Pulled posts and autumn courses

The particularly observant may have noticed that the two posts on my letter last week to The Tablet, in response to Fr O’Collins’ letter the week before, have been pulled. The more conspiracy-aware might think something sinister was afoot.

There is not.

A couple of days ago I received a friendly phone call from The Tablet‘s literary editor to advise me that the letter would be published this week. This surprised me as one reason for posting it here was in order not to let the moment pass. It may be that the moment will be longer to pass than I thought. I felt morally obliged to remind him that I had published the letter myself on this blog, since when one submits a letter, the confirmation of receipt comes with a request to confirm that the letter has not been published elsewhere.

There was no reaction to this, so to keep as much in the spirit of the enterprise it seemed to right to take down the posts on the letter. Once the coming edition of The Tablet has been out for a while I might edit the posts appropriately and reload them.

Also, the School of Annunciation has some interesting and useful courses on this Autumn which they feel would benefit many. The flyer is attached.



Succumbing to modernity

Finally I have succumbed. I have just taken to Instant Gramming. It is quite fun I have to admit. It was either Instagram or Pokemon Go. I chose the better part. No selfies, though… I promise! Go have a look if you need to slaughter some time.

Jesus falls the first time. Fr Aloysius' stations.

A photo posted by Dom Hugh Somerville-Knapman (@hughosb) on



Cardinal Sarah’s Clarion Call

Sacra Liturgia 2016 has opened, and opened with a bang. After an impressive solemn vespers according to the breviary of 1961, with Bishop Dominique Rey as the celebrant, we decamped to Imperial College to hear the opening address from Cardinal Robert Sarah, Prefect of the Congregation for Worship.

His Eminence’s speech was long, and in fact it went over time so a page or two were omitted, sections dealing with such things as liturgical music. What you have no doubt heard by now, such is the power of the Internet, is that what Cardinal Sarah did not omit was very exciting. Continue reading “Cardinal Sarah’s Clarion Call”

Brexit: The Disconnect

As the dust settles after last week’s UK referendum in which England and to a lesser extent Wales voted the UK out of the European Union, some things are becoming clearer.

The first is that the Leave campaign had no real blueprint for how Brexit would be effected. It is hard to imagine another context in which voting for an option so vaguely and inadequately outlined would even have been countenanced. It is as if most of the leaders of the Leave campaign only began to believe that they might win in the dying days of the campaign. Certainly we are hearing in the media that numbers of those who voted Leave did so thinking their vote would not count, and “Regrexit” has now been coined to cover those who repent of their vote to leave. Continue reading “Brexit: The Disconnect”

Everything has changed: John the Baptist and Brexit

[What follows is purely personal and does not necessarily reflect the views of my Benedictine brethren.]

The name was crucial. St Luke’s gospel makes that clear. The expectation was that the son born of the aged Elizabeth and Zechariah would be named after his father, or at least a close kinsman. Yet the decision was for John, a novel name in his family and one that clearly stupefied the family and friends who had gathered for the baby’s circumcision.

Why does St Luke labour this trivial point so? The name John in itself means nothing special per se. Its significance lies in its symbolism. That the baby would not take his father’s name is a sign that this boy would not follow in the footsteps of his father; he would not be a temple priest, but a prophet. His vocation would not be to serve the old covenant but to herald the New Covenant. He was to be a voice crying in the wilderness of Israel pointing to the Lamb of God, who will be a light not only for Israel, but to enlighten also the Gentiles. The novel name is a symbol that Israel is about to embark on a novel course, to become the new Israel, the Church, the Body of Christ. Continue reading “Everything has changed: John the Baptist and Brexit”

Reluctant Referendum Reflections

Reluctant Referendum Reflections

Tomorrow’s British referendum will be best quickly done and dusted, one way or the other. Election campaigns tend to stoop occasionally to the gutter but it is not encouraged and usually quickly decried. I think the British like to the think of themselves as moderate, balanced and well-mannered when it comes to politics. Alas, the referendum has exposed deep veins of nastiness in British society. Maybe this exposure is a good thing in the long run, but for now it makes uncomfortable viewing. One of my cyber-interlocutors has suggested very politely that I have been hinting at my opinion without clearly stating it, suggesting that there is a certain duplicity in this. A fair call, so despite my love for the Australian practice of a 24-hour moratorium on political debate the media before a vote, here is an answer of sorts. Some will resent clergy giving their opinion, being “lectured to”, but why should we have less right than others to state our opinions and why we hold them?

Personally, the decision which way to vote has been a long time settling. Continue reading “Reluctant Referendum Reflections”

Orlando from a different angle

Orlando from a different angle

The massacre in an Orlando nightclub on 12 June has been dominating news in the USA, and even maintaining a high profile in England despite the recent assassination here of a member of Parliament. If you have been keeping up with some of the coverage you will know that debate is centring on two principal topics. Continue reading “Orlando from a different angle”