My first cousin, who now lives in Finland, has been staying the last week, together with his Finnish wife and one-year old daughter, Suvi. As you can see, my study has been turned into a playroom. It's been a delight having a baby around the place - and after a journey on the bus with her earlier in the week, I've become more sympathetic towards mothers who come to Mass late, looking hot and bothered!
Yesterday I preached at Westminster Cathedral for the first time. The occasion was the Catholic Truth Society (CTS) Conference. Mass was celebrated by Bishop Paul Hendricks, Auxiliary of Southwark, concluding with prayers at the tomb of Herbert Cardinal Vaughan, founder of the Society. Then we went to the Cathedral Hall for an excellent talk by John Haldane, Professor of Philosophy at the University of St Andrews. He talked about the position of Christianity in contemporary Britain, comparing the Catholic Church in Scotland and in England and Wales. He warned about the dangers of Gallicanism - a local Church vaguely in communion with Rome but devising national policies and working too closely with the Establishment (at the expense of freely criticising the Government, etc, when this is necessary). There was a good turn-out, with such luminaries as Aidan Nichols, OP in attendance.