Monday, March 31, 2003

Laetare Sunday means that Easter and other signs of new life, such as

Baseball Season, which began again yesterday, are near. The Angels had their home opener on Sunday and as they have done so often in the past, they lost.

O.K., now all together, those of you on the right side of the monitor take the verse and those on the left take the response.
All together, ready, and. . . .

V: "It's only the beginning of the season; doesn't mean a thing."
R: "Yeah, but they're going to want that game come September."

I love tradition.

Sunday, March 30, 2003

Weapons of Mass Destruction? "Chemical" Ali?

Sure, the major media claim to be telling all you need to know. But did they tell you that The Mad Gasser of Matoon has finally been unmasked? Hah! I thought not. Well, you heard it first here. Or maybe second. The ever-vigilant Chad Dimpler appears to have beat me to it, actually.

"How important it is that during this Year of the Rosary we persevere in praying the rosary to implore peace!"
-Pope John Paul II, 26 March 2003

(H)e added. "I ask that you continue to do so, especially in Marian shrines."

The Pope continues to call for prayers for peace to Our Lady, particularly the Holy Rosary. The Zenit news service article is here. The Vatican text is here.


. . . .was once the feast of St. Berthold, who was at one time considered one of the medieval "consolidators" - shall we say - of the Carmelite Order. (Elias the prophet, of course, being considered the founder.) St. Berthold no longer even appears in the calendar and no one any more claims to know for certain who "B" in the Holy Rule of St Albert is. It is said that he was born in Limoges, France in the early part of the 12th century and was ordained there. Delaney in his Dictionary of the Saints relates that He went on the Crusades with Aymeric, a relative, and was in Antioch during its siege by the Saracens, during which he had a vision of Christ denouncing the evilgoing ways of the Christian soldiers and labored to reform them. He organized and became superior of a group of hermits on Mount Carmel, and is thus considered by some to be the founder of the Carmelites, and ruled for forty-five years.

The old proper collect for his feast in the Discalced Carmelite Order reads: Progegat nos, Domine, sancti Bertholdi Confessoris tui veneranda solemnitas: qui sicut Carmelitarum Ordinem omni sanctitate rexit et auxit; ita perpetuam ejus protectionem sentiamus. Per Dominum nostrum Jesum Christum.

In English:
May the solemn veneration of Thy confessor, St. Berthold protect us, O Lord, and may we feel the continual protection of him who in all sanctity guided and fostered the Carmelite Order. Through Christ Our Lord. Amen.

[The translation is my own. Strenuous objections thereto will not be cause for charges of heresy, schism, or apostasy.]

Laetare Sunday -- The Fourth in Lent

From Parsch's The Church's Year of Grace, vol.II

"Easter is coming! With childlike joy the Church begins to count the days. Just as on the third Sunday of Advent we felt the thrill and happiness of Christmas, so now we anticipate the joy of Easter. Herein lies the whole significance of Laetare Sunday. It brings to the catechumens a foretaste of the good things they will receive at Easter; e.g., the grace of divine sonship, a new spiritual Mother in holy Church, the Eucharist as the true manna. And we, the faithful, awaken in our breasts a new consciousness of these tremendous blessings."

. . . . . .

"This Sunday has a unique distinction in the Church year – a day of joy in the season of penance and sorrow! The priest may wear a rose-colored chasuble, the organ may play, deacon and subdeacon are clothed in festive vestments. All the Mass texts ring with joy; the entrance song is a joyous shout, “Laetare – rejoice!” The Church has the following reasons for the happiness in her soul.

a) In the oldest period, the Lenten fast at Rome did not begin until Monday of the third week preceding Easter; today then was a kind of Mardi Gras. Later, when the observance was extended to forty days, this Sunday became Mid-Lent – again reason for a pause and relaxation.

b) The ancient Church rejoiced in her catechumens, whose rebirth was close at hand. She was filled with maternal joy at the prospect of a large family. It is this spirit which gives a joyful coloring to all the older liturgy of Lent.

c) Today’s celebration is a preview of Easter, we can not quell our joyous expectation as we anticipate the sacred feast. The Gospel [John 6: 1-15] says, emphatically: “Easter is near!”

d) This Sunday has also a Eucharistic character – an ancient Corpus Christi. Christ is about to establish His family; through blood and sweat He obtains our daily Bread, the fruit of His suffering. The Gospel makes this clear. Christ is the new Moses who in the desert of life gives us heavenly manna.

e) Finally, this Sunday is a nature feast. It is springtime and we are happy over the resurrection of nature. The heavenly Father is about to effect the multiplication of bread upon our fields. In the liturgy, however, springtime in nature is merely a figure of the holy spring that with Easter comes in the land of the baptized. The sign of the Churches ver sacrum is the rose, the golden rose blessed today by the Holy Father. Surely there are many and good reasons for the joy surging through Christendom today."

. . . . . . .

The stational church in Rome today is the “Church of the Holy Cross at Jerusalem”.

"The station exercised a profound influence upon the formulation of the Mass formulary. All the chants are concerned with Jerusalem. The key psalm (121), “I rejoiced because they said to me, ‘We will go up to the house of the Lord!’,” expressed well the jubilant spirit of catechumens and Christians. With the two wives of Abraham as types, the Epistle [Gal.4: 22-31] compares the Church with the synagogue, the heavenly Jerusalem with the Jewish Jerusalem. The station reminds Christians and catechumens that in Holy Church they have a good mother. Over the portal of our parish church, let us imagine these words in golden letters, 'Jerusalem, our Mother!'”

A Good One from The Boar's Head

Jim Nicholson analyzes the embattled Bush regime "defending against the coalition of liberal forces bearing down on the now-isolated country". Ingenious and very well done. You can find it here. (Apologies in advance to the Dutch. I'm sure there are at least 72.)

Saturday, March 29, 2003

A Day Late

Yesterday, 28 March, was the feast of St. John of Capistrano in the traditional Roman rite. St. John had a successful career as a lawyer and as governor of Perugia. He gave it all up and became an Observant Franciscan and eventually an extremely popular preacher. He was at one time commissary general of the Order and again papal legate to Milan, Burgundy, and to the emperor. Toward the end of his life he was a leading spirit in the assembling of a crusade against the Moslems for the relief of Hungary. When the crusade was actually in operation John accompanied the famous Hunyady throughout the campaign: he was present at the battle of Belgrade, and led the left wing of the Christian army against the Turks. A precis of his life can be found here.

Twa recruiting sergeants cam' frae the Black Watch
Tae markets and fairs, some recruits for tae catch.
But a' that they 'listed was forty and twa:
Enlist my bonnie laddie an' come awa.


And it's over the mountain and over the Main,
Through Gibralter, to France and Spain.
Pit a feather tae your bonnet, and a kilt aboon your knee,
Enlist my bonnie laddie and come awa with me.

The more things change, the more they stay the same. (Yes, I could've said "plus ca change. . . ." but, well, you know.) This is in today's Edinburgh Evening News:

THE Pipes and Drums of the famous Scots Guards will launch a two-week piping tour of Scotland on Monday with a grand performance on the rear deck of the Royal Yacht Britannia.

Back in Scotland for the first time in three-and-a-half years, the 20-strong band will perform in Edinburgh, Bathgate, Girvan, Irvine, Airdrie, Glencoe and Inverness.

Following their performances, the band members will tell men aged 16-26 what life as a Scots Guards piper or drummer is really like. The Pipes and Drums are an integral part of the regiment which is famous for its ceremonial duty, performing at prestigious events all over the world.

But the ceremony is a small part of a guardsman’s life as a soldier. Two platoons of Scots Guardsmen are currently in the Gulf with the Desert Rats and 16 Air Assault Brigade. Other members have been covering recent fire strikes.

"This has been a famous victory for the Royal Scots Dragoon Guards and one which should go down in the regiment's history."

TANKS crewed by the Royal Scots Dragoon Guards destroyed an entire squadron of 14 Iraqi tanks and wiped out four key infantry positions before dawn yesterday.
It was Britain's biggest tank battle since the second world war and just one squadron of the Dragoon Guards was needed to eliminate the enemy.
After the battle, close to Basra, a military source at the British HQ in Qatar said: "It was 14-0."

More from the Glasgow Herald here.

Friday, March 28, 2003

Pipe Corporal Johnston of the RSDG

Remember the mention of Corporal Johnston and his pipes here? Don't know how he did it, but Mark Sullivan of Ad Orientem found the picture that goes with that story and put it on his blog here.

I searched all over and couldn't find it to save my life. Well done, Mark.

The Treatment of P.O.W.s

This article in today's Washington Times is not encouraging.  Earlier this week, Iraqi Foreign Minister Naji Sabri Ahmad al-Hadithi was quoted as saying that the already brutalized U.S. POWs captured in southern Iraq would, "be treated according to the principles of Islam". . . . Andrew Bostom in his article analyzes what this might mean.

"As for the captives, the amir [ruler] has the choice of taking the most beneficial action of four possibilities: the first to put them to death by cutting their necks; the second, to enslave them and apply the laws of slavery regarding their sale and manumission; the third, to ransom them in exchange for goods or prisoners; and fourth, to show favor to them and pardon them."....Abu'l-Hasan al-Mawardi, al-Ahkam as-Sultaniyyah. The Laws of Islamic Governance, trans. by Dr. Asadullah Yate, (London), Ta-Ha Publishers Ltd., 1996, p. 192

The rest of the article can be found here.

(Thanks to John Lacroix and CDLeo for the reference.)

Jerry Pournelle Again

The best short analysis of the Iraqi War to date is here.

No Good Deed Goes Unpunished

That class of the human race whose joy in life comes from the disparagement of anyone, and probably everyone, else's accomplishments has struck again. Most of you probably know that Karen of Disordered Affections also maintains another blog Write This Way whose purpose is to help writers and aspiring writers. Apparently a few members of a writer's newsgroup have taken it upon themselves to trash her efforts. The reference is here.

If you've been helped by her other blog or appreciate the service you might drop her a note of encouragement.

In point of fact, if no one encourages good writing, how is The Inn ever going to get any better? Why, you'll be reading sentences like the one that begins this post forever.

The Only Female P.O.W. is a Catholic

Thanks to Dyspeptic Mutterings for this information. I prayed for her anyway when I knew she was my countrywoman. But now that I know she is my sister in Christ, the prayers are more heartfelt. Thanks for passing along that news, Dale. I had not seen it anywhere else.

Thursday, March 27, 2003

St. Matthew of Beauvais
Martyr (+c. 1100)

I found this at the end of today’s entry in The Magnificat, which if you attend the Pauline rite even occasionally, you should immediately run out and subscribe to. Our separated brethren of the Mohammedan persuasion seem to have had a problem with P.O.W.’s and the proper treatment thereof for quite some time.

Matthew, of Agnetz, France, was a knight who exemplified the ideal of chivalry in his great purity of heart, his integrity, his meekness, and his devout life of frequent prayer and generous almsgiving. A contemporary described his piety as befitting that of a bishop.

Taking the insignia of the cross on his shoulder, Matthew accompanied his bishop, Roger of Beauvais, on the First Crusade to free the Holy Land from Saracen occupation. While passing through Constantinople, he won the admiration of the Byzantine court of the Emperor Alexis.

Matthew was later captured by the Saracens, who offered to spare his life if he would deny the cross of Christ. Matthew replied that he would give his answer on the following Friday. When Friday came, the knight told them, “I asked you to grant me this delay, not because I had any doubt as to what my decision would be, but that I might have the honor and felicity of shedding my blood on the same day as my Savior Jesus Christ bled for me. . . .I give my life to him who laid down his for mankind.” Matthew was thereupon beheaded.

An Acceptable Protest Tactic

Martin Sheen tapes mouth shut, joins protest, it says here. If we have to have celebrity protests, I think the tape-their-mouths-shut format is really the way to go. And people laughed when Mr. Ridge recommended using duct tape for national defense. See how useful it can be?

And yet are there some fools so fed with this fond fanasy of fame that they rejoice and glory to think how they be continually praised all about, as though all the world did nothing else day nor night but ever sit and sing, "Sanctus, sanctus, sanctus", upon them.
-St. Thomas More, The Dialogue of Comfort.


. . . .is the feast of St. Gelasius, Archbishop of Armagh and Primate of All Ireland. It was his misfortune to preside over the Irish Church during the time of the alleged Donation of Ireland by the English Pope Adrian IV to King Henry II of England, the arrival of the first Anglo-Normans, and the replacement of the old Irish ecclesiastical customs with those of England.

Gelasius (in Irish Giolla Iosa, Servant of Jesus) was abbot of Derry for 16 years, 1121-1137. His father was the foremost bard of his time, a man of learning and probably a professor at Derry where Gelasius is believed to have been educated. [D'Arcy's The Saints of Ireland] The details in D'Arcy are too extensive to re-produce here. A precis of the same facts can be found here.


Speaking of obituaries. . . .

which we were the other day. The Telegraph recently printed that of (t)he Most Reverend Bruno Heim. . . . the Vatican's first Apostolic Nuncio to Britain. He was also the "king-maker" whose influence led to the appointment of Basil Hume as Archbishop of Westminster.

There is a short discussion of how the choice was made for Primate of England. Would you like to know why Christopher Butler wasn't chosen? Well, here you are: Other possibilities included Alan Clark, Bishop of East Anglia; Father Michael Hollings, a controversial but well-known priest in the Westminster diocese; and Bishop Christopher Butler, an auxiliary bishop in Westminster and a former Abbot of Downside. Heim admitted, after retirement, that he had rejected Butler as too messy an eater. It had been impossible, he divulged, to consider someone who wore his lunch on his shirtfront.

Now you know. Such are the priorities for episcopal advancement. You should have listened to your mother all those years ago. You could be Archbishop of Boston instead of rusticating away as assistant pastor in the back of beyond.

"They are my flesh. . . ."

Perhaps I can redeem my dislike of the CBC in Canadian eyes by recommending this article, which is from a Canadian source and not boring at all. Quite the reverse. Very moving indeed.

Wednesday, March 26, 2003

Iraq War: TV Network Review

There is only one consistently worth watching: Fox.

The news programme from the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation has been broadcast here by C-Span. Some Canadian friends complain about its bias but I was unprepared for how incredibly boring it is.

Some BBC coverage has also been seen on C-Span - usually after 10 p.m. PST. Very disappointing, partly because it is so repetitious. Some of this can't be helped; it's their "Breakfast" programme, not unlike "Today". You know what that means. But there is another issue: is it, in fact, accurate? According to their own defence correspondent in Qatar: No. Paul Adams said: "I was gobsmacked to hear, in a set of headlines today, that the coalition was suffering 'significant casualties'. This is simply not true. "Nor is it true to say - as the same info stated - that coalition forces are fighting 'guerrillas'. It may be guerrilla warfare but they are not guerrillas."

He added: "Who dreamed up the line that the coalition are achieving 'small victories at a very high price'?. The truth is exactly the opposite. The gains are huge and costs still low. This is real warfare, however one-sided, and losses are to be expected."

CNN lost me with its extended interview last night with the ghastly Michael Moore. (Yes the word "extended" is relative. If I can only take 15 seconds, then 30 seconds is "extended". How long was it, really? Dunno. Like I said, 15 seconds was my limit.)

Google Can't Find Any Either

"French military victories", that is. I found this little treat in The Spectator this morning. Here's what you do:

Go to

Type in french military victories.

Click on I'm Feeling Lucky

The "Google" results will say "Did you mean 'french military defeats'?"
And "No standard web pages containing all your search terms were found. "

O.K., it's contrived and a little childish but, as The Speccie also pointed out, "c'est la guerre".

[And, no, I'm not going to pour out any of my little stock of French wine; if you thought so, you lead a peculiarly deluded existence. And I don't eat French fries under any name. Which I'm told the Belgians invented, anyway. There is more to France that Chirac and republican politicians. Vive le Roi.]

Tuesday, March 25, 2003

The Pipes of War: Trading Royal Stuart for Desert Camo

"My pipes are all important to me and I always have them with me.
"But whether I have the chance to play them if we go into Iraq is another question.
"Normally, they are in the Royal Stewart tartan but I decided to cover them in desert camouflage so they wouldn't stick out too much."

The article refers to a picture on the front page of the Scottish Daily Record showing Corporal Jimmy Johnston of the Royal Scots Dragoon Guards playing his pipes atop his tank in the Kuwaiti desert. The pipes are still involved even if no longer in front of the line.

Monday, March 24, 2003

The Annunciation

The 24th of March is the feast of the Archangel Gabriel in the traditional Roman rite. And the 25th is the feast of the Annunciation of the Archangel Gabriel to the Blessed Virgin Mary that she was to be the Mother of God.

Daphne Lady Acton: R.I.P.

Thanks to my friend Kirk for sending along this recent obituary from the Daily Telegraph. Lady Acton was a prominent figure in the history of Catholicism in the 20th century. And a fascinating woman in any event, the kind they don't appear to make any more.

Daphne Lady Acton, who has died aged 91, was an important figure in
the circle of Roman Catholic converts which came to intellectual and
social prominence during the middle third of the last century; she
was also a missionary in Africa and matriarch of a clan of Biblical

Described by Evelyn Waugh as "a tall, elegant beauty of strong and
original intellect", the young Lady Acton formed a particularly
fruitful friendship with Monsignor Ronald Knox, the former Catholic
chaplain to Oxford University. While he prepared her for reception
into the Roman Church, she provided him with the opportunity to carry
out his translation of the Bible, employing him from 1939 to 1947 as
private chaplain at Aldenham Park, her husband's family seat in

The rest of the article is here.

Not Alone

The U.S. and the U.K. are getting help from some unexpected places. Dyspeptic Mutterings points us to this article which tells of Poland's elite commandos helping in the fight for Umm Qasr.

Sunday, March 23, 2003

How You Can Tell That Paranoia Is Imminent

When you publish something on your blog after checking and double checking and you are sure that it is absolutely letter-perfect and immaculate in syntax. Two days later in re-reading you find it shot through with typos. And the grammar. Oy. Some sentences don't actually convey a meaning.

It can't be me. Blogspot must be out to get me.


On this day in 1642 the Dominican priest Blessed Peter Higgins was hanged in Dublin, Ireland for his priesthhood and his Catholicism. The place and date of his birth are unknown, but the best guess is around 1600 in or near Dublin. There isn't much written on the web about Blessed Peter. I shall try to record some of Fr. Corish's short "life" when I get some time later. Off to Mass now.


Actually there is more in Desmond Forristal’s Seventeen Martyrs so I have taken some of Bl. Peter’s details from that volume. (Published by The Columba Press, Blackrock, Co. Dublin, Ireland. [1990] It seems still to be available from Veritas in Dublin for about 7 and a half euros.)

1641 saw a rising of the Catholic population in Ireland, particularly in Ulster, against the English and Lowland Scottish planters.

“By the beginning of 1642 the rebels were coming very close to Dublin. They captured the town of Naas and were within twenty miles of the city. Most of the Protestant population of the city took refuge in Dublin but some were unlucky enough to fall into the hands of the rebels. One of them was a clergyman, Canon William Pilsworth, son of the Protestant Bishop of Kildare, who has left us a vivid account of his ordeal.

“He was captured by the rebels and brought to the gallows to be hanged. As he stood upon the scaffold, a jeering mob surrounded him and mockingly asked him to preach them a sermon. Just when he had given up hope, a priest suddenly appeared and made a long and impassioned plea to the crowd on his behalf. He spoke warmly of the clergyman’s father, the Bishop, who had lived for many years among them and did not deserve that his son should receive such treatment. He warned them that if they put him to death they would draw down God’s vengeance upon themselves for their cruelty. The crowd were so moved by his words that they allowed the Canon to come down from the scaffold and make his way to Dublin. He does not name the priest who rescued him, but all the circumstances suggest that he was the Dominican prior of Naas, Father Peter Higgins.”

This was not the only example of Fr. Peter’s sense of justice and mercy. Forristal says that there were many other times during the brief period that the town was in the hands of the rebels that he did everything in his power to prevent such atrocities as occurred in other parts of the country. “Many Protestants afterwards testified that they owed their lives to his intervention. Sometimes he defended them publicly and used his powers of persuasion to have them set free. At other times, he sheltered them secretly until they could safely make their way to Dublin. A Protestant minister later described how the priest had taken him into his own house and hidden him under his bed until the danger was past. Then he provided him with clothing and money and sent him safely on his way.”

When the town was finally captured by English government forces, two very different personality types shared the power. One was James Butler, Earl of Ormond and commander of the royal army and the other was Sir Charles Coote, the governor of Dublin. When Ormond arrived in Naas, Fr. Peter was one of the few left in town. He was soon seized by the soldiers and brought to Ormond. Upon learning that he had taken no part in the rising and had protected Protestants, Ormond promised to protect him. Coote, a fanatical Protestant and a member of the “parliamentary” faction, arrived soon after and demanded Fr. Peter be turned over to him, “which meant certain death” according to Forristal.

Ormond refused and a new civil war seemed likely to break out. As a compromise, Fr. Peter was brought to Dublin. Although Fr. Peter was still imprisoned, Ormond informed the Lord Justices that he had done no crime “and that there were plenty of Protestants in the town who would willingly testify to all that he had done for them.”

Coote was unwilling to let his prey escape. Unknown to Ormond, Coote gave orders for Fr. Peter’s mock trial and execution.

“Early on the morning of the 23 March 1642 Peter Higgins was brought to the market-place in the city to be hanged. A crowd quickly gathered, and he addressed them, telling them that he was innocent of any crime and affirming his loyalty to the Catholic faith and to the Order of St. Dominic. His words were followed by uproar among the crowd, most of whom were refugees from the rebels. Those who knew him shouted that he was innocent and called for his release. Among them was the minister who had hidden under his bed. Those who did not know him howled for his blood, venting upon him all their anger against the rebel Irish. Even when the executioner had done his work and the priest had breathed his last, the crowd were not appeased. They stripped his body and subjected it to mockery and abuse. They refused to let it be buried within the city and when it was being carried outside the gate they attacked it and beat it savagely. His final burial-place is unknown.

“A relation of Ormond’s happened to pass through the market-place and saw what had happened. He immediately informed Ormond, who went to the Lord Justices and demanded that Coote be called to account for what he had done. They refused to take any action and Ormond could do nothing except to denounce Coote’s crime and dissociate himself from it. For many Catholics it was not enough. They never forgave Ormond for promising to protect the priest and failing to keep his promise.”

Friday, March 21, 2003

And on the home front. . .

. . . .Molly points out that the "militia" types are back. Oh, fine. Just fine.

How You Can Tell That The World Is Different

This was sent to me this morning. A different world, indeed.

"You know the world has really changed when...

...the best rapper is a white guy, the best golfer is a black guy, the Swiss hold the America's Cup, France is accusing the US of arrogance and Germany doesn't want to go to war."


. . . .is the traditional feast day of St. Benedict in the Roman rite. St. Benedict is considered the father of western monasticism. This link should lead you to every imaginable site on the net concerning the Benedictine way of life, Catholic, Anglican, and otherwise. While you're browsing, don't overlook the little website dedicated to Our Lady of the Annunciation of Clear Creek Monastery in Oklahoma. This is a daughter house of Fontgombault and maintains the ancient western liturgical rites. Or maybe you'll have to. The link - which is here - isn't responding today. Pfui. Well, you can read about its foundation here anyway.

It's also J.S. Bach's birthday.

Iraq’s Catholics to Consecrate Iraq to the Immaculate Heart of Mary

Someone sent this link to me this morning. I realize that mention of The Remnant sends many of the brethren seriously ballistic, nor is it my favorite newspaper in the whole wide Church. In my occasionally humble opinion it used to be well-nigh indispensable before the late and much-missed Walter Matt gave up the editor's desk. These days it's largely an embarrassment.

But read the article linked. And pray for our Catholic and Christian brothers in Iraq who are everybody's targets. May they find protection in the Immaculate Heart of Mary.

Saddam: Making Offers You Can't Refuse

His 1979 takeover had been a replica of Michael Corleone's violent accession to his father's empire in The Godfather. Half the Ba'ath party was bloodily purged when he ousted President Ahmad Hassan al-Bakr, who had been Saddam's "godfather" in the 1960s. Many of the "traitors" were guilty of future intentions; the "proof" was in details he remembered of some of their minor deeds. Others were guilty of "thoughts" he read in their eyes.

The Godfather derives his legitimacy from loyalty and obedience, secured by a system of terror and reward. Saddam told me he admired Michael Corleone as a statesman; a man able to provide his family with protection and a concept of "justice" unavailable under Western civil laws.

A fascinating analogy from today's Daily Telegraph.

Interesting to read that Saddam is the master of the pre-emptive strike. I wonder if he has a taste for irony?

Thursday, March 20, 2003

"It is a big step to take another human life. It is not to be done lightly.
I know of men who have taken life needlessly in other conflicts, I can assure you they live with the mark of Cain upon them."

Colonel Tim Collins drew tears from some of his men with a stirring and heartfelt pre-battle address on the eve of Washington's deadline for Saddam Hussein to quit Iraq. The rest of his talk to the 1st Battalion, The Royal Irish Regiment can be found here.

Baghdad Prepares

AN eerie air of excitement, horror, fear and expectation hung over the capital yesterday. Small groups gathered to discuss the latest news at street corners, and friends and families assembled behind closed doors to mull their fate.

By midday, almost all shops had shut and armed men, both in uniform and in civilian clothes, were out on the streets.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

Closing up his shop for the duration of the war, one man, delighted rather than furious as one might have expected at finding this Briton as his last customer, said he thought that the Saddam regime would crumble within days of the first missile strikes. And then, with a broad grin on his face, he said: "Democracy!"

It was almost certainly the first time in the last three decades that he had ever dared utter such a word to a foreigner, a stranger and in front of other Iraqis whom he did not know. "From today," he said, "No more fear." He was not alone.

More here.

Black Watch to Spearhead Assault

This article doesn't say whether they brought their pipes.


. . . . is the feast of St. Cuthbert. He is one of the patron saints of sailors, particularly in England. Until the Reformation he was one of the most popular saints in England. Originally a monk of Melrose, he became bishop of Hexham and later abbot-bishop of Lindisfarne. There is a walking tour outlined here that goes (for 62.5 miles!) through areas associated with St. Cuthbert. The pictures make me want to pack up my walking shoes and my border pipes right now.

U.S. Army Pipers

-----Original Message-----
From: Chuck Jamison
Sent: Thursday, March 20, 2003 8:36 AM
Subject: 91st Division Pipe Band

SSG Steve McKinney is the pipe major of the 91st Division Pipe Band and they got activated last month with the rest of the 91st Division headquarters and band. He said I could forward this to everyone and any of you may use it as well. Chuck


My heart has been warmed during these last couple of months by the e-mail messages and mail I have received from friends and family. I will do my best to keep you abreast regarding what is happening with me.

As you know, my Army Reserve Division (including the band) was called to one year of active military duty in January, as part of Operation Enduring Freedom. You may wonder what the President needs with a bagpiper and a band. One reason is because our secondary mission during war time is to provide for the physical security of division personnel and assets. To accomplish this we have been training with our M-16s (firing at night and firing with gas masks on), doing security training, and combat first aid training. Our duties are to patrol the Camp, do guard duty, and search vehicles at the front gate. The higher the threat condition at Camp Parks the more soldiers we have doing these duties.

However, our most important mission is to motivate our troops and to do the best we can to care for their morale. We do this by performing ceremonies when they ship out, celebrating when they come home, and honoring them when they are killed.

Soldiers during war are asked to do extraordinary things. They will be asked to run into enemy fire, brave chemical and biological weapons, save a buddy, and sometimes sacrifice their lives for the rest of us. Since these actions are against all human instinct, how does a country motivate its soldiers? It has long been known that music has the power to propel ordinary people to extraordinary deeds. I hope that my music will inspire courage within the hearts of the soldiers who hear it.

Think of how you felt when you first heard "God Bless America" after September 11th. People throughout the country drew strength and inspiration from this simple melody. Military bands own America's patriotic and traditional music and it is my duty to remind fellow soldiers of the sense of honor and pride they should feel in serving and defending this country. Also, it is my privilege to remind the public, through music, of the greatness of the nation in which they live.

Last week, the pipe band played in a farewell ceremony on the flight line at Travis AFB for 90 soldiers of the 140th Aviation Company. As we played, the soldiers kissed their spouses and children good-bye for the last time and then they loaded on a jet with rifles slung on their shoulders. In minutes the jet was gone. Everyone left on the ground prayed these men and women would all return safely. It was very sad…

Please know that I am much safer and more comfortable than most of the soldiers in Operation Enduring Freedom. However, I feel that if we pipers have to be in the Army we should be where we can do the most good. That includes going where our troops are. There are no other pipers in the Army and we may or may not be able to get where the troops are. If we do, we will still be safer than all of the soldiers we play for.

I pray for peace, but I believe that the President is doing the right thing. I also believe that what the country does today will make the world a better place for my grandson and I urge everyone to support our President and our soldiers.

Anyway, I didn't mean to go on for this long. Thanks for all of your support. Please know that I am fine and proud to be here.

SSG Steven McKinney
91st Div. Band

Well, it's started.

Wednesday, March 19, 2003

Iraqi Christians Fearful of Backlash

Christians in Iraq are afraid they will be blamed by radical Muslims for any attack by the international coalition led by the US and Britain on Saddam Hussein's regime, according to a report by the Reuters news service.

"Who can predict what will happen if the genie gets out of the bottle?" Father Youssef Tuma told Reuters. "Prayers are all we have left. In the event of an aggression by the West, we pray the other party does not take it out on us or look at Christians of the East as the cause," he said. Christian leaders in Iraq, an officially secular country which has tolerated a variety of religious groups, said they have seen an increase in anti-Christian sentiment, mainly from Sunni Wahhabis, followers of a very strict form of Islam popular in Saudi Arabia.

More here.

19 March

Today is the Solemnity of St. Joseph, the husband of the Blessed Virgin Mary and the foster-father of Our Lord Jesus Christ. All that is known for certain of his life is found in the first and second chapters of St. Matthew's Gospel and the second chapter of St. Luke's Gospel. There are fascinating stories in the revelations of the Venerable Anne Catherine Emmerich and some of the other mystics, some of which mention historical details that have been independently confirmed. But only the Gospels are affirmed by the Church as reliable.

Tuesday, March 18, 2003

"Human Shields"

Calling themselves "human shields," groups of Westerners, including some Americans, are volunteering to encamp at potential bombing targets throughout Iraq in what they say is an effort to protect the people of Iraq if there is a war. What they're really doing is putting themselves and others in danger for a dubious cause.
During the Persian Gulf war, I too was a human shield — though not by choice. I was held hostage by the Iraqi secret police at a possible military target near Baghdad, and the point wasn't to protect Iraqis, but the Iraqi war machine.

The rest of the story is here. Thanks to Jerry Pournelle for the citation.


There is no shortage of Catholic clerics condemning the coming allied attack on Iraq. There are statements from the Holy Father, Pio Cardinal Laghi, and Cardinal Etchegaray here. Roger Cardinal Mahony agrees here. The USCCB has a lot to say here.

But hardly any mention of Fatima. The Holy Father did indeed plead in his latest encyclical for the rosary to be prayed. The USCCB mentions it in passing. And there it ends. The public proclamations never mention Fatima or Our Lady's prerequisites for a lasting peace. No penance of "daily duty". No first Saturdays. And most amazing of all, the "consecration of Russia" issue hasn't been brought up by anyone. Those who insisted it was done properly apparently have had no second thoughts. And those who insisted it wasn't done as Our Lady requested seem to have given up on it altogether. Not a peep out of anybody.

The major public proponents of avoiding war with Iraq seem to believe that peace will be achieved by relying on the U.N., stripping off in public, blocking traffic, and writing your congressman. It's a point of view, I suppose.

There is another view:

Pray the Rosary every day in honor of Our Lady of the Rosary to obtain peace in the world . . . for she alone can save it.” (Our Lady—July 13, 1917)
God has placed peace in her hands, and it is from the Immaculate Heart that men must ask it." (Bl. Jacinta Marto—shortly before her death)

More here.

Patron Saints of Soldiers

Catholic Exchange lists the patron saints of soldiers today:

St. Adrian (but which one?)
St. George
St. Ignatius of Loyola
St. Joan of Arc
St. Michael the Archangel
St. Sebastian

Every year on Memorial Day weekend our pipe band plays with the Third Marine Aircraft Wing Band. It doesn't look like that's going to happen this year. The Marine band's instruments are in storage and the members are already "over there" waiting for the word to go. A few prayers for them would be deeply appreciated.

Monday, March 17, 2003


Beannachtai la fheile Padraig. Today is the feast of St. Patrick.

The 17th day of March yearly is Saint Patrick's, an immoveable feast when ye Irish of all stations and conditions wear crosses in their hats, some of pins, some of green ribbon, and the vulgar superstitiuosly wear shamroges, 3 leaved grass which they likewise eat to cause a sweet breath. -from the Diary of Thomas Dinely, 1681.

A detailed life of St. Patrick can be found here.

St. Patrick is not only the patron of Ireland, but is also the patron saint of the Isle of Man. In addition he is the co-patron of the Archdiocese of Los Angeles, in which jurisdiction the keyboard producing this blog resides.

Friday, March 14, 2003


This is the feast of the Redemptorist saint, St. Clement Mary Hofbauer. The link here gives the basic facts of his life. This is what Pius Parsch relates of him in “The Church’s Year of Grace”:

Only a very great soul, one that trusts entirely in God, could write to Kuestrin from the confinement of a fortress as Faher Hofbauer did when all his life’s plans and hopes were shattered: “It is sweet to suffer when there is nothing for which conscience can reproach one . . . in all things I recognize the will of God! At all times may He be praised! God has permitted this because we were not as we should have been.”

Calumniated and vilified from the very first day, he never knew at what moment he would be banished. A policeman met him upon entering Vienna, and he continued to be annoyed by the authorities until death. At one time, he wrote: “How often I wished I were in a desert, for with sorrow in my heart I see what work could be done but cannot do it.”

Nevertheless, with joyful surprise, he noted that well-disposed persons in the world about him were slowly being converted. It must be regarded as a “veritable miracle that so simple a man could effect countless conversions. There was nothing about him that attracted worldlings. His power to draw others came from within, and had its source in his soul’s vitality and grace. His clothing was simple and worn, his shoes big, with thick soles, his back bent. But his face was always cheerful, kind, and inspiring; his voice was soft and sweet; nothing authoritarian in his manner, a truly humble person. Nevertheless, this venerable man, in spite of his apparent simplicity, plainness, and soft, sweet vioce, possessed a most remarkable dignity.”

A Brief Hello

Two of the great cosmic forces have met at this moment: I have free time at the very same time that my wife is off the computer. This interval may not be long-lasting; sort of like a solar eclipse.

This weekend (through Monday) will not see me in front of the computer screen. Saturday is the Hermosa Beach St.Patrick’s Day Parade for which the band plays. There is an Irish fair afterward and the band is busy at that practically the whole day. Sunday is our monthly Carmelite meeting. And Monday is, of course, La fheile Phadraig itself. The reeds won’t dry out for a week.

Tuesday, March 11, 2003


. . . .is the feast day of Blessed John Larke, "priest and rector of Chelsea, [who] suffered martyrdom in the reign of Henry VIII for refusing to take the unlawful oath of royal supremacy. He was the friend of St. Thomas More, and was put to death on March 11, 1544." The epistle for his feast day is proper: 1 Peter 4. 13-19 "If you partake of the sufferings of Christ, rejoice, that when His glory shall be revealed, you may also be glad with exceeding joy."

Also on this day the Scottish St. Constantine is commemorated. "St. Constantine was a British prince who renounced the world, and retired into a monastery in Wales. After being ordained priest, he was sent as a missionary to the North of Scotland. He converted many Picts to the Faith of Christ, and built a monastery at Govan, in Lanarkshire. He was cruelly put to death in extreme old age, whilst preaching to Gospel in Kintyre. He lived in the sixth century." [all quotations from the 4 vol. St. Andrew's Missal]

In Ireland, it is feast of St. Aengus, called the Culdee (or Ceili De, the friend of God). He was the first to compile a comprehensive volume on the lives of the Irish saints.

Monday, March 10, 2003

Ash Wednesday Again

The Mighty Barrister writes about the reactions he got while wearing his ashes last Wednesday. It includes one poor soul who thought it had something to do with Charlie Manson. (No, really. here's a link; you could look it up.)

I didn't get any reactions. My wife got a few, mostly friendly but ignorant. She can never fathom how anyone can NOT know what the ashes are. Where we live, Ash Wednesday makes the daily paper. The front page, no less. With photos from the year before. She's always more amazed at their ignorance than they are at her ashes.

Sunday, March 09, 2003

Two More!

Two more Carmelite saints, that is. Bl. Maria Maravillas de Jesus, O.C.D. and Fr. Pedro Poveda Castroverde, founder of the Teresian Association will be canonized by Pope John Paul II this coming May 4th. There are ten other proposed saints on the list. (Karen: one of 'em is a Jebbie. This link has the list.)

"P. Joannes Ogilbeus, SJ Scotus Glasguae in odium fidei suspendio"

March 10th is the feast of St. John Ogilvie, S.J., priest and martyr, the first canonized saint of Scotland in 500 years. A more detailed relation of his trial and martyrdom than that given in the first link can be found here.

The First Sunday in Lent

Invocabit me, et ego exuadiam eum!

According to Parsch (cf. The Church’s Year of Grace, vol. II, p. 99) the formulary for today’s Mass for the First Sunday in Lent is one of the most ancient in the traditional Roman rite. The epistle is 2 Corinthians 6. 1-10 and the Gospel Matthew 4. 1-11. The tract is almost the whole of Psalm 90 (in the Septuagint numbering). Pope Leo I, who died in a.d.450, was already well acquainted with it. None of this remains in the Pauline rite, at least this year, with the exception of one or two chants, which will be replaced anyway by some ditty from "Glory and Praise" (known to choir masters nationwide as "GLOP").

France Again

Mystique et Politique points out in this post that French foreign policy doesn't change much. In 1570 France tried her best to discourage the Holy League and the eventual triumph at Lepanto. Plus ça change. . . .

Saturday, March 08, 2003


Today commemorates three saints from the British Isles, one Irish, one Scottish, and one English (sort of).

"St. Senan was abbot and bishop of Iniscarthaig, an island in the Shannon. He made a pilgrimage to Rome, and on his return remained with his friend St. David of Wales." (The quotation is from the notice in the St. Andrew's Missal. This gives the Welsh a look-in for today also.)

In England, St. Felix, a native of Burgundy, is honored as the apostle of the East Angles, whose King Sigebert he converted to the faith.

And finally St. Duthac, "a Scot of noble birth, went to Ireland for improvment in learning and piety. On his return to Scotland, he was made bishop of Ross, and devoted himself with zeal to the care of his flock. He went to his heavenly reward in 1249, according to the Aberdeen breviary." I can find no significant story of his life on the web; the text given above is also from the St. Andrew's Missal. There are pictures of places associated with St. Duthac here.

You know that spring is just around the corner

. . . . when you can't practice your pipes in the park on a Saturday because it is chock-a-block with little leaguers. You can't even find a place to park for all the coaches and parents and tiny ball players in their perfectly detailed, if miniature, uniforms.

The taller ball players are back playing their spring-training games, too. I keep missing them; I'm not ready for baseball at 10:30 in the a.m. I need to set another alarm. This should be a great season for the Angels. The entire 2002 line-up will be back again. And this year Francisco Rodriguez will be in for the entire season -- not just for the World Series.

Not Quite "Silence of the Lambs"

But as close as a fastidious capitalism can get. An interesting article about "dead peasant's insurance" here. [Thanks to The Edge of England's Sword for the reference.]

Ransom Yourself Back From The System

Some distributism, detachment, and Christian economics in a nutshell. It can be found here.
A nice catch from TS O'Rama.



Sunday, 2 March 2003 
"1. Next Wednesday - Ash Wednesday - we will begin Lent, a time defined by a more acute consciousness of the need for conversion and renewal, during which the faithful are invited to look with greater intensity at Christ who prepares himself to fulfil the supreme sacrifice of the cross.
"This year we will undertake the penitential journey toward Easter with a greater commitment to prayer and fasting for peace, that is put at risk by the growing threat of war. Last Sunday, I already announced this initiative whose purpose is to involve the faithful in fervent prayer to Christ, Prince of Peace. Indeed, peace is a gift of God to be invoked with humble and insistent confidence.
Without surrendering before difficulties, it is also necessary to seek and pursue every possible avenue to avoid war, which always brings mourning and serious consequences for all.

"2. The liturgy of Ash Wednesday invites us to add fasting to prayer, a penitential practice that calls for a more profound spiritual effort, the conversion of the heart, with the firm decision to turn away from evil and sin, to be better disposed to fulfil the will of God. With physical fasting, and, even more so with interior fasting, the Christian prepares himself to follow Christ and to be his faithful witness in every circumstance. Moreover, fasting helps us to understand better the difficulties and sufferings of so many of our brothers and sisters who are oppressed by hunger, severe poverty and war. In addition, it prompts us to a concrete solidarity and sharing with those who are in need.

"3. Dear Brothers and Sisters, let us dispose ourselves to participate intensely in the Day of Prayer and Fasting for Peace, which we will observe next Wednesday. We will pray for peace in the world, in particular, for Iraq and the Holy Land, especially through the recitation of the Rosary, which will involve shrines, parishes, communities and families. From every part of the earth may this collective prayer rise through the intercession of Mary, Mother of Mercy and Queen of Peace."

Friday, March 07, 2003

The Anchorhold

All of St. Blog's know by now that Karen Marie is in hospital and not doing too well. So I know I'm not telling you anything you don't know. But since I don't have an address or know which hospital she is in, this little notice will have to do in lieu of flowers and a card. "Almighty and everlasting God, the eternal salvation of those who believe; hear us on behalf of Thy handmaiden who is sick, for whom we humbly crave the help of Thy mercy, that, being restored to health, she may render thanks to Thee in Thy Church. Through our Lord Jesus Christ.” [from the old votive Mass for the Sick]


. . .is the feast of Ss. Perpetua and Felicitas in the new calendar. There is an excerpt from their “Passion”, most of it written by St. Perpetua herself, in the Office of Readings for today. The entire text can be found here. It’s one of the most beautiful of all the second readings in my intermittently humble opinion.

7 March is also the old feast of St. Thomas Aquinas.

Thursday, March 06, 2003

You know that spring is just over the horizon when

. . . .you get fresh California strawberries from Trader Joe's. More than I wanted to pay (almost four bucks, and from Trader Joe's, no less; what would they be at a regular market?) but worth it. I bought a pound. Almost half are gone. Luscious and sweet, with a real strawberry, strawberry flavor. This is so much better than the sweet stuff I gave up for. . .um. . . .uh, Lent. Uh, oh. This isn't very pentitential, is it.

Wednesday, March 05, 2003


This marks the 50th anniversary of the death of Sergei Sergeiivich Prokofiev. It took me a very long time to get to appreciate, not to say tolerate, his music. If every grammar school teacher I ever had were not convinced that regular exposure to “Peter and the Wolf” was as vital to my development as good nutrition things might have been otherwise. I really hated that piece. I never intentionally listened to another note of Prokofiev’s.

And then one day the late and greatly lamented KFAC played his classical symphony. A revelation. The classical symphony was the door to Prokofiev. No longer was there a rush for the “off” button when his music was announced. He will never be a favorite and I can still very happily miss “Peter and the Wolf”. But “Romeo and Juliet”, “The Lieutenant Kizheh Suite”, and much else I find to be well worth the listening.

While on the subject of well-known Russians, this is also the 50th anniversary of the death of Joseph Stalin, a politician.

Tuesday, March 04, 2003


Tomorrow being Ash Wednesday and the first day of Lent in the Latin rite, this is Shrove Tuesday -- "shrove" as in "shriven". That is, the day for confession so you can start Lent with a scoured skillet, as my grandma used to say. It's also called Fat Tuesday, the day you use up all the fat in the house since you won't be needing it again until Easter Sunday.

The 4th of March is also the first day of the Novena of Grace, celebrated in honor of St. Francis Xavier. The novena is prayed on the 9 days prior to the anniversary day of his canonisation.

Sunday, March 02, 2003


This is the feast of St. Ceadda (or “Chad” – and yes, oddly enough, there were problems with his election as bishop; more at the link). St. Ceadda was a Northumbrian by birth but a monk of Melfont Abbey in Ireland. He was at one time Bishop of York and later Bishop of Lichfield.


Yesterday was the feast of St. David ("Daffyd" or "Dewi"), the patronal feast day of Wales. This is not David the king and author of the psalms but David, the sixth century bishop of Menevia and son of a Welsh prince. There is more about him here. St. David's Cathedral, a medieval cathedral built on the site of one of St. David's monasteries, has an interesting web page here. A belated happy feast day to any Welsh who happen upon this page.

Quinquagesima Sunday

This is the last Sunday before Lent. “Behold, we are going up to Jerusalem, and all things that are written through the prophets shall be fulfilled unto the Son of Man.”

The epistle today is the “charity” epistle: 1 Corinthians 13: 1-13. Beautiful to read. Hard to do. Especially for the chronically cantankerous, such as this writer.