OFSTED, St Bruno, Culture Wars and Blessed Teresa of Calcutta

A train journey to London and a tube journey to South Kensington today meant that I had about two hours of reading time. This enabled me to finish two books that I was in the middle of. The first was Inspection, Inspection, Inspection by Anastasia de Waal, published recently by Civitas. It analyses the impact of OFSTED inspections on schools in the private sector. From experience of many OFSTED Inspections, I would say that her comments, analysis and criticism are spot-on.

The second was St Bruno, the Carthusian by André Ravier SJ, translated into English and published by the Charterhouse of the Transfiguration in Arlington, Vermont. At times, the translation looks a little hurried but this is the first life of St Bruno that I have read and it gives a good picture of the founder of the Carthusians, making the best of the sometimes sketchy primary source material.

On the way home, I stopped at the CTS bookshop and bought How to win the culture war by Peter Kreeft and Mother Teresa by Kathryn Spink.

I have listened to several mp3 files of lectures given by Kreeft and have been both impressed and entertained. He is the Professor of Philosophy at Boston College, a secular institution. His writing is engaging, original and highly readable. How to win the culture war is quite short at 120 pages of fairly large print. I am giving myself a little salutary penance of not ploughing into it straight away. I want an hour or two on a quiet day or on a flight somewhere to read it in one go, making pencil marks in the margin. I have no doubt there will be lots of those. Here's a taster from the introduction (I didn't entirely resist the temptation!)
Nobody makes a TV show today with a title like Happy Days. The fifties were far from utopia, but we all know they were significantly happier than today.

At this point, somebody will respond by quoting the ultimate law of life: "Ah but you can't turn back the clock. You can't go home again. You can't stop progress."

Yes, you can. This "ultimate law" is a lie. You can turn a clock back, both literally and figuratively. And you'd better, if the clock is keeping bad time. A clock or a society is a man-made invention. It doesn't just happen, like the weather. We invented it, we can break it, and we can fix it.
The blurb on Kathryn Spink's book says that Mother Teresa resisted having a biography written but later realised that her life could inspire others and authorised Spink to proceed with a complete biography. I'm looking forward to reading this, not least for any anecdotes that I have not yet heard about this wonderful Beata. Of those that I have heard, one of my favourites was Blessed Teresa's response when she saw the cover of the self-realization, self-affirmation bible I'm OK, You're OK which I read when I was at the seminary in the 80s.
Well, I'm not OK. And you're not OK. And that's why we need Jesus.

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