Thursday, June 26, 2003

Advance Warning

Blogging will be non-existent for a couple of days - a least until Monday. We are off to San Francisco for my wife's god-daughter's wedding. I'm not playing pipes for this one. I won't know how to act. I haven't sat in a pew wearing trousers for a wedding in years and years. I suppose it will be a nice change from standing for the whole thing.

James Boswell: Theologian

And a rather modern theologian at that. I found this in Jeremy Clarke’s “Low Life” column in the 7 June number of the Spectator. He copied it from Boswell’s Corsica journal:

19 October 1765. While I stopped to refresh my mules at a little village, the inhabitants came crowding about me. When they were informed of my country, a strong, black fellow said, ‘English! They are barbarians; they don’t believe in the great God.’ I told him, ‘We do believe in the great God, and in Jesus Christ too.’ ‘And the Pope?’ ‘No.’ ‘And why?’ This was a puzzling question in these circumstances, for there was a great audience to the controversy. I thought I might try a method of my own and gravely replied, ‘Because we are too far off.’ A very new argument against the Pope’s universal infallibility. ‘Too far off? Why, Sicily is as far off as England. Yet in Sicily they believe in the Pope.’ ‘Oh,’ said I. ‘We are ten times further off than Sicily.’ ‘Aha,’ said he, and seemed satisfied. I question whether any of the learned reasonings of our Protestant divines would have had so good an effect.

Could this be where American theologians learned that we in far-distant America don’t have to pay much attention to decrees from the Polish Pope. Why, he couldn’t possibly understand us. We’re even farther off than England.

Regula Sancta

Jeff of the redoubtable El Camino Real has asked me to write something about the secular Carmelite rule.

Jeff: I'm not ignoring you. Really. I put together a few notes and when I get some uninterrupted free time I will indeed publish something here.

Last Weekend

The Highland Games in San Diego was a bit of a mixed bag. I knew I didn’t have the timed medley down well enough for the Saturday competition so I didn’t go down on that day. I went down for Sunday’s QMM and thirty seconds before we were to go on my bass drone refused to strike in. So I scratched that comp also. So I didn’t compete at all.

The band didn’t do too badly: third place both days out of 9 bands in our category. We prefer first place, but third salves the wounded spirit somewhat.

This is traditionally a very hot venue. It’s usually in the 90s. This weekend was overcast and quite cool. This is usually nice weather in which to play pipes. But we were tuned for warmer weather which resulted in a rather flat sound and may have had something to do with some of the noticeable skirls.

We’ll try again in Pleasanton.

Nero Wolfe

You will have noticed the “Save Nero Wolfe” entry on the permanent roll at the left. It has been there almost since the inception of this blog and refers to the outstanding television series based on Rex Stout’s novels, which outstanding series was cancelled last year by the A&E cable network. A&E has, after much badgering, decided to release the first season (there were two) of Nero Wolfe episodes on DVD. I received mine today and they are magnificently done. The colour, the sound, everything. If you miss the series as much as I do, you can get hold of the DVD’s at a few outlets, the most expensive of which is the A&E store itself. Although, the A&E store does include a “free” poster. If the price at A&E is a bit steep and you’ve no more wall space for a poster, try DeepDiscountDVD at about half the A&E store price. The music alone is worth the price.

Caveat: The box says "complete". However, A&E made these DVDs from the edited masters that were used for the re-runs. There are several scenes cut from these DVDs. Some of the boxes also mention that they have closed captioning. While the original runs of the series did, these DVDs don't. A&E is aware of the problems and is in the process of remedying them. You may want to wait until the "complete" DVDs are available. Or not. The set available now is pretty darn good.

The New Improved Blogger

Blogspot has been down more or less forever. This post and a few others are being done on the word processing programme while I have a few minutes. Lord knows when the actual publishing will occur. The message I get when I try to post is: Your blog is currently being converted to a new-and-improved version of Blogger. Please bear with us. It should be back later today. For once an unconscionable lull in the blogging isn’t entirely my fault. The blog itself is accessible to read. But not to update.

I am expecting great improvements from the new Blogspot. Lemon flavor. New handy size. Also containing lanolin.

Hello? Is this thing on?

The new atomic-powered Blogger appears to be up and functioning at long last. The new editing screen seems o.k.

I guess.

It has a new look but it doesn't quite seem worth all that effort at this point. Maybe the improvements will be more noticeable with use.

Saturday, June 21, 2003

San Diego Highand Games

If you're near Vista in San Diego County you might want to stop by Brengle Terrace Park for the annual Highland Games. The band is there for the competition but I'm taking today off. I'm not playing in the timed medley comp. The P/M still doesn't like the way I play it. Maybe someday; in the meantime: practice, practice, practice. Since I've developed a bone spur on my right heel and I'm not really needed anyway, I'm going to avoid all the walking involved and stay home. I'll be there tomorrow for the quick march medley and hobble around as needed.

Was Summer Cancelled This Year And I Didn't Get The Memo?

Southern California. 10 a.m. 65 degrees and light rain.

It's not supposed to be this way. My pipes don't like the constant wet.

Monday, June 16, 2003


Yesterday was Trinity Sunday and the day on which I made my definitive ("final"or permanent) promises as a Carmelite saecular. A very moving ceremony, much more so than I had anticipated. So now the Order is more or less stuck with me.

I wouldn't think it would need saying. But just in case someone should be in any doubt, the Discalced Carmelite Order is in no way responsible for this blog or the opinions expressed herein (you have to use the word "herein" or it's not an official disclaimer). Neither the Order, nor my long-suffering wife, nor anyone else with a lick of sense can be held accountable for what this keyboard produces.

Sometimes when I'm looking at the archives, even I wonder what I meant.

Saturday, June 14, 2003

Yesterday's Funeral

Yesterday was a beautiful day. The sun finally came out after two months of overcast and the temperature was in the high 70s or low 80s. A good day to be out playing pipes in the San Fernando Mission cemetery. I played for a long time after the service, probably about half an hour. The tuning went a little flat but just needed a bit of drone adjustment. The chanter stayed in tune with itself and in general the pipes were really singing. I played most of my funeral repertoire except I couldn't remember the start of "Tugainn Leamsa's Dean Cabhaig". Now that I'm home, it's obvious: it starts on F not D. Some days the memory just won't co-operate.


In the Carmelite calendar is this is the feast of St. Elisha (Eliseus in the DR) the prophet. You'll find his story in 3d and 4th Kings in the Douay Rheims versions of the Bible or 1st and 2d Kings in most other versions. Or you can find a summary of his life here. Carmelites look to Elias as their spiritual founder, and since Eliseus is his principal disciple, he is a main figure in the Carmelite tradition.

This is also "Flag Day" in the United States. There are more than a few relevant links. A sampling can be found here, here, and here.

Friday, June 13, 2003

One More Way To Tell If Your Civilization is Collapsing And A Dark Age is Upon You

According to CNN, Southern Methodist University is now offering a degree in video game creation. David Najjab is an educator with an unusual problem: He's trying to lure students who are serious about making a career out of fun and games it says at that link. So civilization isn't that badly off since the students have to be "lured" to this. . .course? Eh, no. He has to lure them because so many other insitutions are doing the same thing. Like MIT.


Friday the 13th comes on a Friday this month.
-Walt Kelly, via Pogo


Today is the feast of the great St. Anthony of Padua, Franciscan priest and doctor of the Church. He's also the patron "in charge" of finding lost objects. The tradition is to promise him a donation for the poor if he will find your lost object. Absent-minded as I am, I keep him on retainer.

You can take a virtual tour of Padua here.

[I plan to expand this a bit later. Right now, I am off to play for a funeral in the valley.]

Oh, yes. And this is also my sister-in-law's birthday: Happy Birthday, Goretti.


There were two Carmelite beati celebrated this day.

The Ancient Observance Carmelites celebrated Blessed Hilarion Januszewski, O.Carm. He was a victim of the Nazi persecution of the Church in Poland. The Irish Carmelite website contains a short notice of his life from the Carmelite office propers here.

The Discalced Carmelites honor Bl. Alphonsus Maria Mazurek, O.C.D. He, too, was murdered by the Nazis. I have not found any web-based material on him. But the following was provided by a Carmelite secular in the U.K. It appears to be from the Carmelite office propers also.

He was born in 1891 at Baranowka, near Lubartow, Poland. He entered the Order of Discalced Carmelites in 1908, taking the religious name Alphonsus Mary of the Holy Spirit. He was ordained a priest and appointed as a professor, while dedicating himself to the education of youth. Afterwards he served in his Order as prior and bursar. In 1944, after having been arrested by the troops that had invaded his country, he was shot on 28 August at Nawojowa Gora, near Krzeszowice. He was beatified by John Paul II on 13 June 1999, together with many other Polish martyrs.

Wednesday, June 11, 2003

The Vicar of Bray

That wonderful old chestnut The Vicar of Bray has been the topic of discussion lately on one of the (far too many) mailing lists that I belong to. It is a 200 year old –more or less – satirical poem describing the fancy politico-theological footwork required by a certain Anglican vicar to retain his benefice. It starts in the reign of Charles II in which he trumpets the divine right of kings and ends in the reign of the first George in which he has settled down to whiggery “Except the Times should alter.”. For those who don’t know it, I’ve copied, pasted, and edited the version you see below. (“Edited” because each version I’ve seen on the web is different. So this is how I remember it. It’s mostly the version found here.

In good King Charles's golden days,
When Loyalty no harm meant;
A Furious High-Church man was I,
And so obtained Preferment.
Unto my Flock I daily preached,
Kings are by God appointed,
And Damn'd are they who dare resist,
Or touch the Lord's Anointed.

And this is law, I will maintain
Unto my Dying Day, Sir.
That whatsoever King may reign,
I will be the Vicar of Bray, Sir!

When Royal James possessed the crown,
And popery grew in fashion;
The Penal Law I hooted down,
And read the Declaration:
The Church of Rome I found would fit
Full well my Constitution,
And I had been a Jesuit,
But for the Revolution.

And this is law, etc.

When William our Deliverer came,
To heal the Nation's Grievance,
I turn'd the Cat in Pan again,
And swore to him Allegiance:
Old Principles I did revoke,
Set conscience at a distance,
Passive Obedience is a Joke,
A Jest is non-resistance.

And this is Law, etc

When Royal Ann became our Queen,
The Church of England's Glory,
Another face of things was seen,
And I became a Tory:
Occasional Conformists base
I Damn'd, and Moderation,
And thought the Church in danger was,
From such Prevarication.

And this is Law, etc.

When George in Pudding time came o'er,
And Moderate Men looked big, Sir,
My Principles I chang'd once more,
And so became a Whig, Sir.
And thus Preferment I procur'd,
From our Faith's great Defender,
And almost every day abjur'd
The Pope, and the Pretender.

And this is Law, etc

The Illustrious House of Hanover,
And Protestant succession,
To these I lustily will swear,
Whilst they can keep possession:
For in my Faith, and Loyalty,
I never once will faulter,
But George, my lawful king shall be,
Except the Times should alter.

And this is Law, etc.

An “up-dated” version was mentioned which pointed out similar proclivities amongst some of our own dear clergy at this very hour. The great Fr. Paul Crane, S.J. had printed it in his indispensable journal “Christian Order”. But I couldn’t find my copy. And by return mail the resourceful Mr. Michael Pearce provided us with the following:

In great Pope Pius' golden days before the revolution
I swung my censer every week, I gave swift absolution
My music was Gregorian, on Holy Day and High Day
I knew my rubrics inside out, I ate no meat on Friday.

And this is law, I will maintain, until my dying day, Sir
That whatsoever Pope may reign, I still shall lead the way, Sir.

When Good Pope John assumed the throne and called his famous Council
As wise peritus I did serve, but kept the middle ground, Sir
Old principles I would uphold but change their application
And thus acquire a much-desired but fleeting reputation.

And this is law, etc.

I took the lone heroic course that all the world was taking
For medieval night was done, enlightened dawn was breaking
Denunciations old and stale, I said we should withdraw 'em
Of Rousseau, Marx and those who fill the Syllabus Errorum.

And this is law, etc.

In Paul the Sixth's betroubled reign, an age of contradiction
The all-renewing Council was a cause of constant friction
All its decrees were pastoral, it made no definition
But he who dared to question it was fated to perdition.

And this is law, etc.

And now that all in chaos lies, and churches are forsaken
My curate is to Cuba gone, and I a wife have taken.
I deck my flat with disused tat, by way of quaint memento
And trust the coming pontiff won't reverse aggiornamento!

And this is law, etc.

This version, according to Mr. Pearce, is by John Parsons, a convert to Catholicism now serving as parish priest in Australia. I'm not sure this is the same one that was printed by Fr. Crane, since my copy is among the missing. But if not, it is certainly its equal.

There is a tune that goes with these verses. The first link above won’t play it for you, in spite of what the note at the bottom of that page says. But this one will.

(With thanks to Fr. Logan for finding the melody.)


. . . .was kept in honor of St. Olivia, another martyr of the Mohammedans. According to Englebert she is especially honoured at Carthage and at Palermo. Even among the Mohammedans she is held in veneration; the great mosque of Tunis is called the Mosque of Olivia; who speaks ill of the saint, say the Tunisian Moslems, is always punished by God.

Unfortunately, what is known of her seems legendary. It is said that she was a ravishing beauty and was perhaps thirteen when the Saracens seized her at Palermo and carried her off to Tunis. At first she was left in peace there, but when she began to work miracles and to effect conversions, she was abandoned in a forest alone with the wild beasts. Some hunters found her and she succeeded in converting them. The exasperated Moslems then arrested her, and, after having tortured her in every way, they cut her head off. At that moment, Olivia’s soul was seen flying to heaven in the form a of a white dove.

Better Living Through Advertising

The few of you still on board will have noticed that The Inn has not been getting the attention from me that it and – dare I say it – the world deserves. (One reason is greatly increased practice time on the pipes. The band is making great strides and doing more difficult music than we have ever played. My aged fingers need three times the practice time to keep up with some of those limber teen aged hands now in the band. I will still probably be sitting out at least one of the competitions in San Diego next week.)

So. What to do? The traditional response would be to get organized, focus, and create an inflexible schedule with this blog featuring prominently therein. But, hey (vulgo dicta). This is the 21st century. There are better ways to do things. When faced with a sea of troubles, I can follow the lead of my most reverend Archbishop and seek out public relations help. Not having his resources, Weber Shandwick is a little out of my league.

Thank God for the web. I can start promoting The Inn with a new advertising slogan thanks to The Advertising Slogan Generator. Some of the choices are:

We Do The Inn At The End Of The World Right

Step Into The Inn At The End Of The World.

Be Like Dad, Keep The Inn At The End Of The World.

151 Countries, One The Inn The End Of The World.

Oh, the possibilities. And all for free. World blog domination awaits.

Saturday, June 07, 2003

Blessed Anne of St. Bartholomew

Today is the feast of Blessed Anne of St. Bartholomew in the Discalced Carmelite calendar. She was born Ana Garcia in Amendral, Castile in 1549. She spent her youth as a shepherdess, herding her father's flocks. The notes on her life in "Carmel, it's History, Spirit and Saints" says that "while in the fields of Amendral she enjoyed the companionship of Our Lord, Who Himself instructed her in all things temoral and spiritual."

Bl. Anne entered Carmel and made her vows in the hands of St. Teresa. As she was illiterate, she entered as a lay sister. St. Teresa nevertheless selected her to be her companion on her journeys and her secretary. "The saint chose her to be her secretary and commanded her to write, which she did at once by obedience." (ibid.) Bl. Anne was present at St. Teresa's death and died, quite literally, in her arms.

After St. Teresa's death, Bl. Anne was sent as one of the foundresses of the Discalced Order to France, and eventually, Belgium. She was made choir sister and became prioress and foundress of several houses, among them Pontoise, Tours, and Antwerp.

She died on the feast of the Holy Trinity in 1624.

Friday, June 06, 2003

Parish News

El Camino Real is back again but at a new address: this one.

Welcome back, Jeff.

Wednesday, June 04, 2003

More “Books I Had Forgotten Were On My Shelf”

From Vittorio Messori’s interview with Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger published as “The Ratzinger Report” in 1985:

He goes on: “The Eucharist is the central core of our liturgical life, but for it to be the center, we need a shared total context in which to live. All investigations of the effects of the liturgical reform show that if the Mass is over-emphasized pastorally, it becomes devalued. It is placed in a vacuum, as it were, without other liturgical acts to prepare for it or deepen it. The Eucharist presupposes the other sacraments and points toward them. But Eucharist also presupposes personal prayer, prayer in the family and extra-liturgical prayer in community.”

What are you thinking of here?

I am thinking of two of the deepest and most fruitful prayers of Christendom, which are always leading us anew into the mighty river of the Eucharist: the ‘Stations of the Cross’ and the ‘Rosary’. If nowadays we are so dangerously exposed to the attractions of Asiatic religious practices, it is surely in part because we have forgotten these prayers.” He observes, “If the Rosary is prayed as tradition envisages, it draws us into a rhythm of calm which makes us flexible and well balanced, giving a name to this peace: Jesus, the blessed fruit of Mary. Mary, who kept the living Word in the quiet peace of her heart and so was able to become mother of the Incarnate Word. That is why Mary is the ideal of genuine liturgical life. She is Mother of the Church, and as such she also shows us the task and the highest goal of our worship: the glory of God, from whom mankind’s salvation comes.”

Tuesday, June 03, 2003

The Drivers License Photo Jihad

Actually, the photograph part is the least interesting aspect of the whole story (which you can find here.)

The mere fact of giving a drivers license to someone who covers her whole face while driving is the amazing part. Aren't you supposed to be able to see where you're going when you're driving? I, for one, find it enormously helpful.

Sunday, June 01, 2003


On this day the memorial of Blessed John Story [or Storey] is kept. Blessed John is one of the many lawyers in the Church's calendar of saints. He was a doctor of law and first regius professor of civil law at what is now Pembroke College, Oxford. He was twice member of Parliament for Hindon, Wiltshire. He was twice arrested for his Catholicism and eventually fled England for Flanders. From there he was kidnapped by Cecil's agents back to England where he was tortured and killed for hatred of his faith.

This is also the feast of St. Ronan, an Irish hermit who left Ireland and came to live and preach in Brittany in the 5th or 6th century. Not much is known of his life but his memory is still alive in Brittany. There is a village of St. Ronan in the diocese of Laon. There is a tradition that every Breton must perform the Great Tromenie of St. Ronan at least once in his lifetime. According to D'Arcy's "Saints of Ireland" The path Ronan used to travel fasting across the rocky countryside has been made into a way of penance, a devotion that is known as the Great Tromenie, Breton for "Tour of Refuge". Every 6 years through the centuries, in a great formal pilgrimage, the shrine containing relics of the saint is born in an immense procession that winds for 10 miles, often over rough terrain, through 5 parishes.

While looking up information on St. Ronan - and not finding much - I found this on St. Ronan's Tattoo at Traquair House instead. I wish I'd been there. If you like pipe bands or brass bands (or liked "Brassed Off") you might've enjoyed it, too.