I watched The Jane Austen Book-club at the weekend and quite enjoyed it. And it's nudged me into reading Jane again so I'm straight into Pride and Prejudice which I haven't read for many years.
One thing that's struck me is that as I read I see the scenes from the film in my head, and Lizzie Bennet has become Keira Knightley. A horror for some but I'm finding it helps me see the scene better now.
You've got to feel a little pity for the poor sod who posted this tweet above.
Wishing all the Jews a happy Hanukkah - though for some reason he felt restrained from saying "Jews" instead opting for "those who celebrate".
The problem is the image he picked is not happy Jews celebrating Hanukkah with a nice menorah, but Roman soldiers stealing it from the temple which they'd just ransacked.
I wouldn't call it "anti-Semitic" as others have, just unfortunate and ill-informed, and a trifle funny.
It's important we don't simply bury our heads in the sand and ignore real issues and I certainly won't do that.
But we're Catholics. We believe the church is the church of Christ. We believe the Pope is the successor of Peter, not just a random guy elected like the Taoiseach. We believe the apostles are successors of the apostles. So we cannot approach our problems the way, for example, Labour supporters try to deal with Corbyn, or Conservatives with Teresa May.
Our first port of call must be prayer, and I think no better guide exist than St Teresa of Jesus.
We could worse than praying her bookmark every day and trying to live it:
‘Be thou by naught perturbed,
of naught afraid,
for all things pass save God,
who does not change.
Be patient, and at last
thou shalt of all fulfilment find.
Hold God and
naught shall fail thee,
for he alone is all.’
We're asked to wear red today in solidarity with and to draw attention to the Christians being peresecuted around the world. The vast majority of religious persecution is against Christians. From Aid to the Church in Need:
Christians around the world are being persecuted because of their faith. Will you show your support for the Suffering Church?
Aid to the Church in Need are being joined by Christian Solidarity Worldwide for this campaign, but we need your help. Join us on Wednesday 28th November – #RedWednesday, and stand in solidarity with persecuted Christians and faith minorities who suffer unjustly for their peacefully-held beliefs.
Let’s spread the word and use social media to make #RedWednesday 2018 a campaign that cannot be ignored.
By joining us in prayer, by wearing red, lighting your church red, by organising red-themed activities or attending #RedWednesday events, you will be doing something peaceful and positive to highlight the suffering – injustices, discrimination, violence, oppression, torture and death – of so many Christians and others today which goes largely unnoticed by the world.
I mentioned previously the Blessed is She retreat that took place last weekend in Emmaus Centre, Swords.
I'd several friends attending but I couldn't get tickets.
Here's the thing with conferences and retreats. On day one there's a big desk, and everyone wants you to sign in and you're given a booklet and a badge and it's kinda formal. Day two most people have lost or abandoned the badges and you can just walk in.
So I attended part of the second day.
It was a very good experience. The church in Ireland has been buffeted probably more than any country in recent years. Years of mediocre and rather wet bishops, endless abuse crises, reports, child protection programmes, Garda vetting, Magdalene laundries, Tuam babies, Casey, all of it. But the big blow was the abortion referendum, two thirds of our mostly Catholic people voting for wholesale abortion on demand, while politicians from all parties either actively promoted it or hid, along with some bishops.
So coming together with 250 women to find love and support, to feel the presence of the Holy Spirit, to paint, to chat, to feed babies and help other mothers, to receive unambiguous Catholic teaching was very special.
The Archbishop of Dublin came along to say Mass, and many of us were not hopeful. A number of women said in conversation that their efforts as Catholic teachers, or parents, or in Catholic hospitals, Catholic charities, are routinely undermined, if not attacked, by Catholic management, priests and bishops. "When LGBT stuff comes in from the union I try and find it and throw it the bin quickly because there is no point trying to discuss it with school management."
Anyway, Diarmuid Martin on the day was ok. He preached about the kingship of Christ, even though he said his secretary told him "you can't talk about to a bunch of women". Funny, not funny, as it shows the attitude that orthodox Catholics face, the assumption that a "bunch of women" would be offended by the kingship of Christ, as if we had never seen the beauty of the kingly Christ, never read St Teresa of Jesus or St Catherine talking intimately to the kingly Christ.
It was a good day. We need many more.
I'm sure like many others when I heard the name of the new bishop of Meath, Tom Deenihan, I also heard some questionable stories - not popular in Cork. I read his initial remarks on being appointed with some further trepidation. God forbid a new bishop could manage a reference to Jesus Christ and not the GAA. But, I have been hearing mostly good things since the man has actually been ordained and taken up office. Friends of my sons were in Lourdes with him and found him to be very good. OK, teenagers aren't always the best guide and a bishop who smiles and is nice goes a long way. But I've been hearing similar things since from priests in the diocese of Meath - and they're a much tougher audience.
Now if he would lift the head, try and actually do something to make Catholic schools a bit more, what's the word, Catholic. If he would engage people in the public square on issues other than the safe topics like immigration, homelessness and the environment, well that would be good.
A tiny portion of the cast
Packed day yesterday. Was dying with the cold but had promised to take the kids to see new Harry Potterish film Fantastic Beast 2 - the crimes of scriptwriters, producers and JK Rowling.
It was very long, very confusing. We've all read the Harry Potter books and seen the films multiple times. This featured many of my least favourite things in movies:
1. Action scenes that move so quickly it's impossible to follow what's happening; a total waste of expensive CGI and green screen time; they might as well just turn a strobe light on and off.
2. Multiple characters who look alike and aren't memorable enough to, well, remember.
3. Characters thrown in like treats for Harry Potter fans, e.g. Nicolas Flammel. The worst makeup job imaginable.
4. Matrix 4 level of confusion in the plot. Lots of "what?"; "Mam, who is he - the dead brother or somebody else?"
The mental health problems associated with the Pill are becoming clearer all the time. And yet women continue to take it.
The UK Independent newspaper has this article.
I'd hoped to go to this retreat this evening but left it too late to book.
Blessed is She retreats are supposed to be wild. That's the word they use. I'm curious about the combination of freedom, fidelity and faith.
I've some friends going so I'll try and get a full report.
Not too sure about having Archbishop of Dublin saying Mass. That could put a real dampner on things. But we'll see.
Oh, and they have a very good blog you can find here.