Thursday, July 21, 2016

Is Someone Trying to Tell Me Something?

The crossword puzzle is the third thing in the morning paper order.  While eating breakfast, the first thing in order is, of course,  the comics.  That has to be done first.  It's so easy to lose the thread of the plot in Judge Parker since the latest artist draws all the men to look alike and all the women to look alike.  If you start missing days it takes a while to catch up.   Second is the baseball scores, especially the Angels.  Yes, the Angels.  See, you haven't been keeping up. They've been doing quite well lately, even with  half the team on the disabled list and a roster of unknowns on the field.  (There's a lovely singing group called The Anonymous Four.  I wonder if they'd mind if the Angels became known as The Anonymous Nine?)

And finally there are the crossword puzzles, which brings us to the point of this ramble.  One of the clues this morning was "time period when the meteor hit the earth".  Well, I had no idea and the intersecting clues weren't helping.   So out came the online puzzle dictionary.  The second answer in the list was "Monday". That didn't fit the spaces available but you can see where the sensitive soul might incur a light patina of perspiration.  I mean, four days away from now rather than, oh, I don't know, sometime long past, say the Pleistocene Era.  Gosh.

No sooner finished breakfast than Herself comes into the room and says  "Would you like armageddon?"  Sort of takes one's breath away, even for the non-sensitive soul. I can only respond "You mean now?  Or can it wait until Monday?"  Which confuses her mightily since she was referring to a book  about the dreaded former Secretary of State entitled "Armageddon" that she had just heard reviewed well on the radio.

We did get that sorted out.  But the years-long feeling of impending doom regarding both church and state, although diminished, does remain.

And how was your morning?

Saturday, June 25, 2016

Brexit and the Catholic Thing

Joseph Shaw reflects on this week's British referendum:

 For better for or for worse, we will be leaving this particular political structure. What is necessary now is to re-imagine the UK in Europe. And that is something for which UK Catholics have a special vocation.

The Catholic genius is a taking seriously the natural world, not as untainted by the Fall but not as evil either. This understanding makes science possible without making science a tyrant. It makes art possible without making art an idol. It gives us an appreciation of nature, without an embrace of paganism. Wherever Catholics are, there is an acceptance of the good things of life and the interesting things of life, the achievements of humanity and the glories of nature, alongside restraint, an openness to criticism, and balance. 
It is this that lies at the basis of European culture. For all the triumphs of European Protestant art and science—which as a Briton I certainly cannot ignore—the conceptual framework which makes all of this possible is Catholic, and the degree to which Protestantism has taken things towards a Manichean rejection of matter, or anti-intellectualism, and the degree to which reactions against such tendencies has given us Romantic neo-Paganism, European culture has declined, disintegrated, or simply come to a halt.

More here.


Friday, June 24, 2016

A New Priest for the Ordinariate in California

It's now 8:00 p.m., PDT here in the western-most part of the Ordinariate, so I think it is safe to state that Deacon Glen Baaten is now Fr Glen Baaten.

Looking forward to singing for the first Mass on Sunday.  There was even some talk of piping the processional but that seems not to have advanced very far.

Ad multos annos, Pater Reverende!

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Monarchy - ad orientem

Mrs Vidal's twitterfeed this afternoon cites to a comprehensive apologia for monarchy from an Eastern Orthodox perspective.  You can find it here.

A sample:
“Monarchy is superior to every other constitution and form of government. For polyarchy, where everyone competes on equal terms, is really anarchy and discord.” —Eusebius of Caesaria (4th Century)
“The three most ancient opinions about God are atheism (or anarchy), polytheism (or polyarchy), and monotheism (or monarchy). The children of Greece played with the first two; let us leave them to their games. For anarchy is disorder: and polyarchy implies factious division, and therefore anarchy and disorder. Both these lead in the same direction – to disorder; and disorder leads to disintegration; for disorder is the prelude to disintegration. What we honour is monarchy”—St. Gregory the Theologian (4th Century) 
In the 14th Century, St. Gregory of Palamas encountered a movement of revolution and democracy that he condemned:
“God has counted the Emperors worthy to rule over His inheritance, over His earthly Church.” 
A more recent saint, John of Kronstadt, put it more tersely:
“Hell is a democracy. Heaven is a kingdom.” 
However one may try to develop a theory of democracy over monarchism, he will not get there by citing the church fathers.


22 June -- S John Cardinal Fisher's Day of Execution

On 22 June 1535 St John Fisher, Cardinal and Bishop of Rochester, was beheaded for refuting Henry VIII's claims to be head of the Church in England. St John's holy death is well-described here, along with that of St Thomas More.

A collect for St John from the old English Missal:

O God, who on thy blessed Bishop John didst bestow grace valiantly to lay down his life for  truth and justice:  grant us by his intercession and example, so to lose our life for Christ in this world, that we may be counted worthy to find it in heaven.  Through the same Christ our Lord.  Amen.

I've had  little statue of St John Fisher on my desk for many years.  It was hand-carved by, if I recall correctly, a Catholic man in Taiwan.  I'm afraid it's not the loveliest piece of work ever carved.  And it doesn't bear the slightest resemblance to the Holbein drawing.  But it is the only statue I've ever seen of St John.


Monday, June 20, 2016

20 June -- St Alban, ProtoMartyr of England

Fr Phillips's page, Atonement on Line, gives us the story of St Alban's martyrdom as related by the Venerable Bede.  You can find it here.  His feast used to be on the 22d but the newer martyrs Ss Thomas More and John Cardinal Fisher are now on that day, it being the day St John was beheaded.

St Alban's collect from the old English Missal:

O God, who hast hallowed this day by the martyrdom of blessed Alban:  grant,we beseech thee, that as year by year we rejoice to pay him honour, so we  may be defended by his continual help.  Through Christ our Lord.  Amen.


Tuesday, June 07, 2016

Saints for 7 June

The Carmelite Order keeps the feast of Bl Anne of St Bartholomew today.  She was the constant companion and secretary of S Teresa of Avila.  After S Teresa's death, Bl Anne was the foundress of the Discalced Order in both France and Belgium.  The good old Catholic Encyclopædia has the names, places, and dates here.  (I know the headline says "Anne Garcia".  But it's the same person. Really.)

There  used to be a page based  on the old second nocturn giving far more interesting stories but it seems to have vanished.  At any rate, the old  link is broken.   The Carmelite Sisters of Ireland have a bit more on her life here.

Her collect in the old rite:

"Deus, qui beatam Annam Virginem tuam, eximium humilitatis exemplar effecisti : concede nobis, famulis tuis, ut illius vestigia sequentes, promissa humilibus praemia consequi valeamus. Per Dominum Nostrum Iesum Christum. Amen." 

My own translation (which you are welcome to criticize; I make no claim to proficiency):

Oh, God who didst make Blessed Anne, Thy virgin an exceptional exemplar of humility, grant to us Thy servants that following in her footsteps, we may be able to receive the reward promised to the humble. Through Our Lord Jesus Christ. Amen. 

It's also the feast in England and in the Benedictine and Cistercian Orders of St Robert of Newminster.  The good old Catholic Encyclopædia gives a vita here.  Wikipedia has something on him also.  It seems  to be taken largely, if not exclusively, from the Catholic Encyclopædia.  If you want to check, it's here.

Actually Useful Information

If you are running Windows 10 and are thoroughly fed up with those useless little icons that pop up when you click the Windows window pane icon in the lower left hand corner, I have good news for you.  I learned the other day that if you right click on that little window pane thing you get a whole list of useful links:  Task Manager, Control Panel, Device Manager, and more.  No stupid little  cartoons telling you that it's Tuesday and 69° in Lakewood.  Just really useful links to tasks you used to be able to perform before Mickey$oft decided to get creative.

You're welcome.

The First Tuesday in June

Well, it's that time again here in the People's Republic of California: it's votin' day.   For those who enjoy pointless exercises the polls are open all day.  Although, now  that I have typed that out, it occurs to me it's not entirely pointless.  One can still vote against yet another bond issue for the local post-pubescent baby-sitting service, a.k.a., the community college.  Otherwise, it's just which Democrat is going to be elected to which office.  (Yes, there are a couple of Republican sacrificial lambs on the ballot.  The phrase snowball-in-hell springs to mind.)

ADDENDUM:  The memsahib and I  did actually wander down to our local polling place and made the requisite marks on the ballot card.  Which the official ballot counting machine proceeded to reject.  The Voting Place Guy tried to process mine six times before apologizing and putting it in the official electoral plastic tub underneath the official ballot counting machine.  Same thing with Mary and with the fellow who voted before us.  And apparently more than a few others.  It seems to be happening all over this area.  Is it incompetence or election fraud?  Couldn't tell you.  In the long run, though, in this area it only matters if you're a Democrat.  Whoever gets the Democrat nomination will get an elected office.  If you're a Republican all you're going to get is the opportunity to put on your  resumé that you were the Republican nominee for senate or congress or whatever . . . and got squashed like a bug.

(The Voting Place Guy probably does have a more impressive title than Voting Place Guy but I don't know what it might be.)

Monday, May 23, 2016

From the Mail

Well, not the mail precisely.  The twitter feed in fact.  But it's sort of like email. What it was, was a quotation from GKC, is what it was:

Men are ruled, at this minute by the clock, by liars who refuse them news, and by fools who cannot govern.-- G.K. Chesterton
God bless us.  Pretty perspicacious 21st century opinions from someone who died in 1936.  This may be my new email sig line.


Civil War

No, nothing to do with the War of Northern Aggression.  I mean the one in the conservative media.  A citation to this arrived in this morning's mail.   How are the neocon commentariate going to handle a Trumpean win in November?

It will be interesting to see how some of the conservative "NeverTrump" commentators handle the blowback in the days and months ahead. This soon after the last of his challengers threw in the towel, it looks like Trump is going to be supported by the vast majority of GOP elected officials and a large number of PACs and major party contributors. 
If, as expected, Clinton is the Democratic nominee and the race tightens, the pressure on those elements of the conservative intelligentsia who are pledging not to support Trump will be immense. So immense, in fact, that it's not clear whether their futures would look better if Trump subsequently wins or loses. If he wins, they lose access to the White House (and the Republican Party), and if he loses (and particularly should he lose narrowly), they will be held responsible for every objectionable thing subsequently done by President Hillary Clinton.

Interesting  stuff.  Will the rhetorical decibel level ratchet down a few clicks?  Will this make a difference:

. . . . the guess here is that many of Trump's most vocal critics will persevere in their opposition, though their rhetoric and tactics will undoubtedly be molded somewhat by the opinion polls as Election Day approaches. After all, many of the conservative outlets of news and opinion, funded as they are by wealthy benefactors like Philip Anschutz (The Weekly Standard), are not dependent financially on marketplace factors like advertising or subscription revenue.

Indeed.  Why reduce the bombast when you're not really an organ of conservative thought anyway but a mouthpiece for the oligarchy?


Monday, May 16, 2016

From the Mail

And in the said mail this morning was a catalogue.  (You thought this was going to be some sort of political commentary, didn't you.  Or about divorced and remarried deaconesses receiving communion or something.  Well it isn't.)

Not just any catalogue, either.  A  J.Peterman catalogue. And after all these years.  You'll be delighted to know it's still a great read.  I always enjoyed those things but I thought J.P. went belly-up years ago.   And yet here a new catalogue is in my mailbox.  A short search reveals that according to Wikipedia - which you can read for yourself here -- J.P. did go bust.  Not once but twice.  Yet phoenix-like, here it is back again with a new catalogue.

Not that I'll ever actually buy anything from it.  A hundred bucks or so for a short sleeve shirt?  That'll be the day.  But I do hope J.P. has loads of customers with far more cash than this impecunious musician and pensioned-off scribbler.  The J.Peterman catalogue is more fun than anything else the postman is likely to bring me.

16 May -- St Simon Stock, a.k.a. Simon Anglius

16 May is the traditional feast of St Simon Stock, an early Father General of the Carmelite Order and the one to whom Our Lady gave the Carmelite scapular.  The Inn has had something to say about St Simon most years. Here's the post from 2005.

The old collect for today from the Discalced Carmelite propers:

Plebs tibi, Domine, Virginique Matri dicata, beati Simonis, quem ei Rectorem et Patrem dedisti, solemnitate lætetur : et sicut per eum tantæ protectionis signum obtinuit; ita prædestinationis æternæ munera consequatur. Per Dominum. Amen
O Lord, Thy people dedicated to the Virgin Mother rejoice in the solemnity of Blessed Simon whom Thou didst give to them as guide and father; may they receive the eternally predestined reward the sign of which protection was received through him. Through Christ our Lord. Amen.
(The picture shown above is a bit more accurate than most illustrations of St Simon in that it shows the original striped cloak of the Order.)


Saturday, May 07, 2016

Not Your Usual Encomium

"He is vulgar, abusive, nasty, rude, boorish and outrageous."  The quote is from Paul Johnson and he means it as A Good Thing.  No, honestly.  You can read it for  yourself here.


Friday, May 06, 2016

Politics, Religion, and the Ruling Class

That's the title of the article in Catholic World Report - which you can find  here - which consists of an interview with Dr. Angelo M. Codevilla who gives a very good explanation of where we are now politically and culturally.  Well-worth a read.

(My only reservation would be the shot at The Donald.   Seems a bit unfair considering what else was - and is - on offer.)

A sample:

 In the common sense of humanity, and hence in dictionaries, the word “family” is defined by biology as augmented by marriage (which is a mingling of biologies) and adoption. The very essence of Progressivism’s many forms is to imagine and to treat individuals as if they existed without irrevocable biological connections—as neither son nor daughter, husband or wife, father or mother. Progressivist regimes—ours no different from that of Sweden or the Soviet Union—demand that we regard all human relationships as the result of revocable choices. All, except the relationship between each and every individual and the regime itself. That, we are to consider our parent, our spouse, our progeny.


The Merry Month of May

The happy birds Te Deum sing,
'Tis Mary's month of May;
Her smile turns winter into spring,
And darkness into day;
And there's a fragrance in the air,
The bells their music make,
And O the world is bright and fair,
And all for Mary's sake.

Where'er we seek the holy Child,
At every sacred spot,
We meet the Mother undefiled;
Who shun her seek him not:
At cloistered Nazareth we see.
At haunted Bethlehem,
The throne of Jesus, Mary's knee,
Her smile, his diadem.

The Daughter, Mother, Spouse of God,
None silence her appeal
Who long to tread where Jesus trod,
What Jesus felt to feel.
O, Virgin-born, from thee we learn
To love thy Mother dear;
Her teach us duly to discern.
And rightly to revere.

To love the Mother, people say,
Is to defraud the Son.
For them, alas, there dawns no May,
Until their hearts are won:
Then, when their hearts begin to burn.
Ah, then, to Jesus true,
And loving whom he loves, they learn
To love Saint Mary too.

How many are the thoughts that throng
On faithful souls to-day!
All year we sing our Lady's song,
'Tis still the song of May:
Magnificat! O may we feel
That rapture more and more;
And chiefly, Lord, what time we kneel
Thine altar-throne before.

'Tis then, when at thy feet we pray,
We share our Lady's mirth;
Her joy we know who hail to-day
Thy Eucharistic birth;
That trembling joy to Mary sent,
Ah, Christians know it well,
With whom in his dear sacrament
Their Saviour deigns to dwell.

Yes, Mary's month has come again,
The merry month of May;
And sufferers forget their pain,
And sorrows flee away,
And joys return, the hearts whose moan
Was desolate erewhile
Are blithe and gay - once more they own
The charm of Mary's smile.

Thy Son our Brother is, and we,
Whatever may betide,
A Mother, Mary, have in thee,
A guardian and a guide;
Thy smiles a tale of gladness tell
No words can ever say?
If but, like thee, we love him well,
The year will all be May.

All hail! An angel spake the words
We lovingly repeat;
The song-notes of the singing birds
They are not half so sweet:
This is a music that endures,
It cannot pass away,
For Mary's children it ensures
A never-ending May.

The above is an old Anglo-Catholic hymn which I have pilfered from Watts and Co.'s FB post this morning.  We are, of course, well into Mary's month of May and it's past due time that I crank up The Inn and take it for a spin around the block to make sure the battery is still charged.  I'm told the hymn is best sung to the tune "O Little Town of Bethlehem".  Although some have seen fit to use "The Lincolnshire Poacher" and, mirabile dictu, "British Grenadiers".  I'd stick with "Little Town".

This is probably not a bad post in which to link again to "Come Pray the Rosary".  It's here.  It's the best of the "recite along" options on the web.  I very much doubt that it counts as prayer-with-others for purposes of getting the indulgence but I find it a great help.


Monday, March 28, 2016

Lent is Over

And not a moment too soon, either.  We laid in a supply of sweet rolls for Easter Sunday breakfast and ice cream for after dinner which I enjoyed tremendously.  Possibly to excess, although it didn't seem like it at the time.

And the garden has decided that it really is spring.

The roses in the front are exploding.

And this tiny little plot of geraniums next to the garage are joining in.  I can't find the picture of the azaleas but they are, too.

Easter Octave

The  picture above is of our little chapel directly after our beautiful Holy Saturday liturgy.  The tomb is empty and the tabernacle isn't.  There are all sorts pictures of our Holy Week service here and there on the net.  Which is kind of odd as I didn't see anyone taking them.  But there they are.  You can find some of them on the parish's FB page here.

Hæc dies quam fecit Dominus . . .

. . . exultemus et lætemur in ea!  Happy Easter Monday.

I can't come up with a proper connection to the holiday for this piece.  And so for no particular reason other than that I like the tune and the playing,  here is Anatoly Isaev playing Cuckold Come Out of the Amrey on the Scottish lowland pipes.   In Russia.

And Xpictoc Bockpece!  (Pretty good, eh?  Considering I don't  have a real Slavonic font on this machine.)

Friday, March 25, 2016

"A conjunction considered to be both deliberate and profoundly meaningful"

That would be today's festal conjunction of Annunciation Day and Good Friday.  The Clerk of Oxford's explanation here should not be missed.  Both beautiful and fascinating.


Sunday, March 20, 2016

Palm Sunday

The Donkey

When fishes flew and forests walked
And figs grew upon thorn
Some moment when the moon was blood
Then surely I was born.

With monstrous head and sickening cry
And ears like errant wings
The devil’s walking parody
On all four-footed things.

The tattered outlaw of the earth,
Of ancient crooked will;
Starve, scourge, deride me: I am dumb,
I keep my secret still.

Fools! For I also had my hour;
One far fierce hour and sweet:
There was a shout about my ears,
And palms before my feet.

Thursday, March 10, 2016

International Bagpipe Day

In honour of International Bagpipe Day, i.e., today, here are three, um, international bagpipes playing a Swedish tune on some good-sounding pipes with sweet harmonies.  It's called Vännens Långdans, which we are told means "Friends Långdans".

From the text on the You Tube page:

From left to right -
Säckpipa (D/G) (Swedish bagpipes) - Scottish smallpipes (A chanter, D drones) - English Borderpipes (G)

The Swedish pipe player is Vickie Swan but the other two ladies aren't identified.

Thursday, March 03, 2016

Chrism Mass . . .

. . . Ordinariate style.  This will be the first one any of the three Ordinariates have celebrated.  And the first one using Divine Worship - The Missal.

Alas, it will also be in Washington, D.C., a couple of thousand miles -more or less - from here.  So your servant will not be in attendance.  But if you're in the neighbourhood come St Patrick's day, NLM provides the details here.


Tuesday, March 01, 2016

Dydd Gwyl Dewi Dedwydd!

Once again I am risking my reputation (what there is of it) and relying solely upon the accuracy of the internet.  Which is to say, that title up there had better mean "Happy St David's Day" in Welsh or I shall be mightily embarrassed.

St David - the sixth century bishop, not the King of Israel - is the patron saint of Wales and today is his feast.  The Inn has something about his life here.  This is his collect from the English Missal:

Grant to us, almighty God: that the loving intercession of blessed David, thy Confessor and Bishop, may protect us; that while we celebrate his festival we may imitate his steadfastness in the defence of the Catholic faith. Through Christ our Lord.  Amen.

Fr Hunwicke this morning mused:

 Didn't the SSPX church in London begin as a church for Welsh Anglicans? I wonder if they honour their origins by singing Cwm Rhondda at Benediction

Indeed, he was probably thinking of the verse

Bread of heaven, Bread of heaven,
Feed me now and ever more,
Feed me now and ever more! 

Now we are talking SSPX here.  I doubt English at Benediction is going to fly. But in fact, the words to Tantum Ergo fit Cym Rhondda pretty much perfectly.  Perhaps a touch livelier than Benediction is meant to be.  But what a great tune it is.

Here.  Get out your Missal and look up the words to Tantum Ergo; it'll be in the Benediction section in the back.  You can sing along. All together: one, two:

. . .Procedenti, Procedenti, Procedenti ab utroque
Compar sit laudatio.

Wonderful stuff.

Monday, February 29, 2016

Found While Looking for Something Else

That little piece of business is a list of the officers of the court of common pleas in Dublin sometime in the 18th century.  The source, if I recall correctly, actually did give an exact date.   But alas, I don't recall, the source or the exact date . . . correctly or otherwise.   I know.  I should write these  things down.

And look at all those wonderful titles.  Would you like to be the court's own Tipstaff and Cryer?  Mind, you'd probably have to work your way up from Deputy  Cryer.  A Chirographer is listed but then says to see the Keeper of the Writs.  Are they the same thing?  Or does the Chirographer work for the Keeper of the Writs?  The Clerk of the King's Silver has a deputy; I suspect they keep a close eye on each other.

I would probably be taking advantage of the Clerk of the Essoins.  The dictionary says this fellow is in charge of excuses for not showing up, e.g.,  the dog ate my writs and I had to chirograph a whole new set.

As [almost] always, you can click on the roster above and make it a good deal larger and more legible.

Sunday, February 21, 2016

Not his feast day . . .

. . . but as I'm about to leave for Mass I see on my calendar notes that it is Bl John Henry Newman's birthday.  He'd be 215 years of age today.

Deus, qui beatum Ioannem Henricum presbyterum lumen benignum tuum sequentem pacem in Ecclesia tua invenire contulisti: concede propitius; ut, eius intercessione et exemplo, ex umbris et imaginibus in plenitudinem veritatis tuae perducamur. Per Dominum Nostrum Iesum Christum.  Amen.

Almost all you'll ever need to know about Blessed John.


Tuesday, February 16, 2016

Can HRC really be that unaware of the uses of youtube?

Before the primary season is over this little piece of business will be edited and inserted into more imaginative youtube productions than you can count.  You know it will.

What will?


10 to 1 it'll be the Howard Dean howl of 2016.


The Devil Hates Latin . . .

. . . as did a lot of  high school students back when I was an aspiring scholar.  But apparently the devil, who is better at it than we were, really hates Latin.  As an American exorcist has noticed more than once.

NLM elucidates here.


Monday, February 15, 2016

St Valentine - a belated note

St Valentine never got a mention here yesterday.  (And, yes, it is still his feast day on the calendar of the traditional Roman Rite.)  I was on the QM all weekend with the local branches of the RSCDS demonstrating what we do and hoping to attract some interested folks.  Mentioning St Valentine, along with my annual whinge about why our most reverend fathers-in-God chose to eliminate from the Pauline calendar one of the very few saints which the secular world still recognizes, got neglected.  It was, alas, not the only thing neglected over the weekend.  But to the point.

Mrs Vidal was not so neglectful.  A nice piece about St Valentine can be found here.

Justice Antonin Scalia, R.I.P.

There's a delightful interview with the late Justice Scalia that you can find by clicking here.  Please do so; it's well-worth the time.  You'll thank me.

A sample:

I don’t know how, by your lights, that’s going to be regarded in 50 years.
I don’t know either. And, frankly, I don’t care. Maybe the world is spinning toward a wider acceptance of homosexual rights, and here’s Scalia, standing athwart it. At least standing athwart it as a constitutional entitlement. But I have never been custodian of my legacy. When I’m dead and gone, I’ll either be sublimely happy or terribly unhappy.
You believe in heaven and hell? Oh, of course I do. Don’t you believe in heaven and hell?
No. Oh, my.
Does that mean I’m not going? [Laughing.] Unfortunately not!
Wait, to heaven or hell?
It doesn’t mean you’re not going to hell, just because you don’t believe in it. That’s Catholic doctrine! Everyone is going one place or the other.


Monday, February 01, 2016

Lá Féile Naomh Bríde

Today is the feast of St Bridget, patroness of Ireland, and not incidentally of my wife.

From The Life of St Brigit by Cogitosus, excerpted from The Customary of Our Lady of Walsingham:

. . .On another occasion the blessed Brigid felt a tenderness for some ducks that she saw swimming on the water and occasionally taking wing.  She bid them fly to her, and a great flock of them flew towards her, without any fear, as if they were humans under obedience to her.  She touched them with her hand and embraced them tenderly.  She then released them and they flew into the sky.  And as they did so she praised God the Creator of all living things, to whom all life is subject, and for the service of whom all life is a gift. . . .

The collect for St Brigid from the Masses proper to England and Wales in the old English Missal:

O God, who on this day dost make us to rejoice in the yearly solemnity of blessed Brigid thy Virgin : graciously grant ; that we who are enlightened by the example of her chastity, may be aided by her merits. Through Christ our Lord.  Amen.
The collect in the Pauline Rite:

Lord, you inspired Saint Brigid such whole-hearted dedication to your work that she is known as Mary of the Gael; through her intercession bless our country; may we follow the example of her life and be united with her and the Virgin Mary in your presence.  We make our prayer through Christ our  Lord .  Amen.
The monks of St Benedict's Abbey in Norcia have been brewing their own beer for a while now.  You may have seen a notice here and there that their beer is soon to be available in the U.S.  You can find out about it here.  They're far from being the first brewing abbey.  That talent goes at least as far back as . . . St Brigid.

In his Lives of the British Saints the Rev. Sabine Baring-Gould informs us that St Brigid was no mean brew-mistress:

She was famous for the ale she brewed, and on one occasion supplied seventeen churches in Meath with liquor from Maundy Thursday to Low Sunday. She also furnished [St] Mel, her diocesan, with beer continually. Lepers and poor people clamoured for her ale, and on one occasion she bluntly told them that all she could give them was her bath-water. The [medieval] biographer improves this story into a miracle, her tubbing water was converted into excellent beer. Indeed such was her desire to supply the Saints with wholesome home-brewed ale, that the only hymn of hers that has been preserved, runs as follows: 
I should like a great lake of ale
For the King of Kings!
I should like the whole family of heaven
To be drinking it eternally. 
One day Bishop Mel arrived with a large party of clerics, and clamoured for breakfast. "This is well for you to be hungry," replied Brigid, "but we also are hungry and thirsty, and that for the Word of God. Go into the church first and serve us with the spiritual banquet. After that we will attend to your victuals."


Monday, January 25, 2016


One of the truly puzzling questions of modern culture was brought up in the morning paper the other day by Darby Conley in the comics section, one of the two sections of the paper that can still be trusted, the other being the box scores in baseball season.  It was this:  who exactly is it that dresses Dracula?  I  mean, think about it.  He really is remarkably well turned out for someone who can't use a mirror.  And that doesn't even reach the issue of how his shirts remain impeccable despite his living, for want of a better word, in a half millennium old burial chamber with all the attendant half millennium old dirt, mold, and cobwebs.

Sunday, January 24, 2016

For those - if any - who have noted my absence:

The Inn has been rather neglected these past few weeks, hasn't it.  But I have a legitimate excuse this time.  No, honestly!  Mary had knee-replacement surgery on the 4th of January and I have either been at the hospital keeping her company and learning how to help with the physical therapy or, now that she's home, actually helping with the said physical therapy, keeping track of the various medication schedules - mostly not a problem, except the one at 3:00 a.m. - and generally playing valet so that she doesn't get up and try to do things she shouldn't.  There wasn't a lot of time left for non-essentials, which, alas, The Inn is.

And she's doing rather well, thank you for asking.  Better in fact than most others we've known who've had the surgery.  Not ready for any three-beat pas de basque just yet.  But progressing nicely.

If you're thinking of this procedure for yourself, be forewarned.  As good as the end result will be, the first part of the recovery period is murderously painful.  Everyone in Mary's ward had had this operation and everyone hurt.   A lot.



One of the hymns this morning:

God of grace and God of glory,
On thy people pour thy power;
Crown thine ancient Church's story:
Bring her bud to glorious flower.
  Grant us wisdom, grant us courage,
  For the living of these days.
  For the living of these days. 
Lo! the hosts of evil round us
Scorn thy Christ, assail his ways!
From the fears that long have bound us
Free our hearts to faith and praise:
  Grant us wisdom, grant us courage,
  For the living of these days.
  For the living of these days. 
Cure thy children's warring madness,
Bend our pride to thy control;
Shame our wanton, selfish gladness,
Rich in things and poor in soul.
  Grant us wisdom, grant us courage,
  Lest we miss thy kingdom's goal.
  Lest we miss thy kingdom's goal.
It didn't really have much to do with Septuagesima but those seemed like particularly worthy aspirations for the year of Our Lord 2016.  And it didn't hurt at all that it's sung to the tune Cym Rhondda, one of my very favourite hymn tunes.  You can find a knock-out version of the tune here at the 22.30 mark.  It's sung in Welsh and, FWIW, the Welsh lyrics don't have anything whatsoever to do with the lyrics given above.

If you're annoyed about the misleading headline and really want to read about Septuagesima, try Fr Hunwicke's article here.  As always, well-worth a read.


Friday, January 01, 2016

How to Get a Seal Out of Your Monastery

So now you can't see you never learned anything useful from The Inn.

Tuesday, December 29, 2015

December 29 -- St Thomas Becket, Archbishop of Canterbury: The Hooly Blissful Martyr

Whan that Aprill, with his shoures soote
The droghte of March hath perced to the roote
And bathed every veyne in swich licour,
Of which vertu engendred is the flour;
Whan Zephirus eek with his sweete breeth
Inspired hath in every holt and heeth
The tendre croppes, and the yonge sonne
Hath in the Ram his halfe cours yronne,
And smale foweles maken melodye,
That slepen al the nyght with open eye-
(So priketh hem Nature in hir corages);
Thanne longen folk to goon on pilgrimages
And palmeres for to seken straunge strondes
To ferne halwes, kowthe in sondry londes
And specially from every shires ende
Of Engelond, to Caunterbury they wende,
The hooly blisful martir for to seke
That hem hath holpen, whan that they were seeke.

--Geoffrey Chaucer, "The Book of the Tales of Caunterbury"

St Thomas of Canterbury is something of a favourite here and The Inn has kept his feast day most years with a longish (for The Inn, anyway) post.  This is a re-run from a dozen years ago with more about how his feast and the pilgrimage grew up than we usually see.  Herewith:

No other pilgrimage in Britain was as popular as that to the shrine of today's saint, St Thomas Becket, also called St Thomas a' Becket or St Thomas of Canterbury. Chaucer's Canterbury Tales are told by travellers on such a pilgrimage to the shrine of St Thomas.

John Adair in "The Pilgrim's Way: Shrines and Saints in Britain & Ireland" gives several pages of descriptions of the first Canterbury pilgrims. A sampling:

Within days of the martyrdom of St Thomas pilgrims from the town and countryside near Canterbury began to converge on the cathedral, the first streams which swelled into a mighty river of pilgrims. The wonderful efficacy of the Saint’s entombed body and the few drops of his blood mixed with gallons of water – the famous Water of St Thomas – drew invalids towards them like iron filings attracted to a magnet. Soon a monk called Benedict, who had heard the sounds of Becket’s murder as he hid inside the cathedral, received directions to act as custodian of the relics and to minister to the sick folk whom he described as ‘lying in pain all about the church.’ Later a more credulous monk called William was appointed to act as his colleague. William had also heard the knights enter the cathedral, but when FitzUrse bellowed ‘Strike! Strike!’ he fled away and justified himself later on the grounds that he felt no call to be a martyr. From Benedict’s record of the miracles performed by St Thomas in the first year after his death we are able to identify some of the earliest Canterbury pilgrims by name, and to catch a glimpse of their humanity.
The news of Becket’s murder certainly travelled fast. Two days later, the wife of a Sussex knight prayed to St Thomas and experienced a miraculous cure. On Saturday a Glocester girl found that her head pains had gone after she invoked the martyr, while on the following day the swollen arm of William Belet, knight of Enborne in Berkshire, resume its normal size. 
It is no wonder that pilgrims hearing such stories hastened to the tomb at Canterbury. Robert, a smith of Thanet , blind for two years, received his sight back that first Whitsuntide after the martyrdom: three medallions of stained glass in the rebuilt Trinity Chapel, where the shrine later stood, depict the cure and his subsequent offering of a large bowl of gold pieces in gratitude. Mad Henry of Fordwich, dragged by his friends struggling and shouting to the tomb of St Thomas and left there all night, recovered his senses. Two servants of the elderly and paralysed SirWiliam of Dene supported their master in the saddle, one walking on each side, but thanks to his mraculous cure he returned home on foot leaving his crutches at the tomb. A lady called Saxera of Dover slept by the tomb all night and dreamt that St Thomas appeared to her saying ‘Rise, offer thy candle.’ When she awoke her intestinal complaint had disappeared. Richard, son of Walter, a scholar of Northampton, who had endured diarrhoea and liver trouble for nine years, arrived in a carriage but walked away from Canterbury completely cured. 
. . . . . . . . . . . . . 
The Saint could be vindictive to those who deceived him or showed disrespect to his relics. He struck blind a man who had been pretending to be blind. Two boys who fell asleep at his shrine leaning their heads upon it returned home unhealed. An impious person frequently found his pyx of Water mysteriously emptied before he had taken many steps from the cathedral. These early wooden boxes or pyxes containing the ‘blood’ of the ‘Lamb of Canterbury’, some with mirrors fitted inside the lids for lady pilgrims, tended to leak anyway. Earthenware broke too easily, so the townsfolk used cast lead or tin phials. These ‘ampullae’, usually hung around the neck, became one of the more popular badges or tokens of the Canterbury pilgrimage, just as the scallop-shell served for St James of Compostela and the palm-leaf for Jerusalem. 

For more on St Thomas, see the always reliable Catholic Encyclopaedia article or this link which itself links to two more retellings of his story. The medieval "Golden Legend" treatment of his story, which can be found in full here, ends this way:

Now after that S. Thomas departed from the pope, the pope would daily look upon the white chasuble that S. Thomas had said mass in, and the same day that he was martyred he saw it turned into red, whereby he knew well that that same day he suffered martyrdom for the right of holy church, and commanded a mass of requiem solemnly to be sung for his soul. And when the quire began to sing requiem, an angel on high above began the office of a martyr: Letabitur justus, and then all the quire followed singing forth the mass of the office of a martyr. And the pope thanked God that it pleased him to show such miracles for his holy martyr, at whose tomb by the merits and prayers of this holy martyr our blessed Lord hath showed many miracles. The blind have recovered their sight, the dumb their speech, the deaf their hearing, the lame their limbs, and the dead their life. If I should here express all the miracles that it hath pleased God to show for this holy saint it should contain a whole volume, therefore at this time, I pass over unto the feast of his translation, where I propose with the grace of God to recite some of them. Then let us pray to this glorious martyr to be our advocate, that by his petition we may come to everlasting bliss. Amen. 

from: "The Golden Legend or Lives of the Saints." Compiled by Jacobus de Voragine, Archbishop of Genoa, 1275. Englished by William Caxton, First Edition 1483

Bagpipes On The Canterbury Pilgrimage: A Sidelight 

More from Adair's "The Pilgrim's Way":

“Not far from Southwark Chaucer’s miller began to play upon his bagpipes. In the reign of Henry IV an accused Lollard could tell his questioner, Archbishop Arundel of Canterbury:

I know well that when divers men and women will go after their own wills, and finding out a pilgrimage, they will order to have with them both men and women that can sing wanton songs; and some other pilgrims will have with them bagpipes, so that every town they came through, what with the noise of their singing and the sound of their piping, and with the jangling of their Canterbury Bells, and with the barking out of dogs after them, that they make more noise than if the king came that way, with all his clarions and minstrels. And if these men and women be a month in their pilgrimage, many of them shall be half a year after great janglers, tale-tellers and liars.

“The Archbishop replied:

Pilgrims have with them singers and also pipers, that when one of them which goes barefoot strikes his toe upon a stone and makes it to bleed, it is well done that he and his fellows begin then a song, or else take out of his bosom a bagpipe, to drive away with such mirth the hurt of his fellow. For with such solace the travail and weariness of pilgrims is lightly and merrily brought forth."


Friday, December 25, 2015

One More For the Day That's In It

Ein Kind ist uns geboren by Die Familie Rehm:

Christmas Day

Very quiet day today; hardly a sound from the whole neighbourhood.   Even the ever-voluble dogs next door haven't found much to howl, growl, or bark at.  Mary's been busy cooking the dinner but I haven't done anything that even rises to the level of puttering about.

Went to Midnight Mass last night.  Well, midnightish.  10:00 p.m. in fact, as you already know.  Today's obligations have been limited to breviary, rosary, and eating the dinner.  The nap was optional.

If you've some time on your hands, as it seems you do since you're reduced to reading The Inn, have a listen to some lovely Christmas music from Oesch's die Dritten and friends.

Thursday, December 24, 2015

Christmas Mass

Many years ago we had a new priest from Ireland assisting at our parish.  It was a never-ending source  of amazement  to him that Americans would phone the rectory and ask what time Midnight Mass was.  It seems that in Ireland Midnight Mass was always at -- wait for it --  midnight.  Not so here in the lower left-hand corner of the United States.  And, indeed, this very night we will have Midnight Mass in our little chapel in just a few hours at 10:00 p.m.  Our little borrowed chapel . . . so we won't be doing any heavy-duty decorating as the folks shown above are doing.  But some day.  In the meantime, if you're in the neighbourhood you'll be very welcome.

Details here.

For the Really, Really Non-Christmas Inclined

Why Massachusetts in the 17th century may not be the ideal spot to celebrate Christmas, white or otherwise.

Somebody's Local

Not, alas, mine.  But what a lovely shop-front.

The Irish Times has a story about it here but the picture is the interest-catcher, which you can, as always, click on and render so large as to be able to analyze the grain in the wooden frontage.


For the Non-Christmas Inclined

The Christmas Martyrology

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 prior of Silverstream Priory in County Meath, chants the Martyrology:

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 .
Another one.
The Latin original is reprinted here.

There 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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24 December -- O Virgo Virginum

A "bonus" antiphon.  O Virgo Virginum was sung in the Sarum Rite and in some of the continental rites, possibly the Præmonstratensian usage also.  In those usages it didn't really occur on the 24th of December but the 23d and previous antiphons were each moved back a day, beginning with O Sapientia on the 16th.

Fr East didn't post a commentary on O Virgo Virginum but someone else at that site gave a bit of information here.

More on the use of the O Virgo Virginum text in the Ordinariate usage (a.k.a. "Anglican Use") can be found here.  Indeed there is a good deal more about the expanded usage of all the Magnificat texts at that link.


This Just In . . . .

"Christianity's a complex religion on which millions consider themselves experts because, as kids, they went to church twice with Uncle Jimmy."

The above, which popped up in my Twitter feed not an hour ago, made me smile.  Not entirely sure how to link to one of those Twitter things but click on this.  It looks like it ought to work.


Wednesday, December 23, 2015

Sir David Wilcocks and Lessons and Carols

At 3pm on Christmas Eve, millions of radios around the world will be tuned to the Festival of Nine Lessons and Carols from King’s College Chapel in Cambridge in time to hear the pure voice of a single boy chorister singing one of the hardest solos of the church calendar, the first verse of “Once in Royal David’s City”. 
For many, this signals the start of Christmas. Broadcasts of the Christmas Eve service from King’s began in 1928, but arguably it was under the guidance of Sir David Willcocks, who died in September 2015, aged 95, that the service – and the choir – became household names.

Click here and learn more about Sir David and his now classic arrangements of Christmas hymns and carols.  We've been able to sing some of his - no doubt easier - arrangements and they really are a delight.  The article includes three youtube recordings of his carols which you ought to listen to even if you don't read the entire article.  (Although you should; it really does help in appreciating what he's done in arranging the carols.)

23 December -- O Emmanuel

Digging deeper into the sources of today's Magnificat antiphon: click here.


Tuesday, December 22, 2015

22 December -- O Rex Gentium

And not only the Rex gentium, but also the lapis angularis, qui facis utraque unum.

A number of texts have been combined to produce a coherent theology: Christ is the Lord of all nations, both Jews and Gentiles, as a corner-stone supports both walls;  he is the agent through whom both were made, and will lead both to a destiny greater than anything in their previous existence.

Read on here.


Monday, December 21, 2015

Lump of Coal Award for Ancestry dot com

What they've done is to abandon users of the genealogy software Family Tree Maker.  Read about it here.

ADDENDUM:  No, it isn't a random rant.  I am, shall we say, personally aggrieved.

21 December -- O Oriens

And today's explication is here.