Saturday, 5 April 2008


Good to see that there is an old rite Mass on EWTN tomorrow at 1pm UK time.

Friday, 4 April 2008


In a moment of idleness, and remembering that I have a blog, I would like to plug three things:

First, a blog, self-evidently good, from the title, which a commentator asks to be promoted:

And secondly and thirdly, two books:

The Faithful Departed: The Collapse of Boston's Catholic Culture by Philip F Lawler

and The Realm - An Unfashionable Essay on the Conversion of England by Aidan Nichols OP

Saturday, 19 January 2008

Is this goodbye, or just au revoir?

I remember a splendid Beyond the Fringe sketch where a soldier in the War is told by his commanding officer that he is going to be asked to sacrifice himself: 'we need a futile gesture at this stage, Jenkins.' The young soldier says 'yes, sir, goodbye sir; or should I say, 'au revoir'? 'No Jenkins, goodbye.' Rather dark, but bloody funny.

For those of you still checking this blog for any signs of life, I think this is the last post on Gravissimum Educationis. I enjoyed my brief career as a blogger, and may one day return in another manifestation. I hope I made at least one valuable post.

Thank you for reading. I think Tolkien says somewhere 'faithless is he that says farewell when the road darkens.' May we all be filled with the light of Christ as we journey to our heavenly home, pilgrims under the guidance of the chief shepherd, the Successor of Peter.

Au revoir

Wednesday, 26 December 2007


Only joking - wishing you all a very merry Christmas and all the blessings of this wonderful feast of the birth of the Redeemer. God bless. Hope to post more in the next few days, though I am feeling thoroughly out of touch.

Wednesday, 12 December 2007


Apologies for not posting. It's the end of term here and we are moving house tomorrow! I think this blog will be largely dormant for a week or so more.

Saturday, 8 December 2007

Second Sunday of Advent - more from Newman

Raphael, Saint John the Baptist Preaching (National Gallery), 1505

THE Holy Baptist was sent before our Lord to prepare His way; that is, to be His instrument in rousing, warning, humbling, and inflaming the hearts of men, so that, when He came, they might believe in Him. He Himself is the Author and Finisher of that Faith, of which He is also the Object; but, ordinarily, He does not implant it in us suddenly, but He first creates certain dispositions, and these He carries on to faith as their reward. When then He was about to appear on earth among His chosen people, and to claim for Himself their faith, He made use of St. John first to create in them these necessary dispositions.

Now these passages cannot mean that faith is against reason, or that reason does not ordinarily precede faith, for this is a doctrine quite contrary to Revelation, but I think I shall not be wrong in understanding them thus,—that with good dispositions faith is easy; and that without good dispositions, faith is not easy; and that those who were praised for their faith, were such as had already the good dispositions, and that those who were blamed for their unbelief, were such as were wanting in this respect, and would have believed, or believed sooner, had they possessed the necessary dispositions for believing, or a greater share of the them. This is the point I am going to insist on: I am led to it by the Baptist's especial office of "preparing the way of the Lord"; for by that preparation is meant the creating in the hearts of his hearers the dispositions necessary for faith. And I consider that the same truth is implied in the glorious hymn of the Angels upon Christmas night; for to whom was the Prince of Peace to come? They sang, "Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace to men of good will." By "good will" is meant, "good disposition"; the peace of the Gospel, the full gifts of the knowledge, and of the power, and of the consolation of Christian Redemption, were to be the reward of men of good dispositions. They were the men to whom the Infant Saviour came; they were those in whom His grace would find its fruit and recompense; they were those, who, by congruous merit, would be led on, as the Evangelist says, to "believe in His Name," and "to be born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God."

Dispositions for Faith
, Sermons Preached on Various Occasions (1856)

Friday, 7 December 2007

'I am the Immaculate Conception'

Francisco de Zurbarán. Our Lady of Immaculate Conception.
c. 1628-1630.

Newman, in his letter to Pusey, writes thus of the Immaculate Conception:

It is then an integral portion of the Faith fixed by Ecumenical Council, a portion of it which you hold us well as I, that the Blessed Virgin is Theotocos, Deipara, or Mother of God; and this word, when thus used, carries with it no admixture of rhetoric, no taint of extravagant affection,—it has nothing else but a well-weighed, grave, dogmatic sense, which corresponds and is adequate to its sound. It intends to express that God is her Son, as truly as any one of us is the son of his own mother. If this be so, what can be said of any creature whatever, which may not be said of her? what can be said too much, so that it does not compromise the attributes of the Creator? He indeed might have created a being more perfect, more admirable, than she is; He might have endued that being, so created, with a richer grant of grace, of power, of blessedness: but in one respect she surpasses all even possible creations, viz., that she is Mother of her Creator. It is this awful title, which both illustrates and connects together the two prerogatives of Mary, on which I have been lately enlarging, her sanctity and her greatness. It is the issue of her sanctity; it is the origin of her greatness. What dignity can be too great to attribute to her who is as closely bound up, as intimately one, with the Eternal Word, as a mother is with a son? What outfit of sanctity, what fulness and redundance of grace, what exuberance of merits must have been hers, when once we admit the supposition, which the Fathers justify, that her Maker really did regard those merits, and take them into account, when He condescended "not to abhor the Virgin's womb"? Is it surprising then that on the one hand she should be immaculate in her Conception?

The Belief of Catholics concerning the Blessed Virgin, as distinct from their Devotion to her