Saturday, September 29, 2007

The Poll

Well, you've all probably seen it linked somewhere else. But for the two or three who may have missed it, the primaries have been held and the final election on what to call the Roman Rite in St Blog's is now being held here.

Unfortunately, it appears that "Tridentine" is a front-runner. I'm afraid I agree with the late Fr Houghton that "Tridentine" sounds like something for people with three teeth. I would've gone for "traditional Roman Rite" if I had got there in time for the primaries. (Last week was rather fully occupied and didn't allow for much time on the pc.) In my particularly snarky moods, just plain "Roman Rite"; not to be confused with the "Bugninian Rite". The problem with that (other than the caritas problem) is that it's confusing. I know what I mean by Roman Rite but no one else will.

Oh, well. You can decide at Fr Zuhlsdorf's site.

I may apply for a terminological dispensation.

Friday, September 28, 2007

On Staying in Tune

According to this morning's Times, it helps to put out the cigar:

Smoking bans save . . . accordions.

The 2004 ban on smoking in Ireland has not only improved the air in pubs, but also has improved the quality of music, Dublin physicians report today in the British Journal of Medicine.

Particulates from secondhand smoke accumulate within and damage accordions, concertinas, melodeons and Uilleann bagpipes, which are favored by musicians for their traditional pub sessions.
More here.

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Read This

Stop what you're doing and go here and read "Stable-Cleaning 101".

And then follow it up with this.

Why? Well, because they're wonderful pieces, delightful and poignant and. . .and other good things, too, but my thesaurus has gone missing. Beautiful writing.

Catholic Higher Education

Yes, of course, you're right. This stuff isn't really Catholic or Education. It isn't even news any more. But just in case you were wondering if it had recovered from the '60s.


Monday, September 17, 2007

St Albert the Lawgiver

. . . .a.k.a., St Albert of Jerusalem or St Albert of Vercelli, for he was both the composer of the Carmelite Rule and the bishop of those two places in succession.

I posted this about him last year. It included this sentence:

"He was stabbed to death on September 14, 1214 during a liturgical procession in Acre by the Master of the Hospital of the Holy Spirit whom he had dismissed for his licentious life."

So, bishops have always needed courage to do their duty. A worthy patron for the 21st century Catholic Church in the U.S.

Sunday, September 16, 2007

Living in a Skewed Society

Whether this passage is particularly profound, or whether it merely seems so to me because it applies so neatly to a situation I have observed lately, I cannot tell. Either way, for your delectation:

All things being equal, the simple-minded and the very intelligent men are the most easily unbalanced. A simple intellect cannot handle complex and subtle ideas because it is unable to resolve seeming contraries and make subtle distinc­tions. There are quite a few simple people in the world. For their own happiness, sanity and sanctity, they should lead simple, peaceful, ordered lives according to truths authorita­tively given them by others. The Catholic Church has always guarded the simple, and the near-simple. She has protected them when she could from religious controversy (while the wise could debate about such matters publicly), from reading harmful books, and even from the mental and moral tangles of Hollywood. When she made a society the simple were mostly on the land, close to animals and fields, folk music and dancing, and their guardian the Church. Even today the mildly demented among them can occasionally find sanctuary working in peace, silence, and simplicity for a monastery or convent.

Heaven help the simple today! The schools want them to make up their own minds about the gravest problems of life and eternity. The newspapers and radio invite them to con­sider matters too difficult for international statesmen to set­tle. Everyone has to have an opinion about everything, whether or not it is within his province or competence.

The very intelligent have a different problem, peculiar to societies like ours. Intelligence drives the mind to the discov­ery of basic principles, to correlating, comparing, weighing, testing. A philosophical genius could easily go mad in Harvard or Yale, where every professor consciously or unconsciously contradicts his colleagues, to say nothing of the internal inconsistencies in his own theories. In a world devoid of fundamental certainties, and even implicitly denying the pos­sibility of discovering truth, its best brains are tempted to blow themselves out. When high intellectual quality is com­bined, as it often soon is, with escape via the sense pleasures, the hazards are even greater. Again it is the Church which could have saved them, and would have in another age. The mind driven to distraction by Nietzsche and Hegel would have found rest, joy and adventure in the certainty of the Faith and the lucidity of the Summa Theologiae.

-from Mrs Carol Robinson's My Life with Thomas Aquinas.

L'Abbe Henry Edgeworth de Firmont

From the Latin Mass Society of Ireland:

Bishop Colm O'Reilly of Ardagh & Clonmacnois is to offer the Latin Mass (Extraordinary Form) on Sunday, 23 September 2007.

This Mass will take place at 11am in St. Mary's Church, Edgeworthstown, Co. Longford as part of a commemoration of the Bicentenary of the death of Monsignor Henry Essex Edgeworth de Firmont. A schedule of the Bicentenary Events for the Abbe Edgeworth, who accompanied Louis XVI to the Guillotine in 1793, willl follow shortly.

Monsignor Edgeworth was born in Edgeworthstown, Co. Longford in 1745 but following his father's conversion to Catholicism in 1749 the family moved to France. Edgeworth was ordained to the Catholic priesthood in France and after many vicissitudes, became associated with the French Royal Family after the outbreak of the French Revolution. He accompanied Louis XVI to the guillotine and afterwards remained in France for some time at great personal risk, before joining the king's brother, Louis XVIII in Britain. Louis later set up his court in exile under the protection of the Tsar Paul in the territory of what was then the Russian Empire. During the subsequent wars between France and Russia Edgeworth remained to minister to sick and dying French prisoners of war, contracting his final illness in what is now Jelgava in Latvia where he died on 22 May 1807. The cemetery in Jelgava in which he was interred was destroyed during the Second World War.

Bishop O'Reilly will be the fourth Irish diocesan bishop to offer traditional Mass in recent years, following Bishops Daly and Hegarty of Derry and Archbishop Martin of Dublin.

All are welcome.

Edgeworthstown is a lovely place. My wife's family are Longford people; her uncle was a priest who lived his last years in Edgeworthstown. I envy those able to attend the Mass.

The picture shows the chasuble worn by the Abbe Edgeworth for the celebration of the last Mass attended by King Louis XVI. The original picture is from the website of the Association Louis XVI and can be found here.

St Ninian

Today is the feast of St Ninian in the Scottish ecclesiastical calendar. He was the first apostle to Scotland and built the first Christian church in Scotland, the Candida Casa. The picture at the left (the original of which you can find here) shows the ruins of the Premonstratensian Priory that was built on the ruins of the Candida Casa some 600 years after St Ninian's time. The only "almost contemporaneous" account of St Ninian consists of two lines in Bede the Venerable's history: "The southern Picts received the true faith by the preaching of Bishop Ninias, a most reverend and holy man of the British nation, who bad been regularly instructed at Rome in the faith and mysteries of the truth; whose episcopal see, named after St. Martin the Bishop, and famous for a church dedicated to him (wherein Ninias himself and many other saints rest in the body), is now in the possession of the English nation. The place belongs to the province of the Bernicians and is commonly called the White House [Candida Casa], because he there built a church of stone, which was not usual amongst the Britons".

O God, Who through the teaching of Thy holy Confessor and Bishop Ninian didst bring the peoples of the Picts and Britons to the knowledge of Thy faith: mercifully grant that we, who by his teaching are illumined with the light of Thy truth, may through his intercession attain unto the joys of heavenly life. Through Christ our Lord. Amen.

Friday, September 07, 2007

The Project: 1 Step Forward, 1/2 Step Backward

The Project has ground almost to a halt. The synthetic drone reeds have arrived. They have been subjected to a very small test. It seems like they will be an excellent addition. Just a little tweaking and we will be in business.

Why "very a small test"? I hear you ask. Because the hook holding the arm strap on the #$%&! bellows broke.


Off to the hardware store for another brass hook. But if they are small enough not to make a massive great hole in the face of the bellows, then they're too weak to stand the strain. I bought some that are somewhere in the middle and am using the bellows as sparingly as possible.

The new bellows can't arrive too soon. The ETA is mid-October.

Then I can start the search for a good chanter reed.

Saturday, September 01, 2007

1 September -- St Teresa Margaret Redi

Today is the feast day of an 18th century Carmelite mystic, St Teresa Margaret Redi. There is a wonderful website devoted to her here. It includes essays on her life and teachings, the complete text of her Mass and Office, and a complete on-line biography.

From this morning's paper

There were two obituaries in the papers this morning. One was for Alfred Peet, who according to the obit, single-handedly gave us outstanding coffee in the post WWII period. And apparently was also instrumental in making it five bucks a pop. De mortuis nil nisi bonum and all that, but I think we can at least hint at a mixed legacy.

The other obituary is for The Other Michael Jackson, the Michael Jackson who wrote about beer not the alleged singer. Is it thanks to The Other Michael Jackson that there is something on tap to slake our thirst here in the sweltering lower left corner of the U.S. other than the ubiquitous Budweiser? So it would seem. But even if it weren't, his columns made for a cracking good read.

And speaking of sweltering, it has been well into the 90's in southern California and here in the corner office. The papers have several articles on heat for those who hadn't noticed. Here's one. This one is about our local "microclimates" and actually is interesting. This one has advice for those with trouble absorbing the stupifyingly obvious: don't wear heavy clothing in the heat; you will be cooler in an air conditioned room. Worth your 50¢ all by itself.

That last article also says to drink plenty of fluids, which may be more difficult now that one of our fine federal judges has gotten his way. It seems part of the aqueduct system providing water to this part of the world is incommoding a fish: the popular Delta smelt. So we're to lose about a third of our water in the middle of a drought. There's a story about it here and another one here. No, I didn't actually think you were going to click on any of those links. It's pretty dull going, especially if you're not one of those looking water rationing in the face. But it's a blog; you're supposed to link stuff.

And for those of you wondering, yes this is a semi-desert. And, yes, it is colossally over-built, considering the natural infra-structure. And, yes, any building/planning/zoning commission in most of southern California that wasn't insane or on the take would have prohibited any further growth years ago. In my humble opinion, of course. But they didn't and they still don't, and here we are. And turn off those sprinklers.

Finally, the sports pages. Here's a puzzler: it says here that Tony Francona, the manager of the Boston Red Sox, has gotten the MLB panjandrums terribly annoyed at him because he may not have been "wearing his jersey under a blue team pullover". They pulled him from a game to check on this.

Francona said Wednesday that the commissioner's office contacted him when the Red Sox were in Cleveland this month, reminding him to wear his uniform top. He also spoke with MLB vice president Bob Watson before Wednesday's game, and Francona said he showed him he was wearing his uniform under his jacket.

He also said it's more comfortable to wear the pullover without the uniform top, but he started doing it after the commissioner's office stressed its importance.

Uh, O.K.

And the "importance" of this would be. . . . .?

And, anyway, didn't Connie Mack manage Philadelphia in a suit and tie? And a fedora? Doesn't seem to have fatally harmed the team or the game.