Last night I also went to the Guildford with Miles and Donnla, until we were chased out by a trad-jazz band. They weren't obnoxious (not even the banjo, actually) but they did make it difficult to talk. We went to the (IIRC) Abbotsford, and discussed Opus Dei and the Society of Jesus, among many other things. I think there was a rough consensus on those two, actually, which I found reassuring.

Another milestone was actually seeing an Ayn Rand book in the UK. I'm pretty sure that's never happened to me before. I'm also fairly sure I wouldn't mind it never happening again.

Today the BFS sent me on a very quick first-aid course. 'Twas interesting. Haven't done anything like that for more years than I care to think. They recommend clingfilm for covering burns, but for what I hope are obvious reasons I would cause many raised eyebrows if I started to carry the stuff around.
It was in Waterstones, and I'll pass on the Coulter too, if you don't mind.

It should not be confused with passing water on Coulter, either. That would be immoral illegal unwise unsafe bad for some reason.
I didn't notice any. The subject came up for other reasons, possibly involving a novel called The Sparrow and the Vatican's meteorite collection.
got to watch those Jesuits
Interesting. Was this inspired by the upcoming embryonic research vote? The death of Arthur C Clarke?

There is so much sci-fi that I have missed. What intrigues me is the difference between the science and the fiction. I have been responsive to the work which tends to the latter. That which emphasises the former required too much effort as I switched allegiance away from a Science mindset in my teens. Is this why I never got my cousin's Lensman series books?

I am not saying that there is an over emphasis on methodology in the fiction of the scientific. Good fiction is good fiction.

Given my recent introduction to the radio work of Gregory Whitehead - headless man falls from heaven onto university campus - I shall have fun applying his theories and crafts to the Opus Dei prospects in science fiction.

The Vatican meteorite collection will require some more research and suspension of judgement.

"The collection has played a role in the long history of Papal support for astronomy, going back to the 1852 Gregorian Reform of the Calendar and continuing today with the Observatory’s activities in connection with spacecraft missions to the planets."

Re: got to watch those Jesuits
I don't remember exactly why it came up, actually. Could have been either of those things, or something else entirely.

I am not saying that there is an over emphasis on methodology in the fiction of the scientific. Good fiction is good fiction.

Well, yes. Also, different emphases appeal to different people. I certainly have less tolerance for hard SF than I used to, although there are still authors who hit the right spot with it.
Ah, "The Sparrow". This book has the distinction of being the only SF book ever recommended to me by Jo, rather than the other way round.

Which is curious because it has an "ouch" rating only a little less than Tim Powers or Dan Simmons.

I do recall a James Blish novel in which it becomes necessary for the Catholic Church to exorcise an entire planet.
I like the Roy in clingfilm story :)

In the US they had coloured clingfilm, called Saran wrap. Red, green and best of all purple :).
There are plenty more such stories on that site, and a novel (a rather good novel, actually) in the shops. I recommend them all.

I've heard of Saran wrap, but I don't remember ever seeing any.
I've seen Ayn Rand books in Wimbledon Waterstones.

But why was the British Fantasy Society sending you on a first-aid course?

It'll never fly. Firstly, none of the modern groups have any connection and therefore any claim on Templar assets, and secondly the Church would probably take decades over any such decision anyway. I wouldn't mind knowing who's flying that particular kite, though.
It's probably just some secret society looking for a provenance. The scottish freemasons have probably got a claim to be connected but have always denied this. It's common knowledge that the papal bull dissolving the order was never read in Scotland, and that the masonic orders started to appear less than 100 years after the Templars were dissolved.

But you never know who's going to come out of the woodwork. For instance, The Templars in Portugal were never actually dissolved - the Pope allowed them to continue as long as they changed their name to the Order of Christ.

The reinstatement of the templars wouldn't be without precedent - the knights of the holy sepulcher received a new constitution from Paul VI as recently as 1977, although they had been supported by the Papacy in varying degrees since their inception in the 13th century. But like you say, it would probably take decades.

I wonder what role paramiltary monks would be given in 21st century Outremer?
I heard one of the Lodge's archivists on the radio - a fair while ago now - saying that there was a gap of two or three centuries between the Templars' dissolution and their earliest records of Masonic activity - although of course he also acknowledged that their official dogma has always atated that they're actually far older than the Templars, and indeed, than Christianity. Interesting little piece.

I wonder what role paramiltary monks would be given in 21st century Outremer?

I imagine the very prospect would be intensely inflammatory, although not necessarily unpopular with President B. After all, he was quite willing to use the C-word when something far more conciliatory would have been advised.