Monday, 19 January 2009

Vestments and Inaugurations.

One final shot of Father John CR, this time in Saint Hilda's yesterday at the end of Mass. I put this here, courtesy of Fr Norman Price, not only for his fans and for the usual documentary purposes of this blog, but to point out something which I alluded to a few months ago. I mentioned that I had been given a stole bought from Charbel vestments, which you see Father John wearing. It is a very nice stole and the embroidery is of a very high quality, but I have a problem with the base fabric used, it is Thai silk, I am assured a very fine one, but it reflects the light, looking, to my eye, brown and stained where the light hits it. The lining fabric is in my opinion a better fabric to use than the one you see here. Anyway, many people like them and it is of a high quality, but much like Frank's products at Catholic Liturgicals in India, you have to be very specific when ordering as to exactly what you want. Otherwise stiff chasubles with wobbly braid can appear, in a variety of surprising sizes. We have, at Saint Hilda's, bought a full Latin high mass set from him with cope and humeral veil for under four hundred pound though, and we were specific and we have a great result.

You may have noticed that the United States of America is to have a new President tomorrow. As long as nobody shoots him before he is sworn in. I realise that there is great upset in the Catholic blogosphere and beyond about his views on the sanctity of life, views I share with the Church. In the absence of a perfect candidate, though, I am pleased that the imperfect one who has been chosen is a man who will give hope to millions of people simply by having been born black. I have lived in enough deprived areas to have heard the refrain 'I have no hope for a better life' or 'I have no respect given me' followed by the explanation that this is to do with skin pigmentation. There is truth in this, black children, particularly in inner city areas, particularly from Caribbean communities, tend to under perform in school and there is an alarming amount of poorly supported people from the West Indian communities who suffer from mental health problems. Jamaicans are most likely to suffer from anxiety disorders, often stemming from a demoralisation and a lack of hope.

It was not long ago that we had segregation in America and South Africa, that boarding houses would habitually turn black people away and that the Cosby Show was thought to be wishful thinking. It is not long ago that Martin Luther King gave his speech that gave hope to a generation still alive, who will no doubt turn out in force tomorrow to see Barack Obama (I almost said consecrated, such is the media induced excitement) sworn in, as President of America. I hope this will have a knock on effect on Zimbabwe, in time, that there will be no more need for the racial violence in India, Gaza and Africa, that estates I know in London will not breed despair and that life will seem a bit brighter for black kids in dodgy areas. I hope as well that Obama will hear the gentle call of the Spirit of God and persuade the people of America to choose life for the unborn and to repeal the death penalty, that great smear of excrement on the reputation of the West.

I will neither be rejoicing or despairing tomorrow. I will be happy that Obama's winning the Presidency has already given hope to many, many children of God. I hope that he may give reason for rejoicing during his time in office.