Saturday, May 31, 2003

Don't Miss This

Read Bro.Matt's story here on the Catholic Light blog. Very funny.

-The Blessed Virgin Mary

This is a feast of Our Lady in both the Pauline rite and in the traditional Roman rite using the calendar of the Blessed Pope John XXIII. In the Pauline rite this is the feast of the Visitation of Our Lady to her cousin St. Elizabeth as described in Luke 1: 39-56.

This feast day is often said to demonstrate the great kindness of Our Lady in taking this long journey to care for her elderly cousin. And indeed it does. But it seems to me this must also have been a tremendous consolation for the Blessed Virgin Mary herself. Our Lady had a spiritual life like no one else on earth ever had before or ever will have. And after the visit of the Achangel Gabriel, she had a physical condition like no one else ever had or ever will have – the living God incarnate inside her. Whether or what she told anyone we don’t know. In any event, no one seems to have understood her. No one probably ever had. She desired to remain a virgin but her parents arranged a marriage for her. Her husband Joseph loved her; he showed this by not wanting to expose her to the full rigors of the law. But he didn’t understand her either since he was going to “put her away”, even though “quietly”.

But when Our Lady arrived at her cousin Elizabeth’s, her greeting is no sooner out of her mouth, then her cousin demonstrates that she knows exactly what’s happening: “How is it that the mother of my Lord should come to me?” Is this the first time in her life that the Mother of God had another human being to talk to who understood her completely? And she didn’t have to “explain” a thing. What an enormous joy and consolation this must have been. Why, she could even exchange Archangel Gabriel stories with Zachary – even if Zachary did have to write out his part of the conversation.

In the latest form of the traditional Roman rite, as codified by Blessed John XXIII, this is the feast of the Queenship of the Blessed Virgin Mary. (In the Roman rite the feast of the Visitation occurs on July 2d.) This is actually quite a recent feast for the general Roman calendar, being introduced by Pope Pius XII in 1954. Votive Masses and local celebrations of the Queenship of Our Lady had existed in many places for centuries, though. The first reading is especially beautiful. Here the Church applies the text of Ecclesiasticus [ a.k.a. “Sirach”] 24: 5-31 to Our Lady.

29 They that eat me, shall yet hunger: and they that drink me, shall yet thirst.

30 He that hearkeneth to me, shall not be confounded: and they that work by me, shall not sin.

31 They that explain me shall have life everlasting.

Weapons of Mass Destruction?

Nope. Not yet.

But take a look at Jerry Pournelle's latest essay on Iraqi WMD's or the lack thereof. If I knew enough to have an opinion, that would probably be my opinion.

Just one other thought. If Britain, the U.S., and the other allies were lying about the WMD's in Iraq, that is, if the claimed belief in the existence of these weapons was a lie from the beginning, they would have taken the next step. They would have had some WMDs ready and would've planted them for the appropriate parties to "find". Governments can do that sort of stuff with their eyes closed and one hand tied behind their backs. The fact that the searchers are standing about in the logical places scratching their heads with a puzzled look on their faces is a pretty good indication that they actually expected to find WMDs. Or so it seems to me.

Friday, May 30, 2003

Ascension Thursday

I may have missed mentioning the feast of the Ascension. Or maybe not. It depends on where you, dear reader, are reading this. Here in the Archdiocese of the City of Our Lady of the Angels, Ascension Thursday comes on a Sunday. This year, that's the day after tomorrow. Most other places in the world Ascension Thursday comes, mirabile dictu, on a Thursday.

So in honor of the feast, the following from Danaher's The Year in Ireland:

A little ceremony from County Kildare is noted in "The Journal of the Kildare Archaeological Society", 1906-08, 445:

“The sixth Thursday after Easter Sunday is the Feast of the Ascension of our Lord; it is observed as a holy-day, and blessed water procured from the priest is brought home from chapel, and poured out in the four corners of a farmer’s holding, or a labourer’s garden, to ensure good crops.”

Since the weather was usually fine, this was a day much favoured for outdoor games and pastimes. At Callan, County Kilkenny, Amhlaoibh O Suilleabhain noted in 1835:

“The 28th. Ascension Thursday, a holiday of obligation. A fine, cheerful, blueskied, bright, sunny morning with some light woolly cloud and great calm Hurling and cock-fighting and a long dance called ‘High gates’ and a cricket match on the fair green.”

G.K. Chesterton's Birthday

. . . . .isn't today. It was yesterday, as Donna Marie very kindly reminded me. And I - oh, the shame of it - didn't make a mention of it on the day.

Time to make amends to G.K., the inspiration, the fons et origo of this blog:

A Child of the Snows

There is heard a hymn when the panes are dim,
And never before or again,
When the nights are strong with a darkness long,
And the dark is alive with rain.

Never we know but in sleet and in snow,
The place where the great fires are,
That the midst of the earth is a raging mirth
And the heart of the earth a star.

And at night we win to the ancient inn
Where the child in the frost is furled,
We follow the feet where all souls meet
At the inn at the end of the world.

The gods lie dead where the leaves lie red,
For the flame of the sun is flown,
The gods lie cold where the leaves lie gold,
And a Child comes forth alone.
- G.K. Chesterton

Comradeship and serious joy are not interludes in our travel; but . . .rather our travels are interludes in comradeship and joy, which through God shall endure for ever. The inn does not point to the road; the road points to the inn. And all roads point at last to an ultimate inn, where we shall meet Dickens and all his characters; and when we drink again it shall be from the great flagons in the tavern at the end of the world.

[The final paragraph of Chesterton’s “Charles Dickens”.]

Memorial Day weekend has come and gone.

These days there are a good number of events happening in the area that actually commemorate Memorial Day. There was a parade in the South Bay that was well attended and most of the local cities had commemorations. Our little city had a ceremony in one of the local parks at the Korean War monument on the Monday.

Although, be it known: today 30 May is the original Memorial Day, or Decoration Day as it was originally. So called, as it was the day to decorate the graves of those who fell in battle.

The Saturday and Sunday were wholly taken up by the pipe band competition at the United Scottish Society’s Highland Games in Costa Mesa. This one was the 71st annual. (There is a website for the games but there isn’t anything there. But for those who absolutely must have a link, it’s here. See. Toldja.)

Our band did pretty well. Out of a field of 13 bands we placed 3d in the quick march medley and 2d in the timed medley. We prefer first, but 2d and 3d aren’t too shabby. I didn’t see much of the games as I’ve developed a bone spur on my heel; I did as little walking about as possible.

Friday, May 23, 2003

23 MAY

The old martyrologies today honor St. Florentius. According to Engelbert He lead a hermit's life and died near St. Vincent of Foligno. St. Gregory tells that he had five sheep and a tame bear to guard them. It must have been an extremely tame bear. He died in the year 540. (St. Florentius, not the bear.)

This is also the old feast of St. William. a baker by trade and a Scot from Perth, though honored primarily in England. After a wild youth, he converted and became quite holy. To do penance for his former way of life, he set out on pilgrimage, taking with him his apprentice, a foundling he had raised from an infant. Near Rochester, his companion robbed and killed him. The first person to find the body was a madwoman who was cured of her insanity. Rochester cathedral contained his relics and shrine until the Henrician revolution.

Thursday, May 22, 2003

It doesn't seem possible but

. . . .there may be some folk who haven't listened to the Met broadcasts. In that unlikely event, the local (Los Angeles area) broadcast is on Saturday mornings at about 11 on KUSC 91.5 FM

Bad News

Make that very bad news. The corporate panjandrums at Chevron - who bought out Texaco - have ceased corporate sponsorship of the Metropolitan Opera broadcasts. You can find the details at Cacciaguida's weblog. That link is to his main page. The perma (sic) links are neither permanent nor linking this morning. But in case they ever do, the direct link ought to be this one.

I think I may still have a Chevron credit card about somewhere. This would be an excellent time to cut it up and send it back to them.

[In the event that for some unfathomable reason you didn't immediately visit Cacciaguida's site and don't intend to, the following is copied directly from his site for your information and, one hopes, use:

In the meantime, Chevron's comment address is


An error with international repercussion has been made on this blog. Dom Andrew Southwell, O.S.B. I am now informed is not, in fact, an English priest, having been born in Edinburgh. In my defense, I was quoting, and the Daily Telegraph, too. Homer appears to have nodded.

Alba gu brath.

A Salutary Admonition

Is it possible to have a blog and not be pedantic? I wouldn't think so. Regardless, herewith more from "The Path to Rome". Accusations of hypocrisy may be sent to the address at the left.


“In Ulrichen was a warm, wooden, deep-eaved, frousty, comfortable, ramshackle, dark, anyhow kind of a little inn called ‘The Bear’. And entering, I saw one of the women whom God loves.

“She was of middle age, very honest and simple in the face, kindly and good. She was messing about with cooking and stuff, and she came up to me stooping a little, her eyes wide and innocent, and a great spoon in her hand. Her face was extremely broad and flat, and I had never seen eyes set so far apart. Her whole gait, manner, and accent proved her to be extremely good, and on the straight road to heaven. I saluted her in the French tongue. She answered me in the same, but very broken and rustic, for her natural speech was a kind of mountain German. She spoke very slowly, and had a nice soft voice, and she did what only good people do, I mean, looked you in the eyes as she spoke to you.

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

“Beware of shifty-eyed people It is not only nervousness it is also a kind of wickedness. Such people come to no good. I have three of them now in my mind as I write. One is a Professor.

“And, by the way, would you like to know why universities suffer from this curse of nervous disease? Why the greatest personages stammer or have St. Vitus’ dance, or jabber at the lips, or hop in their walk, or have their heads screwed round, or tremble in the fingers, or go through life with great goggles like a motor car? Eh? I will tell you. It is the punishment of their intellectual pride, than which no sin is more offensive to the angels.

“What! here are we with the jolly world of God all round us, able to sing, to draw, to paint, to hammer and build, to sail, to ride horses, to run, to leap; having for our splendid inheritance love in youth and memory in old age, and we are to take one miserable little faculty, our one-legged, knock-kneed, gimcrack, purblind, rough-skinned, underfed, and perpetually irritated and grumpy intellect, or analytical curiosity rather (a diseased appetite), and let it swell till it eats up every other function? Away with such foolery.”

“Lector. When shall we get on to. . . .”

“Auctor. Wait a moment. I say, away with such foolery. Note that pedants lose all proportion. They never can keep sane in a discussion. They will go wild on matters they are wholly unable to judge, such as Armenian Religion or the Politics of Paris or what not. Never do they use one of those three phrases which keep a man steady and balance his mind, I mean the words (1) After all it is not my business. (2) Tut! Tut! You don’t say so! And (3) Credo in Unum Deum Patrem Omnipotentem, Factorem omnium visibilium atque invisibilium; in which last there is a power of synthesis that can jam all their analytical dust-heap into such a fine, tight, and compact body as would make them stare to see. I understand that they need six months’ holiday year. Had I my way they should take twelve, and an extra day on leap years.”

“Lector. Pray, pray return to the woman at the inn.”

“Auctor. I will, and by this road: to say that on the day of Judgment, when St. Michael weighs souls in his scales, and the wicked are led off by the Devil with a great rope, as you may see them over the main porch of Notre Dame (I will heave a stone after them myself I hope), all the souls of the pedants together will not weigh as heavy and sound as the one soul of this good woman at the inn.”


Wednesday, May 21, 2003

Return To St. Peter's

According to the Daily Telegraph an English priest will shortly be celebrating the first Mass in the traditional Roman Rite at St. Peter's Basilica in Rome in 20 years.

An English priest will this week celebrate what is believed to be the first Tridentine Rite Mass for 20 years in St Peter's in Rome, the heart of the Roman Catholic Church.

The historic service, hailed as a breakthrough by traditionalists, will be led by Fr Andrew Southwell on Friday, a month after the Pope lifted a long-standing ban on the "Old Rite" in the world's most famous church.

The rest of the article is here.

Tuesday, May 20, 2003

The Fair Miss Molly of San Diego

. . . .has some great stories about airlines today. Well, last Thursday actually. But I only got to them today. You can find them here. (Shouldn't I get some sort of award for not using the headline "Good golly, Miss Molly"?)

Why is it

. . . .that the chairs for those waiting in the barber shop are invariably comfortable and the chairs for those waiting in the doctor's office are a form of purgatory? (I don't know about dentists. My dentist has never kept me waiting.)

20 MAY

The ancient Roman martyrology for today presents us with the saint having the most double-take-inducing name in the calendar. A bishop of Cagliari, a strident polemicist and enemy of the Arians, this early father died in 371. His name? St. Lucifer. You could look it up, but it's difficult. Most of the references on line are to Old Nick as you'd expect. But he does get a passing mention here in the Catholic Encyclopedia's article on the Archdiocese of Cagliari.

Sunday, May 18, 2003

19 MAY

. . . .is the feast of St. Ives, the medieval patron saint of lawyers, notaries, bailiffs, orphans, judges and Brittany.

Your Average Catholic Guy

. . . .is back in business at the same stand with lots of good stuff, including studies of the fathers of the church, a Virginia priest speaks truth to his Congressparishioner, and something on the real Samaritans. Welcome back, Mr. Betts. I hope the semester was successful.

Saturday, May 17, 2003

Conflicted Feelings

The Good News: the Angels won today. They're now well out of the divisional cellar and they're playing over .500 ball.

The Bad News: Ah, poor Trot Nixon. You gotta feel for him. He'll be hearing about this for the rest of the season. Or maybe his life:

With one out in the top of the ninth, Adam Kennedy on first and Bengie Molina on second, David Eckstein lofted a harmless fly ball to right field that Nixon camped under and caught for the second out.
But Nixon started running back to the dugout as if the inning was over and nonchalantly tossed the ball into the stands to a fan.
Third-base umpire Kerwin Danley waved Molina home from second on a two-base error by Nixon -- as did "the whole dugout," according to Scioscia -- and the Angels added two runs in the prolonged frame.

Deep sympathy. I'm not a math major either.

(You can read about the rest of the game here.)

Young Fogeys - Catholic Style

The Times of London reports today on the increasing interesting among younger people - especially young families - in the traditional Roman Rite of Mass. The link is here.

The age range reveals the Tridentine Mass to be enjoying a renaissance with younger Catholics. More significantly, it is also producing vocations. Last year, 81 men sought 16 places at the US seminary of the Fraternal Society of St Peter, an order founded in 1988 by the Vatican to train old-rite priests. “We don’t do selfpromotion,” claims Father Arnaud Devillers, the society’s superior. Such statistics have been noted in Rome. Forthcoming Vatican guidelines on liturgy will advocate wider use of the old rite, possibly weekly, say reports in Inside the Vatican magazine.

17 MAY

Yesterday, or possibly the day before, or maybe even some other day last week, was the feast of San Domingo de la Calzada, which as near as I can tell, means Saint Dominic of the Shoe. I can't tell you anything about him as he doesn't appear in any of my books. But Christopher Howse found himself in the middle of his feast day festivities in Spain and if you click here you will learn from him the story of Saint Dominic and the chickens, one of his celebrated miracles. (Saint Dominic's not Christopher Howse's.)

Our next door neighbour, Long Beach, doesn't celebrate saint's days. Instead, the local dignitaries (sarcasm intended) are appearing in and presiding over the annual Gay and Lesbian Parade. (I'd provide a link but the local paper's website is down.) Example #3, 643, 112 in the list headed "How You Can Tell When A Civilization Enters A Dark Age".

Friday, May 16, 2003

Another Fan of the Great Highland Bagpipe and Pipe Bands

In this case He was listening to the New Ross and District Pipe Band


I received a note the other day from Dave Pawlak; he is no longer holding forth at Pompous Ponderings, although the archives are still there. His new incarnation is at Improvised. This should be reflected on the blogroll almost immediately. Or maybe not. Depends on Blogspot's mood today.

Diversity Central

This is California, the home of diversity. The legal field is no exception. California lawyers can select from the Irish-American Bar Association, The Italian-American Lawyers Association, The Asian-American Bar Association, The John M. Langston Bar Association (that last one is for African American lawyers), Women Lawyers Association, The Japanese-American Bar Association, and The Southern California Chinese Lawyers Association. That's just to start.

Well, tomorrow is Settende Mai, the 17th of May and Norwegian Independence Day. So this is the appropriate time to point you to the site for The Half-Norwegian (On The Mother's Side) American Bar Association. They're having a luncheon meeting this afternoon at McCormick and Schmick's Seafood Restaurant on 5th Street in downtown Los Angeles. I'm a little late in posting this. But if you read it within a few seconds of my posting it and you work across the street, you may still be able to race over there and grab some lutefisk before it's all gone. The speaker will be (or was by now) Sheriff Lee Baca who is/was going to discuss that great Norwegian law man, Elliot Ness.

16 MAY

In the Carmelite Ordo, this is the feast of St. Simon Stock, an early Father General of the Carmelite Order and the one to whom the scapular revelations were made. The medieval home of the Carmelites in the county of Kent in England - St. Simon's native place - is again in Catholic and Carmelite hands. They have a website here with some nice pictures showing the medieval flavour of the place.


The Lake Isle Of Innisfree
by William Butler Yeats

I will arise and go now, and go to Innisfree,
And a small cabin build there, of clay and wattles made:
Nine bean-rows will I have there, a hive for the honeybee,
And live alone in the bee-loud glade.
And I shall have some peace there, for peace comes dropping slow,
Dropping from the veils of the mourning to where the cricket sings;
There midnight's all a glimmer, and noon a purple glow,
And evening full of the linnet's wings.
I will arise and go now, for always night and day
I hear lake water lapping with low sounds by the shore;
While I stand on the roadway, or on the pavements grey,
I hear it in the deep heart's core.

I have been hearing about gardens on every side for the past week. Is it just that it's spring? Or was there a memo that I didn't get?

Mine is approaching disaster-area status. It needs some serious, heavy-duty maintenance. Not quite as bad as my wife says. "The weeds are almost as tall as the fence!" she says. I checked. The weed (singular) that is almost as tall as the fence is behind the cypresses. But it's still pretty bad.

And that's the reason for the Yeats. Even though I won't have a hive for the honeybee and my glade, such as it is, won't be bee-loud.

Thursday, May 15, 2003

15 MAY

The feast of St. Dymphna is kept today in Ireland. She has long been a patroness of the mentally ill and there are many cures of mental illness attributed to her.

And thanks

. . .to those of you who kindly enquired after my health while I was away from this keyboard. (I'm doing remarkably well for a cranky old guy.)

Happy Birthday

. . . . to Msgr. Folliard, Pastor Emeritus of St. Cornelius Parish in Long Beach. He is 80 today and still active in the parish. A prayer for him today would be appreciated. It was Fr. Folliard who came to annoint my mother and give her the sacraments when she was dying and her own parish priest was "too busy".

Hello, again

Yes, it has been a long time between posts to this blog. The relevant excuses this time consist of problems with the ISP, a few unimportant but unexpected time-consuming tasks, some difficult music the band is playing which needs a lot of work from me, and just general busy-ness.

Thursday, May 08, 2003


Yahoo news service provides a picture here. The word among pipers is that this is the same Andrew Wright who played with the Vale of Atholl Pipe Band on the Motherwell Concert cd.

Wednesday, May 07, 2003


. . . .is the feast of St. John of Beverly. He was Archbishop of York and founder of the Benedictine Abbey of Beverly. The martyr bishop, St. John Cardinal Fisher, who was born at Beverly, was a great devotee of his.

Tuesday, May 06, 2003

Speaking of being annoyed.

The Angels are now in the cellar. Not the absolute cellar. Not the cellar of the entire American League. That would require sliding down past even Detroit. And they’re still ahead of Tampa Bay. (Yes, Tampa Bay does too have a major league team. I looked it up.) But the cellar of the Western Division, which is bad enough. Cheeez. Somebody explain to them that the “It’s only April” excuse doesn’t work in May.

I am profoundly annoyed.

My copy of Bowden’s Mementoes of the Martyrs of England and Wales has gone unaccountably missing. It is always on my desk. And now for the past few weeks it has not been there or anywhere else on my desk. Or anywhere else at all that I can find. Blast. I love that book. Even worse: I have a suspicion that I have no one to blame but myself. It’s always much more agreeable when I’m able to blame someone else for disturbing the ordered tranquility of this little office. But I am really afraid that this time the finger points at me. More than once I’ve knocked something off the desk and into the waste basket. A dollar to a doughnut I did it again and this time with Bowden and didn’t notice. It’s probably in a land fill as I write. Double blast.

Saturday, May 03, 2003

Co-incidences de Jour

Attention Warbloggers: For those with a fiver to spare, it’s Kentucky Derby Day. The favourite – so says the L.A. Times - is “Empire Maker”. Is it an omen?

Spam: The FTC has been investigating spam (the junk e-mail not the food), the producers thereof, and what to do about it/them. The FTC commissioner quoted in the news is. . . .Orson Swindle. No, really. You could look it up.

Thursday, May 01, 2003


It's a lttle late in the day - 10:00 p.m. PDT - to celebrate St. Joseph's Day. It's almost over here and more than almost in the east. It's been a busy day. But here's a little something: a prayer to St. Joseph. Another one. And one more. EWTN has a rendition of Guido Reni's "St. Joseph with the Christ Child" on its front page here. (How long will it remain? Probably for at least another two hours.)