Monday, August 30, 2004

Save the___!!

Any sentence beginning "Save the. . ." is automatically a hectoring sentence and will instantly incline me to take a pot shot at whatever it is. One exception is the Bolsa Chica Wetlands which I knew and appreciated long before I knew there was a "Save the" movement (or any need for one). Aside from the ecological qualities of the area, it's one of the last bits of "old" PCH left. Long stretches of the drive down the coast used to be very like the Bolsa Chica area when I was a boy. As my dotage races ever closer, that sort of thing seems more important. There should be something left of the old California for other generations to see.

If birds and fish and assorted wild grasses don't have sufficient content for a crusade, how about the apostrophe? A cause for the ages if ever there was one.

Friday, August 27, 2004


Found while looking for something else: these wonderful pictures of the tiny village of St. Amande de Coly in France.

Clicking the link will reward with over two dozen more shots, focusing largely on the village church.

Thursday, August 26, 2004

Only for the Stout-hearted

I mean this blog: Catholic Church Conservation. This blog's author chronicles the continuing destruction of the Catholic architectural heritage which the hapless bench has decreed in this country. But don't visit without a stiff drink. It's heart-rending stuff.

I've mentioned this blog before but it seemed it wasn't being updated. Oops. It is. But one needs to scroll down to find the most recent posts. The oldest are at the top. Do scroll down; it's a chronicle that should be preserved for our Catholic posterity, if any. Amazing priorities exhibited here. I would have kept the churches and sold off the bishops.

Humour: Braid Scots Division

Everyone knows that there are tunes that you just can't get out of your mind. There are jokes that do that to me also. This is one of them. Perhaps relating it here will make it go away. You have to tell it in Lallans, the "braid Scots" dialect, for it to work properly.

Q. Wha's the difference between Bing Crosby and Walt Disney?

A. Bing sings and Walt dis'nae.

26 August -- The Feast of the Transverberation of St. Teresa of Jesus

This is an old feast in the Discalced Carmelite calendar, although it used to be celebrated tomorrow on the 27th of August as the feast "In Transverberatione Cordis S. Teresiae Virginae, Matris Nostrae". Bernini's famous statue shown above commemorates the event as the angel pierces the heart of St. Teresa with a lance which fills her with delight and a longing for heaven. Inflammatum est cor meum, et renes mei commutati sunt as one of the old antiphons used to have it.

The second reading in the present Discalced Carmelite Office of Readings is taken from The Living Flame of Love of St. John of the Cross. This very appropriate reading names-no-names but is believed to be St. John's own description of St. Teresa's mystical experience.

You Have Wounded My Heart

As MOSES DECLARES in Deuteronomy, 'Our Lord is a consuming fire,' that is, a fire of love, which being of infinite power, can inestimably consume and transform into itself the soul it touches. Yet he burns each soul according to its preparation: he will burn one more, another less, and this he does in so far as he desires, and how and when he desires. When he wills to touch somewhat vehemently, the soul's burning reaches such a high degree of love that it seems to surpass that of all the fires of the world: for he is an infinite fire of love. Because the soul in this case is entirely transformed by the divine flame, it not only feels a cautery, but has become a cautery of blazing fire.

It is a wonderful thing and worth relating that, since this fire of God is so mighty it would consume a thousand worlds more easily than the fire of this earth would burn up a straw, it does not consume and destroy the soul in which it so burns. And it does not afflict it: rather, commensurate with the strength of the love, it divinizes and delights it, burning gently.

Since God's purpose in granting these communications is to exalt the soul, he does not weary and restrict it, but enlarges and delights it, brightens and enriches it.
The happy soul that by great fortune reaches this cautery knows all things, tastes all things, does all it wishes, and prospers; no one prevails before it and nothing touches it. This is the soul of which the Apostle speaks: The spiritual man judges all things and he is judged by no one.' And again: 'The spirit searches out all things, unto the deep things of God.'

It will happen that while the soul is inflamed with the love of God, it will feel that a seraph is assailing it by means of an arrow or dart which is all afire with love. And the seraph pierces and in an instant cauterizes this soul which, like a red-hot coal, or better a flame, is already enkindled. The soul is converted into an immense fire of love.

Few persons have reached these heights. Some have, however; especially those whose virtue and spirit were to be diffused among their children. For God accords to founders, with respect to the first fruits of the spirit, wealth and value commensurate with the greater or lesser following they will have in their doctrine and spirituality.

O happy wound, wrought by one who knows only how to heal! O fortunate and choicest wound; you were made only for delight, and the quality of your affliction is delight and gratification for the wounded soul! You are great, O delightful wound, because he who caused you is great!

And your delight is great, because the fire of love is infinite. O, then, delightful wound, so much more sublimely delightful the more the cautery touched the intimate center of the substance of the soul, burning all that was burnable in order to give delight to all that could be delighted!


R. The Lord our God is one Lord. * You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your strength.
W. The Lord your God is a consuming fire. * You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your strength.

Here is the old collect for this feast:

Deus, qui illibata praecordia beatae Virginis Teresiae Sponsae tuae ac Matris nostrae ignito jaculo transfixisti, et caritatis victimam consecrasti : ipsa interveniente concede; ut corda nostra ardore Sancti Spiritus ferveant, et te in omnibus super omnia diligant : Qui vivis et regnas cum Deo Patre, in unitate ejusdem. Amen.

Wednesday, August 25, 2004

A Day at Clear Creek

Robert Waldrop spent the feast of St. Bartholomew at Clear Creek Abbey in Oklahoma. His day is described here. I envy him.

The monks began promptly with the monastic liturgy for Terce. There is rising, bowing, standing, and through it all is the chanted prayer, in unity with the whole church. At such times I always think about all the other monasteries and convents throughout the world, each lifting its common voice in prayer, Latin and all the languages of Earth, a perpetual song of praise, adoration, and intercession. It is a very powerful concept, and I think it is not well understood in this day and age.

Today was the feast of St. Bartholomew, and it was his mass that we heard today. The organist accompanied the Ordinary of the Mass, and the uniting of the monks’ chanted prayer with the organ seemed perfect. Yes of course there was incense, lots of it, but then there’s a lot of prayer too, and so the incense seems fitting, "that’s what its for". I am not a fan of dumbing down the Liturgy, whether it be in Latin or the vernacular. Dorothy Day and the early Catholic Workers, who were nourished by the Latin Mass, drew close connections between the liturgy of the Church and the cause of social justice. They knew that the work of social justice is not merely politics, but rather the incarnation in daily life of the truths and spiritual realities we experience and witness to in the holy sacrifice of the Mass. You are what you eat, after all. The vestments were red signifying martyrdom, another important truth of our religion. As we remember ancient martyrs, we cannot fail also to think of those in our own day who have been martyred. The book of those names is very thick, and it grows with each passing year as the culture of death continues its relentless war against Beauty, Wisdom, and Truth.

Tuesday, August 24, 2004

Lonely? Feeling Friendless?

If you want to feel loved and wanted, I recommend car dealerships. Show up on a car lot and start looking at new models and I guarantee you will have a new friend. He - or occasionally she - will follow you around wherever you go, inquire about your family, your likes and dislikes, even talk to you about cars. Boy, will you feel wanted.

My wife is on the verge - I hope, oh, I do so hope - of buying a new car and I have been following her around trying to look interested and knowledgeable lo these many weeks. Or possibly only two weeks. It seems much longer. She doesn't jump into this car-buyng stuff. She has folders full of print-outs, brochures, color photos, statistics and reams of hand-written notes. She has been to uncounted numbers of dealerships, sometimes two and three times. And we now have a whole regiment of new friends all of whom, not coincidentally, are involved in the lucrative field of automobile merchandising. They call us; she calls them; wheeling and dealing occurs.

This is not how I buy cars, or indeed, anything. I want three things in a car: a good sound system, an air conditioner that brings the temperature down to freezing in thirty seconds, and seats that will remain comfortable while wearing highland dress on a trip to a gig in San Diego or Santa Barbara, i.e., for at least two hours at a stretch. She has a much longer list. (And a much more reasonable list, though I blush to admit it. What are "anti-lock brakes" anyway?)

I think today may be the day, though. It looks like we have it narrowed down to a Honda Civic with some sort of special interior decor that they're going to do for her "for free". Or maybe not. She just asked for another print-out of some stats on a Toyota. But I have hopes. This afternoon may really be our last afternoon or evening spent at a car dealership.


Monday, August 23, 2004

Getting It Right

I whinge about the "reformed" liturgy on a regular basis here so as a matter of fairness I ought also to point out an occasion when it seems to me that the new liturgy gets it exactly right.

Yesterday - August 22 - used to be the feast of the Immaculate Heart of Mary, being also the octave day of the Assumption. This was fitting enough, the octave itself being bracketed by feasts of Our Lady. But now August 22 is redesignated as the feast of the Blessed Virgin Mary, Queen. So the two feasts of the Assumption and the Queenship of Our Lady follow the order of the Glorious Mysteries of the Rosary. The feast of the Immaculate Heart far from being eliminated, now follows on the Saturday after the feast of the Sacred Heart of Jesus in June.

A pleasing re-alignment in my occasionally humble opinion.

Regina mundi dignissima, Maria virgo perpetua, tu genuisti Christum Dominum, salvatorem omnium. Ad Benedictus, ant.

Wednesday, August 18, 2004

Mulierem fortem quis inveniet?

I am reminded, not to say scolded, by my e-friend Helen J., who knows I like to remember the less prominent saints in the calendar, that this is also the feast of. . .St. Helen.

Paenitet me pecasse. . . .

Gettin' The Right Eats

This is a wonderful blog: Distributist, Catholic, agrarian, just all around good stuff. You will find yourself with an overwhelming urge to plant vegetables. No, make that eat something fresh, home-made, and delicious and then plant vegetables. Yes, I know that's the wrong order. But there's no accounting for overwhelming urges.

I want this on the blog roll but I'm not sure where to put it. I'll try the "Social Order" heading for now. Someday I'll rearrange that list so that it makes a touch more sense. That day is not today.

I wonder if I could take out the dianthus and put in some peppers?

Adios, Padre Gregorio

First Fr. Johnson retired from St. Mary's by the Sea, and now Fr. Greg Staab, OMV is being transferred from St. Peter Chanel to Argentina. Yes, that Argentina. The one on a different continent umpty thousand miles away. I'm running short of good priests.

Argentina doesn't know how fortunate it is yet. Fr. Greg is an outstanding confessor and spiritual director. He is one of the best preachers you'll ever hear, both intellectual and heart-felt. The two don't always go together but they do in his case. And if you're wondering, yes, he already understands and speaks Spanish. All in all, a brilliant and holy man. He will be greatly missed, and not least by me.

(Running "short" of good priests, indeed, but not "out". St. Peter Chanel remains one of the best [if not the best; I haven't been to them all] parishes in the Archdiocese. The Oblates of the Virgin Mary don't seem to have any less-than-outstanding priests. The ones who remain at St. Peter Chanel, Fr. Larry, Fr. Ed, and Fr. John, still preach the sana doctrina with fire and conviction and man the confessional 6 to 8 hours every day. I can't imagine that newly-arrived Fr. Fernando, who takes Fr.Greg's place, will be any different.)

If you'd like to hear some of Fr. Greg's preaching, St. Joseph Radio has some of our parish's retreats on tape here. A few of Fr. Greg's talks are marked separately. He's also one of the preachers in the tape series only labelled "St. Peter Chanel". Highly recommended if you have a few extra dollars.

Does this mean he isn't Hitler any more?

Apparently Dubya is now The Anti-Christ. So says the "Catholics For Kerry 04" outfit. The Catholic League's own William Donohue, blunt as ever, comments here.

I would've preferred a real conservative to Dubya the hopeless neo-con, but "The Anti-Christ"?? The labor movement should be attacking the Democrats. Now that the Dems do all their own self-parodying we'll be awash in unemployed satirists.

I suppose the silver lining is that some folks on the furthest reaches of the spectrum's left side still believe in such things as the anti-Christ.

Lent in August

The three penitential seasons: Advent, Lent, and the final few weeks of the baseball season. And not just because the Halos were the width of a holy card (half a game!) away from first place just a moment ago and are now two games back and a game and a half away from the wild card spot. But there's this. And this: "By then, Escobar was gone, and he might not be able to take the ball Sunday at Yankee Stadium." And this. And Bengie Molina with the broken finger reduced to pinch hitting. Sack cloth and ashes aren't even in the running.

Someone said that there's some sort of sporting event going on in Athens that might be worth a look-see. Just as a respite. I don't know. Greece? Doesn't seem likely. They don't even have any winter ball clubs.

The Martyrs of Rochefort

Another very recent feast today, these Carmelites were among a group of 64 martyrs of the French revolution beatified in 1995. I could find very little on the web concerning them, hardly more than the bare mention of their existence.

This is from the "introduction" to the feast of the three Discalced Carmelites among the prisoners:

Fr. Jean Baptiste Duverneuil (born 1737 at Limoges) in religous life Fr.
Leonard, Fr. Michel Louis Brulard (born 1758 at Chartres), Fr. Jacques
Gagnot (born 1753 at Frolois) in religious life Fr. Hubert of St. Claude,
were among a group of 64 Martyrs, beatified October 1, 1995, victims of the French Revolution who came from 14 French dioceses and from various
religious Orders.

In their loyalty to God, the Church and the Pope, they refused to take the
oath of the Civil Constitution for the Clergy imposed by the Constituent
Assembly of the Revolution. As a result they were imprisoned, massed like
animals, on a slave-trader anchored in Rochefort Bay awaiting in vain to be deported into slavery. During 1794, the first two Carmelites died on board ship: Fr. Jean Baptiste on July 1, and Fr. Michel Louis on July 25, and both were buried on the island of Aix.
After plague broke out on the ship, those remaining disembarked on the
island of Madame where Fr. Jacques died and was buried on September 10. Noted for their loving ministry to their fellow prisoners and their patience in
accepting every type of outrage, privation and cruelty not to mention the vicissitudes of weather, hunger and sickness, our three Discalced Carmelite priest martyrs and their companions in martyrdom gave unsurpassable Christian witness to their faith and love.

This is from the proper second reading for their feast day in the Office of Readings:

From Resolutions Drawn Up by the Priests Imprisoned
on the Ship Les Deux Associes

They bore in silence the cross that was placed on them.
They will never give themselves up to useless worries about being
set free. Instead they will make every effort to profit from the
time of their detention by meditating on their past years, by making
holy resolutions for the future so that they can find, in the
captivity of their bodies, freedom for their souls. …

If God permits them to recover totally or in part this liberty that
nature longs for, they will avoid giving themselves up to an
immoderate joy when they receive the news. By keeping their souls
tranquil, they will show they support without murmur the cross
placed on them, and that they are disposed to bear it even longer
with courage and as true Christians who never let themselves be
beaten by adversity.

If there is question of receiving back their personal effects, they
will show no eagerness in asking for them; rather, they will make
the declaration that may be required of them with modesty and strict
truth. They will receive without lament what is given to them,
accustoming themselves, as is their duty, to despise the things of
the earth and to be content with little after the example of the

They are not to satisfy curious people they might come across; they
will not reply to superficial questions about what happened to them;
they will let people glimpse that they have patiently supported
their sufferings, without descending into detail, and without
showing any resentment against those who have authored and been
instrumental in their suffering. ...

They will sentence themselves to the severest and most absolute
silence about the faults of their brothers and the weaknesses into
which they happened to fall due to their unfortunate situation,
their bad health, and the length of their punishment. They will
preserve the same charity toward those whose religious opinion is
different from their own. They will avoid all bitter feeling or
animosity, being content to feel sorry for them interiorly and
making the effort to stay on the way of truth by their gentleness
and moderation. They will not show grief over the loss of their goods, no haste to recover them, no resentment against those who possess them. …

From now on they will form but one heart and one soul, without
showing distinction of persons, and without leaving any of their
brothers out, under any pretext. They will never get mixed up in the
new politics, being content to pray for the welfare of their country
and prepare themselves for a new life, if God permits them to return
to their homes. There they will become subjects of edification and
models of virtue for the people by their detachment from the world,
their assiduousness in prayer, and their love for recollection and

R/. God and His angels look down upon us; Christ, too,
looks on as we do battle in the contest of faith. * What
great dignity and glory are ours, what happiness to struggle
in the presence of God, and to be crowned by Christ our judge.
V/.Let us be armed with great determination and, pure in heart,
sound in faith, and full of courage, be prepared to face the
combat. * What great dignity and glory are ours, what happiness
to struggle in the presence of God, and to be crowned by Christ
our judge.

Tuesday, August 17, 2004

More on the Chartres Pilgrimage

I've mentioned the Chartres pilgrimage several times on this site (here's one). The pilgrimage has its own website here. There is now a little video precis of the pilgrimage available on that site. It's a few seconds shy of five minutes long. You can bring it up by clicking here. I was warned that at 10 mb it would take a long while to load. In fact, it was running within a few seconds on my machine. If you do have to wait a bit it's worth it though.

Semper Fi, Sergeant Farr

No, not "SCAB"; It Was Only Three Letters

In the NY Times crossword this morning: "Non-union labor, abv." in three letters. It was the last one solved. Turned out to be "Mgt". Hah! Nice one.

More on the Institute of St. Philip Neri

Hilary has found articles in the new Institute in both L'Osservatore Romano and the American magazine Inside the Vatican. See her post here.

Monday, August 16, 2004

All together now. . .

If you're not already stopping by the Irish Elk on a regular basis your priorities do need some adjusting. I am assuming, though, that you've had sufficient encouragement from this site to be so doing. Thus you will already have seen this post and sung along with the Eton Boating Song. Aside from the fact that it fits rather well on the pipes (start on C) - you knew I'd work that into it somehow didn't you? - did you know that the tune once had a certain currency amongst artillerymen? The words to Rudyard Kipling's "The Screw Guns" fit the tune admirably and were once part of the Royal Horse Artillery's repertoire.

Smokin' my pipe on the mountings, sniffin' the mornin' cool,
I walks in my old brown gaiters along o' my old brown mule,
With seventy gunners be'ind me, an' never a beggar forgets
It's only the pick of the Army
that handles the dear little pets -- 'Tss! 'Tss!
For you all love the screw-guns -- the screw-guns they all love you!
So when we call round with a few guns,
o' course you will know what to do -- hoo! hoo!
Jest send in your Chief an' surrender --
it's worse if you fights or you runs:
You can go where you please, you can skid up the trees,
but you don't get away from the guns!

My old pipe major from the Clan Donnachaidh band informed me that there are also "drinking" words to the old tune which would render a quotation or a citation unsuitable for a pious Catholic blog. But I wouldn't know anything about that. The merest hearsay.

Blessed Maria del Sagrario of St. Aloysius Gonzaga

Today is the feast of one of our newer and lesser known Carmelite saints. (The following biography was found by Lonnie Sorenson, our Headmistress at Cincarm, but I'm not sure where she found it.)



An educated and strong woman

She was born Elvira Moragas Cantarero on 8h January 1881 in the town of
Lillo (Toledo). Her.father, Ricardo Maragas Ucelay, a pharmacist, was
transferred to Madrid before Elvira was four years old He opened a pharmacy
there and became supplier to the Royal Household.

When she was six years old she received the sacrament of Confirmation in the
Parish of St Teresa and St Elizabeth. She studied in the College of the
Mercedarian sisters where she made her first Communion. Right from childhood
she had a tenacious and strong character that needed controlling by her
parents. On finishing her primary studies she began her secondary schooling
in 1894. Five years later, in 1899, she graduated with distinction.

At the turn of the last century in Spain there was little opening for women
in university studies. It was surprising then that both herself and her
parents were receptive to the idea that she follow a university career in a
field that was almost exclusively a male one. After six years of study in
the University of Madrid, in 1905 she became the first woman to qualify in
pharmacy. She was then 24 years old

As a pharmacist she helped her father run his business. In 1909 herfather
died and two years later, her mother. She was left alone with her younger
brother. To him she revealed her desire to consecrate herself to God, but
that she would wait until he became established in his career.

In this time of waiting to consecrate her life to God in Carmel, Maria del
Sagrario worked on in the pharmacy serving the customers herself. She did
not limit herself to administration but related personally with the sick
people encouraging and consoling them. While offering them remedies she
shared their suffering. As well as her personal work she helped with
catechetics in the parish and on Sundays went to the suburbs to give
charitable assistance to the poor.

In Carmel

In 1915, the Fourth Centenary of the birth of Teresa of Jesus, Maria del
Sagrario entered the Carmelite monastery of St Anne and St Joseph in Madrid,
which had been founded in 1586 by the Venerable Anne of Jesus (Lobera). Her
intense professional and apostolic work, united to family suffering, had
affected her health. Because of this theCarmelites had asked her to wait a
little before admitting her on 21 June 1915. The Mistress of Novices stated
that she found her a woman of "strong and energetic character, capable of
accomplishing the greatest ideals of sanctity".

On 21 December 1915 she began her novitiate accepting the material and
cultural limitations of her community. Her first profession was made on 24
December 1916 1hree years later, on 6 January 1920 she made her solemn

Her journey in Carmel was characterized by the exercise of faith, hope and
love. Her faith led her to discover in events the Lord's will and to adhere
to it. She reached maturity in hope by means of the difficulties and the
effort to detach herself from everything that was not God She lived love in
self forgeffulness and in service to her sisters.

Dynamic prioress and efficient formator

In April 1927 she was elected Prioress of the community. Thus began a time
of commitment and service to her community. She exercised her office as an
older sister, open to dialogue with her sisters. She also took care of the
material aspect of the monastery, carrying out works and repairs that the
convent needed to offer the minimum of humane conditions for life in the

When her triennium was over she became Mistress of novices. Statements from
those guided by her emphasized that she knew how to mix understanding with
firmness and that she taught mainly by example. On many occasions she spoke
to her novices about her desire to be a martyr.

Prioress on the eve of the Spanish civil war and martyr.for Christ

On 1 July 1936, Mother Maria del Sagrario was once again elected Prioress of
the community. The winds of violence had begun to blow in Spain and on 18
July 1936 the civil war broke out. That same day the windows of the Church
and monastery were smashed. In the evening, Mother Maria del Sagrario
gathered the community together to tell them how bad things had become and
to advise and beseech those who wanted to go to their family. On the 20th
the convent was attacked by a violent crowd who sacked and destroyed many
things. The Prioress was concernedfor each and every one of her daughters
and did not rest until she was able to get them to safety. With one of the
nuns, she managed to take refuge in the house of the nun's parents where she
stayed until taken to prison.

Her brother visited her many times, pleading with her to come with him to
Pinto, where he lived with his family. However she refused to go with him
because she had to watch over all her sisters. She took care of each one of
them and managed to send them material and spiritual help where they were,
exhorting them to be generous in accepting the will of the Lord 'Who
suffered so much for our love ".

On 14th August the "soldiers" discovered the place where she was hiding and
took her prisoner together with the other nun with her. She was shot by the
enemies of the faith on 15th of August Thus her journey came to a close by
handing over her life confessing Jesus Christ to whom she had consecrated
her life in the Teresian Carmel.


Monday, August 09, 2004

Getting Married?

If it's to be a Catholic wedding, you're in for several hours of "marriage preparation" courses. In fact, though, what you really need to know is here. The only really important thing missing in that post is where to find a good piper to lead you down the aisle.

Sunday, August 08, 2004

The New Diaspora

This is the title of the latest post at Jeff Culbreath's wonderful "El Camino Real" blog. His view is depressing but incontrovertibly accurate so far as I can tell. It reminds me of someone's response (Whose? I no longer remember) to the mention of the "culture war". As close to word-for-word as I can recollect it was "Culture war? What culture war? There is no culture war going on. Mind you there was one. That was back in the 60's and early 70's. We lost. What's going on now is a mopping up of isolated pockets of resistance." It was a funny response at the time. And it's still funny. But the humor gets blacker by the day.

A Double-Header

I had two weddings on the programme yesterday. The first one was just a short distance away in Long Beach, down by the lighthouse next to Rainbow Harbor. (The lighthouse seen from the sky in this shot.) By the time I arrived there was no parking anywhere near and I ended up in the parking structure belonging to the aquarium. This meant a fairly long walk by the Long Beach Aquarium, down around the fountains and past the new Pierpoint Landing building and up through the park to the wedding site next to the lighthouse. All full of crowds of people - lots of families - enjoying a beautiful summer day. And I remembered again what a great thing it is to be a piper. Show up in a kilt with a stand of pipes and the whole world is your friend. Everyone met my glance and smiled. Every third person said "hi" or "good morning". And I could hear the beginnings of explanations to the little ones about what a piper is and what he's going to do with that bundle of sticks. (I remember years ago carrying my pipes through the Newport Art Festival with some dancers and overhearing a very, very small voice behind me full of awe saying, "Daddy, what is that man in a dress doing with those guns?" Some serious cultural education needed there.) A beautiful day, friendly people, and I got to play some pipe music. And they paid me for it. Life doesn't get any better.

The second wedding went well, too. This time in a Catholic Church rather than next to a lighthouse. This parish has had some problems in the recent past but it gave the impression of a church that has turned the corner. The liturgy was reverent and there were notices a-plenty regarding pro-life activities, parish sponsored and otherwise. There was a weekly holy hour before the Blessed Sacrament for peace and the safety of our military people. Even some catalogues for Ignatius Press. And finally there was a notice for this sponsored by the Legionaires of Christ. Yes, Virginia, there is a Catholic surfing camp.

Hey, it's California, dude. And the heart of "The OC." Chill.

Friday, August 06, 2004

Can't help wondering: Does it play a tune when it drives through the neighborhood?

If you have trouble reading the caption, the picture shows a mobile confessional being used in Germany. Probably a good idea, my slightly snarky headline notwithstanding. It would be hard to argue with the queue lined up in front. But still a little, what shall we say, culturally off-putting perhaps.

Scanned from the latest number of "Mirror", the newsletter of the charity "Aid to the Church in Need".

That a BLT? You're Fired.

From yesterday's Los Angeles Metropolitan News-Enterprise (they don't put much up on the web so you'll have to take my word for this):

An Orlando, Fla., woman is suing her former employer, a telecommunications firm with Muslim workers and clients, claiming she was fired because she ate pork products in the company lunchroom.

Pork is unclean, according to Islamic beliefs, and Rising Star Telecommunications CEO Kujaatele Kweli said his company has a policy against openly eating or preparing the meat.

But the attorney for Lina Morales an administrative assistant fired in March 2003, said the company admits thee is no written policy against pork. And when Morales complained she was being disciplined for a policy of which she was unaware, she was fired for insubordination.

"If it's a religiously-motivated policy that impinges on other people's rights, we're arguing that's de facto discrimination," attorney Travis Hollifield said yesterday.

Wednesday, August 04, 2004

A New Location for the Ancient Gregorian Mass?

It seems so. Archbishop Burke, the ordinary of the Archdiocese of St. Louis, recently visited the seminary of the traditional Institute of Christ the King at Gricigliano outside Florence in Italy. Among the photographs of his visit appearing on the I.C.R. website is this one whose caption reads: "Mgr Gilles Wach, prieur Général de l'Institut félicite S.E. Mgr L. Burke pour sa nomination à Saint-Louis et le remercie pour l'église, dédiée à St François de Sales, qu'il nous a confiée."

So it would appear - on the basis of the caption under one picture, admittedly - that the Institute of Christ the King will now go from four to five apostolates in this country. The new church mentioned, a beautiful old Gothic church built circa 1867, has a website here.

Congratulations, St. Louis.

Tuesday, August 03, 2004

CEO To Get $2,500,000 Salary Plus A Bonus While In Prison

The headline is accurate. listed this under "The Five Dumbest Things on Wall Street This Week". Words fail.

Detroit Catholics Acquire the Traditional Mass

The Archdiocese of Detroit, one of the last major sees in the U.S. to be without it, has after much petitioning by Una Voce and others, approved the celebration of the traditional Roman Rite Mass. The Archdiocese's announcement can be found here.

If the picture above is anything to go by, the Church of St. Josaphat appears to be an outstanding venue for the traditional Rite. Its website can be found here.

Even the Detroit Free Press has found the restoration of the old rite worthy of mention. Overall, a very favorable article. One could quibble with the fey imputation that it's for the "precious" who prefer to spend their Sunday mornings amongst antique furnishings. And the hope expressed in the final paragraph is a forlorn one; those who attend the traditional rites regularly know that the "older people in the later stages of their lives" in the congregation are a distinct minority. (The traditional congregation has to love not only Gregorian chant and Latin but roaring babies and three-year-olds with a two and a half minute attention span.) On the whole, though, this is excellent publicity for the ancient Gregorian rite.

A version with pictures can be found here.

Congratulations, Detroit.

Sunday, August 01, 2004

Irish Pipes

St. Lawrence O'Toole Pipe Band has some new tunes available for download. Their webpage is here. Click the "Downloads" link at the left to be taken to the correct page. If you only have time to download one, choose "Dawning of the Day". It's a knockout arrangement with very well-chosen harmonies. Great music.

Good News from The Times

That's not a phrase I get to use every day. That younger priests are often more conservative these days is discussed regularly. And now the Los Angeles Times has recognized it so it must be official. This generous article (in fact, for The Times this may even count as gushing) begins:

It's hard to miss Father Marcos Gonzalez, who wears an ankle-length black cassock every day, a garment most priests tossed out decades ago. But it's not just his clothes that bespeak an older, more traditional era of his Roman Catholic Church.

When some priests spoke in favor of optional celibacy at a Los Angeles priest assembly last year — a position supported by most American Catholics today — Gonzalez booed in dissent. In premarital counseling, he tells couples to remain chaste until marriage, plunging into delicate territory some priests prefer to avoid. Gonzalez also believes artificial birth control and gay sex are always a sin and opposes women's ordination.

Such stances conform with Vatican teachings, he says, but are at odds with many American priests and lay people.

Yet Gonzalez, an associate pastor at St. Andrew Church in Pasadena, is hardly a relic from a fading past. At 41, he offers one glimpse of the future as a member of a new breed of younger priests ordained during the 25-year papacy of Pope John Paul II and passionately committed to the pope's orthodox teachings.

The remainder can be found here. As has been mentioned before, don't lollygag. If you want to read a Times article on line you need to do it right away. This came out on Saturday, 31 July. It'll be up for a week. By Saturday 7 August it'll cost you $2.98 to read.