Friday, 28 March 2014

Only six courses?

I am very curious as to this annual dinner hosted by the RC bishops for clerical bloggers in Westminster, as mentioned by Fr Hunwicke. I'm sorry for being the unmitigated snob but most RC clergy of my acquaintance actually come across as very rustic and untutored. I've never met the Vicar Apostolick...sorry..."Archbishop of Westminster," Vincent Nichols, but it's enough that he speaks with a would-be-concealed Lancashire accent to perceive that he couldn't possibly appreciate the phantom wine cellars of Archbishop's house. The same could be said for Cormac whom I once passed in Westminster Underground station. Five years ago I telephoned a local priest about the baptism of the daughter of a friend of mine and I asked what rite he was using. He didn't understand this, so I asked what edition of the Ritual he intended to use, and, seemingly rather put out by this, he said "err, a normal one." As Basil Fawlty observed: "have you seen the people in room seven? They've never even sat on chairs!"

The seventh question in Fr Hunwicke's spring time examination asks us to construct a suitable menu for the occasion, inclusive of vintage wines. Given my experience of RC clergy, might I suggest a trough of baked beans and some rinse water for most of them; perhaps turnip soup and a rotten peach for the ones who can at least conjugate amo in the present tense? The bishops could have a glass of the Beaujolais and a few slices of Cathedral City rubber with some Abbe Guettee.

There are a number of sophisticated Romanist clergy in London. I know two Patristics scholars of note, although one of them told me he is actually a Monophysite...I guess when you reach a certain calibre of scholarship, apathy about official teachings sets in. On the other hand, recent converts to Rome can be forgiven for being in the honey moon stage. Do you remember the film adaptation of Nineteen Eighty-Four, with John Hurt (Mr Crisp's representative on earth)? If so, do you remember when Smith approached the prostitute in the proletarian areas? Can you remember why he found her attractive? It was because she'd applied her foundation with a shovel, much like the Roman Catholic church. When you get up close, you can see that the marvellous scarlet robes of the old hag are actually threadbare and that underneath is a withered, stinking corpse. All is not lost, though. I'll be waiting by the grey shores to welcome the converts back with open arms and not the faintest "I told 'ee so." Just waiting...

In case you're wondering, yes I am running out of ideas.


  1. I'm sure Sergeant Major could deal with those bishops...

  2. Wine and accents... Reminded me of this old thing I used to watch:

    New Jersey used car salesman type. The people who know the most about wine are usually the people who went and got a job in it because they were low born and actually needed a job, and fell in love with wine. Too bad the seminarians don't fall in love with liturgy. Or theology. Or asset management. What is it they teach them these days?

    1. I think they teach psychology in seminaries now. I had to do "Psychology of Religion" as part of my A Level in Philosophy.

    2. If you like wine, do what I did - come and live in France, preferably near Anjou, Bordeaux or Beaune near Dijon. Santé.

  3. Let's see now:

    amo, amas, amat, amamus, amatis, amant
    amabam, amabas, amabat, amabamus, amabatis, amabant
    amabo, amabis, amabit, amabimus, amabitis, amabunt
    amavi, amavisti, amavit, amavimus, amavitis, amaverint
    amaveram, amaveras, amaverat, amaveramus, amaveratis, amaverant
    amavero, amaveris, amaverit, amaverimus, amaveritis, amaverint

    All that from memory, without editions. I'm afraid that I've never been very passive, though. And would that I were able to know what the subjunctive might be!

    I hope that I might be offered more than a trough of 'baked beans, rinse water, turnip soup, and a rotten peach'.

    But I have troubled myself to suggest a candidate's answer to Fr. Hunwicke's final question. One might read it here:

    1. Bernard, I'm glad you rose to the challenge but I'm afraid you have misspelled the third person plural of the imperfect tense.

    2. Why Patricius, I would say, "how imperfect of me", save for the fact that the third person plural imperfect indicative of 'amo' is 'amabant', which is what i had in fact written.

      While perhaps you were mistakenly referring to the third person plural pluperfect indicative of 'amo', that is 'amaverant', which is also what I had parsed out in my entry above.

      Thank you for playing, though.

      And when may we be expected to see your entry to the challenge?

    3. Sorry Bernard, I meant the third person plural indicative active perfect tense. You wrote amaverint instead of amaverunt.

      What challenge?

    4. Yes, it appears that I had written the third person plural indicative passive perfect tense in place of the third person plural indicative active tense. Pity.

      Why, the challenge of Fr. Hunwicke's examination questions, of course. I am waiting with bated breath for you to essay a Socratic dialogue on Tapeinosis


  5. Psychology complete ruins them as confessors.

  6. In fairness, Patricius, I would agree with you that the formation of candidates for the priesthood in most RC parishes, whether considered on a humanistic, scientific, philosophical, theological, or even a cultural level, quite frankly sucks. This is one of many reasons why I am no longer a Roman Catholic.

    One of many reasons why I have abandoned Western Christianity for parts east is

  7. seems for the past half century (at least), the clergy of the west in the main appears to have no clue as to the intracacies of Holy Scripture, Sacred Tradition, or the Teachings of the Church (or if you will, Her Magisterium. I happen to believe that the above three processes are the means by which the Holy Spirit of the Holy and Life Giving Trinity has spoken to human beings.

    I need these processes, and this saving knowledge and wisdom. The clergy of the West seems to have no knowledge of these matters. I must therefore go to where I can find them.

    (Sorry for not finishing my thought earlier).