Archbishop Henryk Hoser: Many Synod Fathers ignorant of Church teachings on marriage and family

From Toronto Catholic Witness:

Archbishop Henryk Hoser, one of the three members of the Polish hierarchy to attend the Synod of the Family, was quoted in Niedziela as pointing out that many of the Synod Fathers are actually ignorant of Catholic teaching. The Archbishop, noted that many did not have a grasp of important magisterial teachings, such as the critically important Familiaris Consortio.
“With regret, I must say that the teaching of St. Pope John Paul II on marriage and the family is not familiar to many Synod Fathers. Unfortunately, at this moment it is a blank mark in the Church’s consciousness. In the text of the Instrumentum Laboris we find very few references to the teaching of the Pope, recalling to us fundamental  teachings of the Church on marriage, such as documents like the Apostolic Exhortation “Familiaris Consortio” and the “Letter to Families”. You cannot fruitfully and effectively direct the Synod on the Family without knowledge of even these two texts”
The Archbishop further criticized a lack of emphasis placed on “Humanae Vitae”. This is not the first time that  he has spoken out on this particular issue. Last February he said that Pope John Paul II had been betrayed, and that Church teachings were being contested in all areas. 
“We have a lot of terms that are contained in the encyclical “Humanae Vitae ” which should appear in the statements of Synod members, but they do not. We have avoidance of the problem of contraception, of which I spoke in the Synod aula. About the scourge of abortion and disrespect for life, not much is spoken. Generally nothing is said of their consequences, not only spiritual and psychological, but biological, that affects the person and consequently the whole of humanity. Nothing is said about the anthropology of Blessed Paul VI and the Church’s teaching on the unity of the human person consisting of spirit, soul and body, but these are organic components of every human being made by God the Creator”.
This entry was posted in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink.

62 Responses to Archbishop Henryk Hoser: Many Synod Fathers ignorant of Church teachings on marriage and family

  1. Plain old Toad says:

    I assume that’s ArchBish. Hoser in the snap. Curiously, unlined, unlived-in faces, many of them have. Like Danneels. Sleek as seals, they are. I suppose he’s younger than I, but even so, my boat race looks like six miles of bad road in comparison. Off topic. Sorry.
    The Synod does seem a fearful shambles. I see the UK papers are virtually ignoring it, which I think is an error. There is clearly some funny old stuff going on,


  2. In his blog, 1Peter5, Steve Skojec says there is “the stink of sulphur” surrounding this synod. The ignorance of many synod fathers is one manifestation of this “stink.”

    In a recently published interview (, Bishop Athanasius Schneider say that this synod “will remain for future generations and for historians a black mark which has stained the honor of the Apostolic See.”


  3. GC says:

    Toad, the Arch is almost 73.

    Sleek as seals, they are. I suppose he’s younger than I, but even so, my boat race looks like six miles of bad road in comparison.

    A moment now to pause and reflect, perhaps, Toad?


  4. Michael says:

    I see the UK papers are virtually ignoring it, which I think is an error. There is clearly some funny old stuff going on

    Indeed there is. The UK papers won’t print anything about it until its conclusion, or if/when the Pope issues an Apostolic Exhortation or suchlike. Regardless of what is put forth in either case, there will be some report along the lines of ‘Church changes centuries old teaching on marriage’ or ‘homosexual unions approved by Pope’. If there really is nothing for them to feed on (i.e.; there is no sign, however slight*, of the Church changing its teaching or practice) then and only then will there be no news.

    *An example of how slight the evidence they would need to work with could be one cardinal saying that (despite clear evidence to the contrary in official documents) he feels the Church has taken a brave new direction or suchlike.

    Curiously, unlined, unlived-in faces, many of them have.

    Strange assumptions being made here. You’ll be extolling the virtues of phrenology next!


  5. Plain old Toad says:

    Reflecting is what I do a lot of these days, GC. For better or worse. The fact, that the Arch is 73, is about what I’d expect.
    If i had played my own cards more astutely over half a century ago, I might have been a cardinal myself now – living fat and large in my very own palace – Instead of grovelling about in an adobe hovel.
    Yes, Michael – my reflections, regarding the peculiarly pristine physiognomy of princes and prelates, are neither here or there, really – merely whimsical musings.


  6. GC says:

    Michael, we have today in our local Malaysian press a rather belated report from Reuters (most of us here can’t see the relevance of the Synod, so we have to get the foreigners to tell us something about it). Reuters, of course, are usually even thicker and rubbishier than the various other media loonies.

    Fr Rosica features prominently, as we see.

    I’ve heard of the Church of Scientology, but now it seems we are to have, willy nilly, the Universal Church of Sociology headquartered in the Holy See. Or so Mr Rosica would have it.


  7. Plain old Toad says:

    In other words, it is offensive, a sin possibly – to call gays “Poofters,” or Shirt-lifters,” or “Nancy-boys.” What is the world coming to, indeed?


  8. Plain old Toad says:

    The real question is – what will Bobby John Bennett’s friend make of all this? We shall be told, no doubt.


  9. Michael says:

    GC @ 17:33:

    I’ve heard of the Church of Scientology, but now it seems we are to have, willy nilly, the Universal Church of Sociology headquartered in the Holy See. Or so Mr Rosica would have it.

    Haha – very good 🙂 Yes, this is classic Rosica. If you believed him (who has apparently misinterpreted his role as press officer for that of ‘voice of the Church Catholic (whether they like it or not)’) the whole Synod is swimming happily towards Anglicanism with no real opposition from those crusty old ‘orthodox’*. Thankfully cardinals Napier and Pell have reported precisely the opposite has been going on in the discussion groups, with Pell referring to the Rosican Sociological Brotherhood as a distinct minority voice:

    most of us here can’t see the relevance of the Synod

    Haha – a very welcome bit of nonchalance I must say!

    *Presumably this is a word that many find offensive, and will be subject to revision in Fr. Rosica’s new, post-synodal version of the Catechism, either replaced with something more inclusive or eliminated altogether.


  10. Michael says:

    The real question is – what will Bobby John Bennett’s friend make of all this? We shall be told, no doubt.

    I like to think that he’ll turn out to have been Cardinal Daneels all along, spinning his tales of woe to create hysteria amongst the opposition.


  11. Michael says:

    Actually, Fr. Rosica seems more likely – he’s very into that whole disinformation thing, whereas Daneels doesn’t look like he does much of anything at all (apart from getting up every now and then to promote something contrary to Catholic teaching of course).


  12. johnhenrycn says:

    Potty (17:29) says – “…peculiarly pristine physiognomy of princes and prelates…”

    Think you can match my God given talent, eh? But that reminds me of this tongue twister:

    A tree toad loved a she-toad,
    Who lived up in a tree.
    He was a two-toed tree toad,
    But a three-toed toad was she.
    The two-toed tree toad tried to win
    The three-toed she-toad’s heart,
    For the two-toed tree toad loved the ground
    That the three-toed tree toad trod.
    But the two-toed tree toad tried in vain;
    He couldn’t please her whim.
    From her tree toad bower
    With her three-toed power
    The she-toad vetoed him.


  13. GC says:

    JH, too much of toads lately, IMHO.

    Michael @October 15, 2015 at 18:11

    Thankfully cardinals Napier and Pell have reported precisely the opposite has been going on in the discussion groups, with Pell referring to the Rosican Sociological Brotherhood as a distinct minority voice

    Michael, would you agree that what we have been facing since the 70s, if not earlier, is the substitution of Catholicism (by a whole lot of ever-diminishing nuns, Jesuits, aspiring Jesuitesses, and even Redemptorists and a several other orders who you would think should know better) with a kind of “Catholic sociology”? We are all to be “Catholic sociologists” now, rather than Catholics.

    The schools of sociology they have been mainly trying to drench us with are namely the various feminist schools (including the sexual deviants of both sexes – “inclusive”, you know) and the socialist/marxist school. Hence wicked wicca wimmin-priests, “gay-married” clergy and bishops and also liberation theology, “going to the margins”, nuns-on-a-bus and all that. Not a biblical plague of frogs or toads (such as that with which we at CP&S have been long-suffering), but instead a plague of half-baked relevant social scientists under religious vows, mainly nuns “because Father (whoever) SJ said”.

    Of course, sociology has been with us since the late 19th and early 20th centuries, so no doubt it contributed to the shaping of modernism and the 2nd Vatican Council. Sociology is probably interesting, just like chess, Bridge and Candy Crush are. But I tend to think the Church founded by God Himself through His Son should be above sociology also and most other so-called “-ologies”, and we should take only such notice of it that may help the Church in Her perpetual divine mission. Not the be-all-and-end-all that the Rosicans, the official Church spokesmen for anglophile Catholics apparently, wish it to be.


  14. Michael says:

    GC @ 17:20:

    Nail firmly on the head there I think! Yes, it does seem that there has been a shift of priorities in terms of what the fundamental starting point for a lot of people in the Church over the past few decades is. Instead of starting with the whole body of revelation (Scripture, Tradition, Natural Law, etc) and using that as the lens through which we assess and respond to changing social phenomena, many have decided we should start with social phenomena and conform everything to that.

    As well as this, Pope Benedict XVI, when he wrote his memoirs (still as Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger) reflected on the fact that, before and during the Second Vatican Council, there was a movement to see Scripture as ‘materially complete’ – i.e.; as containing the completeness of revelation in itself, removed from any ecclesial context. He reflected that this movement (which was in the end rejected by the Council) would lead to a parallel magisterium – that of the Academy and the exegete – alongside the official Magisterium of the Church.

    Nevertheless, this did actually happen in practice, and many people look to academics, or even writers of popular theology, for their guide, instead of the Church. And, surprise surprise, a great deal of these writers are heavily influenced by the ‘sociology first’ approach to theology. In essence, the principles forged at the Reformation have gradually inserted themselves in Catholic life, if not the actual teachings of the Church herself.

    However, Cardinal Dolan, in a recent interview that I linked to just now on ‘The Sacrilege that…’ thread, had these encouraging things to say about the small group meetings at the Synod:

    There are also many good things coming out from the group corporately.

    Over and over again, it’s come out that our forte is not sociology, it’s not demographics, [and] it’s not psychology. Our forte is what God has revealed about marriage and family, and we try to pass that on. It seems very clear that the synod fathers are saying that. There also seems to be a growing sentiment that bishops know the Church is at her best when she insists on the strong, clear teaching of scripture.

    Some hope perhaps!


  15. Plain old Toad says:

    “JH, too much of toads lately, IMHO.”
    ..And also in Toad’s arrogant opinion, GC.
    . Less Toad, more God, is what this blog needs

    “We are all to be “Catholic sociologists” now, rather than Catholics.”
    Catholic sociologists? What an absurd idea. You might as well be Catholic Philosophers, or Catholic bee-keepers, or Catholic lawyers.
    Irreconcilable ideas.
    “Ologies” ? We’ll be talking abut Catholic The-ology next – then what a muddle we’ll get in!
    As to Catholic Biology – well, Robert will put us straight on that.


  16. GC says:

    Toad, could I suggest to you perhaps a career in the media?

    You appear to have most, if not all of their desirable attributes.


  17. Plain old Toad says:

    Too late, alas, GC.
    “My way of life Is fall’n into the sere, the yellow leaf…”
    …Unlike yourself.


  18. Michael says:

    Toad @ 19:16:

    Ah, the confusion of ‘-ologies’! If only they did all mean the same thing, and their relative priorities with respect to the Catholic Faith were negligible, the world would be that much simpler. Alas, ’tis not the case.

    What is that you’ve quoted from at 20:15 by the way? Seems rather lovely, even from that brief excerpt, and reminds me of a poem by one of your favourites (G. K. Chesterton):

    The woods are bronzed with autumn
    When all the leaves are gold
    The year grows old around me
    And I am passing old
    The walls are gilt with mosses
    Leaves are a golden sea
    The world is fair and ancient
    And all is sweet to me.

    When I was young and yearning
    I chased a drifting dream
    I saw a world’s ideal
    Through mere and tangle gleam
    But now the common millions
    That trust and toil and grieve
    Are flushed in one great sunset
    The light I soon must leave.

    The young heart, wild and windy
    May chase the fresh-blown seed
    May seek the lonely blossom
    That burns upon the mead.
    But stricken hearts grow gentle
    And I am passing old
    And now I sit in autumn
    When all the leaves are gold.


  19. Michael says:

    P.S. GC, a very good example of the approach we have been discussing right here:

    If he were as ‘high up’ in an equivalent worldly corporation (of any kind really), he would have been sacked a long time ago for misrepresenting some of the core ‘values’ he had signed up to promote.


  20. GC says:

    Michael, I can’t help thinking of how Cardinal Dolan recently referred to ordinary married folk as the new minority, the new people now on “the margin”, to borrow from Papa Francesco. No doubt, therefore, we shall shortly hear about Arch-B Cupich telling the faithful of Chicago to go and extend a merciful and “inclusive” hand to these new pitiful specimens?


  21. Plain old Toad says:

    It’s from M*cb*th ( bad cess to say it) I think, Michael.

    “..But stricken hearts grow gentle
    And I am passing old
    And now I sit in winter
    When my butt is freezing cold.”

    ( It’s not really – it’s still nice and warm here, but Gil won’t mind. He’s dead. Anyway, he writ a proper pome there – rhyming and everything. Proper poetical, it is. Good enough for a Hallmark Card, any day. Not like the modern muck from Auden, the old poof.)


  22. Michael says:

    Toad @ 07:15:

    Ah, that’s embarrassing – I went to see a new film version of ‘the Scottish play’ just over a week ago! As for the rest of your reply – why so vulgar (in several respects)?


  23. Michael says:

    GC @ 21:48:

    Haha – chance would be a fine thing! Unfortunately, as a fully signed up member of the Universal Church of Sociology, there are certain groups that must always be seen as deserving special attention, no matter how much disproportionate privilege they are given, and other groups that should never be dealt with charitably in any circumstances, as they are (according to the UCS textbooks) ‘the oppressors’.


  24. GC says:

    Michael @08:18

    As for the rest of your reply – why so vulgar (in several respects)?

    Michael, as has been pointed out previously, Toad has only faintly to suspect the existence of a tone somewhere in the vicinity to think that it requires immediate lowering.


  25. Michael says:

    GC @ 09:00:

    Indeed, this is true. Sometimes I allow myself to be misled slightly in my expectations though, which I do realise is setting myself up for disappointment somewhat. On the other hand, I’ve been surprised on several occasions when I expected some tone-lowering to appear, and quite the opposite happened instead! 🙂

    Toad @ 07:15:

    Just as a follow-up, do you have something against poetry that rhymes (something I’m pretty sure Auden was guilty of on more than one occasion as well) or do you just have a default Chesterton-rejection chip implanted somewhere?


  26. Plain old Toad says:

    “Toad has only faintly to suspect the existence of a tone somewhere in the vicinity to think that it requires immediate lowering.”
    Your soft impeachment is undeniable, GC. But tone-lowering, though vulgar and distasteful, is important and necessary – and must be performed, like it or not. Like being a shepherd, it is dark and lonely work, but somebody has to do it.

    Actually, Michael, here’s a smidgeon of W.H, – a particular fave bit of mine – with nice rhymes and all:
    “Clear, unscaleable ahead
    Rise the Mountains of Instead,
    From whose cold cascading streams
    None may drink except in dreams.”

    ..which is non-toad, non-vulgar, for “Cudda, Wudda, Shudda.” in my opinion.
    I’m very fond of Wystan. Natch.


  27. johnhenrycn says:

    “I’m very fond of Wystan says Potty. Please don’t let Rebrites know that, Potty:

    [A moderator: I think this will have to go as you yourself suggest below, JH]

    Okay, okay, Potty… calm down – here’s the rest…

    [Also deleted]

    I fully approve of the eventual deletion of this comment, and apologize for taking advantage of the grace and favour CP&S has generously granted me in the past. It’s just that Archabbot Jeremias Schröder, the German, told the Synod a few days ago that “as far as the understanding of homosexuality goes [it’s] an issue that really varies from culture to culture”; and that got my back up, because W.H. Auden’s pornography is not and never has been epithetical of any culture I belong to, despite his being an Anglo and despite exceptions to the general rule.


  28. Tom Fisher says:

    W.H. Auden’s pornography is not and never has been epithetical of any culture I belong to

    If you’ve only read his smutty verses, I think you’re missing out. But each to their own of course.


  29. johnhenrycn says:

    Tom issues me the put-down: “But each to their own of course.”

    Did I say Auden’s smut is all that I’ve ever read of him? As you complained to Roger/Robert the other day when he suggested that you equate the Eucharist with cannibalism, please play fair. Please don’t make unwarranted assumptions. But you know, W.H. Auden – not one of my favourites – bears a striking resemblance to my father…

    That’s W.H.A – not my father – but they could’ve been twins separated at death. I would link an image of my father (RIP) to prove the resemblance if I knew how to do that sort of hocuspocus with the digital camera I bought 5 years ago, but which is still in the box it came in.

    One of my occasional reference books is Auden’s A Certain World: A Commonplace Book, Viking Press, New York, 1970 (First Edition):

    …almost as occasional as my reference to The Commonplace Book of Monsignor A.N. Gilbey:

    …also a first edition “of course”.

    But getting back to Auden’s commonplace book: I’ve just opened it at random, and this page caught my eye, because a previous owner put a marginal note next to it:

    What did I get married for?
    That’s what I want to know;
    I was led to the altar
    Like a lamb to the slaughter,
    We met on a Friday;
    My luck was out, I’m sure:
    I took her for better or worse, but she
    Was worse than I took her for. (Anon)

    Marriage page 249

    Why would Auden have saved a poem about marriage, as if he had any interest in it? They didn’t perform sodo-marriages back when he was alive. I know he married, Erika, the daughter of Thomas Mann, another homosexual (for reasons of convenience) but my question stands.


  30. Tom Fisher says:

    Why would Auden have saved a poem about marriage, as if he had any interest in it

    He answered your question I think

    Like everything which is not the involuntary result of fleeting emotion but the creation of time and will, any marriage, happy or unhappy, is infinitely more interesting than any romance, however passionate


  31. Tom Fisher says:

    I took her for better or worse, but she
    Was worse than I took her for


    Anyway JH, don’t be too put out with me; if you can pretend to judge Auden by his smut, I can pretend his smut is all you know. 🙂

    Who’s Gilbey?


  32. johnhenrycn says:

    Tom: your Auden quote at 02:54 (“Like everything which is not the involuntary result of fleeting emotion…any marriage, happy or unhappy”…etc) appears at page 248 of my first edition of his A Certain World, and he took it from Goethe, apparently. I don’t know how far down the page it is on the Brainy Quote website you took it from, but Auden changed his mind about marriage on page 249 of the first edition which I quoted.
    Tom (03:01) asks: “Who’s Gilbey?”

    Glad you ask, Tom. No shame on you for not knowing, because neither did eye (?) see anything written by Gilbey until I stumbled upon this panegyric written by Roger Scruton 10 years ago:

    Two people stand out among the many who have illuminated for me the path to Rome – a path that I never took…The first was Monsignor Gilbey, who had been the Catholic chaplain in Cambridge during my undergraduate days.

    Gentle Regrets, Roger Scruton, Continuum, London, page 63 (second edition).


  33. Tom Fisher says:

    I don’t know how far down the page it is on the Brainy Quote website you took it from

    I was quoting from m my paperback copy of the Oxford dictionary of quotations by subject. You may be right, can you fill in the details? Was Auden quoting a translation, was it his own translation, what was the context for Goethe’s remark?


  34. johnhenrycn says:

    Friend Tom: You’re getting off track. How should I know the context of Goethe’s quote, or what Auden meant by quoting him? I’ve never read a word of Goethe, and never said that I did. This all started when Potty said he was “very fond” of Auden, to which I made an entirely innocent suggestion that he hide that fact from his third (or fourth) wife – since when you’ve suggested (00:34) that I’m a smut reader, which of course I can’t deny, having read Auden’s love poem, which you imply (03:01) that I’m not entitled to judge 😉


  35. Tom Fisher says:

    I had no idea Auden had written such (admittedly rather lyrical) er, erotic verses. Remarkable they weren’t anthologized by Faber & Faber. Hopefully Toad’s 9th wife doesn’t mind.

    I think, JH, you’ve turned half the English speaking Catholic blogosphere into accidental smut readers. 🙂

    Just curious re quote origin, I’m not grumpy about it. No Goethe reader I.


  36. johnhenrycn says:

    Actually, Tom Fisher, I’ve been banned on quite a few blogs, and can’t understand why. I’m no more acerbic on the others than I am here. Catholic Herald banned me a few years ago. National Post (a conservative Canadian newspaper) did likewise. I don’t get it.

    But here’s the problem I’m having tonight…try linking the Church Militant blog, the website address of which is:

    Cannot be done. It’s an orthodox Catholic website. I’ve left many a comment on it recently, but can’t get to it now. Woe betide. Or maybe I should go to bed?


  37. Tom Fisher says:

    JH, I think that the late W.H. Auden, who (apparently) never felt bold enough to publicly admit to even writing the infamous poem, would be highly amused that it was (however briefly) published by an (ahem) organ of such unimpeachable moral qualities. Certainly it would make Michael Voris’ hair fall out (if that’s possible). 🙂


  38. johnhenrycn says:

    Tom refers to “Michael Voris’ hair”:

    Tom, I would never make low comments about Michael’s hair, but I recently complained on the Church Militant website that Michael Voris’s [not Voris’, Tom] “Vortex” episodes could actually provoke epileptic seizures amongst people prone to such; but I was threatened (not banned actually, thank God) for saying so. Then I took another tack, and warned that his counterclockwise pencil twirlings at the start of his Vortex episodes might actually be secret Masonic signals. Some Trad Catholics over there seemed to think that I was on to something, whilst others said that would only be true in the southern hemisphere where tornado vortices follow a different pattern. Whatever, I can no longer access the Church Militant website. Can any other orthodox Catholics on CP&S do so (see above @ 05:50) or am I now persona non grata there as well?


  39. Tom Fisher says:

    but I was threatened (not banned actually, thank God) for saying so.

    What on earth did they threaten you with? (re the possessive, I know, but once I pressed ‘post’ all was lost)


  40. GC says:

    Cannot access Church Militant, JH, on either chrome or firefox. I get a “502 bad gateway” message, so there’s hope yet.


  41. Plain old Toad says:

    Goodness, look what a fuss Potty has caused now. A few points: Tom Gilbey, like Geb eral Booth, owed his success in life to Mother;s Ruin. Somewhat ironic, that.
    JH, I’m unrepentently fond of W.H, – would, I’m sure, have enjoyed his company at dinner,, also Noel Coward and Cole porter. I did enjoy knowing Francis Bacon. (Pot drops name!) All geniuses, I think, all gay. Of course, I’ve also known, and still do, several very enjoyable gays who are not geniuses.


  42. Tom Fisher says:

    If the moderators don’t mind, I think that it’s only fair to post some of Auden at his best, since we’ve seen him at his most ridiculous today

    He reads this himself:As I walked out one evening .. and it is lovely

    1 September 1939 is in a very different register, I couldn’t find a recording of Auden reading it, but this is quite a good version:


  43. johnhenrycn says:

    Oh Tom! (“re the possessive, I know, but once I pressed ‘post’ all was lost”)
    …I hate you (except I don’t) for not objecting to my correction and thus allowing me to explain, which I will anyway for the benefit of any media hacks in the vicinity:

    It was formerly the custom, when a word ended with an s to write its possessive with an apostrophe but no additional s (viz Achilles’). In verse and reverential contexts, this custom is retained. The number of syllables is the same as in the subjective case – e.g. Achilles’ has three, not four syllables; Moses’, not Moses’s has two, not three syllables; likewise – Jesus’ not Jesus’s…but elsewhere the custom is now to add an “s” and an extra syllable: viz – Pope Francis’s, Prince Charles’s, Michael Voris’s…

    Thank you for indulging my hard work in finding this, which is all plagiarized of course; but it took me almost an hour to find it and so I’m entitled to post it. Happy to give a citation if requested, but it may not be online since it comes from a grammar published in 1926.
    Tom: You also ask what Church Militant threatened me with short of an actual ban…
    You won’t believe this…but they actually said that I (JOHNHENRY !) might not be “whitelisted” for two more months. Can you believe it !?!?


  44. johnhenrycn says:

    Tom Fisher says (05:00) in reference to Auden’s’s’s “erotic” verses: “Remarkable they weren’t anthologized by Faber & Faber.” Almost true, Tom, if you’re referring to the Faber Book of 20th Century Verse, John Heath-Stubbs & David Wright (eds), Faber&Faber, London, 3rd edition, 1975, wherein (at page 39) appears Auden’s poem In Memory of W.B. Yeats:

    Time that is intolerant
    Of the brave and the innocent,
    And indifferent in a week
    To a beautiful physique

    Potty (07:45) – Msgr Gilbey’s’ initials are A.N.G…as in Alfred Newman Gilbey. What person do you know by the name of “Tom” Gilbey? There was a “Tom” Gilbey, a footballer, who died in Bishop Auckland in 1962, but that’s as close as he ever came to being a divine. As for Francis Bacon, he died in 1626, so quitcher sad attempt at name-dropping. Oh! Now I geddit… there must have been a late 20th century Francis Bacon, just like there’s a late 20th century Lucky Freud – which seems to be the only period in history you’ve heard of.

    …and the correct phrase is “Master’s” Ruin, not “Mother’s” Ruin, if you mean corked spirits, and specifically the special device used by butlers and valets to open bottles without detection. Sniff.

    GC (07:33) – Let me get back to you with a serious comment later on, if I remember (burp!)


  45. Tom Fisher says:

    A jolly old reminder of the big things we accomplished before metro-sexuality was invented 🙂


  46. Tom Fisher says:


  47. Plain old Toad says:

    JH, still stunned by Scotland’s rugby loss, Toad must explain.
    I neglected to put a comma after “Tom” (Fisher.) when referring to the Rev. Gilbey.
    “Mother’s Ruin” is the “correct” name – rhyming slang – for gin.
    I am making a good few typing errors at present, as I’m nearly blind. But I hope to get repaired in hospital tomorrow. We shall see. (or maybe not.)

    “..there must have been a late 20th century Francis Bacon, just like there’s a late 20th century Lucky Freud – which seems to be the only period in history you’ve heard of.”
    If you say, so, JH., although your insults are normally a bit les unsophisticated that that. Since I’m shamelessly name dropping, I did also knew Lucian, though not so well. The late 29th century may be history to you. To me it’s memory.
    Anyway, your ignorance of “my” Francis Bacon does you credit. You would have hated him. A great sinner. And very funny.


  48. Plain old Toad says:

    ..In fact, these days we sinful Londoners refer to a gin as a “Vera”
    Your reward for guessing why will not be on this earth..

    “.. they actually said that I (JOHNHENRY !) might not be “whitelisted” for two more months. Can you believe it !?!?”
    It does seem a bit stiff. But perhaps they get bored more easily than we do on CP&S?


  49. johnhenrycn says:

    Sorry to hear about your ocular problems, Toad. Best wishes and prayers for a successful procedure tomorrow.


  50. GC says:

    Yes, JH, group hug for Toad. A little prayer for him is winging its way to heaven as I write.


  51. Plain old Toad says:

    Many thanks. Prayers never come amiss.
    I will report later. If possible.


  52. Tom Fisher says:

    I’m with GC and JH on this Toad. Best.


  53. Tom Fisher says:

    And Toad, try not to flirt too outrageously with the nurses, you’ll get in trouble.


  54. Michael says:

    Just tuned in to this news – my prayers for your ocular reparation as well Toad. And here is one of my favourite Auden poems for you to read upon your return (hasn’t got much to do with eyes, but he certainly presents a luminous meditation on the ‘inner vision’ of awe):

    This lunar beauty
    Has no history
    Is complete and early,
    If beauty later
    Bear any feature
    It had a lover
    And is another.

    This like a dream
    Keeps other time
    And daytime is
    The loss of this,
    For time is inches
    And the heart’s changes
    Where ghost has haunted
    Lost and wanted.

    But this was never
    A ghost’s endeavor
    Nor finished this,
    Was ghost at ease,
    And till it pass
    Love shall not near
    The sweetness here
    Nor sorrow take
    His endless look.


  55. Plain old Toad says:

    You are all very kind. But to say, as I did, that I’m “nearly blind” was a typically wild Toad exaggeration. I have lost a fair bit of sight recently though, and the Doctors say there’s not much to be done about it.
    Can’t read ordinary books, even with my glasses, at present. Which is a bit sad-making.
    However, as you can see, by blowing up the type size, I can still write rubbish.
    And will get new prescription glasses pronto, which I expect to help considerably.

    When you get old, you get used to stuff going wrong. Take it in your stride.

    Nor sorrow take
    His endless look.

    …Wouldn’t be able to see it if he did. So that’s one blessing.


  56. GC says:

    Very good news on the whole, Toad. 🙂


  57. johnhenrycn says:

    I agree with GC. So glad Toad’s infirmity is not as bad as he led us to fear. If he could no longer read my comments, his life wouldn’t be worth living, would it?


  58. mmvc says:

    You can count on my prayers too, Toad. In fact I’ll rope our prayer group in at our weekly prayer meeting tomorrow.


  59. johnhenrycn says:

    The eyeball is not a closed system. People forget that vision problems are more often related to the visual cortex:

    The traditional view that visual system damage is permanent has given way to a more optimistic view. Visual loss does not remain unchanged but it can recover spontaneously to some extent. Even when the period of spontaneous recovery has ended there is still additional potential for plasticity and regeneration, even months or years after the lesion. There are two fundamental approaches to harvest this plasticity potential: (i) to rescue dying cells or induce axonal regeneration of visual system neurons through biological (pharmacological) means and (ii) to capture the residual vision capacities and improve their functions by behavioural training. Visual training can be used to activate residual visual neurons either in the blind sectors of the visual field through alternative pathways or it can be used to activate partially damaged regions in the border zone near the lesion site. Another example of post-lesion neuroplasticity is the ability of the intact visual field sectors to (spontaneously) take over functions and this is seen, for example, in macular degeneration and even in developmental disorders, such as amblyopia who benefit from training even many years beyond the critical period. Just as plasticity after brain damage is well recognized in other functional systems (motor, somatosensory), plasticity of the visual system is now gradually being recognized as a useful mechanism whereby the brain compensates for its functional loss, either spontaneously or by repetitive visual stimulation.

    “Plasticity and restoration of vision after visual system damage”
    Otto-von-Guericke, University of Magdeburg, Medical Faculty, Institute of Medical Psychology.

    There are lots of fascinating developments in the field of brain injury, including brain atrophy: Parkinson’s, MS, strokes, dyslexia, chronic pain, vision loss, hearing loss… Some recent books on the subject which I’m very interested in because my main professional area of practice is personal injury and because my children have serious ones, include Rewire Your Brain (John B. Arden), The Brain That Changes Itself (Norman Doidge), and the most recent one also by Dr Doidge:
    I urge people struggling with brain injuries personally or in their families to check these out, and I hand out book reviews to clients who do.


  60. Plain old Toad says:

    Thanks, again JH – and everyone. I will look into this more optimistically. Macular degeneration came up. Unsurprising, really – why should Toad’s maculars be less degenerate than the rest of him?


Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s