Essays in Idleness


Month: September, 2015

Line items

On the off chance gentle reader has forgotten, the corporal works of mercy are: 1. To feed the hungry. 2. To give drink to the thirsty. 3. To clothe the naked. 4. To harbour the harbourless. 5. To visit the sick. 6. To ransom the captive. 7. To bury the dead. Better yet, there are […]


Three years have now passed since I began this antiblogue, in the spirit of ironical defiance, and as an essay in creative self-contradiction, with a quixotic declaration of war: a voice on the Internet in opposition to the spirit and style of the Internet, raising the standard of a bellicose Idleness. (See my previous notes […]


Let me be clear on this, gentle reader: when I say “whitewash” I am not referring to the cricketing term from South Asia. I do not mean “whitewash” as an Americans would say “sweep” — in the sense of “winning every match in the series.” (Or, “game” as the Americans say, who call batsmen “batters,” […]

Blood moon

If the third in the current tetrad of lunar eclipses happens, as predicted, it is my own firm prediction that the world will not end. And this, even though I am fully aware that the Moon is near perigee, and therefore “super.” Why am I so confident? It is a form of theological reasoning on […]

On a revivalist note

The important thing, in this time of darkness for the Catholic Church in the West, is to keep her on life support, to keep her breathing and ingesting some trickle of nutrition. She seems in some sense comatose for the moment, and without defence. Ours is to defend her. Every monastic activity is precious; every […]

Our Lady of Ransom

In all the heat of “events,” I neglected yesterday to insert a prayer to Our Lady of Ransom, whose feast it was (in the Tridentine rite). Retentive gentle reader may recall my post last 28th January, about the Order of Mercedarians which survives, and which I should like to see fully restored to its original […]

The hunting of snark

A valued correspondent has accused me, this morning, of descending into snarkiness — something, she says, she is capable of herself, and thus well able to identify. It was, arguably, a wise move on my part, to commit this error — an echo, perhaps, of felix culpa — for the consequence is that she now […]

Plain speaking

How charming Pope Francis sounds when he is trying to speak in English — dropping half the consonants and lisping half the vowels. I could listen to him for hours. Well, minutes at least. I think he should make a recording of the text of Laudato Si’, especially for rightwing English-speaking people. In English. For […]

Towards increased understanding

According to another of these young ladies of my acquaintance, after listening to one of my diatribes against democracy, “You have to work with the system you have.” (We were taking a smoking break, outside a media studio.) I admit this sounds refreshingly tautological. For if you were not working with the system you have, […]

Mass in the mass

There really are no good options, should one wish to celebrate the Feast of Saint Matthew Evangelist with a few hundred thousand other people in the middle of Havana. It will have to be in the Plaza de la Revolución, under a ten-storey monument to Che Guevara, with the dreadful, “Orwellian,” Ministry of the Interior […]

Christ does not pander

The book, God or Nothing, by Cardinal Sarah (of Guinea, the brilliant Ratzinger appointment who remains Prefect of the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments, in the Holy See) is cast like several of our beloved Pope Emeritus, as a book-length interview. (It is available, here.) This is a format I […]

On despair

Desolation is permitted, or rather tolerated, to some degree, but despair is a spiritual evil, and therefore, gentle reader is advised not to go there. I would not give you advice I haven’t given myself, at this or some other point in my life, O Sir or Madam. For hand-wringing on the state of our […]

Doing usury backwards

One wonders, sometimes, if a full exposition of the crime of Usury could be composed, in which it is shown that holding interest rates artificially low is the equal though opposite evil to keeping them artificially high. I am not the economic genius who could pull this off, but I descry a little light through […]