Friday, August 22, 2003

Glad Tidings

This morning's correspondence brings the happy news that I should have waited another day before intoning the Lamentatio Angelorum

Joseph Montoya writes:

John, you're not paying attention! The Angels are indeed out of the AL West cellar -- by a full game! Which is a very good thing indeed as tomorrow I journey across Michigan to Comerica Park to see the Angels beat (please God) the hapless Tigers. Assuming arguendo I am one of the first 10,000 fans through the gates, I will receive a free Alan Trammel bobblehead doll. And following the game, I will "enjoy" a Christian music concert. I'll be the fat guy in the Angels cap yelling "Sing "Panis Angelicus".........".

And he is right. As of this moment the haloed ones are indeed an entire game out of the cellar. We won't go into how far behind even a wild card position they are. Good news is, after all, good news and not to be sniffed at.

If anyone else is at the Tiger's game and notices a guy in an Angel's cap shouting "Sing 'Panis Angelicus'", say 'hello' for me.

[Hmmm. An Allen Trammell bobblehead doll. I don't think I'll swap my Steve Garvey autographed programme just yet. Even if I could find it.]

Blessed Richard Kirkman

"This martyr suffered with Blessed William Lacey at the Knavesmire outside the walls of York on 22 August 1582, confessing and absolving one another on the hurdle on the way to death."

Blessed Richard seems always to be listed with his fellow martyr, Bd. William Lacey. The most compete biography of him that I can find on-line can be found under the same link noted yesterday for William Lacey.

A quote from Blessed Richard, noted in Bowden:

When one of the judges lost his temper and cursed him as a traitor, the priest replied, "You might, sir, with the same justice charge the apostles also with being traitors, for they taught the same doctrine that I now teach and did the same things for which you condemn me." He protested that he was unworthy of a martyr's death, and after sentence sang "Te Deum laudamus" in a loud voice.


Mark is feeling the beginnings of frustration in his capacity as Red Sox fan.

Frustration? You want frustration? I'll show you frustration: Clicke, lege, alacrime.

There is a point at which the continual reference to a team who won the World Series in the previous year as "The World Champion [insert team name here]" becomes both annoying and depressing. That point is now. Any time Rory Markus and Terry Smith want to quit doing that will be fine. They can begin again (slowly) when the halos get out of the AL West cellar.

Thursday, August 21, 2003

Procession in Honor of the Assumption of Our Lady

Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris has revived the tradition of the procession in honor of Our Lady on the feast of her Assumption. You can see some pictures of it here. Note particularly the last in the series and the third from the last (labelled "quinzeaout0042" and "quinzeaout0048"). In these you can see the silver statue of Our Lady being carried in procession. It was created to replace her image destroyed by the revolutionaries during the terror.

The procession is described here by a witness (the man who took the photographs, in fact):

Notre Dame was having N.O. vespers, uninteresting patchwork of old and
new, french and latin. That included the Ave Maris Stella and the
beautiful Magnificat du ton Royal. I was really convinced by the
Magnificat and started singing (shouting?)with the crowd in the
packed cathedral. Then She appeared. Our Lady of the Vow, the
sterling silver statue of the Virgin, given by Charles X to replace
the one recently destroyed by the French revolution. She was wearing
her gold and diamonds crown made by Armand Caillat, one of the best
goldsmiths, and some flowers.

The procession was very well organized. Twenty Knights of the Holy
Sepulchre (who have always been commited to the guard of the Relics
of our Lord, Crown of thorns, thorns, True Cross) carried the Virgin,
and it was presided by one of our auxiliary bishops. 20 000 people
attended and the procession lasted more than two hours, a long walk
in La Cité. No latin but French litanies of the Virgin were sung
three times, the Glorious mysteries of the Rosary were said, some
cantiques were sung and parts of the text of the Vow were recited by
the bishop. And all the bells of the Cathedral...

The ND procession had been reduced to an indoor procession after the
council. In a small parish, St Eugène, we restored an outdoor
procession. Then St Nicolas had the idea to do the same and their
procession became popular. The Cathedral then decided to restore the
traditionnal procession. There are some good signs sometimes.

[Thanks, Philippe.]

Blessed William Lacey

There are several martyrs of England and Wales who "went unto the House of the Lord forever" on August 22. I thought I would spread them out a bit and begin the list today.

The first is Blessed William Lacey. "Driven from York, where he held a judicial post, hunted from place to place, penniless through fines for recusancy, he was ordained a priest at Rome in 1581, after the death of his wife."

Bowden provides the following excerpt from one of his letters, this one written at Loreto where he stopped on the way from Rome to England and his eventual martyrdom:

"I wish to take my leave of you once more with this letter, as I do not know whether it may be the last. We arrived on Tuesday at this holy house, where my companions and I served the Lord in His own home, and at the shrine of His most holy Mother. At this we all experienced an extraordinary consolation, though indeed we felt much spiritual joy throughout the journey. I am particularly charmed with the devotion and zeal of my companions, and with the holy communings in which we pass our days. Indeed, it seems to me that I take my part with them in that sweet harmony. I frequently exclaim in my heart, 'Is Saul also amongst the prophets?' and I remind myself of the disciples' words, 'Was not our heart burning, when He spoke with us upon the way?'"

More on Blessed William can be found here

The World's

In the event some folks have been ill or lost in the desert for a few days, the results of the World's Pipe Band Championships are in. The main placings can be found here. The complete list is up at the RSPBA's website here so they say. You have to go through some sort of registration folderol and once you get in you (meaning "me") can't access the complete results anyway.

St. Lawrence O'Toole PB got 9th overall after finishing first in the qualifier. They published a nice chart summary of the Grade One finals on their own website here. As long as you're on their webpage, check out some of their free downloads. Great piping.

Sometimes The Light At The End Of The Tunnel Is A Train

This may offend some of the separated brethren. Bear in mind that I am an unreconstructed traditionalist of the RC variety. Christianus mihi nomen, Catholicus cognomen as somebody - I think Lactantius - said a couple of millennia ago.

I was delighted yesterday to hear from a Catholic high school student that he had to go on a religious retreat. The Catholic high school in question wouldn't let him get his classes for the coming semester until he did. Outstanding, thought I. Finally putting first things first. Well, he's going away this weekend for a retreat put on by the Church of the Nazarene and that's considered an excellent choice by the said Catholic high school.

Oh. Wonderful.

Back Again

I never really left. But this office is not air conditioned. And the time I have available for posting on this marvel of progressive American technology is usually at the hottest time of day. I have been only been at the computer when absolutely necessary.

And that's my excuse for this month. And it will probably be my continuing excuse at least until the thermometer gets under 90 degrees.

Saturday, August 09, 2003


Mickey McDermott died the other day. The Red Sox, the Yankees, and the Washington Senators in the 1950s: that's where you've heard the name before. There are official sites to send you to for more but the best on the net today is the Irish Elk. (But once I said "Red Sox" you knew that already, right?)

I'm feeling expansive in a baseball sort of way today. The Dodgers have managed to win three (3) whole games in a row. A veritable streak. Even the Angels, who aren't even in sight of .500 won yesterday.


"Christifideles" is the newsletter of the St. Joseph Foundation, which assists both clergy and laity with problems involving canon law. The latest number arrived yesterday containing an excellent lead article called No Glue for the Posters concerning the state of the liturgy at this time. (The title refers to an incident which occured during the last days of the Czar in Russia. It gives an excellent analogy. You will have to read the article to see how good.)

Anyone not familiar with the foundation can read more about them on their website here. They have done excellent work in protecting the rights of Catholics to a liturgy celebrated in accordance with the norms. And there are a few churches which have been spared wreckovation thanks to their good offices.

The website contains some of the articles from past issues of Christifideles, but not, alas, the one referred to above. Still, you could send them a few dollars at 11107 Wurzbach, #601B, San Antonio, TX 78230-2570 and ask for a copy. There are much worse ways of spending money.

Saint Teresia Benedicta a Cruce

Today is the feast of Saint Teresa Benedicta of the Cross, known in secular life as Edith Stein. Ten years ago as a beata her day was an optional memorial and appeared only in the Carmelite calendar. Now she has a day in the general Roman calendar ranked as a Feast since she is now the co-patroness of Europe.

A short "life" may be found here. At the same site you can hear Fr. Charles Connor discussing her life. The link is here.

There is an excellent index to material concerning St. Teresia Benedicta here. Note particularly the book review by Evelyn Waugh here:

On Sunday 26 July 1942, the Archbishop of Utrecht issued a pastoral condemning the persecution of the Jews. Retribution was immediate. All Catholic priests and religious with Jewish connections were rounded up by the SS. On 1 August Edith was arrested and driven off with the other victims of the Terror; somewhere, quite soon probably, she was killed in one of the extermination camps in the east. Attempts have been made to sift the various conflicting reports of people who saw her or thought they saw her during her last journey. Nothing is certain except the fact of her death. She disappeared bodily in the total, hellish darkness.

Her spirit shines out, very clear and lonely; a brilliant intelligence; a pure, disciplined will; a single motive power, the Grace of God. The circumstances of her death touch us for they lie at the heart of contemporary disaster. The aimless, impersonal wickedness which could drag a victim from the holy silence of Carmel and drive her, stripped and crowded, to the gas chamber and furnace, still lurks in the darkness. But Edith's death is perhaps an irrelevant horror. Her life was completed in Carmel. She did not sit, waiting on God. She went out alone and by the God-given light of her intelligence and strength of purpose, she found Him

This page is in German. But if you follow all the links you'll find two or three different photographs of St. Teresia Benedicta on each page.

Where her ashes are scattered.

Thursday, August 07, 2003

"Never has there been a degeneration like the present one."

That quotation concerns Catholic church music. The person stating the horrifyingly obvious is Valentino Miserachs Grau, 60, from Cataluna . . . for eight years the dean of the Pontifical Institute of Sacred Music, the liturgical-musical “conservatory” of the Holy See, the body charged with forming Church musicians from all over the world.

This link provides an edited version of Fr. Grau's talk on the state of liturgical music. While it is gives some hope for the future, the fact remains, as Fr. Grau says himself, he has no authority to issue binding mandates on our local parishes. Still, it's worth a read.

A sample:

I don’t know whether the competent authorities truly appreciate the scope of the malignant musical praxis that has in some measure spread everywhere, and its negative repercussions on the ‘lex orandi,’ and thus also on the ‘lex credendi’. […]

An unequivocal sign of the current abasement of the incorrect understanding of the function of singing within the liturgy are the expressions unfortunately now in use, such as “the liturgical celebration was performed, accompanied, gladdened by the such-and-such choir of so-and-so.” It is in fact evident that those who express themselves in this way consider liturgical singing nothing other than a more or less pleasing pastime.

[Referred to me by Stefano Passalacqua on, yes, yet another mailing list. Mille grazie.]

California Loses Right to Laugh At Minnesota

And who's to be the Lieutenant Govenor? Danny DeVito?

Sunday, August 03, 2003

3 AUGUST 2003

. . .is the 39th anniversary of Flannery O'Connor's death.

Gerard has some good commentary and links here in her honor. God rest her soul.

St. Edith Stein - August 9 - Solemnity

This is a little late. It would have been best posted before August 1. But better late than never.

Anyone looking for a novena to St. Teresia Benedicta a Cruce (a.k.a., St. Edith Stein) in preparation for her feast day can find a nice one here. There is still time to double- or triple-up on the readings and make it a quintena or a triduum.

If you'll all turn to page 147 in your hymnals. . . .

. . . .you'll likely find a completely execrable hymn. Is that too strong? Given the state of most of the readily available (i.e., currently present in the pew) hymnals, no I don't think it is.

Miss Dashwood (a.k.a. Mrs. Cacciaguida) gives us a run-down of a couple of her current least-favourites. Every word a gem. Miss Dashwood's, that is, not the ghastly songs'.

Oh, yes. The citation. It's here.

And as long as you're on her "Mommentary" page, you might as well go along here and read a salutary exegesis of the phenomenon of "Nice". Be forewarned: it's not nice. But it is correct in every respect. I wish I'd written it. If it comes to that, I wish I lived up to it.

Yet Another Advance for Education in California

Yes, things are certainly looking up. By next year there will be no "low performing" schools in California. By next year all schools with scores in the bottom half of the Academic Performance Index will no longer be low performing. Major structural reform? Hiring of regiments of outstanding teachers?

Eh, no. Thanks to AB 96 which is soon to land on the desk of Governorperson Gray Davis, all "low performing" schools will henceforth by legislative fiat be "high-priority" schools. Yup. That's the whole solution. That's all that's in the bill. You could look it up.

That's why I love this state. Swift and decisive action. Makes you feel kinda humble and kinda proud.

More here.

Dento-peditis Strikes in California

Yet another health scare. The dreaded dento-peditis (a.k.a. foot-in-mouth disease) has infected a passle of our finest legislatorpersons. All Californians need to be warned of the perils of standing too close to an open microphone. The details are here.

Oh, the humanity.