Dorothy Cummings McLean

Dorothy Cummings McLean

Dorothy Cummings McLean is a Canadian writer living abroad and the author of two books, Ceremony of Innocence and Seraphic Singles.

Dorothy has an MA in English literature from the University of Toronto, an M.Div./STB from Regis College and spent two years in doctoral studies in theology at Boston College.

Migrant crisis leads one to wonder: how many are real refugees, how many are queue-jumpers?

The day after our friend George was elected MP, I walked to his house with a bottle of champagne. It wasn’t chilled, so George and his wife took another bottle from the fridge. When I left them I was a little woozy but not so woozy that I couldn’t do a little lobbying: “I know, George, that if the question comes up in the House, you will speak on behalf of the Middle Eastern Christians.”

It’s late August, and the wild roses have blown over. In July they grew profusely, and every time I passed them on the way to the supermarket I stopped to smell them. Although its delicious scent is indistinguishable from that of the pink, I like the proverbial “white rose of Scotland” best.

Before I started theology school, I thought I would be trained in apologetics, which I saw as the art of arguing one’s own beliefs so well that others are converted to them. However, when classes began I was told, “We don’t do apologetics; we do theology.”

“Marriage is not just any relationship between human beings,” wrote the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith. “It was established by the Creator with its own nature, essential properties and purpose. No ideology can erase from the human spirit the certainty that marriage exists solely between a man and a woman, who by mutual personal gift, proper and exclusive to themselves, tend toward the communion of their persons. In this way, they mutually perfect each other, in order to co-operate with God in the procreation and upbringing of new human lives.”

In the 1970s there was a marked contrast between the Catholic faith as it was taught in my elementary school and as it was taught in the church around the corner. At school, it wasn’t taught as much as it was assigned, and religion class often morphed into art class. At the church, the faith took on much larger dimensions, as if in school we had been looking at it through the wrong end of a telescope, and only when we went to Mass were we able to see it the right way round.

Distressing news chez the McLeans: someone has dumped or leaked raw sewage into our stream. For over 200 years the stream has been trickling musically through the woods, falling silent under the ground here and then splashing merrily over a waterfall there. The whole landscape — fields, woods, stream — was designed for the wealthy family that once lived in our house. It is now open to the public, but the woodland path toward the Firth of Forth has had to be roped off. The stream is now a health and safety hazard. It stinks to high heaven.

One day my Warsaw friend suddenly took it into her head to fly to England and enter the Benedictine Abbey of Saint Cecilia at Ryde on the Isle of Wight. I found out after the fact and was cross that Weronika had robbed her friends of our traditional goodbye party for postulants. However, Weronika wrote a charming apology for her elopement, explaining that she had thought she would leave by Christmas and therefore didn’t want a fuss.

According to the Anglican Diocese of Toronto, Catholic Register columnist Michael Coren was received into the Anglican Communion on April 19. Despite Coren’s fame as an apologist for the Roman Catholic faith, his break with Rome went almost unnoticed. The news was made public by a tweet congratulating Coren on his reception. This disappeared from Twitter, although not before a sharp-eyed reader took a screenshot and posted it to a blog.

I live on 86 of the last few hundred acres of countryside separating Edinburgh from the next town over. My home is owned by the National Trust for Scotland, so it is safe from field-munching developers. Sadly, it may soon be the only greenery in an encroaching desert of urban sprawl. For the time being, however, the meadows beyond our garden walls flourish, populated still by goldfinches and bunny rabbits.

Edinburgh’s disgraced Cardinal Keith O’Brien was in the news again last week after he resigned his rights and privileges as a cardinal. The Vatican stated that “with this provision” Pope Francis “would like to manifest his pastoral solicitude to all the faithful of the Church in Scotland and to encourage them to continue with hope the path of renewal and reconciliation.”