Wednesday, April 30, 2003

Help Wanted

Always wanted to be a "Gender Affairs" Officer in Afghanistan? Well, then this is your lucky day. Cacciaguida has the particulars on the new opening under the sponsorship of the U.N. here. If the perma (sic) link is not working - and it appears that it is not - you may have to click on "Cacciaguida", scroll down to April 29 and look for the second post under that date.

- Assist Gender Advisor in ensuring policy coherence and an integrated, coordinated approach including in particular, gender mainstreaming activities by meeting regularly with staff with Gender responsibilities from across the mission;

Yeah. Okey-doke. I can do that.


This is the feast of two English priest martyrs, Blessed Miles Gerard and Blessed Francis Dickenson (also sometimes spelled Dickinson or Dicconson), who were both hanged, drawn and quartered for their priesthood on this day in 1590.

This is also the feast of Blessed Hildegard who married well and became Mrs. Charlemagne. It's difficult to find much about her on the web as most of the lebendy-leben billion sites seem to be new-age drivel or femininist fantasizing about Hildegard von Bingen.

Sunday, April 27, 2003


This is the feast of St. Peter Chanel, Marist priest and first martyr of "Oceania". He was consecrated to Our Lady by his mother while he was still in utero and was noted for his Marian devotion. He is also the patron saint of The Best Parish In The Archdiocese of Los Angeles. No, they don't celebrate the traditional Roman rite, only the Pauline rite. But it's done according to order. And the holiness of the priests there is almost palpable.

Weather Report

The trip down to Mass in Huntington Beach was beautiful: a fresh, brisk spring day, temperature in the low 70’s and sunshine all day. We took the coast highway as always. The tide seemed higher than usual and the surfers were taking advantage of what looked from the vantage point of the Pacific Coast Highway like excellent conditions. The trip takes about a half hour; St. Mary's is something under 20 miles from this keyboard.

And, yes, all Masses are good but this one is the very best of all, being in the ancient Roman rite, done in the language and manner of our ancestors for as close to two thousand years as makes no difference. Whatever is buried right into our blood from immemorial habit that we must be certain to do if we are to be fairly happy (of course no grown man or woman can really be very happy for long—but I mean reasonably happy), and, what is more important, decent and secure of our souls. (More from The Path to Rome. What a great re-discovery that book is. And on my shelf all the time. Thanks once more, Steven.) And again: Of course there is a grace and influence belonging to such a custom, but it is not of that I am speaking but of the pleasing sensation of order and accomplishment which attaches to a day one has opened by Mass; a purely temporal, and, for all I know. . . .carnal feeling, but a source of continual comfort to me.

On the way to lunch we checked the surf again, noted that the sea birds are on their way north from the Bolsa Chica refuge, and sang as much of the triduum "Lamentations" as we could remember. Which wasn't very much. "Ierusalem, Ierusalem: convertere ad Dominum Deum tuum" was the only bit we both remembered in its entirety.

The Path To Rome

Flos Carmeli points out here that Belloc's The Path To Rome is available on-line in its entirety. Almost. The drawings are not included. Which is a great pity because he refers to them continually and they give a glimpse of a Europe that is almost gone. The book is Belloc's memoir and sketchbook of his walking pilgrimage from Toul in Lorraine to Rome. There is nothing like it in English. Or probably in any other language.

Coffee in the village left me two francs and two pennies. I still thought the thing could be done, so invigorating and deceiving are the early hours, and coming farther down the road to an old and beautiful courtyard on the left, I drew it, [I can't reproduce the drawings either. But if I could, you'd see a half page pencil sketch of a medieval courtyard right here.] and hearing a bell at hand I saw a tumble-down church with trees before it, and went in to Mass; and though it was a little low village Mass, yet the priest had three acolytes to serve it, and (true and gracious mark of a Catholic country!) these boys were restless and distracted at their office.

You may think it trivial, but it was certainly a portent. One of the acolytes had half his head clean shaved! A most extraordinary sight! I could not take my eyes from it, and I heartily wished I had an Omen-book with me to tell what it might mean.

Saturday, April 26, 2003

Confederate Memorial Day

April 26 is Confederate Memorial Day. Michelle at And Then? has done all the research so I shall just send you to her site. She has been "remembering" all week and there are several articles. Start here and work your way up to today. Some of the other links are here, here, here, and Fr. Abram Ryan's famous "Conquered Banner" is here. Scroll through the week for any I missed.

Low Sunday

Tomorrow is Low Sunday, so called by comparison with Easter. It was also called Dominica in albis deponendam, the Sunday for putting off the white garments. At one time the new Christians who were baptized on Holy Saturday wore their white baptismal garments to the sacred liturgy for all of Easter week and only resumed ordinary clothes on this Sunday, Dominca in albis.

It's also sometimes called Quasimodo Sunday after the Introit, which begins Quasimodo geniti infantes, Alleluia. . .: As newborn babies, alleluia. (Taken from 1 Peter 2:2). Victor Hugo's Hunchback of Notre Dame was supposed to have been born on this day.

In the traditional Roman rite this Sunday's Gospel is John 20: 19-31 which includes the story of "Doubting Thomas". The story of Thomas provides, I think, an additional proof of Our Lord's resurrection. Since he is Thomas, "Didymus, the twin" he is an expert witness. Having been mistaken for someone else his whole life, he's an expert in mistaken identity. If Thomas says it's Our Lord, it is. And not someone who just looks like Him.

Finally, Pope John Paul II declared this to be Mercy Sunday, as Our Lord requested in His revelations to St. Faustina Kowalska. The latest edition of the Pauline Missal refers to this day as the feast of Mercy.

Roast Beef II

The Roast Beef of Old England was not supposed to be sitting there all by itself, unannotated and linkless for the past week. But so it was until just this very minute. It was supposed to include a boxful of diverse references linked to things that the song reminded me of. The links obviously never made it to the website and now I can’t find my list. (Well, there are a couple a’ three there now.) But it was a great concept originally. Really. (And it was St. George's Day. St. George for England. Old English roast beef. Oh, well.)

Tuesday, April 22, 2003

Roast Beef Of Old England

When mighty roast beef was the Englishman's food
It ennobl'd our veins and enriched our blood

Our soldiers were brave and our courtiers were good
Oh! The roast beef of Old England, and Old English roast beef!

But since we have learned from all vapouring France
To eat their ragouts, as well as to dance.
We are fed up with nothing but vain complaisance
Oh! The roast beef of Old England, and Old English roast beef.

Our fathers, of old, were robust, stout and strong
And kept open house, with good cheer all day long.
Which made their plump tenants rejoice in this song
Oh! The roast beef of Old England, and Old English roast beef!

Burned Libraries Make Iraq's History a War Casualty

Amid the shock over the plunder of priceless artworks from Iraq's National Museum of Antiquities, relatively little attention has been paid to the burning last week of Iraq's libraries. While the extent of the loss is not yet fully known, two great libraries, with priceless ancient collections, have been burned, and at least two others looted.

''In many respects, what has happened is the complete destruction of history,'' says Traianos Gagos, head archivist of the University of Michigan Papyrus Collection. ''Manuscripts are the main materials we use to write history - it is the evidence. Books published in the last 30 years can be replaced. But rare manuscripts can never be replaced.''

''The looting and burning of virtually all these collections,'' says Andras Riedlmayer, bibliographer in Islamic art at Harvard's Fine Arts Library and a specialist in cultural heritage threatened by war, ''is an incalculable and largely irreplaceable loss. Just imagine the Library of Congress and National Archive pillaged and burned.''

The rest of the article appears in yesterday's Boston Globe here. You're reading the blog of someone whose home is overwhelmed with books. The den has floor to ceiling shelves on every wall; my long-suffering wife even allows one wall of the bedroom to be covered with bookshelves. And there are still more books stacked on the floor in this office. No, all books are not created equal. But a story like this still reads to me like a species of sacrilege.

[Thanks, Kirk, for the reference.]

No Catholics Need Apply

Certainly not if the honorable Senator Feinstein (D.(naturally)-CA) has anything to say about it. President George W. Bush has nominated J. Leon Holmes to serve as a federal judge for eastern Arkansas.  But his nomination has run into trouble with some Democrats who believe Holmes is too religious. The Catholic League has more to say about it here.

Example number 5, 611,416 demonstrating that Rod Dreher has hit it spot on in his essay The Godless Party.

[Thanks once again to Joseph Montoya for steering me to the "Holmes" issue.]

Monday, April 21, 2003

SSPX and Reconciliation

It turns out that this was a . . . well, not exactly a false alarm. A false ray of light, I suppose. SSPX says here that t'aint so. [They blame the false rumor on "Rome". I would have thought the secular press in general and the "Murdoch" press in particular would have been sufficient. Whatever. In any event, it's a pity.]

Easter Monday

Easter Monday 2003 is the 87th anniversary of the Easter Rising in Ireland. Initially a catastrophic defeat for Irish nationalism, it led to the Irish Free State in 1922 and eventually to the 26 county republic. At one time there were celebrations and the Army bands paraded down O'Connell Street in Dublin. No more apparently. At least there's nothing in the papers about it.

Sunday, April 20, 2003

Easter Chronicle

Today is Easter; I am at Solesmes.
The air is still and delicate and sweet.
Violets cloud the path before my feet
And edge the village with their purple hem.
Alone, bemused with song, I gather them,
Thinking how, on this morning, I should meet
Blossoming sound, antiphonal, complete,
Blossoming color, leaf and flower and stem.

It has unfolded for me like a flower,
This great Gregorian chant: the solemn Mass,
The morning Office, hour by heavenly hour.
There shall remain when lesser praise shall pass
This music that is peace and prayer and power,
These April violets in the quickened grass.
-Sister Madeleva

The Other Godless Party

Touchstone reports here on the secret meeting of the Chairman of the Republican National Committee with a group of homosexualist activists. Object: undermine what remains of the GOP's support of the normal human family.

SSPX: Reconciliation in the Offing?

This news has been pointed out to me three times (so far) this Easter Sunday. The Times of London is reporting that Archbishop Lefebvre's Society of St. Pius X - currently not in communion with the Holy See - is on the verge of a reconciliation which will include three of its four bishops and the bulk of its priories and Mass centers. Only Bishop Williamson is apparently holding out.

The original article in Il Messaggero is here. (In Italian only.) If my rocky Italian is correct, the official announcement is to be made at a solemn pontifical Mass in the traditional rite celebrated by Cardinal Castrillon Hoyos at St.Mary Major in Rome on 24 May. This will also be the first solemn pontifical Mass in the traditional rite at St. Mary Major or any of the pontifical basilicas in Rome since the reform in 1969.

Please God, the news is true and not just press speculation. Or worse, an attempt to derail the reconciliation. (One is not encouraged by The Times' reporter's misunderstanding of so many aspects of the current liturgical controversies.)

Christ is Risen!


Saturday, April 19, 2003

Holy and Great Saturday

Make sure your Adobe Acrobat Reader is working and go here for a fascinating article on the liturgical and social traditions of Holy Saturday and the Easter fire. Scroll down to the second page to begin.

A sample:

The people also bring their own sticks of oak, walnut, and beech, which they char in the Easter fire and then take home with them. Some of these sticks are then burned at home in a newly-kindled fire, with a prayer that God will preserve the home from fire, lightning and hail. Thus every house receives "new fire".

Speaking of confessions. . . .

I have missed most of my appointments with the blog this week. It has been a full week. One all-day meeting and several funerals have filled the time available. It was a rather fitting time for funerals, looking forward to Good Friday. (They weren't Catholic funerals; I wonder if they would have been liturgically allowed in our Church during Holy Week?) But the cloudy, drizzly weather and the advent of the Passion commemoration seemed suited to the occasion.

And this afternoon I have a wedding to do. I don't know if I would have agreed to do it if I'd realized it was Holy Saturday. Probably not. But it's a long-standing commitment, and at least it's after Vespers so Lent is technically over and it's an Easter wedding of sorts. At least it's in a hotel and not a park. (Does nobody get married in a church any more?)

Easter Confession

If you're anywhere in southern California you still have time to make your Easter confession. I just noticed this morning on the St. Peter Chanel parish bulletin what the hours are for confession today: 8:30 a.m. to 7:30 p.m. This is almost unbelieveable. Without a doubt, the Oblates of the Virgin Mary are the most dedicated priests on the North American continent.

Friday, April 18, 2003

Another Bishop With A Conscience

First Governor Gray we-are-now-the-most-pro-choice-state-in-the-nation Davis and now Senator Tom Daschle receive instruction in their catechism. And not before time either.

Day One

Good Friday is the first day of the Divine Mercy Novena, ending on Low Sunday. The text can be found here, along with much other information on St. Faustina Kowalska and the Divine Mercy devotion. Another text - perhaps a little easier on the eyes - can be found here.


Unexpected penitential side-effects of Good Friday penance:

Marketing on Good Friday is more difficult than usual: the free-sample booths. Those little sausages being grilled at the end of the aisle never smell so good as they do on Good Friday. Except maybe, Ash Wednesday.

It's only on Good Friday that I realize that I sample everything as I go when cooking. It is really difficult not to .

The Traditional Good Friday Liturgy

. . . .is here in English and here in Latin.

Why You Cannot Possibly Hate All the French

The reasons are here. Click on the "photos" link and you will find some pictures of the traditional Holy Week [La Semaine Sainte] ceremonies in the parish of St-Martin de Brethencourt. There is more to France than Jacques Chirac, who was only elected because the alternatives were too dreadful to contemplate. (Haven't we had a couple of those ourselves?)

Religious Iraq: Not Everyone is a Mohammedan

Ad Orientem had an exploration yesterday of the state of Christianity, and the Eastern Catholic churches in particular, in Iraq. Worth a visit.

There is a Jewish community in Baghdad also, and has been at least since 597 B.C. But apparently not for much longer. This article tells some of the story. A sample:

The rallying cry of centuries of Jews is a fading echo this Passover in Baghdad, among a disappearing, dispirited remnant of an ancient and important Jewish community.

"Somebody used to know how to make seder' the traditional Passover dinner "but not me,' a sad young woman, at 37 one of the youngest Iraqi Jews in Baghdad, said Thursday, first day of the seven-day holiday commemorating the Jews' flight to freedom from Egypt.

. . . . . .

"I'm alone. I'm afraid. I can't say I'm Jewish,' she said, and yet she also can't envision living in Israel. When she took fright at a journalist's Iraqi driver, imagining him a government security man, she suddenly began to weep.

"I want my prayers back!' she said.

The rest of the article is here.

The Irish Regiments in Iraq

A useful short article outlining the history of the Irish regiments in Iraq appears here. The source is of the fire-breathing republican variety which is fairly obvious and it does have a couple of minor, well, not inaccuracies, but shall we say misleading points. (The author says the Royal Irish never served in the area. The Royal Irish is a result of several successive amalgamations and some of its constituent regiments did. The Royal Irish wear some of their insignia and considers itself their successor, so. . . .)

The article includes a link to the complete text of Col. Collins' by-now famous speeech to the Royal Irish before the campaign began.

Mark Steyn is a wonder

Yes, I still wish I could write like he does. For instance:

The late Mr. S. Hussein seems to have resigned to spend more time with his ancestors.

That made me laugh out loud. It appears in a recent column of Mark Steyn's in The Spectator along with this insight: The UN doesn't solve problems, it manages them in perpetuity. It turns them into "Les Miserables"; come back two decades later and it's still running. . . . .Any German contemplating Palestine's "refugee" "camps", now celebrating their golden jubilee, ought to be grateful his country enjoyed the straightforward benefits of victors' justice.

Sunday, April 13, 2003


Lydwina of Schiedam is honored on this day. She had some remarkable mystical experiences and, if I remember correctly, she was one of the “Amazing Mystics” that Montague Summers found so fascinating. She was never formally canonized but her cultus was approved by Pope Leo XIII. She ought, therefore, to be styled “Blessed” but in the few places where she is listed it is usually as “Saint”. She is certainly remarkable enough in that her biography was written both by Thomas a’ Kempis and by J.K. Huysmans. That doesn’t happen every day.

This is also Monday in Holy Week. The Gospel reading at Mass in the traditional Roman rite is that from St. John’s Gospel [12: 1-9]which records Judas whingeing about the cost of the ointment used to anoint Our Lord when it could have been sold and the money given to the poor. A useful passage to remember in the face of those who de-nude our churches of the splendor designed to honor Our Lord.

A New Kid On The Blog

Not the subtlest pun I've ever put in a headline but, on the whole, I rather like it.

The reference is to Michael Brendan, a new member of St Blog's parish, who presides over the Cross and Crown. No, not a pub competing with The Inn but a blog with traditionalist leanings in religion and politics, a love for rock'n'roll, and a disapproving view of Miss Laurie Dhue's magnificent gams, which I seem to remember did tend to make the eyes light up and say "howdy".

Give him a visit. After less than a week in the blogosphere, he has already posted some thoughtful, well-considered pieces.



Selections from Kevin Danaher’s The Year in Ireland: Irish Calendar Customs.

"At least one member of every household brought home from the church a piece of the palm blessed on this day in commemoration of Christ’s entry into Jerusalem. Usually every member of the family was at Mass and each brought home a piece of palm. The men and boys broke off a sprig of it when leaving the church and wore it all day in hat or cap band or coat lapel.

"In Ireland the ‘palm’ is usually conifer such as silver fir, spruce, cypress or, very often, yew. Indeed, Palm Sunday was Domhnach an Iúir (Yew Sunday) to many Irish speakers."

. . . . .

"A sprig of the palm was hung up in the house, and farming families usually put a sprig in the byre, too, so that the cattle might share in the blessing and protection. A sprig was set aside for use when occasion arose as a holy water sprinkler."

. . . . . . . .

"It was especially ominous if Palm Sunday fell upon another festival. If ‘the Shamrock and the Palm were worn together’, that is to say if Palm Sunday coincided with St. Patrick’s Day something unusual was expected to occur, although opinions varied as to what this might be. Usually it was taken as a happy omen – the summer would be exceptionally fine, or Ireland’s troubles would come to an end. Similar prognostications were confidently made when Palm Sunday fell upon 25 March, the feast of the Annunciation."

Saturday, April 12, 2003

Friday Five On Saturday

1. What was the first band you saw in concert?
St. Finbarr's Pipe Band when it toured the west coast of the U.S. about 15 or 20 years ago. (Well, what did you think I was going to answer?)

2. Who is your favorite artist/band now?
It would have been the Victoria Police PB if the cretins who run the City of Victoria hadn't shut them down. Now, it's probably Field Marshal Montgomery Memorial PB. Or maybe Maple Ridge PB. I heard them last year at Pleasanton, I think. They have a beautiful sound, rich drones, and an excellent choice of tunes, well-arranged and well-played.

3. What's your favorite song?
Depends upon mood, circumstances, and a host of imponderables. Right now I'm particularly enjoying a very simple 6/8 called The 10th H.L.I. Crossing the Rhine. And I never tire of Allegri's Miserere. But sometimes it's one of the jazz tunes my mother used to play. And Ann Gray's Señor Celtic y El Grupo.

4. If you could play any instrument, what would it be?
What a joy to say that I already play the Highland bagpipe. Someday the uillean pipes, I think. When my ship comes in.

5. If you could meet any musical icon (past or present), who would it be and why?
That's another "it depends" question. At the moment, Donald Shaw Ramsay. A fine musician and composer and by all accounts an excellent teacher.

A Bible As Unique As I Am!

Where does Fr. Sibley find this stuff?

What fascinates me about this is how it's going to play in the second-hand market. Picture, if you will, your average unchurched citizen perusing the shelves in his local Previously Owned Books. He picks up a previously owned Bible As Unique As You Are and looks up John 3:16 just to see what that guy with the sign at the ball game is on about and he finds "God so loved Fred Schwartz that He gave His only begotten Son so that if Fred Schwartz believeth in Him, Fred Schwartz may not perish but have life everlasting." If your average unchurched citizen thought religion was confusing before. . . .

It Had To Happen

Sooner or later, you knew Baghdad Bob was going to get his own website. And he has. You can type in or you can click on it. It's a good'un, filled with choice quotes from the Sage of Sahaf.

'We have destroyed 2 tanks, fighter planes, 2 helicopters and their shovels - We have driven them back."

Thanks to Eve Tushnet for find this one.

Friday, April 11, 2003

11 APRIL revisited

This, the first Friday in Passion Week, in the traditional Roman calendar is also the first of the two feasts of Our Lady of Sorrows. (The second is on September 15.) The text of the Mass liturgy of the day includes the beautiful sequence, Stabat Mater. This hymn used to be a staple of the Friday Stations of the Cross devotion in Lent. It doesn't seem to be used much any more. I can't find any links to the music so you'll have to make do with the words. First in Latin:

Stabat Mater dolorosa
Juxta Crucem lacrimosa,
Dum pendebat Filius.

Cujus animam gementem,
Contristatam et dolentem,
Pertransivit gladius.

O quam tristis et afflicta
Fuit illa benedicta
Mater Unigeniti!

Quem maerebat, et dolebat,
Pia Mater, dum videbat
Nati paenas inclyti.

Quis est homo, qui non fleret,
Matrem Christi si videret
In tanto supplicio ?

Quis non posset contristari,
Christi Matrem contemplari
Dolentem cum Filio?

Pro peccatis suae gentis
Vidit Jesum in tormentis,
Et flagellis subditum.

Vidit suum dulcem natum
Moriendo desolatum,
Dum emisit spiritum.

Eia Mater, fons amoris,
Me sentire vim doloris
Fac, ut tecum lugeam.

Fac, ut ardeat cor meum
In amando Christum Deum,
Ut sibi complaceam.

Sancta Mater, istud agas,
Crucifixi fige plagas
Cordi meo valide.

Tui nati vulnerati,
Tam dignati pro me pati,
Paenas rnecum divide.

Fac me tecum pie flere,
Crucifixo condolere,
Donec ego vixero.

Juxta Crucem tecum stare,
Et me tibi sociare
In planctu desidero.

Virgo virginum praeclara,
Mihi jam non sis amara:
Fac me tecum plangere.

Fac, ut portem Christi mortem
Passionis fac consortum,
Et plagas recolere.

Fac me plagis vulnerari
Fac me cruce inebriari,
Et cruore Filii.

Flammis ne urar succensus
Per te, Virgo, sim defensus
In die judicii.

Christe, cum sit hinc exire,
Da per Matrem me venire,
Ad palmam victoriae.

Quando corpus morietur,
Fac, ut animae donetur
Paradisi gloria.

And then in English. This is the traditional English version I remember from my youth:

At the cross her station keeping,
Stood the mournful Mother weeping,
Close to Jesus to the last.

Through her heart, His sorrow sharing,
All His bitter anguish bearing,
Now at length the sword had pass'd.

Oh, how sad and sore distress'd
Was that Mother highly blest
Of the sole-begotten One !

Christ above in torment hangs;
She beneath beholds the pangs
Of her dying glorious Son.

Is there one who would not weep,
Whelm'd in miseries so deep
Christ's dear Mother to behold ?

Can the human heart refrain
From partaking in her pain,
In that Mother's pain untold?

Bruis'd, derided, curs'd, defil'd,
She beheld her tender child
All with bloody scourges rent.

For the sins of His own nation,
Saw Him hang in desolation,
Till His spirit forth He sent.

O thou Mother! fount of love!
Touch my spirit from above;
Make my heart with thine accord.

Make me feel as thou hast felt;
Make my soul to glow and melt
With the love of Christ our Lord.

Holy Mother! pierce me through;
In my heart each wound renew
Of my Saviour crucified.

Let me share with thee His pain,
Who for all my sins was slain,
Who for me in torments died.

Let me mingle tears with thee,
Mourning Him who mourn'd for me,
All the days that I may live.

By the cross with thee to stay,
There with thee to weep and pray,
Is all I ask of thee to give.

Virgin of all virgins best,
Listen to my fond request
Let me share thy grief divine.

Let me, to my latest breath,
In my body bear the death
Of that dying Son of thine.

Wounded with His every wound,
Steep my soul till it hath swoon'd
In His very blood away.

Be to me, O Virgin, nigh,
Lest in flames I burn and die,
In His awful Judgment day.

Christ, when Thou shalt call me hence,
Be Thy Mother my defence,
Be Thy cross my victory.

While my body here decays,
May my soul Thy goodness praise,
Safe in Paradise with Thee.

[Thanks to the excellent Mary Mediatrix site for the English and Latin texts of the hymn. There is much else of interest at the site; it's well-worth browsing if you are a Marian devotee at all.]

Latest Regular Visitation

(Must do something about that headline. It looks as though I'm blogging about apparitions. I'm mostly not, except for this little aside in which I will mention that if you are interested in apparitions, Gerard has a link today to an apparition buff who has the real skinny on who's in hell and who isn't. Now's your chance to find out if poor old great uncle Fred was really as, well, you know, as the rest of the family said.)

What that headline primarily refers to is Chad Dimpler, Election Analyst, a blog of which I am increasingly fond. Chad does his election analyzing at the slightly tilted Dimpler Towers. Election analyzing per se actually has not been much in evidence lately, probably due to a dearth of recent elections. But there's much else to peruse. Where else could you learn about Fatwa Sam's Online Bazaar for all your Jihad Needs?



Today is the feast day of St. Gemma Galgani and the 100th anniversary of her death. St. Gemma, one of the most popular saints of the first half of the 20th century, was a mystic of some note and suffered a good many trials both spiritual and physical. She seems even to have been possessed at one point. This link is to a website devoted to her with lots of good pictures.

This is also the 395th anniversary of the hanging, drawing, and quartering of Blessed George Gervase, O.S.B. who may be the only beatified pirate in the calendar. O.K., former pirate. But he sailed with Drake, nevertheless. He was also a priest and a Benedictine and it was for his priesthood that Good Queen Bess had him tortured and killed.

The Stars and Stripes

Remember that flag that was placed over the statue of Saddam the other day just before they pulled the statue down? The one some of the press found so offensive? Yes, that one. It was flying at the Pentagon on September 11. The Times of London tells the story here.

Thursday, April 10, 2003


No, not mine; that was 23 years ago. But two St. Blog's parishioners. Click here for the particulars.

Another Piper Casualty

Christopher Muzvuru, a piper in the Irish Guards, was killed near Basra three days ago. Guardsman Muzvuru was born in Zimbabwe and had volunteered for the Guards and the pipe band. This article contains a short interview with him near the very end. "I always wanted to learn the bagpipes," he explained. "When we take Basra and all this is over, it's my dearest ambition to play before the queen." . He is listed among those killed here. God rest his soul.

Tuesday, April 08, 2003

The 13th: The Greatest of Centuries

Normally, I agree wholeheartedly with the sentiments expressed by Professor Walsh in his book title. But there are certain occasions when I can be convinced otherwise. Sitting in the dentist's chair today was one of those occasions. Thank you God, for novocain and electric dental equipment. And for pain-killers that actually work. Oh, yes.

Flowers of the Forest

The BBC reports here that two Irish Guards have been killed in the fighting around Basra. One of them was a Dublin man, Corporal Ian Malone, a member of the regimental pipe band. God have mercy on his soul. A tune for him this evening, and a prayer, are in order.

Monday, April 07, 2003


Several priests were martyred on this day in England. In 1606 the Jesuit Father Edward Oldcorne was executed for his priesthood along with the Jesuit lay brother Ralph Ashby. Fr. Oldcorne was beatified in 1929.

St Henry Walpole was hanged, drawn, and quartered for his priesthood in 1595, along with Bl. Alexander Rawlins.

In the Norbertine Order, this is the feast of St. Hermann Joseph, a priest of that Order who lived in the late 12th to early 13th centuries.

And finally, 52 years ago today my father died while on duty with the United States Navy. God have mercy on his soul. My thanks in advance if you can find a moment to say a Hail Mary for his soul.


In the traditional Roman rite, yesterday was the first Sunday in Passiontide. Parsch says that The Church now enters the period of mourning over her divine Bridegroom as she puts on her widow’s weeds. Passiontide. . . .makes the third stage in our preparation for Easter. If Pre-Lent was only an introduction and the past four weeks a time of conversion and spiritual renewal, Passiontide in a special way commemorates Christ’s suffering.

In the liturgy this finds expression in various ways. For instance, the crosses and statues in churches are draped, an outward sign of the Church’s inward sorrow. Over crosses, brilliant with precious stones and a-shimmer with gold or silver, a cloak is placed. . . while pictures and statues lose importance in the face of Christ’s suffering.

The last remaining traces of joy are eliminated – the “Gloria Patri” is omitted in the Introit, Lavabo, and Breviary responsories. The omission of Psalm 42, at the foot of the altar before Mass, is likewise interpreted as an expression of mourning, as in Requiem Masses.

It is on the first Passion Sunday that the traditional liturgy begins the use of some of the beautiful hymn, the Vexilla Regis prodeunt.

A version in English:

Forth comes the Standard of the King:
All hail, thou Mystery ador’d!
Hail, Cross! On which the Life Himself
Died, and by death our life restor’d!

On which our Saviour’s holy side
Rent upon with a cruel spear
Of blood and water poured a stream,
To wash us from defilement clear.

O sacred wood! in Thee fulfill’d
Was holy David’s truthful lay!
Which told the world, that from a tree
The Lord should all the nations sway.

Most royally empurpled o’er,
How beauteously thy stem doth shine!
How glorious was its lot to touch
Those limbs so holy and divine!

Thrice blest, upon whose arms outstretched
The Saviour of the world reclined;
Balance sublime! Upon whose beam
Was weighed the ransom of mankind.

Hail, Cross! Thou only hope of man,
Hail, on this holy Passionday!
To saints increase the grace they have;
From sinners purge their guilt away.

Salvation’s spring, blest Trinity,
Be praise to Thee through earth and skies:
Thou through the Cross the victory
Dost give; oh, also give the prize!
[from the old St. Andrew’s Missal]

Bagpipes Play As Black Watch Takes Basra

From the 7 April 2003 number of The Scotsman:

On the other side of the bridge over the Shatt al-Basra canal, Lieutenant William Colquhoun had unpacked his bagpipes and sat on the turret of his Warrior waiting for the order to advance. As the sun attempted to poke through smoke rolling lazily across desolate marshland stretching away on either side of the bridge, wading birds were picking their way among the long grasses.
As he began to play, the sound of Scotland the Brave drifted across the bridge towards the city, competing with the clatter of rotor blades as four Cobra helicopters raced in to join the attack.

Saturday, April 05, 2003

Pvt. Jessica Lynch

. . .seems to have been shot after all. That's in addition to the two broken legs, the broken arm, ankle, foot, wound and whatever else they did to her. The Fox News story is here. There's a little strathspey called "Jessie's Welcome Home" in the first Edcath book. Might be worth learning (if I could find the darn book).

John and the Blustery Day

It's sunny here today. But it's cooled off considerably and the wind is quite strong. Some of the folks from the band will be playing in Pasadena this evening out in a park. This is somebody's bright idea to drum up business for tomorrow evening in which we will be playing for $$ in a restaurant. [Beckham Grill, if you're interested.] I expect my fingers will be too cold to feel the chanter but we'll give it a shot and hope nobody calls the cops.


. . . .is the feast of an astonishing saint, too little remembered now. St. Vincent Ferrer was a Dominican preacher who had the original gift of tongues, i.e., all those who heard him, heard him in their own languages no matter what tongue he spoke in. St. Vincent is known to have raised people from the dead, cured an untold number of people, and had the gift of prophecy. Preaching seemed to be the center of his life. (If he had been born in the 20th century, would he have been a Dominican or an Oblate of the Virgin Mary? I wonder.)

The community of priest and brothers in France who carry on the traditional Dominican charism are named after him: The Fraternity of St. Vincent Ferrer. There is also a beautiful old Church of St. Vincent Ferrer in New York City cared for by the Dominicans. Unfortunately, I can only find pictures of the organ. Those pictures are here. You can get an idea of the church from them.

Thursday, April 03, 2003

Wha' Sae the 42d?

Ad Orientem has the latest on The Gallant Forty-twa in Iraq here. (Yes, I know. Most of you already visit Ad Orientem at least once a day. The citation is for the one or two folks who are new at St. Blog's.) Don't miss the Telegraph editorial Mark cites.

The Death Penalty II

Sigh. Well, O.K., maybe that's a bit extreme. How about a substantial fine, some jail time, and a smack up the side of head with a large stick?

The Death Penalty

. . . I have always thought, should be reserved for murderers. But l have found over time that there are exceptions. Here's one.

Wednesday, April 02, 2003

A Legal First for the Church

But not one to stand up and cheer for. The Diocese of San Bernardino is suing the Archdiocese of Boston. At least in this country no Catholic diocese has ever sued another Catholic diocese. The story from the L.A. Times is here. More fall out from the Shanley case.

War Correspondents

There is a fascinating, and somewhat nostalgic, article in The Times this morning on the thoughts of World War II correspondents about the current Iraq war and its media coverage. Charles Collingwood, Richard C. Hottelet, Walter Cronkite: all very familiar names when I was growing up. At this link they discuss their lives as reporters in WWII and how it compares to what they're seeing on television now.

A sample:

Charles Collingwood was broadcasting on live radio from Normandy, one of the correspondents assigned to cover World War II for the famed CBS broadcaster Edward R. Murrow. U.S. troops were landing on Omaha Beach, and Collingwood had 15 minutes of live air time.
His view blocked, his chatter running out, Collingwood -- according to journalist Dan Schorr -- turned to a man in uniform. Thrusting a live microphone in his face, the CBS correspondent asked the admiral how things were going in the D-Day operation. "How would I know, Charles?" the man replied. "I'm with NBC."

If you're not reading this on 2 April the link may no longer work; I don't think The Times keeps its articles up for very long. Not for free, anyway.

Tuesday, April 01, 2003

Herod Redivivus

There is some competition for the title. But the dictator-with-the-Elvis-haircut is certainly in the running for Most Loathsome Man on the Planet, as you'll find if you click here.


. . . .is, indeed, April Fool's Day. And I already have an offer in my In Box this morning for the "latest innovation in bellows piping, The Turbo Pipe." As the fellow who sent it actually does make Northumbrian pipes, the thought "could he be serious?" did cross my mind.

What do you think: The TurboPipe bellows / chanter enhancer makes playing Uilleann and Northumbrian/Scottish smallpipes a "breeze". Inspired by recent television info-mercials for automotive air intake devices, the TurboPipe looks like a small propeller stuck fast in a short cylinder and provides two dramatic increases to the function of smallpipes.

Installed in the top of the chanter stock (and we recommend professional installation only!) the propeller spins the air around the chanter reed, virtually eliminating high and low pressure spots that can produce false notes. There's more but that's the gist of it.

It's from an e-mail so I can't link you to its source. But if you're in the market for a stand of Northumbrian pipes, as I'm sure all of you are, here's his website anyway. If his pipes are half as good as his whimsy. . . .

In the Carmelite calendar this is the feast of Blessed Nuno Alvares Pereira, O. Carm.

The Carmelite Breviary says of today's saint that he was born in 1360, and for many years pursued a military career, becoming the champion of Portuguese independence. After the death of his wife he joined the Order in 1423 at the monastery of Lisbon which he had founded, and took the name of Nuno of St. Mary. There he lived until his death in 1431. He was noted for his prayer, his practise of penance and his filial devotion to the Mother of God.

His collect in the current office is this:
Lord God you called Blessed Nuno Alvarez Pereira
to put aside his sword and follow Christ
under the Patronage of Our Lady of Mount Carmel.
Through his prayers may we too deny ourselves,
and devote ourselves to you with all our hearts.
We ask this through Christ, Our Lord.

And finally, this would have been my father's 87th birthday; a prayer for his soul would be appreciated.