This is me, Eccles

This is me, Eccles
This is me, Eccles

Saturday, 5 December 2015

Eccles finds a safe space

I don't normally agree with Professor Anthony Grayling about very much - nothing personal, but I'm saved and he isn't - and I couldn't really go along with his article on whimpering students. After all, students (except, perhaps, those boring scientists in their white coats) go to university for three years to get away from education, new ideas, opinions and teachers. It does not seem fair to expose them to micro-aggression, which is the term we use nowadays when someone unconsciously says something that we can turn into a cause of offence.

For example, "I trod in a puddle this morning" is an "ablist" remark that can be interpreted as an act of violence towards anyone who happens to be unable to walk, either through disability or drunkenness.

Dr Who, Warriors' Gate

Grayling is, of course, a friend of the Dawkins family and their dog.

And - I'm sorry, professor - but a lot of language needs to come with "trigger warnings", which means "I am about to use everyday terms but if you've got nothing better to do, you can get upset".

In my case, the trigger phrases that raise my blood pressure include "Spirit of Vatican II", "Cardinal Kasper says", "We'll now sing 'Oh what a horrid place the world is' by Bernadette Farrell", "Today we have a visiting preacher, Fr Harry Tique S.J." and "Let us offer each other the sign of peace".

Jabba

The kiss of peace? No thanks.

At St Tharg's Church, where I normally worship, such acts of micro-aggression are common, and are definitely liable to deter worshippers. However, we do have a side-chapel dedicated to the memory of St Tharg. I have therefore persuaded Fr Arthur to let us use it as a "safe space" for sensitive worshippers. Out go the altar, the candles, and Tracey Emin's religious installation, "The Bed of St Tharg". In come sofas, teddy-bears, blankets to hide under, and the sounds of Gregorian chant.

safe space for Eccles

A safe space in the Tharg Chapel.

Bring on the Year of Mercy with its logo of the two-headed cyclops on skis, its official Paul Inwood Taizé-pastiche hymn, and its mysterious opening of doors! Actually, I don't mind the opening of doors, since Dr Joseph Shaw has kindly provided a liturgy for this in his Latin Mass Society booklet:

Pulso! Pulso!
Quis adest?
Papa Franciscus!
Papa Franciscus quis?

Anyway, bring on the Year of Mercy, and I'll see you in the Tharg Chapel.

18 comments:

  1. "Let us offer each other the sign of peace".

    This is, actually, a very valuable exercise for anyone writing a PhD on Body Language. Compare and contrast: The clutching-of-the-handbag/mass card while glaring straight ahead, the gaze rigidly fixated on one's boots, all the variations on the hands-joined-together-with-bow (grimace optional), with: The outstretched hand jammed into one's ribs, the clutching-and-grabbing hand, the shoulder grasper, the embracer. When Worlds Collide is enacted every time our Priest and our Deacon are on the altar together. Deacon loves to belt out the command (no subjunctive mood for him) and gives the impression that a high five is imminent, whereas Father prefers to keep himself to himself and is forced into a bit of fancy footwork to preserve decorum. Left to himself he would omit it all together or mumble quickly, seguing immediately into the Agnus.

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  2. My father told me that he once offered his hand at the 'appointed' time to the man next to him in the pew and his fellow Mass-goer extended his hand in return. Nothing unusual in that, you may think. Let me just add, in that case, that the other gentlemen had his arms folded....and kept them folded during the 'sign of peace'.

    I would therefore suggest a further category for the Body Language PhD in Charles Dawson's very witty post - the straightjacket pose with just the one hand apparently capable of mobility.

    I'd also give an honourable mention to the occasional wave (not Mexican thank goodness -or at least not yet anyway) at sparsely attended weekday Masses when the congregation are dispersed throughout the church.

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    Replies
    1. For more on the sign of peace, see here:

      http://ecclesandbosco.blogspot.co.uk/2013/07/no-4-sign-of-peace.html

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  3. " "I trod in a puddle this morning" is an "ablist" remark that can be interpreted as an act of violence towards anyone who happens to be unable to walk, either through disability or drunkenness. "

    Or, indeed, through a puddle.

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  4. In France, will it be: " The Year of Merci " ?

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    Replies
    1. "Lovely girl, known locally as La Belle Dame Sans Merci - the beautiful lady who never says thank you." (Flanders and Swann)

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  5. Organists in the Novus Ordo cut the Sign of Peace as short as possible all the time. Just enough to shake the end of the person either side of you then straight into the Agnus Dei.

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    Replies
    1. To avoid cross-contamination with other persons' hands (in case they've sneezed into them, etc, prior to receiving Holy Communion), I always avoid the handshaking farce at "The Sign of Peace".

      When absolutely forced to acknowledge persons around me, I give them a big toothy grin, say "Peas", and also give them a most deliberate "Thumbs Up" with both hands (and thumbs).

      They are thrown into total disarray and look the other way.

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    2. This was my solution:

      http://ecclesandbosco.blogspot.co.uk/2014/01/how-to-stay-healthy-in-church.html

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    3. "shake the end of the person either side of you"

      I say!

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    4. I'm sure that it would be fine not to use hands if you kept in the '...knees and boompsadaisy'

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  6. I got into a lot of trouble for causing offence with my sign of peace. I explained about Winston Churchill, and that gave further offence to the Knights of St Corbyn.

    I'm glad Dawkins has a dog ... what with him being in wheelchair and all that; a bit of company for him.

    Oops... I keep forgetting, you said he isn't in a wheelchair didn't you?... Did he go to Lourdes or something? Was it Gene Autry you said he was related to? There's so much to remember on this Course.

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  7. Don't mention Public Schools in connection with homosexuality or you are sure to give offence and be called "nasty".

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  8. I really enjoyed that bit...Knock knock...who's there?
    So did those I sent it on to.
    I always liked the name of Dr. Who's dog. If I ever get a dog I'll call it K9.

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  9. Five Stars.

    Unless you find stars offensive, in which case: Five Puppies

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  10. Micro-aggression? Is that when Jerry inveigles Tom into a situation where he will end up covering Spike's beloved puppy in molasses/tar/paint?

    Or maybe it's more to do with the fact that nowadays, you can't be sure whether the 6 or 7 year old schoolboy that you pass on the street is carrying a knife or not.

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  11. News bulletin: Here in the US of A, we learned today that the male shooter in the recent California tragedy had been 'teased about his beard'. I suppose that is reason enough for a fellow to demonstrate a lot of aggressive behavior. I think our prisons should have safe spaces as well....

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