Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Prophecy Fulfilled

I use a very old meditation book which I'm sure comes as no surprise to anyone who frequents this parish. There is no printing date but it was imprimatured on 5 June 1898 by Herbert Cardinal Vaughn. So the author hadn't even seen the 20th century yet, never mind the 21st, when he wrote this:

The result of breaking a fundamental law of society must be the ruin of society. If the due restraint of the spirit and of reason on human activities be withdrawn, there is nothing to prevent men from degenerating to the level of the brute creation. As soon as the laws of Christian marriage are relaxed, a general deterioration of morals follows: family life becomes corrupt, God-like love ceases, animal passion remains, but without the moderation which instinct teaches the irrational animals; the primal unity and stability are destroyed, and civilized society gravitates towards the promiscuity and anarchy of a horde of swine. The reaction on the general life of the community is rapid. Selfish lust becomes dominant, the influx of God's grace is stopped, wisdom is turned into folly, principle begins to waver, physical stamina declines, government becomes unstable, liberty is undermined, population falls off, the nation becomes enslaved to foreign or domestic foes, to financial rings and greedy adventurers. Pure family life based on Christianity is the only safeguard for the spiritual, moral and social welfare. "Oh, how beautiful is the chaste generation with glory: for the memory thereof is immortal: because it is known both with God and with men" (Wisd. iv. 1).

From Meditations on Christian Dogma, Vol. II, page 331, by the Right Rev James Bellord, D.D., Late Chaplain to H.B.M. Forces, Titular Bishop of Milevis. Burns Oates & Washbourne Ltd. London.

Monday, March 28, 2011

28 March -- St Stephen Harding, S.O. Cist.

Today is the feast of St Stephen Harding, one of the group of founders of the Cistercian Order. There's a little biography of him here.

But if you have the time and some spare change, I would recommend a novel that came out a half century or more ago called Flame Out of Dorset by Clifford Stevens. It's an historical novel, of sorts, framed with a bit of fantasy. It's a bit of fun but it gives a unique - perhaps a little eccentric - view of the Cistercian Order and a real appreciation of St Stephen. (Amazon has a few used copies at the moment. ABEbooks has a couple, also. The $18 one may possibly be worth it if you have a real interest. The $108 one? Eh, no.)

Found While Looking for Something Else

Somebody thought it worth resurrecting from 1803 and reprinting this little piece of business entitled:

Romish rites, offices, and legends : or, Authorised superstitions and idolatries of the Church of Rome

A handy reference work no doubt. Those unauthorized superstitions and idolatries can be so annoying. And only US$36 plus shipping from India (sic).

But I shall have to soldier on without it somehow. We all have to economize somewhere.

The Mass in York Minster

Last Saturday, March 26, was the feast of St Margaret Clitheroe, The Pearl of York. The Latin Mass Society was able to arrange a pilgrimage to York and a Mass in the ancient rite in her honour in York Minster. This was the at least the second - possibly the first - Mass in the old cathedral since the reign of Mary Tudor.

Find the full story here
. And do follow the links to view the pictures: here and here.

ADDENDUM: Nagging thought: York used to have its own rite, different from the Roman and the Sarum usages. I'm told it was very close to the old Carmelite Rite of the Holy Sepulchre in Jerusalem. It would've been even better, methinks, to have celebrated the old York Rite in its proper home.

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Almost April

Spring, indeed.

For winter's rains and ruins are over,
And all the season of snows and sins;
The days dividing lover and lover,
The light that loses, the night that wins;
And time remembered is grief forgotten,
And frosts are slain and flowers begotten,
And in green underwood and cover
Blossom by blossom the spring begins.

Not my favourite poet but someone on-line quoted "snows and sins" the other day and under the circumstances (the rain stopped last night, at least for a while) it seemed a good fit for today. So I googled to come up with the rest.

The back garden is exploding. Both the birches are again covered in leaves, the bougainvillea bent its trellis with the weight of its growth, and the weeds, as is their wont, are showing the most dynamic growth of all. Even The Memsahib was out there the other day cutting back the yellow lantana. (This is truly remarkable. In general she doesn't believe in trimming anything. Her idea of a proper garden is most people's idea of a jungle rain forest.) And the poor old cypresses: the wind and rain bent down their branches in all directions. That's no way for cypresses to look. I think I can tie up most of them but some are going to have to be cut which will leave great brown streaks on the parts that are no longer covered.

We have some serious gardening to do.

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Some Piping for the Weekend

Another older recording of pipe band music, this from the 48th Highlanders of Canada. Note the lower pitch of the pipes. The tunes are three retreat tunes, the 2d being Battle of the Somme and the 3d The Heights of Dargai. The first one has me stumped; it is so familiar but I can't place it. (FWIW, it's not in either of the Scots Guards volumes or either of the Gordons volumes. It's pretty easy to research as there aren't many retreat tunes that start on high A. I may have a look through some more books later on. It's a nice little tune.)

No video in this video, though, but a series of photographs. Says the explanation on the YouTube site: "In honour of the men who served with the 48th Highlanders of Canada during World War 2 we present their photographic journey from Toronto to England in the fall of 1939 and the spring of 1940." I found them quite interesting.

Friday, March 25, 2011

Lady Day

Today is the feast of the Annunciation.

Salvation to all that will is nigh;
That All, which always is All everywhere,
Which cannot sin, and yet all sins must bear,
Which cannot die, yet cannot choose but die,
So, faithful Virgin, yields himself to lie
In prison, in thy womb; and though he there
Can take no sin, nor thou give, yet he'll wear
Taken from thence, flesh, which death's force may try.
Ere by the spheres time was created, thou
Wast in his mind, who is thy Son and Brother;
Whom thou conceiv'st, conceive'd; yea, thou art now
Thy Maker's maker, and thy Father's mother;
Thou hast light in dark and shut'st in little room
Immensity, cloistered in thy dear womb.
-Dr John Donne (1571-1631)

From the March 2011 number of Contra Mundum, the monthly letter of the Congregation of St Athanasius.

Jean Arthur TV Movie Alert Service Bulletin

The More the Merrier - tonight at 5:00 p.m. PDT on TCM.

Another chance to see one of the finest comic actresses in one of the best screwball comedies from the golden age of screwball comedies.

[Carter and Dingle are reading a "Dick Tracy" comic strip]
Constance 'Connie' Milligan: Is that the best you can do with your time?
Joe Carter: Mmm. Got to keep up with what's going on.
Benjamin Dingle: I missed two Sundays with "Superman" once, and I've never felt right since.
Constance 'Connie' Milligan: Seems to me you might read something more beneficial.
Joe Carter: Like what?
Constance 'Connie' Milligan: Like the editorials, for instance, or the columns. All well-informed people read the columnists.
Benjamin Dingle: Such as Mr. Pendergast, I suppose.
Constance 'Connie' Milligan: You're right, I suppose. Mr. Pendergast always reads the columnists.
Joe Carter: Are they funny?
Benjamin Dingle: Sometimes, but no pictures.

Thursday, March 24, 2011


For breakfast. Bourbon Pain Perdu it's called.

Maynooth, R.I.P.

The Republic of Ireland looks like it's about to lose its last (and oldest) seminary.

According to The Irish Catholic

Maynooth College may soon cease to function as a Catholic seminary marking the end of a 200-year-tradition, The Irish Catholic has learned.

The national seminary, which has educated Irishmen for the priesthood since 1795, may be set for closure after the recent Apostolic Visitation by New York's Archbishop Timothy M. Dolan. It is expected the report will recommend that Pope Benedict XVI move all Irish seminarians to a reformed and restructured Pontifical Irish College in Rome.

The first reason given is "failing academic standards". In fact, "appalling" academic standards. If you read far enough you also find that there were "concerns that some of the theology taught at Maynooth is not sufficiently orthodox for future priests." Ahem. Indeed. Hamish Fraser thought the same but phrased it more bluntly 40 some years ago in his pamphlet on Maynooth.

What a shame for Ireland. I was only in Maynooth once; I remember a breath-takingly beautiful chapel. The place was numinous.

Monday, March 14, 2011

Happy Pi Day


More Stuff I Didn't Know About

I've been reading Walsingham Way lately, Colin Stephenson's history of Our Lady's shrine at Walsingham. It gives the history of the medieval shrine and its sad fate at the hands of Henry VIII and Thomas Cromwell. But the heart of the book concerns its revival by the Anglican vicar of Walsingham, Fr Alfred Hope Patten in the early part of the 20th century.

But that particular bit of information isn't the stuff about which I didn't know. This is:

. . . .Throughout the forty years he was parish priest he often said: "We are very Prayer Book at Walsingham" -- and not with his tongue far into his cheek. The general practice in the churches he had served, and which was quite common in advanced Anglo-Catholic churches at that time, was to use the form of the Prayer Book inserting Propers from the Roman Missal and the Roman Canon of the Mass said silently. There was a long tradition of this practice for it would seem that at the time of the Reformation many priests conformed outwardly to the new book while continuing to say the old Canon silently. Even in the reign of James I one is still able to find records of puritans complaining that their parish priest is really muttering the old Mass to himself, which, probably means that some were saying the Canon in this way. There is the remarkable example of Bishop Goodman of Gloucester, so heartily disliked by Archbishop Laud, who was such a convinced papalist that he even went so far as to enquire from Rome if he might be received as a Roman layman while remaining an Anglican bishop. He recited the Roman Breviary and ordained from the Latin Ordinal, but one fears that his continuing in the Church of England was not entirely unconnected with the emoluments of his See.

Well, if you devoured Michael Davies's works as I did you knew about "many priests conform[ing] outwardly to the new book while continuing to say the old Canon silently." But I had never heard of Bishop Goodman of Gloucester, although it seems a good many others have. Google optimistically returns 133,000 listings; a few them actually do refer to the good bishop. Among them we find that SPCK published 512 pages on him which you can order through Amazon. The good old Catholic Encyclopædia has a page on him here. Wikipedia has one also which you can find here. The Wikipedia page appears to be an abridgement of the Catholic Encyclopædia article. There are a few other short references, including some 19th century controversial works which would probably repay a read for other reasons.

But it would seem on looking at some of the references that the good old CE may be a little over-enthusiastic in proclaiming Bishop Goodman's conversion. And Fr Stephenson may be a trifle cynical in assessing Bishop Goodman's motives. (He certainly did suffer for his Catholic convictions, including some imprisonment and loss of his "emoluments".)

There is remarkable stuff to be found puttering about on the internet.

Sunday, March 13, 2011

13 March -- St Gerald of Mayo

St Gerald of Mayo was not Irish at all but Anglo-Saxon. Here's what the Catholic Ireland website has to say about him:

Comparatively little is known of Gerald personally other than he was the leader of a group of Anglo-Saxon monks that settled in Mayo at the end of the 7th century and that his monastery there continued for many centuries. Patrick Duffy tells what is known about him.

The Synod of Whitby 664
Gerald was born in Northumbria in north-east England. He was one of a group of thirty Anglo-Saxon monks who accompanied St Colman of Lindisfarne, the third abbot-bishop of Lindisfarne, to Ireland after the Synod of Whitby. Colman had vigorously advocated the Celtic mode of calculating Easter but when that synod decided to accept the Roman practice, Colman and his monks, wanting to remain part of the Celtic church, crossed over to Ireland in 668 and settled on the island of Inishboffin off the Co Galway coast.

Anglo-Saxons settle in Mayo
However, among those who came to Inishbofin were Irish and Anglo-Saxon monks and soon disputes arose between them. The Anglo-Saxon monks complained that the Irish went wandering, preaching around the country during the summer, leaving the Anglo-Saxon monks to do all the work. Eventually Colman resolved the dispute by settling the Anglo-Saxon monks in a separate foundation at Mayo, with Gerald as its abbot.

The Venerable Bede praised the new Irish monastery of the Anglo-Saxon monks, especially the fact that the abbots of Mayo were elected, rather than following Celtic custom as a "hereditary" monastery, but studiously avoided reference to Colman and the Irish monks, whose simplicity of life and diligence in preaching the gospel at Lindisfarne he had previously commended.

Other abbeys
Gerald is also believed to have founded the abbeys of Tempul-Gerald in Connaught, as well as Teagh-na-Saxon, and a convent that he put under the care of his sister.

Mayo of the Saxons
"Mayo of the Saxons", as it came to be known, had a great reputation for learning. Alcuin of York corresponded with its abbot and monks. It had the status of an episcopal see even into the 16th century. James O'Healy, "Bishop of Mayo of the Saxons", was put to death for the Catholic faith at Kilmallock in 1579. It was eventually annexed into the archdiocese of Tuam.

Friday the 13th. . . .

. . . .comes on a Sunday this month. All the usual precautions apply.

Friday, March 11, 2011

Some Piping for the Weekend

Bruce Gandy playing (according to the title) The Cameronian Rant as a jig. I recognized Donald Willie and His Dog in there, too. Further the witness knoweth not. Some knock-out jig playing, though.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Speaking of Scotland. . . .

This looks interesting.

Not that I'm ever likely to fork over US$15 plus postage for three candy bars. But it does look tasty.

10 March -- St John Ogilvie, S.J.

Today is the feast of the first canonized Scottish saint since 1250. Fr John Ogilvie was of a noble Scottish family and raised a Calvinist. He became a Catholic while on the continent and eventually a Jesuit and a priest. He was sent on the Scottish mission where he was martyred.

There is a fine meditative biography of him by his fellow Jesuit, Fr John Hardon which can be found here.

Wednesday, March 09, 2011

When you have a moment. . . .

. . .do put this lady on your prayer list. (But don't tell her I said so. She doesn't suffer sentimental fawning in the combox. I, who am egregiously and irredeemably sentimental, walk a thin line in that department. So concern is expressed here and not there.)

Feria Quarta Cinerum

We got started on the penitential aspect of the season right off the bat, getting our ashes as we did not only far too early, i.e., the 6:00 a.m. Mass, but also in the Novus Ordo. Sigh.

So instead of

Almighty and Eternal God, spare those who repent, show mercy to those who implore Thee, be pleased to send Thy holy Angel form heaven to bless and sanctify these ashes; that they may be a wholesome remedy to all who humbly call upon Thy Name; and conscious of their sins, accuse themselves, deplore their crimes before Thy Divine leniency or humbly and earnestly kneel before Thy most exalted goodness; and grant, through the invocation of Thy most Holy Name, that all who may be sprinkled with these ashes for redemption from their sins, may receive both health of body and safety of soul. Through Christ our Lord. Amen.

and three more in a similar vein, we got

Lord, bless the sinner who asks for your forgiveness and bless all those who receive these ashes. May they keep this lenten season in preparation for the joy of Easter. We ask this through Christ our Lord.

No, not heretical, schismatic, illegal, or fattening. Just. . . .anæmic.

Still, these days there's hope on every side. There's our new Archbishop Gomez. There's Summorum Pontificum. There's Anglicanorum Cœtibus. There's Pope Benedict himself. Maybe next year something better.

In the meantime, I need to get some fish for the dinner or we shall be even more penitential than expected.

Other Places, Other Liturgies

It seems there's a liturgy, secundum quid, for receiving a doctorate in Cambridge. This is how Andrew Roberts describes it in the 19 February number of The Spectator:

Up to the Senate House in Cambridge to collect my PhD. High camp meets Harry Potter. The ceremony is eight centuries old and entirely in Latin, except the bit asking you to turn off your mobile phone. You hold a finger of the praelector's left hand with your right as he pronounces the Latin incantation; apparently it doesn't work if you use the wrong hand. The royal colleges go before the plebeian ones in descending order of age; mine came seventh, since we were only founded in 1349. "As you kneel down to place your hands inside those of the vice-chancellor," our college praelector, Julian Allwood, told us beforehand, "you will feel my hands on your ankles. You are not to worry." I was hoping this was some even more archaic ritual, but in fact it was just for him to adjust our robes so that we didn't trip over. We were told to bow as we took our leave of the vice-chancellor, but were not told what kind of to give. Some people did full bend-over bows as if they were acknowledging a grateful audience at La Scala. I decided that since the vice-chancellor was sitting on easily the grandest throne I'd ever seen, I'd give him the royal neck-nod. If you like your ceremonial to be arcane, as I do, go to Cambridge. Or Hogwarts.

I could've used quite a bit more detail. Some incantation text, for example. But alas the "Diary" columns is only a single page and even that includes the wine ad.

Stuff I Didn't Know About

From this morning's Press Telegram, a really interesting letter-to-the-editor (really interesting if you're me; if you're not me, perhaps not so much):

The word "ton" or "tonnage," as used throughout the cruise industry, does not refer to the weight of a ship, but to the volume of all of its enclosed spaces such as the staterooms, dining facilities, pool areas, lobby, etc. In ship parlance a "ton," or more properly a "gross register ton" (GRT) is equal to 100 cubic feet, so to say that the Queen Mary "weighs" 81,237 tons would be like saying that one lives in a 1,500-ton house.

A ship's actual weight is called "displacement," which is about as close as you can get in determining what something as large as a building tips the scales at. Coincidentally, Queen Mary's gross register tonnage (volume) and its displacement (weight) are nearly identical at 81,000 tons-plus. But that's not the case for most modern cruise ships such as Royal Caribbean's Oasis and Allure of the Seas, currently the largest cruise ships in the world in both GRT (225,282) and displacement (approximately 100,000 tons, about the same as a Nimitz-class aircraft carrier).

Also, contrary to what was reported in the Press-Telegram, Queen Mary is 1,019 feet long overall, not 965 feet, which is essentially the ship's length at its waterline. Think of it as an automobile that has a 116-inch wheelbase, but is actually 193 inches long.

Who knew? Thanks to "Joe Ruszkiewicz, Seal Beach CA" now you and I do.

Friday, March 04, 2011

The Venerable Nicholas Horner, Layman

Today, 4 March, is the anniversary of the martyrdom in 1590 of the Venerable Nicholas Horner.

A native of Yorkshire, a tailor by trade and a zealous Catholic, he did all he could to bring others to the faith. Having come up to London to be treated for a disease in his leg, he was committed to Newgate for harbouring priests. There the heavy fetter on his leg and the deprivation of all medical aid made an amputation necessary. During the operation, he sat on a form, unbound, a priest (John Hewett, who was afterwards himself a martyr) holding his head, and he was comforted by such a vivid apprehension of Christ bearing His cross that he uttered no sound but a prayer. Set free by the efforts of his friends, he worked at his trade at lodgings in Smithfield. Again cast into Bridewell for harbouring priests, he was strung up by the wrists till he nearly died. At length, condemned solely for making a jerkin for a priest, he was hanged in front of his lodging in Smithfield on 4 March 1590. After his sentence, whilst he was at prayer, he saw, above his shadow on the wall, a half-circle of radiant light. Assured of the reality of the sign, "lord, thy will be mine," he exclaimed, and died with every sign of joy.

-from Fr Bowden's Mementoes of the Martyrs as reprinted in Contra Mundum, the parish newsletter of the Congregation of St Athanasius in Boston.

Thursday, March 03, 2011

Some Piping for the Weekend

This week we have a few of the old traditional two-part strathspeys and reels bracketed with the 2/4 march Piobaireachd of Donal Dubh and 6/8 Cock of the North. No idea who the band is. The pictures are of the Citadel and its museum in Halifax, Nova Scotia.

Even more on the AU in the OC

An up date from the Anglican Use Society of Orange County blog:

Our first meeting will be on April 3, 2011, at Blessed Sacrament Episcopal Church, in Placentia, CA, for an Ecumenical Evensong and Benediction. The guest presenter will be Father Al Baca, Vicar for Ecumenism for the Roman Catholic Diocese of Orange. He will speak on the history and current state of the relationship between the Roman Catholic Church and the Anglican Communion. A reception in Scully Hall will follow with a time for questions and answers and general discussion.

At this meeting we hope to collect a list of names of those who intend on forming the Anglican Use Society of Orange County with the purpose of becoming a parish of the forthcoming Anglican Ordinariate in Orange County. It is essential that this list be composed of those current Anglicans/Episcopalians who intend on being received into the Catholic Church via the Ordinariate, or those current Roman Catholics of an Anglican/Episcopal background.
There will also be a list for those simply interested in joining us to learn more, and aren't ready to commit, as well as those intending on helping with the formation of a parish (current Roman Catholics with no Anglican background), so that we can keep everyone in the loop together.

I'm amazed at the progress in such a short time. All that's needed now is numbers. {The AU/OC blog is now in the fabled left-hand column under, naturally, "The Angican Use".]

Wednesday, March 02, 2011

More on the Orange County Anglican Use Project

There's a website now: you can find it here. And even a Facebook page.

The news is sparse at this point but it will be worth following.

2 March -- St Chad [or Ceadda]

St Chad is one of the old Anglo-Saxon saints. He was a student at the Abbey of Lindisfarne and taught by St Aidan who was himself a disciple of St Columba at Iona.
St Chad was bishop of York and later of Litchfield of the Mercians.

Wikipedia has a longish but quite interesting biography here. The old Catholic Encyclopædia has a shorter one here.

Tuesday, March 01, 2011

1 March - St David's Day

St David, bishop and confessor, is the patron of Wales.

Here is the entry for St David from the Oxford Dictionary of National Biography full of scholarly hemming and hawing but quite interesting for all that. There is also quite a bit about the subsequent history of devotion to him in Wales, the fate of his relics under Henry VIII and Cromwell, and so forth.

A more devotional vita.

St David's Day celebrations.

A rousing Welsh tune with pictures of the Royal Welsh regiment:

A collect for St David:

Grant, we beseech You, Almighty God, that the loving intercession of blessed David, Your confessor and bishop, may protect us, and that while we celebrate his festival we may also imitate his firmness in defending the Catholic faith. We make our prayer through our Lord. Amen.

And finally, The Welsh Piping Society.