Wednesday, August 31, 2005

What to do?

When a call to evacuate comes, what do cloistered religious do and where - if they leave at all - do they go?

The Carmels of Covington/New Orleans in Louisiana and of Mobile, Alabama appear to have been right in the path of Katrina. Those in Lafayette, Louisiana and Jackson, Mississippi might be affected also.

The picture shows the chapel of the Covington/New Orleans Carmel, "on the banks of the Bogue Falaya" river.

Almighty God, when Thy people cry out in their affliction do not scorn them, but for the glory of Thy Name relent and help those in trouble: through our Lord. Amen.

Monday, August 29, 2005

August 29 -- Saint Richard Herst

from Bowden's "Mementoes of the Confessors and Martyrs of England and Wales":

Richard Herst's story is one of the strangest in all the records of the English martyrs. He was hanged, ostensibly for wilful murder. He was a well-off yeoman farmer in Lancashire and a recusant, and one day in 1628, while he was ploughing, three men came to arrest him. One of the men, named Dewhurst, received a blow from Herst's maid, and in the heat of pursuit fell and broke his leg. From that wound in the leg he died; Herst, who had never been within thirty yards of him, was charged with his death. Pardon was offered him if he would take the oath forbidden to Catholics; he refused, and declined also to go to church, so he was trailed there by his legs to hear a sermon: he lay on the floor with his fingers in his ears. At his trial at Lancaster, though his innocence was evident (Dewhurst himself having said his fall was an accident), the judge told the jury that he was a recusant, had resisted the bishop's authority, and that they must find it murder for an example, which was done. At the gallows Herst said to the hangman, who was bungling with the rope, "Tom, I think I must come and help you." He was done to death at Lancaster on 29 August 1628, leaving six children and one unborn.

Piping Picture for the Week

The old Clan Donnachaidh Pipe Band marching into the competition circle.

Why this picture? Nostalgia, probably.

Lætatus sum in eo, quod dixerunt mihi:

Hilary's back.

A Chance at Reconciliation

Pope Benedict will meet with a representative of the Society of St Piux X today. A few prayers for the success of the meeting would not go amiss.

Addendum: According to AP the meeting has already concluded. Naturally, not much is known about how things progressed. One can certainly hope for a reasonable response from Bishop Fellay.

Vatican spokesman Joaquin Navarro-Valls said the meeting between the pope and Monsignor Bernard Fellay, secretary general of the Society of St. Pius X, was held "in a climate of love for the church and a desire to arrive at perfect communion."

"While knowing the difficulties, the desire to proceed by degrees and in reasonable time was shown," Navarro-Valls said in a statement.

Spiritum nobis, Domine, tuæ caritatis infunde: ut, quos uno pane cælesti satiasti, tua facias pietate concordes. Per Dominum. Amen.

The Collar of San Vicino

A new one on me. Definitely a "P.O.D.ity" for those who collect such things. The Times has the story here. So it comes with the usual warning: read it now. In one week The Times will put it in the archive and you'll have to come up with $2.95 - unless they've raised the price - to give it a look.

Tap, tap. . . .is this thing on?

It’s been rather a long time, hasn’t it. Two weeks and a bit. Why, I even had to look up the password for Blogspot.

I have been busy. Happily so, in the remunerative sense, as I owe the dentist, the oral surgeon, the skin cancer doctor, and the eye doctor. I am neither toothless, dying, nor blind but these folks still need to be paid so these few extra gigs have been a very happy addition.

And our niece was out from Ireland and stayed with us for a while. Now, I actually had a great time. I am a natural-born tour guide. And, yes, there really are some things well-worth seeing here in partibus infidelium. (And some things about which there may be some difference of opinion what with the 40 year, more or less, difference in ages.) The absence-from-weblog relevance is that all that tour guiding takes all day. And into the night.

Mary has discovered that my computer is more useful than hers, more useful software and better ergonomics. I’m learning to “share” all over again. Those lessons in kindergarten apparently didn’t stick. Or maybe they never applied to computers in the first place. In any event, I can’t just waltz into my office (“My” office, you will note. Harrumph.) and post a link to the articles in the Press Telegram about the celebrations honouring the 1955 Brooklyn Dodgers and their World Series win. Not when Someone is in the middle of typing a Request for Proposal, a bit of work which may, unlike the 1955 Brooklyn Dodgers, result in a financial enhancement of the familial bank balance.

And, as always, it is August and hotter than the hinges of hell in this office of an afternoon.

Sunday, August 14, 2005

Sunday 14 August 2005

Since today is Sunday, the liturgical celebration is either that of the 13th Sunday after Pentecost in the Roman Rite or the 20th Sunday per annum in the Pauline Rite. If it were not a Sunday, on the 14th of August the Pauline Rite celebrates the feast of St Maximilian Kolbe, O.F.M. Conv., who was martyred by the Nazis.

This is also the second Sunday of the month and in this Archdiocese the indult Mass is celebrated in the chapel of the Carmelite Sisters of the Sacred Heart at their Santa Teresita Hospital in Duarte. I took these few pictures of the interior some months ago. I intended to take more but didn't realize I was at the end of the roll of film. The ones I did get are of more Carmelite interest:

This one is (presumably) a fresco of St Therese of the Child Jesus, patroness of the hospital; it appears to be painted on the plaster wall.

Two "portraits" of the founders of the Discalced Carmelite Order, Ss Teresa of Jesus and John of the Cross. They hang on either side of the fresco of St Therese in the chapel.

And finally, a relief carving representing St Joseph handing the boy Jesus a large bunch of grapes. Each of our indult chapels has a very pleasing representation of St Joseph, most of them unlike any other.

I would particularly like to get a picture of the statue of St Joseph in the St John Vianney Chapel in Los Angeles -- the indult location on the 4th and 5th Sundays of the month. It shows St Joseph holding the Child Jesus but instead of practically ignoring Him as in so many statues, His foster father appears to be whispering in His ear. Probably not considered Great Art by those who worry about such things. But I find it particularly affecting to see a representation of the actual intercession going on, as it were.

One day I'll bring the camera along so I can show you that statue. But it needs the right circumstances. There's little more annoying when you're trying to pray than someone with a camera treating a church as a tourist attraction. So you probably won't see it tomorrow or the next day.

Saturday, August 13, 2005

The iPod Flea

We'll be running out to get one of these tomorrow morning. Well, we'll have to. We owe it to our public, what with us being all "cutting edge" and all.

[Thanks, Jerry.]

It Looks Like We'll Have to Make Do With Chimay

Because the monastic brewery at the abbey of Saint Sixtus of Westvleteren in western Belgium is sold out. "A survey of thousands of beer enthusiasts from 65 countries on the RateBeer Web site ( in June rated the Westvleteren 12 beer as the world's best" and it was gone in no time. The article is here.

Thanks to Recta Ratio for the reference.

13 August 2005 - Glasgow, Scotland

The second Saturday in August is The Day and the World's Pipe Band Championship results are in. Not much in the way of surprizes today. All the usual suspects are in the top half dozen finishers. This is the order this year for the Grade One bands:

1. House of Edgar - Shotts and Dykehead
2. Field Marshal Montgomery
3. Simon Fraser University
4. Strathclyde Police
5. St. Lawrence O'Toole
6. 78th Fraser Highlanders
7. Scottish Power
8. Boghall and Bathgate Calendonia

You can find the complete results on the Royal Scottish Pipe Band Association's web page if you have the patience to navigate through their needlessly complex registration bumpf.

Weighty Tomes

I love these things. Usually. This time I'm not quite sure what's intended by the question. But since this doesn't count for my final grade, I shall give it a shot anyway.

I. Name your three biggest non-reference books (excluding the Bible and text books).

Does "biggest" mean weighs the most, has the most pages, or is the largest by height, width, and depth? I'll try for one of each.

1. "Make Way for Lucia" has 1019 pages. But it's actually all five of E.F. Benson's "Lucia" novels bound together. Does that count as one "book"? If it doesn't Corti's "The Red Horse" in it's Ignatius printing is only one novel at 1015 pages.

2. Gen. A.C. Bredin's "The Irish Soldier" probably weighs the most as it is printed on laminated paper -- it is very hefty indeed.

3. "Ireland: Its Beauty and Splendor" seems to win the height & width stakes.

II. Name your three biggest reference books.

1. My wife's enormous atlas wins both the height & width and the weight prizes. (I'd tell you who published it if she didn't have two crates of files stacked in front of the shelf that it's on.)

2. Deering's California Desktop Code Series, Civil Code, Code of Civil Procedure, Evidence Code, & Rules of Court has 2,504 pages not counting the index or the pocket part.

3. Bernhard's California Real Estate Laws has 2,104 pages. (Some of the CEB looseleaf reference books may have more pages than either of these. But the chapters are each numbered individually. So we'll never know. Not if we're relying on me to find out.)

One starts to nod off just reading the titles on that last set. The rule says they have to be reference books and big. It doesn't say they have to be interesting. Now "The Church Visible: The Ceremonial Life and Protocol of the Roman Catholic Church" by James-Charles Noon, Jr I could get lost in for hours. But it's only 554 pages. Actually the whole post is Mr Culbreath's fault. I was just minding my own business, marvelling at the intensity of San Francisco Giants' fans when I felt this. . . tag. . . .

San Francisco Visitor's Alert

There are things in San Francisco you just don't do and you just don't say. No, not that. Everybody knows better than to say that sort of thing. At the moment we are referring to the San Francisco Giants. From Inside Radio dot com:

Heads roll at Susquehanna's KNBR.
Not only does Susquehanna fire KNBR, San Francisco evening talker Larry Krueger - it terminates PD Bob Agnew and the morning show producer. This all began with Krueger's criticism of San Francisco Giants manager Felipe Alou and the "brain-dead Caribbean hitters hacking at slop nightly." That was a week ago. Then yesterday, GM Tony Salvadore says the morning show aired "inappropriate comedy sound bites" (as a parody on South Park), also about Alou. Suddenly - the already-suspended Krueger has been canned, along with longtime PD Bob Agnew and morning show producer Tony Rhein.

If you can't say something good about a ball team, up date your resume.

Down these mean cyber streets a man must go. . .

. . .and what might he find but 16 out-of-copyright Dashiell Hammett stories. Yes, I know I have had some less than complimentary things to say about Dashiell Hammett, and on this very weblog, too. And I still think Chandler wins the prize in a head to head contest. But still. Free stories from one of the inventors of the Hard Boiled genre. Not a bad deal at all.

You can find these on the Black Mask site.

'Afraid of a Gun'

'Arson Plus'

'The Assistant Murderer'

'Bodies Piled Up' [a.k.a. 'House Dick']

'Death on Pine Street'

'The Man Who Killed Dan Odams'

'Mike, Alec, or Rufus' [a.k.a. 'Tom, Dick or Harry']

'Nightmare Town'

'Night Shots'

'One Hour'

'The Road Home'

'Ruffian's Wife'

'The Second-Story Angel'

'The Tenth Clew'

'Who Killed Bob Teal?'

'Zigzags of Treachery'

Thanks for this find go to Alex, a.k.a. "Avenarius" who maintains this useful webpage devoted to Nero Wolfe and his creator Rex Stout.

Found While Looking for Something Else

"The countries where Mohammedanism prevails are full of religious associations, more or less wrapped in secrecy, which are also political, and which may prove troublesome at some future time." - Catholic Encyclopædia (1911)

And so they might. The 94 year old article "Mohammedan Confraternities" can be found here. Al Q'aeda is apparently only the latest incarnation of an old spirit. "One of the more recent associations, and a very aggressive one, is that of the Senoussiya, founded by an Algerian, Sheikh Senoussi (d. 1859). In contrast to the exclusive spirit of the other orders, this one has opened its doors to all of them, allowing them to keep their own names, doctrines, usages, and privileges. The rallying principle of this combination is hatred of Christians; it isolates them in anticipation of the uprising which, on the appointed day of the Lord, will drive them out of "the Land of Islam" (dar el Islam, as opposed to dar el harb. "Land of the Infidels", or literally, "Land of the Holy War").

Nihil sub sole novum, nec valet quisquam dicere: Ecce hoc recens est; Iam enim præcessit in sæculis quæ fuerunt ante nos.

Friday the 13th. . .

. . .comes on a Saturday this month.

Friday, August 12, 2005

Blessed Isidore Bakanja

The Carmelite Order today honours this layman, a member of the Scapular Confraternity, martyred out of hatred for the faith. There are several short biographies of Blessed Isidore on the web. This one presents about as much as is known. The biographical "notice" in the breviary gives this summary:

Bl. Isidore Bakanja, a member of the Boangi tribe, was born in Bokendela (Congo) between 1880 and 1890. In order to survive, even as a boy, he had to work as bricklayer or in farms. He was converted to Christianity in 1906. He was working in a plantation run by a colonialist in Ikili and was forbidden by the owner to spread Christianity among his fellow-workers. On 22 April 1909, the superintendent of the business tore off the Carmelite Scapular, which Isidore was wearing as an expression of his Christian faith, and had him severely beaten even to drawing blood. He died on 15 August of the same year as a result of the wounds inflicted in "punishment" for his faith and which he bore patiently while forgiving his aggressor. He was beatified by Pope John Paul II on 24 April 1994.

Tuesday, August 09, 2005

Liturgical Translations

Bishop Trautman and the Bishop's Committee on the Liturgy have some problems with the latest draft of the Pauline Missal translation. The article in question is here. The article itself is longer but that's about all that can safely be learned from it; it's a very strange piece.

Bishop Trautman says the new version is full of "problematic passages … phrases [that] were seen as infelicitous to English spoken in the United States". Uh, yes. This is the same Bishop Trautman who thinks the current ICEL Missal, a.k.a., Dick and Jane Go To Mass, is Shakespeare come to life again. And "(h)e also said there were questions about "the intelligibility of some words". This from the same source that isn't at all worried about the intelligibility of aggiornamento, liturgy of the eucharist (in place of "Mass"), pericope, parousia, charism, metanoia, paraclete or (ahem) infelicitous.

The article also includes this bit of wishful thinking: "ICEL, which has translated all the liturgical texts into English in the past 40 years. . . ." Well, just flat out wrong, isn't it. The ICEL has translated, say, 30 to 40% of the liturgical texts into English, or something resembing English. The rest they just made up as they went along.

A prayer for the Clara Vox committee would not go amiss.

St Teresia Benedicta a Cruce, O.C.D.

Today is the feast of St Teresia Benedicta a Cruce, in the world Edith Stein, in both the Pauline calendar and in the revised Carmelite calendar. Pope John Paul II not only put her in the general calendar but made her one of the patrons of Europe. There is a comprehensive biography of this latest Carmelite martyr here.

Her collect:

Deus patrum nostrorum, qui beatam Teresiam Benedictam martyrem ad cognitionem Filii tui crucifixi eiusque imitationem usque ad mortem perduxisti, ipsa intercedente concede, ut omnes homines Christum Salvatorem agnoscant et per eum ad perpetuam tui visionem adveniant. Qui tecum vivit et regnat in unitate Spiritus Sancti, Deus, per omnia saecula saeculorum. Amen.

My own translation:

O God of our fathers, Who led the martyr blessed Teresia Benedicta to the recognition of the crucifixion of Thy Son and its imitation even unto death, grant by her intercession, that all men acknowledge Christ the Saviour and through Him arrive at the eternal vision of Thyself. Thou who livest and reignest in the unity of the Holy Ghost, God, forever and ever. Amen.

Monday, August 08, 2005

Flowers of the Forest

Canada has lost its last winner of the Victoria Cross. Ernest Alvia Smith, late of the Seaforth Highlanders of Canada, died last Wednesday at the age of 91. The article cited tells of a very brave man, indeed.

I'm sorry I ever sent anything to the American Red Cross

I won't do it again.

The Observant Friar Martyrs of Greenwich

The Franciscan friars described in this essay were martyred in 16th century England for upholding the sanctity of marriage and the office of the papacy. They were of the Observant branch of the Order which was introduced into England by Henry VIII's father. I had known of Blessed John Forest before but I had not realized that there were in fact hundreds of Franciscan martyrs at this time whose names are not known to us. There were either six or seven houses of Observant Franciscans in England at this time and the vast majority of their members supported Queen Catherine and the validity of the marriage. This is a wonderful, invigorating story of martyrs whose patronage is so necessary here and now when marriage and the papacy are under constant attack.

Sunday, August 07, 2005

For stylish rooftops everywhere

I'd get one if we ever got any weather here. (You can get yours here.)

Sine Nomine

Last month's Magnificat had a lovely little vita for July 29th in its daily lives of the saints series. A little family was martyred and nothing whatever is known of them. But the local Christians remembered them in their martyrologies. I love this sort of thing. Here is the memorial in its entirety.

Two Byzantine collectons of saints' lives, the Menaion of Chifflet and the Mazarine Menaion, commemorate on this date a martyred family of four, who died by fire. Neither the names nor any biographical details of the father, mother, and two sons are recorded. Their names are known only to God, but the sacrifice of their lives for Christ has been remembered.