Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Holy Smoke

You either love them or hate them. The Irish... they are damn Catholic yet don't understand sometimes...how is this story from CathNews today?

Irish MP and medical practitioner, Dr Jim McDaid, has again lit a firestorm of debate over his warning of the potential danger for altar servers breathing incense smoke at church services.

Reporting on the comments of Dr McDaid, who first raised his concern for incense smoke in 2003, Dr W Gifford-Jones of Canada Free Press says there are unknown health problems associated with the Christian tradition of lighting candles and burning incense during Masses.

"Here you have quite a thick billowing type of smoke. Sometimes you see children with this instrument which is down normally around their ankles, and the smoke keeps coming up", Dr McDaid, who is a Minister of State for Ireland, was quoted as saying.

Dr Gifford-Jones says "it takes a brave man to criticise current traditions and clerics who have confirmed ideas about the burning of incense".

In another story, the Canada Free Press also warns that care of children is especially necessary at Christmas.

The journal cites the case of a two-year old boy with a history of recurrent right-sided pneumonia since 10 months of age whose bouts of lung infection started a few months after his first Christmas.

Initially, doctors detected nothing abnormal after examining the lungs with a stethoscope, and the boy was otherwise healthy. But x-ray continually revealed a right-sided pneumonia.

Eventually an X-ray and CT scan showed a round mass in the lower portion of the boy's right lung that surgery showed to be a small branch of an evergreen Christmas tree that the child had swallowed.

"So keep an eye on toddlers who have a tendency to taste and swallow objects this
Christmas," the Free Press warns.

I recall seeing something a couple of years ago where a priest in Ireland banned incense becuase of health concerns. Compare that with the 'good old days' when Dominicanus celebrated Mass at St. Lawrence's Church Nth. Adelaide! Back int he days when a server and I used to go through two packets of charcols a week - that was excessive but...we were young. We used to joke about our addiction to Prinknash and thought about taking up smoking it in a pipe!


Indolent's dad said...

In reference to the volume of smoke evident at Masses said by the Rev. Dominicanus (and served by His Indolence) - this kind of phenomenon is most likely where the phrase "hear Mass" came from. For most certainly, there were scant opportunities to 'observe' Mass in the literal sense!

crusader88 said...

Ahh yes- MP Jim McDald- the paragon of PC!

Anonymous said...

It's harder to breath in Melbourne with all the bush fires at present than ever it was on a Sunday or Holy Day.

Philip said...

It amuses me how they say 'current traditons', likewise I generally chuckle when someone says 'Let's start a tradition'. It just goes to show you what interesting -not to say ridiculous- interpretations there are of 'tradition'

The Tone said...

Just a pedantic point in response to your whimsical post, Indolent: the incense used may be pronounced Prinage but it is spelt 'Prinknash' after the UK abbey of the same name.

May you be tempted to go through 6 boxes of charcoals this Christmas: dare to conjure up a veritable iconastasis of smoke!

And, oh, lil bro, may you, Indolent Dad and the rest of the family have a truly blessed Christmas!


Thanks Tone.

I knew that about the incense as gosh I see the packet every sunday! guess I just wrote the post in a hurry.

Anonymous said...

Prinage-I think you mean Prinknash! Gee whizz!

Brian Jilka said...

A few years ago at Midnight Mass I was the thurifer and we had a knee-high cloud of incense that had gathered on the floor of the sanctuary. I thought it was quite impressive.

I likewise have had thoughts of telling the doctor (a Catholic friend), when asked if I smoke, "Only incense!"