Monday, July 30, 2007


Everyone knows that the Angels are in need of at least one more Big Bat. Vlad the Impaler can't do it all by himself.

But now it looks as if all of baseball will be in need of a bat.

Miss Marple, Indeed

In spite of what we said here, we can't take it any longer. As of last night and the mutilation of "At Bertram's Hotel" it is no longer possible "to ignore the anachronisms and the not terribly subtle political agendum" nor, indeed, the "intrusions of the fatuous assumptions of 2006." in the current PBS version of Agatha Christie's "Miss Marple" series. Lord knows we tried. Perhaps since it is now 2007, the relevant assumptions are even more fatuous.

It was not Agatha Christie's plot, it was not a characterization remotely like Miss Marple, the sets were tawdry and obvious, the cultural assumptions were anachronistic, and the script appeared to have been drawn up by a high school drama club. The series has gone from fairly well done, if disappointing in its moral view and distance from Christie's original, to a complete travesty.

Suggestion: destroy the original masters of the whole series. Locate the version starring Joan Hickson as Miss Marple, remaster them (the copies provided for sale some time ago are not in the best of shape) and present them again. Show the world how well Christie can be done.

Saturday, July 28, 2007

Blessed John Soreth, O. Carm.

Today is the feast of Blessed John Soreth, the founder of the second and third orders of Carmel. The Ancient Observance keep his day on the 24th of July but the Discalced on the 28th.

This is his collect in the old liturgy (which in those days was on 30 July):

Bonorum omnium largitor Deus, qui beatum Joannem ardenti honoris tui zelo et singulari in subeundis periculis fortitudine roborasti : ejus meritis et precibus concede ; ut adversa omnia tolerare et in tua dilectione persistere valeamus. Per Dominum nostrum Iesum Christum.

My translation: "O God, Giver of all good things, who strengthened Blessed John with ardent zeal for Thy honour and with remarkable fortitude in undergoing trials, grant by his merits and prayers, that we may be able to bear all adversities and persevere in Thy love. Through Our Lord Jesus Christ." (Complaints may be sent to the usual address.)

A couple of pages on his life can be found here.

Friday, July 27, 2007

Jean Arthur TV-Movie Alert Service Bulletin

On TCM this Saturday 28 July at 9:00 p.m. PDT: the classic western "Shane" and Jean Arthur's last performance in a motion picture.

The Thinking Blogger

Yes, of course, me. No need to sound so surprised.

Mark awarded The Inn one of these just last week. You can find it here.

And now I have official duties to perform. There are official strictures incumbent upon the awardee, to wit:

"1. If, and only if, you get tagged, write a post with links to 5 blogs that make you think,
2. Link to this post so that people can easily find the exact origin of the meme,
3. Optional: Proudly display the 'Thinking Blogger Award' with a link to the post that you wrote..."

O.K. I can do that. Easier than flying to Norway and giving a speech.

The Five Blogs:

1. The View from Chaos Manor. Professor Pournelle may be writing today about politics, computers, science fiction, the military, education or. . . .an uncountable number of other topics about which he knows more than I have ever dreamt of. Click on the link and find out.

2. The Devout Life. Hilary is the most unpredictable woman. Jeremiads directed to the Canadian elite today and pictures of an idyllic English countryside tomorrow. Um, she isn't actually maintaining the linked site at the moment. But who knows what tomorrow may bring? And there is, as it happens, communication occurring from An Undisclosed Location. You'll just have to trust me on that. Meanwhile, you could read the TDL archives.

3. Rorate Cæli. THE source for informed traddie commentary. Want information on the Motu Proprio Summorum Pontificum? Go no further than the link at #3. Citing it also gives me the opportunity to encourage the use of the diphthong "æ".

4. Crazy Stable. It's supposed to be about renovating an old house in Brooklyn. And it is. But there's always more. Life in New York in general. Looking after a favourite uncle. And how often it puts joy into all the work that needs to be done around and about the little house where The Inn is put together a full continent away.

5. Apologia. Doesn't matter what it's about. Bill writes so well it is always refreshment for the mind and the soul.

Well. That was harder than it looks. The narrowing-it-down-to-five part, I mean. There are a fair number of good blogs on The Inn's blogroll that I'm very fond of. And five times more bookmarked on the browser. I could've mentioned The Irish Elk right back but somehow that doesn't seem quite right. (Even though I check in regularly to learn about old time baseball, jazz before the corruption set in, heaven knows what else.) And Flos Carmeli where I find out how poorly I live the Carmelite life. And Mommentary where Elinor's favourite word is not "nuance". 120 proof opinions, most of them spot on. (Could use a bit more appreciation for the classic Roman Rite, but it's early days yet.)

And that's enough. Mark said it's supposed to be five.

Fun With Technology

And less fun without it.

The pc has been out of commission for a while and the world has had to get along without my brilliant insights for lo' the whole long week. Or a part of it, anyway. It was, I am happy to say, under warranty and the free-gratis-and-for-nothing replacement parts should be arriving in the post Monday. (I cannibalized my wife's pc. That's how. Yes, she knows and I'll replace them next week. Sheesh.)

I usually consider myself fairly free from "inordinate attachment" to this box of electronic wonderment. Oh, dear. How wrong a little technical glitch can prove me to be.

Sunday, July 22, 2007

St Elias the Prophet

His feast day was actually two days ago in the Carmelite calendar, on 20 July. I posted a bit about it last year.

This year I noticed an interesting bit of word usage in the Latin that I hadn't seen before. One of the antiphons recounts the incident where Elias strikes the river Jordan with his cloak and it divides to allow him and Eliseus to cross without getting wet. In the Latin his cloak is his pallium. Well, I found it interesting anyway. Does that make Elias an Archprophet?

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Exactly What Sort of Miracle is Needed for Beatification?

Fr Johnson died last March. In less than four months, the Holy Father issued Summorum Pontificum.

And now within the same month the classic Latin Rite of Mass is back at St Mary's by the Sea. Take a look here at the scan of last Sunday's bulletin from St Mary's.

Yes, there is an illegal mixing of rites. But I think Fr Johnson can have that sorted out in time for his canonization.


ADDENDUM: That was fast. Thank you, Father.

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

The Carmelite Martyrs of Compiègne

17 July is the feast of the blessed Carmelite martyrs of Compiègne, killed by the French revolutionaries on this day in 1794. You can learn more about them from Francois Poulenc's opera, "Dialogues of the Carmelites", Gertrud von le Fort's historical novel, "Song at the Scaffold", William Bush's "To Quell the Terror", or the easiest of all, go here and read Terrye Newkirk's excellent essay.

The collect for Martyr's feast day:

Deus, qui ob invictam in tuo amore constantiam beatam Teresiam et socias eius de vertice Carmeli ad martyrii coronam vocasti; tribue, quæsumus; ut te fideliter dilgentes, ad contemplandam speciem tuæ celsitudinis perducamur. Per Dominum. Amen.

The collect in the new English-language Carmelite office book is not quite a translation of the above, but the concepts are similar enough that I think it may be the Latin original of that shown below. See what you think:

"Lord God, you called Blessed Teresa of St Augustine and her companions to go on in the strength of the Holy Spirit from the heights of Carmel to receive a martyr's crown. May our love too be so steadfast that it will bring us to the everlasting vision of your glory. We ask this through our Lord. Amen."

Dr Death

The note below was received the other day from "BlogsforTerri":

After his release from prison on June 1 for "good behavior," Jack Kevorkian, a.k.a. Dr. Death, resumed his promotion of assisted suicide as a humane conclusion for the terminally ill. He told Larry King that he felt it was important to speak to young people in high school and college about these issues.

Apparently the University of Florida agrees. According to the Terri Schindler-Schiavo Foundation, Dr. Kevorkian, a convicted felon and defrocked doctor, is scheduled to speak to the students there and will be paid $50,000 to do so by the University of Florida student government association.

The Foundation has released an alert and has posted an online petition that asks the University rescind the invitation to Kevorkian. Would you take a moment to consider signing it? (click here)

As you do, consider how inappropriate it is for Kevorkian to be treated as a crusader for patient's rights given his distorted view of human dignity and role in the deaths of numerous patients (he claimed participation in 130 suicides and challenged prosecutors to issue charges).

A Michigan judge in 1999 sentenced Kevorkian to 10 to 25 years in prison for second degree murder and three to seven years for delivery of a controlled substance. At the time, he was denied bail due to his vow to keep assisting patient suicides.

Kevorkian is now out of prison, having agreed to stop directly helping people commit suicide he continues to exploit the publicity of his premature release by promoting the actions that landed him in prison.

Again, please take a few minutes to consider the online petition that asks the University of Florida to remove this unrepentant felon from the podium.

Thinking of Taking Advantage of the "Private Mass" provision of Summorum Pontificum?

"Pope Benedict uses older ritual for his private Mass" says Catholic World News here.

"Vade, et tu fac similiter."

Monday, July 16, 2007

Our Lady of Mount Carmel

It's already 8 p.m. We are on the verge of failing to mention Our Lady's feast day on the day. The good old Catholic Encyclopædia lets us down today. It has on article on Our Lady of Mount Carmel but it is devoted entirely to liturgical minutiæ. If you really want to know when the feast was raised to a major double of the first class with a vigil and a privileged octave, you can find the article here.

The complete tale of the Our Lady's appearance to St Simon Stock can be found under today's date in Dom Gueranger's "The Liturgical Year". Alas, it is not on line and far too long for me to type out. But if you have a copy, pull down volume XIII from the shelf and have a look at the entry for "July 16". (If you don't have a copy, you can get one here.)

This version is from the 2d nocturn for the feast in the old Roman Breviary:

When on the holy day of Pentecost the Apostles, through heavenly inspiration, spake in foreign tongues, and worked many wonders by the invocation of the most sacred Name of Jesus ; it is said that many men, who were walking in the footsteps of the holy prophets Elijah and Elisha, and had been prepared for the coming of Christ by the heralding of John the Baptist, saw and were assured of the truth. They at once embraced the faith of the Gospel, and began to venerate the most blessed Virgin (whose conversation and familiar intercourse they were happily able to enjoy) with a certain peculiar affection, so that they, before all others, built a chapel to that purest of Virgins on that very spot of Mount Carmel where Elijah of old had seen a cloud arising, a remarkable symbol of the Virgin.

Therefore many times each day they came together to the new oratory, and with pious ceremonies, prayers, and praises honoured the most blessed Virgin as the special protectress of their Order. For this reason, they began to be called the brethren of Our Lady of Mount Carmel everywhere, and by all ; and the supreme Pontiffs not only confirmed this title, but also granted special indulgences to whomsoever should call either the whole Order or individual brethren by that name. But the most noble Virgin not only gave them such a great title and patronage, but also the badge of the holy scapular. This she bestowed upon blessed Simon the Englishman, so that the sacred Order might be differéntiated by this heavenly vesture, and be protected by it from the evils that were assailing it. And finally, since of old the Order was unknown in Europe, and on this account many were importuning Honorius III for its abolition, the most tender Virgin Mary appeared by night to Honorius, and distinctly commanded him to receive both the institute and its members with kindness.

The most blessed Virgin by many privileges hath distinguished this Order which is so acceptable to her, not only in this world, but also in another world (since everywhere her power and her mercy count for very much). For it is piously believed, that those of her children who, having been enrolled in the Confraternity of the Scapular, have observed the slight abstinence and have said the few prayers prescribed, and have observed chastity as far as their state of life doth demand, will certainly be comforted by her maternal affection while they are being purified in the fire of Purgatory, and will through her intercession be taken thence as soon as possible to the heavenly fatherland. Therefore the Order, laden with so many and such great favours, hath instituted a solemn Commemoration of the most blessed Virgin, to be celebrated year by year in perpetual observance, to the glory of that same Virgin.

Rattling Sabers in the Highlands

Summorum Pontificum has been much in the news since it was issued last week and the secular news media has been as opinionated as the religious media. The Philadelphia Inquirer had this to say. And the L.A. Times weighed in with this.

But the least expected was from Scotland on Sunday. There is some serious traddie fire-breathing going on north of the Tweed. You can find it here.

And you thought The Inn was in danger of falling off the traditionalist end of the earth.

Saturday, July 14, 2007

Iraq in 10 Short Paragraphs

Not a solution. I haven't got one of those either. But the situation as it stands in Iraq in a nutshell from Dr Pournelle:

"Not another nickel! Not another dime! Not another Soldier! Not this time!" which seems to be the entire argument of one Congressman contributes [not] an awful lot to understanding the seriousness of the move. On the other hand, the entire intellectual ability of many of our college students seems to be summed up in chanting "One! Two! Three! Four!" followed by denouncing whatever politician they don't like, so I suppose I shouldn't be astonished that the debate in the Congress of the United States makes a drunken sophomore bull session sound like Plato's Symposium.

Now, perhaps the war is lost and we ought to get out. I never thought we could win it. It is not that I thought us incapable of winning, but that I was certain we would never have the determination, nor would we commit the resources and time required to establish a constitutional and orderly state in Iraq. I put it that way rather than "democracy" because we clearly could establish a "democracy" tomorrow morning. What we can't do is prevent that "democracy" from, by democratic means, transforming itself into an Islamic state with persecution of minorities. What Iraq needs is a constitutional republic, or a stable monarchy, and installing something of that sort will take a lot of time. It need not be expensive, in the sense that we could restore the oil production (and be absolutely repressive about it; free fire zones with bounties around refineries and pipelines, etc.) and use the revenue to pay for our occupation and constabulary forces. (And those would be two difference forces, but we've been through that before.)

It appears to me -- from the outside, and I have no special sources of information -- it appears to me that the factions in Iraq refuse to compromise because each thinks it can win it all. The Sunni believe that because they were top dogs for centuries they can be so again. The Shiites believe that because they are a majority, they will win. And both Shia and Sunni believe that Allah will prevail, and Allah favors their faction. The Kurds believe that they can build their own Kurdish state, and that the Turks will not come in and flatten them as soon as the US is out of the way. In other words, of the three major factions, every one of them thinks it can achieve its goals without cooperating with the others.

History shows that when you have a situation like that, the only long term solution is to let them fight it out until they understand just what they can and cannot so. It takes a long time. The Thirty Years War, the Hundred Years War, The War Between the States, the American War of Independence... The American Civil War was the shortest of those, but made up for that in blood.

Perhaps it will be that way in Iraq. Unless we commit to the long haul, with both Legions and Auxiliaries and a local constabulary and US supervision of the division of the oil revenues for decades, it will be that way.

Perhaps something short of a full constitutional republic or monarchy can be achieved and we can get out with a bit more dignity, leaving behind a government that is doomed, but it was working when we left. Perhaps.

And perhaps we ought simply to get out, now, and if it were done when 'tis done, 'twere best it were done quickly; in other words, cut and run, because we can't achieve a better result.

These are important matters -- and the cant phrases that pass for Congressional Debate are not contributing to our understanding.

I do not know what we ought to do in Iraq. We broke it; we own it; we have a moral obligation to leave the place better off than it was when we went in. On the other hand we do not have a moral obligation to bankrupt ourselves attempting the impossible.

I note that the public seems to understand. Congress has an even lower approval rating than the President, and his rating is abysmally low.

Thursday, July 12, 2007

And For Those of You Digging with The Other Foot. . . .

. . . .it's marching day up the north.

If you've a taste for the flute and the lambeg, this is your day to shine.

(The rest of us just sit at home and practice "A Nation Once Again" on the practice chanter.)

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Builds Strong Bodies 12 Ways

No, not Wonder Bread.

The Great Highland Bagpipe.

Monday, July 09, 2007

Fr. Z’s 5 Rules of Engagement for after the Motu Proprio is released


Fr. Z’s 5 Rules of Engagement for after the Motu Proprio is released:

1) Rejoice because our liturgical life has been enriched, not because "we win". Everyone wins when the Church’s life is enriched. This is not a "zero sum game".

2) Do not strut. Let us be gracious to those who have in the past not been gracious in regard to our "legitimate aspirations".

3) Show genuine Christian joy. If you want to attract people to what gives you so much consolation and happiness, be inviting and be joyful. Avoid the sourness some of the more traditional stamp have sadly worn for so long.

4) Be engaged in the whole life of your parishes, especially in works of mercy organized by the same. If you want the whole Church to benefit from the use of the older liturgy, then you who are shaped by the older form of Mass should be of benefit to the whole Church in concrete terms.

5) If the document doesn’t say everything we might hope for, don’t bitch about it like a whiner. Speak less of our rights and what we deserve, or what it ought to have been, as if we were our own little popes, and more about our gratitude, gratitude, gratitude for what God gives us.

Sunday, July 08, 2007

Motu Proprio: The TV Show

Apparently EWTN is going to have a programme discussing Summorum Pontificum using actual experts. Not NBC's idea of an expert, but instead someone who actually has some expertise on the subject, e.g., Bishop Bruskewitz, Fr George Gabet, F.S.S.P., Fr Kenneth Baker, S.J., and a couple more.

Here's what the website says:


Monday July 9, 2007 9:00 PM Eastern Time
Monday July 9, 2007 6:00 PM Pacific Time

It looks like you can access the programme via the web if you don't get the cable tv station. That's what this web page seems to indicate anyway.

Dreaming in Technicolor

From Summorum Pontificum:

Nonetheless, the Roman Missal promulgated by St. Pius V and reissued by Bl. John XXIII is to be considered as an extraordinary expression of that same 'Lex orandi,' and must be given due honour for its venerable and ancient usage. These two expressions of the Church's Lex orandi will in no any way lead to a division in the Church's 'Lex credendi' (Law of belief). They are, in fact two usages of the one Roman rite.

"It is, therefore, permissible to celebrate the Sacrifice of the Mass following the typical edition of the Roman Missal promulgated by Bl. John XXIII in 1962 and never abrogated, as an extraordinary form of the Liturgy of the Church.

What if the Extraordinary Form becomes as "extraordinary" in the Roman Church in America as Extraordinary Eucharistic Ministers?


Saturday, July 07, 2007

Our Lady of Mount Carmel

The Novena to Our Lady of Mount Carmel begins today.

If you don't have one of your own, the Irish province of the Ancient Observance Carmelites has one here.

I copied another one out of my grandmother's prayer book here.

This just in. . . .

St Lawrence O'Toole Pipe Band won the G-1 All Ireland Pipe Band competition today.

The RSPBA - NI branch
just posted the results. You can find the summary sheets here.

A Motu Proprio and a SLOT win. That's a lot of good news for one day.

It's Here

The Motu Proprio, of course.

The Latin texts are here and here.

In English here and here.

Take a look at Rorate Cæli for much useful commentary.

Friday, July 06, 2007

Ordinations for the Institute of Christ the King at the Cathedral Basilica of St Louis

Gorgeous pictures.

Dozens more here.

Thursday, July 05, 2007

This Weekend's Highland Games

Instead of practicing, I've been browsing through piping sites and arrived at the conclusion that there is hardly a weekend throughout the year without a Highland Games somewhere in the world. You are the beneficiary of said idle browsing. Here is a list of this weekend's Games:

The Forres Highland Games. Forres is a small market town situated on the Moray Coast approximately 26 miles to the East of Inverness. They have a website here. The event include solo piping, highland dancing, cycling and heavy athletics.

The Monterey Games will be held this weekend also. It's about a 5 or 6 hour drive up the coast from here and a good event. The website's here. It's a chance to hear the northern California bands before Pleasanton.

There are Games in Halifax, Nova Scotia and in Kincardine, Ontario.

The major contest this weekend will be the All Ireland Pipe Band Championship in Donard Park, Newcastle, County Down. Alas, no website for it this year. You can find the order of play listed on the RSPBA-NI website here.

Wednesday, July 04, 2007

The Glorious Fourth

The fireworks page is still up. Yes, it's been cited before and, yes, it is getting a little long in the tooth.

But it's still good for a couple of minutes worth of messing about.

If you need something a little more serious, try this article in this morning's paper on Henry Knox, General Washington's chief of artillery and President Washington's secretary of war, our country's first.

Is There Anyone Who "Doesn't" Have An Opinion On the Traditional Liturgy?

Fr Z comments on a Jerusalem Post essay on the traditional Roman Rite Mass.

It seems we're anti-Semitic now.

A Partial Indulgence

The Bush loyalist goes free. Free-ish. Doesn't have to go to prison anyway. A quarter of a million dollars is still a hefty fine in this neighborhood.

But for Border Patrol officers Ramos and Compean, in prison for defending the country, it's another story. No pardon. No clemency. No, uh, amnesty.

Defending Those Who Defend Our Borders


The Chideock Martyrs

The 4th of July is -- among other things -- the feast day of the Blessed Martyrs of Chideock Castle. Fr John Cornelius, S.J. (also called Mohun but whose real name appears to have been O'Mahony), and the laymen John Terrence Carey, Patrick Salmon, and Thomas Bosgrave were martyred for the faith on this day in 1594. They are all listed amongst the English martyrs but John Carey and Patrick Salmon were Dublin men and Fr Cornelius was born of Irish parents in Cornwall.
Their story can be found here.

The image shows a bit of the moat, all that remains of Chideock Castle.

Sunday, July 01, 2007

Canis Sapiens

Sometimes you have to be there and see it for yourself. In fact, that's always the best way. Nothing on television can match the entertainment value - and the educational value - of just sitting in a corner and watching what's going on. You can explain what you saw, but the telling is never as good as the seeing. And this little story isn't either, but since you're already here and browsing through The Inn, I might as well present you with the evidence.

I was playing for a bridal shower yesterday. That's unusual in itself. I've played for probably hundreds of weddings but I've never even been to a bridal shower before. People with Y chromosomes just don't get invited to those. So this was my first, so far as it went. I played for the bride-to-be when she arrived followed by a few other tunes. Then I had a quick lunch and played the shuttle pipes for a half hour or 40 minutes while the guests had their lunch. When they got down to the serious business of the bridal showering activity, whatever that might be, I was given my fee and the door.

But that's not the point of this. What I actually learned yesterday, is that dogs understand English better than I thought. More than just "heel", "sit", "beg", and "squirrel!!". I was sitting in an out of the way spot as various guests arrived. The family dog was having a great time giving the visitors a welcoming sniff and allowing himself to be petted by those so inclined. One woman was a little late. The dog welcomed her, approved, and started to trot off as she explained to the hostess why she was late. "I had to pick up Jody from Little League. And then we had to take the dog to the vet, come home and change and it just took longer than I thought." At the words "dog to the vet", that dog spun around and stared at the woman for a good 15 seconds, quite obviously trying to determine if he was the dog in question and if evasive action was required. The answers appeared to be "no" and "no" so he went back to the front door to resume his duties. It was wonderful to see. Clear understanding where understanding was not expected.

All those complicated directions Timmy used to give to Lassie might not be so far-fetched after all.