From London Catholic Worker

July 5, 2010

Dear All,

this week we will be opening our new house of hospitality in Haringey!
BELOW are lists of what we need! – the same list is also attached for easy printing.
We rely totally on voluntary donations in cash and in kind, and volunteers, for our work.
So if have anyhting that is surplus to what you need, please think of us. and also
please forward this around to anyone you think might be willing and able to help us.

We need basically everything you might need to furnish and equip a house, plus office stuff. AND, in addition, we will be providing overnight accommodation for up to 30 destitute refugees. So we will need extra stuff, especially mattresses and bedding, also fridges/freezers. Money is always needed too, of course!

We also need volunteers for all aspects of the work, ‘front line’ and support roles like admin, boook keeping and organising. Especially we are always looking for people who want to commit to the full time live-in life and work of community, hospitality and resistance that is the Catholic Worker!


All at London Catholic Worker

tel: 020 7249 0041

household cleaning materials
Food – non-perishable and regular donations of fresh food
Mattresses & Beds
computer printers
storage boxes
DVD / video players
DVDs / videos
A4 paper & notebooks
lamps and shades
pens etc
bike locks and parts
light bulbs
clothes (mainly mens, but also womens)

Kitchen equipment




Pots / pans

Industrial cooker

Washing machine

Fridge freezer

Pressure cooker

Tables & chairs



Water boilers / urns

Bread bins

Knives chopping boards (inc. colour coded)

Etc … etc …. Etc ….


Tantum ergo

June 5, 2010

Transferring feast days to Sundays is an ecclesiastical concession to capitalism I have yet to come to terms with. I like allowing God to encroach on the working week. None the less, transfer we do, and the feast of Corpus Christi began with vespers this evening.

Corpus Christi is a highlight in the calender for me. The feast seems to have been introduced in response to a certain kind of medieval devotion to the Host which lacked theological balance – too many processions and stories of bleeding hosts, not enough taking and eating. Fortunately, what was lacking was restored (at least potentially) by St Thomas’ beautiful liturgy for the feast. This tells us amongst other things that Christ is not (contra the bleeding host tradition) present under the corporeal mode (or we could not sing ‘Whoso of this host partaketh, Christ divideth not nor breaketh’), and is present under the form of a sign (‘Here beneath these signs are hidden priceless things, to sense forbidden’); that the meal we share is (amongst other things) the memorial of a crucified man (‘At the last great supper lying’); and that the eucharist is a foretaste of the Kingdom (in fact, ‘the bread of angels’). That is Catholic belief about the eucharist summed up nicely: Jesus, condemned to death, gives his followers a meal. That meal is to be a sacrament of the risen Lord, looking back to his betrayal and death whilst celebrating his resurrection. In this meal he is really present (not metaphorically – there is no bread and wine on the altar) as priest and sacrifice, not as one human being is usually present to another, but under the form of signs. These signs remind us that we are still on a journey, this is food for the journey, manna in the desert, but also that our journey will find fulfilment in a Kingdom which scripture can find no better image for than a massive party with abundant food and drink. This understanding is neither reductionist, nor pietistically detached from the gritty stuff of day-to-day life and the animal acts of eating and drinking, which are the equal and opposite dangers in approaches to the eucharist. And for that reason, I always enjoy today’s feast.

In celebration, some chant (even if the images aren’t entirely agreeable in the light of my thoughts above):


This week, I liked Sara Maitland in the Guardian on the (Anglican) Walsingham National Pilgrimage.

In which I link, and not much else

June 3, 2010

I’ve had a terrible few days, and have found this modern classic speaks to me:

I don’t take it to be the atheist anthem the Youtube comment brigade seem to understand it to be. There, I think, are some people who have never read Job.

McCabe lecture on-line

May 30, 2010

Exciting times. Lyndon Shakespeare writes on Facebook’s Herbert McCabe Appreciation Society (of which I am admin):

I have been provided by Brian Davies with several unpublished lectures by Herbert that he gave on Aquinas and the sacraments. I would like to convince Professor Davies to have the lectures published. I would appreciate your thoughts on the matter. To aid in your reflection, I have uploaded the first…

And here it is.

Lyndon further says:

If interest in generated through this first lecture, then the case of having the whole lot published is strengthened.

Let’s hope.

I’m not dead

May 29, 2010

Well, my initial intention of posting fortnightly didn’t work out so well did it? A hefty blend of academic visiting, illness and politics* have kept me away from this blog for over a month. Normal service will, I hope, be resumed soon. In the meantime, some Herbert McCabe for Trinity Sunday:

For real absolute waste of time you have to go to prayer. I reckon that more than 80 per cent of our reluctance to pray consists precisely in our dim recognition of this and our neurotic fear of wasting time, of spending part of our life in something that in the end gets you nowhere, something that is not merely non-productive, non-money-making, but is even non-creative, it doesn’t even have the justification of art and poetry. It is an absolute waste of time, it is a sharing of the waste which is the interior life of the Godhead. God is not himself productive or creative. Sure he takes time to throw off creation, to make something, to achieve something, but the real interior life of the Godhead is not in creation, it is the life of love that is the Trinity, the procession of Son from Father and of the Spirit from this exchange. God is not first of all our creator or maker, he is love, and his life is not like the life of the worker or artist but of lovers wasting time with each other uselessly. It is into this worthless activity that we enter in prayer. This, in the end, is what makes sense of it.

*The election. The results of which we Do Not Speak About.

April 12, 2010

Congratulations to Rosamundi, who made her final promises as a Lay Dominican yesterday.

Also yesterday, I (along with two others) was received as a novice, something about which I am amazingly happy.

In which I link to a Murdoch newspaper

April 5, 2010

Well, needs must. Frank Skinner’s piece here is one of the most sensible things I have read from a Catholic in the public eye for a long time. He is exactly right.


April 4, 2010

Happy Easter everyone.

One of my favourite parts of the liturgy for the Triduum is the ancient homily read at the Office of Readings on Holy Saturday:

Something strange is happening—
there is a great silence on earth today,
a great silence and stillness.
The whole earth keeps silence because the King is asleep.
The earth trembled and is still
because God has fallen asleep in the flesh
and He has raised up all who have slept
ever since the world began.
God has died in the flesh, and hell trembles with fear.

He has gone to search for our first parent, as for a lost sheep.
Greatly desiring to visit those
who live in darkness and in the shadow of death,
He has gone to free from sorrow captive Adam and Eve,
He who is both God and the Son of Eve.
The Lord approached them bearing the cross,
the weapon that had won Him the victory.
At the sight of Him,
Adam (the first man He had created) struck his breast
and cried out to everyone:
“The Lord be with you all!”
Christ answered him, “And with your spirit!”
and took him by the hand and raised him up, saying:
“Awake, O sleeper, and rise from the dead,
and Christ will give you light!”

“I am your God,
who for your sake have become your Son.
Out of love for you and for your descendants,
I now by My own authority
command all who are held in bondage to come forth,
all who are in darkness to be enlightened,
all who are sleeping to arise.
I order you, O sleeper, to awake!
I did not create you to be held a prisoner in hell.
Rise from the dead,
for I am the life of the dead.
Rise up, work of My hands,
you who were created in My image.
Rise, let us leave this place,
for you are in Me and I am in you;
together we form only one person
and we cannot be separated.

For your sake I, your God, became your son;
I, the Lord, took the form of a slave;
I, whose home is above the heavens,
descended to the earth and beneath the earth.
For your sake, for the sake of mankind,
I became like a man without help, free among the dead.
For the sake of you, who left a garden,
I was betrayed in a garden,
and I was crucified in a garden.

See on My face the spittle I received
in order to restore to you the life I once breathed into you.
See there the marks of the blows I received
in order to refashion your warped nature in My image.
On My back, see the marks of the scourging I endured
to remove the burden of sin that weighs upon your back.
See My hands, nailed firmly to a tree,
for you who once wickedly stretched out your hands to a tree.

I slept on the cross
and a spear pierced My side
for you who slept in paradise
and brought forth Eve from your side.
My side has healed the pain in yours.
The spear that pierced Me
has sheathed the sword that was turned against you.

Rise, let us leave this place.
The enemy led you out of the earthly paradise.
I will not restore you to that paradise,
but I will enthrone you in heaven.
I forbade you the tree that was only a symbol of life,
but see, I who am Life Itself
am now one with you.
I appointed cherubim to guard you as slaves are guarded,
but now I make them worship you as God.
The throne formed by cherubim
awaits you, its bearers swift and eager.
The bridal chamber is adorned,
the banquet is ready,
the eternal dwelling places are prepared,
the treasure houses of all good things lie open.
The kingdom of heaven has been prepared for you from all eternity

This homily was also a focus of a stormingly good sermon I just heard at Newman House‘s Easter Vigil (an event which will also be memorable for the excellent lamb served afterwards, roasted in the New Fire). The hard won optimism of ‘I did not create you to be held a prisoner in hell’ sums up for me most of what is important about Christianity.

Apocalypse Now!

March 18, 2010


March 18, 2010

One of my fears when starting this blog was that it would become a clearing house for links to other stuff. Thus I generally resist posts which are simply hat tips to other blogs. However, as the author of Ecclesiastes so very nearly put it, there is a time for linking and a time for not linking. Michael Iafarate, one of the most consistently interesting bloggers on Catholicism and radical politics, has a very good post on his understanding of Catholic anarchism.