Who Knew?

The pointlessness of the insistence of the Welsh government that everything be translated into the Welsh language everywhere in Wales is demonstrated by the following story:

Officials in Wales mistakenly erected a road sign that read “I am not in the office at the moment” in Welsh after a translation mix-up.

The sign originally said in English, “No entry for heavy goods vehicles. Residential site only,” but when Swansea Council officials sent it to be translated, they received an automated e-mail written in Welsh that read: “I am not in the office at the moment. Please send any work to be translated.”

Unaware of the actual meaning of the e-mail, officials had the sign printed and put up near a supermarket, only realising their mistake when Welsh speakers pointed it out.

All road signs in Wales are required to be written in English and Welsh.

“Our attention was drawn to the mistranslation of a sign at the junction of Clase Road and Pant-y-Blawd Road,” a Swansea Council spokesman said.

“We took it down as soon as we were made aware of it and a correct sign will be installed as soon as possible.”

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Wireless Monks

My patron saint (the predecessor of my name saint and to whom I feel a greater affinity) used to spend Lent each year on Caldey Island, which lies three miles off the Pembrokeshire coast. He ordained its second Abbot, St Samson, to the diaconate, priesthood, and episcopate. He probably never imagined that the monks of Caldey would support themselves by e-commerce.

Now the monks have wireless broadband.

Father Daniel, Abbot of Caldey Abbey, said: “Patience is one of the characteristics of monastic life, but even the patience of the brothers was being tested by our slow, dial-up internet service.”

Yes, even monks move along with the times.

Ahead of His Time

The Welsh get unfairly blamed for a propensity to a certain crime against nature. However, a string of attacks has made national news (and here) and the alleged perpetrator is a Londoner.

Though it seems a bit over the top, he was arrested in a dawn raid on his home. He has been bailed by police while they continue their enquiries, on the condition that he not visit any farmyards in the London area. Of course there’s nothing to stop him visiting farmyards outside the jurisdiction of the Metropolitan Police.

This may be what has been happening all along. It may be Londoners looking for virgin territory, so to speak, visiting the hillsides of Wales, and observers have just assumed that they are Welsh. The lie is then spread by other English people, casting aspersion on the natives of the Principality.

The alleged crime carries with it a possible two-year prison sentence. However, in the news stories there is no mention of a political lobbying group protesting about his right to express his own sexuality. After all there is no suggestion that the sheep in question were lambs. These were described at violent attacks, though there was no evidence of actual violence. Do we just assume that the sheep were not consenting?

Isn’t is just a bit hypocritical to say that others are not bound by sexuality linked to the possibility of procreation, and yet criminalise this man for expressing his own orientation? This is especially true given the advances in embryology. Scientists have already created human-animal hybrids and cloning became most famous with the case of Dolly the sheep. Who’s to say that in a very few years, a man and his ewe (though I suppose that’s sexist to say “his ewe”, implying that it’s not an equal partnership) won’t be able to have their own offspring.

Rather than being criminalised and ostracised, this poor man should be recognised for living in the true spirit of the age. He is a shinig example of the British liberal ethos that it shouldn’t matter what you do as long as you’re not hurting anyone else.

Indescriminate Baptism

I like Charlotte Church. I bear her no personal animosity in any way. I just thought I ought to say that before I continue.

Charlotte and her boyfriend Gavin Henson had their daughter Ruby baptised today. Their other child was present in utero. When I first saw the headline in the news, I assumed that the baptism was in a building belonging to the Church in Wales – the Welsh component of the Anglican Communion. After all, Anglicans take a wide range of views on the propriety of certain types of relationships. If they are willing to marry gay couples in London, it does not seems unreasonable to suppose they might baptise the child born out of wedlock to two people living very openly (as celebrities do) in fornication.

But no, it was a Roman Catholic church with, one must presume, a Roman Catholic priest, using, again one must presume, a Roman Catholic rite of baptism. In 1980, Pope John Paul II approved of the “Instruction on Infant Baptism” promulgated by the Sacred Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith. It specifically addresses the Dialogue Between Pastors and Families With Little Faith or Non-Christian Families:

In fact the Church can only accede to the desire of these parents if they give an assurance that, once the child is baptized, it will be given the benefit of the Christian upbringing required by the sacrament. The Church must have a well-founded hope that the Baptism will bear fruit.

How can the Church have assurance that the child will have a Christian upbringing when the parents have no regard for the sacrament of marriage? I have no problem with the baptism of children born out of wedlock, if their parents have subsequently gotten married. Otherwise, how can the parents acknowledge at the font their duty to raise the child to keep God’s commandments?

Charlotte wants to have six children by the time she is 32. She has not indicated when, along the way, she plans to enter into the sacrament of marriage. But like I said, my problem isn’t with Charlotte. She is living in perfect harmony with the spirit of the age and that is the life she has chosen.

My problem is with a church possessing valid sacraments demonstrating a very unguarded approach to their administration and sending a message that the church has given up on the exclusivity of marriage as the valid relationships within which to engage in sexual relationship and raise children.

Doctors Tried to Kill a Healthy Baby

I can understand how people can be opposed to abortion and the death penalty. What I can’t understand is how people could opposed capital punishment, yet have no problem with abortion.

Death penalty opponents often (as in just about every time I see or hear one) say, “With an imperfect justice system, there is no doubt that an innocent person will be executed.” How many of them take the same view when it comes to abortions performed on the grounds of the serious illness or handicap of the foetus?

In the England, Wales and Scotland, a child in the womb diagnosed with a serious handicap can be aborted up to the time of natural delivery. Doctors wanted to abort Brandon Kramer. He was diagnosed with rhomboencephalosynapsis. He would be born blind and deaf and only survive for a few hours. That diagnosis was after they said he had Downs Syndrome.

His parents are glad they withstood the pressure from doctors. His father put it succinctly “I feel incredibly guilty thinking that I could have killed him – and then I find myself wondering how many other babies are killed who would have turned out to be completely healthy.”

Read the whole story in the Mail on Sunday.

Saints Peris and Cian and the Forgotten Past

Today is the commemoration of St Peris and his pupil or servant St Cian. I would love to wax poetic about their great accomplishments and their importance to early Christianity in North Wales. Unfortunately, I cannot.

I’ve already told you just about everything I could find about them. Tradition says that St Peris was the son of Helig ap Glanawg, a 6th century Welsh prince. Helig ap Glanawg seems to have fathered six or seven sons who became saints. It is not uncommon to saints to run in families, nor for them to descend from nobility, particularly in Britain.

The sad thing is that while we have a record of their names, and we can account for some churches dedicated to them, much of the reason they were reckoned saints has been lost. Much of this is no doubt due to the ravages of the Reformation and Interregnum. The powers of the day attempted to take out a large eraser and rub out the Christian family tree, disowning our ancestors in the Faith. We are the poorer for it.

We can be thankful that even if we have forgotten the saints of old, they have not forgotten us. They don’t need our knowledge of them to have knowledge of us or intercede for us. There are even those whose names have been lost to us and those who were never noticed by the Church in the first place who faithfully pray in heaven.

As representative of so many local saints, we can be thankful that our fathers among the saints Peris and Cian pray to God for us.