Thursday, April 02, 2020

The Case of the Missing Chinese Research Paper

The  paper, it seems, explained where the covid-19 virus really came from.  It wasn't the local market.

Read all about it here.

(Fascinating to note how both the ChiComs and the Vatican share this serene and utterly unwarranted confidence in their ability to make things vanish from the internet.)

Talk About a Remnant

Palm Sunday (April 5): Online Masses - 9AM w/Fr. Baaten; 12PM w/Fr. Bartus; 2PM w/Fr. Alan. At Holy Martyrs in Murrieta at 3PM - "Drive Thru" Distribution of Palms & Confessions and/or Holy Communion.

That is what our pastor is planning for Palm Sunday.  So far as I am aware that is the sum total of the public celebrations of Catholicism available in southern California on Palm Sunday.  According to their websites even the FSSP parish and Fr Perez's lovely little chapel are closed for the duration.

(If you were wondering, no I'm not in Murrieta.  That's two dioceses away.  But our priest is founding three parishes in SoCal and one of them is in Murrieta.  And since he hasn't mastered bi-location yet, Murrieta wins the gold ring.)

"When Our Churches Open Again. . ."

From Phil Lawler some interesting questions for our most reverend fathers in God:

Why did you forbid the administration of the sacraments? For reasons of public health— and in many cases, because of emergency government regulations— you were forced to curtail public ceremonies. But were you forced to issue a blanket prohibition? Weren’t there ways to allow some acts of public worship, with appropriate safeguards? Did you explore those possibilities thoroughly?

Many more interesting questions here. 

Monday, March 30, 2020

Found in my mail this afternoon

"The depths of our soul are for God alone; they must not become a den of thieves that steal praise and adoration from Him.  Prayer is an audience He gives us and we should be mindful of His immense majesty. . .Life is a daily encounter with God's will and everything is a sacrament hiding His will and revealing it to those who have eyes to see.. . . May it make us the friends of God and the sharers of His infinite riches; may it be the channel of His grace to others and the way that will lead us to the things the eye has never see and the ear never heard. . . ."  --- Prayer, by Fr Killian Lynch, O.Carm.

Via Fr Michael Driscoll, O. Carm.

Friday, March 27, 2020

And Speakng of Surprises . . .

I finally got one of those home grocery delivery services to work and we got our stuff this evening.  It's like Christmas.  Now I don't have to go out.  At least not just yet.

Next time I shall have to be more focused on making the list.   I have been trying every service that exists and often enough going off the top of my head on what to order.  But there are a few dishes that aren't going to work without a few extra ingredients I didn't think of.

Still, delighted not to have to go a-marketing any more often than necessary.

Laus sit Deo!

Much to our own surprise . . .

. . . Mary and I remembered the Urbi et Orbi blessing this morning and attended, if that's the right word for a television broadcast.  I know some of the brethren are none too fond of His Holiness.  I understand and sympathize -- even share those sentiments betimes.  (Oh, all right.  All the time.) But I'm in no position to be turning down any plenary indulgences that might be coming my way.

It was rather moving with the rain, the solitary pontiff, and the empty square.  And he seemed to be having a hard time of it.  Added  a bit of pathos.   I'm told the sermon was good but I had trouble following it.   At least in our home the volume of the Pope's Italian version was about equal to the volume of the English translation.  I heard "Why are you afraid?  Have you no faith?" quite a lot.  But what he made of it, I couldn't tell you.  I understand the text is online somewhere; I may give it a look.

It was good to pray with, I suppose, a good part of the Catholic world for an end to the plague.  The old Roman Ritual has a rite for that. A shame it wasn't used.  But prayer nonetheless.

HEAR my prayer, O Lord, * and let my crying come unto thee.
2  Hide not thy face from me in the time of my trouble; * incline thine ear unto me when I call; O hear me, and that right soon.  -- from Ps 102 
O most mighty and merciful God, in this time of grievous sickness, we flee unto Thee for succour.  Deliver us, we beseech Thee, from our peril; give strength and skill to all those who minister to the sick; prosper the means made use of for their cure; and grant that, perceiving how frail and uncertain our life is, we may apply our hearts unto that heavenly wisdom which leadeth to eternal life; through Jesus Christ or Lord. Amen. 

My Pastor

From his FB page this afternoon:

Following the leadership of Bp. Strickland of Tyler and Pope Francis earlier today, Deacon Frank Mercardante and I brought Our Lord to the heights and blessed the Temecula Valley around 3pm on this Friday in the Fourth Week in Lent, asking for God’s mercy to spare Murrieta and Temecula and the wider area from coronavirus. Lord, have mercy upon us.

Thursday, March 26, 2020

Of Papal Interest

This arrived in this morning's twitter feed.

The original is on in Spanish (link to the original below) and this is via Google Translate, which has done a remarkably readable job for a computer programme:

An Italian monsignor who works in the Secretary of State and has lived for a long time in Santa Marta, the papal residence, has been hospitalized diagnosed as infected by Covid-19, Marco Tosatti reported yesterday in Stilum Curiae. 
There are already five "official" infections in the Vatican, a State so tiny that it fits within a city, and with what is probably the oldest average population on the planet, the main risk group in this pandemic. 
The latter case is more serious, and not only because he has needed hospitalization (in an Italian hospital: the Vatican does not have adequate sanitary facilities), but because the affected person lives in the same house as the Pope, the Casa Santa Marta residence, and the pontiff, at 83 years old and whom we have seen shaking hands and receiving people until very recently, runs a considerable risk of contagion. 
The now undeniable entry of viruses into the papal residence should have immediate and visible consequences. Being a hotel, following the health recommendations that apply in 'neighboring' Italy and in much of the world, the building should be closed immediately. But how is that done when one of the ‘guests’ is the Vicar of Christ, father of Catholics around the world?

Wednesday, March 25, 2020

Please Pass the Geritol

Assorted folk on the media have asked us to look out for the elderly and the disabled.  Make sure they have the supplies they need and so forth.  We don't really have any in our neighborhood.  Mary's aunt uses a wheelchair and lives not too far away but her daughter lives with her and they have regular care-givers.   I could help if needed but otherwise not an issue around here.  I thought.

A couple of days ago the penny dropped.  During the last week three separate neighbors came by to check on us and see if there was anything we needed.   As Pogo might have put it, "We have met the elderly and he is us."

It was really rather pleasant to know that people were thinking kindly of us and willing to risk the market for us.  Of course, that's due to Mary not me; when they were handing out social skills I was probably off in a corner somewhere with a book.  But I didn't take any of them up on it.  I'm still upright and mobile and able to get the groceries, even if begloved and as skittish as the proverbial long-tailed cat in a room full of rocking chairs.  You can't ask someone to risk The Virus when you're perfectly capable of getting the groceries yourself now can you.

Monday, March 23, 2020

Just a thought . . . .

In my opinion it would reduce the current daily irritation if the helpful people giving suggestions for enduring the current pandemic would stop recommending the use of services that are no longer available in order to buy products that cannot be had anywhere for love nor money.

Home delivery of hand-sanitizer?  Uh-huh.  Yeah.  Right.

Sunday, March 22, 2020


Interesting the way things that have been around for a while and were always true suddenly become relevant.  E.g., the collect in this Sunday's daily office:

Grant, we beseech Thee, Almighty God: that  we, who for our evil deeds do worthily deserve to be punished, by the comfort of Thy grace, may mercifully be relieved, through Jesus Christ Thy Son our Lord, Who liveth and reigneth with Thee, in the unity of the Holy Ghost, ever one God,world without end.  Amen.

Monday, March 16, 2020

Satiety Yet?

Any predictions as to when the plague-of-locusts community is going to decide they have enough and stay home to enjoy their lifetime supply of toilet paper and dairy products?   Is it when they've maxed out their credit cards?  Or when the garage can no longer hold another box of Cheerios?  Soon one hopes. The non-insane community would like to get some milk for the tea and perhaps a piece of meat for the dinner.

It's interesting to note what the plague-of-locusts community apparently has no use for:  fresh fruits and vegetables.  The stores I've been in seem to have relatively untouched produce sections.  Yet surely all that milk they've been buying is going to sour long before the apples and oranges go bad?  Is a puzzlement.

I feel rather sorry for the woman with the over-flowing shopping cart who is being looked at as a hoarder when in fact she's got 5 children, a husband, and an elderly parent at home.  An over-flowing shopping cart is what her normal weekly shopping cart always looks like.  And now with her children home from school, and school lunches no longer provided,  it probably won't even last the week.

Thursday, March 12, 2020

Lavabo inter innocentes manus meas . . .

Well, I don't know how innocentes anyone is but I'm certainly lavabo-ing manus meas at every opportunity.  And it is not encouraging to be told not to worry as I won't die of the Wuhan virus as it's only old people who are shuffling off this mortal coil and joining the choirs invisible.  I've been entitled to The Discount at our local cafe for, ahem, several years now.  So, not to put too fine a point upon it, I'm already in the departure lounge. . . .

But I'm unaccountably not all that worried about my mortality.  Except.  Presumably if one is in quarantine one will not get the sacraments.  Now that's worrying.

In the meantime, a collect or two:

In Time of Great Sickness and Mortality 
O most mighty and merciful God, in this time of grievous sickness, we flee unto Thee for succour.  Deliver us, we beseech Thee, from our peril; give strength and skill to all those who minister to the sick; prosper the means made use of for their cure; and grant that, perceiving how frail and uncertain our life is, we may apply our hearts unto that heavenly wisdom which leadeth to eternal life; through Jesus Christ or Lord. Amen. 
For Those in Hazardous Occupations 
Protect and prosper, O Lord, all those who labour at tasks of danger and difficulty, especially those tending the sick and risking contagion, that they may be preserved in safety and health; and grant that, knowing the dangers which beset them, they may ever take thought one for another, and be sustained by a sure trust in Thee; through Christ our Lord.  Amen .
From the Litany:
From lightning and tempest; from earthquake, fire, and flood; from plague, pestilence, and famine:  Good Lord, deliver us.

Thursday, March 05, 2020

Corona Virus Etiquette

Proper reaction to the plague du jour, courtesy of Mary Killen via The Spectator:

. . . don’t forget we won’t necessarily die — only 2 per cent of us, mainly oldies[e.g., me], will. Meanwhile, with the plausible prospect of life as we knew it grinding to a halt, we will reassess the amazingly luxurious long and healthy lives (compared to any other time in history) that all of us have been enjoying over recent decades and be grateful for, instead of begrudging of, the tyranny of choices we have had about which holiday to go on and how to stop ourselves drinking and eating too much and how to stop swiping and instead settle for one partner. 
Business will grind to a halt for those hook-up apps which effectively promote barnyard sex, and this can only be good for human dignity. Carbon emissions will fall as we take fewer planes. Fear will drive us, if not back to church, at least to consider our moral positions. Pangolins have a chance of not becoming extinct. These are among the blessings coronavirus could bestow.

More here.

Sunday, March 01, 2020

Lenten Penance . . . again

Apparently, someone still stops by The Inn every once in a while.  In re: the first "Lenten Penance" post below I have been cited here "as it might be relevant".

And so it is.   Herewith a bit from an editorial in The Magnficat quoting Msgr Ronald Knox:

The effect of this, he observed, is the experience we are familiar with and which we have come to take as a sine qua non of the season of Lent: a “gratifying sense of irritation.” We’re supposed to give something up, we’re supposed to feel the pinch. “Such is our human make-up that a deliberate abstention, though it be only from sweets or the cinema, pricks like a hairshirt. Which is why the forty days of Lent seem to pass so slowly; will it never be Easter Day? And no doubt it is good for us.”

But it was Monsignor’s next point that really stuck with me: “in a curious way, this impression Lent makes on us is the exact opposite of what the Church intends. Lent ought to pass like a flash, with a sense of desperate hurry. ‘Good heavens! The second Sunday already, and still so little to show for it!’ Lent is the sacramental expression of the brief life we spend here, a life of probation, without a moment in it we can afford to waste. That is why it begins with Saint Paul’s metaphor of an ambassador delivering an ultimatum; we have only a few ‘days of grace’ to make our peace with God. Ash Wednesday recalls our ignominious, earthy origins, Easter looks forward to our eternity. The space between is not, if we look at it properly, a sluggish declension; it is a mill-race…. If only we could cheat ourselves into the feeling that these forty days were our last, how quickly they would run their course!”

More here.

Saturday, February 29, 2020

Found While Looking for Something Else

Dame Joan Sutherland and Pavarotti . . . had to give it a listen.

You'll never hear better.

(Isola Jones and Leo Nucci are the mezzo and the baritone.)

Lenten Penances

I am such a wimp.  We're only 3 1/2 days into Lent and I'm already wishing I had chosen something easier.  Well, not easier exactly.  This is pretty darn easy.  (See remark re: "wimp" above.)  It's just . . . what?  Annoying?  Whatever the word is that describes something that's now on my mind, say, 10 hours a day.

36 1/2 days to go.  Warn me if The Inn gets a bit grumpy.  I mean, inordinately grumpy.   More than usually grumpy.

Leap Year

Someone said "Happy Leap Day" to me this morning.  Seems a little odd, but I'll take it.

Apropos of which, this appeared in my e-mailbox this morning;

There are only 97 leap years in every 400 year interval (not 100 as one would expect) because every century year that can’t be evenly divisible by 400 is skipped in order to keep the calendar on track. For instance, 2000 was a leap year, but 1900 was not.

Who knew?

Thursday, February 27, 2020

From this morning's psalmody

From  psalm 37

FRET not thyself because of the ungodly; * neither be thou envious against the evil doers.
2  For they shall soon be cut down like the grass, * and be withered even as the green herb.
3  Put thou thy trust in the Lord, and be doing good; * dwell in the land, and verily thou shalt be fed.
. . . . .
8  Leave off from wrath, and let go displeasure: * fret not thyself, else shalt thou be moved to do evil.

Wednesday, February 26, 2020

Mass Prohibited in Italy

Yup.  No Mass in the exposed-to-coronavirus areas.

But, say. . . . how 'bout a nice football game?

More here.

Election Day

Or Election Week-and-a-Half as it is here on the far left coast.  Yes, indeed.  Instead of one day we have a full eleven (11) days to cast our ballot for the Democrat of our master's choice.   Oh, there are a few non-Democrats here and there on the ballot.  Not many in this little corner of the county, though.  A combination of gerrymandering, biased election laws, crooked officials, and insufficient non-Democrat sacrificial lambs volunteers and here we are.

Still, this may help. 

Almighty God, the fountain of all wisdom:  guide and direct, we humbly beseech Thee, the minds of all those who are called at this time to elect fit persons to serve in the government of this nation.  Grant that in the exercise of their choice they may promote Thy glory, and the welfare of our Nation, State, and City.  And this we beg for the sake of Our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.  Amen.

Couldn't hurt.

Sunday, February 23, 2020


The Blessed Ildefonse Cardinal Schuster gives a little Septuagesima history in volume II of his Liber Sacramentorum.  Herewith:

The Eastern usage regarded Saturday and Sunday as festival days, and therefore as exempt from the Lenten fast; so, in order to complete the forty days of Lent, the Greeks anticipated the penitential season by some weeks, and from this Sunday onward abstained from the use of meat. In the following week they abstained also from milk 'and similar foods, and finally on the Monday of Quinquagesima they commenced the rigid fast in preparation for Easter.  
Among the Latins the custom varied at different times.   By beginning the Lenten cycle with the First Sunday in Lent, there remain indeed, as St .Gregory remarks, forty days of preparation for Easter, but of these only thirty-six are devoted to fasting. In order to supply the four missing days, pious persons and ecclesiastics began, in quite early times, to abstain from meat on the Monday after Quinquagesima (In carnis privio or in carne levario = Carnival); but it is not until the time of St Gregory that we find in the antiphonary the liturgical consecration of the caput jejunii on the Wednesday of Quinquagesima.   
The piety of the more devout, however, was not satisfied by these four supplementary days. The Greeks began earlier, and, living as they did beside them in Rome during the Byzantine period, the Latins could do no less. St Gregory therefore instituted, or at least gave definite form to, a cycle of three weeks' preparation for Lent, with three solemn stations at the patriarchal Basilicas of St Lawrence, St Paul, and St Peter, as though to begin the Easter fast under the auspices of the three great patrons of the Eternal City. 
The order of the stational cycle has been reversed, and begins on this day with the station at St Lawrence, which holds the fourth place only among the papal basilicas, the reason for this change being that it was not considered advisable to remove the first Lenten station from the Lateran, where ever since the fourth century the Popes had been in the habit of offering the sacrificium quadragesimalis initii, as the Sacramentary calls it. 
It would seem that the three Masses of Septuagesima, Sexagesima, and Quinquagesima date from the time of St Gregory, since they reflect the terror and grief that filled the minds of the Romans in those years during which war, pestilence, and earthquake threatened the utter destruction of the former mistress of the world.   
The Introit is taken from Psalm xvii: "The groans of death surrounded me, the sorrows of hell encompassed me: and in my affliction, I called upon the Lord, and he heard my voice from his holy temple."  
From this Sunday until Maundy Thursday the Gloria in Excelsis is omitted in Masses de tempore.  Originally it was sung only at Christmas and Easter, but later it came to be used on all Sundays, except those in Lent, and also on the feasts of martyrs, but only by special privilege. The collect, which immediately follows the litany on days of fasting and penance, truly represents, therefore, the ordinary and normal form of the litany as used in the ancient liturgy of the Mass and of the divine office.   
The collect betrays the deep affliction which weighed on the soul of St Gregory at the sight of the desolation of Rome and of all Italy during his pontificate.  "O Lord, we beseech thee, graciously hear the prayers of thy people; that we who are justly afflicted for our sins may for the glory of thy name be mercifully delivered."

 The Blessed Cardinal goes on to give some of the proper texts of the Mass and a bit of explanation of them.  Most of that can be found in your missal.  But there are a final couple of paragraphs on "the uncertainty of eternal salvation".  These are worth posting, too:

How great is the uncertainty of eternal salvation! Cum metu et tremore vestram salutem operamini, as the Apostle says (Phil. ii I2); this is the fruit of to-day's meditation on the Epistle of St Paul and on the parable of the vineyard.   
How many and how striking were the miracles worked by almighty God during the forty years that Israel wandered in the desert!  The heavenly food, the miraculous water, the cloud and the column of fire, the Red Sea and the Jordan parting before them; and yet out of the many thousands for whom these wonders were worked, the greater number fell away, and only two reached the final goal.  
Thus, it isn't enough for us to have been baptized, to have been called by God to a holy state, to the dignity  of the priesthood, to have become the object of his special predilection by the frequent opportunities he has given us of receiving the holy sacraments and of hearing his gracious word.  It is necessary to labour diligently -- operamini -- to follow the narrow way that leads to life eternal; it is necessary to imitate the chosen few -- that is the saints -- in order to be saved together with them.  Never can we apprehend these divine truths with greater clearness than when we meditate upon them, as in today's station, beside the tombs of the martyrs, who, in order to gain their heavenly reward, were ready to sacrifice wealth,  youth, and even life itself.


Monday, December 30, 2019

Not, I Think, What the Founders Intended . . .

. . . but here we are now.

For most  modern European philosophers, especially German philosophers, the phrase "The State" has always meant the absolute supreme authority above all society.
The word "Federation", coming from the Latin word for "treaty",  generally means a free and rather loose agreement   between these supreme states.  But when the future Historian (poor brute) turns to the great topic of America, he will find just the opposite.  He will find the word "Federal" meaning the supreme authority that centralizes and overrules everything.  He will find the word "State" used for the subordinate thing; the sub-unit like the county or the city.

from GK Chesterton's A Hint About History from the New York American, March 12 1932 via the November/December 2019 number of Gilbert!.

Friday, December 27, 2019

St John the Evangelist -- 27 December

Not another reprint?  Yes, another one.  I like this one.  It's got the text for the blessing of wine in it, which may come in handy, given the season.

For today is the feast of St John the Apostle and Evangelist.  Yes, the source is the Gospels, but the good old Catholic Encyclopædia will tell you something of St John in more condensed form here.

The Inn has copied this paragraph about St John's wine from the late Msgr Richard Schuler before.  And we do it again now:

St John the Evangelist was honored on December 27. His feast was a general holiday, being kept as the third day of Christmas. Special wine, called St John's Love, was blessed on St John's Day, the formula for the blessing being found in the Rituale Romanum. It was thought that St John had survived the drinking of poisoned wine. Those going on a long journey fortified themselves from harm by drinking St John's wine, and at weddings it was regularly drunk. Often those about to depart this life were given a sip to strengthen them for their departure from this world. In St John's Gospel, Christ is called the Light of the World, and so when lighting the Christmas tree, a child with the name of John is often given the privilege of lighting the tree.

That's from an old number - about 10 years ago - of The Wanderer.  The original link no longer links to the original story and I'm not finding it in the archive (which you'd probably have to subscribe to anyway).  But if you want to have a go  yourself you can start here.

Here's "The Blessing of Wine on the Feast of St John, Apostle and Evangelist" from the old Roman Ritual:

After the principal Mass on the feast of St John, Apostle and Evangelist, after the last gospel, the priest, retaining all vestments except the maniple, blesses wine brought by the people.  This is done in  memory and honor of St John, who without detriment drank the poisoned wine proffered by  his enemies:

V. Our help is in the name of the Lord.
R. Who made both heaven and earth.
V. The Lord be with you.
R.  And with thy spirit.

     Let us pray.

Bless + and consecrate, + O Lord God, this chalice of wine (or any other beverage - et cujuslibet potus)through the merits of St John, Apostle and Evangelist.  Bestow benediction and protection upon all who drink of this cup.  For as the blessed John partook of the poisoned potion without any hurt, so may all who on this day drink of the blessed wine to the honor of St John, by him be freed from poisoning and similar harmful things.  And as they offer themselves soul and body to thee, O Lord God, give them absolution and pardon.  Through Christ our Lord.  R. Amen.

Bless, + O Lord, this draught that it be a helpful medicine to all who drink it; and grant by thy grace that all who taste thereof  may enjoy bodily and spiritual health in calling upon they holy name.  Through Christ our Lord,  R.  Amen.

May the blessing of almighty God, Father, Son, + and Holy Ghost come upon this wine and remain constantly.  R.  Amen.
There are actually two blessings for St John's wine in the Ritual.  The second one is perhaps twice as long so we'll leave that one for next year, along with the Latin text which I'm running out of time to proof at the moment. (And, yes, of course I proof these things.  I even edit them.  Hard to believe I know, but what you see here is, indeed, the improved version.)

This year someone has posted to the web Dom Gueranger's article on St John from his monumental The Liturgical Year.  If you've got the time - it's quite a lengthy piece -- you can find it here.   It's worth a look.  There are liturgical texts from the Roman, Byzantine, Ambrosian, and Gallican rites.  Beautiful stuff.

The Third Day of Christmas

Stolen shamelessly from Charles Coulombe's FB page:

Well, my friends, the Yuletide amateurs are now tossing their trees; it is up to us professionals to keep the Twelve Days going - and not give up entirely until Candlemas - of course, then we'll be entering Carneval...!

And, should you have any doubts, The Inn will most heartily drink to that.

Merry Christmas!


Thursday, December 26, 2019

St Stephan's Day

You've seen this before but it's worth a reprint in honour of the day that's in it.

There are old traditions that even the most traditionalist clergy are highly unlikely to ever want reinstated. Today, St Stephen's Day, used to have one called "stephening" in the parish of Drayton Beauchamp, Bucks. It is probably at the top of that "unwanted" list. From the 1869 edition of Chambers' "Book of Days, A Miscellany of Popular Antiquities in Connection with the Calendar, Including Anecdote, Biography, & History, Curiosities of Literature and Oddities of Human Life and Character":

In the parish of Drayton Beauchamp, Bucks, there existed long an ancient custom, called Stephening, from the day on which it took place. On St. Stephen's Day, all the inhabitants used to pay a visit to the rectory, and practically assert their right to partake of as much bread and cheese and ale as they chose at the rector's expense. On one of these occasions, according to local tradition, the then rector, being a penurious old bachelor, determined to put a stop, if possible, to this rather expensive and unceremonious visit from his parishioners. Accordingly, when St. Stephen's Day arrived, he ordered his housekeeper not to open the window-shutters, or unlock the doors of the house, and to remain perfectly silent and motionless whenever any person was heard approaching. At the usual time the parishioners began to cluster about the house. They knocked first at one door, then at the other, then tried to open them, and on finding them fastened, they called aloud for admittance. No voice replied. No movement was heard within. 'Surely the rector and his house-keeper must both be dead!' exclaimed several voices at once, and a general awe pervaded the whole group. Eyes were then applied to the key-holes, and to every crevice in the window-shutters, when the rector was seen beckoning his old terrified housekeeper to sit still and silent. A simultaneous shout convinced him that his design was under-stood. Still he consoled himself with the hope that his larder and his cellar were secure, as the house could not be entered. But his hope was speedily dissipated. Ladders were reared against the roof, tiles were hastily thrown off, half-a-dozen sturdy young men entered, rushed down the stairs, and threw open both the outer-doors. In a trice, a hundred or more unwelcome visitors rushed into the house, and began unceremoniously to help themselves to such fare as the larder and cellar afforded; for no special stores having been provided for the occasion, there was not half enough bread and cheese for such a multitude. To the rector and his housekeeper, that festival was converted into the most rigid fast-day they had ever observed. 
After this signal triumph, the parishioners of Drayton regularly exercised their 'privilege of Stephening' till the incumbency of the Rev. Basil Wood, who was presented to the living in 1808. Finding that the custom gave rise to much rioting and drunkenness, he discontinued it, and distributed instead an annual sum of money in proportion to the number of claimants. But as the population of the parish greatly increased, and as he did not consider himself bound to continue the practice, he was induced, about the year 1827, to withhold his annual payments; and so the custom became finally abolished. For some years, however, after its discontinuance, the people used to go to the rectory for the accustomed bounty, but were always refused. 
In the year 1834, the commissioners appointed to inquire concerning charities, made an investigation into this custom, and several of the inhabitants of Drayton gave evidence on the occasion, but nothing was elicited to shew its origin or duration, nor was any legal proof advanced showing that the rector was bound to comply with such a demand. Many of the present inhabitants of the parish remember the custom, and some of them have heard their parents say, that it had been observed:
'As long as the sun had shone,
And the waters had run.'
Chambers has even more oddments about St Stephan's Day here.

So . . . I hear you ask . . . what's all that stuff about burying the wren in the song?

Well, in a reprint from a different year, The Inn had this:

The 26th December is known as St Stephen's Day in Ireland. In Northern Ireland it's also known as Boxing Day. In most homes it is a sociable day, when visitors may call in to share some seasonal foods or liquid (usually alcoholic) refreshments. . . . . St Stephens is also the day when a purely Irish phenomenon can be witnessed: the tradition of Hunting the Wren. This is when the Wren Boys take to the streets in colourful costumes and masks, and noisily parade a dead wren on a decorated pole. It's a strange tradition and its origins are often debated. Some say it originated in Pagan times. Others from the Viking invasion. Most opt for a simplified religious reference: the betrayal by a wren of St Stephen who was hiding from the Romans who subsequently killed him for his Christian beliefs. Wren on tree branch This, then, gave the reason for hunting down the wren, and in olden days a bird was, indeed, captured and killed. The Wren Boys would then carry the dead bird on a pole from house to house and beg for money to bury the 'evil bird'. . . .
And that came from here.  And there's more at that link.


Wednesday, December 25, 2019

The Christmas Martyrology

This is reprinted from a few years ago.  Mostly.  It's been tidied up a bit, a couple of dead links removed and one or two new items added.

At the old morning office of Prime on this day the Martyrology reading would be the solemn announcement of Christ’s birth. This is the description given by Pius Parsch:

In some European monasteries the chanter, vested in alb and violet cope, steps into the middle of the choir, accompanied by ministers with candles and censer. He incenses the Martyrology on the violet-covered lectern, and after announcing the date begins to sing. All stand with heads uncovered, as at the Gospel. At the phrase, ‘in Bethlehem,’ all kneel; and at the words, ‘the birth of our Lord,’ all prostrate for the first adoration of the Son of God become Man. The passage begins with the fixation of the date according to the ancient computation. 

Here Dom Mark Kirby, the [former] prior of Silverstream Priory in County Meath, chants the Martyrology:

[And here's another, more recent one, this time in English and somewhat embellished.  And, odd though it may seem, a bit harder to understand.  Still very lovely.]

The text in English:

In the year from the creation of the world, when in the beginning God created Heaven and Earth, five thousand one hundred and ninety-nine;
from the flood, two thousand, nine hundred and fifty-seven;
from the birth of Abraham, two thousand and fifteen;
from Moses and the coming of the Israelites out of Egypt, one thousand, five hundred and ten;
from the annointing of King David, one thousand and thirty-two;
in the sixty-fifth week, according to the prophecy of Daniel;
in the one hundred and ninety-fourth Olympiad;
in the year seven hundred and fifty-two from the founding of the city of Rome;
in the forty-second year of the empire of Octavian Augustus, when the whole earth was at peace;
in the sixth age of the world:
Jesus Christ, eternal God, and Son of the eternal Father, desirous to sanctify the world by His most merciful coming, havng been conceived of the Holy Ghost, and nine months having elapsed since his conception, is born in Bethlehem of Juda, having become man of the Virgin Mary.  Alleluia.  Thanks be to God.
Original found  here. Edited a little; mostly punctuation.
The Latin original is reprinted here.

Fr Z has post this morning dedicated to the Christmas martyrology here.  He not only gives an audio version of the original Latin but adds a link to a pdf of the Gregorian dots should you want to try your hand at singing it.  Or your, um, vocal chords.

There also is a newer aggiornamentoized version available,  so they tell me.  One presumes that "1,599 years from the creation of the world" caused palpitations in the breast of Archbishop Gradgrind and Msgr Bounderby who instigated a revision forthwith.

(One wonders idly what the purpose of a new, improved, lemon-flavoured Martyrology might be.  Since the martyrology is to be read at the office of Prime and the office of Prime has been determined to be surplus to requirements what does one do with one's brand-new copy of the Roman Martyrology?

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Tuesday, December 24, 2019

Der Herr is geboren!


Just back from Christmas Eve Mass.  Our schola did pretty well but we were very low on personnel.  All the women had other engagements and we men were down to only three.  So no polyphony but we did pretty well with the Gregorian propers and the congregation filled the chapel with the Healy Willan Mass.  So all-in-all, a beautiful Christmas Eve Mass.

A very merry and holy Christmas to all who stop by The Inn this season.  (And even to those who don't; they just won't know they've been wished it.)


Christmas and Washington Irving

Somebody posted this on FB this morning.  The title is "How Washington Irving Shaped Christmas in America" and that, indeed, is what it's all about.   Worth a read.

And it reminded me that Washington Irving on Christmas is himself worth a read.  Tom Fitzpatrick serialized it several years ago on his Recta Ratio blog, which is where I first encountered it.  I can't figure out how to post a link to his individual posts but you can find them but running a search for Washington Irving in the little box at the upper left-hand corner of this and most other blogspot hosted sites.

Or you could try the Gutenberg site for some Washington Irving Christmas.  Try here.


Is a Puzzlement -- every year

I understand about the department stores.  Christmas gifts come but once a year.  But why are the grocery stores so crowded just before Christmas?

Yes, I know people are buying the turkey and the fixin's for the 25th of December.  Buy where do all these extra people get their food on, say,  the 12 of April?  Or the 29th of September?  Do they fast the other 51 weeks of the year?  Or do they grow all their own food and raise their own cattle and pigs but have difficulty raising turkeys?

Is a puzzlement.


Emphasizing Sacrality

This restoration of a sense of the Holiness and otherness of the One Oblation of the Lord Once Offered is going to be the greatest task, the most laborious up-hill struggle, for all those Western clergy who desire to re-enter the historic, ecumenical liturgical consensus of the Latin West and the Byzantine Churches and the Semitic Christian East. Its destruction in the West more than a generation ago was one of the greatest successes of the Evil One. Its recovery is the calling of faithful clergy in this third millennium.

from Fr Hunwicke's Mutual Enrichment.  More at the link.

The Infallible Word from Corporate

A Charlie Brown Christmas, one of the most iconic children’s Christmas specials around, was originally rejected by CBS on the grounds that they didn’t like amateur child voice actors voicing the characters, the anti-consumerism message, and the musical score.

From the "How to Geek" site which arrived in my inbox this morning.


Friday, December 06, 2019

Why Sexual Morality May Be More Important Than You Thought

Well, actually I did think it was rather important.  Getting it wrong could result in an eternity in hell.  But it seems there are other social and cultural reasons of resounding importance.

Begin here.



Pilfered shamelessly from the Chesterton Society's FB page.

Sunday, December 01, 2019

1st Sunday of Advent

Almighty God, give us grace that we may cast away the works of darkness, and put upon us the armour of light, now in the time of this mortal life, in which thy Son Jesus Christ came to visit us in great humility; that in the last day, when he shall come again in his glorious majesty, to judge both the quick and the dead; we may rise to the life immortal; through the same Jesus Christ thy Son our Lord, who liveth and reigneth with thee, in the unity of the Holy Ghost, ever one God, world without end. Amen.

 Thus a collect for the 1st Sunday of Advent.  In the Ordinariate it's also the feast of St Edmund Campion who was martyred on this first day of December in 1581.  He doesn't get a look-in this year  since in falls on an Advent Sunday.   You can read more about him here.

Saturday, November 30, 2019

St Andrew's Day

"The 30th of November is the feast of St Andrew the Apostle, the patron of Scotland  -- and Russia, Prussia, somewhere in Greece, Amalfi in Italy and a lot of other places and things,  too."

Which is how The Inn has begun its St Andrew's Day post more than once before.  For more on St Andrew and his feast click here or here.

You'll also find out about the St Andrew's Novena, which isn't actually a novena because it lasts 25 days and isn't actually to St Andrew.  But it does begin on his feast day.

For the less liturgically (or paraliturgically) minded, how about a short St Andrew's Day parade?

Wednesday, November 27, 2019

Happy Thanksgiving

Sunday, November 24, 2019

Maria Stuarda

Gorgeous stuff.  The Met just posted this a short while ago.  It's the finale to Act 1 of Donizetti's Maria Stuarda if you were wondering.  A shame Joyce di Donato doesn't try for the high D at the end but it's still one of the best.   IMHO only, of course.

Sunday, the Last before Advent

The Benedictus antiphon at lauds did sort of grab my attention this morning.

Cum videritis abominationem desolationis, quæ dicta est a Daniele propheta, stantem in loco sancto : qui legit intellegat.

Holy Mother Teresa de Jesus didn't believe in co-incidences.

Monday, November 11, 2019

Armistice Day/Veterans Day 2019

Someone sent me this today.  I thought it worth a share considering the day that's in it.

May GOD continue to bless all who serve... 
Vietnam Memorial Wall Facts 
A little history most people will never know. 
Interesting Veterans Statistics off the Vietnam Memorial Wall. 
There are 58,267 names now listed on that polished black wall, including those added in 2010. 
The names are arranged in the order in which they were taken from us by date and within each date the names are  in alphabetical order.                            
It is hard to believe it is 57 years since the first casualty. 
The first known casualty was Richard B. Fitzgibbon, of North Weymouth, Mass. Listed by the U.S. Department of Defense as having been killed on June 8, 1956. His name is listed on the Wall with that of his son, Marine Corps Lance Cpl. Richard B. Fitzgibbon III, who was killed on Sept. 7, 1965. 
There are three sets of fathers and sons on the Wall. 
39,996 on the Wall were just 22 or younger. 
8,283 were just 19 years old. 
The largest age group, 33,103 were 18 years old. 
12 soldiers on the Wall were 17 years old. 
5 soldiers on the Wall were 16 years old. 
One soldier, PFC Dan Bullock was 15 years old. 
997 soldiers were killed on their first day in Vietnam. 
1,448 soldiers were killed on their last day in Vietnam. 
31 sets of brothers are on the Wall. 
Thirty one sets of parents lost two of their sons. 
54 soldiers attended Thomas Edison High School in Philadelphia. I wonder why so many from one school. 
8 Women are on the Wall, Nursing the wounded. 
244 soldiers were awarded the Medal of Honor during the Vietnam War; 153 of them are on the Wall. 
Beallsville, Ohio with a population of 475 lost 6 of her sons. 
West Virginia had the highest casualty rate per capita in the nation. There are 711 West Virginians on the Wall. 
The Marines of Morenci - They led some of the scrappiest high school football and basketball teams that the little Arizona copper town of Morenci (pop. 5,058)had ever known and cheered. They enjoyed roaring beer busts. In quieter moments, they rode horses along the Coronado Trail, stalked deer in the Apache National Forest. And in the patriotic camaraderie typical of Morenci's mining families, the nine graduates of Morenci High enlisted as a group in the Marine Corps. Their service began on Independence Day, 1966.  Only 3 returned home. 
The Buddies of Midvale - LeRoy Tafoya, Jimmy Martinez, Tom Gonzales were all boyhood friends and lived on three consecutive streets in Midvale, Utah on Fifth, Sixth and Seventh avenues. They lived only a few yards apart. They played ball at the adjacent sandlot ball field. And they all went to Vietnam. In a span of 16 dark days in late 1967, all three would be killed. LeRoy was killed on Wednesday, Nov. 22, the fourth anniversary of John F. Kennedy's assassination. Jimmy died less than 24 hours later on Thanksgiving Day. Tom was shot dead assaulting the enemy on Dec. 7, Pearl Harbor Remembrance Day. 
The most casualty deaths for a single day was on January 31, 1968 ~ 245 deaths. 
The most casualty deaths for a single month was May 1968 - 2,415 casualties were incurred. 
For most Americans who read this they will only see the numbers that the Vietnam War created. To those of us who survived the war, and to the families of those who did not, we see the faces, we feel the pain that these numbers created. We are, until we too pass away, haunted with these numbers, because they were our friends, fathers, husbands, wives, sons and daughters. 

Saturday, November 09, 2019

This Seemed . . . Relevant

Part of this morning's scripture reading, from chapter  5 of Isaias.

This friend, that I love well, had a vineyard in a corner of his ground, all fruitfulness. 2 He fenced it in, and cleared it of stones, and planted a choice vine there; built a tower, too, in the middle, and set up a wine-press in it. Then he waited for grapes to grow on it, and it bore wild grapes instead. 3 And now, citizens of Jerusalem, and all you men of Juda, I call upon you to give award between my vineyard and me. 4 What more could I have done for it? What say you of the wild grapes it bore, instead of the grapes I looked for? 5 Let me tell you, then, what I mean to do to this vineyard of mine. I mean to rob it of its hedge, so that all can plunder it, to break down its wall, so that it will be trodden under foot. 6 I mean to make waste-land of it; no more pruning and digging; only briars and thorns will grow there, and I will forbid the clouds to water it. 7 Alas, it is the house of Israel that the Lord called his vineyard; the men of Juda are the plot he loved so. He looked to find right reason there, and all was treason; to find plain dealing, and he heard only the plaint of the oppressed.

 From Msgr Knox's translation.

Friday, November 08, 2019

St Hubert

He is the patron saint of hunters.  His feast day was actually earlier this week but I just came across this piece today.  If you didn't know you had a saintly patron, well, now you do.

Tolle, lege.

Wednesday, October 30, 2019

Bl Terence Albert O'Brien, O.P.

Frist noticed on my twitter feed . . . but I forgot from whom.  Sorry.

October 30th is the feast of Blessed Terence Albert O'Brien: Irish nobleman, Dominican friar, priest, Prior of Limerick, Provincial of Ireland, Bishop of Emly, supporter of the Confederation of Kilkenny, and martyr—executed by the Protestant Roundheads on this day in 1651.

More here.

Friday, October 25, 2019

Hotter Than the Hinges of Hell

Well, of course, I don't actually know whether hell has hinges or whether the weather hereabouts is hotter than the said hinges.  But 99° fahrenheit is exceedingly warm.  And if my grandfather were here he would definitely say it was hotter than the hinges of hell.

Not being English I didn't go out in the midday sun in the event you were wondering.  Sloshed some water on the garden this morning and otherwise stayed indoors and thanked God and all His blessed saints for air-conditioning.

It's supposed to be the same again tomorrow.  And the day after that.  And the day after that.   And so on until Monday.

And, yes, this whole tedious weather report is all just an excuse to post that Noel Coward clip.