Sunday, March 19, 2017

St Patrick's Day as was

God help us, The Inn missed a St Patrick's Day mention on the day entirely.  His collect from the old English Missal:

O God, who for the preaching of thy glory unto the Gentiles wast pleased to send forth blessed  Patrick, thy confessor and Bishop : grant by his merits and intercession ; that we may through thy mercy be enabled to accomplish those things which thou commandest us to do. Through Christ our Lord. Amen.
For more than you even knew existed about St Patrick, bookmark this wonderful site Trias Thaumaturga and peruse at your leisure.  There is much for the feasts of St Brigid (1 February) and St Colum Cille (9 June) also.

And in an attempt to atone for inexcusable tardiness, here is the St Laurence O'Toole Pipe Band's medley performance at the 2015 Worlds.


Monday, March 13, 2017

Cue impending doom music. . .

. . . because Friday the 13th occurs on a Monday this month, i.e., today.

Well, certainly.  Why did you think?  Oh, that.  Well, of course, that too.  But in any event caution is still advisable.  So don't break any ladders or walk under any mirrors.  It's bad luck to be superstitious.

Sunday, March 12, 2017

12 March

Today is not only the feast of St Gregory the Great but it's also the day on which in 1622 that same Gregory canonized Teresa of Avila, Ignatius Loyola, Philip Neri, and St Frances of Rome.

2d Sunday in Lent

The Blogspot folks have been messing about with what I have always called the control panel but which they, for some reason, refer to as the dashboard.  And the template was missing this afternoon.  It seems ungrateful to complain about a free service so I only mention this to inform those of you who also use Blogspot that the template is still there.  After rather more time puttering around with the control panel/dashboard than I had planned on, I found that if you click on the "Theme" link you'll discover the template.

So you'll notice that I have finally been able to change "Shrovetide" and "February" to "Lent" and "March" over there on the left-hand panel.

And speaking of Lent, today is the 2d Sunday thereof and for no other reason than that I liked it, here is the collect from our Ordinariate Mass this morning:

ALMIGHTY God, who seest that we have no power of ourselves to help ourselves: keep us both outwardly in our bodies, and inwardly in our souls; that we may be defended from all adversities which may happen to the body, and from all evil thoughts which may assault and hurt the soul; through Jesus Christ thy Son our Lord, who liveth and reigneth with thee, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, ever one God, world without end. Amen.
It's essentially a translation of the collect in the traditional Roman rite.

Sunday, February 26, 2017

Quinquagesima Sunday

And, to repeat, also called Shrove Sunday or Dominica ingressus  ieiunii, or as the old English bard would've written, if he'd thought of it, penance is ycumen in. And so it is with Ash Wednesday just around the corner.

The epistle for today in the traditional rite is the charity epistle, 1 Corinthians 13:1-13.  The lovely old prayer book collect riffs on St Paul's text nicely:

O LORD, who hast taught us that all our doings without charity are nothing worth; Send thy Holy Ghost, and pour into our hearts that most excellent gift of charity, the very bond of peace and of all virtues, without which whosoever liveth is counted dead before thee. Grant this for thine only Son Jesus Christ's sake. Amen. 

And an Old English sermon for Quinquagesima.

 'Now a pure and holy time draws near, in which we should atone for our neglect. Every Christian, therefore, should come to his confession and confess his hidden sins, and amend according to the guidance of his teacher; and let everyone encourage each other to good by good example, so that all people may say of us what was said of the blind man when his eyes were enlightened: that is, All people who saw that miracle praised God, who lives and reigns forever without end. Amen.'

The rest is here in Old English and in Dr Parker's rather more modern version.


The Inn missed mentioning Septuagesima Sunday on the day, burying the Alleluia the day before, and half of Septuagesima week was gone before I got round to up-dating Miss Chadwick's liturgical reminders over there in the left-hand column.  The Inn isn't being minded as diligently as once it was; I haven't even revised the format as  promised all  those months ago.  We shall see about doing better, which is something less than a promse, although more than a mere wish.

So, what is Septuagesima Sunday anyway?  I hear you ask from the poor desert of the Pauline Rite.  Fr Dr Pius Parsch explains it here in a few paragraphs.

[And even this poor little post got written and the posting never  went through.  Only  noticed it today when looking for something to say about Quinquagesima Sunday, i.e., today, also known as Shrove Sunday or Dominic ingressus jejunii.]

Thursday, February 09, 2017

What's Old is New Again

Our "post-truth" world:  Dr Parker shows us what Chaucer thought of it.  He knew it well.

'Post-truth’ is a word of our times, at least according to Oxford Dictionaries, who declared it their word of 2016. Their definition said that ‘post-truth’ refers to ‘circumstances in which objective facts are less influential in shaping public opinion than appeals to emotion and personal belief’. 
The appearance of a new word tends to encourage the idea that the phenomenon itself is new: that it did not exist before there was a neologism to describe it. That is not the case here, even if ‘post-truth’ is the current buzz-word; as historians know well, there has never been a time when public opinion was not shaped more powerfully by emotion and personal belief than by facts. What is different now, perhaps, is how rapidly false stories and fake news can circulate: social media allows the public as well as giant news organisations to be involved in spreading untrue or distorted tales. That is a formidable challenge for those who care about truth. 
But even concern about the ease with which false stories can spread is far from new. At the end of the 14th century, Geoffrey Chaucer wrote incisively on this subject in his poem The House of Fame.

The heart of the essay is here.

Saturday, January 07, 2017

And How Was Your 12th Night?

To anyone who knows any history it is wholly needless to say
that holidays have been destroyed.  As Mr. Belloc, who knows
much more history than you or I, recently pointed out in the
"Pall Mall Magazine," Shakespeare's title of "Twelfth Night:
or What You Will" simply meant that a winter carnival for everybody went on wildly till the twelfth night after Christmas.  Those of my readers who work for modern offices or factories might ask their employers for twelve days' holidays after Christmas.  And they might let me know the reply.
                              -G.K. Chesterton

Saturday, December 31, 2016

Good Cheer for the New Year

Makes a change from Auld Lang Syne. . . .

Welcome, Yule

The youtube blurb attributes this wonderful tune to Sir Charles Parry but I thought I read that it is based on a medieval carol . . . or possibly two.  Once again, this was cited somewhere  and I copied the link but not the source.   It's not where I thought it was going to be so the h/t is going to have to be to unknown.

Thursday, December 29, 2016

More Christmas Music

Because I can't get enough Christmas music. . . .

Monday, December 26, 2016

The Christmas story in opus anglicanum

From the website of the Victoria and Albert Museum:

The Christmas season was a high-point of the medieval English calendar. Celebrations in medieval England took place over 12 days, from Christmas Eve (24 December) to Twelfth Night (5 January), and incorporated church rites (our word for Christmas comes from the Middle English 'Christ's Mass') and pagan winter solstice rituals. Houses were decorated with evergreens like ivy, mistletoe and holly, sumptuous banquets were held, and singing and dancing were important parts of the Christmas season. 
Christmas imagery appears throughout medieval art, and particularly on richly-worked and intricate opus anglicanum (Latin for 'English work'), one of the most important art forms of the period. These embroideries were often used to decorate church vestments (garments worn by the priest) and altar furnishings, and were important vehicles for storytelling. 

What follows are some beautiful examples of medieval English embroidered vestments and altar hangings.  Not the least of which you'll find about 1/3 of the way down the page -- at least on my browser anyway.  It shows one of the shepherds abiding in their fields and he's playing his one-droned bagpipe.  He appears to be playing it with one hand while the other hand rings a bell.   Just what a bagpipe doesn't need:  an even smaller range.

Worth a look even if -- unlikely as that may be -- you don't care for bagpipes.  But don't dawdle; I suspect the page comes down when the exhibition ends.  That's how those things usually work.

Opus Anglicanum page.

St Stephen's Day

St Stephen's Day in Ireland:
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'. . . .
More here.

Christmas Day

This year, at last.  After an annual series (3 or 4?) of unfortunate Christmas dinner missteps, I finally got the gravy right.   Perhaps a little thick, but that can be remedied.

Christmas midnight Mass (midnight=7:00 p.m. in our case) was splendid.  Latin Gregorian propers and a Charpentier setting for the Ordinary.  Christmas Day itself was quiet.  Even our somewhat rumbustious neighbourhood hardly made a peep.  The children must have all gotten computer games from Santa rather than something that required being taken out of doors to race up and down on.  Or in.  Or with.

Wednesday, December 14, 2016

Trent in the News . . . sort of

Sure, it's not Vatican II.   But it still might have some sort of authority.

Ya think?.

A Little Advent Music

Tuesday, December 13, 2016

13 December -- St Edburga of Minster-in-Thanet

 St Edburga, as so many of the sainted Anglo-Saxon abbesses seemed to have been, was of royal birth.  She died on this day in 759.

There are a few other Edburgas who merit a write-up on the internet but there is a short life of this one here.  There are some propers apparently in the Anglican tradition here, though the author doesn't give his source.

Monday, December 12, 2016

12 December -- St Finnian of Clonard

 'The Master of the Saints of Ireland', Finnian is known as a great teacher - Ciarán of Clonmacnoise and Colmcille of Iona are among the many to have trained under him. They and others have taken seeds of knowledge from Finnian's monastery at Clonard, and planted them abroad with great success. As might be expected from such a renowned teacher, Finnian has invested much of his life in his own education. France and Britain have been formative training grounds for him, and have had a direct bearing on the values and culture of his foundation at Clonard. In itself, this is far from unusual, as schooling in foreign lands is the norm for early Christian teachers such as Finnian.

More here on one  of the more well-known of ancient Ireland's saints.  He's pretty much eclipsed in this country by Our Lady of Guadalupe's great feast on the 12th.  But he's still on the Irish calendar.

Wednesday, November 30, 2016

The Vicar of Bray . . . once again

Yes, you've seen it here before.  The Vicar of Bray.  I can't help it.  As I read the church news I find myself humming it unbidden.

For in my Faith and Loyalty,
I never once shall Faulter.
And George my Lawful King shall be,
. . . except the Times shall alter.  
Different church, different times.  But moistened fingers still test the wind direction.


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.

A piece from a few years ago on St Andrew and Scotland.

And not least, the St Andrew Christmas Novena begins today.

From The Inn a couple of years ago:

It's not really to St Andrew; but it begins, depending upon which tradition you follow,  on his feast day or on the 1st Sunday of Advent which is the Sunday nearest his feast day.  This year that's the same thing. [Or it was 2 years ago.] And it's not really a novena which is supposed to last nine days.

But it's a beautiful prayer tradition for the season.  The prayer is this:

Hail and blessed be the hour and moment in which the Son of God was born of the most pure Virgin Mary, at midnight, in Bethlehem, in piercing cold. In that hour, vouchsafe, O my God! to hear my prayer and grant my desires, through the merits of Our Saviour Jesus Christ, and of His Blessed Mother. Amen.
The tradition is to pray it 15 times a day until Christmas.  There are many mentions of it on the web but no site goes very deeply, or indeed at all,  into its history.  Mrs Vidal says as much as anyone here. There's another mention here. [Or there was 2 years ago.] It seems that's as much as we're going to learn about it. My grandmother knew it and so as a good traditionalist, I've adopted it.


Monday, November 21, 2016

21 November

Today is the feast of the Presentation of Our Lady in the temple.  The old Carmelite Liturgy of the Holy Sepulchre had a proper collect for the feast:

Beatæ Mariæ semper Virginis tribue nos, Domine, supplicantione tueri : ut, cuius venerabilem Præsentationem celebramus obsequiis, eius intercessionibus et meritis commendemur. Per Dominum nostrum. Amen. 
Grant us, O Lord, to be protected by the prayers of blessed Mary ever Virgin, that as we celebrate her venerable Presentation with humility we may be commended to Thee through her merits and prayers : through our Lord. Amen.

And yesterday, by the way, was Stir Up Sunday:   Excita, quæsumus, Domine, tuorum fidelium voluntates begins the Roman collect. . .or as the Prayer Book hath it: "Stir up, we beseech Thee, O Lord, the wills of Thy faithful people; that they, plenteously bringing forth the fruit of good works, may by Thee be plenteously rewarded; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen". A suitable liturgical reminder on this, the Sunday next before Advent, to stir up the fruits that have been quietly fermenting and get cracking with those Christmas cakes.


Friday, November 11, 2016

Veteran's Day - Armistice Day - Remembrance Day

I missed putting something up yesterday for the Marines' birthday on the 10th. So here's a little something for Veteran's Day today and a belated best-wishes to the Corps. 

This was a year or two ago at the Costa Mesa Highland Games (these days called Scots Fest  or Scottish Fest).  The pipes are the L.A. Scots playing with the 3d Marine Aircraft Wing Band.

For Armistice Day:

11 November 1918.
... the grim business of war itself went on as usual, right up to 11 a.m., and, at one or two points along the line, even beyond. Thus a captain commanding an English cavalry squadron which took the Belgian village of Erquelinnes wrote that morning:
"At 11.15 it was found necessary to end the days of a Hun machine-gunner on our front who would keep on shooting. The armistice was already in force, but there was no alternative. Perhaps his watch was wrong but he was probably the last German killed in the war—a most unlucky individual!" 
Elsewhere on the British front an officer commanding a battery of six-inch howitzers was killed at one minute past eleven—at which his second-in-command ordered the entire battery to go on firing for another hour against the silent German lines. 
But generally, any firing still going on ended on the last second of the tenth hour, sometimes with droll little ceremonies—as on the British front near Mons, where another and more fortunate German machine-gunner blazed off his last belt of ammunition during the last minute of the war and then, as the hour struck, stood up on his parapet, removed his steel helmet, bowed politely to what was now the ex-enemy opposite, and disappeared. 
The British division on whose front that little incident took place had lost, during that one final week of the war, two officers killed and twenty-six wounded, and among the other ranks one hundred and seventeen killed, six hundred and ninety-three wounded and sixty-one missing. Small wonder that its historian recorded 'no cheering and very little outward excitement' as peace came.
--Gordon Brook-Shepherd, from The Oxford Book of Military Anecdotes

Wednesday, November 09, 2016

Te Deum Laudamus

It's not Hillary, thanks be to God.  Perhaps the arrival of the coming persecution can be delayed a bit.

Monday, October 24, 2016

The Celtic Cross in the Forest

A one man project.  One can only imagine the work and planning involved in this cross in the forest which can only be seen from an airplane.

Tuesday, October 11, 2016

St Ethelburga

October 11 is also the feast of St Ethelburga in our Ordinariate calendar.  The Matins reading is taken from the Venerable Bede's Ecclesiastical History of the English People.  The Clerk  of Oxford gives an extended version of the same reading here.

A sample:

When Ethelburga, the devout Mother of this God-fearing community, was herself about to be taken out of this world, one of the sisters whose name was Tortgyth saw a wonderful vision. This nun had lived for many years in the convent, humbly and sincerely striving to serve God, and had helped the Mother to maintain the regular observances by instructing and correcting the younger sisters. In order that her strength might be 'made perfect in weakness' as the Apostle says, she was suddenly attacked by a serious disease.  Under the good providence of our Redeemer, this caused her great distress for nine years, in order that any traces of sin that remained among her virtues through ignorance or neglect might be burned away in the fires of prolonged suffering. Leaving her cell one night at first light of dawn, this sister saw distinctly what appeared to be a human body wrapped in a shroud and shining more brightly than the sun. This was raised up and carried out of the house where the sisters used to sleep. She observed closely to see how this appearance of a shining body was being raised, and saw what appeared to be cords brighter than gold which drew it upwards until it entered the open heavens and she could see it no longer. When she thought about this vision, there remained no doubt in her mind that some member of the Community was shortly to die, and that her soul would be drawn up to heaven by her good deeds as though by golden cords. And so it proved not many days later, when God's beloved Ethelburga, the Mother of the Community, was set free from her bodily prison.  And none who knew her holy life can doubt that when she departed this life the gates of our heavenly home opened at her coming. 

On the Feast of the Motherhood of the Blessed Virgin Mary

From the encyclical Lux Veritatis  of Pope Pius XI:

From this it comes that we are all drawn to her in a powerful attraction, that we may confidently entrust to her all things that are ours --  namely  our joys, if we are gladdened; our troubles, if we are in anguish; our hopes, if we are striving to reach at length to better things.  From this it comes that if more difficult times fall upon the Church;  if faith fail because charity has grown cold; if private and public morals take a turn for the worse; if any danger be hanging over the Catholic body and civil society, we all take refuge with her imploring heavenly aid.  From this it comes lastly that in the supreme crisis of death, when no other hope is given, no other help, we lift up to  her  our tearful eyes and  our trembling hands praying  through her for pardon from her Son, and for eternal happiness in heaven.
Taken from the reading for Matins on this day in the En Calcat Abbey edition of the Office of Our Lady.

Friday, September 30, 2016

Simili modo . . .

And something else, related, but not the same:

I actually don’t think we’re at the end of the world (please forgive me, Jesus, if you’re coming tonight) but I honestly believe we’re at the end of an era.  Something is different this year, different than ever before. And it’s not just “God’s special club of weirdos” who sense this distant storm.  Anyone praying—moms, dads, priests, nuns—all have an ear to the rail of the future. But what awaits? What is coming? 
This was by Fr David Nix on the 1Peter5 site.  

And having read both pieces I found both mentioned on Dr Joseph Shaw's page here.

And that article is well-worth the read in its own right for courage in the days to come and an antidote against despair:

The work we can do in the Vineyard of the Lord is, for each of us, of negligible overall effect, in relation to the huge trends which I been noting. I rather think this is even true for Bishops, perhaps even for the Pope. A good Pope with good ideas applied with vigour would, of course, do good, but he won't necessarily change the course of history. I think of Pope Leo XIII, for example, or Pius IX, or St Pius X. These weren't just good Popes, they were men of great intelligence and education, acutely attuned to the problems of their day, who furthermore wielded considerable power with great energy, for a long term of office. One can hardly say that they lived in vain, but nor did they turn the tide. It is given to few human beings to do such a thing.


 To avoid despair, I want to make two distinctions. The first is between our duty as Catholics and worldly success. Our duty as Catholics is to live in accordance with God's (and the Church's) law, and give witness to the Gospel according to our abilities and opportunities. It is not to convert X number of heathens, or be part of an expanding parish, or even to knock on a certain number of doors like the Jehovah's Witnesses. It can be very hard work doing what we are obliged to do, and it is made harder by all kinds of trends and developments, but it is not something which will ever become impossible. The task we have been given to do--to cooperate in our own salvation--is not only not impossible, but we are actually guaranteed the necessary graces, and told that this burden is light, this yoke easy, in the sense that with that grace we will be able to do it without regrets, with joy, knowing that life in God's friendship is preferable to life without God's friendship, regardless of the possible worldly disadvantages of the former over the latter. We aim make a success of our particular projects, but that success, at least by any tangible measure, is not necessary to the success of our lives as Catholics. 
The other distinction is between trends in the world and developments in the Church. It is possible that the governments of the world will adopt the most pernicious principles and remain wedded to them for centuries to come. That is not possible in the Church. Catholics and their allies can be comprehensively defeated in the political arena--and this has indeed often happened--but it is not possible that Christ will allow his bride to be taken from him.

Read on.

Rad Trads: Carrying On

A nice one from Patrick Archbold and The Remnant:

As most of us know, “Rad Trad” is meant as an insult, a way of separating Catholics and, let’s be honest, smearing a group of good Catholics who attempt to practice their faith in a way similar to how Catholics have always practiced it. They label them as judgmental, holier-than-thou, Pelagian, Promethean, haters of mercy and all the proof required is some comment by some guy in some com box somewhere that was over-the-top and rude. So, you are just like that guy. Just ‘cause. 
But I have seen something else, something else entirely. In my relatively short time in the traditionalist camp, I have seen the face of the most truly radical traditionalism, and it is something to behold. 
The rest is here.  Including one paragraph that pierces the heart.  Mine, anyway:

  And they mostly do it alone. That may be the most amazing part of this genuinely radical Catholicism. They know they are alone and that nobody is coming to rescue them. But they still do it. 

Monday, September 19, 2016

An Informal English Session

Several musicians gather round after the Morris dancing to play - melodeons, concertinas, fiddles, banjo and guitar. Great fun!! Filmed on an iPhone so not great video quality but you'll get the idea.

So says the description on the video's youtube page.  And it does,  indeed, look like great fun.  I love that sort of thing.  And so few opportunities hereabout.

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Monday, September 12, 2016

The All-Conquering Infantile

"In the past fifty years the average American teenager has usurped the roles traditionally assigned to the philosopher, sage, and priest.  Today we measure the good life by the standards of the infantile fantasies of the American adolescent.  More, we employ all the resources  of culture (advertising, of course; but politics and education as well) to ensure that no one escapes this mode of evaluation."
I harvested the above this morning from the all-knowing internet but forgot the attribution.  I believe it's from Roger Scruton, but maybe not.  If it's yours, let me know and you shall be credited properly.

Sunday, August 21, 2016

August 21 -- Our Lady of Knock

It was on this day in 1879 that Our Lady, St Joseph, and St John the Apostle appeared in the little village of Knock in County Mayo.  There's a good history of the apparitions here.  Alas, the article is 18 years old and the author's view of contemporary Irish Catholicism is no longer quite so accurate.

Here's what we said about Knock in years past:  2011 and 2015.  I tested a couple of the links therein and, mirabile dictu, they still worked.


Saturday, August 13, 2016

The Worlds for 2016

"The Worlds" can mean different things to different folks.  If you're a piper it means Glasgow Green in the second week of August,  i.e., The World Pipe Band Championship.  No doubt you already rose early this morning (and here in Pacific Daylight Time that means the actual Middle Of The Night) and watched the live streaming broadcast.  And you know that the Field Marshal Montgomery Memorial Pipe Band took home the gold.  Although The Inn's personal favourite the St Laurence O'Toole Pipe Band out of Dublin grabbed every drumming prize going.

If for some reason you didn't get up at oh-dark-thirty to see and hear it live you can find all the Grade I goodies for 2016 here in extraordinarily high definition. (Thank you BBC.)  If you were looking for Grades 2, 3, & 4, both A and B, and the Juvenile Comps, well, sorry.  You had to be there because nobody official recorded them.  Might be worth a troll through YouTube, though, once folks have had a chance to arrive home and find out which videos they thought they took actually came out and which ones didn't.  Some of that does get published.


Tuesday, August 09, 2016

The New America

As Father Josiah Trenham prepared to read the Gospel, several parishioners discreetly scooped up their babies, retreated up the aisles of St. Andrew Orthodox Church and out into the spring air, so as not to allow the crying of little ones to disturb the divine liturgy. 
The time-honored tradition was shattered when a car passed by the Riverside, Calif., church, slowing down as the front passenger leaned out of his window and bellowed menacingly through a bullhorn, according to witnesses. 
“Allahu Akbar!” the unidentified man repeated several times as the unnerved parents drew their infants close and exchanged worried glances.

 "Churches take new security measures in face of terror threats"
            -the rest of the article is here.

Friday, August 05, 2016

Logres - Quondam et Futurus

It's not quite proof . . . but it is an indication that there may be more to the King Arthur stories than historians would  have you believe.

Geoffrey of Monmouth seems to have been the first to write about King Arthur.  Alas, a good many members of academe even at the time didn't take it seriously.  Geraldus Cambrensis didn't actually refer to our author as  "Lyin' Geoffrey" but  he did opine that it was well-known that placing the New Testament upon the chest of a possessed person would drive the devil out.  However, if you placed a copy of Geoffrey's book on the person's chest a hundred more devils would show up.

In any event, Geoffrey said that King Arthur was born at Tintagel peninsula in Cornwall.  "Tosh", said Geraldus and good many others ever since.  But now it seems that the remains of something akin to a royal palace have been found at Tintagel dating from around the time of, oh, say, King Arthur.

You can read about it here.


Monday, August 01, 2016

Lammas Day

From the Clerk of Oxford:

August 1st is Lammas Day, the earliest Anglo-Saxon festival of the harvest - a day of first-fruit offerings, on which loaves of bread made from the first corn were blessed. The word comes from the Old English hlaf, 'loaf' + mæsse, 'mass'. And if you want to see the word hlafmæssedæg in the wild, as it were, there's an Anglo-Saxon charm for the protection of grain that goes like this:

So this is what you should do to protect your harvested corn from mice and other pests:
[...] lange sticcan feðerecgede 7 writ on ægðerne sticcan[...] ælcere ecge an pater noster oð ende 7 lege þone [...]an þam berene on þa flore 7 þone oðerne on [...] ofer þam oðrum sticcan. þæt þær si rode tacen on 7 nim of ðam gehalgedan hlafe þe man halgie on hlafmæssedæg feower snæda 7 gecryme on þa feower hyrna þæs berenes. þis is þeo bletsung þærto. Vt surices garbas non noceant has preces super garbas dicis et non dicto eos suspendis hierosolimam ciuitate. ubi surices nec habitent nec habent potestam. nec grana colligent. nec triticum congaudent. þis is seo oðer bletsung. Domine deus omnipotens qui fecisti celum et terram. tu benedicis fructum istum in nomine patris et spiritus sancti. amen. 7 Pater noster.
[Take two] long pieces of four-edged wood, and on each piece write a Pater noster, on each side down to the end. Lay one on the floor of the barn, and lay the other across it, so that they form the sign of the cross. And take four pieces of the hallowed bread which is blessed on Lammas day, and crumble them at the four corners of the barn. This is the blessing [you should say] for that: "So that mice do not harm these sheaves, say prayers over the sheaves and do not cease from saying them. City of Jerusalem [?], where mice do not live they cannot have power, and cannot gather the grain, nor rejoice with the harvest." This is the second blessing: Lord God Almighty, who made heaven and earth, bless these fruits in the name of the Father and the Holy Spirit. Amen. And [then say] a Pater Noster."

Lots more at the link.

The song at the top refers not to the Anglo-Saxon festival, although that's where the name comes from, but to the annual fair in Ballycastle, County Antrim which dates back to the 17th century.  The Ballycastle fair, though, takes place at the end of August and not on the first.

Chambers's Book of Days has some Lammas Day traditions, too.

Such as:
It was once customary in England, in contravention of the proverb, that a cat in mittens catches no mice, to give money to servants on Lammas-day, to buy gloves; hence the term Glove-Silver. It is mentioned among the ancient customs of the abbey of St. Edmund's, in which the clerk of the cellarer had 2d.; the cellarer's squire, 11d.; the granger, 11d.; and the cowherd a penny. Anciently, too, it was customary for every family to give annually to the pope on this day one penny, which was thence called Denarius Sancti Petri, or Peter's Penny.'—Hampson's Medii AEvi Kalendarium.

Friday, July 29, 2016


Of a sort, anyway.  The last of the conventions wrapped up last night.  There used to be an actual respite when the last of the political conventions closed up shop for another four years.  Campaigning didn't start in earnest until after Labor Day. Now it just never ends.

But we were fully involved in politics last night during the last gasp of the Democratic convention.  We watched John Ford's wonderful film of Edwin O'Connor's The Last Hurrah.  When there isn't any tolerable real politics on offer, I recommend quality fictional politics.


Thursday, July 28, 2016

Trump, the Russians and the Clintonian Emails of Song and Story

From Chaos Manor:

Mr. Trump asked the Russians to give us the 33,000 (according to Mrs. Clinton) emails that the Secretary of State erased from the private server she kept in the basement.  The media exploded. How dare he invite the Russians to hack us? Treason! Treason! But everyone knows that server has been destroyed.  Mrs. Clinton says so.  Thus it can’t be hacked.  If the Russians have these 33,000 erased emails, they did it long ago – a not unreasonable assumption, of course.  Any intelligence service would have had a go at it.  I’m sure the Brits did. It cannot be treason to invite the Russians to give us a copy of whatever they have already stolen.  The fact that grown people, presumably competent, would think Trump's remarks treason says more about them than him.  Hardly unexpected; more like a confirming instance.

(BTW: the link isn't direct; you'll have to scroll down.  I don't see a way to make a direct link.  Here it is again.)


Fr Jacques Hamel

One more thing about Fr Jacques Hamel's martyrdom by the Mohammedan fanatics that I find very interesting but that I haven't seen anyone comment on. He was martyred on the feast day of his patron, St James.  St James was also martyred by beheading.  In the old Spanish legend St James appeared to fight for the Christian army against the Mohammedans.  Hence, his Spanish nickname, Santiago Matamoros -- St James the Moorslayer.

Wednesday, July 27, 2016


Spent a while this evening looking for a good version of the Magnificat to go with Evensong.  This one was it.


So . . . how serious are things?

Ecclesiastically, I mean.

Have a look at The Wanderer these days.  The Wanderer has had a papal homily/address/essay or what-have-you on the front page for the past century and a half.  (At least, I think so.   I've actually only seen it for a third of that time.) The Wanderer has done its best, being only a weekly, to fulfill W.G. Ward's wish for a new papal bull every morning with his Times at breakfast.  Even the, um, unfortunate Paul VI retained The Wanderer's front page first column on the left.  But these days Mr Ward, were he a subscriber, would have to page to the back of the book.  We don't find Francis's Angelus address until section B.

Even the occasional columnist has been seen to imply that things may not be all ship-shape and Bristol fashion at the Santa Marta hostel.

But this morning's mail brought the July 28, 2016 number of The Wanderer and there on the front page,   where for the last decade or so a large photo of a prominent Catholic Church has been featured,  is a large color photo of St Nicholas du Chardonnet Church in Paris.  Yes, the same St Nicholas du Chardonnet where the late Msgr Ducaud-Bourget presided and the Society of St Pius X has celebrated the sacraments for the past 40 years or so.

Inadvertence?  Or an opening to the traditionalists of the SSPX?   I suspect the former but one can hope.

Tuesday, July 26, 2016

26 July -- St Anne

Today is the old feast of St Anne, the mother of Our Lady and grandmother of Our Lord.  The image above, which arrived in my Twitterfeed this morning (thanks @ClerkofOxford) shows St Anne as she was often depicted by our medieval ancestors, teaching Our Lady to read.  This dovetails nicely, so I'm told, with the medieval convention that the Annunciation occurred while Our Lady was reading scripture.

Something from St John Damascene in the old Roman Breviary.

Mrs Vidal points out what a gracious patroness St Anne is for those who need help with the little things.  "There is no need too small or insignificant for St. Anne to concern herself with; she is at home among the pots and pans, in the garden, the grocery store, and especially in the labor and delivery room."

Her collect from the old English Missal:

O God, who on blessed Anne didst vouchsafe to bestow grace, that she might be made worthy to become the mother of her who bore thine only-begotten Son : mercifully  grant : that we, who celebrate her festival may be aided by her intercession with thee.  Through the same Christ our Lord.  Amen.

Pretiosa in conspectu, Domine, mors sanctorum eius

We've all seen the news this morning that malignant Mohammedanism has claimed another victim, this time a priest-martyr in France.  The gist of it's here in case you missed it.

Fr Rutler's needed commentary is here.  Will any of the powers that be heed it?