The Inn at the End of the World
"[A] man . . .the other day pointed out that I was never bored. I hadn’t thought of that before, but it’s true: I’m never bored. I’m appalled, horrified, angered, but never bored. The world appears to me so infinite in its variety that many lifetimes could not exhaust its interest. So long as you can still be surprised, you have something to be thankful for." -Theodore Dalrymple
Sunday, August 31, 2008
31 August -- St Aidan of Lindisfarne
"Visi sunt oculis insipientium mori; illi autem sunt in pace."
In the sight of the unwise they seemed to die; but they are in peace.
On the heels of the reports about the torture and murder of Fr Thomas in Andrha Pradesh, Sister Judy Murray of the Baltimore Carmel passed this message along from one of the Discalced Friars in India:
Indian Christians face a challenging time these day because of their faith.
There are several incidents in the past week.
Hope this update will help you understand the situation.
Fr. Russel Raj, OCD
ORISSA ANTI CHRISTIAN VIOLENCE UPDATE 25th August 2008
1. NUN REPORTED BURNT ALIVE: A Christian woman, possibly a nun, was reported burnt alive on 25th August 2008 by a group of Vishwa Hindu Parishad mob which stormed the orphanage she ran in the district of Bargarh (Orissa). Police Superintendent Ashok Biswall has told this to news reporters. A priest who was at the orphanage was also badly hurt and is now being treated in hospital for multiple burns.
2. NUN RAPED: A young Catholic Nun of the Cuttack Bhubaneswar diocese working Jan Vikas Kendra, the Social Service Centre at Nuagaon in Kandhamal was reportedly gang raped on 24th August 2008 by groups of Hindutva extremists before the building itself was destroyed.
3. SENIOR PRIEST AND NUN INJURED: Fr Thomas, director of the Diocesan Pastoral Centre in Kanjimendi, less than a kilometer away from the Social Service Centre, and another Nun were injured when the centre was attacked. They were taken to the police station in a disheveled state as the armed mob bayed for their blood. The Pastoral centre was then set afire.
4. BALLIGUDA CHURCH BUILDINGS DESTROYED AGAIN: On 24th August 2008 evening lynch mobs at the block headquarters of Balliguda, in the very heart of Kandhamal district, which had seen much violence between 24th and 26th December 2007, attacked and destroyed a Presbytery, convent and hostel damaging the properties.
5. The mobs in Balliguda caught hold of two boys of the Catholic hostel and tonsured their heads.
6. PHULBANI CHURCH DAMAGED: On 25th august 2008 morning followers of the late Lakshmanananda Saraswati damaged the Catholic Church in Phulbani, the district headquarter town.
7. MOTHER TERESA BROTHERS ASHRAM ATTACKED: mobs attacked the Mother Teresa BrothersÊ¼ residence and hospital in Srasanada, destroyed once before and rebuilt two months ago, and beat up the patients. Fundamentalists have targeted Priests, religious and also the Faithful in Pobingia also.
8. BHUBANESWAR BISHOP'S HOUSE ATTACKED: On the morning of 25th August 2008, violent mobs made several attempts to enter the compounds of Catholic Church and Archbishop's house in the heart of the Capital of the State of Orissa. They could not enter because of the police presence. They threw stones at the guesthouse of Archbishop's House, damaging windows.
9. DUBURI PARISH; Another group of fundamentalists entered presbytery in Duburi parish, managed by the SVDs and destroyed and damaged property. Two priests of the parish are missing.
10. Mr. Jamaj Pariccha, Director of Gramya Pragati, is attacked and his property, vehicle etc. damaged, burnt and looted.
11. A Baptist Church in Akamra Jila in Bhubaneswar is also damaged.
12. Christian institutions like St. Arnold's School (Kalinga Bihar), AND NISWASS report some damage.
13. BOUDH DISTRICT [Adjoining Kandhamal]: Fundamentalists enter the Catholic parish church and destroy property. People are fleeing to safer places. But nothing seems safe.
14. Muniguda Catholic Fathers and Nuns' residence have been damaged.
15. Sambalpur HM Sisters' residence (Ainthapalli) has suffered damage.
16. Padanpur: One priest is attacked and admitted to a hospital. Hostel boys and the in charge have moved away from the place.
17. Madhupur Catholic Church currently under attack.
18. SMALL CHURCHES: Attempted violence on small churches in various districts, including Padampur, Sambalpur near GM College, Talsera, Dangsoroda, Narayanipatara, Muniguda, Tummiibandh, Tangrapada, Phulbani, Balliguda, Kalingia, Chakapad, Srasanranda.
19. VILLAGE CHRISTIAN HOUSES ATTACKED: Houses attacked on forest hamlets of Balliguda, Kanjamandi Nuaguam (K.Nuaguam), Tiangia (G.Udayagiri), Padangiri, Tikabali.
20. KALAHANDI DISTRICT: houses burnt even though the district is more than 300 kilometers from the place where Swami Lakshmanananda was killed.
21. Pastor Sikandar Singh of the Pentecostal Mission beaten up and his house burnt in Bhawanipatna.
22. Kharihar: 3 Christian shops were looted and burnt. Pastor Alok Das and Pastor I M Senapati beaten up.
23. Aampani: Pastor David Diamond Pahar, Pastor Pravin Ship, Pastor Pradhan and Pastor Barik beaten up and chased away with their families.
24. Naktikani: Mob surrounds village to attack Christians. The government has sent forces, it is reported.
[This list is compiled with assistance from Archbishop's House,
Bhubaneswar and other sources]
Saturday, August 30, 2008
How To Tell When You've Read Too Much Patrick O'Brian
Instead of answering the wife with a perfectly sensible 21st century American"no, thanks", you say "Never in life, my dear".
The Summa Mammas reminded me of that with this post.
"Give you joy, Ma'am."
Sarah Palin and Joe Biden come from states that are the same size.
(Delaware and Alaska each have 3 electoral votes. The only size that matters on election day.)
Some not only Have Hats but brilliant illustrations.
On the other hand. . . .
A Pro-Life Candidate.
(Alas, I still wish the Arizona Senator had more to recommend him.)
Abortion and the Democratic Convention
Bill McGurn, in this piece, had hopes for something solid from Bob Casey, Jr. at the Democrats' convention.
Alas, not much came of it. A half sentence mentioning in passing that he disagrees with St Obama. You can listen to the whole speech here. But I wouldn't recommend it.
McGurn's essay, however, is worth a read as a reminder of how anti-life the Democrat power structure really is.
Some Piping for the Weekend
This is Hamish Moore playing a set of his Scottish small pipes in A. Sarah Hoy accompanies on the fiddle. The first tune is very familiar but I can't think of the name. I think it's on his album "Dannsa' air an Drochaid" somewhere. But the second tune is one of my favourite strathspeys, "Lady Madeleine Sinclair". The other tunes are unknown to me.
The Closing Days of Summer
Whatever you may think, we have not been frittering away our time in the back garden these past couple of weeks, quaffing pitchers of iced teas, cold beers, and grilling entire herds of cattle on the ancestral BBQ, which has been used for domestic grilling in this family since as far back as 1952.
We have been making a valiant attempt at organization. Organization is usually not our strong suit but we have been keeping it fairly simple. In a nutshell, this consists in getting the important and/or remunerative things done early in the day when it's still cool and brain is firing on all cylinders. Especially the pipe practice. That winter's worth of bronchitis - from the middle of last January well into May - did serious damage to the energy level and put a crimp in the piping quality. I haven't gone that long without intense, sustained practice in . . . well . . . ever. It's taking longer than I would have hoped to get the level of playing back where it was. Quality playing, like knowledge, maketh a bloody entrance.
And important and/or remunerative activities have, alas, all too often consumed the entire day. It makes for a guilt-free evening but The Inn has been sadly neglected. I did promise myself when I began this enterprise that it would not become yet another obsession, and so it hasn't. But I do feel a bit badly about not making more time for it. But other things do come up.
For instance, The Birthday occurs in the later part of August. Today, in fact, is the 7th day in the octave of my birthday. It's a double major of the second class in this household ecclesia. Some fancy new duds were added to wardrobe and a fair number of things to read, including "For the Love of Baseball", a great little collection of baseball pictures, history, records, and trivia. Everyone knows that William Howard Taft began the tradition of the President of the United States throwing out the first baseball of the season. But who knew that Taft himself was no mean pitcher in his youth and was himself offered a contract with Cincinnati until he threw out his arm. No Tommy John surgery in those days, I guess.
Of course, the BBQ hasn't been entirely neglected. It is still summer after all. And as we do live in one of the warmer parts of the erstwhile colonies, it's wise not to heat up the house more than necessary.
It's one of the pleasanter and more useful practices of the natives hereabouts.
Monday, August 18, 2008
Choosing up sides. . . . .
. . . .gets harder all the time.
Take this one which came down this morning from the Supreme Court of the State of California:
This morning the California Supreme Court unanimously ruled that a person’s “civil rights” based on sexual orientation trump the religious freedom and free speech of a physician. A lesbian, upset by the refusal of two Christian physicians to artificially inseminate her, had sued the doctors, even though they had provided a referral to another practitioner who didn’t share their moral objections.
Siding once again on the side of a civil “right” based on sexual orientation, the California Supreme Court continued its arrogant disregard for religious freedom and speech. While our nation’s founders placed great stock in religious freedom and free speech, these basic freedoms are being silenced in the promotion of sexual rights. California Family Council Executive Director Ron Prentice commented, “This decision by the court is telling every physician and every mental health counselor and psychologist that their beliefs are getting in the way of government. As the courts and government continue to pander to a powerful homosexual lobby, opposing voices are being silenced and opposing viewpoints are being quashed.”
The quotation is from something called the "California Family Council", who probably mean well. But the whole thing is preposterous. What sort of "Christian" physicians are these who perform artificial insemination? Apparently they only object to performing immoral acts upon homosexuals. If you're a married heterosexual, they'd be happy to help send you to hell.
Their astonishing claims of Christian conscience have resulted in an impossible
situation for pro-life and otherwise normal people. No doubt the next step in the homosexualist plan will be to force doctors who actually are Christian to perform artificial insemination.
So, in order to support the pro-life conscience, we appear to have been maneuvered into supporting these illogical and immoral putative Christian consciences.
If you want to see what The Supremes actually had to say for themselves you can find it here in pdf format.
New in the Left Hand Column
a.k.a., the blogroll.
The Northern Agrarian is brand new; not even a week old. But so far, so very good indeed. Recommended.
Andhra Pradesh, India:
38 year old Fr. Thomas Pandippallyil, was assassinated on the night of August 16th on his way to a village to celebrate Sunday Mass. His body showed signs of torture, with wounds to his face, his hands and legs broken and his eyes pulled from their sockets. The bishop of Hyderabad denounces the growing climate of “violence against Catholics” in the country.
Thursday, August 14, 2008
Rum, Romanism, and. . . .Wagering
This one is brand new to me (and thanks to my e-friend Eloise or I'd have missed it entirely) but I see from the date it's been around for half a year. In any event click
for a delightful story.
Wednesday, August 13, 2008
Friday the 13th. . . .
. . . .comes on a Wednesday this month.
The big cable news folks have finally discovered Russia v. Georgia.
One could almost wish they hadn't. Useful information is still pretty thin on the ground. What we get are principally pictures of refugees and an astonishing hankering for us ("us" being the U.S.A., that nation currently bogged down, wasting its resources, and deconstructing its army in Iraq) to get involved on Georgia's side. And not just Faux News, the broadcast home of world-wide neocon belligerence, either. They're all on about it, The Times, the lot of them. Even St Obama's statement seemed a little wistful about being left out.
Most of what one needs to know can be found here. (Thanks, Jerry.)
It's still inexplicable to me why Washington thinks it necessary to make an enemy out of Russia. As the referenced article points out, we need them more than the need us.
St Lawrence's Tears
You've got only a couple more days to catch this year's Perseid meteor shower. Check the northeast corner of the night sky around 1:30 a.m. Some meteors should be visible until dawn.
(St Lawrence the deacon martyr's feast day was last Sunday. Hence the name St Lawrence's Tears for the meteor shower.)
Saturday, August 09, 2008
The Institute of Christ the King
Rorate Cæli pointed out the other day that the Institute of Christ the King has a new website. You can find it here. There is quite a bit of new material to be found there. Note especially the "Resources" link to audio interviews and conferences. There are also links to significant documents on the traditional liturgy.
And as is usual with every ICR website, loads of wonderful pictures in the Gallery.
News and what constitutes it
If you're an American cable news channel, apparently a war between two European nations is not news.
I had another check of the major channels this morning to see if Russian v. Georgia got a look in. Nope. Not in the first quarter hour, anyway. MSNBC is wholly devoted to sport. (At the moment, it's people rowing boats.) Headline News, CNN, and Faux News are absorbed with the death of some poor unfortunate in Peking who seems to have been murdered by a local looney.
The morning papers thought it was a bit more important than that. The Times gave it an article on the front page. Above the fold, too. The WSJ gave it the main headline and a picture. Even the poor old Press Telegram found space for a war report.
I seem to be the only one who finds the broadcast media's lack of interest so astonishing. Perhaps because it's not a liberal/conservative sort of thing. The BBC World Service is certainly giving full serious coverage to the war and no one has accused them of right wing tendencies any time recently.
Are we really that parochial? Perhaps with gasoline at four bucks a pop more or less, there would be more interest if someone pointed out to our information monitors the presence of major oil pipelines in the area?
Friday, August 08, 2008
Alexander Solzhenitsyn -- Vichnaya Pamyat
The best of the commentaries on the death of Alexander Solzhenitsyn came from the Stratfor.com site. It pointedly explains not only why the Soviets hated him but why the American elite did also. And why some of us loved him.
When he reached Vermont, the reality of who Solzhenitsyn was slowly sank in. Conservatives realized that while he certainly was an enemy of communism and despised Western liberals who made apologies for the Soviets, he also despised Western capitalism just as much. Liberals realized that Solzhenitsyn hated Soviet oppression, but that he also despised their obsession with individual rights, such as the right to unlimited free expression. Solzhenitsyn was nothing like anyone had thought, and he went from being the heroic intellectual to a tiresome crank in no time. Solzhenitsyn attacked the idea that the alternative to communism had to be secular, individualist humanism. He had a much different alternative in mind.
Solzhenitsyn saw the basic problem that humanity faced as being rooted in the French Enlightenment and modern science. Both identify the world with nature, and nature with matter. If humans are part of nature, they themselves are material. If humans are material, then what is the realm of God and of spirit? And if there is no room for God and spirituality, then what keeps humans from sinking into bestiality? For Solzhenitsyn, Stalin was impossible without Lenin’s praise of materialism, and Lenin was impossible without the Enlightenment.
From Solzhenitsyn’s point of view, Western capitalism and liberalism are in their own way as horrible as Stalinism. Adam Smith saw man as primarily pursuing economic ends. Economic man seeks to maximize his wealth. Solzhenitsyn tried to make the case that this is the most pointless life conceivable. He was not objecting to either property or wealth, but to the idea that the pursuit of wealth is the primary purpose of a human being, and that the purpose of society is to free humans to this end.
Solzhenitsyn made the case — hardly unique to him — that the pursuit of wealth as an end in itself left humans empty shells. He once noted Blaise Pascal’s aphorism that humans are so endlessly busy so that they can forget that they are going to die — the point being that we all die, and that how we die is determined by how we live. For Solzhenitsyn, the American pursuit of economic well being was a disease destroying the Western soul.
Is there anyone in America's own nomenklatura that wanted to hear that?
He viewed freedom of expression in the same way. For Americans, the right to express oneself transcends the content of the expression. That you speak matters more than what you say. To Solzhenitsyn, the same principle that turned humans into obsessive pursuers of wealth turned them into vapid purveyors of shallow ideas. Materialism led to individualism, and individualism led to a culture devoid of spirit. The freedom of the West, according to Solzhenitsyn, produced a horrifying culture of intellectual self-indulgence, licentiousness and spiritual poverty. In a contemporary context, the hedge fund coupled with The Daily Show constituted the bankruptcy of the West.
Read the rest of it here.
[And thanks to Bill Mooney for sending it along to me.]
Some Piping for the Weekend
The Irish tune "Planxty Hewlett" played on the Northumbrian small pipes. The piper is unknown to me; she's listed only as "Celia" on the site.
Incense, like Guinness, is Good for You
The inimitable Fr Zuhlsdorf reveals to us why our delight in sitting up front for High Mass has always been so great:
“ Wake up and smell the incense!”
This is one of my ripostes to those who downplay Pope Benedict’s plan to revitalize Holy Church, especially through derestricting the Traditional Latin Mass. Incense is one of those marks of solemn liturgy which, we hope, will return to more frequent use in our Latin Rite parishes.
Apparently, that fragrant smoke wafting upward does far more than mark with solemnity our prayers rising on high to God. It also fulfills the goals of homemade progressivist liturgy: It makes you feel good about yourself!
Here’s the science! Please rush to your local library and read a paper in a recent number of the Journal of the Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology entitled, “ Incensole Acetate, an Incense Component, Elicits Psychoactivity by Activating TRPV3 Channels in the Brain.”
Zzzzzzz. . . .
Not so! It seems that frankincense acts on the brain to lower anxiety and diminish depression. Research was done at Johns Hopkins University and Hebrew University. They administered incensole acetate, a component of frankincense, to lab mice. This great- smelling stuff affects the part of the brain controlling emotion, including anxiety and depression.
In other words, incense makes you feel good about yourself. That in itself should help even the progressivist liturgy types get on board with Pope Benedict and his Motu Proprio Summorum Pontificum!
This is from Father's WDTPRS column in The Wanderer. In may have been recorded in his WDTPRS blog also, but I didn't notice it there. The Wanderer has a website here and you can sample two or three issues. Alas, the system doesn't allow a direct citation. To find the whole article you will need a subscription. (Which you ought to have anyway, you know.)
The Polls Say. . . .
The art of political prognostication. Quite different than, but a good companion to, Sir Humphrey's razor-sharp guide to poll interpretation.
The Georgian Republic and Russia appear to be on the brink of war. At this writing, BBC World Service is the only media outlet that has anything to say about it. CNN is absorbed in Peking's version of the Disneyland Light Parade, as is Headline News and MSNBC. Faux News is telling us all about wonderful new online social networking websites for dogs.
I would have thought a European war would be at least as important as a sporting event.
Perhaps a short prayer of thanks is in order that NATO never got around to admitting Georgia?
St Obama Takes Umbrage
To the astonishment of many, he didn't get it.
Well, it seems he went to Harvard.
Friday, August 01, 2008
The Promised Bat
Arte Moreno keeps his word.
A little late, but better late, etc.
Mark reminded me this morning, in an elliptical sort of way, that I had not mentioned anything about the Teixeira acquisition. Consider that remedied. I am delighted. Mostly delighted, anyway. Kind of sorry to see Kotchman go, though. There was a time I wouldn't have believed I'd ever type that. Early on in his stint with the Angels I got mightily tired of hearing Rory Markus say the words "bounced off Kotchman's glove" yet again. But I haven't heard that in a while and I'll miss him.
I'm hoping to be consoled with a lot more hits from the third spot in the lineup.
Some Piping for the Weekend
That's the Pipes and Drums of the 1st Battalion Scots Guards you're listening to. The tunes, IIRC, are "The Jolly Beggarman", "Rocking the Baby", "La Boum", "Roes Amang the Heather", "Itchy Fingers", and "The Clumsy Lover". Bear in mind that I always fumble tune titles. It's chronic. So don't place any serious bets based on my tune title recollections. (Small criticism: Adding harmonies to "Itchy Fingers" is a mistake. It just blurs the the series of high "A's" and loses that sound-stop illusion. On the other hand there are some knock-out seconds to "La Boum" and they didn't use anything at all.)
The march out is to "Scotland the Brave" and "Hieland Laddie".