Friday, 27 August 2010

Ceeing, Peeing & Essing

Part 2 of Waxing Nostalgic over CP&S:

Bruno. Portrait of a 'difficult' man. Clearly.

Too much water has been passed since part one of this series on 'Downhill'. And, yet again, I find myself pondering if I should quit CP&S, or not.

They are all nice people there, just like, no doubt, a lot of Republicans, Israelis or Saudi-Arabians are nice people, but they all all mired in their belief so deeply that there is little or no reasoning with them.

They ferociously defend the Church, right or wrong, doesn't matter. Criticism is not an option.

Same thing GBS said about patriotism,
"Saying, my country, right or wrong is like saying my Mother, drunk or sober."

Even Raven, among the least rabid on the blog, went to almost comical lengths to justify the obscene torture of a fellow man. And it took place four hundred years ago. Long memories here. He couldn't even bring himself to say, "Well, it was a fair bit ago, and they did things differently then." No, the man Bruno was 'difficult.' Yes, and his difficulty was that he was ahead of his time in believing something that is now accepted by every intelligent person.

He was, as Montaigne so memorably remarked,(not about Bruno himself) "Roasted over a difference of opinion."

At least Raven offered some sort of argument, unconvincing though I found it. It has got to the point where if I make some mild observation, the cries of 'spewing raw sewage', 'foaming at the mouth', and of being 'angry' and 'irritated' and 'hateful' are deafening.

Not that it bothers me, but it all smacks strongly of the sort of treatment people get if they are in any way critical of Jews or Muslims. And it also smacks strongly of the treatment Jews and Muslims dish out to anyone who 'offends' them. It is extreme. They are NeoCaths on CP&S. They would probably agree, and revel in it. Must ask them.

And yet, more than one person on 'Damian' and CP&S is frequently and cheerfully and viciously abusive of 'rival' fanatics. And they are spluttering mad if I 'criticise' any little Catholic foible, or Catholic polemicist.

Why, then, do I go on banging my head against the Vatican wall? I had a Catholic upbringing. I know a bit about it. And I truly believe that the CP&S mob, along with others of their kind, want to make their own brand of Heaven right here on earth for all of the rest of us.
Whether we want it or not. Just like the Muslims.
If they succeed, they will make a Hell.

I don't like the prospect, and will continue to say so.

Calmly, sanely and reasonably.
If possible.

Sunday, 22 August 2010


Bing and Barry - not Going Mel's way.

(Written yesterday)

It is the feast day of Santo Tomas, patron of our church and village. A doubter. He and I have that much in common.

I am writing this between greeting passing pilgrims in the church's 'departure lounge' and stamping their credentials, if given the chance.
When not stamping, or musing on the parade of flesh of some of the French ( and Spanish) pilgrims, who are practically wearing swim suits with their mochillas, (it is hot) I brood.
“Why do you bother with the Catholicism Pure & Simple blog?” ask some folk, sadly shaking their heads.
Good question, as I have been beset by problems with religion in general for the last half century.
The idea of believing six impossible things before breakfast each morning has proved impossibly challenging since I was about 15.

What captured my attention at first was the incredible nostalgia of CP&S. For one thing, the 'bloggers' mostly seemed to have names like my aunties and the nuns that taught me when I was little - names like, Teresa, Gertrude, Kathleen, Bernadette, Clothilde. (Not sure I ever had an aunt Clothilde. Bit too classy. Still.) And, when they write, they sound like my aunties as well, albeit considerably better educated.

And as I wax nostalgic about them they, in turn, are waxing nostalgically about the Good Old Days when the Mass was safely incomprehensible in Latin, before all this nonsense about the Mass in the vernacular, priests facing the audience, 'Signs of Peace', and talk, God forbid, of women priests.
They wax fondly about the days when Irish priests with faces the colour of pig's liver, and fingers mahogany with nicotine, raved and raged interminably from the pulpit about the horrors of contraception.
Whatever happened to contraception, by the way? Scarcely gets a nod, these days. Least of several evils, I suppose thrust into the second row of grave sins by abortion.

But I must say that throughout my childhood,dominated as it was by priests and nuns, I never was aware of the slightest hint of sexual impropriety by any priest. Sadism, yes, but not sexual. Father Doyle administered his beatings on my backside with total bored, insouciance(!) – not even bothering to take the cigarette from his lips. No respect!
But again, I strongly believe that, if I had been subjected to anything like pederasty, and had told my Mother, her immediate reaction would have been horror directed at me for telling such wicked lies.

In those Good Old Days, Bing Crosby was the Mel Gibson of his day. Times change. All we can do is wax.

(As I was writing the above, horrible things happened. See Reb's blog, alongside. I may return to the original theme tomorrow. Be warned. Whole lotta waxin' goin' on!)

Friday, 13 August 2010

Church Parade

We took a guest from Mexico to see some of the local sights yesterday. Couple of small towns, Astudillo and Tamara each with churches nearly as big as cathedrals.

This part of the world is chock full of virtually unknown Romanesque treasures. Then to Fromista (see The Movie!) This town happens to be on the Camino Fran├žes, so is much better known. Restored to squeaky cleanliness it's really not a church any more and has been de-consecrated. Now it's a sort of museum famous for the carved capitals and gable ends, each one, of course, different.

Quite extraordinary to approach somewhere like Santoyo, where the massive church literally towers three or four times higher than the cluster of surrounding houses where today, only 250 people give, the lady custodian told us, putting down her intricate lace work to show us round.

Fromista boasts a beautiful 12th Century crucifix. Not gruesomely life-like as later versions, but with the simple power and dread of a Picasso. We must have seen 20 or so crucifixes during the jaunt.

The more I see and contemplate crucifixes the more I wonder if they do (or at any rate did, in the past) provoke violence. People looking at a crucifix and saying, "If God's enemies did this to him, it's all right for us to do similar things to them."

And, if so, what then?

Wednesday, 11 August 2010


Beckett. Better at chess than Toad. Not hard, though.

Took the Gods for their morning walk and pondered the subject of Divine Intervention. Well, why not?
It seems eight Jesuits survived the Hiroshima bomb in 1945 by what can only be described as a miracle.
Apparently, they were the only survivors in the immediate blast area. God stepped in and suspended the law of physics relating to atomic blasts in their case alone. This being so, what can His reasons have been?
Were they the only Catholics in the area? Were they the only good people in the area? Were they the only deserving people in the area? We will never know for sure. But saved they were.

This seems to me rather quirky behaviour on God's part. It's as if He is playing a game of chess with Himself (well, who else could He play with?) and, finding Himself in a tricky situation, moves the Rook diagonally and checkmates.

Let's suppose an onlooker, Toad, and a dialogue.

TOAD: "You can't make that move, it's against the rules."

GOD: "No it's not. I decide the rules and in this case, moving the Rook diagonally is within the rules.

TOAD: " So I can do that from now on?"

GOD: "No, because if you do, it will be against the rules. I make the rules. They are my rules. I can break them. You can't."

TOAD: But then the game is meaningless."

GOD: "What do you care, Toad? You're an Existentialist. You think everything's meaningless anyway. What difference is there, for you, between everyday meaningless meaninglessness and Divine Intervention meaninglessness?
Anyway, nothing is 'meaningless.' If I say it's meaningful then it's meaningful. No matter how meaningless it seems to other people. Like these floods in Pakistan right now. Worst in history. Full of meaning if you know where to look."

TOAD: "How will I know where to look?"

GOD: "Sorry, can't tell you that. It's against the rules. Catholics only, Jesuits preferably. They know what it all means."

(The above foolishness reminds me that Beckett wrote a play called Endgame. More meaningful than this, no doubt.)

Monday, 2 August 2010

God is Dog spelled backwards...

...and vice versa.
There was an amusing little exchange on the Catholic Pure & Simple blog the other day that got me thinking.

One person wrote that, because Dog is God spelled backwards, her Grannie took it as a clear indication that dogs are evil, and wouldn't have one in the house. But then, another commenter wrote saying that her Auntie, because God is Dog spelled backwards, saw it as an unmistakable sign awarding dogs the right to specially indulgent treatment denied to other, less well-connected, members of creation.

It must be noted that this lacuna (50 more bonus points!) only works in English, which accounts for the unique relationship we Brits have with our mutts. The fact that Perro is Orrep spelled backwards cuts little ice with the Spaniards, and may explain why their treatment of dogs often leaves something to be desired.

The real significance of the Dog/God issue is the fact that people can interpret the exact same phenomenon in utterly opposing ways.
This undeniably leads to contention and is probably the cause of more loss of life on this planet than even the motor car, the Big Mac or Coca-Cola.