Thursday, May 31, 2007

Tagged again ....

I've been tagged and, no surprise at all, it was that lady again! (By the way, anyone who feels like supporting her sponsored abseil down the side of a high building in Belfast can do so here. It's in aid of Marie Curie Cancer Care, which doubtless can use all the help it can get!)

Anyway, now that I am back from Chartres here is what she asked for.

My ten favourite movies (in no particular order):

1. To Kill a Mockingbird (Gregory Peck at his finest!)

2. The Browning Version (the Michael Redgrave version, emphatically not the one with Albert Finney)

3. Dirty Harry (hey I'm a bloke, it's allowed!)

4. Charade (Carey Grant being harassed by Audrey Hepburn, classic!)

5. Persuasion (Ciarán Hinds taking an hour and a half to realise that Amanda Root was just what the doctor ordered all along.)

6. The Dead Poet's Society (I used to wish I had an English teacher like that.)

7. Any of Christopher Lee's three Fu Manchu films from the late 1960s (If only to spot all the Irish locations ... )

8. The Wicker Man (For anyone who thinks that a revival of paganism would be a good thing, this is well worth seeing.)

9. Down Periscope
Let's Kick this Pig!

10. The Night Mail (let's face it when Britten wrote the score and W. H. Auden wrote a poem especially for it, it's got to be a little bit special.)

21 words to describe me: Hmm ... I'll have to give that one a little thought ...
OK I've thought, so here goes:
Traditional Catholic, realist philosopher, bibliophile, francophile, oenophile, technophobe, teacher, pedant, hopeful pessimist, acolyte, first responder, martinet, volunteer, mensch (I hope), patriotic, eurosceptic, curious, (somebody's) boyfriend!

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Graecum est non legitur ...

During the Middle Ages in the West a misunderstanding of all things Eastern (by which I mean the Christian East) was de rigeur. We've gotten beyond that thank God, and during the Pontificate of John Paul II of blessed memory, Eastern Catholics finally began to be appreciated by us (i.e. their Western, Roman-rite brothers). For those in or around Dublin who aren't already aware of it, the following event might be of interest. (It comes courtesy of Peadar Laighléis, President of the LMSI.)

I just received an announcement from Monsignor Ó Céileachair which I am happy to pass on.

Sunday 27 May will see a Pontifical Divine Liturgy of St. John Chrysostom in St. Alphonsus Chapel, Drumcondra, Dublin 9 at 3pm. The St. Alphonsus Chapel is the beautiful chapel of the Redemptoristine Convent which was sold for development several years ago (c. 2000); in which applications were unsucessfully made to rezone it for commercial use; which was almost destroyed by fire in 2001; and which was put on the market again some months ago (some people alerted me to that). As I have said, the chapel is beautiful and though it was originally Latin rite, it is particularly sympathetic to the Eastern liturgy. This is the first time it has been used as a chapel since the Redemptoristines moved out late in the last Millennium.

The principal celebrant of the Pontifical Divine Liturgy will be one of the least known bishops in the Irish hierarchy, Bishop Hlib, Apostolic Visitor to the Eastern Catholics in Ireland. The Liturgy will commemorate:

1. The 15th anniversary of the Greek Catholic congregation in Dublin;
2. the 30th anniversary of Bishop Hlib's ordination to the priesthood;
3. the 40th anniversary of Father Archimandrite Ó Céileachair to the priesthood; and
4. the 75th anniversary of the Eucharistic Congress in Dublin where Blessed Nicholas Charnetsky (bishop and martyr) offered the first Catholic Divine Liturgy in Ireland.

All are welcome, and you may pass it on.

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Three book meme ...

I've been tagged (first time ever incidentally) by this lady and as I'd do almost anything she asks, here goes:

1. Three non-fiction books everyone should read:

Summa Theologica or at least some of it (or should that be Summa of it?). It's the single greatest work of the High Middle Ages and is one of the greatest achievements of Christian Theology in any age. (If the full text is too complicated, you can a sense of it from Walter Farrell's Companion to the Summa).

The Last Days of Socrates (one book in the Penguin edition but four dialogues in the original). The original philosophical martyr - even if it was only a natural truth that he died for, he still chose to die rather than betray it. The relevant Dialogues are all available here (courtesy of the kind people at Project Gutenberg).

Parkinson's Law or the Pursuit of Progress. This was originally written as a spoof but apply it to any large business or government organisation and see exactly how accurate it is! For those of us who are a bit cynical about the massive EU/EC bureaucracy and indeed the forthcoming (whether-we-like-it-or-not) EU Constitution, C. Northcote Parkinson assures us that as soon as the final grand flourishes are put to it, it'll collapse just like the League of Nations!

2. Three works of fiction that everyone should read:

Obviously The Lord of the Rings. Enough said!

After that, well, it'd have to be the Phantom Tollbooth. Read this and you'll never look at ordinary life in the same way again.

Finally for the intelligent but hopeless romantic there is nothing like Vikram Seth's A Suitable Boy. You get to the end wanting to know what happened to these people (who almost feel like friends rather than literary characters).

3. Three authors everyone should read:

G. K. Chesterton - the man who makes most sense out of the nonsense so rampant in his time and ours.

C. S. Lewis for children's fiction, Christian apologetic (even if Mere Christianity is a bit of a cop-out) and above all for the Discarded Image. It's good enough to rival Régine Pernoud's Pour en Finir avec le Moyen Age (or as the otherwise wonderful people at Ignatius Press call it ... well no I can't even say it myself!)

Ronald Arbuthnot Knox. I hate most of his fiction (Memoirs of the Future and his detective stories) but his Let Dons Delight is the best bit of academic fiction I've ever read. His apologetics is very good indeed, and Enthusiasm is about the best analysis going of the charismatic impulse in Western Christianity.

4. Three books that nobody should read:

The Catcher in the Rye. Self-indulgent nonsense. It bored me silly as a teenager, and when I tried it years later, it was even worse!

The Emperor of Ice Cream. Just awful. I felt like gouging my eyes out after being forced to read this garbage in school. This is another one I tried to re-read as an adult and found it worse than first time around.

Lastly for sheer unmitigated nonsense Jean-Paul Sartre's Existentialism and humanism takes the biscuit. Almost no-one ever reads it any more but that's no harm. It's so bad that it makes Richard Dawkins' published delusions look intelligent!