Saturday, October 27, 2012

The Pluscarden Resurrection

YouTube user bened1ct2s (surely it should be spelt bened1c2s? this bloke at any rate) provides us with the bulk of a film of the inaugural Mass (in the modern era) at Pluscarden Abbey.

New Liturgical Movement says the the liturgical stuff begins at 4:00 but surely what precedes are the Gathering Rites?

Thursday, October 25, 2012

A local paper for local people

Behold the Post Newspapers, a family of local papers serving the suburbs of Perth. Turning to the issue of the Cambridge Post (the youngest member of the family) of 21st April 2012 [PDF, and a rather heavy one at that].

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

I'm so hungry I could eat a Hippo

If you were Goodwill Zwelithini, King of the Zulus, you might get to do just that.

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Thank Meg and Mog for complete audiobooks

Once upon a time you could get readings of books on LPs. Each record would be no more than an hour long, which meant a single full length play by Shakespeare could span three or more discs. Once the audio cassette came in, you could carry the spoken word with you, always provided you remembered the Walkman personal stereo. Now of course you can carry hundreds of audiobooks on a device the size of a pack of cards. The space saving of an abridged version – a full length reading of A Christmas Carol (one of Dickens' shorter works) would straddle at least two cassettes – is now insignificant.

Apparently the growth of unabridged recordings was down to one person, Helen Nicholl, the writer of the Meg and Mog series.

Friday, October 19, 2012

Propers done properly

In the Hall of Merton College hangs a portrait of a clean shaven man staring intently at a book on a stand to his right. It is the Franciscan theologian John Duns Scotus, reputed to have been a Fellow – or at any rate a member – of the college in the thirteenth century. I remember Jasper Griffin remarking during a seminar at Merton, as the sounds of first year lawyers celebrating the end of examinations wafted up into the room, that such things had been happening "since the days of Duns Scotus". Not that he intended any approbation  of the practice of "trashing". Being a Balliol man I think he was amused by Merton's claims to seniority and was using Scotus' name as a facetious authority to a widespread but officially disapproved practice.

On (presumably) 8th November 1997 I was walking with a friend to college for breakfast when we fell into step with the Chaplain. He remarked that it was the Feast of Blessed John Duns Scotus (hence my guess of the date). The Chaplain was CofE of course, and both of us were Catholics, but we had to confess we knew nothing about him. "Well he did believe in the Immaculate Conception," said the Chaplain. "So on the side of the angels?" I ventured. "Yes, but not on the side of God," was the testy reply.

Monday, October 15, 2012

Back to the future of space exploration

In a dozen juvenile novels (that's novels for young people, not novels written when he was young), Robert Heinlein laid out a manifesto for the exploration and colonisation of the solar system. Arthur C. Clarke supposedly remarked that the Moon landings justified all science fiction to that date. Everyone expected colonies on Mars, generation ships etc. by 1985. But, for various reasons, the exploration of space has been left to unmanned vehicles, while human activity has stopped at the low earth orbit of the International Space Station.

(Speaking of unmanned vehicles, there is some blogger buzz – but no confirmation from NASA – that Voyager 1 has in fact finally left the solar system).

Saturday, October 13, 2012

Clerical Fashion

Fr Zuhlsdorf mentions the recent clerical fashion show. Frederico Fellini got there first.

Thursday, October 11, 2012

What? Another One?

When I was at school, my English teacher once referred to Christopher Tolkien as publishing manuscripts from "out of a trunk in the attic". I thought this was an excessively cynical way of looking at The History of Middle Earth, and still do.

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

More cricket pitches!

36-Dish Australian Telescope Array Opens for Business
The Australian Square Kilometer Array Pathfinder (ASKAP) is now standing tall in the outback of Western Australia, and will officially be turned on and open for business on Friday, October 5, 2012 . This large array is made up of 36 identical antennas, each 12 meters in diameter, spread out over 4,000 square meters but working together as a single instrument. ASKAP is designed to survey the whole sky very quickly, and astronomers expect to do studies of the sky that could never have been done before.

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Learning from the experts

It's funny that  they only hire total morons, who know nothing about liturgy, to organise the Papal Liturgies, especially when these liturgies are not even taking place other in the Roman Rite. Consider the Pope's visit to the Basilica of St Paul of Harissa in Lebanon (Melkite I believe) and thank goodness the real experts are on hand to provide criticisms in the comments to this post:

Papal Liturgy and Music in the Maronite Rite.

Monday, October 8, 2012

Following the example of the locals

TRH the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge recently spent some time in Brisbane on their way back from a tour of the Pacific Islands.

To be precise they spent 90 minutes.

Sunday, October 7, 2012

Commander Bill King

A lot of the Daily Telegraph military obituaries are of blokes who did something fantastically heroic at Arnhem, then went home, became accountants and grew roses for the rest of their lives. Commander Bill King...not so much:

Saturday, October 6, 2012

The despotism of Gregorian chant

In advance of our wedding, my wife and I agreed that I would be responsible for making decisions about the liturgy. I reached for the Roman Gradual and started selecting chants. We hired a church musician to put together a choir (he wept for joy when we told him what we wanted) and who helped us with choosing some polyphony.

Friday, October 5, 2012

The Prince of Wales, the German Bishops, and Cardinal Newman

The Daily Telegraph in London is held up as a conservative newspaper. It is far more conservative than any Australian daily. And yet in a piece dated 3rd October 2012 (£1m from those who die without wills passes to Prince Charles's estate) we find this:
More than £1 million has passed to the Prince of Wales’s Duchy of Cornwall estate in the last six years from people who died without making a will or having an heir, latest accounts show. Under powers dating back to medieval times, the Duchy is entitled to all unclaimed property and estates left when someone dies in Cornwall, in an arrangement known as bona vacantia. In the last financial year alone, £552,000 passed to the Duchy under the ancient law, which was put in place when the Duchy was created by Edward III in 1337 for his son and heir, Edward, the Black Prince.

Note the oogedy boogedy of "dating back to medieval times" and all that crap about the Black Prince. This is not some part-time hack. The author is Gordon Rayner "Chief Reporter". Note the sense that this is all something rather strange and peculiar. It may not help matters to observe that bona vacantia is in fact a concept far older than the Middle Ages, something that can be confirmed by the obscure modern practice of looking things up on Google.