Essays in Idleness


Month: March, 2015

On wrath

Here is another piece I’ve brought forward from a couple of years ago, thinking perhaps it might still be worth reading. Or perhaps not. Other items around it now strike me as too trite, or too timely; merrily I blitz them as I go along. Alas this deprives gentle reader of that pleasure. As Doctor […]

Sinite illam

’Twere nothing else, the Mass knits daily the Old and New Testaments into a seamless garment; and in doing that, does more. In its “extraordinary” form (i.e. free of the Bugnini desecrations, designed to reduce the poetic to the prosaic), the creative tension between Epistle and Gospel provides, consistently, each and every day, material for […]

Gates of Jerusalem

The item below is fetched up from the files, from earlier in this century. Lost in time, I have exhumed it so that it may be lost in time again. I can never help making a few changes, at least a word here or there when it strikes me that another would be more apt; […]


I am very much in need of a short post. For lately, I go on blathering two thousand words a day, and this is no good sign; especially with Holy Week upon us. But you see, gentle reader, there is so much more to say. It is a problem I have, known as graphomania: each […]

Litera scripta manet

“The humblest and meanest among Christians may defend the Faith against the whole Church, if the need arise. He has as much stake in it and as much right to it, as Bishop or Archbishop, and has nothing to limit him in his protest, but his intellectual capacity for making it.” John Henry Newman wrote […]

Eight minutes

A correspondent calls my attention to another anti-blog, which I will mention below. I won’t name the correspondent however, because he has a responsible position in the wings of Holy Church, and wouldn’t want his colleagues to know he reads it. I hope some of them are, conversely, concealing from him that they read it; […]

The Annunciation

“The love which our Blessed Lady had for God was so great, that she suffered keenly through her desire for union with Him; hence the Eternal Father, to console her, sent her His only and beloved Son.” The quote is from Saint Philip Neri, a little book of his maxims and counsels arranged for every […]

The honest tyrant

There has been a gap of thirty years or more in my punditry on Lee Kuan Yew. I may have mentioned him, somewhere, but I’ve been no longer in Asia, and therefore, observing his “Asian values” from a more forgetful distance. In that time my views have evolved, too: I take much less for granted. […]


I am surprised how much heat I am taking from correspondents for the little joke from Auden I planted in yesterday’s Idlepost. In a couple of cases, I seem even to have incited an anti-Semitic upswell, of the sort that makes me pleased that I no longer have a combox. New Testament quotes were offered […]


In the vulgar, but nevertheless lively idiom of the contemporary world, we are with today’s Mass entering the phase of Christ’s ministry on Earth when it begins to go pear-shaped. Only last week we were recalling a happier moment, with the loaves and fishes. Jesus was being mobbed by admirers. The tone of that passage, […]

Father Wallace

Post-modern Western man has lost his religion. This we all know, it is hardly a controversial statement. But he has a closely-related difficulty that is not so widely appreciated: he has also lost his mind. This is a more serious matter than may first appear. One cannot get by for long without a mind. Sooner […]

More, there is more

Readers on Svalbard, or in the Faroe Islands, will be enjoying a total eclipse of the Sun this morning, on its path of totality sweeping towards the North Pole. (Need I provide you with the usual warning against looking at it directly?) It is “upsized” with a supermoon, happily enough (the moon is at perigee). […]

Saint Joseph

God knows, even if we don’t, that a boy needs a father. A girl may need a father even more, I would add from my limited life experience, of fatherless girls, and those with weak, failed fathers. There is, in addition to the obvious “rôle models,” a special relation between fathers and daughters, and parallel, […]