An explanation for my very accidental membership of the Society of Jesus, or how I was never actually ever a Jesuit.
In setting up this weblog in October 2011 I wished through the media of my Gravatar (see inset) to show a symbol of my Christian faith. The choice to avoid the cross or the fish was quite deliberate; for although as a rule we must not permit our ancient symbols to be hijacked by the lunatic fringe, both of these ancient symbols convey a meaning to the modern homotechnologicus which clashes with the ecclesiological traditionalism I hold so dear. It was for this reason that I sought out the IHS symbol. As the reader can see, the one which I found is rather wonderful; and so it was on this one that I settled. Here is the problem; for all that I may think that I am the bee’s knees in matters of a Christian nature, it did not occur to me that this sign – or this design of the symbol – is the internationally accepted symbol of the Jesuit order. So I have replaced it and included this rather sheepish but contrite confession of my ignorance. I am not a Jesuit (no offence to the many Jesuits I know), nor am I even a Catholic priest (no offence to the many Catholic priests I know). I am not even a Roman Catholic (no offence to the very many Roman Catholics I know).
It is with thanks to the wonderful Father Paddy McCafferty (himself not a Jesuit, but a Roman Catholic and a Catholic priest) from the Church of Mary Immaculate, Refuge of Sinners (what a name), Rathmines in the Archdiocese of Dublin, for the superb image which I now have. It is titled Christ Calms the Storm, and I feel that it is a fitting image for homophilosophicus; a weblog always in the midst of blustery weather.
An Apology to Dr. John Scally B.A., M.Phil., Ph.D., the well loved Beresford Lecturer in Ecclesiastical History at the University of Dublin, Trinity College.
Let this be a caveat to any regular readers of this weblog. Sometimes I tell lies. It is not that my intention is to harm, rather my foible is that I do not much like to be at a loss, particularly in discussion when ‘my reputation’ is at stake. Those who know me well, know this of me, and often remind me of this whilst fastidiously checking my sources. Once upon a time, during a lecture on the Mediæval Church ‘at the feet’ of our esteemed Dr. Scally, he turned to me and asked some question relating, I think, to rights in the Middle Ages. It goes entirely without saying that yours truly didn’t have a clue. Looking at me with a Cheshire grin was my drinking buddy Brendan. Not willing to let the side down, I cleared my throat (thinking fast), and, looking up at John Scally, responded, “Yes, all of these points were listed and expounded upon by Saint Thomas Aquinas in his discussion of dignitatis humanæ in his Summa Theologiæ.” Dr. Scally’s eyes opened wide with delight, the smile was wiped clean off of Brendan’s smug face, and of course I had lied. When in doubt; use Latin.
As it turns out, my lie – while remaining a lie – was not an error. Lucky guess. As I am the type of nerd who flicks through the works of the Doctor Angelicus on his spare time, one afternoon I happened upon Saint Thomas’ treatment of natural law (Summa Theologiæ, I-II, q. 93, a. 2.); upon which he situates ‘human dignity,’ a source cited by the Fathers of the Second Vatican Council in a footnote to the Latin text of the Church’s ‘Declaration on Religious Liberty (Dignitatis Humanæ, §3), 1965. It was a fluke. So I offer now an unreserved apology to Dr. Scally, and furnish him with this belated citation.
John Scally commented: "Jason, I loved it! Many thanks. John"
“A hobby is only fun if you do not have enough time to do it.” Leo Beenhakker
One would imagine that there are few people who encounter me in their workaday lives who would guess that I was a hobbyist. It is important to make the distinction between a hobbyist and an enthusiast. I am a hobbyist because, unlike the enthusiast, I am a little ashamed of my little pleasures. Since I was a child I have had a fascination with coins and stamps; the two generally go together. That makes me a numismatist and a philatelist respectively. Unlike most enthusiasts I am not a generalist. My fetishes are particular; with coins it is British Britannia coins, and my love of stamps is focused on those from the Republic of Ireland – from the ‘overprints’ to the present. You are starting to dislike me already. That is my dirty little secret.
It may not constitute a hobby, or at least I hope that it won’t, but recently I have started to read comics. A little disturbing for a chap my age, I know, but they do hold a certain charm and a much needed escape from my often less than comical reality. The disgusting term ‘graphic novel’ must be resisted with all of one’s might. There may indeed be a technical difference between the twain, but who gives a damn? Equating this medium with literature is simple avoidance of the truth. Comics are childish and immature. It is precisely as childish and immature material that I enjoy it.
“Weapons of Mass Disruption in the Divine Hostel of the Church of Ireland.”
While a seminarian in the Church of Ireland Theological College, Dublin, I had my first close encounter with the ‘troubles’ in Northern Ireland. Years of bitter sectarian division in the north of Ireland have left deep social and psychological wounds on the people. Many of the most disturbed come to Dublin in order to train for Anglican ministry in the divine hostel. The Church attracts these people due to its mission to spiritually mutilate the people of God. One lad from Nor’n Arn was Alan Cross, now a priest somewhere up north. He had an annoying habit of singing in the corridors as he make his way back and forth from the toilet in the evening. During the weekly Evangelical evening praise and worship concert (avoided by everyone but the touched) Daniel and I were kicking around the student coffee dock above the ground floor corridor when we heard Alan singing his was to his throne whereupon he would empty his bowls.
Having earlier acquired a small spring operated explosive device (a banger) from the mischievous Adam, we could not resist the overwhelming temptation to trick him, and treat ourselves. I dashed out onto the stairwell and planted the device underneath a copy of the Book of Common Prayer, and scurried back to the coffee dock as Alan sang ever closer. As we had predicted, he was unable to leave an abandoned prayerbook on the ground. He bent over to pick it up, and the resulting explosion near blew his eyebrows off his face. He emptied his bowls and we emptied out bladders. The pious pomps possessed by the Spirit in the sing-a-long in the chapel were greatly shocked by Alan’s cry which flew in through their window, “McCann, you f**king bas***d!”