Essays in Idleness


Category: Uncategorized

On managing

“Professional, David?” This was my boss speaking, thirtysomething years ago, when I was deeply implicated in “professional journalism,” editing an Asian business magazine, and allied tedious publications. I had used the word carelessly, in the conventional way, to suggest that some of the habits and practices of the company were not quite “professional,” and might […]

Hunwickean in Parkdale

The best Catholic blogger in the world is — I think, at present — a gentleman who came into the One Holy Catholic and Apostolic quite recently, through the Anglican Ordinariate. His blog is entitled, Fr Hunwicke’s Mutual Enrichment (and may be found here). It is a daily fund of liturgical information, encompassing the history […]

Wrath revisited

One should not write at all when one is very, very angry. Several past Idleposts have been deleted on that ground. Much better, I admit, to delete before posting. But best not to write them at all. I count it as a serious character flaw, on my part, that in such situations I seem unable […]


Poppy sales have been recovering — I refer only to the artificial kind — for so violent has been the history of the last century, that we can count on fresh reminders to wear them. Today, once again, at eleven o’clock, on the eleventh day, of the eleventh month — before our War Memorial in […]

The people have spoken

I see that Americans are well satisfied with their politicians: over 95 percent of incumbents re-elected. Perhaps I should be more gentle in my criticism of a system that can bring such torpor and contentment, and is not so unlike monarchy after all. For note, that in this fast-changing world, some things do not change; […]

All the souls

[N.B. like others before, this “essay” has grown since it was first posted.] * I will tell you a Church  “reform” I would like to see. But now I will be using this word as a synonym for “restoration,” and not as the world is currently using it. I would like to see Latin restored […]

The handcart chronicles

Archbishop Chaput of Philadelphia, in his Erasmus Lecture for 2014: “If we ignore the poor, we will go to Hell. If we blind ourselves to their suffering, we will go to Hell. If we do nothing to ease their burdens; then we will go to Hell. Ignoring the needs of the poor among us is […]

Quietly from Rome

Emeritus Pope Benedict XVI made a wonderful statement this week, some traces of which I have been able to find through such obscure media as the Catholic News Service. It was a letter to some students and faculty in Rome’s Pontifical Urbanian University, read to them, Tuesday, by his secretary, Archbishop Georg Ganswein. At a […]

Ottawa in the news

It is interesting to observe — in oneself — the power of media to implant false impressions on a lazy mind. I noticed this from listening to a television speech by Stephen Harper, after the terrorist event in Ottawa, yesterday. (Harper has now been Canada’s prime minister for almost nine years.) He was described as […]

Saving grace?

Not previously, on this little anti-blog, have I devoted so much attention to an item of “breaking news,” nor for such a duration. My “obsession” with the Synod on the Family in Rome has been consciously pursued. Something of very great importance and consequence is taking place; and it is not only an internal Catholic […]


My brain hurts, from trying to follow reports from Rome, in languages I imperfectly understand, about the relatio mentioned in my post yesterday. Let me recommend this morning’s synod briefing by Robert Royal (here) as the best and most reasonable summary of the riotous proceedings. To my mind, it becomes more apparent that a coup […]

Something to declare

There is a wonderful passage in a memoir by the Orcadian poet, George Mackay Brown. (For the Islands I Sing, 1997.) He finds himself in a drunk tank in Edinburgh, with two other gentlemen: one a sailor, “who had damaged his hand in a fight in a respectable coffee-house”; the other an English tourist, pleading […]

Whom to thank?

Canadian Thanksgiving is the second Monday in October. It is earlier than American Thanksgiving, because we are farther north. Our growing seasons are shorter, and our farmers need more wit. Comparing available arable land between the two countries (which are approximately equal in total land area), a geographer could explain why the USA has ten […]