Friday, September 23, 2005

Walsingham Farewell?

Not yet. Deo volente. The Anglican Use parish in the heart of Houston, Our Lady of Walsingham, plans to hold their regular services this weekend, which coincides with their patronal feast.

Our Lady of Walsingham (September 24)
O God, who through the mystery of the Word made flesh didst in thy
mercy sanctify the house of the blessed Virgin Mary, and wondrously
place it in the bosom of thy Church: grant, that being made separate
from the tabernacles of sinners, we may become worthy to dwell in thy
holy house; through the same Jesus Christ thy Son our Lord, who
liveth and reigneth with thee, in the unity of the Holy Ghost, ever
one God, world without end. Amen.

Blessed Lord, through the intercession of thy blessed Mother,
sanctify and protect the homes where thy people dwell.

Saint Mary, Pray for us.
Saint Anselm of Canterbury, Pray for us.
Saint Rita, Pray for us.
Saint Eurosia, Pray for us.
Saint Medard, Pray for us.

Thursday, September 22, 2005


Fr John Michael reports that our nuns (and seculars) in the Diocese of Galveston-Houston are evacuating now that Rita is on the horizon. Oremus.

Piping Picture(s) of the Week

This time the Real Banda de Gaitas of Galicia in Spain. These ladies and gentlemen are shown playing the Spanish pipes of Galicia at the World's Pipe Band Championships in Scotland last August. Better views of the traditional dress (and pipes) can be found here and here.


Should there be more locations offering the classical Roman Rite liturgy? The Diocese of San Bernardino would appreciate your opinion. You can find the poll on the bottom of the left-hand column of this page.)

A favourable outcome might be particularly happy for those subjects of the Most Reverend Bishop of Orange who live near the border of the San Bernardino Diocese, in view of His Lordship's stingy application of Ecclesia Dei.

Was the Second Vatican Council a Good Thing?

For 40 years or so I have been amongst those whose answer was "no". (There may even have been a couple of exclamation points around that "no".) And, yes, I realize The Council took place more than 40 years ago. But since everyone I trusted said it was an absolutely wonderful event and the next-best thing to the parousia, I went along. It took a while to be disabused of the notion. So let us say a nice round 40 years of ecclesiastical disgruntlement.

An issue or two ago The New Oxford Review also apparently got tired of waiting for the renewal which seemed not to be just around the corner after all, and asked if anyone could justify that whole Council business.

Someone responded. The resulting article, "Why The Second Vatican Council Was a Good Thing" is the most cogently argued I've seen. It's well-worth reading and pondering. Which is not to be interpreted as a complete endorsement. But it is the first serious argument I've seen that isn't based on some fantasy renewal for which there is no objective evidence.

Bullfights in Artesia?

Yes, indeed. I used to see the ads for them when I was a boy but I thought it had died out years ago. Apparently not. The Times recounts a long-standing Los Angeles tradition of bullfighting in this morning's paper. Eric gives an occasional commentary on the state of the corrida in northern California so I knew it existed in California. But that there were bullfights not 10 mintues from here is something of a revelation.

"Another Bullseye from PJB"

A copy of this was sent to me this morning by my friend Dr DV. Absolutely spot on. There is plenty of blame to go 'round for all the political hacks, time-servers, and self-promoters involved in the Katrina disaster. But this is the saddest failure of them all.

At the Superdome and New Orleans Convention Center, we saw the failure of 40 years of the Great Society. No sooner had Katrina passed by and the 17th Street levee broke than hundreds of young men who should have taken charge in helping the aged, the sick and the women with babies to safety took to the streets to shoot, loot and rape. The New Orleans police, their numbers cut by deserters who left their posts to look after their families, engaged in running gun battles all day long to stay alive and protect people.

It was the character and conduct of its people that makes the New Orleans disaster unique. After a hurricane, people's needs are simple: food, water, shelter, medical attention. But they can be hard to meet. People buried in rubble or hiding in attics of flooded homes are tough to get to. But, even with the incompetence of the mayor and governor, and the torpor of federal officials, this was possible.

Tuesday, September 13, 2005

Piping Picture of the Week

Her name is Christina Pato and it's a Galician gaida. (And I don't think it's an advertisment for AFLACK -- but I could be wrong.)

(And if you look up "pato" in your Spanish dictionary, even more light will fall upon the subject.)

Saturday, September 10, 2005

"Finally a word from our nuns in Covington. . ."

Late word from Fr John Michael's weblog recounting the southern provinces Katrina ordeal:

Finally a word from our nuns in Covington. The report that had gone out over some wire service that riotous bands were attacking supplies into the area was greatly exaggerated. The prioress is able to call out now sporadically on her cell phone as services are slowly being restored north of the lake. She told our Father Provincial they are all well, and invited our friars back. New Orleans’ Notre Dame seminary is planning to set up headquarters for this semester at St. Joseph’s abbey Retreat House in Covington.

A link to the relevant post.

Thursday, September 08, 2005

Space Weather

Last month's sunspot eruption produced aurora borealis sightings as far south as Utah and Colorado. Yesterday, the sun produced an eruption in the X17 class, one of the largest recorded. So if all your HF receivers went out yesterday and you couldn't even get Radio Nederlands on your short wave set, now you know why.

From the "Official Space Weather Advisory" issued by NOAA Space Environment Center Boulder, Colorado, USA:

2005 September 07 at 01:31 p.m. MDT (2005 September 07 1931 UTC)

One of the largest solar flares on record occurred today, September 07. Very active Region 808 produced a powerful X17 flare (R4 on the NOAA Scale) observed on the NOAA GOES satellite at 07/1740 UTC (September 07, 1:40 p.m. EDT). This flare, the 4th largest in the last 15 years, erupted just as the Region 808 sunspot cluster was rotating onto the visible disk of the sun. Intense radio emissions were also associated with this flare. A very bright and fast coronal mass ejection was observed on coronagraph imagery; however, the material was not Earth directed. An S1 - S2 radiation storm is expected following this eruption, but is not expected to begin until late on September 07 or early September 08.

This event created a complete blackout of high frequency communications on the daylit side of Earth. Communications used by emergency services along the Gulf Coast may have experienced problems due to this flare. Low frequency navigation systems may also have experienced a period of significant degradation.

Over the past two weeks, this active region produced a series of significant solar eruptions as it made its passage around the back side of the Sun. Significant eruptions are expected in the coming days. Agencies impacted by space weather storms may experience disruptions over the next two weeks. These include spacecraft operations, electric power systems, HF communications, and low-frequency navigations

Data used to provide space weather services are contributed by NOAA, USAF, NASA, NSF, USGS, the International Space Environment Services and other observatories, universities, and institutions. More information is available at SEC's Web site

I can't imagine an aurora sighting this far south here in the jewel of southern California but that is an amazingly large sunspot.

Portrait of the Week

That's the title of the news summary in the front of each week's Spectator; a whole week's news summarized in half a page. It's wonderfully brief and occasionally mystifying if you aren't reading the English dailies. Politicians and celebrities of all flavours can be eviscerated in less than a sentence. I remember one Clinton-era report only one, short sentence in length which began "Someone called Dee Dee Myers announced that. . . ." Ouch.

This week's contains the following: "Mrs Victoria Beckham said that, contrary to previous reports, she had read a book, indeed several, although not all the way through." That one was under the "mystifying" rubric, at least for me. Just a random celebrity whacking? Probably not; there is usually a story behind that sort of thing. Another of the many things that are just interesting enough to ponder for a millisecond but not interesting enought to bestir oneself to find out. And then I found this as the lead paragraph in a review in the back of the book:

"There is now an established tradition of busy stars not reading the books to which they put their names. It stretches from Hedy Lamarr, who 40 years ago sued the ghost-writers of "Ecstasy and Me" for misrepresentation some while after publication, to Victoria Beckham who claims never to have read a book, not even her autobiography. According to the distinguished film historian, David Thompson, who licked Fan-Tan into shape for publication, it seems likely that the dyslexic [Marlon] Brando belonged to this elite company and never read this posthumously published novel."

So there you have it: it was a claim she herself made after all. Sort of makes all that time you wasted in websurfing today worth while doesn't it. (Fair warning: I told you years ago that this is only "The Inn at the End of the World" because the far more descriptive "Summa Minutiæ" was already taken.)

The Double-Edged Sword

Not sure I should publish this. It could be something of a setback. You see, for lo these many years now those of us on the unrenewed, unaggiornamentoed, maybe even unreconstructed side of the great Vatican II Divide have been contending that the great treasury of the Church's musical heritage, especially Gregorian Chant, would indeed attract the young.

And now my friend Gary sends me this link.

It seems a nuance, a little finesse is in order here. Gregorian Chant attracts, as we meant to say all along, the right sort of youth. Well, naturally the rapscallions and the scalawags are another story altogether.

Sunday, September 04, 2005

News of the Ancient Observance Carmelites in New Orleans

Via e-mail & Cincarm:

"I received this information from Fr. John Benedict Weber, Provincial Delegate for the Lay Carmelites of the Most Pure Heart of Mary Province, concerning our Sisters of Mount Carmel Motherhouse in the West End area of New Orleans (very close to where the 17th Street Canal levee was breached):

'What we have heard about New Orleans itself comes from the 2 Sisters who rode out the storm and stayed at the motherhouse until having to be rescued by boat on Wednesday - Gwen and Angelle. They indicated that the first floor of the motherhouse and the high school are under water, the newer faculty house lost roof and is destroyed now.' "

The Poor Knights of Christ - Militia Templi

The Catholic Monarchist has a fascinating interview with an American official of the Poor Knights of Christ, a revival of the original Knights Templar. This is nothing to do with Masonic mumbo-jumbo or the deluded followers of the self-proclaimed "Duke of Albany" but a new Catholic religious Order, founded under the auspices of the Archbishop of Siena, Mario Castellano. You can find the interview here.

The Militia Templi has its own website here.

Chesterton Cornucopia

24 on-line books by G.K. Chesterton can be downloaded in pdf format at this site. 25 if you count two versions of Orthodoxy.

There are lots of other good things there, too, including a downloadable version of the Catholic Catechism and several of St Louis de Montfort's works.


[Thanks for the cite to Kathleen M. via Cælum et Terra.]

The 16th Sunday after Pentecost

Mike Fieschko again presents some of the liturgical texts for the traditional traditional Sunday liturgy and some commentary at his always-interesting blog "In Illo Tempore".

SSPX and Pope Benedict

Is a reconciliation in the offing? John Allen of the NCR says probably not; at least not soon. Una Voce sources say probably soon. We shall see.

Updates: Carmel on the Gulf Coast

Fr John Michael is continuing to update the blogsite "Katrina Hits Carmel". There is more news of members of our Order and how they are faring, including the Carmelite Seculars. A useful link to bookmark for Carmelites or others interested in the Order.

Friday, September 02, 2005

Friday Morning News from the Covington/New Orleans Carmel

Via e-mail:

"Our New Orleans friars brought to Marylake a CD with some photos of the damage at the Covington Carmel. They are posted at Katrina Hits Carmel along with more detailed news of the adventures of our friars." And nuns.

There is almost no news of the Carmelite Seculars of the New Orleans community. Pascal Alfano, one of the Provincial Councillors, has been heard from and "he is safe and sound in Ft Worth staying with friends. His home has 10 ft of water in it so he's among those who have basically lost everything." No word of any others.

Steven at Flos Carmeli has some news of the Carmelites of the Ancient Observance in New Orleans here and here.

The Dominicans of Holy Rosary Convent report here and here in their wonderful weblog Moniales on their Dominican brothers and sisters in the wake of Katrina. More can be found here.

The condition of the Benedictines in the area is mostly unknown. Abbot Justin of St Joseph's Abbey reports that the Abbey weathered the storm fairly well. His letter is here. The principal Benedictine website in the U.S. has this to report on the other foundations:

"Four days after the arrival of Hurricane Katrina, Benedictines are without direct news of our brothers of Saint Joseph Abbey [but see Abbot Justin's letter cited above] that is located near Covington about 65 km north of New Orleans and Lake Pontchartrain. Phone service to Saint Benedict, Louisiana, is unavailable, and the monastery's website is not online. Let us remember in prayer all those so severely affected by the unprecedented natural disaster along the Gulf Coast.

"News is also unavailable about the five Benedictine Sisters at Our Lady Queen Monastery in Tickfaw, LA, located near US Interstate 55, about 25 miles WNW of Covington. Their website is also down. The monastery is a dependency of Saint Scholastica Priory, Petersham, MA."

Most of the bishops in the hurricane's path are accounted for.
from "The Order of St Benedict"

Thursday, September 01, 2005

Need at the Covington/New Orleans Carmel

The following was received this evening via Cincarm and the Baltimore Carmel:

Little Rock's Sister Camilla received the following this morning from Sister Edith of Covington:

Sister Edith of Covington Carmel called at 5:15am on a borrowed cell phone that was getting through. She wanted us to know how they were doing. The Carmelite friars left for Marylake last night (Wed.). The Benedictine Abbey near by asked the Nuns to take in some of their overflow refugees, especially one of the sick Fathers. The Sisters themselves are sleeping in cupboards to accommodate the guests. The big problem they are facing now is food since nothing can be bought. If anyone is heading down in their direction, please load up some food for them. Highway 55 through Jackson MS is open and get onto I-12 at Hammond which will take you into Covington, but take the exit from I-12 at Covington Point. It's a small subdivision just below the Carmel. Both ends of River Road are blocked. The whole situation is horrendous. Gangs with heavy guns stop the medical trucks with supplies and took all the drugs. You cannot imagine what it's like.

Here in Arkansas hotels and many places have taken in refugees from LA and MS. Marylake and our Carmel have offered our places for Jackson Carmel, should they need to evacuate. Our law enforcement agencies and disaster relief vehicles have left to help LA and MS.

We will keep you updated on any further information we get. Prayers are still needed for these poor people and situations.

Your Little Rock Sisters,
Sister Petra, OCD

The Answer is: They Evacuate

I had no sooner posted "What To Do?" below than within the hour the answer came (Thanks, Elizabeth):

"[The Covington Carmel] had a couple trees fall down on buildings. Some roof damage but minor. No one hurt. The Covington nuns do have a generator and drinking water. But they are considering evacuating to Marylake [in Little Rock, Arkansas] along with our New Orleans friars and students who evacuated to Covington.

"Our nuns in Jackson, [Mississippi] also have a generator but no drinking water.
They are also considering evacuating to Marylake.

"In both places, phone lines are pretty busy so its hard to get through
but that's the little bit of news we've heard so far."

Fias, Domine, refugium pauperi,
-- sis ei adiutor in tribulatione.
Adimple vota populi tui, Domine!