Thinking Through Catholic Truth…

The above is the self-explanatory  introduction to our new series, “Thinking Through Catholic Truth – The Big Questions… Answered”.

Topics already in the pipeline include Scripture, Spirituality, Catholic education  and the “Institutional Church”.  

If you have a topic you’d like covered tell us in the comments, or if you would like to participate in any of our videos, let us know, either by commenting below or emailing the editor on editor@catholictruthscotland.com   

Click here to view the Catholic Truth videos posted on our website

Questions: Would YOU “Ask Father”?

Our American blogger, RCA Victor, writes…

Following up on the notion that the CT blog could be a sort of cyber-parish for modern Catholics, esp. as a source of orthodox catechesis, here’s a thought:

Is there a traditional priest up your sleeve who would be willing to answer questions from readers in the form of a blog topic, every so often? You could call it “Ask Father” or something of the sort, and create a separate email for these questions so you don’t get swamped. Webmaster or someone on the CT Team could collect the questions and forward them to Father, he could supply the answers, and the Team could post them.  End. 

Editor replies...

This, and similar suggestions, are put to us from time to time.  I find the idea understandable on one level, but very puzzling on another.  Here’s why. 

It is the ordained who are causing and/or supporting/perpetuating the crisis in the Church.  

I do have to admit, however,  that, even before I became aware of the crisis, I am on record as saying to various friends that a priest is the last person I would ever approach to discuss a personal problem.  It’s a kind of instinct.  Even from the age of 11 years when enquiring about membership of the junior Legion of Mary, I was not encouraged by our curate… I later discovered that he was the Spiritual Director of the parish group!  Clericalism is still a major problem in the Church and my own sense is that, when priests are so lacking in elementary understanding of the basic lay vocation, I can’t really be confident in the sort of answers they would give in any area of doubt, whether moral, religious or spiritual. Very recently a priest pointed out to me that St Catherine of Siena could criticise popes because she had been given a special grace from God – not because she was a Confirmed Soldier of Christ. So, that was me and moi put in our respective places! Now, of course, St Catherine of Siena was a great mystic and saint with a very important and special mission from God, but there was nothing to stop God choosing a priest or bishop for the task. The fact that He chose a lay woman signals to us that everyone, men, women and children, must be active lay apostles. That priests are simply not aware of that fact themselves, which is why it is seldom, if ever, a topic for preaching,  does not fill me with confidence that their answers to key questions and advice would be solidly reliable. 

The priestly vocation is to dispense the sacraments and preach the Faith.  From time to time, we’ve had priest contributors to this blog as part of their duty to “preach the Faith” but they tend not to stay the course. Perseverance in the work of the lay apostolate is not a widespread virtue.  The other day I was searching for a comment among very old blog topics and was astonished at the names of bloggers I’d totally forgotten.   They come and they go, priests included.  And I have to say that of the several priests who have blogged here, none have been “traditionalists” …  Indeed, when I asked one “traditionalist” priest if he reads our blog he replied in the negative, all the while assuring me that he supported what we are doing. Truly, you couldn’t make it up. Who was it said: “the blog has been betrayed, even by those who should have contributed to it?” 

So, in terms of “orthodox catechesis”, I would expect “traditional” priests to participate in our discussions and since they don’t, I lack confidence in their willingness to commit to the kind of role which RCA Victor (and others before him) suggest. And as for addressing individual concerns? Well…

I don’t see priests as problem-solvers; even “traditionalist” and “traditional leaning” priests don’t always get it right, and might do a great deal of damage with their “advice”. I remember some years ago, when my mother was elderly and with mobility issues, so that I was reluctant to leave her for any length of time in case she fell,  a priest made a comment about my spasmodic attendance at his weekday Masses. I did try to attend when I could but that entailed recruiting a  “mother-sitter” and although my siblings were happy to help when they could, they were in full time employment and had their own work and family commitments. They were already committed to staying with my mother on Sundays and Holy Days, to let me get to Mass.  When the subject next arose and I “asked Father” if he thought attending a weekday Mass took precedence over my duty to my mother, he replied, slowly… “Yes …I think so”.  Wrong!  For me to abandon my sick mother in order to attend a weekday Mass would have been sinful, not virtuous.  So, recommending priests to those seeking sound spiritual, religious and moral advice, is something of a daunting task these days. 

As things stand, when I do, occasionally, receive emails from people asking me to recommend a priest, I suggest one of the SSPX-affiliated priests, who has given me permission to distribute his contact details to anyone who asks.  This priest offers personal retreats for people on a one-to-one basis, in a beautiful setting, on the Scottish island of Stronsay, and I am always happy to email his details to anyone who wishes to contact him. 

However, if I “asked [any] Father” you care to name, to take on the role of a Catholic Truth Agony Uncle as outlined by our zealous RCA Victor I can say without fear of contraception contradiction, that he would decline the job.  Even with a six figure salary (£000.000) 😀

Of course, if YOU are a priest reading this who would relish the role – feel free to say so loud and clear. Your appointment begins with immediate effect! 

Religion: School Exam Howlers – Enjoy!

Comment:

Time for some fun!  It’s a while since we ran a joke thread, so here’s the next best thing – exam howlers, especially religion exam howlers, which can be hilarious.  Like this one: The seventh commandment is “Thou shall not admit adultery”.

However, feel free to post exam howlers from other school subjects if you wish, responses from pupils in class, and simple, straightforward jokes of the good clean fun variety. 

For the straight-laced among us there are other threads on the sidebar, but for those of us yearning for a break, this one is to enjoy!  

Russia: Politics & Faith-The Inside Story

kremlin

Blogger, Benedict Carter writes:

Apparently Russia is now a Christian country and Putin, the champion of Christian values, is in Syria solely to protect the Christian population. Putin is the Traditionalist’s friend because he has banned homosexuality. He should be supported simply by virtue of his enmity to our own godless Western leaders. Orthodoxy is a safe haven for the Traditional Catholic as the Catholic Church lurches towards apostasy in the form of liberal Protestantism, rampant Modernism and (soon) open schism. Fr. Malachi Martin said that “salvation will come from the east” so this means that Modernism in the Church and Vatican II will be swept away by Russia and then true religion will be restored. After all, according to Joanna Bogle and others, Russia has already been converted. (Funny that the period of peace doesn’t seem to have accompanied this conversion Joanna, but I suppose we can’t have everything).

Over the last eighteen months to two years these views have been heard more and more openly on some Traditionalist sites and blogs. Sadly, what these views have in common is that they are so full of factual inaccuracies, false assumptions and ignorant claims that this latest blip on the Traditionalist radar constitutes a material danger and really should be dismissed before it becomes an accepted part of the global Traditionalist mind-set.

The Remnant in the USA has on several occasions pushed the ideas in question. Although to be fair to him Michael Matt, the Remnant’s Editor, has in one or two recent articles rowed back somewhat from his earlier position (which tended to canonise Putin and ascribe to him a divine mandate of some sort), nevertheless he has led the way in promoting the trend in question, even banning posters who sought to balance his and others’ speculation and even pagan-like numerology (the 100 years meme) with a dose of Russian reality.

My objective is to show that these views about Russia are all false, resting as they do on a total lack of understanding of the current nature of Russia and of its so-called Christian revival. Suffering from a sense of helplessness and even despair at the vacuity of Western policy, and the state of the Church and society, it is my contention that those who hold these views are investing an inchoate hope in a “false Messiah” and that this hope will surely be dashed. Indeed, ultimately I hold that those who place their hope in Putin and Russia are guilty of a serious spiritual fault in that they are putting their trust in politics and in a man rather than in Jesus Christ.

My own interest in this subject comes from my own long association with Russia. Having been a student of its literature and history from my early teenage years, in the middle 1990’s I started what was to be a twelve-year plus period living in the former USSR. During that time I lived for nearly three years in Central Asia and then more than ten years in Moscow. I speak Russian, I am married to a Russian, I owned a business in Russia, I know the history of the country and of the Russian Orthodox Church. The years I spent there changed me profoundly. Russia will be part of me until I die. I therefore consider myself well-qualified, at least amongst Traditionalists, to comment on Russian affairs.

Since 1991, it’s true that around 6,000 churches have been built or rebuilt. Ancient monasteries and convents again contain many religious. It is normal for many Russian Orthodox to attend Easter and Christmas liturgies and popping into a church to light a candle is an unremarkable activity. Around 75% of Russians are now baptised. The country’s leadership appear with high prelates on TV on important feasts and all dutifully make the Sign of the Cross (albeit badly) at the appropriate moments. There is a genuine piety to be found among believers. And as everyone knows, Russia has enacted a law preventing the advertising or marketing of homosexuality. All this is of course to be applauded. But does it mean that Russia is now a Christian country? What is the state of Russian society? This should tell us how real is Russia’s Christian life.

State of Russian Society

  • According to a Moscow Times survey, only 1% of the population attends the Divine Liturgy on Sunday. This is almost exclusively the old, particularly the women. The same picture is found in another study (http://tinyurl.com/q5r8xvb).
  • Another Moscow Times survey from last year showed that both trust in the Moscow Patriarchate and support for the building of a new church in one’s immediate locality have plummeted. Has indeed the high-water mark of the restored Patriarchate been reached within twenty-five years of the fall of the Communist regime? It may be so: I am told by one Catholic religious in Moscow that the number of students in Russian Orthodox seminaries has drastically fallen in the last two or three years. (Source: http://tinyurl.com/hu365zo).
  • While the excellent law against homosexual “propaganda” certainly exists, so do gay clubs. Homosexuality is not criminalised nor is its practice restricted in any way. (Source: http://tinyurl.com/z56lzmd).
  • Abortions continue by the million. Both Ukraine and Russia have debated banning abortion in their respective parliaments but neither have done so. (Source: http://tinyurl.com/jm55enf).
  • AIDS cases are now in excess of one million and are rising fast. Drug-resistant TB has broken out of the prisons where it was nurtured for decades and is now rife among the general population. (Source: http://tinyurl.com/hbqgb6u).
  • Drug use is decimating the younger generations in the cities, particularly in Siberia and other places riven by poverty and is growing out of any control. (Source: http://tinyurl.com/zeq85q6).
  • The moral leadership of the government is nil. Putin and those close to him are thieves, knaves, plunderers and looters on a scale beyond the imagination. The very language they use between themselves is the colourful (and utterly vile) “blatnoi yezik”, or “thieves tongue” of the “vor v zakone” (thieves-in-law, aka the mafia).
  • Putin has not conducted any reform of Russia’s economy which would eventually benefit the poorest. The reason is that if he did, his entire system would be in danger of collapse and his power with it. The pigs with their snouts in the trough would get rid of Putin before they allowed other pigs to take their place. Battles between oligarchs are at the moment controlled by Putin as the top Godfather, but if too many pigs lost their place at feeding time that control might be lost. Billions upon billions of dollars are at stake. Some thoughtful Russians I know now worry about civil war conducted between rival oligarchic armies fighting for control of Russia’s natural resources.
  • Crime as ever pervades Russian life. Life expectancy, particularly for men, is static at around 60 due to alcoholism, a collapsed health service and hopelessness. Corruption pervades Russian life. There is no rule of law as understood in the West. Innocence is lost at a very young age (Source: http://tinyurl.com/zgkbch9).
  • Many Russians are turning to eastern sects, philosophies and religions. Buddhism, Indian “spirituality”, Siberian shamanistic paganism: all these are growing in popularity. (Source http://tinyurl.com/zdwfkjz).

State of the Orthodox Church

As ever, the Orthodox Church is the creature of the State. It has been so since even before the Church’s submission to Tsar Peter and his suppression of the Patriarchate. Imagining the Russian Orthodox Church without the crutch of the Russian State is impossible. In return for the State’s provision of tax benefits, cash, Presidential and Prime Ministerial time and constant TV exposure, the Church plays the part of chief cheerleader for the Russian regime. It has always been thus and it certainly is now. Both parties gain but one does wonder who or what the Russian Orthodox Church really worships. Is it the Holy Trinity or the Russian State?

For some, the Russian State undoubtedly comes in first place. For Father Vselovod Chaplin for example, America is Satan, Britain is his chief demon and God demands nuclear warfare against both. And, according to Chaplin, Russian women should have their reign of debauchery ended by the practice of universal female genital mutilation. This oaf has said so many mad things that the so-called philosophy of “Eurasianism”, as developed and taught by Alexander Dugin, seems almost sane in comparison. For Dugin, by the way, the SS was the perfect society and as usual for fanatics of Slav nationalism, the chief enemy for him is the Anglo-Saxon, which means Britain and America. Today’s Russia is semi-fascist and so is its national Orthodox Church.

There is much else that is deeply rotten in the Russian Orthodox Church. Apart from the very ugly nationalist ideology and greed for material reward (remember the Patriarch and his $450,000 watch?), anti-Catholic sentiment remains very high. As told directly to me by a Catholic priest in Russia (and confirmed by an Anglican), some years ago the Catholic Archdiocese in Moscow had to go through the local Anglican vicar to arrange meetings with the Patriarchate. The Catholic side would state what subjects it wished to discuss, the Patriarchate would say how many BMWs and Mercedes it wanted in return for the meeting. (Ecumenism Russian Orthodox style …).

No, the Russian Orthodox Church inspires no confidence. It is this body that is to save the West? I think not. In fact, despite its high position in State and society, it may well have already entered a period of decline only two decades after the fall of Communism.

Putin

Putin is lauded as a strongman who runs rings around Western leaders and makes them look foolish. There can be no doubt that he is a clever man. But consider: if you do not operate by the norms of international law, if you are prepared to lie and cheat your way to your objectives, it is an easy thing to surprise those who do operate by the norms of international law and those who do more or less, in their dealings with each other, tell the truth and act honestly. Thus Putin is a very strong tactician but no strategist. Russia may contain much of genius but in global terms, whatever its showing in Syria (a Russian success only possible because Obama reneged on his “red line” promise) its influence is that of a regional power.

Led by thugs and gangsters, Russia has no vision beyond its own preservation. This indeed is the real key to understanding Russian policy. Russia is an almost-failed State governed by serial liars, thieves and Secret Police operatives. I can personally confirm that FSB officers still, to this day, have a statuette of Felix Dzerzhinsky, the mass murderer who founded the CHEKA, on their desks.

Is Putin a believer? He may be, it’s truly difficult to say. I think he probably is, but that this belief does not prevent him from doing all manner of murder in the interests of his true god who is Mother Russia. God for the Orthodox is a strongly Slavic nationalist deity.

Did Putin ask the Pope to consecrate Russia to the Immaculate Heart? I do not believe it for a moment. The Orthodox Church is extremely hostile to Fatima and Putin would not antagonise the Patriarchate unnecessarily. Nevertheless, does Russia have a role to play in the cosmic battle currently being fought? Yes, it does: Our Lady has told us so. If the Consecration does not come as Heaven wished it, then instead of being converted, Russia may well play the part of being the instrument of God’s punishment on an unfaithful, godless world which has long since been soaked in Russia’s own atheistic, Bolshevik errors. It is interesting that some pre-Revolutionary Orthodox prophecy supports a very old traditional reading of Scripture which states that Gog and Magog is Russia.

We can see I think that the real attraction of Putin to Traditionalists is that he provides clarity whereas our own leaders are mired in leftist social engineering (through mass immigration) and political correctness, and thus are imposing on us a revolutionary globalist ideology that is straining our system and very civilisation to the limit. Similarly, the attraction of the Orthodox Church to many Traditionalists is the beauty of its liturgy and music. But do either of them offer the West anything that we cannot better find by restoring what has been taken, both from our society and from the Church? I strongly believe not.

The waters have been badly muddied for the Traditionalist by those useful idiots in the modern Church who hold that Fatima is fulfilled and Russia has already converted. Aside from the asinine suggestion that Our Lady would be pleased by the conversion of Russia to a schismatic sect, the reality of Russian society today cannot but exclude the possibility of Fatima’s completion. I myself am not so hard on this question as many Traditionalists: I am quite able to accept that the 1984 Consecration might have led to the fall of Communism and a partial conversion of Russia; however, this was not what Our Lady requested, desired or promised. That there is no period of peace is self-evident. So the likes of Joanna Bogle not only fool themselves but sadly many others too and the popularity of Putin among so many Traditionalists is at least indirectly and in part due to this false Fatima propaganda.

Following Putin and trusting in Russia is a dangerous temptation and one that must be resisted. The true solution to our woes, which are real, is the restoration of a truly Catholic (= Christian) civilisation, not the adoption, out of despair, of a rotten schismatic and heretical Orthodox one.

Comments invited…

Was William Shakespeare A Catholic?

Click here to read a report of the Vatican’s view that William Shakespeare was, very likely, a “crypto-Catholic”

Father Stephen DeLallo, SSPX, presents the opposite case, as set out in the Catholic Encylopaedia – The Religion of William Shakespeare

 

Hamlet Act 1, Scene 2

Hamlet Act 1, Scene 2

 

(1) Arguments against Catholicity taken from the Catholic Encyclopedia:

 1) His own daughters were baptized in the parish Anglican Church as he himself had been, and were brought up as Protestants, the older daughter, Mrs. Hall, being apparently rather Puritan in her sympathies

 2) In 1608, he stood as godfather to a child of Henry Walker (who was an eminent London musician)

 3) In 1614 he entertained a protestant preacher at his house

 4) He was very familiar with the Bible in a Protestant version

 5) The various legatees and executors of his will cannot be identified as Catholics

 6) He seems to have remained on terms of intimacy with Ben Johnson, despite the latter’s disgraceful apostasy from the Catholic Faith which he had embraced for a time

 7) During his residence in London from 1598 – 1604, he lived at the house of Christopher Mountjoy, a refugee French Huguenot who maintained close relations with the French Protestant Church in London

 8) Even if his sympathies were with the Catholics, he made little or no attempt to live up to any Catholic moral convictions, as is seen in the immorality in many of his writings, and in various historical testimonies about his personal depraved morals

 (2) Complete Article from the Catholic Encyclopedia

 Of both Milton and Shakespeare, it was stated after their deaths, upon Protestant authority, that they had professed Catholicism. In Milton’s case (though the allegation was made and printed in the lifetime of contemporaries, and though it pretended to rest upon the testimony of Judge Christopher Milton, his brother, who did become a Catholic) the statement is certainly untrue (see The Month, Jan., 1909, pp. 1-13 and 92-93).

 This emphasizes the need of caution — the more so that Shakespeare at least had been dead more than seventy years when Archdeacon R. Davies (d. 1708) wrote in his supplementary notes to the biographical collections of the Rev. W. Fulman that the dramatist had a monument at Stratford, adding the words: “He dyed a Papyst”. Davies, an Anglican clergyman, could have had no conceivable motive for misrepresenting the matter in these private notes and as he lived in the neighbouring county of Gloucestershire he may be echoing a local tradition. To this must be added the fact that independent evidence establishes a strong presumption that John Shakespeare, the poet’s father, was or had been a Catholic. His wife Mary Arden, the poet’s mother, undoubtedly belonged to a family that remained conspicuousl yCatholic throughout the reign of Elizabeth. John Shakespeare had held municipal office in Stratford-on-Avon during Mary’s reign at a time when it seems agreed that Protestants were rigorously excluded from such posts. It is also certain that in 1592 JohnShakespeare was presented as a recusant, though classified among those “recusants heretofore presented who were thought to forbear coming to church for fear of process of debt”. Though indications are not lacking that John Shakespeare was in very reduced circumstances, it is also quite possible that his alleged poverty was only assumed to cloak his conscientious scruples.

A document, supposed to have been found about 1750 under the tiles of a house in Stratford which had once been John Shakespeare’s, professes to be the spiritual testament of the said John Shakespeare, and assuming it to be authentic, it would clearly prove him to have been a Catholic. The document, which was at first unhesitatingly accepted as genuine by Malone, is considered by most modern Shakespeare scholars to be a fabrication of J. Jordan who sent it to Malone (Lee, Life of William Shakespeare, London, 1908, p. 302). It is certainly not entirely a forgery (seeThe Month, Nov., 1911), and it produces in part a form of spiritual testament attributed to St. Charles Borromeo. Moreover, there is good evidence that a paper of this kind was really found. Such testaments were undoubtedly common among Catholics in the sixteenth century. Jordan had no particular motive for forging a very long, dreary, and tedious profession of Catholicism, only remotely connected with the poet; and although it has been said that John Shakespeare could not write (Lee, J.W. Gray, and C.C. Stopes maintain the contrary), it is quite conceivable that a priest or some other Catholic friend drafted the document for him, a copy of which was meant to be laid with him in his grave. All this goes to show that the dramatist in his youth must have been brought up in a very Catholic atmosphere, and indeed the history of the Gunpowder Plot conspirators (the Catesbys lived at Bushwood Park in Stratford parish) shows that the neighbourhood was regarded as quite a hotbed of recusancy.

 On the other hand, many serious difficulties stand in the way of believing that William Shakespeare could have been in any sense a staunch adherent of the old religion. To begin with, his own daughters were not only baptized in the parish church as their father had been, but were undoubtedly brought up as Protestants, the elder, Mrs. Hall, being apparently rather Puritan in her sympathies. Again Shakespeare was buried in the chancel of the parish church, though it is admitted that no argument can be deduced from this as to the creed he professed (Lee, op. cit., p. 220). More significant are such facts as that in 1608 he stood godfather to a child of Henry Walker, as shown by the parish register, that in 1614 he entertained a preacher at his house “the New Place”, the expense being apparently borne by the municipality, that he was very familiar with the Bible in a Protestant version, that the various legatees and executors of his will cannot in any way be identified as Catholics, and also that he seems to have remained on terms of undiminished intimacy with Ben Johnson, despite the latter’s exceptionally disgraceful apostasy from the Catholic Faith which he had for a time embraced. To these considerations must now be added the fact recently brought to light by the researches of Dr. Wallace of Nebraska, that Shakespeare during his residence in London lived for at least six years (1598-1604) at the house of Christopher Mountjoy, a refugee French Huguenot, who maintained close relations with the French Protestant Church in London (Harper’s Magazine, March, 1910, pp. 489-510). Taking these facts in connection with the loose morality of the Sonnets, of Venus and Adonis, etc. and of passages in the play, not to speak of sundry vague hints preserved by tradition of the poet’s rather dissolute morals, the conclusion seems certain that, even if Shakespeare’s sympathies were with the Catholics, he made little or no attempt to live up to his convictions. For such a man it is intrinsically possible and even likely that, finding himself face to face with death, he may have profited by the happy incident of the presence of some priest in Stratford to be reconciled with the Church before the end came. Thus Archdeacon Davies’s statement that “he dyed a Papyst” is by no means incredible, but it would obviously be foolish to build too much upon an unverifiable tradition of this kind. The point must remain forever uncertain.

As regards the internal evidence of the plays and poems, no fair appreciation of the arguments advanced by Simpson,Bowden, and others can ignore the strong leaven of Catholic feeling conspicuous in the works as a whole. Detailed discussion would be impossible here. The question is complicated by the doubt whether certain more Protestant passages have any right to be regarded as the authentic work of Shakespeare. For example, there is a general consensus of opinion that the greater part of the fifth act of “Henry VIII” is not his. Similarly, in “King John” any hasty references drawn from the anti-papal tone of certain speeches must be discounted by a comparison between the impression left by the finished play as it came from the hands of the dramatist and the virulent prejudice manifest in the older drama of “The Troublesome Reign of King John”, which Shakespeare transformed. On the other hand, the type of such characters as Friar Lawrence. or of the friar in “Much Ado About Nothing”, of Henry V, of Katherine of Aragon, and of others, as well as the whole ethos of “Measure for Measure”, with numberless casual allusions, all speak eloquently for the Catholic tone of the poet’s. mind (see, for example, the references to purgatory and the last sacraments in “Hamlet”, Act I, sc. 5).

 Neither can any serious arguments to show that Shakespeare. knew nothing of Catholicism be drawn from the fact that in “Romeo and Juliet” he speaks of “evening Mass” Simpson and others have quoted examples of the practice of occasionally saying Mass in the afternoon, one of the places where this was wont to happen being curiously enough Verona itself, the scene of the play. The real difficulty against Simpson’s thesis comes rather from the doubt whether Shakespeare was not infected with the atheism, which, as we know from the testimony of writers as opposite in spirit as Thomas Nashe and Father Persons, was rampant in the more cultured societyof the Elizabethan age. Such a doubting ors keptical attitude of mind, as multitudes of examples provein our own day, is by no means inconsistent with a true appreciation of the beauty of Catholicism, and even apart from this it would surely not be surprising that such a man as Shakespeare should think sympathetically and even tenderly of the creed in which his father and mother had been brought up, a creed to which they probably adhered at least in their hearts. The fact in any case remains that the number of Shakespearean utterances expressive of a fundamental doubt in the Divine economy of the world seems to go beyond the requirements of his dramatic purpose and these are constantly put into the mouths of characters with whom the poet is evidently in sympathy. A conspicuous example is the speech of Prospero in “The Tempest”, probably the latest of the plays, ending with the words:

 “We are such Stuff

 As dreams are made on, and our little life

 Is rounded with a sleep”.

 Whether the true Shakespeare speaks here no one can ever tell, but even if it were so, such moods pass and are not irreconcilable with faith in God when the soul is thrown back upon herself by the near advent of suffering or death. A well-known example is afforded by the case of Littré.  End of Catholic Encyclopaedia article.

Comment:

Historians and other societal “experts” consider that the religious references and beliefs expressed in literature, drama etc. make an important contribution to us in our attempts to understand the past. Many have researched the religion of Shakespeare, therefore, given his standing in the world of English language and literature as a poet, playwright and actor.  But, does it really matter whether or not Shakespeare held to Catholic beliefs, albeit secretly? If, as many argue, it is important to contextualise the religious references in his work, why is it important?  Do these references really tell us much about the history of the Reformation period?  Do  you think that William Shakespeare was a Catholic? If so, what makes you so sure?  

General Discussion (12)

If there’s something of interest in the news that’s not covered in one of the topic threads, or you have a question to ask, a comment you’d like to  make about anything under the sun, more or less, this is the thread for you. However, please check first, to ensure that you haven’t missed a topic thread or another thread where it would be appropriate to post your comment, as the GD discussion threads fills up very quickly.  Readers, all too often, go straight to the General Discussion thread to post news that is already the topic of a thread or to ask a question that is already being discussed elsewhere. So, do your Sherlock Holmes – at the very least check the side-bar – before posting here, please and thank you!

group-discussion-tips

Feel free, also, to share your favourite spiritual reading books, prayers and devotions.Whatever.   Enjoy! 

To read previous 10 General Discussion Threads, click on the links listed below.
(1) click here  (2) click here  (3) click here  (4) click here  (5) click here
(6) click here 
(7) click here  (8) click here (9) click here (10) click here
(11) click here 

Catholicism & The Commonwealth Games, Glasgow 2014 – The Problem…

animated scots flagCelebrating the Gift in Sport

Pope Francis gives blessing to Glasgow conference

 Pope Francis has sent his good wishes and prayers to athletes and theologians gathering for a conference in Glasgow on the eve of the Commonwealth Games.

Sponsored by the Bishops Conference of Scotland, Celebrating the Gift in Sport will explore how sport and faith can combine to champion the gifts of each person – especially people with disabilities – while promoting values of solidarity and respect.

The conference takes place on Thursday 17 July (9.30am to 5pm) at Blessed John Duns Scotus church hall (Ballater St, Glasgow G5 0YT) in the Gorbals.

It will be opened by the Archbishop of Glasgow, Philip Tartaglia, who said: “With his message for our Conference, Pope Francis has shown himself close to all athletes and to everyone who enjoys sport as a means of celebrating the sheer joy of the gift of life and of promoting the dignity and potential of the human person.”

 The Archbishop added: “The Glasgow Commonwealth Games is an ideal opportunity for us to celebrate that gift and proclaim the dignity, respect and purpose that God bestows on all people, no matter their ability or nationality.”

Speakers at the conference include 2004 Olympic sprint relay champion Jason Gardener, Special Olympian Leanne Peter, paralympian Frank McGuire, former British Taekwondo champion-turned broadcaster John Cullen, Gordon McCormack chair of Scottish Disability Sport, and Professor John Swinton and Christina Gangemi of the Kairos Forum at the University of Aberdeen.

Members of the Cornerstone Community will tell how sport has changed their life, building up their confidence and providing opportunities to influence wider society.

Conference ticket (£40 per person) includes lunch – simply come along on the day and pay at the door

Programme of speakers and topics

Comment

The entire tone of the “Games” material coming from the Catholic Church in Glasgow is ecumenical. Check out the Programme of speakers and topics for the above conference, held yesterday, if you haven’t already done so. The problem, arguably, is that this major event, which will be reported not only across the UK but around the world, is an opportunity missed for the Catholic Church. There’s been  no conference organised to invite athletes, visitors, spectators, whoever, to come and learn about Catholicism, just some vague talk about celebrating “the Gift” in sport,  vaguely  linking “Faith” and sport. I’ve yet to be convinced that the Archdiocesan authorities mean “The Catholic Faith”, so, if you think you can do so, convince me!

Otherwise, share your ideas about how the Church might have used this event to spread knowledge and understanding of our Catholic religion.  Should the Church be engaging in some good old fashioned evangelisation during the next couple of weeks when the city of Glasgow will be alive with visitors from around the globe? If so, what sort of events could have been offered? Or is it enough just to have some kind of “Faith presence” in place?