Wednesday, July 30, 2003

Gray Davis, Governor

Although maybe not for much longer. Heard on the radio today (so I can't give you a cite just yet): apparently the Clintons - yes, those Clintons; both of them - are going to come out to California to campaign for Gray.

O.K. That might work. This is California, after all. Personally, I'd rather have the bubonic plague campaign for me. But this is California.

What are they going to say about Gray, I hear you asking. And well you might. I've been wondering that myself. So far, the only thing I have heard any of his partisans say in his favor is that, boy howdy, this recall sure is going to cost a lot of money and we could save a bundle by just holding our collective breaths and putting up with Gray for another 3 years or so. And that's it. No one has anything else to say in his favor.

(He himself points out that we'll never get anyone as "pro-choice" (sic) as he is. Probably true, but somehow, I'm not swayed.

A Nice Turn of Phrase

I remembered today a nice turn of phrase that appeared in one of the newspapers last week. The article was about young female pop stars who have turned to increasingly sexy and revealing outfits to tantalize their fans. The writer referred to them as "pop tarts".

Nice one.

(I wish I remembered the author so I could give credit where credit is due.)

I didn't want to be on the Supreme Court anyway.

And a good thing, too. Because it would be practically illegal. At least, according the Democrats in the Senate. Bishop Chaput points out why I can't pass the religious test that the Senate has invented for the Court, if not for all public office.

This topic has been making the rounds of blogdom and you've probably seen it before. But I felt the need to join in, and as it is my blog. . . .

Seen among other places, at Hugh Hewitt's site and at the Touchstone site.

Tuesday, July 29, 2003

Dolores Got Her Wish

and Bob Hope died a Catholic. It's making the rounds of St. Blog's that Bob Hope did indeed die a Catholic. The first notice I saw was at Gerard's site here. And then the man with the black hat referenced the entire news service article here.

Laus sit Deo.

Henry Should Have Been A Moslem

Even without a cell phone he would've had an easier time with his divorces. Take a look at this little piece. Divorce by text-message.

(Originally noted by Quenta Narwenion to whom thanks are due.)


On 30 July in 1540 Blessed Thomas Able, Blessed Richard Fetherstone, and Blessed Edward Powell were hanged, drawn, and quartered at Smithfield for opposing the religious pretentions of Henry VIII.

All three were priests and theologians who had been appointed to defend the marriage bond between Henry and Catherine of Aragon. They remained strong supporters of the validity of that marriage and refused to approve of the marriage with Anne Boleyn. They were condemned by bills of attainder when they also refused to sign the oath of succession which acknowledged Henry head of the Church in England.

At the same time and place (of their execution) three Protestants were burned as heretics, which provoked a Frenchman who was there to comment on the strange ways of the English, "those who are for the pope are hanged, and those who are against him are burned."

from Bowden's Mementoes of the Martyrs and Confessors of England and Wales (yes! I found my copy at long last!)

Monday, July 28, 2003


On the Discalced Carmelite calendar, this is the feast of Blessed John Soreth, O.Carm. (The Ancient Observance celebrate his feast on 24 July.)

Blessed John was born in 1394 in Caen, and thus was a fellow Norman with St. Therese of Lisieux. He was a noted theologian of the Order in the 15th century and eventually became Prior General from 1451 until his death in 1471. It was Blessed John who was responsible for Pope Nicholas V in the bull Cum Nulla officially incorporating nuns into the Order and legally establishing the Carmelite Third Order. Pope John Paul II’s recognition of the 550th anniversary of Cum Nulla may be found here.

Thus it is Blessed John who is at least remotely responsible for the existence of the Discalced Carmelite Order. Had he not worked to provide for those women who wished to be Carmelites, St. Teresa of Jesus [of Avila] would have had no Carmelite convent to join. She might still have been a very holy woman and a canonized saint. She might even have reformed some order. But it wouldn’t have been the Carmelite Order.

An essay discussing a collection of his sermons can be found here in PDF format. There is some discussion of his life here and a good deal of his personality is revealed by means of these sermons. He was apparently quite a fiery preacher. A contemporary says: “Once he preached in Liege about the blood of Christ poured out in love for our sake on the altar of he Cross, when he so enflamed his hearers that tears fell on the cheeks of both men and women, wetting their clothes and flowing onto the pavement of the church.”

It looks as though he wouldn’t have made a very good capitalist. Michael Novak would have a seizure. “In sermons dealing with sin, Soreth reproves first of all the sins of the merchants. Sermons 25 through 31 as well as 33 and 34, deal specifically with economic questions, especially with usury. The first of these uses trade mainly as a metaphor, but no. 26 attacks the question straight on. Since goods need to be carried from place to place, Soreth says, there must be merchants, but the life of a merchant is spiritually dangerous: Dame Avarice waits for him. Merchants should only work to support their wives and children, and to give to the poor, not in order to gain ‘grans estas.’ He enumerates the sins of merchants: breaking the Sabbath and feasts, charging more than a just price, speculating on the resale of goods, swearing false oaths, using false weights and measures, selling fraudulently in dark places, cheating in negotiation, selling tainted food and drugs, speculation in exchange rates, and taking long trips without their wives, so that the marriage debt is not paid.”

The current collect for Blessed John’s feast day can be found here.

This is his collect in the old liturgy (which in those days was on 30 July):

Bonorum omnium largitor Deus, qui beatum Joannem ardenti honoris tui zelo et singulari in subeundis periculis fortitudine roborasti : ejus meritis et precibus concede ; ut adversa omnia tolerare et in tua dilectione persistere valeamus. Per Dominum nostrum Iesum Christum.

My translation: "O God, Giver of all good things, who strengthened Blessed John with ardent zeal for Thy honour and with remarkable fortitude in undergoing trials, grant by his merits and prayers, that we may be able to bear all adversities and persevere in Thy love. Through Our Lord Jesus Christ." (Complaints may be sent to the usual address.)

Sunday, July 27, 2003

A Carmelite Secular

. . . .who risked his life for "the flesh and bone of the Lord" as St. Bernard called the Jews. This is from The Gospel Minefield and tells the story of Gino Bartali, o.c.d.s. who in 1938 won the Tour de France in and in the 1940s rescued 100s of Jews from the Nazis. The link is here.

Blessed Titus Brandsma, O. Carm.

27 July is a Sunday this year and everywhere the Masses are of the Sunday, either the 7th after Pentecost or the 17th per annum. But it is also the feast day on the Carmelite calendar, even if not liturgically celebrated this year, of the great Carmelite writer and martyr, Blessed Titus Brandsma, O.Carm.

Blessed Titus was a Dutch Carmelite of the Ancient Observance who refused to stop preaching and writing those truths of the Catholic faith which contradicted the ideology of the Nazi occupiers of his country. For this he found himself in Dachau.

There is a treasure trove of material on Blessed Titus on this website. A nice selection of his writing can be found on that site along with much written about him. Don't miss his "Sketches" and some of his "Letters", most written from his Dutch prison, the final one being from Dachau.

A biographical outline with many pictures can be found here. A more extensive biography can be found here. Some of Bl. Titus's letters may also be read here. This selection is much the same as that found on the first website but with some additional explanations.

Words from his fellow prisoners in Dachau:

“He has been beaten terribly in Dachau. His little jacket was covered with blood but ‘it’s not worth troubling about.’ With a few words he silenced any further comment. Then he would reflect for a few quiet moments and offer some thoughts from Teresa of Avila to whoever would listen to him.” — Brother Raphael Tijhuis, 1946, a Carmelite who was with Titus in the concentration camp, which Brother Raphael survived.

“The ‘Kretiner aus Holland’ [the cretin from Holland] has in the short time that he was with us often been severely beaten, so that his face was covered over with blood. But he kept up his courage, and his spirit could simply not be broken.” — H. A. C. Jansen

“His spirit could simply not be broken. Any thought of revenge was far from him: thus he could say his Our Father in silence while in the presence of his attackers.” — R. H?ppener

“When Professor Brandsma joined us, Dachau was at the time such a hell as it perhaps never had been before or would be afterwards. His short stay in Dachau was a true martyrdom. Yet he remained always cheerful and happy, a support for all of us.” — P. v. Genuchten

From those who shared Amersfoort prison with him:

“He did not want anybody to know it, but he was sometimes very saddened, not for himself but because people could do all this to one another. His temper did not suffer under it, rather, he became more gentle. Even for the worst of his fellow-prisoners he had only nice words.” — J. v. d. Mortel

“Though being a Lutheran myself, I must say that during my entire life I have met few people who made such an impression on me as Father Titus Brandsma. He knew how to make everyone his friend. Especially impressive was his spiritual unassailability. I felt immediately that I was in the presence of someone who in his ordinary life must have been far above the rest.” — Dr. P. H. Ronge

Monday, July 21, 2003

The Changing Nature of Work

I think of Jerry Pournelle primarily as a writer of fiction. He has, however, some very congenial and well-expressed views on politics, the economy, and assorted other socio-political aspects which are well-worth reading. You can find them here on his daybook. (It seems to work like a blog.)

It was today's piece, which can be found here, that brought the subject up. (Again. I know I've recommended him before. I hope not too often.)

A sample:

My concern is over the effect of making a large part of our citizenry into redundant scrounges when they were formerly valued citizens believing themselves to be part of the middle class. Now they know better; but they still have the vote. And there is no lack of those who will organize discontent, and find someone to blame for the problems of people who believe in a fair day's work for a fair day's pay and who, through absolutely no fault of their own, find themselves dependent when they were once under the illusion that they were independent.

Very few in this country are more than a few paychecks from disaster. No one OWNS anything lucrative now. It's not as if you could cut back and run your candy store or dry good store or Mom and Pop grocery and eke out an existence in hard times building good will with your neighbors and doing a good bit of your business off the books. Those days are gone with Walmart and the government's use of computers and various forms of welfare. In California you can get, free, a wheelchair costing about $38,500, but only if you are a pauper.

There is more here. Do add him to your book marks.


Other users of the ubiquitous Blogspot have mentioned this before. And now I have finally experienced it. Blogspot has eaten an entire post of mine. I'm now officially a part of that happy band who have been attacked by Blogspot.

Although, if it weren't for the honor of the thing, I'd just as soon pass. (I'm semi-quoting somebody here but I've forgotten who.)

Domino's Health Food Store

Have you had your weekly nutritional helping of pizza? According to this Reuter's story, you can reduce your risk of colon cancer by 26%.

Add a couple of beers and you may live forever.

Wednesday, July 16, 2003

Martha Stewart Railroaded?

According to this Paul Craig Roberts column it certainly looks like it. How many realize that she is not currently being investigated for insider trading at all? I didn't.

Thanks to Jerry Pournelle for the link.

In Commemoratione Solemni
Titularis et Patronae totius Ordinis Carmelitarum

16 July is the Solemnity of Our Lady of Mount Carmel.

Flower of Carmel
Tall vine blossom laden;
Splendor of Heaven,
Child-bearing yet maiden.
None equals thee.

Mother so tender,
Whom no man didst know,
On Carmel’s children
Thy favours bestow.
Star of the Sea.

Strong stem of Jesse,
Who bore one bright flower,
Be ever near us
And guard us each hour,
who serve thee here.

Purest of lilies
That flowers among thorns,
Bring help to the true heart
That in weakness turns
and trusts in thee.

Strongest of armor,
We trust in thy might:
Under thy mantle,
Hard press’d in the fight,
we call to thee.

Our way uncertain,
Surrounded by foes,
Unfailing counsel
Thou givest to those
who turn to thee.

O gentle Mother
Who in Carmel reigns,
Share with thy servants
That gladness thou gain’st
and now enjoy.

Hail Gate of Heaven,
With glory now crowned,
Bring us to safety
Where thy Son is found,
true joy to see.

[Flos Carmeli, translator unknown.
Taken from the Carmelite Proper of
the Liturgy of the Hours

The original Latin can be found here.

There is more on the Feast of Our Lady of Mount Carmel here in the always useful Catholic Encyclopaedia on-line.

Fr. Pius Sammut, O.C.D. has a homily for today's feast here.

Many Catholics have a less formal affiliation to the Carmelite Order through the Scapular Confraternity and devotion to the Brown Carmelite Scapular. The Discalced Carmelite Order has a page devoted to the Scapular here. And once again, the Catholic Encyclopaedia has something to say here. That last link discusses scapulars in general and gives a small history of most of the Church's scapulars. The Carmelite one in particular can be found in section VI (b).

Monday, July 14, 2003

Blessed Kateri Tekakwitha

In the United States this is the feast day Blessed Kateri Tekakwith, a Mohawk beata from the New York area. Her story can be found here. There is a litany in her honor here and a novena prayer here.

Yeah, me too.


Some beautiful new pictures have just been posted here. It shows the ordination in Fontgombault Abbey of 9 new priests for the Priestly Fraternity of St. Peter. The ordaining prelate was His Eminence Jorge Arturo Cardinal Medina Estévez, Prefect Emeritus of the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments.

Note that the old Roman (or fiddleback) chasuble seems to be winning the popularity stakes in the Fraternity, having 8 votes out of 9.


Today is a major holiday in France. On this day the French Republic celebrates a mob attack on a local jail incited by the Marquis de Sade. The mob was able to liberate 4 forgers, two lunatics there for observation, and a dissolute aristocrat who harangued the rioters with liberal platitudes and was carried off by them in triumph. Several of the prison staff were murdered, including three officers, two of the disabled veterans who comprised the warder staff, and the prison governor, the enlightened liberal M. de Launay, who had invited the rioters into the prison and was horribly tortured by them until one of them cut off his head with a kitchen knife.

Modern liberal republics celebrate the most astonishing things.

Sunday, July 13, 2003


. . . . .is the feast day of St. Teresa of the Andes, a 20th century Carmelite nun and the first Chilean canonized saint. Her grandmother was an Armstrong, so perhaps she is also a Scottish saint, twice removed.

From the Carmelite Breviary:

Juanita Fernandez Solar was born at Santiago, Chile, on July 13, 1900. From
her adolescence she was devoted to Christ. She entered the monastery of the
Discalced Carmelite Nuns at Los Andes on May 7, 1919, where she was given
the name of Teresa of Jesus. She died on April 12, of the following year
after having made her religious profession. She was beatified on April 3,
1987, at Santiago, Chile, and canonized on March 21, 1993 by Pope John Paul
II and proposed as a model for young people. She is the first Chilean and
the first member of the Teresian Carmel in Latin America to be canonized.

There is a photograph of her here along with a selection of quotations. When she made her first Holy Communion she was favoured with locutions from Our Lord. It resulted in some embarrassment for her some months later at school when she discovered that Our Lord does respond verbally to everyone who talks to Him when they receive Him in Holy Communion.


Yes, I know the "Irish Elk" and "Ad Orientem" links on my blogroll refer to the same blog. There is a reason for this. I am a traditionalist. We traditionalists don't rush into change. Mark is entitled to change the name of his blog and I as a traditionalist am entitled, perhaps even required, to resist the change and be dragged along reluctantly. I may remove the Ad Orientem reference eventually. In the course of time. If the change turns out to be for the best. Possibly. Or maybe not.

Supporting the Troops

. . . .is a wonderland of adventure for the Danish troops in Iraq. For instance, take the snowplow that arrived the other day. Sure, bullet-proof vests in the correct sizes would have been helpful. But the memories of home that the snowplow brought. . . .priceless.

The BBC's news website will tell you more.

[Thanks to the indispensible Chad Dimpler for the reference.]

Saturday, July 12, 2003

Suas leis 'a Gaidhlig

Actually, that's inappropriate for this post. It means "Up with the Gaelic" but it's Scots Gaelic and not Irish. I can't remember the Irish and I'm too lazy to get up and look it up.

But if you are a regular reader of any of the Irish American newspapers, say the Irish Echo or The Irish Voice, you may have wondered why there isn't more news about the many Irish on the west coast. At least as regards the sports news, here's the answer. There is no news. Gaelic football in this part of the country is dying. There are no more teams at all in Los Angeles. Orange County has one men's team and one women's. And, so says the article, the women's team is nearing its end.

I never played. But we used to go and watch the games on occasion. At least in theory. "Watching the game" usually turned out to be mostly a visit with friends. But it was a good excuse for an outing and a pleasant afternoon. It doesn't look like it will be an option for much longer.

Yes, we survived the Glorious 4th

The house did not burn down and Mary and I remain intact. Or as intact as we were before the neighborhood pyrotechnical extravaganza. Someone down the block did require the paramedics for a friendly, indeed patriotic, fire incident. I never did find out who or how serious. But added to the bombs bursting in air, were the sounds of sirens and small boys racing off on their bicycles to "assist" the fire brigade and the police.

Good News for the Missions

The old California Franciscan Missions received some good news last week. California Missions Foundation, a Sacramento-based nonprofit organization that funds and oversees the restoration of California's 21 missions, is leading the statewide campaign — the first major appeal in nearly a century — to preserve the historical integrity of the fragile structures

The original parts of the mission structures are adobe, i.e., mud. 200+ years worth of sun, rain, earthquake, and rumbling train and truck traffic have taken their toll. If you love these old missions, or even just have an interest, this is wonderful news. The Times article telling the story is here. [The Times has an annoying registration policy, two or three pop up ads, and the story will be inaccessible after a week or so. Patience and punctuality are required to read the article.]

Friday, July 04, 2003

The Rocket's Red Glare

and assorted other 4th of July accoutrement are now very much in evidence. I am spending the evening guarding the house amidst the onslaught of our annual neighbourhood orgy of patriotic pyromania.

Which provides some opportunity to add to the blog and explore a bit more of blogdom. And I have found that Chad Dimpler, Election Analyst has once again opened Dimpler Towers for business. A happy day for us all. Where else could you learn about The Attack of the Garden Gnomes which has terrified all Brattleby. Just when you though it was safe to go back into Lincolnshire.


The 4th of July

The band had a parade this morning which I couldn't do. The foot problem is not disabling, but there are limitations and a parade is one of them. We have another gig this afternoon at what is now called the "Los Alamitos Joint Forces Training Station". As this does not involve marching all over creation, I'll be there.

Wednesday, July 02, 2003

Fray Junipero Serra

Gerard had a nice mention here of Blessed Junipero on his feast day, which was Monday. We were at his gravesite in Carmel on Sunday and attended Mass at Mission San Jose. Alas, the Mass was in the new church and not in the old mission church. But a good neighborhood nonetheless.

All of the California Missions repay a visit any time. And if you're at San Juan Capistrano Mission at 8 a.m. on a Sunday morning, you can attend the indult Mass in the Serra chapel. (If you want a seat, you'd better be there by 7:30 a.m.)

Liturgical Withdrawal Syndrome

I have now been four (4) weeks without the traditional Roman Rite Mass. I am hungering for this Sunday's Mass in the worst way.

Domine, dilexi decorem domus tuae: et locum habitationis gloriae tuae!

Gary: tell Carlo I'll be on time this Sunday. For a change.

Drive By Piping

There wasn't much time for piping over the weekend. I wasn't playing for the wedding and there was really no place to practice as we were staying downtown. (At the Sir Francis Drake, right off Union Square.) I brought my Degers and got a little finger work in but that was it until the trip home. We did the 17 Mile Drive and we stopped at one of the rocky out-croppings by the sea and I played a few sets. It felt good to play after so many days and my fellow tourists seemed to enjoy it. Unfortunately, Mary refused to pass the hat. But an otherwise enjoyable drive-by-piping.

After considerable detour-ing, we have returned.

We drove up to San Francisco on Friday the short way: straight up the I-5. The trip home was a little more complex. Mary and I went up for a wedding on Saturday. The other lebenty-leben million people in town came for the Gay parade on Sunday. Once we negotiated our way out of the city, found Mass, and circled round to connect to the coast route, we had lost our early start and were well on our way to a very long trip home. Beautiful, but long.