Saturday, March 31, 2007

A Promise Kept

I found the camera. It was where it was supposed to be. An unprecedented but happy turn of events. So I am able to keep my promise and provide a few views of the old mission San Juan Capistrano. (Once again, this set is hosted by Blogspot and is clickable to reveal much larger views.)

This is the entrance to the little courtyard where the ring of bells is kept.

The said bells.

More bells. These are in front of the ruins of the old basilica which fell in an earth quake in the first years of the 19th century.

What remains of the original basilica.

Part of the old "cloister" arches.

A garden pool near the front of the mission by the ruins of the old basilica.

And finally, a somewhat modern statue of St Teresa of Jesus [of Avila] found in the old Serra Chapel where the indult Mass is celebrated each Sunday at 8:00 a.m.

Carmel in Iraq

The continuing agony of the Christians in Iraq is now a commonplace and has been mentioned often. The Carmelite Order has participated fully in the slow martyrdom. This text is from "Communicatio" a regular letter from the generalate of the Discalced Order. It is taken from correspondence received from the brothers in Iraq:

“Our life in Baghdad is always difficult and extremely tragic. There is still, even now, no sign of an improvement in spite of the initiation of a new security plan. I continue to worry for the victims of terrorism which increases all the time. Only today two Christian friends died at the hands of muslim extremists. A week ago I lost another friend due to an explosion caused by a car-bomb at the entrance to the university. The tragedy is that such terrorist crimes have become a normal part of everyday life. What goes on outside has an effect on our community life. The young brothers hardly ever leave the house, except to accompany me to the conferences which I organize. I sometimes wonder about the wisdom of letting them accompany me, given the great danger. The fear of an attack on our churches, priories is always there. Christians continue to escape from Baghdad to Syria or Jordan.
We no longer get money from the rental of some houses in Baghdad, which was used to help support the population. The tenants are unable to pay their rent, because they cannot work in this situation. Some tenants have threatened us when we have asked them to pay the rent.
But our presence in Baghdad is today even more important, because the local churches are diminishing. Many priests have left for the Kurdish region in the north, or have left entirely. It is a situation which the protestant churches, with their American minister, are exploiting. Our church is well attended. We are looking for ways to welcome more young people. During the week the congregation tends to be mostly retired people. We are praying for a good Easter. We are grateful for your prayers which we truly appreciate….”

Am I the First?

The Inn may have a scoop here. We don't get many, what with taking entire weeks off and all. But you will note that "Stony Creek Digest" has been added to the blogroll. It marks Jeff Culbreath's return to St Blog's.

Good news, indeed.

San Juan Capistrano

St John of Capistran - San Juan Capistrano - had his feast day last Thursday in the traditional Roman Rite. So Mary and I are off this afternoon for our annual visit to the Mission San Juan Capistrano and lunch at our and President Nixon's favourite Mexican restaurant.

St John was one of that number (a rather large number, proportionately) of lawyers who are canonized saints. He also became a Capuchin Franciscan and preached and led a crusade against the Mahometan hordes who were invading Europe. The Basilica at San Juan has a wonderful old painting of St John dressed in a Capuchin habit made of chain mail and holding a sword and a banner with the emblem of the Holy Name of Jesus. I have a copy around here somewhere (which if I am able to find you will see posted at the top of this post. Click it to see the extra-large version.) If I can find the camera and it still works I'll try for some pictures of the mission itself.

Last Thursday also used to be the feast day of St Berthold in the old Carmelite calendar. He doesn't appear in the calendar at all any more. His documents apparently were not in order and he was expelled from the calendar. So, since San Juan is going to get pictures (probably, all things being equal), we'll post St Berthold's old collect:

May the venerable feast of St Berthold, Thy Confessor, guard us, O Lord and may we experience the unceasing protection of him who so virtuously governed and spread the Order of Carmel. Through our Lord.

Indult Mass Time Change

I happened to notice on the Una Voce - Orange County website that the new indult Mass in the Orange Diocese will have a time change for Easter Sunday only. If you're planning on that for your Easter Sunday Mass, it will be at noon on that day instead of 7:00 a.m.

The OC_UV website with the notice can be found here.

Fr Johnson's Obsequies

Fr Johnson's funeral took place a week ago today. I wanted to say something about it earlier and to include more about Father himself. I've written and deleted a goodly amount in the past week, most of it maudlin, and determined that my vocation is not that of eulogist. Suffice to say that I miss him and the odds are that he is a saint, even though I would get no thanks from him for saying that. He left specific instructions that no one is to claim that he is in heaven, but rather to ask prayers for his soul. So I have prayed for his soul and I hope you do too. If he is in heaven, they won't go to loss.

The funeral was gorgeous and very moving. Fr Robert Bishop celebrated the traditional Requiem Mass of the Roman Rite, a High Mass with an outstanding small choir providing the Gregorian propers and polyphonic ordinary. I've never heard the Dies Iræ so perfectly chanted and the meaning so movingly portrayed by the music. St Mary's by the Sea was packed, the people lining the aisles, filling the vestibule, and standing out onto the porch and the steps. To I think everyone's great surprise the Bishop attended and presided in the sanctuary. I think rather better of him than I have in the past for that good act. Fr Barbour, the prior of St Michael's Præmonstratensian Abbey preached an eloquent and touching eulogy. (Father Barbour gave us this lovely image: Father Johnson died on the 18th of March. St Patrick, whose feast was Father Johnson's last full day on earth, took his left hand, and St Joseph, whose feast was Father's first full day in eternity, took his right hand and they led him to the judgement seat of the Merciful Judge.) There were many priests in attendance and some of the Carmelite sisters of the Sacred Heart who attended Father in his last days.

Una Voce - Orange County appeared to be recording the ceremony. There may be pictures or a dvd available at some time.

He's buried at Holy Cross in Culver City in the Immaculate Heart of Mary section. His committal was out of the traditional Roman Ritual, also.

Rest in peace, dear Father, and pray for us who are left behind.

Wednesday, March 28, 2007


Yes, The Inn does take a look at politics from time to time, futile as it may be. And we saw this today in one of Inside Radio's news briefs:

Radio's going to play a real role in the 2008 Presidential sweepstakes. So is Google. Overall campaign spending is expected to be $8 billion in the 2008 campaign. Rudy Giuliani is already buying time on the radio shows of Rush Limbaugh and Sean Hannity to polish up his conservative credentials. While Google recently held a seminar in Washington for several dozen political strategists.
Five sentences involving:

Two astonishing assertions:
a) $8 billion (with a "b") will be spent on political campaigns;
b) Radio is going to play a major role; I thought Television usurped that role years ago.

One sad assumption:
a) snuggling up to Rush Limbaugh and Sean Hannity burnishes one's conservative credentials.

One puzzler:
a) What will Google be able to tell seasoned political strategists that will take up an entire seminar?

ADDENDUM: I am in receipt of a note from Richard regarding this "puzzler": "Why don't you google it and find out?"



Good one.

Thursday, March 22, 2007


In the news we have Al Gore, the prophet of global warming.

And in the Oxford Latin Dictionary we have the shivering "Algor":

And in the third declension the ablative becomes "algore".

Which proves. . . .uh, nothing that I'm aware of.

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Massimo Miracle - a treat in pics

That's Hilary's headline. Read what she has to say about it here and see the gorgeous pictures.

Funeral Arrangements

It appears that Fr Johnson will, indeed, have a traditional Requiem as he had hoped. These are the times and places:

Holy Rosary
Friday March 23rd 7:00pm
St. Mary's by the Sea
321 10th Street
Huntington Beach, Ca 92648

Requiem Mass
Saturday March 24th 10:00am
St. Mary's by the Sea
321 10th Street
Huntington Beach, Ca 92648

Interment immediately follows funeral Mass.
Holy Cross Cemetery
Culver City, CA

Obituary from the Los Angeles Times

Obituary from the Orange County Register

Sunday, March 18, 2007

Fr Daniel Johnson, R.I.P.

I've just confirmed a telephone call I received tonight that our dear Fr Daniel Johnson who was the mainstay and the driving force behind the traditional Roman Rite Mass in the Diocese of Orange, died this morning at Santa Teresita Hospital. It was he that brought the once almost empty parish of St Mary's by the Sea back from almost certain closure to the thriving, S.R.O. parish that it was upon his retirement.

There is no information on funeral arrangements yet. But while we wait, a prayer for his soul would not go amiss.

UPDATE (3/19): Una Voce Los Angeles has a little more on Fr Johnson here. OC-UV promises information on his funeral here when available.

Otherwise. . . .

Otherwise, I don't appear to have missed much during my week and half long hiatus from The Inn and the world of current events. The fabled Motu Proprio still retains its fabled status. Mrs Federline's haircut has faded from the news but the Fox news channel still keeps us fully apprised of the pater/filia status of the late Mrs Marshall's baby, who is acquiring putative fathers at a great rate. The Congress is startled to find political patronage jobs being treated as if they were political patronage jobs. And the Discovery Channel has discovered a tomb with bones in it just in time for Easter. The Discovery Channel claims the bones belong to, among others, Our Lord and Mary Magdalene, who seems to have been buried under an alias. Well. My faith is shattered; I'll never believe another word Dan Brown writes.

St Patrick's Day plus 1

St Patrick's Day has come and gone without a mention in The Inn but it otherwise occupied most of the latter part of the week for your servant. We were busy: three very long gigs, one medium-sized gig, and a funeral. By the end of the day on Saturday the pipes were soaked, my left arm was exceedingly sore, and the fingers were only intermittently obeying commands. And not a drop taken either (not my idea; it was in the contract). I intend to do nothing tomorrow but sit in a chair and contemplate the mysteries of life. And perhaps have the odd beer to compensate for the enforced abstemiousness of The Day itself.

The glorious 17th of March is also one of those rare occasions when I prefer the Pauline Rite's "missionary" collect to that of the Roman Rite. Herewith:

Deus, qui ad prædicandam Hiberniæ populis gloriam tuam beatum Patricium episcopum providisti, eius meritis et intercessione concede, ut, qui christiano nomine gloriantur, tua mirabilia hominibus iugiter annuntient. Per Dominum. Amen.

By the way, the illustration is one of those hosted by Blogspot, so it can be "clicked" to reveal a larger version.

Tuesday, March 06, 2007

Brittanica, 11th Edition, it ain't

If you've been getting your primary information about the Catholic Church from Wikipedia, you may want to take a look at this and perhaps confirm your information with an independent source.

Banned in Peking

I am delighted to learn that The Inn is banned in Red China. Imagine. And we didn't even get a notice telling us to clean up our enemy-of-the-people act. Much less a hearing.

Just another of the amazing things one can learn on the web if one is not careful. It all started with an innocent visit to The Irish Elk. Well, if you clicked that link just now, then you understand that we had to find out why Sgt Bilko [named by Nat Hiken, by the way, after the old Los Angeles Angels power hitter, Steve Bilko] is promoting the Dalai Lama. Well, one thing led to another, and a few link clicks later we arrived here. How could we possibly resist the urge to find out? And it turns out, we are. We are banned in Red China.


We knew it. The cunning Red Chinese commissars obviously know a key element of the forces of reaction when they see one. A blog to be reckoned with. The Inn, contra nequitiam et insidias diaboli. . . .

At any rate, it is a good excuse to fly the old flag of the Republic of China and to let you know that you can get a daily news bulletin from Free China on the web here or in this part of the world via shortwave radio at 0200 hours and 0700 hours GMT on 5950khz.

If we weren't banned before, we surely are now.

Sunday, March 04, 2007

The Carmelite Calendar

In the old Discalced Carmelite calendar, March 4 was the feast of S Avertanus and Bl Romæus, Carmelite lay brothers who went on pilgrimage. The Ancient Observance calendar separated them and only Bl Romæus was honoured today; S Avertanus was placed on the 25th of February.

They died of "fever" on the way, says the old lectio iii for their simplex office. One of their few hagiographers guesses that this was due to the plague. The lectio goes on to mention their spirit of prayer and the vision of Christ and the saints enjoyed by Bl Romæus as he died. But not much else seems to be known of them.

The old collect for Bl Romæus in the Liturgy of the Holy Sepulchre at Jerusalem:

Deus, qui beatum Romæum, cum famulo tuo Avertano peregrinantem, per semitas iustitiæ deduxisti: concede; ut, intercessionis eius auxilio muniti, ad cælestem patriam perducamur. Per Dominum.

O God, Who didst lead blessed Romæus along the paths of justice in his pilgrimage with Thy servant Avertanus, grant that we may be fortified by the help of his intercession and be led to our heavenly home: through our Lord.

Saturday, March 03, 2007

Sudden Thought

Now that actresses insist on being called actors, why are there still separate categories for them at the Oscars?

Heavens Above

There is a total eclipse of the Moon for eastern North America early this evening. The total eclipse begins at 4:44 p.m. and ends at 5:58 p.m. CST. The partial eclipse ends at 7:12 p.m., though a faint penumbral shading will remain visible on the Moon’s face for about 40 minutes after that. The Moon rises almost due east.

Those of us in the lower left corner of the U.S. will miss it. But if you're east of the Mississippi and can shovel enough snow out of the way you should have a decent view.

A NASA link.

Mr Eclipse

For those of us in the Archdiocese of Hollywood and environs, the Griffith Observatory says we'll get one of our own to view this coming August.

Your Tax Dollars at Work

The EEOC got involved in this one and put the brakes on an NIH panjandrum who apparently spent his work days getting rid of those pesky Catholic priests who insist on ahering to their religion.

Thursday, March 01, 2007

Amazing Grace

There is a new movie out under that title. If you watch the preview (available here) you'll note that it appears to be about the British anti-slavery campaigns.

It also features "Amazing Grace" as a good bit of the background music, winding up with a lush version of the tune played in unison by an early 19th century military band and pipe band. The movie has had wonderful reviews. But the pendantic piper who writes this page has a problem. The piping aspect is a collossal anachronism. There is no recorded instance of a pipe band that early. We need to wait for the mid-19th century, or perhaps a little later, for that. There are no recorded instances of pipe bands playing in unison with military bands until the 20th century. No pipe band anywhere appears to have played "Amazing Grace" until 1971 when the pipe major of the Royal Scots Greys and the band master of the 3rd Carabiniers arranged it to be played at the amalgamation ceremony of those two regiments. And the pitch the pipes are playing at is way too high for that period.

FWIW, "Amazing Grace" refers to the words of the hymn. It has been sung to many different tunes. The tune usually called "Amazing Grace" these days is "New Britain".

[And a tip of the caubeen to Mark, whose post on George McDonald Fraser started me off on this little rivulet of my stream of consciousness. Anyone interested in piping and/or Scottish regiments might want to get hold of Fraser's "The General Danced at Dawn" and "McAuslan in the Rough", slightly disguised (in order to protect the not -quite-so-innocent, one assumes) memoirs of his days in the Gordons. Excruciatingly funny.]

St David of Wales

Today is the feast of St David, the patron saint of Wales. The image is that of the old cross of St David. It's the only one of the four British patron "crosses" that didn't make it into the British ensign. It isn't seen much as it usually takes a back seat to the Welsh national flag featuring the red dragon of Cadwaladr ap Cadwallon, legendary king of Gwynedd.

More about St David from The Inn's very own archive.