Friday, January 31, 2003

"Great, good, and just. . . ."

The entry in Pepy's diary for today mentions that it is the anniversry of the king's death -- meaning the execution of King Charles I. In many parts of the Anglican world he is "Charles the Martyr", or "Saint King Charles the Martyr". Civis Romanus sum, but I can still admire his majesty in giving his life for episcopacy and the importance of the sacraments. And add a prayer for his soul.

Addendum: "The entry. . .for today" should actually be "for yesterday". It was later than I thought when that paragraph above was written.

Thursday, January 30, 2003

Blogroll Housekeeping

The link to "Disordered Affections" is now up. And the link to "The Latin Mass Society (of England and Wales)" now actually points to the said Society instead of being a second link to the Irish Society. (How long has that been a redundant link? Ab initio? Crikey.)

Wednesday, January 29, 2003

More From "Disordered Affections"

Read this post now. This is wonderful. It reminds me of Chesterton pointing out that "birth control" involves no births and precious little control.

Blessed Archangela Girlani

. . . .a 15th century nun, is honored this day on the Carmelite calendar.

“Another lovely Virgin Saint is Blessed Archangela, born at Trino on Monte Ferrato, of the noble family of the Girlani. She was called Leonora, and when a little girl, was educated with the Nuns of St. Benedict. Her serious and elevated mind was soon remarked. She was not like other children, but from her earliest years thought only of things above.

“Her father urged her to marry, but she was firm in her determination to consecrate her virginity to God, and soon after entered the Carmelite Monastery of Parma. Here she outstripped all in virtue and perfection, but her exactitude was mingled with such rare sweetness, she won the love of all her Sisters, and though so young in years, she had hardly made her profession when they unanimously chose her as their Prioress.

“After her term of Office had expired, she was sent to Mantua at the request of the Princes of Gonzaga, to govern a new Monastery erected by their piety and under their auspices. She was the admiration of the city for her virtues and the multitude of her miracles. She was a living example of regular observance, and of tender and filial devotion to Our Lady.

“There were numerous vocations, and all who entered loved and honored her not only as a Mother, but as an Angel of God. She called her Monastery “Our Lady of Paradise,” and from her name and her Monastery, she would seem to have heeded the words of St. Paul, “Let your conversation be in heaven” – “seek the things that are above.” This is her legacy to us. She died in the flower of youth, before completing her third year at Mantua. Calling all her sisters about her, she urged them on in the way of perfection, and, fixing her eyes on the Crucifix, she repeated her accustomed words, “Jesus, my Love” – “Jesus, amor meus,” and gave up her soul to God, January 25, 1494.

“She was buried in the Church of her Convent at Mantua, and five years later was found to be without a trace of corruption. Her greatest miracles were for cancers of the face and throat. The Supreme Pontiff, [Blessed] Pius IX, after four hundred years of public veneration, placed her name among the Blessed, and granted her Office to Carmel.”

The Life of Blessed Archangela quoted above is taken from “Carmel, Its History, Spirit, and Saints, compiled from approved sources by The Discalced Carmelites of Boston and Santa Clara” (1927) For some reason this book consistently refers to her first name in religion as “Archangeli”. No other source that I have seen does this. I have assumed this is an error and changed it back to “Archangela”.

Tuesday, January 28, 2003

And Then There Were Ten

There is a tenth blogger here on the left coast: Disordered Affections appears to ordering her affections somewhere in the Archdiocese of Los Angeles. A very welcome addition; this is a delightful read every time. "Clicke, lege" as someone says. (I would attribute the plagiarism if I could remember who it was.)


. . . .is the feast of the Irish Saint Cannera who died around the year 530. From D’Arcy’s “The Saints of Ireland”:

“Irish sailors through the centuries have saluted at Cannera’s resting place on Scattery Island (Inis Chathaigh). 16th century poetry invokes Cannera, patron of seamen, in Gaelic verse “Bless my good ship, protecting power of grace. . . .” Until modern times it was believed that pebbles from Scattery Island protected the bearer from shipwreck.

“Cannera was a holy recluse with a cell near Bantry. Shortly before her death, a vision convinced her that Senan’s church on Scattery was the holiest place in Ireland. She abandoned her cell at once and travelled without rest to arrive at Senan’s foundation. He was adamant in his rule that no woman should enter his monastic enclosure. But Cannera won from him the promise he would give her Communion at her death and that he would have her interred on the extreme edge of the holy island. To Senan’s objections that waves would undermine her grave, Cannera replied she would leave that to Divine Providence and would not expect her remains to be disturbed by the sea. She died on that visit and at high tide, the brethren dug a trench for her grave. Today, the traditional spot of her burial, although washed by the tide, is not effaced.”

In many of the old French calendars this is the feast of the emperor, St. Charlemagne. This is from Engelbert’s “Lives”:

“The present French calendars generally carry St. Charlemagne on the date of January 28th. Formerly all the hagiographical collections devoted a long commentary to him. As late as 1867, the Abbe Guerin wrote (Petits bollandistes, vol. ii, p. 117):

“’Although the canonization of Charlemagne may not have been carried out in the ordinary forms of the Roman Church, nevertheless the cult which he is shown in France and Germany, either in consecrating churches in his honour or in giving him an office in the breviaries, which the Holy See has not forbidden, obliges me to give him a place in this collections to please the piety of those people who hold his memory in such veneration.’

“Charlemagne was canonized in 1165 by the anti-Pope Pascal III. ‘This decree has acquired the force of law,’ writes Abbe Godescard (Life of the Fathers, vol. ii, p. 208, Lille, 1834), ‘ and has had no opposition on the part of the legitimate popes. The University of Paris chose him as patron in 1661. His feast takes place at Aix-la-Chapelle with double rites of the first class.’”

In the standard calendar of the traditional Roman rite this is the feast of St.Peter Nolasco, one of the founders of the Mercedarians, the Order of Our Lady of Ransom. In the Pauline rite, St. Thomas Aquinas is now honored on this day. (The next couple of months could be devoted to studying Aquinas using only the material on the web. The Catholic Encyclopaedia is probably as good a place to start as any. Their longish essay which includes some basics of his philosophy and theology is here.)

Monday, January 27, 2003

If you will cast your mouse

. . . . over to this link for And Then? you will see that the wise and saintly Michelle, my neighbor to the south in San Diego, where the first Holy Mass in California was celebrated, has given The Inn a place on her Top Ten List of Blogs. I am absolutely delighted. Thank you so much for the kind mention, Michelle. It is not an accident that And Then? has been on my blogroll almost since I found your site. "Absolutely chuffed" as Bertie Wooster would put it.

A very good weekend, on the whole.

It even ended on a good note, with the championship cup once again eluding the grasp of the objectionable Mr. Al Davis. Not that I give a tinker’s dam about professional football. But even the uninterested have a certain amount of football knowledge, Mr. Davis’ arrogance included, forced upon them by the mass media. His comeuppance was a pleasant end to a pleasant weekend.

Saturday began with a noon wedding in Burbank. A very warm day for January all over southern California, it was even more so over the hill into Burbank and the valley. I would guess the low 90’s. Too warm for all that Scottish wool. But I found a shady spot – this was a garden wedding – and played for about a half hour beforehand and then again afterward as the guests left. They had no particular tunes in mind except Highland Cathedral so I got to try out a few things that I’ve been working on. I think it sounded pretty good, if I do say so myself. I played a few sets at the reception, had a nice hotel luncheon kindly provided by the newly weds, and headed off for a band rehearsal.

I missed most of the rehearsal which started before the wedding ended. Got there in time for the drum major’s marching and deportment demonstration and sermon (a.k.a., “Kenny’s remedial walking lessons”). Some bands pay far too much attention to that sort of thing at the expense of the music. But if you don’t pay enough attention you can look a right eedjit on parade.

From there the lot of us caravanned to downtown L.A. and the new Omni Hotel to play for the United Scottish Society’s Burns Supper. (This is the third Burns Supper I’ve played for this year. A new record.) We played a few sets, mostly the traditional standards. And I had my second sumptuous hotel repast of the day, also provided free, gratis, and for nothing: a lovely cut of prime rib, assorted side dishes, a taste of haggis, and something over half a bottle of decent wine. We then did a few more sets, interspersed with highland dancing for which the P/M and the P/S played while we looked on approvingly. Another hour or so of talk and so home and to bed.


The Pauline rite on this day honours St. Angela Merici, the founder of the Ursuline nuns. In the traditional Roman rite last codified by the Bl. Pope John XXIII this is the feast day of St. John Chrysostom who formed the principal eucharistic liturgy used in the Byzantine rites of the Greek Catholic and Orthodox Churches.

On this day in 1680, the Welsh recusant priest fr. David Kemeys, O.P. died in prison where he had been held for his priesthood. Bowden’s “Mementoes” has this to say about him:

“David Kemeys, Joseph in religion, belonged to the family of Kemeys of Cefn Mabley in Glamorgan. He himself was born in Monmouth, in 1635, and in due course joined the Order of Preachers in Rome. He appears to have ministered in England for twenty years before being accused of treasonable conspiracy by Titus Oates. He was then brought up at the Old Bailey, indicted for that he, being a priest, made and ordained by authority derived from the see of Rome. . . didst traitorously remain and abide . . . at the parish of St Giles n the Moorfields in the county of Middlesex, against the statue . . .. When called to the bar, Father Kemeys was found too ill to plead. He was accordingly remanded to prison, where he died ten days later, on 27 January 1680.”

The weblog has lain forsaken

. . . .for the entire weekend. The little clock thingummy in the lower right hand corner of my computer screen tells me it is now 12:27 a.m. on Monday morning so I have officially missed an entire weekend's web-logging. A very busy weekend, indeed, which I will record here later in tedious and unnecessary detail. (Do you remember Ralph Richardson's character in The Wrong Box? I have it in me to be exactly like that.)

In the meantime I will only mention that yesterday, Sunday, was the 3d Sunday after the Epiphany in the traditional Roman calendar and the 3d Sunday per annum in the Pauline rite. It was also at one time the feast of St. Polycarp and the feast of St. Alberic of Citeaux, one of the founders of the Cistercians. Were it not Sunday, the 26th of January in the Pauline rite would have been the feast of Saints Timothy and Titus.

It is now 12:52 a.m. and that is enough for now. And so to bed.

Friday, January 24, 2003


. . . .is the feast of St. Francis de Sales in the Pauline rite and the feast of St. Timothy in the traditional Roman rite. If by some misfortune you do not have your own copy of St. Francis' Introduction to the Devout Life, there are several versions on line. One of them is here. St. Paul's epistles to Ss. Timothy and Titus are discussed here in detail.

Thursday, January 23, 2003

Russell Kirk

"Russell Kirk" was the answer I once gave to a survey questioner asking me who I thought most exemplified "the American Dream". It puzzled the survey-taker who gently suggested that I might want to re-think my answer. (Are they supposed to do that?) Video meliora, proboque; Deteriora sequor (not just a blog title, but the story of my life in a sentence) has referred us to this article on Russell Kirk's ghost stories. I am absolutely chuffed to learn that The Old House of Fear, which I own, is well-nigh unobtainable. My only claim to incunabulaic fame. But is it a ghost story? I wouldn't have said so. Now A Creature of the Twilight leans more in that direction.

Taking a Stand

According to today's Sacramento Bee, it looks like Bishop Weigand of the Diocese of Sacramento has finally had enough of that moral catastrophe in the governor's mansion who claims to be a Catholic. Governor Joseph Graham "Gray" Davis is a very diligent promotor of the abortion industry. He recently signed into law (AB 2194) a requirement that all medical residency training in this state must provide training in committing, uh, performing abortions. There are no religious or "conscience" exclusions.

As your bishop, I have to say clearly that anyone -- politician or otherwise -- who thinks it is acceptable for a Catholic to be pro-abortion is in very great error, puts his or her soul at risk, and is not in good standing with the church," Weigand said. "Such a person should have the integrity to acknowledge this and choose of his own volition to abstain from receiving Holy Communion until he has a change of heart.

Russ Lopez, a spokesman for Davis, criticized the bishop for "telling the faithful how to practice their faith". And here I thought that's what they were for. I suppose one has to forgive Lopez, though. Bishops in this state don't usually interfere in matters of religion. It probably came as a shock.

[And thanks to my correspondent Joseph M. for the reference.]


. . .is the feast of the Irish saint Maimbod. He appears to be honoured only in France. A short life can be found here.

Doing Lunch

The folks who filed suit against McDonald’s because eating there made them fat have run into a little roadblock on their quest to hit big casino in the federal court system. “They sued for deceptive acts and practices under the federal Consumer Protection Act, New York's General Business Law and New York City's Administrative Code, charging that McDonald's negligently sold food high in cholesterol and fat, and failed to warn about the dangers of Big Macs and McNuggets. The company was also negligent, they alleged, because it marketed food that was addictive.”

Unfortunately for the plaintiff’s hopes to move up from the Golden Arches to L’Hermitage, the occupant of the federal bench who heard their case had a different view of the matter. “If consumers know (or reasonably should know) the potential ill health effects of eating at McDonald's, they cannot blame McDonald's if they, nonetheless, choose to satiate their appetite with a surfeit of supersized McDonald's products.”

As is appropriate, the best part is saved for last. The federal district court judge who rendered the decision was Robert W. Sweet.

Read more about it here.

The opinion itself doesn’t appear to be on-line. (But it’s 64 pages anyway; you don’t really have that much time, do you?)

Say, are you going to finish those fries?

Wednesday, January 22, 2003

30th Annual March for Life

The D.C. march for life can be seen on the web if you missed the original C-SPAN broadcast.

Click here and scroll down to the bottom of the center column and click on "More Videos".
Down toward the bottom of the page is the "30th Annual March for Life" link. No doubt this will be even further back in the archives by tomorrows and eventually fall off the end of the C-SPAN world. Have something else to do while the 2 1/2 hour event gets moving. It takes a while for anything of interest to happen. You might use another window to go visit Amy Welborn's site. Many Roe v. Wade anniversary items of interest there.

The Sanctoral Cycle

An instructive "vita" today on the virtue of obedience taken from Engelbert's Lives of the Saints

Blessed Gauthier of Bruges (1307)

"This learned Franciscan was named bishop of Poitiers against his will. As such, he had to excommunicate Bertrand de Got, bishop of Bordeaux, who had disobeyed pontifical orders and remained obdurate. When the latter became pope under the name of Clement V, he deposed Gauthier, who humbly submitted and committed himself at his death to the judgement of God. Clement V repented of his conduct after the death of the servant of God, and had a tomb built for him in the church of the friars minor at Poitiers."

Tuesday, January 21, 2003

Another Reason To Go Digital, If One Were Needed

Monday, January 20, 2003

Marse Robert

Too much weekend: I missed mentioning Robert E. Lee's birthday.

General Lee's definition of a gentleman taken from the site referenced above:

The forbearing use of power does not only form a touchstone, but the manner in which an individual enjoys certain advantages over others is a test of a true gentleman.

The power which the strong have over the weak, the employer over the employed, the educated over the unlettered, the experienced over the confiding, even the clever over the silly--the forbearing or inoffensive use of all this power or authority, or a total abstinence from it when the case admits it, will show the gentleman in a plain light

The gentleman does not needlessly and unnecessarily remind an offender of a wrong he may have committed against him. He cannot only forgive, he can forget; and he strives for that nobleness of self and mildness of character which impart sufficient strength to let the past be but the past. A true man of honor feels humbled himself when he cannot help humbling others.

God rest his gentle soul.

Sunday, January 19, 2003

Capuchin Crusader

There have been a few holy friars who defended the Christian west against militant Islam. The Franciscan St. John of Capistrano and the Carmelite Blessed Peter Thomas come to mind. The Holy Father is on the verge of canonizing a Capuchin Friar, Fr. Mario D'Aviano, who is in the same category. Militant Islam is apparently not pleased. The story is here. In 1683 he was instrumental in procuring the Polish King John Sobieski's decisive victory over the Muslim invader in the siege of Vienna. The siege was lifted and the invader finally repulsed on the night of September 11.

The Lord's Day

Liturgically, today is the 2d Sunday after Epiphany in the ancient traditional Roman rite and the 2d Sunday per annum in the Pauline rite.

In the Diocese of Dunkeld, St. Fillan's feast days is kept on the 19th of January. St. Fillan appears on most of the ancient Scottish and Irish calendars. D’Arcy’s entry on St. Fillan has much of interest:

His grandfather was Ceallach, King of Leinster, his mother Loch Lomond’s Lady of Grace. He received the monastic habit in Ireland in Fintan Munnu’s monastery and is said to have spent some time in a hermitage cell near St. Andrews in Scotland. When Comghan, his mother’s brother, established himself at Lochalsh, Fillan joined his community. He shared honors with Comghan there in two ancient churches named for them: Kilchoan and Killelan.

Fillan’s name, spelled many different ways wanders over the map of Scotland in widespread commemorations: Killen in the uplands of Perthshire; a church Killphillane in Wigtown; two chapels named St. Phillane, one within the castle of Down, the other outside it on the banks of the river Teith; a fair at Srowan Feile Fhaolain; Fillan’s Fair on Fillan’s Day in the parish of Killellan in Renfrewshire. Fillan’s Cave at Pittenweem in Fifeshire was a special objective in the 17th century demolitions. A local minister filled up Fillan’s Well at Killellan in Renfrewshire at the close of the 18th century to end the devotions there. At Strathfillan where he is buried, the church and monastery were named for him. Until the beginning of the 19th century, Fillan’s Well or Holy Pool, there survived as a place of pilgrimage frequented for cures of the insane, brought there to be dipped in its water – and in many cases to be cured.

Robert Bruce had great veneration for Fillan, and on the eve of the battle of Bannockburn in 1314, having procured a relic of the saint to have with his army, he ". . . .past the remanent of the nicht in his prayaris with gud esperance of victorie." Bruce attributed the amazing victory over Edward II to the interecession of Fillan, an explanation recorded by Hector Boece and other historians.

Fillan’s crozier and bell are still in existence. The former, anciently called the Quigrich, or Coygerach, and now a national treasure, is executed in solid silver elaborately carved and fitted with a relic compartment under a white jewel. Interesting data traces its history. Long after its passing into secular hands, it was safeguarded by maintenance lands and a keeper. A letter of King James in 1487 mentions "ane relik of Sanct Fulane callit the Quegrith, in keeping of us and of oure progenitouris sen the tyme of Robert the Bruys and of before." He charges all and sundry "to mak nane impediment letting nor distroblance in the passing of the relik throch the contre." Fillan’s staff was taken from the highlands of Scotland to Canada by Father O’Donnell, the first bishop of Ontario, and was used in the consecration of Bishop Lynch in Toronto in 1859.

Fillan died on January 9.

An Excellent Weekend

. . . .if you don’t count the Accord blowing a coolant hose on Friday. A $3 hose that is next to impossible to get at so will cost a couple of C notes to fix. %$#&% cars, anyway.

Otherwise, I played for the local SCD Burns Supper which was held this year at Cal Tech. (“SCD” in this case means the combined Orange County and San Gabriel Valley branches of the Royal Scottish Country Dance Society.) I played beforehand for about an hour and then for the Grand March and the entrance of the haggis. And then some great dancing: “Rob Roy”, “Polharrow Burn”, “Sugar Candie”, and much more. “Muirland Willie” was on the programme, too, which I didn’t dare attempt. I love it, but it’s so intricate and since I haven't done it in a couple of years. . . .the "try not to make a fool of yourself" principal was invoked. Muriel Johnson and Laura Risk provided the outstanding dance music. Muriel Johnson doesn't require compliments; everyone in SCD is delighted to see her name on a programme. But I hadn't heard Laura Risk's fiddling before. She's an excellent dance musician: perfect tempi and "lift" for each dance.

Friday, January 17, 2003

Completely Bats

Via the always razor-sharp Edge of England's Sword we have this from the Daily Telegraph. "Tony Martin, the farmer jailed for shooting dead a teenage burglar, had his application for parole rejected yesterday." It seems the parole board will not grant him parole because he is "a danger to burglars".

Like Dave Barry, I, too, am not making this up.


. . . .is the feast of St. Anthony of the Desert, the father of monasticism and the namesake of the Paduan St. Anthony. TAN recently published a paperback edition of the Life of St. Anthony by St. Athanasius that is mentioned in the citation.

Thursday, January 16, 2003

Gator Wrestling

"Gator" is a company which markets an "e-wallet". It records your name, address, credit card number and so forth so that when you go e-marketing you don't have to type it all in. In return you agree to accept advertisments. Now it seems that the e-retailers are suing Gator because they object to the inundation of pop-ups on their sites. Sometimes from competitiors. Apparently, if the fellow with the e-wallet visits, say, Travelocity the e-wallet will cause a whole swarm of pop-ups to, uh, pop up. Travelocity would very much rather this didn't happen.

O.K., fair enough. They'll fight that out in court. But what I find incredible is that there are apparently a million or more people who will subscribe to this e-wallet thing. Are there really that many people who would prefer lebenty-leben pop-ups on every page rather than just typing in their own %$#& credit card number? I make a point of having my browsers set up to avoid pop-ups and these folks are going out of their way to sign up for them. Astonishing.

Pop-ups are the telemarketers of cyberspace.

Saints Alive

We have missed mentioning several saints who are worthy of mention. On the 15th St. Ita, "The Bridget of Munster" and "The Foster-Mother of Saints", was honoured in Ireland and particularly in her home place of Killeedy. Her holy well can be seen here. (Click on "local sites".)

The 16th is the feast of the Franciscan martyrs Berard, Otho, Peter, Accursius, and Adjutus. They went to Morocco during St. Francis' lifetime, preaching Christ in mosques and treating Mohammed as an imposter.

Wednesday, January 15, 2003

The Lexicographer's Friend

This blog not only has readers, but one of them wanted to know what an “eedjit” is. Well. An “eedjit” is a foolish person, or at least, a person who does foolish things. They come in three basic categories. I summarize from John Pepper’s “Ulster-English Dictionary” (who spells it “ijit” for reasons best known to himself).

The first is your basic common or garden variety eedjit. (Sometimes also referred to as a “stupa eedjit” or a “complete eedjit”. But this is not really a change of category; merely a verbal emphasis.) As in “He’s an oul eedjit an I tole him so til his face.”

The second, or middle stage, is the “right eedjit”. This might describe the person who, say, has a good half hour’s worth of material on the “edit your blog” page and the presses the little red “X” in the upper left hand corner of his browser instead of the little “-“ (or minimize) sign. Not that I have ever done that you understand.

And finally we have the “buck eedjit”, the pinnacle (or is it nadir?) of all eedjit-cy. The Other Political Party’s candidate for president, i.e., the one you didn’t vote for, is almost always a buck eedjit.

Tuesday, January 14, 2003

We're Sorry: the Blog you have attempted to read

. . . .isn't being up-dated very regularly at present. I hab a head code. I'b sdeezing and by dose is sore.

Actually, I could be writing a bit more here. But I'm trying not to make more of an eedjit of myself than usual.
The cold already makes me a bit groggy. The medication does, too. Some remnant of self-respect is urging
me not to write any more for the world to see until I have a fighting chance at making a bit of sense.

Until later.

Sunday, January 12, 2003


Liturgically this is the Feast of the Holy Family in the traditional Gregorian rite in Blessed Pope John XXIII's edition. In the Pauline rite, this is the Feast of the Baptism of the Lord. In the sanctoral cycle, this is the feast of the great English Cistercian, St. Aelred of Rievaulx, he of the great essay on friendship.

It's also the feast of a little-known Capuchin saint, St. Bernard of. . . .Corleone. (No, honestly. You could look it up here. That tune is going to be going round in my head for the rest of the day.)

Richard Challoner

Richard Challoner, bishop and “vicar apostolic for the London District” died this day in 1781. It was he who revised the Douay-Rheims Bible in the edition that is now generally available. His prayer book The Garden of the Soul was the basic prayer book for generations of English-speaking Catholics. These few sentences on his life are from Bowden’s The Mementoes of the Martyrs and Confessors of England and Wales.

“Few men of the penal times are better entitled to the epithet ‘confessor’, in the sense of one who bears witness, than Richard Challoner, who was born at Lewes in Sussex in 1691. He became a Catholic as a boy, soon after the death of his father, who was ‘a rigid Dissenter’ (and a wine-cooper by trade). After ordination at Douay, Richard was engaged for fourteen years as a professor at the college; then for twenty-eight years he worked as a missionary priest and assistant bishop in London, and in 1758 he became vicar apostolic of the London district, and held the office for another twenty-two years. A man ‘notable for learning and piety if there ever was one’, he combined tireless pastoral work with no less tireless writing. . . . .At the very end of his life, this most venerable old man had to be persuaded to take refuge from the Gordon rioters, who had sworn to roast him alive. In 1781, on January 12, he died, at the age of ninety. Bishop Challoner’s body now rests in Westminster Cathedral, where, it is hoped, he will one day be venerated as a canonized saint.”

There is a more complete "Life" here.

Friday, January 10, 2003

Barchester II

Archdeacon Grantly again. This time reminding me of me and my, uh, “work” habits.

After breakfast, on the morning of which we are writing, the archdeacon, as usual, retired to his study, intimating that he was going to be very busy, but that he would see Mr Chadwick if he called. On entering this sacred room he carefully opened the paper case on which he was wont to compose his favourite sermons, and spread on it a fair sheet of paper, and one partly written on; he then placed his inkstand, looked at his pen, and folded his blotting-paper; having done so, he got up again from his seat, stood with his back to the fireplace, and yawned comfortably, stretching out vastly his huge arms, and opening his burly chest. He then walked across the room and locked the door; and having so prepared himself, he threw himself into his easy chair, took from a secret drawer beneath his table a volume of Rabelais, and began to amuse himself with the witty mischief of Panurge; and so passed the archdeacon’s morning on that day.

Except, of course, substitute Trollope himself for Rabelaise in this case.

Barchester Again

Mention of Barchester has resulted in an over-long virtual detour in the cathedral close. Never do today when you can put it off until tomorrow and read Trollope instead. Here is Archdeacon Grantly described in The Warden:

Though doubt and hesitation disturbed the rest of our poor warden, no such weakness perplexed the nobler breast of his son-in-law. As the indomitable cock preparing for the combat sharpens his spurs, shakes his feathers, and erects his comb, so did the archdeacon arrange his weapons for the coming war, without misgiving and without fear. That he was fully confident of the justice of his cause let no one doubt. Many a man can fight his battle with good courage, but with a doubting conscience; such was not the case with Dr. Grantly. He did not believe in the Gospel with more assurance than he did in the sacred justice of all ecclesiastical revenues. When he put his shoulder to the wheel to defend the income of the present and future precentors of Barchester, he was animated by as strong a sense of a holy cause, as that which gives courage to a missionary in Africa, or enables a sister of mercy to give up the pleasures of the world for the wards of a hospital. He was about to defend the holy of holies from the touch of the profane; to guard the citadel of his Church from the most rampant of its enemies; to put on his good armour in the best of fights; and secure, if possible, the comforts of his creed for coming generations of ecclesiastical dignitaries. Such a work required no ordinary vigour; and the archdeacon was, therefore, extraordinarily vigorous; it demanded a buoyant courage, and a heart happy in its toil; and the archdeacon’s heart was happy, and his courage was buoyant.

Unauthorized Sequels: The Sequel

Having just last night disparaged unauthorized sequels, I noticed on my bookshelf this morning the exception. Msgr. Knox's Barchester Pilgrimage is a worthy successor to Trollope's Barchester series of novels. (In my defense, I did say "almost always a mistake".)

“W. Cantuar.”

On many Anglican calendars the 10th of January is dedicated to the 17th century Archbishop of Canterbury, William Laud, sometimes given the title “Blessed”. He was a leader of the more Catholic-minded party of his time and was executed for his efforts in that regard. A review of his life “warts and all” can be found here.

A different and much more sympathetic account can be found here.

Hilaire Belloc published a sad and moving account of his execution which, alas, I cannot find to give you a taste of it. It does not appear to be on line either. (It’s not in Characters of the Reformation which I just checked.)

Thursday, January 09, 2003


. . . in the Dominican calendar is the feast of Blessed Gonsalvo of Amaranthe. As a young priest he obtained a rich benefice from the Archbishop of Braga and proceeded to go on pilgrimage, leaving the benefice in the care of a nephew. The pilgrimage lasted 14 years. Not surprisingly, they weren't expecting him back. When he did return, he left the benefice to the nephew and retired to Amaranthe as a hermit, eventually joining the Dominicans. Rather unusually for a Friar Preacher, he sought and received permission to continue his life as a hermit.

In one of the stories about him it is told that he organized the building of a bridge at a dangerous river crossing. When supplies for the workers were exhausted, he coaxed the fish out of the river for the men to eat and brought wine from a rock for them to drink.

Waugh Redivivus?

A correspondent (thanks, Joseph!) pointed me to this site. Apparently one Michael Johnston is publishing a sequel to Brideshead Revisited. In my occasionally humble opinion, "unauthorized sequels" are almost always a mistake. I'm willing to be convinced otherwise. But it will take some doing.

Brideshead doesn't need a sequel. The tale was told to perfection the first time. Take a look at Elmen's 20 year old essay on Brideshead (and ignore the reference to Charles Curran). If Dr. Elmen's view is correct (and I think it is) how could a sequel add anything? In fact, how could it fail to do anything but detract?

St. Andrew Corsini, O. Carm

In the Carmelite calendar, this is the feast of the great medieval bishop and Carmelite friar, St. Andrew Corsini. That last link given above says his feast is in February, but in Carmel it is the 9th of January.

Tuesday, January 07, 2003

Cometh now the witness. . . .

. . . . .Gordon Zaft -- who reminds me that he blogs from Tucson. While Tucson may not be "coastal" (yet; wait til the next earthquake and we'll see) it is in the Pacific Time Zone, its citizens drink California water, and its pipe bands are well within the purview of the Western United States Pipe Band Association. Hence, another left coast blogger.

We are now nine:

And Then?
Between Heaven and Hell
Catholic and Enjoying It
El Camino Real
Hi! I'm Gordon Zaft, why isn't everyone?
Lex Communis
Molly’s Musings
One Pilgrim’s Walk
The Inn at the End of the World [You are here.]


The second great bishop of Carmel was St. Peter Thomas, born in 1305, at Perigord. Unlike St. Andrew Corsini, he was of humble parentage and very poor, but with an insatiable thirst for knowledge. He made every sacrifice, even depriving himself of necessaries, to obtain his education, and soon was able to instruct himself and teach others, so that the Carmelite Fathers engaged him for their classes, and the young students were the first to avail of his extraordinary genius. Soon he begged for admission, and the Professor became a monk at twenty.

He was sent to the University of Paris and was there at the same time as Andrew Corsini, though history does not record the meeting of the young French and Italian Carmelites. The nations were apt to hold together amid the multitudes there. Peter Thomas was among the first teachers of Bologna. His sanctity was soon recognized as being equal to his learning, and he was given the highest Offices in the Order. His life may be summarized in three words: Mary, Union of the Greeks, and Jerusalem.

“Mary,” for his devotion to Our Lady, his treatises on her Immaculate Conception, his visions, his inexpressible love for her; “Union of the Greeks,” for it was his special mission and for that he was sent to Constantinople by the Sovereign Pontiff; and “Jerusalem,” for the Holy City was his Patriarchal See.

Clement VI had for him a marked affection, and called him to Avignon to be Doctor of Theology for the Papal Court. It was while there, on the eve of Pentecost, 1351, that he had a vision of Our Lady which hung as a bow of promise over the awful years so soon to follow. Even then the sinister shadow was cast upon the Mountain, and the great heart of Peter Thomas was rent with anguish. Prostrate, he prayed and pleaded with Mary his Queen and his Mother, to protect her Order, and she appeared to him in glory saying: “Peter, fear not, the Order of Carmel will endure unto the end of the world; Elias has obtained this from my Son.” We read that promise with joy and devotion, but the, in view of what followed, it was a vision of hope almost necessary to uphold the “Brothers of Our Lady” from despair, as pestilence, heresy, and, worst of all, schism, were to walk abroad and threaten the existence of Carmel on every side. . . . . .

. . . . .He was appointed Bishop of Patti and Archbishop of Candia. Charged by Innocent VI with no less than fourteen important embassies, he was sent to the Court of Louis, King of Pouille, to the Emperor Charles IV, and to John VI, Emperor of Constantinople. This City he reconciled to the See of Rome. In 1356, he was sent as Legate to the East and Examiner on questions of faith. In 1360 he anointed Peter I of Lusignan, King of Cyprus and Jerusalem, and the following year the pestilence attacked the Isle of Cyprus. The population were in consternation at the horrors they witnessed; death everywhere and in a horrible form. Peter multiplied himself, and his devotion during the pest has become a tradition in the Order. He was everywhere and everything; consoler, physician, father to the sick, to the dying, and to those who wept and could not die, for death was easier than life amid such scenes. His history would require a large volume, and through all his embassies, missions and legations, we see the humble servant of Our Lady, the Saint, moving obdurate hearts, inspiring heroic deeds, advancing the interests of the Holy See, and shrinking from the honors that were thrust upon him.

In the midst of the splendor of the times and with his rank as Bishop and Legate, he lived simply like his Brethren; went on foot when possible, lived in his own Monasteries whenever he could, though his presence was claimed as an honor by Kings and Princes.

In 1365, he was made Legate and sent to preach the Crusade against the Turks. He blessed the fleets of the Crusaders amid repeated cries of “Live, Peter of Jerusalem!” “Live, the King of Cyprus against the Saracens!” Thanks to his prudence and prayers, the army of the infidels was routed, and the city of Alexandria taken October 4, 1365. As was his wont, after the battle he went at once to the Carmelite Monastery of Famagusta, to remain for the celebration of Christmas. He had been wounded during the siege, by a Turkish arrow, and this was the cause of his lingering death.

He looked forward with joy to the feast so dear to him, and, just as she did later to St. Andrew Corsini, so did Our Lady appear to Peter Thomas to prepare him and warn him of his coming end, on January 6, the Feast of the Epiphany. As the hour approached, he commanded his brothers to lay him on the ground with a sack and a cord about his neck, that he might beg pardon of all the Religious gathered about him. He then tried to say the Canonical Hours which he had never missed since his entrance into Religion, but his strength failed. His Confessor finished them with him, and a little after, he died, on January 6, 1366, as Our Lady had predicted. He was buried where he died, in the Church of the Carmelites at Famagusta. He is especially invoked against pestilence and epidemics. In the allocution pronounced by Benedict XIV in 1744, at the Chapter General of the Carmelites, the illustrious Pontiff affirmed that his native city of Bologna was under great obligation to Blessed Peter Thomas, the ornament of Carmel, - “Carmelitanum alumnum et ornamentum,” – because it was owing to his care that peace was established between Pope Urban V, and the Viscount Barnabas, and also because he was the first to have theology taught in the Academy of Bologna, already so famous for its learning.
-from Carmel, Its History, Spirit, and Saints, compiled from approved sources by The Discalced Carmelites of Boston and Santa Clara.(1927)

And my godson is named after St. Peter Thomas. Ad multos annos, Peter.

7 January - St. Kentigerna

Kentigerna, mother of saints and “Loch Lomond’s Lady of Grace” was the daughter of Ceallach, King of Leinster, and the wife of Feredach. Irish calendars set the feast-day of the Daughters of Feredach at March 23. Two sons are listed, Mundus Son of Feredach and the more famous Fillan of Scotland.

After Feredach’s death, Kentigerna accompanied her brother Comghan and her son Fillan to Scotland. Skene includes her name with theirs as a founder of churches. She is remembered chiefly as a recluse on a little island in Loch Lomond variously called the Nun’s Island, Inchelroide or Royal Island and, more generally, Tuch Cailleach. On it a famous parish church was named for her.
-M.R. D’Arcy’s “The Saints of Ireland

Monday, January 06, 2003

Also on 6 January

Today is the feast of Blessed Andre Bessette, the Canadian brother of the Congregation of the Holy Cross. There is a small summary of his life here. At the bottom of that page are some relevant links, including one to the St. Joseph's Oratory that he founded. The pictures are worth stopping by for. [Note to Nihil Obstat: if I end a sentence with two prepositions, does the second cancel out the first?)

Wager Results

If you'd taken me up on that bet, you could've made five bucks. The Holy Name Society was mentioned, but was not a major sermon topic. The homily covered both the feast of the Holy Name of Jesus and that of the Epiphany. I suppose both are covered since those attending the traditional Mass this year will otherwise miss out on the feast of the Epiphany altogether. (In the traditional rite the Epiphany is always on the 6th of January. And our allotment of traditional Masses is one (1) per week. Otherwise we might overdose and the withdrawal process is, of course, long and painful. It's for our own good.)

Sunday, January 05, 2003

Feast of the Holy Name of Jesus

In the traditional Roman Rite following the rubrics of the Blessed Pope John XXIII this Sunday is the feast of the Holy Name of Jesus. This feast finds its origin in the Franciscan Order, particularly with the preaching and devotion of St. Bernardine of Siena.

At St. Mary’s today I will bet you five bucks we get our annual sermon on the Holy Name Society. This is not a complaint. Fr. Johnson has a great love for that society which has fallen on hard times these days. And he uses this feast as his main occasion to promote the Society and its goals.

Saturday, January 04, 2003

Wyss men cam frae the east

The scripture has been translated into most of the languages of the world. And is in the process of being translated into the rest of them. This is the gospel for the Epiphany in braid Scots. The most well-known version is Professor Lorimer's. This excerpt, however, is from William Smith's translation.

+ + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + +

1. Noo, whan Jesus was born i' Bethlehem-Judah, i' the days o' King Herod, lo ! Wyss Men cam frae the East tae Jerusalem.

2. And quo' they, "Whaur is he bidin that is ca'd King o' the Jews ? for i' the East we saw his starn, and are come forrit to worship him."

3. But the King, hearin, was sair putten-aboot ; and a' Jerusalem wi' him.

4. And, gatherin a' the heigh-priests and writers o' the nation, he wad ken o' them "whaur the Messiah soud be born ?"

5. And quo' they, "In Bethlehem-Judah ; for sae it is putten doon by the prophet ;

6. " ' And thou, Bethlehem , land o' Judah, nane the least amang Judah's princes! for oot o' thee sal come a Ruler, wha sal tend my folk o' Isra'l ! ' "

7. Than, Herod, convenin the Wyss Men privately, faund oot mair strickly o' the comin o' the starn ;

8. And bad them gang to Bethlehem ; and quo' he, "Gang, and seek ye oot the wee bairn ; and whan ye ken, fesh me word again, that I as weel may come and worship."

9. Eftir hearing the King, they gaed awa' ; and lo! the starn whilk they saw i' the East gaed on afore them, till it stood whaur the wee bairn was.

10. And whan they saw the starn, they were blythe wi' unco blythness.

11. And comin intil the hoose, they saw the wee bairn, and his mither Mary ; and loutin doon, worshipp't him. And openin' oot their gear, they offer't till him gifts - gowd, and frankincense, and myrrh.

12. And bein warned in a dream no to gang back till Herod, they airtit their way to their ain kintra anither gate.

Mathew, Chaipter Twa, verses 1 til 12 frae 'The Four Gospels in Braid Scots' - Rev William W Smith

+ + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + +

This was taken from ElectricScotland website and more about the guid Scots tongue can be found there. And much else about Scotland, too.

Epiphania Domini

This is, more or less, the feast of the Epiphany of the Lord. In the traditional Gregorian rite it is Monday the 6th of January. As it is in some places in the Pauline rite. In other places – such as the Archdiocese of Los Angeles – it is Sunday the 5th of January. And, as this is being written after Vespers on Saturday the 4th of January in the Archdiocese of Los Angeles, it is the Epiphany right now in the Pauline rite. So long as I don’t move. So, if you celebrate according to the Pauline rite, you lose the 12th day of Christmas. So no 12 drummers drumming for you. And you know what that means: the tempo of the 11 pipers piping is going to be all over the map. The 9 ladies dancing won’t be able to follow the beat and will stomp off in a huff. Messing about with the liturgical calendar is fraught with a gallimaufry of dire social consequences.

Friday, January 03, 2003

Church Made Easy

Ad Orientem links to a picture of a roller coaster ride which is remarkably reminiscent of old fashioned box pews. (Wait. That couldn’t actually be. . . .nah, I guess not.)

Which reminded me of this. Church-goin’ used to be a lot easier for some folks.

On one occasion, when very young, I went for the week-end to the manor house of a squire and land-owner. On Sunday we went to church under charming circumstances. The squire’s pew proved to be a square enclosure lined with green cloth, with a table in the center and seats round the side. When we stood up, only a full-grown person could be seen over the top. In one corner was a fire-place and over it a small cupboard. As it was winter there was a fire in the fire-place and when the rector gave out his text the squire rose, poked the fire, opened the cupboard, took out a glass, and then a bottle of golden wine, poured out a glassful of the elixir, drank it, sat down again and went to sleep. To the boy it seemed that that man must be very happy who could sit in his own green pew, poke the fire during service, drink yellow wine and sleep in church, without being interfered with a by a governess.”

-- Arthur K. Ashton, K.C. As I Went My Way (1880)

Thursday, January 02, 2003

"America's #1 Ace" Dies

Joe Foss died the other day. Foss led a Marine air unit known as Joe's Flying Circus that shot down 72 Japanese planes. He downed 26 planes himself, tying the U.S. aerial record Eddie Rickenbacker set in World War I. An Air Force colonel in the Korean War, president of the National Rifle Association, governor of South Dakota, and president of the American Football League, it was as a Marine aviator and Medal of Honor winner that he made the cover of Life magazine. God rest his soul.

Wednesday, January 01, 2003

I took the "Medieval" test that's going the rounds.

Cut-and-pasted below are my results, i.e., who I am most likely to have been in order of likelihood. Whether I actually want to be (to have been?) El Cid will depend upon whether we're talking about the one in the romances or the actually fella who changed sides fairly regularly and fought for the Mohammedans when it suited him. Since Constantine seems a bit early to be called medieval, is #3 then not a typo but a reference to a little known Jewish emperor named Constanstine? I've no clue who "Zoe" is. Google sent me to the website of Democrat California Congresshuman named Zoe Lofgren. While the quiz's boundary lines for the medieval era are a tad, um, elastic I'm going to follow a hunch here and say that this probably not the Zoe in question. And "Justanian". Is there a "Justanian"? Because Justinian with dates of 527-565 AD just doesn't seem medieval to me.

#1: Rodrigo Diaz de Vivar (El Cid)
#2: Richard the Lionhearted
#3: Constanstine
#4: King Arthur
#5: Robin Hood
#6: Fredrick Barbarossa
#7: Pope Leo I
#8: Pope Urban XVII
#9: Theodora
#10: William the Conqueror
#11: Zoe
#12: Belisarius
#13: Charlemagne
#14: Joan of Arc
#15: Justanian
#16: King Alfonso
#17: Mohhammed
#18: Saladin
#19: Clovis
#20: Genghis Khan

If your nerves can take it

. . . .you may want to link over to Rosa Mystica and read how the end of the year went for Chris. It's not a pretty read. I can smile at it but not really laugh. Because in my heart of hearts I know that eventually it's going to be My Turn. If I wait long enough, one of those days is going to be waiting for me on my doorstep. The details may vary but the bang-the-head-against-the-wall frustration will be identical.

Anno Domini

This household has arrived at the 2,003rd year after the birth of Christ more or less in one piece.
We are – thanks be to God – a good bit lighter on the scales than last year at this time. And, alas,
a few pounds heavier on the scales than last month at this time. But it all tasted good, every bit of

We welcomed the new year in homely fashion. We listened to the new year come in across the world
on short wave and on the internet broadcasts. Radio Telefis Eireann broadcast a band playing
The Stars and Stripes Forever. (Do they like us all of a sudden? The received opinion up until then
so far as I know, was that the U.S. government under the rule of the G.O.P. was the war-mongering
scourge of the planet. Maybe it was just a march and nobody cared about the title.) When our midnight
arrived, I went out and played Auld Lang Syne. Some of the neighborhood children came out to bang pots and
pans and whoop and holler. A neighbor had saved some fireworks from the 4th of July and set them
off in the street. I played a reel and the children did something that was intended to be a dance by
the light of the fireworks. And that was it. I played a Mexican hymn [O, Maria, Madre mia] and we
went inside. The temperature was in the mid-forties which is too cold for me in shirtsleeves and for
the pipes at any time and the tuning duly went seriously wonky.

We had some wine with dinner, but alcohol did not play much of a role in the day otherwise. If it
did for you, you might want to take a look at Tim Grobaty’s column in the Press Telegram. He
claims to have The Cure. Several of them, in fact.