Monday, 23 May 2011

Rochester – spirituality, utilitarianism, injunction and rapture


This was supposed to be a pleasant picnic in Kent in the old town of Rochester in a beautiful part of the Medway, with much historical interest.  Lady Jean Bridie had gone to Edinburgh to cover the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland, Dr A.V. O’Gadro was very busy with his experiments and entertaining some very high value visitors of regal and presidential status in Ireland.  We had planned a very simple picnic, as you can see here, in the grounds of Rochester Castle.

We were doing the usual gossip, without the aid of Twitter just in case a superinjunction closed the whole thing down.  There was also some rapture rubbish by Harold Camping which verged on hilarious, but was nevertheless very profitable for those who follow the basic proselytise, monetise, valorise and vaporise theories of what happens in the modern day spirituality. 

After having gained entrance to Rochester Castle, courtesy of English Heritage, we passed a wedding party and wondered to ourselves where they had ‘tied the knot’.  It hadn’t been in the Cathedral as when we were there we were able to listen to the choir rehearsing for a performance.  Rochester Cathedral is well-worth a visit, but wedding was there none.

We then went to the Guildhall Museum, which is a place authorised for marriages and civil partnerships, but the wedding wasn’t held there either.  We passed by a shop called Angel Energy Centre, which was full of spiritual accessories such as crystals, mood music, sound of running water but no wedding and strangely enough no welcome either.  (We were warmly received at the Cathedral.)  It appears that the angel shop has some problem with shoplifting, though it could have been a reference to a thief ‘coming in the night’.

After a refreshing pint of Shepherd Neame’s delicious Master Brew and some soft drinks, we past by a Huguenot building known as the La Providence. 

There was still no sign of the wedding, so we went to the Corn Exchange, where we were allowed to view the assembly hall which was being set up for a prize giving function later that evening.  The staff commented that the wedding party we saw had probably gone to the Registrar’s Office.  

This vignette illustrates the ‘fabric’, ancient and modern, and the utilitarianism of life in the public sphere today.  It may perhaps illustrate how fragmented the Big Society may be if in fact Mr Cameron’s Big Society exists at all. 

Meanwhile, back at the Obreption Centre, care was being taken to avoid mentioning any footballers at all, and a contingency outreach programme was planned, care of the Royal Mail and the stunning example of a pillar box of which Rochester is famed.  There are also the red telephone kiosks. Arrangements had been made to receive the Herald, which was to be smuggled into England via the Gretna Green border crossing point facility.  

In the end, the injunction turned out to be technically a busted flush and we reflected on the hulks exhibition at the Rochester Guildhall Museum and the Keep at Rochester Castle itself.  We believe that some brave English journalist could have gone to jail/goal for a stretch.  It is worth noting that in England we suffer repressive laws of censorship, which have been likened to Libya, Saudi Arabia and other countries.

We’ve illustrated by way of modern technology an exciting mix of the old and the new in terms of civic life, spiritual life and penitence.

Thursday, 19 May 2011

Trade in moral dilemmas: the moral maze – moral panic


At the time of writing, Queen Elizabeth was on her first state visit to Ireland.  This visit is quite symbolic and it is clear that there are still some sore wounds.  We’ve nothing to add, except to wish the people of these islands peace and prosperity. 

There had been a proposal to restyle these islands as IONA (Islands of North Atlantic).  This was to be a diplomatic fudge, which would have had the efficiency of Belgium and the cheerfulness of the Dutch – or as the Americans would say, Washington DC has the efficiency of the South combined with the friendliness of the Yankees.  That’s enough stereotyping.

Last week there was a referendum in Zurich in Switzerland.  The Swiss have referendums for almost anything.  I can remember many years ago a referendum on whether Switzerland should join the United Nations and another (Abstimmung) about whether to have public transport round the clock in Zurich itself.  The systems of cantons in Switzerland can be confusing, though the Swiss seem to have coped with referendums as part of their national psyche. 

Referendums elsewhere, especially in the UK, can reach demoniacal heights, as a recent referendum on the Alternative Vote (AV) proved.  You will doubtless remember that Obreption had been campaigning for months against AV on two grounds:  firstly, it sullied a form of Hindu philosophy, Adveta Vedanta; and secondly, it would only give more credence to psephologists and the Liberal Democrats - who appear to be imploding as we write.  In fact there has been a hue and cry, Huhne and Cry-Baby and Hewn and Cry-off (Icelandic bankers will be pleased to note that the price of cryolite has been worth following).

Seriously, the Swiss vote in Zurich concerned the availability of assisted suicides to foreigners, predominantly from other EU countries such as Germany, France and parts of the UK.
In a previous post we mentioned that Scotland had its own legal system and a proposal in the Scottish Parliament has been made by Margo MacDonald to ‘legalise’ assisted suicide.  The BBC covered this issue in a matter of fact way with the Swiss-based Imogen Foulkes doing some interviews for domestic BBC radio and the BBC World Service

One of the comments made by a Swiss was that it was not the job of Switzerland to police other countries’ moral dilemmas – in other words if other European countries could not discuss these topics in the public sphere, then that was their problem.  The trade was as a result of the reluctance or reticence of some politicians in discussing ethical issues.  For many religions suicide is a no-go area and like many topics, it is almost taboo in some cultures.  It is not the only moral dilemma which is not counted in the trade statistics.  Other moral dilemmas include abortion, contraception, divorce, marriage and sexuality. 

Western Europe has experienced a trend in secularisation in both north and south to an extent that ethics, religion and morals are usually seldom dealt with in a congenial manner. 

News Update:

** NEWS UPDATE ** 3/6/11

Jack Kevorkian: 'Doctor Death' dies in US aged 83

Dr. Kevorkian in hospital with pneumonia, kidney problems

This brings us conveniently to the issue of the Moral Maze.  This is one programme which I had long ago given up; in fact it really never recovered following the death of Hugo Gryn, and the occasional brilliant David Starkey.  The panel changes now and again, but many of the panellists are a mix of ramblers, one trick ponies and jargonistas.  You can probably attach a label to the panellists yourselves.

On this occasion, the panellists were: Melanie Phillips, Claire Fox, Kenan Malik and Matthew Taylor. 

However, the programme has been chaired in the last couple of weeks by David Aaronovitch, who manages seamlessly to keep order.  While the panel has remained much the same, the quality of the guests or expert witnesses has improved remarkably to the extent – and this is an historical event - that I found myself agreeing with Melanie Phillips while she challenged the jargon laden Mathew Taylor who trots out trite tosh. 

There was a lot of jargon on the programme such as ‘moral panic’, ‘social learning theory’.  This almost makes the Regius Chair of Obreption Studies look old hat.  The first guest witness was the proponent of Slut Walk – and if you care to recall one of our earlier posts, it featured that well-known Flemish word Tent Slut, which was the most popular word in the Flemish part of Belgium. 

The new controller of Radio 4 had promised that the Moral Maze would be given an injection of “umph”.  The ‘expert witnesses’ included:

Elizabeth Head, organiser of Slut Walk London
Rachel Russell, Senior lecturer in sociology, Glasgow Caledonian University
Dr Linda Papadopoulos, Psychologist who wrote a report on the Sexualisation of Young People and commissioned by the Home Office last year
Jennifer Selway, Assistant Editor of the Daily Express (not my usual reading material)

There seems to be some confusion about Ritalin and Rohyphol by one of the guests, so it could be that the green room had the booze cabinet locked up and Michael Burke had taken the key.  Programme worth another try.  (I can’t believe I said that I agreed with Melanie Phillips!)

News update: 

Ken Clarke dismisses calls to resign over rape row(


Following the Moral Maze, there was a 15 minute talk by Jake Wallis Simons in a series called Four Thought.  Mr Simons had once been a Tibetan Buddhist but left.  His talk was totally jargon free and mentioned the NKT – New Kadampa Tradition – and the conflict with the Dalai Lama.  (Http:// )  If you thought Buddhists were peaceful, this might change your mind.  Much of the experience of the Buddhist ‘fraternity’ in the UK is through white middle-class, middle-aged men, though more prosperity based traditions, mainly Japanese imports, and syncretism of Buddhism with anything else have arisen.  Prosperity theology is usually behind many of them.  Mr Simons summed up human nature thus: to be part angel and part ape is to be human. 

Anne Atkins tried to be thoughtful in her Thought for the Day slot on Thursday 19th May, and while it was one of her better ones, once you removed the rapture, it seemed that some, if not all, religions seek to make angels or even saints of some of us, while sadly condemning the great unwashed to the status of apes.  An interesting contrast, though Jake Wallis Simons is a definite find for future essays and one which shows how poor some of the Thought for the Day slots really are.

PS: I still can't believe I wrote that I agreed with Melanie Phillips - on one point!  I have also mentioned that Shirley Williams was the only decent Liberal Democrat around, and if you search far enough I did make a kind comment about John Paul II suggesting that he might have had a point - so there!

Sunday, 15 May 2011

Schottland: wintermärchen und jetzt zommer

It came as a surprise to many in the Surrey Hills that the people of Scotland may have indicated that they wanted their independence and would like to take away the blue from the Union flag, and a bit of the white, though for the time being retain Her Majesty, The Queen as Queen of Scots.  To this extent, a new protocol has been dreamed up by the Scottish establishment as the reverse of the traditional announcement of the Dissolution of Parliament in Westminster.  On this occasion the people of Edinburgh are told by The Lord Lyon, King of Arms, at the Mercat Cross of the said dissolution.  (Aspects of the tabards worn at this can be seen in the current edition of Tak Tent, Issue 51, p2)

Our famous expert on matters royal and heraldic volunteered to ride down from Edinburgh to Dorking where she addressed the banking fraternity somewhere in the Leith Hill area on topics such as Scottish legal, educational, religious and of course heraldic differences, which more or less define what it is to be a nation. 

An extract from Lady Jean Bridie’s presentation follows.

Lady Jean took this picture of the Scottish moors during her epic ride from Edinburgh to London.  We are happy to announce that these bushes were not affected by the recent fire.  This illustrates the story in The Bible relating to the burning bush: it burns but is not consumed.  In Latin, this is nec tamen consumebatur  - which is the motto of the Church of Scotland.

Ladies and Gentlemen:

FIFA delegates, IMF job seekers, ETF practitioners, accountants and tax planners. 

I have been on horseback for 5 days and got delayed in Morpeth, Richmond, Oakham, Luton and Sunningdale.  I am pleased to address this meeting concerning the likely changes in the status of Scotland now that England wishes to leave the United Kingdom.  We would like to present to you the tax advantages, banking prowess, industrial acumen and natural resources of our country – with particular note on our strange customs. 

In Scotland we have our own institutions.  These include the Court of The Lord Lyon, the Registrar of Scotland, the Court of Session, the Scottish Government, First Minister, a football team, an established church – The Church of Scotland – a separate education system and, since devolution, much of the domestic affairs are handled by the Scottish government, with some liaison with Whitehall. 

Regarding politics, the recent success of the SNP in being able to form a majority government in the Scottish Parliament (this was supposed to be impossible) has surprised many within the radius of the M25 motorway around London.  That wise twit, Matthew Parris, opined that in a referendum the Scots would vote No for independence and that the English would vote Yes to throwing out Scotland from the United Kingdom. 

This has caused much strain, as many Scots now bombard the BBC by every communication tool possible when inaccuracies are heard on topics such as the law, health, national government, education, forests, and even the census.  I myself have noticed within my twittering circle of a 100,000+ followers (I monetise myself, thank you) that our community is doing very well, thank you, and we have managed to overturn the BBC pronunciation rules on Ardnamurchan during the shipping forecast.  Listen out for Arlene Fleming.  The way Arlene says: “from Mull of Galloway to Ardnamurchan Point” sounds almost a haiku, though not of course as topical as the haiku featured in Private Eye this week (see p7, Issue 1288)

We’ve provided the following links, just in case you have any intention of visiting Scotland this summer.  We apologise to Herr Heine for using his “Deutschland ein wintermärchen”, though if you want to listen to this,  you can get it from LibriVox (

Scottish government:

Registrar General for Scotland:

National Trust for Scotland:

National Museums Scotland:

National Gallery of Scotland:


Saturday, 7 May 2011

Blind faith : faith for the blind : articles by the blind


We are pleased to present our first guest blogger, Professor Whitestick.  This is a nom de plume, or pseudonym, but he does exist.  He doesn’t do Braille, doesn’t play football, but is otherwise a normal blind person who appreciates and shares some of his experiences with the outside world in the public sphere.  He will be making his own comments, though is used to my retelling of some of his stories which we can assure you are true, as one of them has even been reported in a well-known publication to the embarrassment of a university that should have known better. 

Our guest does not wish to promote his own blog, unlike some guest bloggers, but can be contacted via twitter on @profwhitestick.  He is also researching XYDO, which is said to be “twitter on steroids” ( 

We came across the Professor at an outreach programme for the disabled.  (  In fact, one of us got whacked by his white stick.  Thank you.

As a blind person with a white stick, one ought not to be invisible to parts of the public sphere.  Some parts of the public sphere have employees who are oblivious to the needs, wishes, feelings and communication ‘toolbox’ of blind people.  In future posts, I will be discussing the public sphere as it pertains to the arts, science, law, parliament, democracy, journalism, human rights, religion, discrimination, finance, commerce, travel, technology, etc.  Obreption has kindly asked me to discuss aspects of the experience of a blind person within the public sphere regarding religion, faith, theology, worship, and charitable giving.     

Obreption suggested some time ago that I ought to ‘test aspects of life in the public sphere to destruction’.  For starters, Obreption asked me to ‘road test’ the ‘sign posts’ in the Church of England, and suggested that I visit a few cathedrals, some parish churches and some variety of the Anglican spectrum from the Anglo-catholic extreme to Evangelical.  In other words, All Saints to All Souls with a bit of Alpha thrown in. 

One of the biggest problems for a blind person in visiting a strange parish is the ‘welcome’. Is the vicar or the PCC aware that blind people have problems with some aspects of worship?  For example, are you aware that the welcoming committee often stick a hymn book in the hand of a blind person without asking if they can see enough to read?  Believe it or not, I have been assaulted with more hymn books and bibles than I care to remember, even though my white stick is very visible. 

Also, do you use PowerPoint presentations, videos and high tech ‘material culture’?  If so, are you aware that some people in your congregation who cannot see may miss out on an important part of your ‘message’?  Without wishing to state that Jesus preached without the aid of PowerPoint and to people who couldn’t read, are you really offering discipleship to a congregation or is it all for show? 

An eminent neurologist has said that 50% of human information comes from vision.  In other words, those people who cannot see, cannot see ‘the Light’, do not really understand ‘Jesus bids us shine with a pure clear light, like a little candle burning in the night’.  I could go on and explain that candles and blind people are a recipe for disaster

(Note: Obreption can testify that our guest had a Brunhilde experience that is immolation at a fundraiser for a blind charity in a city wine bar lit by candles!).

On a more positive note, I was very pleased on one of my visitations (not Apostolic, but with the knowledge of an Archdeacon) to be greeted by the welcoming committee in a strange parish with a “We have large print copies of the service and hymns for today if that would be of any use to you.”  This is a nice ice-breaker and is much better than being ignored or having a wretched and useless book thrust in your hands. 

Communication with blind people can be very difficult, especially if your form of worship relies on visual prompts.  Smells and bells are quite sensual in Anglo-catholic churches though the statuary, furniture and huge fonts can be intimidating.  On the other hand, the spontaneous nature of Evangelical worship and preaching can leave the blind totally out of it – though the sermons are usually of much higher quality than some of the mystic five minute homilies that pass for a sermon in some Anglo-catholic churches. 

Having been asked by Obreption to road test two ‘high value’ churches today, I will make the following comments:

1)     St James, Piccadilly,  Rector Lucy Winkett (,

I wandered here off the street and walked around and was totally ignored. The church had a few tourists passing from the market to Jermyn Street. Some kind tourist asked me if I needed any help and I commented about the philosophy of the blind seeking the Holy Spirit in a church, which may have raised a smile, but I wouldn’t know, would I?

2)     St Martin in the Fields, Charing Cross

Believe it or not, I wandered in here today after a visit to the National Gallery in Trafalgar Square.

St Martin in the Fields – National Gallery : compare and contrast

The National Gallery get 10/10 for greeting me, asking me what I wanted, not questioning the fact that I was blind and what was I doing in an art gallery and very courteously took me to a few paintings which I can just about make out and read the notes.  I was then guided to the bookshop, where I bought a couple of postcards and went to the café and enjoyed a coffee and a cake.

In contrast, St Martin in the Fields doesn’t get much.  I did get to listen to an organ being tuned (I don’t think it was a piece of modern music by Taverner or Macmillan!)  I did hear a discussion by two obviously eminent designer pedants concerning the ‘immovability’ of the font.  Bits of the church were chained off.  I was totally ignored, given that this church has produced the new Bishop of Salisbury and a much acclaimed outreach programme, it is a bit sad to wander in at about 2:30 pm and to get the same treatment as St James.   Maybe they thought I was homeless, sick, but could they see and did they care?

Obreption has asked me to outline some of my stories which are true and you might even be able to check them:

  • the eye clinic in a well-known hospital which has staff who point, stick up notices announcing a two hour delay and have opthalmologists who couldn’t give a toss!  
  • a well-known blind charity who gave a presentation to a blind group in – yes, you guessed it! – POWERPOINT! 
  • a high-society blind charity fundraiser held in a well known city wine bar lit by candle-light.  I caught fire and felt like a cross between Guido Fawkes, Joan of Arc and Brunhilde in the Immolation Scene from The Twilight of the Gods.
  • the university which provided a question on cassette as an alternative format in which the question began “Look at this picture and describe the following …” The university, however, was contrite.
  • a well-known supermarket: I had been guided there by security to the Help Point and the security guard was told: “Sit him down there on the chair.”  Not only did I have to say 20 Hail Marys, 20 Calm Down Dears – but I still went ballistic.  The supermarket has phoned up twice–so far–and are reviewing the video of the event.  It might be shown on YouTube … tell me if you see it.
  • British Transport Police (two of them) when asked for directions, both grunted and pointed in opposite directions.  I could discern this by the fluorescent arm bands.  The location: London Bridge, near Southwark Cathedral!

Obreption’s comments:

I know that Professor Whitestick will not object if we refer to his reports on blind faith as a leap into the dark.  When God said, Let there be Light, but the blind can’t see it.  Signposting is a meaningless term, like much of the psycho-babble which passeth all understanding. 

We would urge you to engage with a blind person, but remember they usually don’t get non-verbal communication, they don’t read handouts – though they might ask for one for a friend - and they can be very status and designer conscious.  So watch out or you might get whacked on the shins!  I have the marks to prove it!

Thursday, 5 May 2011

Bach's role in political change

Recent events in North Africa and the Middle-East have illustrated the utilitarian position of mosques and places of worship, which many westerners recognise as a Friday event in the current unfolding Arab Spring. 

It may be worth commenting on the changes which occurred in 1989 in Eastern Europe.  The previous Pope, John Paul II, has rightly gained some credit for the changes, though his influence was primarily with Poland and the Catholicism of the country.  The role of the EKD (the German Protestant Church) is fairly well-documented and this is discussed further below. 

A new theme, however, is the influence of JS Bach – born 1685 – and the effect of the tercentenary celebrations which featured heavily in the former East Germany, especially in Leipzig, which is regarded as the key flashpoint of the wende or turning point (wendepunkt, title of a book by Klaus Mann).
In discussing the relationships between religion, democracy and human rights three binary relationships can be considered.  First, religion and democracy have a two way relationship: religion can promote and encourage democracy as in the case of Eastern Europe; but religion can also abuse political power or be suborned by political power to the detriment of democracy.   

Second, religion also has a two way relationship with human rights.  Many claim that religion expounded the concept of human rights.  However, others contend that religion abuses human rights, though religious leaders would attribute this to interpretation rather than religion itself.   

The final binary relationship is between democracy and human rights.  This need not consider religion at all, and is usually expressed as either a constitutional or a ‘majoritarian’ influence over minorities of any type.  Examples include group human rights for religious minorities, homosexuals and the right to life itself.  In addition to these three binaries, there is the interaction and intersection of all three spheres themselves. 

In Eastern Europe, religious organisations provided physical space (as in East germany), alternative symbology (especially in Poland), international non-Marxist connections with other societies, while religion provided an alternative philosophy to socialism or Marxist-Leninism. However, in both countries the interaction of religion, democracy and human rights arose from a different background. 

In East Germany, the religion was Protestant and so less hierarchical both in structure and its expectations of obedience in terms of authority.  The East German political structure was markedly more atheist, with a denial of secondary education to those who had not taken the (secular) Jugendweihe (‘youth dedication’).  The Stasi (state security service) was also more repressive and pervasive. Nevertheless, the church (EKD) was able to provide facilities for those wishing to progress ‘peace, justice, integrity of creation’ themes.

While the PCC (Polish Catholic Church) had shown itself to be capable of being an effective opposition in the 1960s-80s, the EKD had to be seen as being less confrontational.  By the time of the ‘wende’ at the end of 1989 leading churchmen Ullman and Schroeder offered contrasting political structures. Both leaders, however, were doomed as the German Democratic Republic (GDR) was promptly reunified into the new Germany, and though the churchmen did not retain a significant influence, they had been able to maintain the momentum of change, although neither was interested in setting up a Christian nation.  However, in East Germany the church was reluctant to espouse German nationalism in the post war period.

In contrast, even in the Communist era, Poles were allowed to travel to the West (and still do!) and apart from short clamp downs, the Roman Catholic church had never been as suppressed as in East Germany.  The PCC was thus able to use religious symbology such as the Black Madonna of Czestochowa as a potent focal point for opposition.

The power of a religious organisation is a function of the level of homogeneity of the citizens and impacts on both majoritarian and constitutional models of democracy.  The Stasi EKD scandal continues with former agents claiming human rights to avoid being named – see The Lives of Others: Das Leben der Anderen a German film released in 2006 to much critical acclaim and recommended by Obreption.  (Obreption has an interesting file in the Stasi archives, if you’re interested!)

And now to Bach: Many churches in the old East Germany had funding problems which were overcome to some extent by the then EKD in West Germany.  The Bach tercentenary gave many citizens opportunities to gather in organizing Bach celebrations, which ought to have been shared with Handel and to some extent Telemann.  However, it was not in Halle rather Leipzig where the momentum for change occurred.  Having witnessed many packed rehearsals for Bach concerts in Leipzig, Dresden, Freiberg and Naumburg, there was clearly scope for avoiding too much Stasi attention. 

On a lighter side, Obreption has decided that a gestalt shift is in order.  It’s the old generational change, where younger generations take over the reins of power.  It may be the jam generation, but it’s now in power but for me JS Bach rules and I have to decide on whether to transfer my cds to the computer or download music in mp3 format and the rest.  I have actually bought JS Bach’s Easter Oratorio (BWV249) and Cantata no. 11 (Ascension Oratorio) in a new recording by the Retrospect Ensemble under Matthew Halls and released by Linn Records.  (We paid hard cash for this.) 

Linn Records:

Observor review:

Sunday, 1 May 2011

Queen Creates Dukedom:Pope Synthesizes BLJPII and Obama Sinks Osama

by our Heraldic and Anthropological staff
with assistance from Olga (School of Pskov Icon Genre)

Competition: Can you identify this picture and suggest a name?

With our usual prescience, the posting of this Russian Orthodox icon has been identified as the martyred Saint Yevgeny or Eugenius/Eugene in English.  This illustrates the power of the internet and we would like to welcome our friends in Russia who visited the blog.

Discussion of martyrdom reminds us of the claims being made in some quarters concerning Osama bin Laden (OBL).  The story from the White House appears to be changing on whether OBL was armed or not, though it seems that he was buried at sea.  I would like to thank our correspondent who identified St Yevgeny.  People interested in purchasing copies of this icon for their own collection and reverance can do so from various sites such as 

Please be advised that we have not dealt with these sites and make no recommendation or provide any guarantees.  More to the point, Obreption does not vouchsafe for the efficacy or ability of the icon to answer prayers - in the same way that Obreption cannot guarantee the powers of BLJPII to intercede in anything.

It appears that there are several saints in Orthodox and Catholic hagiographies.  For example, a search Saint Yevgeny will yield the story of a Russian Orthodox saint, while a search for Saint Eugenius will result in many saints.  This illustrates the complexity of multiple choice and maybe a divine clue that voting YES to AV maybe bad for democracy. 

We provide some links, though the usual warning applies in terms of transliteration of the name from the original language.

It may be too early to say, but this mystery icon has had more hits than Templetonium.  Is this the power of the internet, the miracle of BLJPII or some super-efficient search engine? 

It is interesting to note that when Prince William married, Her Majesty The Queen created the Dukedom of Cambridge with other titles such as Strathearn and Carrickfergus.  In a previous post, we have already mentioned the fact that Cambridge was chosen.  Many royal titles revert as there are specific 'destinations' attached to the Royal Arms.  Unfortunate marriages of recent years resulted in a need to get the Royal Arms back within the family.  What then was the point of making Prince William the Duke of Cambridge when he would have inherited the Duchy of Cornwall on the ascent of his father, the current Prince of Wales?  (Incidentally, he would also inherit the Dukedom of Rothesay, the Earldom of Carrick and be Baron Renfrew.)

The practical answer is insurance.  If in the sad event Prince William were to "go under a bus", then Catherine would be left with her courtesy title.  Similarly, if when William is created Prince of Wales and Earl of Chester, then Catherine would get these titles as well.  If and when children come along, they would also have courtesy titles according to the rank of their father. 

There has been some moaning of the choice of Cambridge, but if you recall the short Latin form for Cambridge is Cantab, then a suitable twitter site DCantab would be useful, as it gives the subliminal effect of "can't abdicate"!  DOxon sounds like the name of a 1950s police series: Doxon of Dick Green.  This would be highly unsuitable.  

We now move to the synthesis required for the beatification of the former Polish Pope.  The remains of JP2 are to be used in the beatification ceremony in Rome, where tens of thousands of pilgrims have gathered.  This is the first step on the way to sainthood.  It seems rather quick for a Pope to make his predecessor a saint.  I do not know if Professor Ratzinger will be so lucky.  There may be more chance of Kylie Minogue becoming a saint!  

We will refresh this blog and tweet it, but we leave you with two contrasting accounts:

1.  The Church Times article, without a pay wall!    
     (Note: we had to buy The Times of London yesterday, hardcopy.)

2.  A set of pictures kindly provided by William Crawley from St Peters. 

     Though this is free, we have been getting a lot of adverts on these
     pictures concerning the order of service.  These show the
     monetisation, valorisation and vaporisation process in action.  

In order  to expedite sales of Material Culture, Obreption has found an icon (picture at top of post) in the 'pending filing' section of the collection.  It is an icon of a saint with Russian Orthodox pedigree.  Obreption has set a challenge for the identification of this icon.  As a clue it was found not far from the Suwalki Triangle, which is near the borders of Poland, Russia, Lithuania and Belarus.  The Suwalki Triangle has some interesting history and is not unlike the Bermuda Triangle, so aptly described by Professor Barry Manilow in his series. 

Gaudi Gaudi Gloria!


We are indebted to Ed Thornton for tweeting the link to the Church Times - no pay wall, and to William Crawley for the link to the Order of Service.  Other sites are available and I am sure your search engine will provide many interesting accounts.

Update #1

May 1 has many connections with politics, religion and other rituals.  Walpurgis Night is celebrated still in Germany and was written so eloquently by Goethe.  It is pleasing to note that the Germans still maintain this custom.  We have had a report from a Mr Tam O' Shanter that he was a bit full and unco happy on his way back from a night of revels.  He had visions near Alloway Kirk (Kirche) and had to escape over flowing water to avoid being caught by the witches. 

Clearly, this is a dangerous time of the year and we are pleased to announce that nano-technology has allowed us to produce great volumes of Material Culture from the relics of John Paul II.  We are delighted that Professor Ratzinger has supervised the synthesis of BLJPII - a truly new creation, both ontologically sound and tautologically superfluous. 

This link shows the inspiration of both Goethe and Burns concerning events around Walpurgis Night.  Happily in some parts of Scotland, Walpurgis Night is celebrated all year round and is not restricted to saints days.

The second link refers to a Google book mention. (an on-line facsimile from Goethe's Faust)

The third link is a connection to ARD where you can switch the language if you can't read German.

Update #2

The special appearance of The Horror of Harare, President Robert Mugabe joined in the ceremony of the beatification of John Paul II.  Mr Mugabe's appearance seemed to be as a result of visiting the Holy See without stepping foot on European Union territory.  This was surely a miracle and could in fact be a ground for justification for the full thirty-nine gun (cannon) salute for the sainthood of JP2.  Many Vatican observers and insiders are concerned that the images of Mr Mugabe may sully Holy Church and the People of God.  Mr Mugabe has of course been saved by Grace, who has doubtless been checking out shoe styles and cobblers with George, the skiing chum of Professor Ratzinger.

We have illustrated Papal ski techniques recently observed.

Update #3

The president of Peru has claimed that the killing of Osama bin Laden (OBL) was a sign of the power of BLJPII.  At any rate, it shows how much syncretism and synchronisity exists in any spectacle.  Another example of such synchronisity is Obreption's discussion about a play concerning Mary, Queen of Scots who is an ancestor of HRH The Duke of Cambridge.  Mary, Queen of Scots, is buried in Westminster Abbey and it is fitting that her relics were present on the occasion of the royal wedding in body and perhaps in spirit.  Relics of JPII were present in Rome and the US Navy has seen to it that Mr Osama bin Laden has been buried at sea.  We have already had tales of pilgrims visiting the Arabian Sea and doubtless pilgrimage cruises can be arranged by your local travel agent - though we offer two warnings: insurance may be difficult to get as this area is often under attack by Somali pirates who might prey on pilgrims; some forms of insurance are forbidden under Sharia law.  Be warned.