Sunday, November 30, 2003

St. Andrew's Day

30 November is St. Andrew's Day, the feast of the patron saint of Scotland. It doesn't have the world-wide prominence that St. Patrick's Day does but it's still a great day of celebration for the Scots. Locally the Los Angeles branch of the Royal Scottish Country Dance Society had its annual St. Andrew's Day Ball a week ago Saturday. (I didn't go; had an audition.) And the local St. Andrew's Societies usually have an event.

There are very few illustrations on this blog in the hopes that it won't take all week to load for those with dial-up connections. But there is one above this post - I hope. It's the Cross of St. Andrew, the national flag of Scotland. This website describes its origin thusly:

Angus, King of the Picts, adopted the blue and white cross of St Andrew as his standard. Legend claims that St Andrew appeared to Angus in a dream on the eve of a great victory against the Northumbrians at Athelstaneford in East Lothian.

An important shrine to St Andrew grew up at Kilreymont in north-east Fife in the ninth and tenth centuries. In time St Andrew displaced earlier Celtic saints as the patron of the Kingdom of Alba. He was probably promoted by kings such as Constantine II who used the saint as a means of unifying his Scottish and Pictish peoples into one nation.

Liturgically, St. Andrew's Day is completely eclipsed this year by the celebration of the First Sunday of Advent.

Caveamus, Patres, caveamus!

Dwyer again. I am still savoring "Ecclesiastes: The Book of Archbishop Robert Dwyer". This essay was first published thirty years ago last October. It is still very, you'll pardon the word, relevant. Since I find a mass of italics tiring to read, and I presume you do, too, I have forsworn them here. Instead, just note that everything between the lines of "+" signs is from Archbishop Dwyer.

+ + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + +

What happens when an institution, be it a religious body or a nation state or what you will, deliberately cuts itself off from its historical and cultural roots? Rarely according to the record have such institutions been able to survive, the shock being too great, the trauma too devastating. They may seek in desperation to renew those roots, by some legerdemain to recover them, or to substitute some seeming equivalent, but unless any such an institution has some sort of divine guarantee, the chances of its success are, as the airline stewardesses never fail to assure us in soothing tones, exceedingly remote.

Toward the end of the Second Session of the Vatican Council, late in November, 1963, the Constitution on the Sacred Liturgy was triumphantly voted in by an overwhelming majority of the assembled Fathers. As we trooped out of St. Peter's basilica that day, spreading our amaranthine stain over the great parvis, a palpable euphoria thrilled through the entire body. Something at last had been accomplished, one item of the business which had called us to Rome had been nailed down. The members of the Commission which had hammered out the Constitution and guided it through the gruelling tests of debate and modification, were obviously elated, and the most prominent American member, the late Archbishop Paul Hallinan of Atlanta, was the glowing recipient of hearty and even gleeful congratulations.

It was all in good fun and no one, least of all perhaps the drafters and proponents of the Constitution in question had the slightest notion, not to say intent, of tampering with the cultural life-lines of the Roman Catholic Church. Nor was there, on candid reading, anything in the text or in the spirit of the document which would suggest the least deviation from the historic past of the liturgy, its sacred traditions, its venerable usages. There was, of course, a loosening of certain restrictions. The vernacular was to share with the Latin the role of liturgical communication, not by any means to replace it. Greater simplicity in ritual was to be introduced. Though the term had not yet swung so prominently into orbit as it was to do a year or so later, the liturgy was to be made more "relevant" to contemporary man, with his increasingly secular preoccupations. Who dreamed on that day that within a few years, far less than a decade, the Latin past of the Church would be all but expunged, that it would be reduced to a memory fading in the middle distance? The thought would have horrified us, but it seemed so far beyond the realm of the possible as to be ridiculous. So we laughed it off.

As a personal footnote, we had been visited by some misgivings in regard to the vernacular, by way of certain apprehensions that it could lead to invidious comparisons between those prelates and priests who read well and have all the arts of elocution, who have the gift of acting their part with dignity and conviction, the Suenenses and the Sheens, and those not so happily endowed, all the way down to the poor fellows who can only mumble as unintelligibly in English or Swahili as in the ancient language of the Church. With the difference that nobody expected to understand them in Latin, whereas the whole point of the vernacular was to make the liturgy, once again, relevant. But having voiced this unworthy fear, and told to go to the corner and hide our head for very shame for entertaining such an anti-democratic notion, we lapsed into chastened silence. And when the vote came round, like wise Sir Joseph Porter, KCB, "We always voted at our party's call; we never thought of thinking for ourself at all." That way you can save yourself a world of trouble.

Well, here we are 10 years later, and what results do we see? The result, plainly and bluntly, is that the Western Church has just about completely cut herself off from her cultural roots, the Latin tradition of the West. Latin is practically banned from the liturgy and banned as well from the courses of study required of candidates for the priesthood. Fewer and fewer Masses in Latin are sanctioned or approved by local ordinaries, and fewer and fewer seminarians and young priests have now more than a nodding acquaintance with the language which nourished the devotion of countless generations of Christians and gave to theology and the other sacred sciences a common tongue, so that, even though imperfectly, communication was possible. A Church which for so long had preserved Latin consciously as a bond of unity, had quite suddenly decided to discard it as a useless encumbrance.

With this rejection, and as an almost inevitable consequence , went out the window also the whole magnificent musical heritage of the Church. For when you change your language you also change your song. The Jewish exiles hanging their harps beside the waters of Babylon, so long ago, made that discovery. Pope Paul VI, the other day, made an earnest plea for the revival of some parts of the Mass in Latin, the Kyrie, the Gloria, etc., with the obvious hope of salvaging something of our immense musical treasure, one of the glories of the Christian accomplishment; but whether his words will carry weight, whether his cri de coeur will be heard, is anyone's guess. Not, surely, until realization dawns on many minds how drastically we have robbed ourselves of our cultural wealth.

And the same rejection, not merely of our cultural and esthetic roots, but of our philosophical and theological foundations, is the reaction and the reality of the moment. Who would be caught dead today citing a theologian older than Karl Rahner or a philosopher more antique than Bernard Lonergan? The substitution of Teilhardism for Thomism, if not complete in our schools, our seminaries and universities, is within an ace of carrying the day.

But before we commit ourselves farther, and if there is still time for reflection, might we not do well to catch the echo of a great and now almost forgotten Father of the Council, the late Cardinal Michael Browne, who, at a decisive moment in the debate on the Constitution of the Church, raised his voice in warning with all the richness of the Irish brogue in Latin: "Caveamus, Patres, caveamus!"— "Let us take heed, Fathers, let us beware!" We thought it amusing then; we might take it a little more seriously now.

+ + + + + + + + + + + + + +

Those of us whose spiritual solace is found principally, if not solely, in the traditional liturgy of the Roman Rite are often told we must change "as the Council intended". It's interesting to read what one of the Council Fathers claimed was the intent of the Council.
Who dreamed on that day that within a few years, far less than a decade, the Latin past of the Church would be all but expunged, that it would be reduced to a memory fading in the middle distance? The thought would have horrified us, but it seemed so far beyond the realm of the possible as to be ridiculous. So we laughed it off.

Friday, November 28, 2003


Americans are besotted by the decimal point. We really like things to be divisible by ten. We like 10th, 20th, 25th, and 50th anniversaries. But the 7th -- "7" the great Hebrew number of perfection -- no interest. No interest in the 12th either, or the. . . .well, you get the idea. It looks like one of the first things we did upon gaining independence was to drop the old money with 12 pence in a shilling, 20 shillings in a pound and 240 pence in a pound. And 21 shillings in a guinea. We preferred 5 cents, 10 cents, 25 cents, 50 cents, a dollar: blessed be the name of the decimal point.

Which leads us round to birthdays. All the significant ones end in "0" or "5". The Love of My Life and the Joy of My Youth is having a "significant birthday" today. It's more than my life is worth to tell you which one, but suffice it to say she is just the tiniest bit depressed about the whole thing. So, we have gone to the L.A. Jewellery Mart, a.k.a. Disneyland for adult women, to choose an appropriate birthday present, or presents, depending upon how the budget holds up. And we have done so. Boy howdy, have we ever done so.

I have garnered uncountable husband points. Consequently, I can recommend to any of my readers who wish to see the sun peeking through the clouds hovering around a Significant Birthday -- emeralds. These can be had in bracelet or earring form and I have reason to believe the ring format is also highly acceptable.

So remember emeralds. This is your tip for today. Don't say reading this blog has never been any use to you.

I have to go busk now if we're going to eat tomorrow. (Does anyone know if those Paypal donation things work?)

Happy Birthday, Mary

Thursday, November 27, 2003

Thanksgiving Day

PRAISE the LORD, for it is a good thing to sing praises unto our God; * yea, a joyful and pleasant thing it is to be thankful. Ps. 147

Deuteronomy 26:
And when thou art come into the land which the Lord thy God will give thee to possess, and hast conquered it, and dwellest in it:

Thou shalt take the first of all thy fruits, and put them in a basket, and shalt go to the place which the Lord thy God shall choose, that his name may be invocated there:

And thou shalt go to the priest that shall be in those days, and say to him: I profess this day before the Lord thy God, that I am come into the land, for which he swore to our fathers, that he would give it us.

And the priest taking the basket at thy hand, shall set it before the altar of the Lord thy God:

And thou shalt speak thus in the sight of the Lord thy God: The Syrian pursued my father, who went down into Egypt, and sojourned there in a very small number, and grew into a nation great and strong and of an infinite multitude.

And the Egyptians afflicted us, and persecuted us, laying on us most grievous burdens:

And we cried to the Lord God of our fathers: who heard us, and looked down upon our affliction, and labour, and distress:

And brought us out of Egypt with a strong hand, and a stretched out arm, with great terror, with signs and wonders:

And brought us into this place, and gave us this land flowing with milk and honey.

And therefore now I offer the firstfruits of the land which the Lord hath given me. And thou shalt leave them in the sight of the Lord thy God, adoring the Lord thy God.

And thou shalt feast in all the good things which the Lord thy God hath given thee, and thy house, thou and the Levite, and the stranger that is with thee.

Wednesday, November 26, 2003

In olden days
a glimpse of stocking
was looked upon
as something shocking
but nowadays
. . . .anything goes.

And it's all happening in my in-box. The first ten minutes of my day are devoted to deleting the spam and this is just the stuff that avoided the two spam filters that are in operation. If all that was actually sent to me ended up in my inbox I'd probably have spam deletion as a full-time occupation. And, I would suppose, a solid 50% of it is considerably randier than a glimpse of stocking. I have another e-mail address that is used primarily for business and is, perforce, published on the web. It can't avoid the prowling bots out there harvesting addresses. So I have to give at least a cursory review to these things so as not to delete legitimate business inquiries.

All of which is to say that I am in complete sympathy with Charles Booher. It is my dearest wish to be foreman of his jury. He would not be convicted. He would be given a medal, the thanks of a grateful nation, and a monthly stipend with which to carry on his noble work. The stipend would be extracted from "Douglas MacKay, president of DM Contact Management, which works for Albion Medical, a firm advertising the 'Only Reliable, Medically Approved ***** Enhancement.'"

[Yes,yes, yes. I am aware that it is not at present the done thing to extract damages from the victim in a criminal case. Pfui! The ability to do so, um, emanates from the penumbra of the bill of rights! Yeah, that's the ticket: "emanates from the penumbra". Thank you, Justice Douglas, and good night.]

Sunday, November 23, 2003

The Home Library Quiz

Courtesy of Mr. O'Rama. (I love this stuff. Why wouldn't I? I don't come off a complete schlepp.)

Test the mettle of your home library with this admittedly idiosyncratic and not to be taken seriously guide:

1. Oxford English Dictionary - all 20 volumes = 10 points Nope. But it's online, although you have to subscribe. Which I don't.
Oxford English Dictionary - small print with spyglass - 5 points Eh, no. I open, review, smell and caress it every time I go in the bookstore. But I don't own it. Yet. But see above.

2. Boswell's Life of Johnson - 2 points Yes. I even read it. (O.K., 30 years ago, but it still counts.)

3. Complete Works of Shakespeare - 2 points Yes. But the collection of individual tattered paperbacks is more useful.

4. Gibbon's Decline & Fall - 2 points Another damn, square book, eh Mr. Gibbon? Nope.

5. Proust's Remembrance of Things Past - 5 points Noooo, and I don't think I want to, either.

6. Catholic Catechism - 1 point Yes.

7. Companion to the Catholic Catechism - 3 points Yes.

8. At least one work by both Augustine and Aquinas - 2 points Yes.
the whole Summa - 5 points Yes and no. It's on line; everybody with a computer has it.

9. Catena Aureau - 5 points Yes.

10. Three bible versions - 3 points Yes. (And there are far more than that on line.)

11. At least two major philosophers - 2 points Yes. Of course, anyone who answered "yes" to question 8 gets this one of necessity.

12. A set of encyclopedias - 2 points Yes: an extremely battered (it went through a fire; bought it for a song) old Catholic Encyclopaedia, which is also on line so everyone with a computer, etc.

13. at least one art history book and poetry anthology - 1 point Yes. And even though there are others on the shelf, I insist that I qualify on the basis of my copy of Lady Butler: Battle Artist 1846 - 1933 for the first prong of the test and the Quiller Counch edition of the Oxford Book of English Verse, proper blue binding and bulletproof slip case and all for the second prong.

Now then. In my occasionally humble opinion, you could usefully dump the Proust and maybe even the Gibbon. (Wonderful English but the man is extremely irritating.) Instead fill up the shelves with Trollope, Dickens, Jane Austen, Chesterton, Belloc, and. .and. .well, I'm starting to stutter here. There are too many; it would fill up the blog entirely. An excellent list is John Senior's 1,000 good books programme. He said to forget the 100 Great Books, and read the 1,000 good books. You can find the list here.

Clear Creek Priory, Farming Co-operatives, Groceries for the poor, and assorted other topics

That's what you can expect to read about in one small e-mail group when Robert Waldrop updates us periodically on his activities. Waldrop is immersed in the Church's social doctrine and puts it into practice in his life as no other that I know of. (The link at the left to Catholic Social Justice Teachings is a link to one of his websites and has been there since the inception of this blog.) He is a constant inspiration and something of an indictment of me and my use of "talents". The following is his latest report, principally about his attendance at the recent ceremony at Clear Creek for the blessing of the foundation stone.

[By the way, "coop" is a reference to the Oklahoma farming co-operative which self-markets locally grown produce.]


This has been a week of peak events.

Thursday of course was Coop Delivery Day.

Friday I went out to Clear Creek Monastery for the blessing of the
foundation stone of the monastery conventual church that they are
building. I estimate the crowd as at least 300, and half of them
were under 30 I'm sure, lots and lots of kids.

The Abbot of Fontgombeault was there, also the Bishop of Tulsa.
The ceremony was very beautiful. It was held in what will be the
crypt, the church will be above the area we were in. The foundation
walls are nearly 3 feet thick (I measured them with my arm), solid
reinforced concrete, eventually it will be faced with bricks and
native stone from the monastery grounds.

In his remarks, the Bishop said that the building had been designed
to last at least 1000 years, and that who knew what kind of changes
in the social and cultural surroundings would happen during that
time, but that whatever happened, the praise and worship of God by
the monks would continue.

As part of the ceremony, the monks placed a gloriously illuminated
manuscript in the stone. The gave out holy cards afterwards which
were a full color production.

The manuscript charter reads:

IN the name of the Most Holy and Indivisible Trinity.

In the year of our salvation 2003 which is the 26th of the exaltation
of his Holiness the Pope John Paul II to the supreme pontificate,
the ninth of the elevation of his excellency the Most Reverend Edward
J. Slattery to the See of Tulsa, the 27th of the institution of the
Right Reverend Dom Antoine Forgeot as Abbot of Notre Dame de Fontgombeault,
on the 21st of November, Feast of the Presentation of the Blessed
Virgin Mary, by a gift of the grace of God, the first stone of the
conventual church of Our Lady of the Annunciation of Clear Creek
was blessed by his Excellency, Bishop Slattery, in the presence of
the monastic community, of several members of the diocesan clergy,
and of a great number of the faithful.

May this stone grow in size and become the dwelling place of God
among men, may these monks, as authentic sons of Saint Benedict always
assure in this place the service of Christ the King and of his church,
following in the footsteps of Dom Edward Roux and Dom Jean Roy,
the first Abbots of Fontgombeault, who taught them to seek the One
Thing Necessary Until the Dawning of the Day of Eternity, Ever Tending
towards the Things on High.

May God deign to bring to its full realization this undertaking,
which is His own work, accomplished through the labor of men.


Within this stone has been enclosed, along with the present charter,
a stone fragment from the site of the Tomb of the Apostle Saint
Peter in Rome, others from the church of the Dormition near Jerusalem
and from La Salette in France, as well as a few medals and coins.

(end transcript)

The first two letters, IN, of the manuscript are very large and decorated
in blue, red, gold and green. The rest of that first phrase is arranged
in four lines of red capitals next to the IN.

The initial word of each paragraph is larger than the rest of the
paragraph and also illuminated, and the paragraphs are separated
by illuminated decorations. The AMEN is centered and in large letters.

After the ceremony (and during it I slowly wended my way around until
I was close to the front), I dipped the tip of the crucifix of the
Rosary I carry with me at all times into the fresh mortar around
the stone and let it dry. It seems to be adhereing nicely and so
a bit of Clear Creek will go with me wherever I go and whatever I

The monks threw a great reception afterwards, wonderful raisin cookies,
pound cakes, and their own cheese, and of course wine. I told them
if they ever get their production up, their cheese would be a big
seller. About six pm, the about 100 of us remaining went into the
crypt again and attended at the monks vespers as the sun set behind
us over the western mountains. The wind was down by then, and thus
the monks chanting was more audible and it was a very nice end to
the day.

I ran into several people who said they read this group and cinjustann
in the archives and visited our CW websites. There were so many the
names started to blur, actually, so I can't say, "Well, I saw so
and so and etc", I do remember seeing Kirk Kramer in passing although
like me he was doing a lot of wandering around so it was just a quick
visit. I met somebody who had something to do with the Rooster Cogburn
list and I told him I wasn't getting those emails anymore so he promised
to look into it.

We talked a lot about the coop, and I also talked with a family with
a dairy out there close to Clear Creek about selling their milk through
us and starting to also make butter.

The weather was glorious. About 70 degrees, a bit of a wind, but
even in the evening no jacket was needed. If Oklahoma weather was
always like this, everybody would live here.

If we ever decide to work on a major CET gathering, I think we should
do it at this monastery. I think it is going to grow into a center
of traditional Catholic agrarianism in North America, a lot of the
people there were people who have moved into the area to be close
to the monastery, and they have bought small landholdings. One of
them wants to sell us a parcel, not that we have any money, but I
would really like a retreat/hermitage within walking distance of
that monastery. Going there is a very healing process for me. I
asked the guestmaster to send me info about their process of becoming
an Oblate of St. Benedict associated with their monastery. Dorothy
Day was also an Oblate.

Who else did I see. . . Sister Claire Marie, who used to be a moderator
of lists here at CIN, I met two monks from a Trappist monastery in
Ava, Missouri, a very traditional Benedictine nun from Pennsylvania,
and of course the monks. Because of the occasion, the monks were
given permission to mingle with the crowd at the refreshment table,
and I was a bit surprised to find out that they all knew who I am
and what we do.

The monk in charge of the refreshments afterwards made up a big tray
of their cookies and gave me two pound cakes to bring home, which
we carefully portioned out this morning in the Thanksgiving food
bags that we distributed. He said this was a tradition at Benedictine
monasteries in the past. I do confess to you my brothers and sisters
that I saved about six cookies for us, they were really good. and
they were simple cookies, raisin and spice cookies. And their cheese!
Especially the cheddar! I have never been to Europe, but I bet
that's what European artisan cheese tastes like.

Before I left I had a long visit with Brother Joseph Marie, who is
in charge of their agroforestry, sheep, and cattle and the monk I
work with in re the Oklahoma Food coop (I have mentioned the monastery
is a member?). The soil on the monastery grounds is very poor, and
we talked a lot about strategies to improve it. he is trying to
learn how to harvest sassafrass as they have those trees growing,
also hickory and walnut. I told him that I thought it was very
odd that of all the places the monks could have gone, they came here,
15 miles from the capital of the Cherokee Nation in Tahlequah, in
the ancient and worn hills of eastern Oklahoma. He agreed, and said
that all the monks felt that there was something odd going on with
this foundation but that time would unveil these mysteries and we
would all come to understand them.

There is part of me that -- if it wasn't for my vocation as a Catholic
Worker and my job at Epiphany Church -- would put my property in
OKC up for sale and move out there to ten acres or so and just be
a small farmer in Cherokee land.

The round trip of about 6 hours of driving yesterday provided a lot
of time for reflection too, which was nice.

This morning we made our Thanksgiving deliveries, unfortunately there
were about 50 requests that had to be turned away because of lack
of food (although I am emailing them to someone who will take them
to a parish to see what can be done), and then in the afternoon we
got ready for our looming freeze. Picked about 3 quarts of hot peppers,
20 pounds of green tomatoes, a bag of purple hulled peas and another
of trail of tears beans, a quart bag of rose hips, and seeds for
purple and pink echinacea. The tomato and pea vines and pepper plants
were hauled to the compost, and the last of mulching was done.

So here we are, the feast of St. Cecilia, and I am just now finishing
with my tomato harvest. What a weird fall, weatherwise, but how
blessed it has been spiritually. One news report I heard today put
the freeze off until Monday, but there will be no time on Sunday
to do this harvest, as besides my regular two masses where I do music
I am cooking buffalo stew for 150 native Americans Sunday evening,
assuming they can find enough pots. I really need to find our own
pots so I can cook these big meals.

Robert Waldrop, okc

The Last Sunday After Pentecost

That's what today is in the traditional Roman Rite, complete with the apocalyptic Gospel of Matthew 24:15-35 which apparently terrified the composers of the Pauline rite so greatly that they failed to include it anywhere in the new rite. This is fairly unusual as it cannot be denied that the new rite does contain considerably more scripture in the Mass liturgy than the traditional rite. But And immediately after the tribulation of those days, the sun shall be darkened and the moon shall not give her light and the stars shall fall from heaven and the powers of heaven shall be moved. And then shall appear the sign of the Son of man in heaven. And then shall all tribes of the earth mourn: and they shall see the Son of man coming in the clouds of heaven with much power and majesty. appears to have been too much for them.

In the Pauline rite it is the feast of Christ the King, which was celebrated on the 26th of October in the traditional Roman rite. The feast of Christ the King originated with Pope Pius XI in his encyclical Quas Primas, a portion of which used to appear as one of the Matins lections. The full text is here.

Laetatus sum in eo quod dixerunt mihi:
"In domum Domini ibimus".
Stantes iam sunt pedes nostri
in portis tuis, Ierusalem.

Back to St. Mary's by the Sea today after two weeks absence. The consolation received at Mass in the traditional Roman Rite at St. Mary's is indescribable; it warms the heart and puts joy in the soul. Then was our mouth filled with laughter and our tongue with joy.

Father found some old postcards in the office and they were giving them away after Mass. I had been thinking about taking some photographs of St. Mary's to post on line so this was a pleasant surprise. When I get my new scanner*, I shall scan some of them and post them somewhere. St. Mary's will never be mistaken for Chartres but it is a lovely old church, very homey and comfortable to the spirit. And still suitable to the majesty of God.

[*The printer has recently died the death. Since I shall have to shell out some USD$ for a new one anyway, I'm finally going to get a scanner. Those multi-purpose machines are now available at fairly reasonable prices.]


Sixty years ago last Thursday the battle for Tarawa began. My father was there as an engineer with the 98th Naval Construction Battalion putting the airfields in useable order while still under fire from the Japanese. Tom Hennessy's column in the Press Telegram this morning brought this to mind. He describes the refurbishment of the memorial that was erected a few years ago. A nice article and a worthy tribute to the men of that time.

There are some other tributes to the men of Tarawa on the web. A couple of the best are here and here.

"No one believe us! But it's true! It's true!" cries Andre at the Salvation Army shelter on NW 38th Street. "It mean there's no one left in the sky watching us but demons."

Fascinating, heart-breaking folk tales of homeless street children. This is a truly haunting article.

Thanks to Jerry Pournelle for the citation.

Thursday, November 20, 2003

True Crime

Read William Luse's encounter with an intruder in his home here. It made the palms of my hands sweat. That's meant to be a tribute to his writing but I confess part of it is due to the recollection of a short and non-violent confrontation some years ago with a fellow trying to break into our back door. His tale brought my little comedy very vividly back to life. I confronted this fellow after arming myself with a . . . .flashlight. (What did I think I was going to do? Illuminate him to death?) In any event, he took off in a hurry with no harm done at all. Much sympathy and all good thoughts and prayers to the Luse family.

More from Bishop Dwyer, circa 1962:

“It was at the age of twelve, if memory serves and it usually does if the subject is sufficiently unimportant, that we devoured the Works of Eugene Sue complete in 20 volumes. Nothing surprising in that: the set simply happened to follow the Works of Sir Walter Scott and those of F. Hopkinson Smith in the library bookcase, and it was perfectly obvious to us that the whole purpose of reading was to start in on the first page of a collection and read steadily through to the last. This method might induce a certain amount of literary constipation but it was a small price to pay for the satisfaction of being thorough.

“So it was that we came to know at an early age of the full iniquity of the Jesuits. Whatever else might be said of Eugene Sue – and it is generally conceded that he was one of the worst writers of the 19th century – he was magnificent in his portraiture of the wickedness of the Sons of Loyola. These abhorrent characters slink in and out of the sewers in his “Mysteries of Paris”, but it is in “The Wandering Jew” that their real moral putrescence is revealed. Who could ever forget the climactic scene in the subterranean vault where the General of the Jesuits, after a life replete with crime of every description, dies surrounded by the corpses of six of his victims, his ears echoing the maniacal laughter of the woman he has robbed of her reason. Tremendous!

“This traumatic experience, so the psychiatrists inform us, should have wreaked permanent damage to our soul So far as we can make out it had no such effect whatsoever. We read it as a straightforward thriller. Shortly afterwards we thought of joining the Jesuits ourself, but the Society was spared that cross through the happy circumstance that we were too young. When, later on, we discovered that the “Index of Forbidden Books” listed all the love stories of Eugene Sue we were frankly puzzled, for who on earth would ever consider his shockers as love stories? And could anyone ever take them seriously?

Well, it is a reflection on the mentality of the 19th century common reader that thousands upon thousands of Victorians not only took Eugene Sue seriously but were fully prepared to see him outdone in his vituperation of the Jesuits. It is interesting to note how the Society, after its reconstitution in 1811, so quickly became the scapegoat for all kinds of prejudice, some anti-Catholic, some anti-Christian, some just anit-anti-. There was, for course, a considerable reservoir of anti-Jesuitism, held over from the previous century, aided and abetted by Pascal’s incredibly malicious “Provincial Letters”, but all this hardly explains, of itself, that paroxysm of hatred which convulsed Victorian England at the very mention of the word Jesuit. It was as though someone were to whisper Cat in a congregation of worried mice.

“Dr. Margaret M. Maison, in her sprightly book , “The Victorian Vision” (Sheed and Ward, 1961), denotes a fascinating chapter to “The Wicked Jesuit and Company.” She cites author after author, many well known in their day, many of them writers of best sellers, whose stock-in-trade was the infamous Jesuit, skulking around corners, spinning fantastic plots against Church and State, home and female virtue, and foaming at the mouth when foiled in his fell purpose. So also novelists like William Sewell, Mary M. Sherwood, Catherine Sinclair and the ineffable Reverend Charles Kingsley. One of Mr. Sewell’s Jesuits, following closely in the pattern set by Eugene Sue, meets his doom by being eaten alive, again underground, by rats. Served him right, too.

“A pleasing variant of the theme is the introduction of the Jesuitess, the female accomplice of the Society, typically a much more vindictive character than the male of the species. Such evil creatures specialized, seemingly, in insinuating themselves into pious Protestant households, corrupting domestic morals, and winning over to Rome not only the family but the family fortune as well. The authors of these nonsense fables certainly knew better – Kingsley manifestly did – but they deadened their consciences with the reflection that, after all, any stick will do to beat a Roman dogma.

“Less dreadful, though still a dangerous antagonist of all that is good and wholesome, is the type of Father St. Clare, the Jesuit whose blandishments almost tempted John Ingelsant, in J. H. Shorthouse’s novel of that name, to succumb to Romanism. It is strange to recall that his novel, hardly attractive reading today, and a proved example of plain literary piracy, should have been a life-long favorite of Monsignor Robert Hugh Benson. What held him, possibly, was its somewhat plausible aestheticism.

“When, from time to time, even a century later, we come up against an unreasoning anti-Catholic bigotry, often enough concentrated against the Society of Jesus as the scapegoat, it is well to remember in what matrix the Anglo-American mind has been formed. The books are no longer read, but the stories, or the memories of them, linger on in the group mind. And occasionally, for that matter, they are retold and rewritten, for we are by no means entirely beyond the era of anti-Catholic libel in novel form. But for what the distinction is worth, nobody has ever quite come up to the mark of Eugene Sue at the game. He is still easily the master liar of them all.”

Tuesday, November 18, 2003

Second Thoughts

Yes, there used to be a smarmy joke here. Yes, it was funny.

Nobody complained but I thought better of it anyway. If it made sport of "Bishop" Gene Robinson only, it would probably still be here. But "splatter" from it may have landed on some folks who are deeply hurt by the Robinson affair. And for that, apologies are in order and I hereby offer them.

Caritas, like knowledge, maketh a bloody entrance. Maybe some day I'll even have enough to regret making sport of "Bishop" Robinson. But that day is not yet.

I thought I was through blogging for the day

. . . .but then I came across this from TS O'Rama:

"Politics is the poor man's religion."

Nice one. It has a context. This one.

From the late Archbishop Robert Dwyer

November 5, 1965

“Here we are approaching the climacteric and consummation of the Second Vatican Council, and no Cardinal or Bishop has had his beard pulled in the sacred aula of St. Peter’s. This comes as a grievous disappointment to many. It was in the confident expectation that beard-pulling would be a daily distraction among the Venerable Brethren that we envisaged our stay in Rome, only to have our rebarbative imagination sadly dampened by dull reality.

“We had toyed, actually, with the notion of encouraging the growth of a patriarchal beard on our own chin, in the hope that some fellow prelate equally hirsute would challenge us to discover whose appendage possessed the stronger roots, but our glabrous cells, alas, could produce no more than a faint mockery, the merest six o’clock shadow, and we desisted with a sigh.

“If we are to believe those historians whose delight it is to serve up the more unedifying tid-bits of ecclesiastical gossip, beard-pulling was once a fairly common Conciliar practice. Hendrik Willem van Loon (has his name been revived this quarter-century?) once painted a vigorous picture of Athanasius and Arius hard at it filling Nicaea with clots of blood and tufts of beard, but it is to be feared that his fervent fancy outran his meager store of facts. Chalcedon witnessed many a sharp confrontal, and during the unhappy centuries when Rome and Constantinople were agreeing to disagree, there were several bouts of beard-pulling which made the contemporary equivalent of the Time-Newsweek reports. But when Trent rolled around the practice was already in desuetude, and only one lonely instance was somewhat doubtfully recorded of Vatican I. A pity, but so perish all our cherished customs of yesteryear.”

This is from Ecclesiastes, a book for which I have been searching for a good many years. It just came today, courtesy of “John R. Thompson, Bookseller” of West Grove, Pennsylvania. It is a selection of the writings of the late Archbishop Dwyer of Portland, Oregon. Those of us who knew the Catholic press of 40 years ago remember well the rich style, wit, and insight of Archbishop Dwyer.

Well before the council he predicted the collapse of orders of women religious. It would not be due, he said, to some conciliar machinations or psychological mumbo-jumbo but to the failure of the American episcopate to treat women religious as religious first and foremost. Instead, they were often treated primarily as cheap labor and their vocations not respected. Treated that way long enough, they would eventually act that way and search for better employment. His historical essays could be profound, such as his comparisons of Vatican I and Vatican II, or more ephemeral but very witty, such as that quoted above or his attempt to determine exactly when episcopal wigs went out of fashion. (This last was not, alas, included in this collection it appears.)

More later from His Excellency as I make my way through the volume.

Distributism: The Basics

This website got a nice review in the Current Gilbert! Magazine. Twenty minutes browsing should give anyone a basic understanding of the principles of distributism. It's done with style and humor. I hope the proprietor decides to expand it to fill in some detail and give a few more references. (So far, not a mention of Fr. Vincent McNabb,O.P.)

New On the Blogroll

I received the latest newsletter from the Institute of Christ the King the other day. It's only two pieces of paper folded, making eight 6x9 pages. All in color, it's a beautiful little production worth saving. They have four apostolates in this country now, all of them, alas, in the midwest 2,000 miles from here.

Their website is here.

Monday, November 17, 2003

As long as you have the Spectator open

. . . .you might like to read about world championship dominoes. I mean, what with baseball being on hiatus for another four months or so until spring training starts. Nothing like a rousing game of dominoes to set the blood racing I always say.

The Final Bulwark Against Catholic Tyranny

Why, it's the Act of Settlement of 1701 which excludes from the throne of Great Britain any Catholic or person married to a Catholic. Adrian Hilton in last week's Spectator seems to think that Britain would be plunged into a Catholic-run tyranny but for the safeguard of the Act of Settlement which preserves a Protestant monarch to the nation.

Well, I guess it's a point of view. But he does seem to have a rather exalted view of the power wielded by the monarch in the U.K. these days. The Prince of Wales is having rather a difficult time defending himself against the tabloid press, never mnd the entire nation against the putative hordes commanded by the Pope of Rome.

And as for his view of the Pope. Mercy. The Vatican is hard pressed to get priests to say Mass according the rubrics. And our friend Mr. Hilton thinks that same Pope is going to have Britain by the throat if only he can get a Catholic king. Or Queen.

It's a shame they didn't print Mr. Hilton's address. I know where I can get him a deal on the Vincent Thomas Bridge.

Tuesday, November 11, 2003

More on Fr. Doyle

The Irish Elk has also posted on Fr. Willie Doyle. He includes a picture. Visitare oportet.

One more story about Fr. Doyle which occured to me just a few moments ago. The story appears in another of Myles Dungan's books, They Shall Grow Not Old: Irish Soldiers in the Great War. The story Dungan tells about Fr. Doyle may very well be apocryphal but he tells it because it accurately reflects the man's reputation. Supposedly some time after the war, a burglar broke into Fr. Doyle's father's house to rob. He rousted the old man and had him open all the cabinets and drawers. In one drawer he came upon a photograph of a priest and asked Mr. Doyle who it was. The old man said it was his son, Fr. William Doyle. The burglar said something like "He was a holy priest; he saved many souls." Then he left the other things he was going to steal and made off with only the photograph.

What's the first thing they do when the Communists take over the Sahara?

. . . . .went the old joke. The answer was "Why, they declare a shortage of sand."

Well, it used to be a joke.

[Thanks to Chaos Manor for the cite.]

Monday, November 10, 2003

R.I.P. Rick Felix

If you have a spare moment, please pray for the repose of the soul of my friend Rick Felix, a singer, piper, guitarist, tuba player, teacher, wit, and a lot of other things not the least of which was very devout Catholic. Rick was killed on Saturday in a traffic accident. Another car had been involved in an accident and he had stopped to help. While calling 9-1-1 from his car it was rammed by a truck that couldn't stop in time.

May the angels lead him into paradise, may the martyrs receive him at his coming and lead him into the holy city, Jerusalem. May the choirs of angels receive him and may he have eternal rest with Lazarus the-once-poor.

Chirp Redivivus

Davey's Mommy has not vanished from the face of the earth. She just changed her address to this one. Thanks to Miki of the Summa Mommas for getting me sorted out.


Just this evening discovered why I have been receiving no mail from the account associated with this blog. After the terrible hard drive crash of aught-three, I never set that address up again on Eudora. So Eudora never retrieved any mail for that address. I have now set it up and retrieved a nice stack of mail. So if I owe you a response, that is why it has been so late in coming. I will get to it! Promise!


This is Veteran’s Day or Remembrance Day depending on where you are. It used to be Armistice Day, commemorating the end of the war-to-end-wars, World War I, The Great War. On the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month it all came to a halt.

Fr. William Doyle, S.J. was caught up in that war as chaplain to the 16th (Irish) Division. Here is some of his story, taken from Myles Dungan’s Irish Voices from the Great War:

By the end of July 1917 Fr. Willie Doyle had found himself ministering to all four battalions of the 48th Brigade. Fr. Francis Browne, a fellow Jesuit, had been transferred to the Irish Guards and a clerical error had resulted in his being replaced by the wrong man. This priest, when he discovered the mistake, refused point blank to go to Ypres. All the while Doyle’s fame was spreading. Unlike many chaplains, he seemed to spend most of his time in the front line. He was revered by the men of the 16th, and, despite his religious beliefs, greatly respected and admired by the overwhelmingly Protestant 36th Division. Although a natural optimist, occasionally black despair showed through in his diaries. Just a few days before the Battle of Langemarck he wrote about some of the men of his Brigade whom he had seen die:

“My poor brave boys! They are lying now out on the battle-field; some in a little grave dug and blessed by their chaplain, who loves them all as if they were his own children; others stiff and stark with staring eyes, hidden in a shell-hole where they had crept to die . . . Do you wonder . . . that many a time the tears gather in my eyes, as I think of those who are gone?”

On the night of 6 August his life was spared by a typically unselfish decision to help out at a Dressing Station. A shell burst at the entrance to a blockhouse he’d been occupying and set off several boxes of Very lights which caused horrendous burns to the occupants. His diaries are full of stories of similar fortunate escapes. His very mobility providing some sort of guarantee of safety.

As the German shells found their marks during the extended front-line spell of the 16th much of his time was spent ministering to the wounded and burying the dead. He wrote on 7 August of reaching a group of smashed and bleeding bodies after one shell had done its work.

“The first thing I saw almost unnerved me; a young soldier lying on his back, his hands and face a mass of blue phosphorous flame, smoking horribly in the darkness. He was the first victim I had seen of the new gas the Germans are using, a fresh horror in this awful war. … The poor lad recognized me, I anointed him on a little spot of unburnt flesh, not a little nervously as the place was reeking with gas, gave him a drink, which he begged for so earnestly and then hastened to the others.”

Later that night two more men were hit, Doyle cradled one of them in the darkness as he died, until a flash of gunfire revealed that the young dying soldier was his own servant. Doyle's empathy with the men in the line is clear from his writing, he suffered for them and he suffered with them. His inability to harden himself and set aside his own natural feelings of sympathy for the plight of others must have made his own torment even more intense.

Fr. Doyle’s last letter was to his father, telling him not to worry that he was safe and “my old armchair in heaven is not ready yet.” Before the later reached his father, he had been killed. There are disputes as to the details of his death but the most likely is that related by his orderly who saw him killed by an exploding German artillery shell.

The 16th Division was devastated by Doyle’s death. His courage, apparent invulnerability, his energy and his compassion had been an inspiration for all of the many thousands who encountered him. Capt. Healy of the 8th Dublins, who remembered Doyle arriving regularly with sweets and cigarettes for the men, wrote ‘If I had gone through the thousandth part of what Fr. Doyle did, or if I had run a hundredth part of the risks he ran, I would nave been dead long ago.’ Sgt. T. Flynn wrote to the “ Irish News”:

“He did not know what fear was and everybody in the battalion, Catholic and Protestant alike idolized him … Everybody says that he has earned the VC many times over, and I can vouch for it myself from what I have seen him do many a time.”

In fact Doyle was recommended for the VC but it was not granted, an omission which reflected no credit whatever on those responsible for the decision.

One of the most moving tributes came in a letter to the “Glasgow Weekly News” from a Belfast Presbyterian soldier who wrote that:

“Father Doyle was a good deal among us. We couldn’t possibly agree with his religious opinions, but we simply worshipped him for other things. He didn’t know the meaning of fear and he didn’t know what bigotry was. He was as ready to risk his life to take a drop of water to a wounded Ulsterman as to assist men of his own faith and regiment. If he risked his life in looking after Ulster Protestant soldiers once he did it a hundred times in the last few days. … The Ulstermen felt his loss more keenly than anybody. …

After the establishment of the Free State the contributions of the Irish Regiments were usually overlooked, both the British and the Irish governments looking upon them as not their own. As the British war correspondent Sir Philip Gibbs said, “They were cast aside like old shoes.”

Here are some excerpts from Tom Johnstone’s Orange, Green, and Khaki: The Story of the Irish Regiments in the Great War. This is how some of the Irish regiments saw the end of the war on this day 85 years ago:

As 50th Division advanced, so did its Pioneer Battalion, 5th Royal Irish. For them there was no glory, only endless toil, often under shell-fire, remaking roads and building bridges without which the rapid advance could not be sustained. It was a task they knew supremely well. They followed the advance by way of Maretz, Le Cateau and Noyelles to Semouises. There they arrived on 10 November and halted.

The end of the war on the front of these particular battalions of Dublins, Munsters, Connaught Rangers, Innishkillings and Royal Irish is noteworthy. As a demonstration of the tenacity of the German machine-gunners. Warned during early morning that hostilities were to cease at 1100, 50th and 66th Divisions held their positions. On their front, German machine-gun fire continued all morning until about three minutes to eleven when it ceased, but not for long. ‘At two minutes to 11 a machine-gun, about 200 yards from our leading troops, fired off a complete belt without a pause. A single machine-gunner was then seen to stand up beside his weapon, take off his helmet, bow, and turning about, walked slowly to the rear. Then all was silence.’

+ + + + +

2ND Leinsters crossed the water lines of both the Schelde and Le Grand Courant on the night of 8-9 November. By dawn they were in Espinois, where they were told the Germans had left the previous evening. 2nd Leinsters ended the war in typical ‘Forty-Ten’ style: ‘While we were on the march the Brigadier had galloped up and yelled out: “The war is over! The Kaiser has abdicated!” We were typically Irish, and never cheered except under adverse conditions, such as shell-fire and rain. Somewhat crestfallen, the brigadier rode slowly off to communicate his glad tidings to an English battalion who, no doubt, took the news in a different way.’

+ + + + +

That evening, Antoing was outflanked by the other battalions of the brigade on bridges constructed by 11th Hampshires (at the cost of a man drowned and another wounded). Near Antoing, 5th Royal Irish Fusiliers crossed and climbed the gentle rise from the Schelde where, on 11 May 1745, Marshal Saxe had positioned his reserve, the battalions of the Irish Brigade. Having captured Antoing, 16th Division was ordered to halt. On 11 November 1918 they lay upon the battlefield of Fontenoy. Had they been allowed to remain with their division, the almost knightly romantics of 16th (Irish) Division, who believed they had inherited not only the traditions of their regiments but those of the Wild Geese as well, would have rejoiced in that extraordinary coincidence.

Then lift the flag of the last Crusade!
And fill the ranks of the last Brigade!
March on to the fields where the world’s re-made,
And the ancient Dreams come true!

A final few lines, also from Johnstone, about events a few weeks later:

Four selected divisions occupied part of Germany before Christmas – the Guards, the 29th Regular, 15th (Scottish) and 1st Canadian Divisions. The Irish Guards crossed the frontier with their pipers playing ‘St. Patrick’s Day’, while the pipers of the Leinster Regiment played ‘Come Back to Erin. However, it was on the Rhine that a triumphal crossing was staged. The Canadians, Scots and Regulars were to cross Rhine bridges simultaneously. The Scots marched to ‘Scotland the Brave’ across a bridge of boats at Mulheim. At Cologne the Regulars, led by the fusilier battalions of 86 Brigade, which included 1st Dublins, marched to ‘The British Grenadiers’. Behind them in 88 Brigade the pipers of the effervescent Leinsters, their saffron kilts making a splash of colour, played the rollicking ‘Paddy Maginty’s Goat’. Later, the Guards Division made its imposing entry. And as the Irish Guards swung into the Hohenzollern Ring, fittingly their pipers played ‘Brian Boru’.

Couldn't finish without mention of the pipers, now could I?

Happy Birthday to the United States Marine Corps

There are a lot of good websites I could send you to to celebrate this day. But here is one you might not otherwise see. It's "unofficial" but maintained by serving Marines.

Sunday, November 09, 2003


What happened to Davey's Mommy? Anyone know? I have been getting "Could not locate remote server" for far too long now. The software our blogging hosts provide has its ups and downs but this has been an indecent amount of time.

Prayers that all is well with her and her family from The Inn.

9 NOVEMBER The Feast of the Dedication of the Basilica of Our Saviour

The Basilica of Our Saviour is usually called St. John Lateran and it is this church whose dedication is celebrated today in the Pauline rite and in the traditional Roman rite.

This little site give some fine photographs of the church and a bit of its history.

Another "New-To-Me" Site

This one is Choral Evensong. It's been broadcast in the U.K. since 1926 and is now available on the web. It's exactly what the title would suggest, a broadcast of choral evensong from one of the major churches in the U.K. It is usually Anglican service - this week's is from Lichfield Cathedral - but not exclusively. Last October 15 the broadcast was of Solemn Vespers of St. Teresa of Avila broadcast from the London Oratory. (Yes, Narwen. That Oratory. I missed it, too.)

Beautiful stuff. I am a sucker for the psalms in Anglican chant which you will hear on most broadcasts.

You can listen live but if you miss a broadcast you have a week to listen to it in the archive until the next week's programme.

Elinor Proposes a Topic:

To wit: I had an idea for a blogtopic in the course of corresponding with Peony. What fictional character or characters have you ever fallen in love with? I haven't comment boxes, so email me or reply on your own blogs. I'll go first: Henry Tilney from "Northanger Abbey".

I'm not actually going to participate as it would reveal to the world what a sentimental basket case I really am. Bang would go my reputation as hyper-masculine piper guy. Can't have that. What would happen if the world found out that I was smitten entirely by Jane Eyre?

[Uh-oh. Did I write that out loud?]


. . . .is a blog which has apparently been around for a good long time but which I only discovered this very day. [Thanks to Mark for the reference.] Jim Kalb discusses Catholicism and tradition and the social order in our time. Loads of well-reasoned and insightful posts. Tolle, lege.

A sample:

Whither the dead Right?

My own dogmatic pronouncement: the fundamental goal today for those in the West who reject what liberalism has become has to be the restoration of Christendom — a public order that recognizes Christianity as authoritative. Without a goal to give an overall orientation, particular efforts to resist liberalism will lack definition and continuity and get nowhere. That has, in fact, been the fate of conservatism. It’s been reactive, incoherent, endlessly compromised, and easily bought off with gestures and symbols. The claims that conservatism has “won” in fact show that it has utterly collapsed. The situation won’t change until those drawn to conservatism can find their own voice, based on something no less principled, comprehensive and definite than liberalism. What could that thing be, at least for someone in the West, other than Christianity?

So much good sense in one paragraph. It stirs the blood.

Piping on Sunday

This website belongs to the Machester Pipe Band, the second oldest pipe band in the United States. They were founded in 1914 when the Holyoke Caledonian PB came to Manchester to play in the local -- sharp intake of breath -- Orangeman's parade and inspired the locals to found their own band. Manchester was once a Grade I band under the old grading system and is still a fine pipe band that has moved back up to Grade II in recent years. I used to play with one of their graduates who moved out to California a few years ago. (Hi, Bill!)

Friday, November 07, 2003


Today is the feast of the Blessed Elizabeth of the Trinity, O.C.D. A budding concert pianist as a young girl, Elizabeth - "Sabeth" to her family - left her music for Carmel much against the wishes of her mother. Like St. Therese, Blessed Elizabeth lived only a short time in Carmel, dying at 26 in 1906.

The collect for her feast in the Carmelite Liturgy:

O God of bountiful mercy,
you revealed to Blessed Elizabeth of the Trinity
the mystery of your secret presence in the hearts of those who love you,
and you chose her to adore you in spirit and in truth.
Through her intercession
may we also abide in the love of Christ,
that we may merit to be transformed into temples of your life-giving Spirit
to the praise of your glory.
We ask this through Christ, our Lord.

Blithering Idiot

No, not me. Nor anybody else in particular. (Right now. Maybe later.) But that's the title of William Sulik's blog. The point of all this being, that he has reprinted this morning a large chunk of Dorothy L. Sayers' essay The Greatest Drama Ever Told as commentary on the latest vagary in his own Episcopal church. Since our own beloved bench of bishops has been known to come up with a few projects which we, in all humility, believe not to be entirely consonant with the sana doctrina, not to mention the rule of right reason, we thought you might appeciate Miss Sayers' insight into The Basics. It's here.

(Suddenly noticed in checking for typos: "which we, in all humility, believe. . . ." When did I start using the editorial "we"? Or is it the royal "we"? That's an unusual stylistic move, even for me. I shall have to review the archive and try to find out how long this has been going on.)

Saint Cordula

Magnificat printed a little notice on this saint last month which I have had on my desk ever since intending to say something more about her. But I can't find anything more. She gets a mention in the old Roman martyrology but nothing else in my books. She seems to be mentioned on the web in languages other than English, chiefly I think in German.

This is a lovely little story and it bears repeating. So here's what Magnificat had to say about her:

One night in 1238, as Ingebrand von Rurke, a Hospitaller knight, was sleeping in the Hospitallers' priory in Cologne, Germany, he saw in a dream a beautiful girl, who asked that he exhume her body from the grave. The following day, Ingebrand related his dream to the Hospitallers' prior, who advised him to wait before acting. The next night, the deceased maiden appeared again to Ingebrand, telling him, "You will find me in the orchard of the priory, under the filbert tree."

Again Ingebrand confided in his prior, who advised him to learn the girl's name. The following night, the maiden appeared once more, admonishing the knight for his lack of chivalry in neglecting a damsel's petition. Ingebrand then learned that the girl was Cordula, a virgin martyr venerated as one of the maidens slain with Saint Ursula in fifth century Cologne. Immediately Ingebrand went to tell the prior, "Her name is Cordula. And a very appropriate name too; for Cordula means a little heart, and a sweet little heart she is!" Cordula's bones were found where she had indicated, and miracles occurred with the relics.

Her body was later enshrined by Saint Albert the Great.

I like saints who enforce the rules of chivalry.

(If you don't know Magnificat, take a look at the website. It is an excellent monthly publication in standard paperback book size, about 7" x 6.75" which contains the Mass liturgy for the month, morning and evening prayer based on the format of the revised Liturgy of the Hours, a daily meditation from a saint or other spiritual writer, and a one page life of a saint for most days. It is not a traditionalist publication. But if you attend daily Mass in the new rite it's a very handy companion. The publication standards, by the way, are excellent. They use a quality "Bible" paper for the basic text and coated heavy stock for color reproductions. They'll send you a free sample, too, if you're curious.)

Wednesday, November 05, 2003

Piping Photo of the Day

That's the United States Air Force Reserve Pipe Band you're looking at, tovarich.

A Penny for the Guy

Please to remember
The Fifth of November,
Gunpowder treason and plot.
I see no reason
Why gunpowder treason
Should ever be forgot.

Guy! Guy! Guy!
Stick him up on high;
Hang him on a lamp post
And leave him there to die.

Ladies and gentlemen you'll never grow fat,
If you don't put a penny in the old Guy's hat.

Yes, it's Guy Fawkes Day. Neither a Catholic nor a California tradition. But if you're interested in a little more information about the only man to enter parliament without making any false campaign promises, you might try here.

We'll be foregoing the bonfire here tonight. Southern California is a tad bonfired out this November. The smell of smoke isn't going cheer anyone up in this area.

Tuesday, November 04, 2003

Judge Not Lest Ye Get Involved In A Flame War

On an otherwise very peaceful mailing list to which I belong a certain amount of disagreement has broken out regarding judging others. In most other lists this would not even be recognized as a disagreement; but for us it's a flame war and has resulted in a couple of "retirements" from the list.

The issue that triggered it doesn't really matter (but if you're interested, it was the degree of blame that rests on Terri Schiavo's husband). But what strikes me as astonishing is how much more upset some folks can get that X is judging Y than about the subject matter of the evil itself. It seems there is a built-in exception to the "judge not" rule. Apparently if you are judging a judg-er (rather than, say, a car thief) it's permissible to let loose with both barrels.

Monday, November 03, 2003

An Old Irish Poem

This is a poem that was in the Creggan Journal. It was written by Art Mac Cooey (1738-1773) a satirical poet who attacked the snobbery and respectability of the new Catholic middle-classes in the penal days copying the ways of the clergy who had little time for native cultural values.

I'm a pauper they say, a rascal, a stray,
And there's nothing but lies in my singing,
If I don't disappear, the parish will hear
The bells for my interdict ringing.
The curse of the friars and the vengeance of Rome
On the breed and the seed of the vipers,
Who threaten each day and never would pay
A penny to poets or pipers.

Copied (including the introduction) from the website of the Irish Pipe Band Association. This isn't a direct link. I've misplaced that and it's not readily discoverable. But it's in there somewhere. When I get more time, I'll look for it.

Sunday, November 02, 2003

Piping Photo of the Day

Pretty typical, too.

Guess Who Doesn't Believe in God?

According to the poll contained in this article, Ten percent of Protestants, 21 percent of Roman Catholics, and 52 percent of Jews do NOT believe in God

Words fail.

The Churches of Suffolk

If you have a few hours, this site was recently recommended to me. It is a pictorial survey of all the churches in the English county of Suffolk. Both Catholic and Anglican churches are surveyed, but the majority, as you would expect are Anglican. There are some glorious pictures. He doesn't mention it, but almost all of them will expand into full page pictures if you click on them. The author is very opinionated; you will be in no doubt about his likes and dislikes. But he's a very companionable guide; you won't mind that at all.

I've spent about an hour at the site and barely touched the surface. If you like this sort of thing, it's great fun.

The Sunday Times

Two articles of interest turned up in The L.A. Times today. The first was in the Travel section and relates the author's tour of sites related to the Gunpowder Plot and its participants. It's worth a look for anyone with an interest in the English recusants of the period. There are some nice pictures, too. A shame they couldn't make them a bit bigger as they did in the print edition.

The second article I can't cite here as it'll cost me (and you) $4.95 to look at it on line. The article is in the book review section and is a review by Robert Giroux of Michael Wood's new book, "Shakespeare". Giroux - unlike the reviewer in the Amazon link just cited - concentrates on the discussion of Shakespeare's Catholicism and an exigesis of his very difficult poem, "The Phoenix and the Turtle".

The most important news concerns the "secret" life of John Shakespeare, our poet's father, who was long regarded as either a jolly farmer or an uneducated butcher. Wood establishes that in 1564, when William was born, John was a well-to-do citizen of Stratford - the town bailiff (equal to mayor), as well as a glove maker, wool dealer, real estate investor and money-lender. A contemporary Stratford doucment lists John as a "gentleman", but by the late 1570's he was in deep financial trouble, owing to the family's Catholicism. He was no longer dealing in the town's affairs and had stoped attending church, ostensibly to avoid arrest for his debs. John was a recusant: He had refused to give up his religion or to fake it by attending Protestant services at least once a year, as required by Queen Elizabeth's new law. When he was bailiff, John had been ordered to whitewash the church murals of ancient saints and symbols, and when he did nothing about it for a year, his troubles began. He wife, the former Mary Arden, was also a recusant; so were her well-born relatives, including Edward Arden, head of the family, whose estate, Park Hall, was a "safe house" for recalcitrant Catholics.

Threads of Catholicism run through all of Shakespeare's life. A subsequent list of recusants in 1606 lists "Susannah Shakespeere", William's daughter among those still loyal to the Catholic Church. William was cousin to St. Robert Southwell, the Jesuit martyr and Southwell appears to have dedicated a poem to his cousin, "W.S." William's patron, the Earl of Southampton was a Catholic.

Wood's most fascinating find, according to Giroux, is his publication of the explication of the meaning of "The Phoenix and the Turtle" done by Professors John Finnis and Patrick Martin. Their view is that the poem concerns the love story of the recusant couple, Anne and Roger Line. Roger died in exile and Anne was martyred for the faith and is now Saint Anne Line.

Wood's book is now the latest addition to my ever-growing want list.

The last bit of news comes from a 17th century Protestant clergyman, the Rev. Richard Davies, who wrote: "William Shakespeare dyed a papist." As Michael Wood puts it, "Davies had no reason to lie, and plenty of reasons to know."


Today is All Souls Day.

From "The Handbook of Indulgences: Norms and Grants" (1991):

Grant #67 Visiting a Church or Oratory on All Souls Day

"A plenary indulgence which is applicable only to the souls in purgatory is granted the Christian faithful who devoutly visit a church or an oratory on All Souls Day.

This indulgence can be obtained either on the day mentioned above or, with the consent of the ordinary, on the preceding or following Sunday or on the solemnity of All Saints.

This indulgence is already contained in the apostolic constitution, Indulgentiarum doctrina, norm 15. It is included here in light of the Sacred Penitentiary's deliberations since the constitution was issued.

According to norm 16 of the apostolic constitution, this visit is to include the 'recitation of the Lord's Prayer and the Creed
(Pater and Credo.)"

Grant #13 Visiting a Cemetery

"An indulgence is granted the Christian faithful who devoutly visit a cemetery and pray, if only mentally, for the dead. This indulgence is applicable only to the souls in purgatory. This indulgence is a plenary one from November 1 through November 8 and can be gained on each one of these days. On the other days of the year this indulgence is a partial one."

Grant #18 Defunctorum officium Office for the Dead

A partial indulgence is granted the Christian faithful who devoutly recite Morning Prayer or Evening Prayer from the Office for the Dead. [N.B. The links given are to a previous edition of the Divine Office. The current version in its approved format is not on line. Since some traditional communities pray the older version of the Office under Roman authorization, presumably the indulgences will attach to the traditional office also.]

Grant #19 De Profundis Psalm 130

A plenary indulgence is granted the Christian faithful who devoutly recite Psalm 130 [129 in the Septuagint numbering], the De Profundis (Out of the depths I cry to you, O Lord.).

There is a nicely done collection of private prayers for the souls in Purgatory here.