intervals to keep us cool. It was so hot you could go from soaked to dry in five minutes.)

I've seen people practically charge into Brompton Oratory at the end of the Rosary Rally and it was all fine.

I've been in plenty of packed churches full of candles and never felt worried at all.

So I will be going into London to see the Pope in September and if I don't get a ticket to that Prayer Vigil, I will just have to stand by the side of the road with my flag.

I'm forever getting mixed up into football crowds, Marathon crowds etc on public transport. London is always dealing with hoards of people. Let's not be boring about this.

The thing about Catholicism is you do have to be physically present.
You can't go to confession over the phone.
You can't fulfil your Sunday obligation by watching TV.

Sunday 23 May 2010

Thursday 20 May 2010

Things are looking up

After the doom and gloom of the other day, it seems that the initial report from the Scottish Catholic Observer may prevail.

See here.

The eyes of the nation will be on us.

Let's not give the sneering MSM et al any free amo.

We have all the best composers. Let's use their music.

Wednesday 19 May 2010

Early Optimism Dispelled

by various reports on the music for the Mass at Coventry.

This the least offensive way of describing it.

'Make me a channel of your peace' is not the best choice for fronting up to the militant secularism of Dawkins and Hichens.

See how the insipid D major chord with the banal meandering inner part does battle.

I will say no more.

Friday 14 May 2010

The Good Counsel Network

are in dire financial straights.

That is, they are down to their last £50 and need to be able to give food vouchers totalling £445 to fourteen mothers and their children.

Fr John Boyle and Mac have all the details and there is a paypal link via their donate button on their website.

Monday 10 May 2010

Newman Hijacking

Laurence, Damian T, Fr Ray et al quote John Cornwell (Hitler's Pope, The Pope in Winter (disgusting description of WYD2000), Any Pope you care to name, I don't like him....)

'Benedict and the traditionalist wing of Catholicism nevertheless claim Newman as a faithful supporter of the papal “magisterium” — pontifical dogmas on a raft of issues. When addressing Britain’s bishops three months ago, the Pope cited Newman as an enemy to Catholic dissidence in any shape or form.'

Call me a simpleton (simpleton!), but Newman was not that young when he converted, which cannot have made it easier than if he had done it whilst a student, say. Converting to Catholicism in the mid-19th England did not carry worldly benefits, in fact he had to give up the (I imagine) cosy milieu of Oxford don/clergymen. Presumably, then he thought the Papacy worth converting for.

He had gone into the whole Catholic thing in quite some detail. He was that sort of man. I read his novel, 'Loss and Gain,' as a student and the chief protagonist was forever going on walks with chums, so that Newman could tell us all about this or that and each time come to the conclusion that the Catholic Church was the answer. Actually, scrub what I said in the previous paragraph about it being easier to convert as a student, because you had to sign the 39 Articles before you could take your Finals, so that was your choice - university education or Catholicism.

Did Newman have the luxury of a half hearted, it won't change my life much, Papacy - whatever, conversion? Um, no.

PS Traditionalist wing of Catholicism? What's that then?

Saturday 8 May 2010

Schola Missa de Angelis

Off I went to the concert.

A timely note was struck by the Rector of St James's Spanish Place, when he said that the Choir would be the 'lead choir' at the Beatification of Newman in Coventry, 'a great day for us all.' It's at times like that that you realise how infrequently you hear anything simply positive about the forthcoming Papal Visit. Things are looking very good then on the musical front. James MacMillan plus The Oratory Schola in Coventry can only be a good thing.

Now for the nitty gritty. The Kyrie was printed in the programme, in the everyday parish version, so keen are they for it to be used. As I went precisely to check it out for possible use, this could not have been more useful.

I wondered listening to the work whether this was how it was when people heard cantus firmus masses in the past. 'Ah that introit,' etc.

In the acoustic of Spanish Place the wash of semitones was very effective and ethereal. In the bone dry conditions of Blackfen, they might just be off-putting dissonances. The bluesy moments were novel however.

The Mass was greeted with a rapturous reception by the audience and should certainly get future concert performances. I'll buy a copy from Peters Edition and see what folks think about using it liturgically. I think that a congregation would need to be secure singing Mass VIII, before they sang it with this accompaniment.

Wednesday 5 May 2010

A Spiritual Bouquet for the Pope

organised by the CTS - here.

On the eve of the election

and having been firmly plugged into R3 for the last week - the world is but a distant shadow from the Third Prog, we have Mahler and Italian Opera Monteverdi to Rossini to contend with and the other day Lutoslawski before 7am - just let me know when the austerity measures come in - I thought I'd better seek counsel on voting so phoned my Dad up who has been doing all the hard work and following the whole campaign.

Looks like he's going for a hung Parliament, Cameron will be lucky if he has the keys for No10 by Monday and did you know Parliament has been dissolved for another 2 weeks so they can thrash out who gets what, Cameron has been to Belfast to schmooze the Unionists (political death in my family)and have you seen Napoleon Dynamite is standing for the Monster Raving Loonies? Plus will Ed Balls be the 2010 Portillo moment?

Then there's the local election, focusing as far as I can see on bin collections, meals on wheels and the local hospital A&E, the sign to which now tells passing motorists 'not 24-hour.'How do you know whether it's open or not without driving in and wasting time?

Had a follow up email to say that he had been on the Torygraph, 'who am I and who should I vote for?' quiz and is more blue than he thought he was, at least now in a healthy way, but I digress. That quiz strikes me as one you might find in a woman's magazine, the sort where I usually want to answer 'never' to all the options.

Til 10pm to put an X in a box....

Monday 3 May 2010

Berenike relays the good news for Scots

James MacMillan is writing a setting of the new translation of the Mass for the Papal Mass in Scotland.

Lucky them.

I hope B&H publish it quickly too,, so that it takes hold before anything err iffy takes hold.

Maybe we are returing to times when the best composers write for the Church. We are just lucky that James MacM is a Catholic.

UPDATE also from Berenike

The Scottish Catholic Observer can exclusively reveal that it is this new translation of the Roman Missal that renowned Scottish composer James MacMillan is now setting to music for the Papal visit. His arrangement will be used when Pope Benedict XVI celebrates Mass at Bellahouston on September 16, an exciting first for Scotland, and again when the Holy Father beatifies Cardinal John Henry Newman later in his visit

A good plan, methinks.

Sunday 2 May 2010

Roxanna Panufnik

has just been on R3 on The Choir with Aled.

Tantalisingly, they couldn't play any of her new Mass just yet, but as she has synaethesia, she was able to tell us that it's golden.

I'm interested in the 'for congregational use' version, when it comes out.

Meantime, the ever polite Aled, son of Llangefni (I think) etc, was even heard to say that the Missa de angelis would be familiar to our Catholic listeners. A pretty unusual concept on the BBC. That is, the idea that the listener/viewer might have a particular set of cultural reference points that we don't all share. That they might just be Catholic, is still more unusual. Nothing snidey, he even played the Sanctus, so we knew how it went. Catch it on iPlayer.

Anyone going to Spanish Place on Fri?

PS On the subject of synaethesia, I have variously mused on it at work. My ex-colleaugue thought C major was yellow, whilst when pressed for an answer my HoD declared it magnolia.

I like to extend the idea to music and food. Thus Bruckner 9 mvt 1 is mulled wine. The last movement just tumbles into failure and hoplessness so would have to be something past its sell by date and possible mouldy at the back of the fridge, but which you have to eat.
More pleasantly...
A cooked breakfast?
Roast dinner?