Thursday, 14 February 2008

Swings and Roundabouts Dr Williams ???

[c/o Christopher Howse]

Saudi Arabia’s Commission for the Promotion of Virtue and Prevention of Vice have swung into action, instructing shops to remove red roses, red wrapping paper, gift boxes and teddy bears, whatever their names.

"As Muslims we shouldn't celebrate a non-Muslim celebration, says Sheikh Khaled Al-Dossari, an Islamic scholar, “especially this one that encourages immoral relations between unmarried men and women.”

It is not clear whether Saudi Muslims see St Valentine’s Day as a Christian festival. Probably not, since it is hardly regarded as such in the West. The Saint is generally dropped by commercial interests.

Any Arabs on holiday in England might care to pop in to the Birmingham Oratory, where, in the chapel of St Athanasius lies beneath the altar a “rich coffin containing the body of St. Valentine; a martyr whose relics from the Roman catacombs were given to Newman by Pope (now Blessed) Pius IX in 1847”. There is no hint of impropriety between unmarried men and women at this blessed spot. There might, one hopes be a red rose or two in honour of the saint.

The only trouble is that Wahhabi scholars like Sheikh Khaled denounce the cult of saints too.

Broken heart by ~OanimeOluverO on deviantART


Fr PF said...

I didn't realise that Birmingham Oratory had relics of Saint Valentine. Caskets which, it is claimed, hold the body of Saint Valentine can also be found in the Franciscan church in Glasgow and the Carmelite church (Whitefriars Street) in Dublin.

On the side of the angels said...

Well from what I can gather there were at least three St Valentines...