Monday, 13 August 2018

Christopher Dawson revisited.

A book which has fascinated me since I first read it many years ago is Christopher Dawson's "Progress and Religion", (Sheed and Ward, 1929) especially the second part in which he documents the development of human civilisation upon the basis of religion. This is such a valuable book and I shall upload here, in a series of posts, my own notes on the book, which are a resume of the important points that Dawson makes.
Using the Enlightenment as his springboard, he goes right back to learn from primitive culture, 5000BC.
Religions and the origins of civilisation.
The rational and spiritual elements of a culture determine its nature.
The Enlightenment disregarded religion, and social progress became seen as a direct response of man to his material environment, together with growth of positive knowledge about it.
However, the movement which took place during the Enlightenment is the anomaly. For up to that time religion was always bound to man’s understanding of life. So, the Enlightenment is actually a transitional, unstable phase in human history, which has dislocated the inner and outer worlds of human experience and has proposed today’s dualism, that matter and spirit are two separate dimensions.
There was no dualism in primitive culture; the most important person then was not the “strongest”, but the “holy man”.
Religion is the root of all culture. And the great change which took place in primitive culture was not moving from magic to religion, but the move from magic to priesthood or ritual (ordered priesthood).
The ceremonies of primitive culture gave knowledge of, and control over, nature. This amounted to a form of science that led to agriculture and the domestication of animals. In other words, man began to imitate the processes of nature.
The pivotal development here was the development of priesthood that took place before agriculture or the domestication of animals; priesthood led directly to the development of civilisation. An example of this is the Mayan Calendar. This was not a dating device, but a religious program for each day of the year. Ancient civilisation was characterised by the ritual co-ordination of the social order with the cosmic order.
Ancient ritual culture is the foundation of all civilisation: writing, the calendar, the use of metals, engineering, architecture, and arts and crafts. By the beginning of the third millennium BC, human development was fixed to, and limited by, ritual culture.

Friday, 29 September 2017

I am the proud bearer of one of these ...

 … my Licentiate from the John Paul II Institute. However, I'm just one of very many. But I remain deeply grateful to Pope St John Paul II for his leadership, and to the Institute which he founded and from which I gained so much learning and vision.

Wednesday, 20 September 2017

New meter.

I've just added a new site meter to this Blog. The last meter dropped out somehow, a few years ago. Its last reading having recorded well over 100,000 visitors. I think that a meter is useful, letting me know the scope of interest in the Blog, particularly as this Blog has never elicited many comments.

Friday, 15 September 2017

Hoping to get back.

I'm sorry that there has been a lapse in posting. This has happened through default, rather than by decision. My mother's death a year ago set me back somewhat, and the Blog suffered. I hope therefore to get back to it in due course.

Friday, 23 September 2016

The last one.

I took this photo on 16th August 2016, in Otley, cooking a paella (paella valenciana) in the back of my car. I realised, about a week afterwards, that this way of cooking - in the street, in the back of a car - had been learned by me at least 20 years earlier. In the 1990's I had watched and enjoyed many cooking programs by Keith Floyd (in fact, he was magnificent). His influence, twenty years on, was now quite evident.
This paella, in mid-course, was the last paella that I made for my mother. After returning from Valencia in the year 2000 I made many, many paellas, which became a particular delight of my mother. In her last years, she enjoyed my paellas more than any other food. She and I shared this paella; it was to be her last. She died on 11th September. The victory belongs to Christ Jesus. May she rest in peace and rise in glory. I will miss her.

Friday, 19 August 2016

Before and after.

Here are photos of the side-chapel at St Ignatius, a couple of years ago and now.
This is what is used to look like:
And this is the chapel today:

Monday, 11 July 2016


This year the feast of St Ignatius of Loyola falls on Sunday 31st July; it is our patronal feast, here at the parish in Ossett and Horbury, WF5 0DQ.
As a part of our celebrations we are having a Votive Mass of St Ignatius, on Saturday 30th July at 12 noon, celebrated in the Extraordinary Form. The Rudgate Singers are coming to sing a Gregorian Mass setting. You are most welcome to take part.
Following the Mass there will be a celebratory BBQ in the garden (weather permitting). This is a donation event, and any monies donated will go to our new church windows fund.
If you would like to come to the BBQ, please indicate, either on this Blog, or on the chart in St Ignatius' church porch. Indicating your participation in the BBQ is essential because we will only source food for those we know are coming. 

Friday, 8 July 2016

A new look.

Here at St Ignatius' in Ossett we have re-decorated the side-chapel. I am especially grateful to Rob and Malcolm for their work. The side-chapel has become much more a place of dignity and serenity, for the celebration of weekday Masses.
Holy Mass is celebrated every Tuesday morning here at 8am in the Extraordinary Form and, in Winter, on Mondays, Wednesdays, Thursdays and Fridays as well (in the Ordinary Form).
There are one or two embellishments still to put in place, but our Eucharistic Lord will be exposed here regularly on the altar - especially in the colder months, when we can adequately heat the side-chapel. May He be glorified here!
Please check the parish website for regular Mass times: 

Monday, 4 July 2016

Renovation: extras.

Here are a couple of pics which I took in May. The first shows the bio-filter and its overflow to a small water fall.
The second shows the overflow which we created at one section of the perimeter of the pond; this flows into a small channel which leads to a 10ft well. I have a pump in the well with which I can either pump water into the pond in the summer, or discharge in the winter after too much rain.
These pictures also show how badly green water affected the pond from March through to late May. In fact, the algae is now clearing significantly thanks to the filter and plant growth in the pond.
I'll take  a picture of the fish in due course.

Thursday, 16 June 2016

Carlos V.

I have just finished watching Carlos Rey Emperador. It has taken me two months to do so, but at my rate of watching stuff, that is quite good. This Spanish TV series of 2015 has 17 episodes, each of 75-80 minutes.
With a production style similar to that of modern soap operas, it is, nevertheless, very well made. The costumes and settings are particularly good, as is the acting. However, the episodes can become somewhat boring, as each scene inevitably portrays yet another domestic, studio-produced conversation between historical characters. Nonetheless, the vast career of this series grew on me as I watched. My favourite scene was at the end of Episode 16 when the Emperor retires to the Monastery of Yuste. The actual monastery was used, to great effect, in the filming of this scene.
Somewhat typically for historical dramas, history is manipulated. This production contained exceptionally good, and exceptionally bad parts. The worst, I think, was the portrayal of young Philip II just before his first marriage, and on the night of his first marriage. This portrayal marred badly the overall production.  
The actor, Alvaro Cervantes, who played the part of Carlos V, did so extremely well; in fact he was superb in the part. What particularly impressed me was the way in which he  aged as the series continued. It is hard to make a young man look like an old man, even with all the make-up. But the way that this actor portrayed the role, as the character became older, was remarkable. Carlos V is, after all, the most powerful ruler that the West has known.
I also felt that the viewer did need to have a fairly good understanding of history. Famous characters routinely appeared in scenes without any introduction. Once I realised this, I kept my mobile phone close by, and found Wikipedia to be an invaluable aid for identifying them and thus better appreciating the scenes in this epic production. 

Monday, 13 June 2016

Renovation 12.

On 25th April this year, with the evening sun picking out some colour, I took this photo. The renovation work is essentially complete, and I await the establishing of a new equilibrium in the ecology of the pond, through the use of the filter and the growth of plants in the water.

Tuesday, 7 June 2016

Renovation 11.

I took this photo on 20th April this year. The pond looks really well finished off with the Marsh Marigold in glorious bloom. You can see the gill nets which Rob and I fitted over much of the surface of the pond. Unfortunately these are a necessity; I haven't seen a heron near the garden since the nets were set in place.
The pond has the original five goldfish, together with five new ones. The frogs spawned profusely in March and by the time this photo was taken, the pond was 'newt city'!

Saturday, 4 June 2016

Renovation 10.

This photo was taken on 2nd April 2016. You can see the work Rob and I had done to finish off the edge of the pond with stones. This work involved a careful assessment of the water level round the entire circumference, so as to create a neat and level edge. We achieved this by creating an overflow in the bottom corner of the pond - which is out of picture. I'll endeavour to take a picture of this for a future post.
You can also see the small waterfall at the head of the pond, which is a lovely feature in both the movement and the sound it creates. I have a 2200 pump which feeds water into a large bio-filter, positioned behind the bamboo leaves (in the photo), and then, by gravity, to the simple water fall. I'll take a picture of this too.
BTW, the pond has a volume of 30,000 lts. It's quite a big one!

Tuesday, 24 May 2016

Renovation 9.

Although Rob and I did some work over the winter, trimming the edges of the liner and placing edging stones, the next pic was taken on 4th March 2016 after a light snow.
You can see the pond now clearly delineated, and the gill nets dragged by ice and snow onto the surface of the pond. But all is well.
To the bottom right you can just see the stone fire pit where I make paellas in the warmer months on a wood fire.

Friday, 20 May 2016

Renovation 8.

It was 3rd November 2016 before Rob and I reconvened. You can see in the photo above that there is now about a foot of water in the pond. This rise in level was due to rain and to ground water pumped up from the well. We had stretched gill nets over the pond to protect the fish from herons.
Our work that day consisted principally in collecting soil to build up the two new banks, after their original level had settled.