Friday, January 30, 2004

The Thirtieth of January. . . .

Being the Day of the Martyrdom of the Blessed King Charles the First. . . .

So begins the old liturgy in the 1662 Book of Common Prayer for the only person ever canonized by the Church of England. He was never a Roman Catholic, although his wife was one.

The old Prayer Book liturgy for his day - actually a day of fasting and reparation - can be found here.

The feast, if it can be called that, was removed, I think, early in Queen Victoria's reign. But it has not been forgotten. There are still Anglican societies which commemorate him and promote his cause. The British one is here and the American here.

Rex divine, Rector regum,
Juris Auctor, Dator legum,
Omnem regens populum,
Tibi laudes extollamus
Hodie dum honoramus
Florem regum Carolum.

Tuesday, January 27, 2004

A Classic from Video Meliora (etc.):

Chris Matthews refers to the Republican party as the daddy party and the Democratic party as the mommy party, but daddy is spending us broke and mommy wants to kill the kids. Disfunctional parents the both of them.

Lo, I bring you Tidings of great confusion. . .

Here in the Archdiocese of Hollyweird we seem to think that God might be a woman. If only Our Lord had had the benefit of Fr. Rolheiser's wonderful education in systematic theology He might not have been so simplistically sure that His Father was indeed His Father.

Sunday, January 25, 2004

"Memento!". . . A Nice Roman Tradition

from Fr. Zuhlsdorf's column in the 15 January 2004 Wanderer:

In English we know the noun "memento" is “keepsake” which reminds of the past. In Latin this is a verb form. The comprehensive Lewis & Short Dictionary says that this form memento, an imperative form of the verb memini (an irregular verb having forms in the perfect tense), means “to remember, recollect, to think of, be mindful of a thing; not to have forgotten a person or thing, to bear in mind.” There is a nice Roman tradition associated with this word. During my first experience of living in Rome, I said Mass nearly every morning at St. Peter’s Basilica. I learned there, from many older clerics and canons of the basilica that when one encounters a priest who is about to say Mass (whether you personally are a layman or a cleric), it is customary to say to him “Memento!” – which is a request that the priest be mindful of you and remember you also as he celebrates the Sacrifice of the Mass. The gentleman priest at that point ought to respond something like “Memor ero. . . .I will be mindful” or “Libenter. . .Willingly” or “Libentissime. . .Most willingly.” This is a genteel custom that could be happily reintroduced. Every Mass can be suitably offered for the living and the dead. Customs like this also help to reinforce in the priest the conviction that what he does really has an effect in the world; consecrating the Eucharist and completing the Sacrifice with the consumption of the Species really accomplishes something.

I love things like this. [The rest of his column is on-line here.]

". . .made rapid progress in reading and was just tolerable at writing. . ."

That was tutor John Murdoch's report on his pupil, Robert Burns whose 245th birthday it is today. He eventually improved on the writing and became Scotland's national poet.

The last two or three weekends in January, and especially tonight, will be taken up with Burns Suppers throughout the world. The Los Angeles Branch of the RSCDS had one last night. The Orange County Branch held theirs two weeks ago. The local United Scottish Society had one last night also.

This site will give you a typical Burns Nicht programme. But the carry-on will vary considerably depending upon the group. The U.S.S. event is guaranteed to be fairly staid and traditional. The RSCDS events will be heavy on the dancing portion. Some dinners will be fairly scholarly and other clubs will hold events more in the tradition of Burns himself, i.e., ribald.

Every event will serve a haggis accompanied by a recitation of "To a Haggis". You can find the text here. There's a link on that page to allow you to listen to a recitation.

What you won't find on the net - so far as I know - is To A Wee Indian Takeaway by Willie MacCallum, one of finest pipers of the 20th or any other century:


fair fa the smell o Puna lamb, -
better for ye than biled ham
even better than a piece in jam
a meal complete
more tasty than a tin o spam
a special treat

this wonderous dish most oriental
has rendered haggis incidental
but Rabbie it wid drive ye mental
an fu o worry
tae see how folk wance tempremental
have taen tae curry

like money lenders frae Bombay
their dressed up in a different way
tae eat in pubs called Old Cathay
an smack their lips
when they know the dinner of the day
is curry sauce wi chips

ye see them ower their spiced japaties
they now prefer tae mince an tatties
or a nice we korma wi a bit pakora's
a fair delight
their gaun tae regret it all the morra
or maybe through the night

for alas this pungent grub frae Puna's
a cert tae gi them montezuma
these hottest spices frae Punjabi
that they desire
will hiv them locked inside the lavvy
their guts on fire

they yell and scream and shout for more
an then their clutchin belly sore
for ye ken that these Punjabi dinners
are deadly stuff tae Scottish innards
but they mob the curry shops, quite happy!
stuffin doon the tiki
nae wonder Gandhi wore a nappy

ah Rabbie man it gars me greet
tae see the way the Scots now eat
tatties, neeps and haggis are out'n gone
and had their day
for now the whole o Scotland's shoutin!
Gie's an Indian take-away!

Thursday, January 22, 2004

This just in. . . .

"Did she really say John Dean?"

No, that was a lapsus digitorum. She really said "Howard".

A natural mistake for me to make under the circumstances. I have found that you can annoy countless numbers of political activists by claiming that you would never vote for Dean because of the lack of character he demonstrated in betraying Richard Nixon back in the '70s. This leads to wonderful surrealistic explanations of Watergate and which one is Howard and which one is John and why Howard would never betray anyone. I recommend this to anyone. It's great fun leading the political enthusiast down the garden path and into the uncharted dialectical wilderness.

Wednesday, January 21, 2004

Election Night -- Iowa Caucus Edition

My interest in out-of-state Democrat politicking is, to say the least, limited.

My dear wife's verges on the non-existent.

Thus the total Iowa Caucus commentary in our household went like this.

Dear Wife (coming in from the TV room to me at my desk): "Do you know who John Dean is?"

Me: "Uh, well, yes, sort of."

Dear Wife: "Is he insane?"

Monday, January 19, 2004


I've been waiting all day for the mail to arrive. And now at 5:30 in the evening, to my shame, I finally recall what must surely be the reason why there has been no post. Why, it is General Lee's birthday.

One hesitates to claim sanctity -- although that is the way I absorbed the story. But let us settle for nobility of spirit, great intelligence, military genius, kindness to all, and a great patriotism for his home place.

Farewell to the Army of Northern Virginia

written the day after the surrender to Grant.

by Robert E. Lee

After four years of arduous service, marked by unsurpassed courage and fortitude, the Army of Northern Virginia has been compelled to yield to overwhelming numbers and resources.

I need not tell the survivors of so many hard-fought battles who have remained steadfast to the last that I have consented to this result from no distrust of them; but feeling that valor and devotion could accomplish nothing that could compensate for the loss that would have attended the continuance of the contest, I determined to avoid the useless sacrifice of those whose past services have endeared them to their countrymen. By the terms of the agreement, officers and men can return to their homes and remain until exchanged.

You may take with you the satisfaction that proceeds from the consciousness of duty faithfully performed, and I earnestly pray that a merciful God will extend to you his blessing and protection.

With an unceasing admiration of your constancy and devotion to your country, and a grateful remembrance of your kind and generous consideration of myself, I bid you all an affectionate farewell.

For those who want to read the definitive work on Marse Robert, the Douglas Southall Freeman biography - 2, 421 pages in 4 volumes - is now on the web here.

A more manageable read - say 5 minutes max - is here.

Sunday, January 18, 2004

Thoughts while waiting in line at the grocery store. . .

. . . .and staring at the ubiquitous magazine rack:

I shall start a magazine. The clergy will not be allowed to subscribe. No, sir. No clergy at all. In that way, I shall be able to call it. . . .wait for it, now. . . .I shall definitely entitled it: "The Laity's Home Journal".

Oh, well. As my chances of getting any financing for that are nil, I offer the title to any prospective bloggers. You may have it, free, gratis, and for nothing.

Saturday, January 17, 2004

The South Bay Mystery Piper

I am just back from doing a funeral in Lomita and also, once again, cleaning up after the South Bay Mystery Piper.

This has been going on for years and it's happened several times now. I'll show up to do a gig somewhere in the South Bay area and the funeral director or the wedding co-ordinator or the priest or minister will react when I appear as if the plague has just arrived. They're barely civil, but as the family's hired me they have to put up with me.

So I play my pieces and when the ceremony is over, I'm their long-lost brother. The same people are smiling, shaking my hand, asking for my card, and -- often -- apologizing.

And so it went today. The family hired me last week. Two days ago the family called to say that I wouldn't be allowed play in the church, only outside. So would I play just before and after. Fair enough. I usually only do the processional and recessional anyway. So I do that. Afterward the priest comes up and thanks me
and says if he'd known it would sound like that he would've had me play more. And in the church. The pipes sounded "really sweet", he said. "Not the way that other fellow who played here sounded."

Now, I don't turn down compliments. I enjoy all I can get. But the truth is I am not God's gift to piping. I'm your basic, average, every-day piper. So whoever this other guy is, he must be absolutely dreadful.

Nobody ever remembers his name when I ask. I would really be interested to know.

From The Times this morning

A priest's letter-to-the-editor: Celibacy Is Appropriate for Priests' Real Work

Thursday, January 15, 2004

Being Catholic

This heartfelt article is from a recent number of the Ottawa Citizen and is archived here. The attraction to the Church is the attraction to Christ.

It begins:

At the end of last summer, in successive Sunday columns for Aug. 31st and Sept. 7th, I wrote on why I had decided to give up on the Anglicans and become a Catholic. Such questions are settled between oneself and God, and today are considered to belong to the realm of the private. But if one writes for readers, they are also public questions -- a reader should know where a writer is coming from; and to whom, or to what, he owes his allegiance. Besides, to judge from mail, people seem genuinely curious about my religious beliefs; including those who write, "How can a person who seems reasonably intelligent and rational in other respects fall for all that superstitious claptrap?" (Actual reader quote.)

To those who think I make sense on worldly affairs, when writing on weekdays, but none when I turn to religion on Sundays, I can't resist making the obvious suggestion. Perhaps my political views are as batty as my religious ones. You should keep an open mind.

[Thanks to Joe Blake for the reference.]

Wednesday, January 14, 2004

Of course, officially it IS a weapon. . . .

The bagpipe, I mean. In 1746 after Culloden, Jamie Reid was tried for bearing arms against the king. His defense was that he did not bear arms; he only played the pipes. The pipes were adjudicated a weapon of war and Jamie ended his life at the business end of a rope. (As the trial was in York, the decision is only English precedent, not Scottish.)

So it seems only fair that the high-tech version of the pipes that caused the kerfuffle related here should be held to the same standards as its larger and louder predecessor.

Tuesday, January 13, 2004

As Tully would say. . .

So long as you're practicing your Latin proclamations, you might want to pick up Harrius Potter et Philosophi Lapis which is now being offered at a reduced price. Harrius Potter thus joins Winnie Ille Pu*, Cattus Petasatus,** and a few recent others on the Latin literature shelves.

*Winnie Ille Pu = Winnie the Pooh
**Cattus Petasatus=The Cat in the Hat

The Epiphany Proclamation

In the traditional Roman Rite the Pontificale Romanum provides that the dates of the moveable feasts for the coming year be proclaimed to the people in each cathedral during the principal Mass of the Epipany. Thanks to a recent posting on a liturgy list to which I belong, this is the proclamation for 2004:

On the Feast of the Epiphany, after the Gospel, the Archdeacon, a
dignitary, or another priest, dressed in a cope, goes to the customary place
where he proclaims the moveable Feasts for the current year as instituted of
old by Holy Church.

Noveritis, fratres carissimi, quod annuente Dei misericordia, sicut de
Nativitate Domini nostri Jesu Christi gavisi sumus, ita et de Resurrectione
ejusdem Salvatoris nostri gaudium vobis annuntiamus.

Dies octava Februarii erit Dominica in Septuagesima. Vigesima Quinta
ejusdem dies Cinerum, et initium jejunii sacratissimae Quadragesimae.
Undecima Aprilis sanctum Pascha Domini nostri Jesu Christi cum gaudio
celebrabimus. Dies vigesima Maii erit Ascensio Domini nostri Jesu Christi.
Dies trigesima ejusdem Festum Pentecostes. Decima Junii Festum sacratissimi
Corporis Christi. Dies vigesima octava Novembris Dominica prima Adventus
Domini nostri Jesu Christi, cui est honor et gloria, in saecula saeculorum.

It is solemnly made known, dearest brethren that, just as we through the
bounteous mercy of God, have rejoiced in the Birth of Our Lord Jesus Christ,
likewise should we proclaim the joy of the Resurrection of this same

The eighth day of February will be Septuagesima Sunday. The twenty- fifth
day of the same month will be Ash Wednesday, marking the beginning of the
most holy Lenten fast. With great rejoicing, we will celebrate the Paschal
Feast of our Lord Jesus Christ on the eleventh day of April. The Ascension
of our Lord Jesus Christ is to be celebrated on the twentieth of May, while
the Feast of Pentecost will be the thirtieth day of May. The tenth day of
June is to be the Feast of the Most Sacred Body of Christ. The twenty-eighth
day of November shall be the First Sunday of the Advent of Our Lord Jesus
Christ, to whom be honour and glory for ever and ever. Amen.

This pdf file was also provided at which the text with music can be found. (Thanks to Michael Pearce for the same.)

Thursday, January 08, 2004


In the Carmelite Order this is the feast of St. Peter Thomas, Carmelite friar, theologian, and Latin Patriarch of Jerusalem. As papal legate he led an attack on the Mohammedan stronghold in Alexandria where he received a fatal wound, eventually dying in Cyprus.

Monday, January 05, 2004

6 JANUARY -- Epiphania Domini

Today is the traditional day of the Epiphany of the Lord. The 12 days of Christmas are over and we enter into Epiphany season in the traditional liturgy. This year there will be four and a half weeks of Epiphany season, ending on the 15th of February with Septuagesima Sunday.

You might like to visit The Byzantine Catholic Church of the Epiphany site, where you can find a history not only of the church but of the feast. It originally commemorated three events: the visit of the Magi, the Baptism in the Jordan, and the Wedding Feast at Cana.

Sunday, January 04, 2004

Found while perusing the net on this feast of the Holy Name of Jesus:

"Were we to confine our diet to creatures that lacked sense and do not even respond to light, we could only eat liturgists and liberal Democrats." (Fr George W. Rutler)

Saturday, January 03, 2004

WARNING!! I can't find the answers to this

Jerry Pournelle aptly refers to this as a "devilish quiz". It says the average score is just two. I did better than that. I'm sure of 23 answers and pretty sure of another 3. But it's still a failing grade in anyone's class. [Question 1-10 is a giveaway for St. Blog's denizens. So you're sure to get at least one.]

But be forewarned: the headline is correct. I haven't found the answer sheet yet. Did they remember to print it?

Oratio ante colligationem

Prayer Before Connecting to the Internet

OMNIPOTENS aeterne Deus, qui nos secundum imaginem Tuam plasmasti, et omnia bona, vera, pulchra, praesertim in divina persona Unigeniti Filii Tui Domini nostri Iesu Christi, quaerere iussisti, praesta quaesumus ut, per intercessionem Sancti Isidori, Episcopi et Doctoris, in peregrinationibus per interrete factis et manus oculosque ad quae Tibi sunt placita intendamus et omnes quos convenimus cum caritate ac patientia accipiamus. Per Christum Dominum Nostrum. Amen.

The English is at the link shown above. Visit Mr. Martin's excellent page Thesaurus Precum Latinarum for an on-line prayer book of prayers in Latin and English.