A kindly godfather who never preached
At the Remnant, an anonymous writer remembered her godfather, the British Catholic writer Michael Davies, who died 15 years ago. Davies and his wife “always had me call them Uncle Michael and Auntie Maria right from the start.”
They wrote letters and sent gifts – especially the books of Beatrix Potter. “As a very small girl,” the author recalled, “I would sit and listen to an audio tape he had recorded in his own voice for me of The Tale of Peter Rabbit.”
Davies, a prolific writer and speaker as well as a schoolteacher, always answered letters immediately. “Uncle Michael never preached or spoke ‘pious’ talk to me. He didn’t discourage me from my interests or dreams. While he had a million things to attend to, I always felt as if I had all of his attention.”
Indeed, Davies rarely spoke about himself or his work. “He wasn’t a man of tunnel vision. Everything had its place. He had many interests and this was a huge inspiration on how to be ‘in the world but not of it’ for me. He knew how to enjoy the moment, to live in the moment where God wanted him to be.”
When the author wrote to him saying that she’d been looking at one of his books about the Church, Davies “emailed me straight back saying it was inappropriate for me to be reading such boring and tedious books at my age and that I should be enjoying the classics meant for young ladies like Charlotte Brontë and Jane Austen’s works.”
Davies died when she was 19, but “the relatively short time I knew my godfather has left deep impressions of the faith and love of God irreversibly upon me”.
A cross that can only be seen from the air
At UCatholic, Billy Ryan reported on an unusual piece of religious imagery: “More than 400 feet long and 200 feet wide, the Emmery Celtic Cross is set on a hill, made with trees of differing shades in a forest near Killea in Donegal, Ireland.”
The cross can only be seen in autumn, when the changing of the leaves creates a contrast between light and dark, revealing the cross when seen from the air.
The horticulturalist Liam Emmery created the effect by planting the trees in 2005. It has been visible since 2016, when passengers flying from Derry City Airport could look down on the cross. Emmery’s widow Norma has remarked: “He just loved things to be perfect.”
Have the Vandals returned to Rome?
At First Things, George Weigel said the John Paul II Institute, founded to study marriage and family questions, had been “hijacked by a new pack of Vandals conducting a new sack of Rome”.
Their target was John Paul’s “encyclical on moral theology, Veritatis Splendor (The Splendor of Truth), and its teaching that some acts are simply wrong, period, such that no calculus of intentions and consequences can give them moral value”.
In order to attack this teaching, the new administrators had “fired tenured professors at the institute, remade the curriculum, and hired faculty whose grip on Catholic doctrine is tenuous at best”. It all looks, Weigel wrote, like “a craven surrender to the spirit of the age”.
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