Friday, May 25, 2007

I'm Going to Dickensland!

No, not really. But it might be shouted by winning Premiere League football players in England sometime soon.

It seems there is, or is about to be, a Dickens World theme park outside London. You can tour Newgate prison with Mr Micawber or take a boat ride down a London sewer. No, honestly. And they're going to charge for this.

You can read about it here.

A Cloud of Witnesses

There are a plethora of saints to be mentioned today.

The Carmelite calendar keeps the 16th century mystic St Mary Magdalen de Pazzi today as does the Pauline calendar. The "Lives of the Saints" of Fr Kalberer, O.S.B. says that "She seems to have kept a place in the revised Roman calendar because she taught so effectively the vlaue of suffering voluntarily accepted for the love of Christ and the salvation of souls."

The traditional Roman calendar keeps today as the feast of Pope St Gregory VII. St Gregory, known as Hildebrand before his election, was at one time Cardinal and Abbot of St Paul-outside-the-Walls. He spent his pontificate trying to maintain the church's right to elect its popes and nominate its bishops free from the control of secular governments. A thousand years later, the Los Angeles Times is still under the impression that it should be the principal voice in ecclesiastical appointments. St Gregory holds the record for having deposed, removed, or otherwise fired more bishops than any other pope, a fact that keeps popping up here in the Archdiocese of Hollywood for some reason. The Pauline liturgy keeps Pope St Gregory as one of the memorial options on this day. His battle for the church in his lifetime was not successful and he was exiled by the apostate emperor Henry. The saint's last words were a sad re-working of the psalm, "I have loved justice and hated iniquity, therefore I die in exile."

And also today, Bede the Venerable, Priest, Monk, and Doctor of the Church. His renown comes principally from his Ecclesiastical History of the English People. Fr Kalberer says
"In it, limpid style, serenity, humility, a judicious sense of historical truth, and the gift of story telling combine to produce a masterpiece, cherished by those who love unspoiled tales of saintliness and self-sacrifice. A deep piety, that never appears strained or put on, is the author's most characteristic trait; but critics continue to marvel particularly at his finished scholarship at a time when study was just beginning in England."
The good old Catholic Encyclopædia has a decent sized life and appreciation here.
A hymn he wrote for Ascensiontide can be found here.

The Alexandrian Quartet

I thought of my old boss Oscar today. Somehow or other Lawrence Durrell's "The Alexandrian Quartet" had become not only his favourite novel - or series of novels - but his template for how the world actually is. In a nutshell, it tells the story of a series of events from four different points of view. He never tired of comparing anything at all that might happen to something from The Alexandrian Quartet.

And today a friend sent me a notice of this incident in a Nebraska airport this week. Some woman skipped one of the airport "security" stations and went on to her airplane. He went on to comment that:

The rest of the story that wasn't on the news....She was ticketed and faces a $10,000 fine and possible jail time. The [person who was supposed to pass the "wand" over her at the security post] was fired for leaving her post. Her supervisor was fined and they start at $1000. At least four airlines have filed lawsuits against the woman for causing their flights to be delayed at a cost of approximately $10,000 each. Just the lawyer's fees for her are going to be thru the roof because she's too important to do as she was told and wait.

One incident, two points of view. My friend thought she was a very foolish woman for not doing as she was told and waiting. How inconsiderate; how unpatriotic. And I thought she was a very foolish woman for believing that we were still a free people. How deluded.

Sunday, May 20, 2007

Ascension Thursday?

Even though it's Sunday, today might be Ascension Thursday. Here in the Archdiocese of Hollywood, it most assuredly is. Mostly. Except at the indult Mass. And in the local Byzantine churches, which, of course, aren't actually in this Archdiocese even though they're in this archdiocese. As it were.

Your Diocese May Vary.

"See, The Conqueror Mounts in Triumph" used to be sung in Ascensiontide; I wonder if anyone sings it any more? The hymnal specifies In Babilone as the tune but we always used to use Hyfordol.

See, the Conqueror mounts in triumph;
See the King in royal state,
Riding on the clouds, his chariot,
To his heavenly palace gate!
Hark! the choirs of angel voices
Joyful alleluias sing,
And the portals high are lifted
To receive their heavenly King.

He Who on the cross did suffer,
He Who from the grave arose,
He has vanquished sin and Satan;
He by death has spoiled His foes.
While He lifts His hands in blessing,
He is parted from His friends;
While their eager eyes behold Him,
He upon the clouds ascends.

Thou hast raised our human nature
On the clouds to God's right hand:
There we sit in heavenly places,
There with Thee in glory stand.
Jesus reigns, adored by angels;
Man with God is on the throne;
Mighty Lord, in Thine ascension,
We by faith behold our own!

Saturday, May 19, 2007

Pentecost Approaches

Traditionally, yesterday was the beginning of the Novena to the Holy Ghost made in anticipation of the feast of Pentecost. If you start today, though you will end on The Day Itself.

If your prayer book doesn't have a Novena to the Holy Ghost, you'll find one here.

Things You Wish You Didn't Know About Education in America

"The biggest undergraduate major by far in the United States is business. Twenty-two per cent of bachelor's degrees are awarded in that field. Eight per cent are awarded in education, five per cent in the health professions. By contrast, fewer than four per cent of college graduates major in English, and only two per cent major n history. There are more bachelor's degrees awarded every year in Parks, Recreation, Leisure, and Fitness Studies than in all foreign languages and literatures combined. The Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching, which classifies institutions of higher education, no longer uses the concept 'liberal arts' in making its distinctions.”

From the 21 May 2007 number of The New Yorker, pg 28.

De Mortuis Nihil Nisi Bonum

Nothing could illustrate the viciousness of the unco guid who populate our local media half so well as the obituaries and "memorial" articles they have published on the late Reverend Jerry Falwell. I'm thinking of a particularly slimy "editorial" on KFWB, one of our "news" radio stations. I can't link to it as they don't appear to publish any of their editorials on their website. Perhaps they have the good taste to be ashamed of them. But The Times contributes its share, too. A sample of the letters they chose to publish can be found here. The Times's glad-he's-gone editorial, which is actually rather kindly considering some of the other commentary. No doubt your local paper has the equivalent.

All of which caused "the mean girl" to, ahem, react here:

No man in the last century better illustrated Jesus' warning that "All men will hate you because of me" than the Rev. Jerry Falwell, who left this world on Tuesday. Separately, no man better illustrates my warning that it doesn't pay to be nice to liberals.

Falwell was a perfected Christian. He exuded Christian love for all men, hating sin while loving sinners. This is as opposed to liberals, who just love sinners. Like Christ ministering to prostitutes, Falwell regularly left the safe confines of his church to show up in such benighted venues as CNN.

He was such a good Christian that back when we used to be on TV together during Clinton's impeachment, I sometimes wanted to say to him, "Step aside, reverend — let the mean girl handle this one." (Why, that guy probably prayed for Clinton!)

For putting Christ above everything — even the opportunity to make a humiliating joke about Clinton — Falwell is known as "controversial." Nothing is ever as "controversial" as yammering about Scripture as if, you know, it's the word of God or something.

You can find the rest of her article here. Not that I necessarily agree with it all.

O.K., I actually do, don't I. Oh, well. The Inn is already banned in Red China. Let's see where else we can be banned.

Friday, May 18, 2007

Moveable Feasts

Yesterday may or may not have been Ascension Thursday. Ascension Thursday might come on a Sunday where you are, as it does here in the Archdiocese of Hollywood. So today may or may not be the Friday after Ascension Thursday. It might just be Friday in the Sixth Week after Easter. Or it might be St Bernardine of Siena's day. Or it might not because in some calendars he's on the 20th. But it won't be the 20th this week even though it might otherwise be where you are because the 20th is a Sunday and both the Ascension and the Sunday after the Ascension take precedence over St Bernardine.

Even when they "simplify" the liturgy it's still handy to have a Philadelphia lawyer on retainer.

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

St Simon Stock, O. Carm.

Today is the feast of St Simon Stock in the calendars of both the Ancient Observance and the Discalced branches of the Carmelite Order. Aylesford Priory, shown above, was the first English home of the Carmelite Order and the house of St Simon Stock's profession. In the 16th century Henry VIII nationalised the monasteries but since the mid-20th century Aylesford has again been in Carmelite hands; the picture shows the restored gatehouse.

There is more on St Simon here.

Tuesday, May 15, 2007


I received a link to each of these articles at the same moment this evening. This one relates Italy's resistance to the homosexualist terrorists and this one Poland's.

Back To Nature

"Properly speaking, of course, there is no such thing as a return to nature, because there is no such thing as a departure from it. The phrase reminds one of the slightly intoxicated gentleman who gets up in his own dining room and declares firmly that he must be getting home." - G.K. Chesterton

Serendipity. I ran across this quotation just this afternoon. And only last night I was again belaboring my long-suffering wife with my occasional sermon on the idiocy of the advertisement on the radio claiming "All Natural Ingredients!" Where else could you get "ingredients" of any sort other than from nature? Perhaps if whatever-it-was were mixed with holy water it would have a *supernatural ingredient. But otherwise our source for everything is the created universe, i.e., nature. Lead, arsenic, and petroleum are just as "natural" as broccoli.

Here endeth the lesson.

*Or should that be a "preternatural" ingredient?

Supported by Viewers Like You

If PBS actually were supported by viewers like me, it would have folded 40 years ago since I've never given them a nickel. And with this sort of thing popping up on "public" televsion that state of affairs is unlikely to change.

New Benedictines

The Oblates of Mary, Queen of Apostles have followed the Benedictine rule since their founding. But this year they officially became Benedictines and their new name is Benedictines of Mary, Queen of Apostles. The community's first profession as Benedictines will be this Saturday, 19 May at 1:30 p.m. at Conception Abbey in Missouri.

While puttering around their website, I found a link to this beautiful tribute to the sisters that Anthony Esolen wrote for last January's number of Crisis magazine. In its own way, it is another contribution to the "Restoration of Christendom" theme which several of the brethren have been discussing lately.

Simply put, Professor Esolen is a wonderful writer. Even if he were only writing about snowboarding, it would still be worth the read. Those who know about such things say that his is the best English version of Dante's Divine Comedy that has ever been done. (Even better than Dorothy Sayers's? So they say.) So do have a look at his essay on the Benedictines of Mary.

Monday, May 14, 2007

Thoughts at One's Ablutions

Did the geniuses that came up with the low-flow shower heads factor into their equations the fact that showers using their creation take three times longer in order to get the soap off?

Memorial Day Weekend

You can click on the imgage for a larger view or go to the United Scottish Society's website, which will reveal that both the Simon Fraser University PB and Alberta Caledonian will be in here in two weeks for a Grade One pipe band competition. Of course, the Prince Charles G-I organization has bowed out for the season, but one would think that the L.A. Scots would be part of the Grade One competiton in Pomona. But it's not on their calendar. One wonders why.

Tuesday, May 08, 2007

Nazis Quit War!

That's the headline on the New York paper that my aunt saved 62 years ago and which I still have somewhere in the "archive". On April 30 Hitler committed suicide and on May 8, 1945 Admiral Raeder announced Germany's surrender. Both my parents approved. But as they were both in the Pacific theatre of war, were not quite as enthusiastic as the British crowds you can hear on Edward R. Murrow's broadcast here.

In æstu temperies

I was tempted to quote from the prior verse for the headline: Dulce refrigerium. But it doesn't quite mean "sweet refrigeration" does it.

Though, refrigeration would indeed be sweet right now. It's 97 degrees fahrenheit here in the lavish corner office where The Inn reaches fruition. That's the sort of weather which causes one to quote randomly from Pentecostal sequences and ponder global warming. And speaking of global warming, you might want to take a look here and here. Dr Pournelle recommended them a while back and I found them interesting on this sweltering day.

Sunday, May 06, 2007

More on the 40 Martyrs

I only discovered the Irish Elk's post on the 40 martyrs of England and Wales during my Sunday blog-browse so it's a bit a late. But don't miss it. Click here.

Bulletin from the Jean-Arthur-TV-Movie Alert Service

TCM: "Mr Deeds Goes to Town" -- 6 May 12:30 p.m. EDT (9:30 a.m. PDT) Set the TiVo now before you forget.

Saturday, May 05, 2007

Do They Get Copies of This Stuff at the USCCB?

From Sacramentum Caritatis, section 42:

42. In the ars celebrandi, liturgical song has a pre-eminent place. (126) Saint Augustine rightly says in a famous sermon that "the new man sings a new song. Singing is an expression of joy and, if we consider the matter, an expression of love" (127). The People of God assembled for the liturgy sings the praises of God. In the course of her two-thousand-year history, the Church has created, and still creates, music and songs which represent a rich patrimony of faith and love. This heritage must not be lost. Certainly as far as the liturgy is concerned, we cannot say that one song is as good as another. Generic improvisation or the introduction of musical genres which fail to respect the meaning of the liturgy should be avoided. As an element of the liturgy, song should be well integrated into the overall celebration (128). Consequently everything -- texts, music, execution -- ought to correspond to the meaning of the mystery being celebrated, the structure of the rite and the liturgical seasons (129). Finally, while respecting various styles and different and highly praiseworthy traditions, I desire, in accordance with the request advanced by the Synod Fathers, that Gregorian chant be suitably esteemed and employed (130) as the chant proper to the Roman liturgy (131).

Why go into all that? Because the GloP ditties are making daily Mass more of a trial every day.

St Pius V

And today is the old Roman feast of Pope St Pius V who codified the ancient Roman liturgy and made it available to the western world.

O God, Who for the overthrow of the enemies of Thy church and for the restoration of divine worship didst vouchsafe to choose blessed Pius as supreme Pontiff: grant that we may be defended by his patronage and so cleave to Thy service, that overcoming all the wiles of our enemies, we may rejoice in perpetual peace. Through Christ our Lord.

Deus, qui ad conterendos Ecclesiæ hostes, et ad divinum cultum reparandum, beatum Pium Pontificem maximum eligere dignatus es: fac nos ipsius defendi præsidiis, et ita tuis in hærere obsequiis: ut, omnium hostium superatis insidiis, perpetua pace lætemur. Per Dominum nostrum.

In the Carmelite calendar, this is the feast of St Angelus who was Palestinian of Jewish origin. His mother became a Catholic and the children followed along. Angelus became a Carmelite, living at various times the eremitical life and that of a great preacher. He died in Sicily. Wikipedia has one of the more extensive biographies of him here.

40 Martyrs of England and Wales

Amongst a great many other things in the past ten days, The Inn missed any mention of the feast day of the 40 Martyrs of England and Wales. It was yesterday. Fortunately, not everyone else did. Fr Mark commemorates them here. And you can find a complete list here, with further links to their individual biographies.

But no Carmelites amongst them. What can the Sacred Congregation have been thinking?