Wednesday, June 30, 2004

The Bean Counters Strike Again

In the past few years the world has seen many famous old regiments of the British army vanish from the army list: the Gordon Highlanders, the Highland Light Infantry, the Royal Irish Rangers, the Queen's Own Highlanders (Seaforths and Camerons), and several others. This recent article from The Scotsman indicates that the Black Watch, the Kings Own Scottish Borderers, or the Royal Scots may be for the chop also. The Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders have been mentioned also. Additional rumors report that the Royal Irish, the last Irish regiment of the line, may also be headed for oblivion to save a few pounds for Mr. Blair's over-extended exchequer. (Colonel Tim Collins whose speech to his men at the beginning of the second Iraq war caused much favourable comment, was colonel of the Royal Irish.)

The papers are full of the news that our own American forces are over-extended (the call-up of the ready-reserve was announced just yesterday). But the British forces are also greatly over-extended, more so than ever before in their history so some stories say. In that light this story is astonishing. The move is foolish from a miltary defense point of view and catastrophic from the view of those who look at history and tradition. Certainly it is so from the point of view of a piper. It could be politically dangerous, too.

The last time Scottish regiments vanished under government economies, General Peter Graham, the Colonel of the Gordons, said that the tories who were in power at the time had just made Scotland a tory-free zone. They'd never get another vote in Scotland. And in large part, they haven't. (Of course, they didn't get all that many to start with.) One corresondent, a former army piper, believes that the Labour government may have learned from the past and have this round of regimental disbandments fashioned more carefully in the political sense. There are no Labour votes to be lost in NI; they don't get any now. So pulling the plug on the Royal Irish is easy. And the Black Watch recruitment area typically votes SNP or Scottish Liberal Democrat; same rationale.

This is very sad news for almost everyone who has played in a pipe band. Even the most civilian of bands takes its traditions from the Scottish regiments. In Scotland the army was always a great resource for training pipers and drummers. It really provided almost the only full-time employment for a piper as a piper in the world. This has been true less and less since the end of the second world war. The remaining bands and pipers actually on the roster as such (not all are) are now so few that the tradition hangs by a thread. The Army School of Piping remains one of the principal sources of piping education in the world. But if the trend continues, who will be left to educate?

Pipe Sgt. Brian Donaldson of the Scots Guards is supposed to have predicted a few years ago "Let's face it, in 20 years they'll ALL be gone."

Enjoying a lovely early summer day, are you?

Well, I can nip that in the bud for you. This extremely disheartening article appears in the latest number of Los Angeles Catholic Mission.

Ordinarily, The Inn would prefer to leave the topic of this essay alone. There is no shortage of sources for those who need to know more. But a "throw away" paragraph caught my eye. This piece contains the following sentences:

Though Stephens is no longer a priest, he is still involved in Catholic worship. Stephens' liturgical consulting firm, Sacra Forma, operating from Howard Sellers' Irvine address where both men live, still plans the renovations of Catholic sanctuaries across the country. Stephens was recently hired by Mission San Juan Capistrano as a consultant for the "renovation" of its Serra Chapel, the only surviving chapel standing in which Blessed Junipero Serra said Mass.

As mentioned here and here, the Serra chapel is also the Diocese of Orange's last remaining location for the celebration of the indult Mass. The rumors, then, are now in print and presumably true. The Diocese's mean-spirited advice to St. Mary's parishioners that "you can always go San Juan Capistrano" has an extra dose of venom in it. Even if there were room for us in the Serra chapel - which there isn't - it's soon to be attacked by the liturgical termites.

Catholic renovation: When it absolutely, positively has to be destroyed by tomorrow.

Tuesday, June 29, 2004

The First Trimester

In Roe v. Wade that font of scientific knowledge the United States Supreme Court helpfully divided up the 9 month human gestation period into three "trimesters". One hesitates to say that this was done for purposes of obfuscation, but at least let us say the reasons were not entirely clear since it is now legal to kill the preborn baby at any time durng the entire nine months up to and including the moment of birth. In any event, the holy word "trimester" remains part of the abortion industry's specialized mumbo jumbo.

It is the first trimester in which, says the Supreme Court, the baby is least human and can most freely be sliced, diced and tossed onto the rubbish heap without fear or favour. And it is in the first trimester that the BBC reports a new type of ultrasound scan has produced vivid pictures of a 12 week-old foetus "walking" in the womb.

The new images also show preborn babies apparently yawning and rubbing their eyes.

The BBC News webpage has the story here. The pictures are fascinating; the little fellas pictured are just a few weeks old. Be sure and click the "See more pictures of developing fetuses" link. It's right below the second picture.

Thanks to Ecclesia Anglicana for the link. One of his commentors says that these pictures should prevent more abortions than the more gruesome "after" pictures often used. I think he may have something there.

"A state of war is not a blank check for the president when it comes to the rights of the nation's citizens."

So says Justice Sandra Day O'Connor. The Supreme Court of the United States yesterday restored a few of the rights taken away by the Bush administration. There are separate concurring and dissenting opinions. From the brief news story, it seems a good result. I'm happy to see some elements of our rights secured to us under the old republic retained. If that is, in fact, what occured. The text of the opinions may reveal something more than the AP reporter presented.

The news story is here.

Links to Monday's rulings:

Hamdi v. Rumsfeld

Rasul v. Bush

Padilla v. Rumsfeld

[Thanks to Serge for the reference.]

Monday, June 28, 2004

English Martyr's Shrine at Tyburn Faces Closure

One of Britain's most important Roman Catholic shrines faces closure unless it can raise £400,000 to pay for lifts and ramps for disabled visitors.

The Benedictine nuns at Tyburn Convent in central London - where the crypt houses the remains of Reformation martyrs - have until October 1 to find the funds to comply with new disability laws.

Eminent religious historians last night described the closure threat to the crypt as "immoral and absurd".

The crypt at the convent - the mother house of the order of the Adorers of the Sacred Heart of Jesus - contains the relics of 105 Roman Catholic martyrs executed at Tyburn field under Reformation laws between 1535 and 1681. The crypt is open for daily public tours but is inaccessible for disabled visitors.

The nuns must provide lifts and ramps before additions to the 1995 Disability Discrimination Act come into force on October 1.

Under the revised Act, all buildings that provide "goods, facilities or services" to the public must have the same "access, use and exit" for the disabled as the able-bodied. Any business or organisation failing in its responsibilities could face prosecution.

The convent is an oasis of prayer and silence a few hundred yards from the traffic and bustle of Marble Arch. It was the site of "The King's Gallows" from 1196 to 1783.

More here.

I had much to do with ensuring compliance with the American version of this law, the Americans with Disabilities Act or "ADA" in the company I worked for at the time of its passage. I acquired two apparently contradictory sentiments: a hearty distaste and even contempt for the glassy-eyed fanatics who came up with this piece of legislation and a new appreciation of the obstacles the disabled face in ordinary life, including a sense of the need for something very like the ADA. The ADA has perpetrated a some injustices and even a few lunacies. (Perhaps you've seen the braille on the drive-through-only teller windows?) But it's also made negotiating every day life a bit more managable for those who already have a fairly difficult time of it.

I rather think the nuns would have a very good chance of success in the U.S. with the "impossibilty" or extreme difficulty argument. I hope it succeeds in Britain.

Unsearchable His Ways?

From Ecclesia Anglicana, a link to the Google search engine in Latin.

A Documentary on the Documentary-Maker

America's own Leni Riefenstahl has had a documentary made about him. By all accounts, he's none too pleased with it either. Michael Wilson has followed Michael Moore all over the map trying to get an interview. No dice. Roger Smith, call your office.

Saturday, June 26, 2004

Our Lady of Tikhvin

MOSCOW — A radiant image of the mother of God and her somber-faced child, so enchanting that it inspired Ivan the Terrible to build a monastery, has returned to its home in Russia, luring tens of thousands of people to stand in line for hours to see it.

All day Friday, a chain of people stretched for up to a mile around the Church of the Savior in central Moscow, where the Virgin of Tikhvin icon — considered a protector of the nation since the 14th century — returned this week after a 60-year hiatus in the United States.

By midday, visitors were facing waits as long as three hours to enter the church and approach the large, silver-framed icon that was hidden after the 1917 Bolshevik Revolution, smuggled out of the Soviet Union after World War II and reposited in the home and church of a Russian Orthodox archbishop in Chicago.

More here.

Catholic Army Chaplain Wounded

This news article is dated 9 June so most of you have probably seen it already but it only came to my attention yesterday.

Family and friends of Father H. Timothy Vakoc continued to pray in early June for the U.S. Army chaplain from Minnesota who was seriously injured when a bomb exploded near his Humvee in Iraq May 29.

Father Vakoc, 44, lost his left eye and sustained brain damage and possible paralysis on his right side, according to family members. He underwent surgery to relieve brain swelling at a U.S. Army hospital in Landstuhl, Germany, before being flown to Walter Reed Army Medical Center in Washington, where, as of the evening of June 8, he remained in a coma in critical but stable condition. He also is being treated for bacterial meningitis.

A prayer for Fr. Vakoc, please.

Friday, June 25, 2004

Liturgical English

In the Anglican context, "liturgical English" usually refers to Elizabethan English, in particular the old second person singular: thee, thy, and thou.

These days in most of the English-speaking Roman Church, with the happy exception of the Anglican Use parishes, liturgical English tends to refer the tedious See-Spot-run texts produced by the ICEL. However, with the advent first of Cardinal Medina Estevez and then of Cardinal Castrillon-Hoyos as head of the CDW and some friendly persuasion from that same dicastery the ICEL has been reinventing itself. The new ICEL has produced a draft translation of (most of) the Ordinary prayers of the Mass which happily pays much closer attention to the Latin original than the version currently in use.

This is old news, of course. I mention it because I have been catching up on a stack of Wanderers and in Fr. Zuhlsdorf's indispensable column "What Does The Prayer Really Say?" I find that our Father in God here in the Archdiocese of Los Angeles is none too pleased about that. It seems he is afraid we poor pew sitters may be too dim to comprehend all those big words. No, not "eucharist", "aggiornamento", "pericope", or "liturgy committee". It's those other big words like "holy", "angel", and "sacrifice".

Herewith Fr. Zuhlsdorf:


"I felt that there are a few improvements that are very helpful, but the effort to translate every Latin word into English has not been successful." Thus spake Roger Card. Mahony, Archbishop of Los Angeles, in an interview with the Catholic News Service on May 11 during his quinquennial ad limina visit to Rome. His Eminence doesn’t like the new, proposed English translation. What is his main concern? He said, "Following the (clerical sex abuse) scandal, the last thing our people need is to now disrupt the liturgy, which has been a source of nourishment and strength during this difficult journey." “Disrupt” the liturgy? Let that pass. What else is the problem? His Eminence mentioned several points which are quite interesting. First, he said "We simply cannot have a translation that is labored and is not easily proclaimed or understood". I would respond saying, 1) that it all depends on what we want to understand – I want to understand what the Church actually wants me to understand, that is the authentic content of the prayers properly translated and 2), I think people are smart. Second, His Eminence said, "The danger is that that kind of new Roman Missal, if it were approved in such a stilted fashion, would simply not be used". I respond with the observations that 1) yes, that would be just about right in the case of some priests who have been violating liturgical law for years or engaging in illicit liturgical variation and 2) the new document from the Congregation for Divine Worship, Redemptionis sacramentum, covers that issue when it insists that it is the responsibility of the bishops, even Cardinal Archbishops, to make sure that their priests are using the proper texts. Third, His Eminence said, “What is the more important value? Is the more important value to have a more precise translation of Latin into English or is it more important to have a translation that helps people's prayer be nourished and deepened? That, to me, is the more important question". Hmmm…. I would respond saying that that is precisely what this new translation has attained, at least in a way that shows vast improvement.

Card. Mahony added, "I think that if we are going to make a change to have a Roman Missal that will be with us for generations, let's take our time; let's do it well; let's make sure that it really is an improvement". While I can surely understand how this could be “translated” to mean: “we must have great precision and beauty for the sake of the salvation of souls”, I think what it might really indicate is a wish to delay the new translation as long as possible and, thereby, control it and even abort it. You might know the Latin proverb: Cunctando regitur mundus… The world is ruled by delaying.


The rest of his column (most of which has to do with the second Eucharistic Prayer in the Pauline Missal) is here.

Wednesday, June 23, 2004

Wednesday 23 June 2004

31 years ago today the Dodgers played a double header in Cincinnati. The line up changed for the second game and Ron Cey, Bill Russell, Davey Lopes, and Steve Garvey took the field as the new infield. They stayed together for the next eight and a half years. All these years later they still feel like the archetypal Dodger infield to me. Let's see, who's taking Garvey's place at first this season. . . .

The Pipes are Everywhere II

Even in monastic seclusion "the wild, insistent pipes proclaim a new heaven and a new earth". This is Brother Boniface of the Order of St. Benedict and Abbey of St. Gregory in Shawnee, Oklahoma. He made the news here leading the procession in to the blessing of the cornerstone of something called the Creative Living Campus Center. It sounds ominous but apparently it's just a student union building.

Whatever it is, it has been well and truly blessed with holy water and pipe music.

[Thanks to Mark for the reference.]


Pictures have been posted here of the ordinations last month in Lincoln, Nebraska of the new priests for the Fraternity of St. Peter. Pictures of the ordinations at the Fraternity's seminary in Wigratzbad can be found here.

A "first Mass" celebrated by one of the newly ordained Fraternity priests at the chapel of the Carmel of Jesus, Mary, and Joseph in Valapariso, Nebraska.

A Glass of Beer

THE lanky hank of a she in the inn over there
Nearly killed me for asking the loan of a glass of beer:
May the devil grip the whey-faced slut by the hair,
And beat bad manners out of her skin for a year.

That parboiled imp, with the hardest jaw you will see
On virtue’s path, and a voice that would rasp the dead,
Came roaring and raging the minute she looked on me,
And threw me out of the house on the back of my head!

If I asked her master he’d give me a cask a day;
But she, with the beer at hand, not a gill would arrange!
May she marry a ghost and bear him a kitten, and may
The High King of Glory permit her to get the mange.

That was James Stephen's piece of work, not mine. I believe it's supposed to have been translated from the Irish if memory serves. And all brought to mind by Elinor's post of a note from The Playboy of the Western World giving one of the more comprehensive Irish curses. Not as all-encompassing as Elinor's but there's something wonderful about "may The High King of Glory permit her to get the mange". A lovely juxtaposition.

Mastering that sort of business permitted the ancient Gaelic poets and bards to live rather high on the hog. The poets were more than creators of fancy songs; the history and even the laws were in verse. If you displeased a poet, he'd write a satire on you. And that's how you would be remembered by posterity. No publishing companies about to crank out a few hundred thousand copies of "My Life" to try to refine the record. No, sir. You had to be generous to poets.

Tuesday, June 22, 2004

Speaking of pipes. . .

. . . .as I often am. Elinor dropped me a note a week or so ago asking about the piper who played for President Reagan's funeral. I have tried to respond 4 times now and for some reason her e-mail is not receiving my answer.

For Elinor and those who might be interested: the piper was local Los Angeles piper Eric Rigler. He used to be Piper Major of the old LAPD Pipe Band and has played for a while with the L.A. Scots, one of only three Grade I pipe bands in the U.S. He also played uillean pipes with the London Symphony for the score of Braveheart. (Yes, Braveheart was scored for Irish pipes. There are no Scottish pipes played in that movie. Don't know why; you'll have to ask Mr. Horner who wrote the score.) I believe he was also the uillean piper in Titanic. These days he spends most of his time playing with the celitic-rock band Bad Haggis.

As for the kit he was wearing, that was a sort of generic military number one dress. He had Royal Stuart tartan and pipe major's stripes but with no specific regimental insignia. E.g., where the collar dogs would be, there was instead just a lot of gold braid. I couldn't tell what the cap badge was. On our tv it was just a bright blob.

For those who would like to see it again, there is a digitized version available here. Please don't play it here. Right click, download and play it on your hard drive. The fellow piper who has kindly provided this on his site will appreciate it.

The Pipes Are Everywhere

Including the U.S.S. Enterprise.

Note the effect of piping at sea: his drones are tuned about as far down as they will go. The reeds soak up that moisture and go flat. To sharpen them up again you have to tune the drones down.


The world is in desperate need of a minder. I go off on sick leave for a few short days and everything pretty much collapses in a heap. For a start, I left specific instructions that the traditional Mass in the Orange Diocese was to be restored to St. Mary's and what do I find? No one has done anything about it.

Bill Clinton has even tried to take advantage of my fevered misery to sneak his 950 page apologia pro vita sua under the radar and onto the market. Can you imagine? Fortunately, there is the New York Times to take up the slack. The Times finds, among other things, that

Part of the problem is that ``My Life'' is relentlessly chronological, especially the second half of the book, which is devoted to his presidency. Almost every paragraph describes another meeting with a foreign leader or the signing of another bill or delivery of another speech.

The effect is mind-numbing. It's like being locked in a small room with a very gregarious man who insists on reading his entire appointment book, day by day, beginning in 1946.

A nice remedy for the L.A.Times' review last Sunday which rather liked the book. Since I am seldom fair and almost never balanced, I leave you to search that one out for yourselves.

As for the cold/flu or whatever that was, it seems to be going away. I got a prescription for something called Azithromycin which seemed to take the meanness out of it. The cough is still there but no longer sounds like a passing Harley. For which my wife, and probably neighbors on both sides of us, are deeply grateful.

Tuesday, June 15, 2004

I have been coughing since Friday. Not a nice genteel kaff-kaff, but great, deep Krakatoa East of Java coughs that have dislodged my kneecaps and started them moving up my legs. None of those over the counter nostrums are worth getting dressed and going out for. Utterly useless, the lot of 'em. Well, except maybe for "Cold Tea". That doesn't actually cure anything either. But it is really very comforting sipping something hot and sweet and minty. It puts me in a better frame of mind. Even though the coughs keep coming. And I've given up hope of ever having sinuses again.

(Sinuses. That reminds me of a story Robert Merrill told years ago on the Metropolitan Opera broadcast. It was regarding two feuding sopranos. If he mentioned their names, I've forgotten them. In any event, one of them was at a gathering and was heard to compliment her rival's voice. "I thought you didn't like her" someone remarked. She responsed, "Oh, no, I've never said anything bad about her voice. She has a wonderful voice; the timbre, the tone, there's nothing like it. She has that wonderful resonance here and here [touching her temples]. You know, where most people keep their brains." Zing. Maybe you had to be there. It's better the way Merrill tells it.]

Where was I? Oh, yes. Making excuses. I now possess sufficient flu or cold symptoms to enable me to surrender to constitutional laziness and give short shrift to The Inn. I have been alternating among tv (Turner Classic Movies, mostly), my breviary (some prayer is harder with a cold; the divine office is remarkably easy), and a new old book. I bought Lyn Nofziger's political memoir when it first came out in the '90s but never got around to reading it. With President Reagan's funeral so omni-present, I've pulled it off the shelf for a look. What a rollicking good read. Politics and good writing don't always go together but they do here.

Sunday, June 13, 2004


Today is the Second Sunday after Pentecost in the traditional Roman Rite, called the first after Trinity in the Sarum Rite and among traditional Anglicans. In the Pauline Rite it is the feast of "The Most Holy Body and Blood of Christ", the equivalent of the feast of Corpus Christi celebrated in the traditional rites last Thursday.

The celebration of Corpus Christi is on a Thursday in commemoration of the day of its institution. In many places in the United States it has been celebrated on the Sunday after Trinity for many years.

In the sanctoral cycle this is the feast of St. Anthony of Padua.

Si quaeris miracula,
Mors, error, calamitas,
Daemon, lepra fugiunt,
Aegri surgunt sani.

Cedunt mare, vincula;
Membra resque perditas
Petunt et accipiunt
Juvenes et cani.

Pereunt pericula,
Cessat et necessitas;
Narrent hi, qui sentiunt,
Dicant Paduani.

Cedunt mare, vincula;
Membra resque perditas
Petunt et accipiunt
Juvenes et cani.

Gloria Patri et Filio,
Et Spiritui Sancto.

Cedunt mare, vincula;
Membra resque perditas
Petunt et accipiunt
Juvenes et cani.

V. Ora pro nobis, Beati Antoni
R. Ut digni efficiamur promissionibus Christi.


Ecclesiam Tuam, Deus, beati Antonii
confessoris et doctoris Tui commemoratio votive
laetificet, ut spiritualibus semper muniatur
auxiliis et gaudiis perfrui mereatur aeternis.
Per Christum Dominun nostrum. Amen.

If then you ask for miracles,
Death, error, all calamities,
The leprosy and demons fly
And health succeeds infirmity.

The seas obey and fetters break,
And lifeless limbs thou dost restore,
Whilst treasures lost are found again,
When young or old thy grace implore.

All dangers vanish at thy prayer,
And direst need doth quickly flee
Let those who know thy power proclaim
Let Paduans say “These are of thee.”

The seas obey and fetters break,
And lifeless limbs thou dost restore,
Whilst treasures lost are found again,
When young or old thy grace implore.

Glory be to the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost.

The seas obey and fetters break,
And lifeless limbs thou dost restore,
Whilst treasures lost are found again,
When young or old thy grace implore.

V. Pray for us, O blessed St. Anthony.
R. Make us worthy of the promises of Christ

Let us pray

Let Thy Church, O God, be gladdened by the
solemn commemoration of Blessed Anthony,
thy confessor and doctor: that she may ever
more be defended by Thy spiritual assistance,
and merit t possess everlasting joy. Through
Christ Our Lord. Amen.

Thursday, June 10, 2004

Another Burial

Just prior to the burial of the former president of this republic, the heart of Louis XVII of France, the youngest son of Louis XVI and Marie-Antoinette was interred on June 8 "in the royal crypt at Saint-Denis 209 years to the day after the boy died, aged 10, orphaned and imprisoned by the revolutionaries." It was his father, Louis XVI, whose assistance made this American republic possible.

The Daily Telegraph tells the story here but omits to mention that the Mass was neither in the traditional rite of Rome nor that of Paris but in the new Pauline Rite at the instance of the local bishop of, in the words of a French correspondent, "one of the tradition hating dioceses of France."

The little boy's fate in 1799 can be read here. It's not for those with a weak stomach.

He was seven when his father disappeared (no one told him why). After that, his mother aged visibly. "She looked at us sometimes with a pity that made us shudder," wrote his sister. The two children remained locked up with their mother and aunt in the impregnable tower of the Temple. Charles fell ill with fever and convulsions. He was eight when he was forcibly parted forever from his family, who could hear him crying hysterically for two days afterwards on the floor below.

. . . .

Once his mother had been convicted and killed, the child no longer served any practical purpose. He was walled up alone in a cold, damp cell with a tiny blocked-out window and a grille through which anonymous hands pushed bread and soup twice daily. The room contained nothing except a bed and a bell which, according to his sister, "he did not ring, so afraid was he of the persons it would call". There was no sanitation, and the stench soon became unspeakable. For eight months no one made the bed, brought him a change of clothes or cleaned the cell, which crawled with fleas, lice and rats. The prisoner's only human contact was a single visit from the cook, who asked why he had eaten nothing for three days. "Well, what would you do, my friend?" replied the child. "I want to die."

Liberty, equality, fraternity indeed.

The State Funeral

Last night I watched all of the state funeral for President Reagan. Twice. (I taped it so Mary could see it when she got home.) Many things impressed. Among them was Vice-President Cheney's eloquence; I had no idea he spoke that well. And in an interview afteward with Peggy Noonan, I was surprised once again at how spontaneously eloquent she is. No wonder her polished speeches are so good.

But chiefly I was reflecting once again how well the military peform, for want of a better word, "liturgy". Seriousness, formality, decorum, solemnity, a sense of the importance of the occasion; all of these made the ceremony so moving. Not to mention a minutely detailed ritual. In the context of starched dress uniforms and solemn music, Mrs. Reagan's gentle pat on the coffin was so moving. What a contrast to so many funerals (and other ceremonies) in which the clergy of many denominations do their laughin'-and-scratchin' best to jolly things up and "break through the artificial formality". It usually trivializes the death involved and results in a sentimentally meaningless hour or so. But how emotionally powerful was the state funeral by comparison so many modern religious ones.

Someone shoud send a tape to the CDW to remind them of the spirit in which things should be done. The rubrics are usually more important than the words.

One more essay on President Reagan, this time from the also very eloquent Mark Steyn.

Monday, June 07, 2004

The traditional Roman Rite rises from the ashes in Phoenix

A post on a mailing list to which I belong recently reported the success of the first episcopally approved celebration in many a long year in the Diocese of Phoenix of the traditional Roman Rite Mass according to the rubrics of Blessed Pope John XXIII. Those who had worked so hard for this day were expecting perhaps 300 people to attend. They got 1,300. Many more called the organizers and said could find no parking and were unable to attend.

The choir sang the Gregorian chant Mass II and the schola sang all the Gregorian propers to perfection.

For those in Phoenix, you now have a Roman Rite Mass available every Sunday at 1 p.m. at St. Thomas the Apostle Church. It won't be a High Mass for most of the summer (except for August 16 in honour of the Marian feast of the Assumption). The choir and schola will be back regularly in late August.

Congratulations, Phoenix. I wish Rick Felix had lived to see it.

In convertendo Dominus captivitatem Sion,
factu sumus quasi somniantes.
Tunc repletum est gaudio os nostrum,
et lingua nostra exsultatione. [Ps125]

Bishop Brown of Orange, please copy.

As if California roads weren't smoggy enough.

And dangerous enough. California safety standards won't apply either.

The Speech

While reading about Ronald Reagan, I found The Times had linked to the full text of the speech Reagan gave in 1964 for Senator Goldwater's presidential campaign. I watched its first broadcast as a high school student. It was electrifying; we'd never heard anything like it. He delivered it in its essence again and again and it came to be referred to just as "The Speech".

Here it is. Somewhere, I have a tape of it, given as a premium, I think, by National Review probably in the '80s. (Would that I knew where it was now; it must be wonderful to be organized.)

The Times gives the text and the audio of the first inaugural address also.

"You can take off your hats now, gentlemen, and I think perhaps you'd better."
-Stephen Vincent Benet on the death of his friend Scott Fitzgerald. Quoted by Peggy Noonan on Ronald Reagan.

I feel I should say something about Ronald Reagan. After all, the very first vote I ever cast in any election was for him. (The second was for George Murphy for senator on the same ballot paper.) The year was 1970 and Reagan was running not for president but for his second term as governor of California. In 1966 when he first ran I was not yet 21, as you had to be in order to vote in those far off days. These days you can vote in California if you are 18. You may not be a citizen, legally here, or even alive (see Bob Dornan for further details) but you still have to be at least 18 years of age. By 1970 I could vote for Ronald Reagan and did.

I think he was probably the last living political hero that I have had. At least the last one to actually win anything. Politicians I can support with all my heart don’t come along that often and when they do they tend to be an acquired taste with a discrete following. But Ronnie swept all before him and more than made up for the Goldwater debacle and the Nixon kamikaze administration.

There is so much on the web on his life and career at all the usual news sites, and all the unusual ones too, that they don’t need repeating here.

The blogosphere is awash with tributes. There are some good ones here, here, here, and here. And one more here, in which you should especially note this: "We have missed his counsel in the past dozen years; had he lived, functionally, during the 1990's who knows whether things might not have gone differently; he understood more than most know."

And from Peggy Noonan, who together with Ronnie, put together some of the best political prose in the last century. And now he has left us. We will talk the next 10 days about who he was and what he did. It's not hard to imagine him now in a place where his powers have been returned to him and he's himself again--sweet-hearted, tough, funny, optimistic and very brave. You imagine him snapping one of those little salutes as he turns to say goodbye. Today I imagine saluting right back. Do you? We should do it the day he's buried, or when he lies in state in the Capitol Rotunda. We should say, "Good on you, Dutch." Thanks from a grateful country.

[Addendum: Just one more memorial site, this time from the Holy Whapping on the man who played Notre Dame's own "Gipper" in 1940.]

Bl. Anne of St. Bartholomew

The Discalced Carmelite Order today keeps the feast of Blessed Anne of St. Bartholomew, the secretary and constant companion of our Holy Mother Teresa.

There are two useful sites on the web giving information about Bl. Anne. This one is the from the Catholic Encyclopaedia. She is in disguise there, being indexed as "Anne Garcia" even though they admit she is better known as Anne of St. Bartholomew. The CE has all the essential dates and place names. This site is more generous with stories of her life and other interesting details.

The old Carmelite collect for the feast of St. Anne:

"Deus, qui beatam Annam Virginem tuam, eximium humilitatis exemplar effecisti : concede nobis, famulis tuis, ut illius vestigia sequentes, promissa humilibus praemia consequi valeamus. Per Dominum Nostrum Iesum Christum. Amen."

My own translation:

Oh, God who didst make Blessed Anne, Thy virgin an exceptional exemplar of humility, grant to us Thy servants that following in her footsteps, we may be able to receive the reward promissed to the humble. Through Our Lord Jesus Christ. Amen.

The current collect in the Carmelite liturgy:

"Father, rewarder of the humble, you blessed your servant Anne of Saint Bartholomew with outstanding charity and patience. May her prayers help us, and her example inspire us, to carry our cross and be faithful in loving you, and others for your sake. We ask this through our Lord."

Sunday, June 06, 2004

Sunday 6 June 2004

As anyone with a television knows by now, today is the 60th anniversary of D-Day, the allied invasion of Nazi-occupied France. And there is also much on the web on that great day. You could start here to read of the heroic actions of Teddy Roosevelt's son on Utah beach. Scroll up for reminsicence of Admiral Samuel Eliot Morrison, the naval historian.

Try MSNBC's The Week In Pictures for some archive pictures of the invasion and some snippets of NBC's radio news broadcasts at the time.

Liturgically, the feast of Trinity Sunday is celebrated today. Some of the sources point out that this is a signal contribution of England to the liturgy of the Church. The traditional text for today's liturgy was composed by the Franciscan Archbishop of Canterbury, John Peckham. The Medieval English Church through the Sarum Rite, and the Anglican communion to this day count the days after Trinity Sunday rather than the days after Pentecost. And, indeed, this makes some sense even in the traditional Roman Rite since it is the preface of the Holy Trinity that is prayed on these Sundays, not the preface of Pentecost.

6 June is also the feast of St. Norbert, the founder of the Canons Regular of Premontre. One of the principal foundations of this Order, also called the Norbertines and the Premonstratensians, is St. Michael's Abbey in Orange, California. This foundation is a lynchpin of orthdoxy and orthopraxis in southern California. Their Abbey prep school is very highly regarded and the sermons and homilies of their priests at parishes throughout the area ensure that the sana doctrina is still being preached. When the situation, i.e., the bishop, permits many of the Norbertines are prepared and willing, not to say delighted, to celebrate the traditional liturgy in the Roman Rite and, if I'm not mistaken, in their own traditional Premonstratensian Rite.

Saturday, June 05, 2004

New Cathedrals

Eric comments here on the pending new cathedral for the Diocese of Oakland. Read his proposals and - especially if you're in Los Angeles - eat your heart out.

New cathedrals seem to be the thing these days. No one has missed the new centre piece of downtown Los Angeles. (Nor could they. Not even if they tried.) But not much has been heard about the diocese of Orange's new sede episcopi since it was announced. It seems the fund-raising is still going on even at the expense of parishes which can't meet their bills. This article discusses it and much else about Bishop Brown and life in the Diocese of Orange.

The Mad Piper II -- D-Day Commemoration

NPR had a piece today on Bill Millen, the Mad Piper of D-Day.

Listen (with "Real Player") here.

The much shorter print version is here.

Millen, and I think the presenter, too, both refer to Millen as the only piper playing on D-Day. Not literally true. There were actually a couple of RN pipers who played from the bridges of their respective ships as the men went ashore. I've seen more than one reference to these naval pipers but I don't have a citation for you. Once again you'll have to take my word for this bit of ephemera. Warning: Although I am the soul of veracity and careful research, it's probably not admissable in court.

Trivia point #2: The first of the pipe tunes that ends the segment is indeed "Road to the Isles" (or "Dust in the Drones" as it was originally named) but the second tune in the set which is not named on the broadcast is "Glendaruel Highlanders". And that's my bit of showing-off for today.

The Institute of St. Philip Neri

It has taken some two years but the new institute founded about a year and a half ago in Berlin and modeled on the Oratory of St. Philip Neri has on the feast of St. Philip Neri last week been granted the status of "Society of Apostolic Life of Pontifical Right" by the Holy Father. The Institute is devoted to the traditional Roman Rite Mass and liturgy.

An English language text of the address the father founder,Dr. Gerald Goesche, gave to the International Federation Una Voce last year can be found here. In it he tells the story of his spiritual journey and his plans and intentions for the institute.

The Institute itself has a website here which, alas, is so far only in German. There is a link to an English language site but it is not up yet. My high school German (thank you, Fr.Straub) and the vocabulary list in the back of "Lernen Sie Deutsch!" make for a slow read with only moderately comprehensible results. I suppose the babelfish version will have to do until the English language site is up and running.

Even if you've lost your copy of "Lernen Sie Deutsch!" and don't trust babelfish, visit the site anyway for a few nice pictures. Here is Fr. Goesche at Benediction of the Blessed Sacrament in Rome celebrating the official papal recognition of the Institute of St. Philip Neri.

It's not the Old North Church or the Liberty Bell

. . . .or even the San Gabriel Mission. But in Los Angeles it counts as history. And, as is the time-honoured custom in Los Angeles, they're tearing it down. It's Perino's, the landmark Wilshire Boulevard restaurant where at one time you could've seen Frank Sinatra, Bette Davis, me, Tyrone Power, or Cary Grant. Yes, in those far-off days elite restaurants didn't make a religion of keeping out the riff-raff and even I was permitted to dine, accompanied as all young gentlemen of 8 or 9 years of age were in those days, by my mother and a suitable number of adults.

I don't recall any complaints about the cuisine and I don't recall the presence of any celebrities at any of our visits. Mind you, there may have been. I wasn't as au courant in those days as I might have been. Hard to believe, I know, but there is a good chance I would've missed Frank Sinatra. On the other hand, I think I can affirm, under oath if need be, that neither Chucko the Clown, Sheriff John, Hopalong Cassidy, nor Roy Rogers were there.

It's been closed for regular operation since 1984 and it's been another 20 years since I was last confused by everything on the menu and ordered, to my very refined grandfather's dismay, a ham sandwich and a glass of milk. But it was nice to drive by and see it was still there, linens and silver and cut glass awaiting a return of elegance.

Friday, June 04, 2004

Another Pilgrimage

No pictures this time. But an interesting note garnered from the blog "Ecclesia Anglicana": President Bush's daughter Jenna decided to celebrate her graduation by walking the camino de Compostela, the medieval pilgrimage to the shrine of St. James of Compostela.

I am envious yet again.

22ème pèlerinage de Chartres

More pictures of the Paris to Chartres pilgrimage. This is the official site. I haven't heard who the bishops are that can be seen in the pictures and there seems to be no indication on the site.

This site has yet more pictures. This one is provided by the Danish pilgrimage chapter as you might be able to guess. The Danish flag seems to figure in almost every picture, not least in this elegant shot:

If you click "vis alle" the the thumbnails will open up. It went pretty quickly on my broadband connection but I would guess you might want to open them individually on a dial-up.

Wednesday, June 02, 2004

The Good News and The Bad News

The fact that this sort of thing happens at all is the first of the bad news.

That Holy Communion was denied to public sinners and dissenters is the good news.

And then in the final paragraph, featuring our own beloved Ordinary here in the Archdiocese of Los Angeles, we come to the rest of the bad news. I join in Serge's question: Why is this man still a cardinal? What has the church in Los Angeles ever done to the Holy Father that he should dislike us so much as to inflict this man upon us?

Pope St. Gregory VII, pray for us.

The Blessed Karl I

It was announced yesterday - although the letter is dated earlier - that the last emperor of the Austro-Hungarian Empire is to be beatified. He was the only head of state during The Great War to fully co-operate with the peace initiatives of Pope Benedict. Probably the only one to co-operate with them at all.


Announcing the Beatification of the Servant of God Emperor Karl of Austria

With thanksgiving to God’s providential wisdom, it is a sincere pleasure for me as President of the League of Prayers to announce that our Holy Father, Pope John Paul II, will add Emperor Karl of Austria to the list of Blesseds on Sunday, the 3rd of October 2004, in Rome. For all members of the worldwide League of Prayers for Emperor Karl, and for every person of good will, this is reason to praise Him Who is working and fulfilling all that is good and noble in us, Our Lord and God.

After an extensive investigation into the life and the death of Emperor Karl of Austria, the Church now confirms definitively: Emperor Karl is a heroic example of Christian virtues. Acquired during a life lived responsibly as a human being, statesman, husband and father, and developed even up until his death in exile, his virtues are shining examples of his personal journey towards Christ.

His confidence, despite the uncertainty of his times, was motivated by the words of the Holy Gospels: “Thy Will be done.” Even in the darkest, loneliest, and hardest hours of his life, this was his clear aim.

On his deathbed Emperor Karl said: “I have to suffer so much so that my peoples can again come together”.

Today, decades later, his peoples have found new forms of communal identity. May they recognize in the newly beatified Emperor, who was devoted to all of them, a heavenly intercessor and an example illuminating the way into the future, a future which is responsible before God, and responsible for the respect and dignity of every human being.

St. Polten, am 18. Mai 2004
Bishop Dr. Kurt Krenn, President League of Prayers for Emperor Karl of Austria


There is a website dedicated to the advancement of his cause here.

A Good Stretch of the Legs

Some of the pilgrims from Ireland.

Some pictures have already been posted (you can find them here) of last week's Pentecost Pilgrimage. This annual 72 mile walk begins on the steps of Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris and ends three days later with High Mass in Chartres Cathedral. The purpose of the pilgrimage is to plead for the restoration of the traditional liturgical rites for those whose spiritual lives depend upon them.

Many thousands participate each year in what is a fairly grueling trek through cities and countryside. The reception of the pilgrims has varied through the years. In the beginning the doors of both cathedrals were closed to the pilgrims. These days the old Mass is not permitted in Notre Dame of Paris but is made most welcome at Chartres. Celebrants have included Cardinal Mayer. If memory serves, Cardinal Lustiger did at one time permit an opening liturgy in Paris but apparently changed his mind at some point. "Wide and generous" apparently being a moveable feast.

Unfortunately the site noted above is only in French. Those of us whose French is not up to diplomatic standards will have to make do with the pictures. But what enthralling pictures they are. I would love to make that pilgrimage one day. Alas, even if I could afford Paris, my foot can only just about handle my two mile walk in the evening here at home. Maybe one day.

Solemn Mass at Chartres Cathedral

Inscrutability Dept.

"China Wants Clean Spears Show" reads the headline on page A13 in this morning's Press Telegram. And that pretty much tells you all you need to know about the two inch article. The Chinese Minister for Wardrobe wants pre-approval of whatever America's premiere pop tart wears during her performance(s) in China.

O.K. Clean is good. But as long as they're going to obviate the point of the exercise, why not go the whole hog and hire someone who can sing?

Restore the Old Mass

An editorial with that title in the current number of Inside the Vatican magazine has been making the rounds among traditional Catholic people. Apparently the editor means just that. This is somewhat of a surprize since the feeling had been that Inside the Vatican was more of a "conservative" than a "traditional" publication, if you follow those nuances.

It's a beautiful piece of writing and I very much agree with the main thrust of it. But not 100%. Not if he really means "restore the Old Mass" and abolish the new. Abolishing the new would be a mistake. There are two generations of Catholics now who know no other way of praying; this is their way of speaking to God. The Church should not do to them what was done to us in the '60s. That would be unconscionable. It doesn't mean irreverence or abuses should be allowed to continue. But don't take away the only way of prayer anyone under 40 has ever known.

My own view is that the traditional Roman Rite is strong enough to stand the competition. It has withstood the last 40 years of persecution; it can stand a bit of honest competition.

Yes, I know. Realistically, it isn't going to happen anyway. But I thought that needed to be said regardless.

Here is the text of the editorial in question. It doesn't appear to be on-line at the Inside the Vatican site. But it is popping up many other places on the web.

Restore the Old Mass
editorial by Robert Moynihan

"By the rivers of Babylon, there we sat down, yea, we wept when we remembered Zion. We hanged our harps upon the willows in the midst thereof. For there they that carried us away captive required of us a song: and they that wasted us required of us mirth, saying, Sing us one of the songs of Zion. How shall we sing the Lord's song in a strange land? If I forget thee, O Jerusalem, let my right hand forget her cunning. If I do not remember thee, let my tongue cleave to the roof of my mouth; if I prefer not Jerusalem above my chief joy."
(Psalms 137: 1-6 (KJV))

On April 23, the Congregation for Divine Worship issued a 60 page instruction, Redemptionis Sacramentum, ("The Sacrament of Redemption"). It is the result of long and serious deliberations on how the Mass is being celebrated today in the Church, and sets forth a standard of solemnity to be followed everywhere. (Even in Rome, I would hope: a couple of weeks ago at the Church of San Giovanni dei Fiorentini, I heard "Danny Boy" played during Communion.

No one can deny the desire on the part of the authors of this instruction to impart a sense of the sacred to the new Mass.

But after studying the catalogue of the "do's and don'ts" in the document, one senses a reluctance on Rome's part to get to the root causes of the problem: namely, the new Mass itself.

There have been books written on what's missing in the new Mass, by Cardinal Ratzinger among others, and the authors of this instruction are aware of these studies. But they do not pinpoint the real source of the 40-year secularization of the Mass. The problem is that the new Mass attracts and "enables" abuses because it was intentionally shaped to diminish the "transcendent" and emphasize the "profane" dimension.

The new Mass has turned out to be a rite too rapidly produced and too influenced by the rampant secularization of the 1960's. Patching it up is a vain effort.

At least in this one area it is possible for the Church to take decisive action.

The successor of Peter can even tomorrow issue a solemn decree more or less as follows "The cries of God's people are at last heard; the winter is over, the true springtime is come; the ancient, holy liturgy of the Roman rite, cherished by so many saints, will, with no further delay, be restored in all the churches of Christendom..."

Then the Pope would set forth the steps by which innovation, experiment, and individual artistry would come to an end and the ancient sacrificial offering of the Mass -- in all dignity and solemnity -- would be restored. Some would argue that such an action would be a grave mistake, that making such a liturgical change would both "impede ecumenical progress" and "further confuse the faithful."

I understand these arguments and feel their force.

But I am persuaded that the restoration of the old Mass, with its simple solemnity and rich symbolism, would not offend non-Catholics, as is feared, but attract them and attract them profoundly.

And I am persuaded that the restoration of the old Mass would not "confuse" the faithful, but would "galvanize' them, deepening their Christian faith, confirming them in the love of God and their neighbor. And this, in fact, is what the bishops at Vatican II most deeply desired.

I am convinced that the restoration of the old liturgy would be a consolation to many, who have attended the new Mass, not to "participate more fully" in the new liturgy, but, out of obedience to a Pope and hierarchy which has asked them to "give up" the Mass they love.

I am persuaded that the restoration of the old Mass would be a "festival day," a day of universal celebration and, as such, would mark the beginning of a great renewal in Church life."

Some will argue that such a restoration would be disrespectful toward Pope Paul VI, who promulgated the new Mass in 1969.

I disagree. Paul VI himself was hesitant about the new Mass, as he was about so many things. He approved it half-heartedly. It is said that after he attended a "trial run" of the new Mass, he said, "But where is the mystery? The mystery is gone!" He himself felt something was missing in the new Mass, but promulgated it anyway.

In April I had a conversation with Fr. Jean Marie Charles-Roux, 90, one of the priests who celebrated Mass for Mel Gibson in Rome during the filming of The Passion of the Christ. Charles-Roux was ordained in the 1950's. He knew Pius XII, John XXIII, and Paul VI personally, In 1971, after celebrating the new Mass for about 18 months, he asked Paul VI to receive him at Castel Gandolfo. Paul agreed. Charles-Roux said to Paul: "For 18 months I have celebrated the new Mass, but I cannot continue. I was ordained to celebrate the old Mass, and I want to return to it. Will you permit me to do so?" And Paul said: "Certainly, I never forbade celebration of the old Mass; I have only offered an alternative."

The alternative has become the norm, and the perennial liturgy of the Latin West is celebrated in only a few chapels here and there, almost furtively, as if in hiding, as if in a time of persecution.

So let us read the sign of the times and restore the liturgy of the ages, the liturgy of Gregory the Great and St. Augustine of England, of Boniface and Bernard, of Francis and Clare, of Aquinas and Bonaventure, of Ignatius and Bellarmine, of Newman and Chesterton, and our own parents and grandparents.

Let us preserve from oblivion the beautiful and holy liturgy which we inherited from our forefathers, that our posterity may thank us for having the courage to do what is fitting and just in an age of iron and lead.


By the way, Inside the Vatican magazine has some of the best photography currently in print. If you have any interest in the beauty of Catholic Rome particularly, this is the magazine to subscribe to.

Recovering nicely, thank you. . . .

No, not from flu. From the weekend at the Highland Games in Costa Mesa. Last weekend was the first time in maybe 20 years that I've been to that games as a spectator and not as a participant. Very interesting to see what else has been going on there every year for 20 years.

No dancing for me this year, either. But I still managed to aggravate my gimpy foot.

My former band found they needed more work on their new competition set on Saturday but swept all before them in Sunday's competition.

Misty Isle Pipe Band marching into competition:

In the comp circle: