Wednesday, July 28, 2004

The Scottish Episcopal Church

It may be small, but it has at least one communicant who can give the Curt Jester a run for his money. Taking the Episcopalian is worth a visit. Some of it applies very well to our own beloved Roman home. Some of it - thankfully - does not.

Tuesday, July 27, 2004

Blessed Titus Brandsma

His feast day is almost over, but I wanted to mentioned something about Blessed Titus Brandsma here to honor him. That is his picture shown above in the garden at Nijmegen with his beloved pipe. A fairly comprehensive and well-illustrated biography of Blessed Titus can be found here. A Dutch Carmelite of the Ancient Observance, he defied the anti-Catholic orders of the Nazi invaders of his native Holland and was sent to Dachau where he died. If you can get hold of his writings they are both very learned and very accessible. A well-known passage of his is shown below. "Two Branches of the Same Trunk" refers to the Ancient Observance and the Discalced Carmelite Orders.

Two Branches of the Same Trunk

Looking at Carmel from above, its two branches are united at their summits. Despite the separation which exists on the trunk, the two branches intermingle their foliage and blossoms without our being able to distinguish those which belong to the one from those which belong to the other. The blind singer of Rennes, Ven. John of St. Samson, does not have a different melody from that of the inspired singer imprisoned in the Carmel of Toledo, because both repeat what the Institutio primorum monachorum had inculcated in the Carmelites of the first centuries, namely, that all Carmelites, Brothers and Sisters of the Order of Our Lady of Mt. Carmel, in order to be faithful to their vocation should do their very utmost to go, under the guidance of the saintly hermit and prophet Elijah, across the desert of this life up to the Mt. Horeb of the vision of God, strengthened by the heavenly nourishment which is shown on the altar.

The Institute of St. Philip Neri Again

The Inn's first mention of this new traditional Philipian Institute was here. Since then more of their website has been translated into English. The English language site is here.

The German-speaking correspondent that passed this along pointed out that not everything is in English yet, including this tantalizing sentence:

" Das „Brompton Oratory" in London hat uns besonders unter
seine Fittiche genommen. So kann aus unserem kleinen Institut
irgendwann auch offiziell ein Oratorium werden. "

i.e.: " The 'Brompton Oratory' in London took us
particularly under its wings. So sometime our small Institute
will be able to become officially an Oratory ."

Monday, July 26, 2004

Not Just One Regiment. . .

. . .as we worried about in this post. Instead, it is all of Scotland's military heritage that is to be destroyed. Along with a goodly chunk of Britain's military capability in every area: air, sea, and land. As one British (indeed, English, as it happens) friend said to me "Fine. Now we're fully prepared for a war against Monaco. Provided someone who still has a navy agrees to give us a lift."

There is much discussion in the Scottish press. This article headlined "Anger Grows over Scots Regiments Shake-up" includes the following:

SNP shadow Scottish minister for defence Angus Robertson said: "This news is a disaster for the whole of Scotland, and our servicemen and women deserve better treatment from the Government. Our armed forces, their families, veterans and the communities have been badly let down by the Government."

Tory shadow secretary of state for Scotland Peter Duncan described the cuts as "gross negligence". He said: "The Defence Secretary can dress this up all he likes, but the simple fact is that this announcement is all about cuts.

"Scotland’s regiments have worked tirelessly to preserve the freedom of our people and bring freedom to others over hundreds of years. We live in a time where terrorist fanatics pose a threat, and our Armed Forces are already stretched to the limits. To stretch them further is nothing short of gross negligence on the part of the Government."

Lib Dem spokesman for Scottish affairs John Thurso added: "

"At a time when this Government seems intent on committing the UK to new military enterprises throughout the globe it is quite ludicrous to be carrying out reductions of this kind.

"This announcement is an insult to the proud tradition and record of military service by Scots over many generations."

The military itself has been issued a gag order; no adverse comments permitted. Major Ronnie Proctor, the semi-retired keeper of the Black Watch's regimental museum received a sharp dressing down for expressing "disappointment". Nevertheless, many in the military have decided not to take it lying down.

On Saturday The Scotsman revealed that Brigadier Hughie Monro, colonel of the Highlanders regiment, had described the cuts as "barking mad" in a letter to his troops.

And yesterday, Lieutenant Colonel Stuart Crawford, who served with the 4th Royal Tank Regiment, questioned whether the MoD could enforce the gagging order. He said that European human rights legislation gave soldiers the right to freedom of expression.

"Soldiers who have been threatened with disciplinary action are being treated in a manner which is not legal," he said.

The suggestion has also been made this will be the last nail in Tony Blair's coffin. And, indeed, the biggest boost that the Scottish National Party has ever had.

Some have banded together to "save the Scottish regiments". And the best of luck to them.

Monday, July 19, 2004

My Favourite Review of The Da Vinci Code

I read this some time ago and I've now forgotten where. But as it is now again being discussed in Prominent Places, I give you my favourite review of TDVC. And possibly the shortest.

Someone was bloviating about the wonders revealed in TDVC and the reviewer said:

"And where did you get your copy?"

"Barnes and Noble."

"In what section?"

"Uh, 'New Fiction'."


Saturday, July 17, 2004

The Carmelite Martyrs of Compiegne

On this day in 1794 all the nuns of the Carmelite monastery of Compiegne were guillotined by the revolutionary French republicans. They offered their lives for France and her liberation from the terror. They were the last executed under that regime and the terror soon ended.

Their story has been retold in many forms. Dialogue des Carmélites, a Poulenc opera based on a film scenario by Georges Bernanos, is perhaps the most well-known treatment. That in turn was based upon Gertrude von le Fort's novel, The Song at the Scaffold.
ICS has published an extensive history of the Carmelite martyrs, To Quell the Terror.

The most complete recounting of their story on the web is probably here. That site contains the heart of a booklet written a few years ago by Terry Newkirk, herself a Carmelite Secular. A short excerpt:

"An ironic sidelight: the one nun of royal blood, Marie of the Incarnation, happened to be away at the time of the arrest and thus escaped execution; one of only three survivors of her community, she became the martyrs' first historian, collecting eyewitness accounts of the nuns deaths. Reverend Mother Émilienne, Superior General of the Sisters of Charity of Nevers, wrote in a letter:

" 'I learned from a person who was a witness to their martyrdom that the youngest of these good Carmelites was called first and that she went to kneel before her venerable Superior, asked her blessing and permission to die. She then mounted the scaffold singing Laudate Dominum omnes gentes. She then went to place herself beneath the blade (not) allowing the executioner to touch her. All the others did the same. The Venerable Mother was the last sacrificed. During the whole time, there was not a single drum-roll; but there reigned a profound silence.'

"Sister Charlotte of the Resurrection, seventy-eight and an invalid, having been thrown roughly to the pavement from the tumbrel, was heard to speak words of forgiveness and encouragement to her tormentor. Sister Julie had an extreme horror of the guillotine; yet she refused to leave her sisters even when her family sent for her, saying, 'We are victims of the age, and we must sacrifice ourselves for its reconciliation with God.' Another witness said of the nuns, 'They looked like they were going to their weddings.'

"Throughout France a vaunted new age of spiritual maturity, free from the bonds of sectarian religion, was underway. On June 20, 1794, a Feast of the Supreme Being" was celebrated in Compiègne. In November of the previous year, the worship of Reason was officially proclaimed: the church of Saint-Jacques in Compiégne became the Temple of Reason. The church of Saint- Antoine became a public meeting hall and fodder storehouse. In December, the Mayor of Paris had announced in the Temple of Reason that the Declaration of the Rights of Man would henceforth be the catechism of the French, and that the Constitution would be their Gospel. The prevailing mood of the times is reflected in a letter of July 17, 1794, from municipal officials of Compiègne to the Comité du Sureté Nationale:

" 'The citizens of the Commune of Compiègne and of the District celebrated a civic festival on the 26 of this month (Messidor) in memory of the taking of the Bastille and in rejoicing for the recent victories of our armies. The minutes of the Municipalites attest that everywhere people were animated by the same spirit. The festival was concluded with dances and patriotic banquets.'

"Yet there must have been a growing public unease not evident in this letter. Something in the sight of the nuns being executed seems to have affected even the hardened Parisian crowd, accustomed to cheering loudly each fall of the guillotine blade. Within ten days, by July 27, 1794, Robespierre and the provisional revolutionary government were finished."

The Catholic Encyclopaedia lists all of the 16 martyrs:

"Madeleine-Claudine Ledoine (Mother Teresa of St. Augustine), prioress, b. in Paris, 22 Sept., 1752, professed 16 or 17 May, 1775;

"Marie-Anne (or Antoinette) Brideau (Mother St. Louis), sub-prioress, b. at Belfort, 7 Dec., 1752, professed 3 Sept, 1771;

"Marie-Anne Piedcourt (Sister of Jesus Crucified), choir-nun, b. 1715, professed 1737; on mounting the scaffold she said "I forgive you as heartily as I wish God to forgive me";

"Anne-Marie-Madeleine Thouret (Sister Charlotte of the Resurrection), sacristan, b. at Mouy, 16 Sept., 1715, professed 19 Aug., 1740, twice sub-prioress in 1764 and 1778. Her portrait is reproduced opposite p. 2 of Miss Willson's work cited below;

"Marie-Antoniette or Anne Hanisset (Sister Teresa of the Holy Heart of Mary), b. at Rheims in 1740 or 1742, professed in 1764;

"Marie-Françoise Gabrielle de Croissy (Mother Henriette of Jesus), b. in Paris, 18 June, 1745, professed 22 Feb., 1764, prioress from 1779 to 1785;

"Marie-Gabrielle Trézel (Sister Teresa of St. Ignatius), choir-nun, b. at Compiègne, 4 April, 1743, professed 12 Dec., 1771;

"Rose-Chrétien de la Neuville, widow, choir-nun (Sister Julia Louisa of Jesus), b. at Loreau (or Evreux), in 1741, professed probably in 1777;

"Anne Petras (Sister Mary Henrietta of Providence), choir-nun, b. at Cajarc (Lot), 17 June, 1760, professed 22 Oct., 1786.

"Concerning Sister Euphrasia of the Immaculate Conception accounts vary. Miss Willson says that her name was Marie Claude Cyprienne Brard, and that she was born 12 May, 1736; Pierre, that her name was Catherine Charlotte Brard, and that she was born 7 Sept., 1736. She was born at Bourth, and professed in 1757;

"Marie-Geneviève Meunier (Sister Constance), novice, b. 28 May, 1765, or 1766, at St. Denis, received the habit 16 Dec., 1788. She mounted the scaffold singing "Laudate Dominum". In addition to the above, three lay sisters suffered and two tourières.

"The lay sisters are:

"Angélique Roussel (Sister Mary of the Holy Ghost), lay sister, b. at Fresnes, 4 August, 1742, professed 14 May, 1769;

"Marie Dufour (Sister St. Martha), lay sister, b. at Beaune, 1 or 2 Oct., 1742, entered the community in 1772;

"Julie or Juliette Vérolot (Sister St. Francis Xavier), lay sister, b. at Laignes or Lignières, 11 Jan., 1764, professed 12 Jan., 1789.

"The two tourières, who were not Carmelites at all, but merely servants of the nunnery were: Catherine and Teresa Soiron, b. respectively on 2 Feb., 1742 and 23 Jan., 1748 at Compiègne, both of whom had been in the service of the community since 1772."

Friday, July 16, 2004

The Heavenly Kings

Yesterday Ecclesia Anglicana published a small biography of St. Henry, the second Holy Roman Emperor of that name, whose feast day it was in the old calendar. This led to a little discussion in the comment box of other royal saints. St. Elizabeth of Hungary was mentioned as well as St. Volodomyr (or Vladimir) of Kiev and St. Helena the mother of the Emperor Constantine. In fact, Constantine himself appears in the sanctoral Menaion of the Eastern Churches and his feast is kept along with St. Helena’s on May 21. The Anglican church canonized King Charles I and he appeared in the 1662 prayer book, his feast day being kept on January 31.

Other English royal saints which Catholics join in venerating include St. Edward the Confessor, St. Edward the Martyr, and St. Edmund the Martyr, King of East Anglia. St. Margaret of Scotland, born in Hungary but possibly of English parentage, was wife to the Scottish King.

The French have St. Louis IX whose feast is August 25. Charlemagne himself is honored in some French calendars, usually on January 28. He was canonized in 1165 by Pascal III who is usually considered an anti-Pope. Subsequent popes have permitted the veneration to continue. The University of Paris chose him as its patron in 1661. His feast in Aix-la-Chapelle is the equivalent of what these days would be a solemnity. (from Engelbert's "Lives of the Saints".)

Portugal counts St. Elizabeth of Portugal and

Karl I, the last Austro-Hungarian Emperor is due to be beatified this October.

Outside our own Roman home, the Anglicans’ Blessed Charles the Martyr has already been mentioned. In addition the Serbs honor St. Sava, who renounced royal honors to become a monk, as the founder of the Serbian Orthodox Church. They also honor St. Lazar, the Tsar-Martyr. The Russian Orthodox Church Outside Russia canonized Tsar Nicholas II and the martyred royal family some time ago. More recently the Russian Orthodox Church followed suit.

Some of our own canonized Popes were not only bishops of Rome but monarchical rulers of the then Papal States.

I’m sure I’ve left some out. There were very many saints with royal blood. But keeping to regnant monarchs or consorts keeps the numbers down somewhat. Some of the ancient Celtic saints were kings. Very small kingdoms, indeed, but kings they were called nonetheless.

July 14 + 2

Earthlink decided to take Bastille Day off in these parts so I didn't post anything about Bastille Day (or anything else) on the day. And yesterday was rather busy. The great French holiday was, um, well, "honored" may be the wrong word; let's say "acknowledged" elsewhere on the web. This one from Jerry Pournelle was among the best pieces:

On July 14, 1789, the Paris mob aided by units of the National Guard stormed the Bastille Fortress which stood in what had been the Royal area of France before the Louvre and Tuilleries took over that function. The Bastille was a bit like the Tower of London, a fortress prison under direct control of the Monarchy. It was used to house unusual prisoners, all aristocrats, in rather comfortable durance. The garrison consisted of soldiers invalided out of service and some older soldiers who didn't want to retire; it was considered an honor to be posted there, and the garrison took turns acting as valets to the aristocratic prisoners kept there by Royal order (not convicted by any court).

On July 14, 1789, the prisoner population consisted of four forgers, three madmen, and another. The forgers were aristocrats and were locked away in the Bastille rather than be sentenced by the regular courts. The madmen were kept in the Bastille in preference to the asylums: they were unmanageable at home, and needed to be locked away. The servants/warders were bribed to treat them well. The Bastille was stormed; the garrison was slaughtered to a man, some being stamped to death; their heads were displayed on pikes; and the prisoners were freed. The forgers vanished into the general population. The madmen were sent to the general madhouse. The last person freed was a young man who had challenged the best swordsman in Paris to a duel, and who had been locked up at his father's insistence lest he be killed. This worthy joined the mob and took on the name of Citizen Egalite. He was active in revolutionary politics until Robespierre had him beheaded in The Terror.

I rather like France, actually. Catholic France. Royalist France. But the current lot do pick some rum events to commemorate.

On this solemn feast of Our Lady of Mount Carmel, a “second nocturn” from an old breviary:

Lesson iv

There is an old story to the effect that many men continued to live on Mount Camel in the spirit of the holy Prophets Elijah and Elisha. And that those of them who were of the times of Saint John Baptist were made ready by his preaching to accept the Messiah. And that when the Apostles were filled with the Spirit upon the holy day of Pentecost, and spake with diverse tongues, and worked miracles by calling upon the Name of Jesus (which is above every name), these Carmelites, seeing and being assured of the truth, straightway embraced the Faith of the Gospel. And that on account of their singular love toward the Blessed Virgin, (who was personally known to them as a familiar friend,) they paid her the respect of building her a little chapel, (the first which was ever raised in her honour, ) which same stood on that part of Mount Carmel whence the servant of Elijah had in old days espied that manifest type of the Virgin, whereof he spake, saying: Behold, there ariseth a little cloud out of the sea, like a man’s hand.

Lesson v

To this new chapel they repaired oftentimes, day by day, and in their liturgy honoured the blessed Virgin as the particular guardian of their community. For this reason they came to be everywhere called the Brethren of Blessed Mary, of Mount Carmel. Now it would seem that this her name and protection are not the only gifts which this Virgin Lady bountiful hath given them. For it is believed that she gave them also the badge of the Holy Scapular which is said to have been bestowed on blessed Simon Stock the Englishman. This same is a certain holy vesture which hath become the special mark of this Order, whereby Carmelites trust that they are harnessed against all assaults. Moreover, in olden times, when as yet this Order was unknown in Europe, and not a few were importuning Honorius III to put an end to it, the gracious Virgin Mary (so it is said) appeared by night to the said Honorius, and flatly commanded him to shew kindness to the Order and to the men belonging thereto.

Lesson vi

Many godly persons believe that it is not in this world only that the blessed Virgin hath marked with her favour this Order which pleaseth her so well, but in the next world also. For there her power and mercy have freer scope than here. And so they most surely trust that all who belong to the Guild of the Scapular if they have practised what is enjoined on them, (that is, a certain easy rule of abstinence, faithfulness in brief daily prayers, and the keeping of chastity according to their state of life,) are comforted by her motherly love while they are being cleansed in purgatory, and by her help are borne forward towards their home in heaven more quickly than others. Thus this Order (because it cherisheth these things as so many and so great gifts) hath instituted today’s feast as a solemn Commemoration of the Blessed Virgin Mary, to be made year after year in perpetual observance thereof.

Wednesday, July 14, 2004

Your parish closing? You're not alone

This blog is new to me and apparently not too old in blogdom either. It is devoted (so far) to reports of various beautiful old churches being closed by the hierarchy throughout the world. A fascinating chronicle.

So sad to see this thing remain open:

while this classic church is probably to be torn down for a block of apartments:

Tuesday, July 13, 2004

St. Teresa of Jesus (of the Andes)

Today is the feast of the young Carmelite saint, Teresa of the Andes. Born and raised in Chile she is that nation's first canonized saint. (And she had a grandmother named Armstrong; is she then the first canonized Carmelite of Scottish ancestry? Yes, I can stretch a point with the best of them.)

There is a biography here with some selections from her letters. (The imbedded midi on that page plays "How Great Thou Art". Seems an odd choice.)

A few years ago EWTN broadcast a mini series of her life made in Chile. It was run in Spanish with subtitles. It had all the hyper-emotionalism you can find on the Univision soap operas but it stuck very close to the facts of her life and is well-worth viewing if you can find it.

Monday, July 12, 2004

". . .and on the 12th I always wear the sash my father wore."

Well, actually, no. I don't. And my father, God rest his soul, didn't either. My family digs with the other foot entirely. But it is July the 12th, marching day "up the north", i.e., in Northern Ireland. I was going to post something about it here but in the end I can't. It got too depressing. There isn't a non-polemical essay on the web -- or at least I could find one in the first quarter of an hour of searching. And that's enough.

Visit here instead. The uillean pipes don't lend themselves to marching at all. Sure they don't.

Liturgia Horarum - The Liturgy of the Hours

We had a discussion recently on one of my lists on praying the liturgy of the hours (a.k.a. "the breviary" or "the divine office") in Latin. (A surprisingly non-acrimonious discussion for a list drawn from the full spectrum of Catholic opinion.) Anyone who wishes to pray it in Latin can, of course, cut a cheque to the Vatican bookstore for the full 4 volume set and dive right in.

Or you might find it easier to start with Scepter Press's volume of "Lauds and Vespers" for Ordinary Time. It is an odd little book with some inexplicable idiosyncrasies but some excellent points in its favour which make it a recommendation for anyone just starting out on the daily office in Latin.

It only includes Morning and Evening Prayer for Ordinary Time. But it has the complete Latin text for these prayers along with a very good English translation of them. Unfortunately the translation is not approved for liturgical use. But if your Latin is a bit wobbly it's quite helpful.

On the plus side it is a very well set-up book, nicely bound with quality "bible paper" pages. All of the appropriate breviary hymns are included with some classic translations from Cardinal Newman, John Mason Neale, The English Hymnal, and others. This makes up for a tremendous lack in the CBP breviary, IMHO, where the hymn choices make for a remarkable disconnect between the office and the season or time of day. The translations are very well done. Far more accurate than the ICEL's version of the collects and an improvement on the intercessions as well.

It contains all of the new Magnificat and Benedictus antiphons which the CBP edition does not. (There are three times as many.)

The scripture version is the RSV-CE which can be a plus or a minus depending upon how you look at it. It's a beautiful version in itself. But as it is taken from the massoretic text it is not always really a translation of the nova vulgata which is the Latin version used for the office. This can make for a bit of confusion if you're using it to translate a difficult bit of the Latin.

Some of the drawbacks are obvious: since it contains only “Ordinary Time”, you're out of luck in Advent, Christmas, Lent, and Easter times. And there are no saints days. So you will still need at least one other book throughout “Ordinary Time”. Oddly enough the Invitatory was not included either. That's easily remedied by typing it out on a card. But still it seems an unnecessary economy.

As noted it does not contain Compline either. Since Compline is complete in only a one week cycle and is unchangeable during “Ordinary Time” it’s difficult to believe it would have broken the bank to include it.. Many third order people have Lauds, Vespers and Compline prescribed in their rule as part of their daily prayer regimen. To leave it out makes this book less likely to be the daily companion it was intended to be.

The psalm titles and headings are missing. They appear in the Latin originals but not in this volume. The "psalm prayers" are also missing but as these do not (yet) exist in the Latin original that's understandable.

The final warning is that it's a bit "spendy" -- about $35 for a relatively small volume.

On the whole, though, I would suggest it as a good beginning for someone who wanted to start praying the Latin office in the Pauline rite. Fr. Stravinskas and Scepter are to be congratulated for a good beginning in opening up the Latin prayers of the Church to everyone.

Sunday, July 11, 2004


Today is the 6th Sunday after Pentecost. Finding a discussion of the “feast” for a Sunday after Pentecost is a lost cause. So instead, a description of how Sunday was kept aboard a ship of the Royal Navy in the early 19th century. This is taken from Patrick O’Brien’s book The Commodore which has been noted in the column to the left as my “bedside” book for lo’ these many weeks. (Far longer than it actually has been truth to tell. I finished it some time ago. As of this writing, the one showing is actually correct.)

From page 216 et seq of The Commodore:

There was little likelihood of Stephen's being able to forget that it was Sunday, for not only did Killick take away and hide his newly-curled and powdered best wig, his newly-brushed second-best coat and breeches, but the loblolly-boy said 'Asking your pardon, sir, but you ain't forgot it is Sunday?' while both his assistants, separately and tactfully, asked him whether he had remembered it. 'As though I were a brute-beast, unable to tell good from evil, Sunday from common days of the week,' he exclaimed; but his indignation was tempered by a consciousness that he had in fact risen from his cot unaware of this interesting distinction, and that he had shaved close by mere chance. 'Yet I should very soon have made it out,' he said. 'The atmosphere aboard a Sunday man-of-war is entirely different.'

Indeed it was, with five or six hundred men washing, shaving, or being shaved, plaiting their tie-mates' pigtails, drawing clean hammocks, putting on their best clothes for mustering by divisions and then church, all in great haste, all in a bitterly confined space with a heat and humidity great enough to hatch eggs, and all after having brought the ship and everything visible in her to an exemplary state of cleanliness if wooden and of brilliance if metal.

The Anglican aspect of Sunday did not affect Stephen, but the ritual cleanliness did, and he, with his assistants and loblolly-boy, were present, sober, and properly dressed, with their instruments laid out all agleam and their patients rigidly straight in their cots when Captain Pullings and his first lieutenant, Mr Harding, came round to inspect them. So did the convention of the Captain dining with his officers: but this did not take place until after church had been rigged - an awning shaded the quarterdeck, an ensign over an arms-chest to serve as a lectern from which prayers and sermons were delivered if the ship carried a chaplain (which the Bellona did not) or by the captain; though a captain might well prefer reading the Articles of War. Stephen therefore had time, after the inspection of the sick-berth, to make his way to the poop, where he had a fine view of the Royal Marines, close on a hundred of them, drawn up exactly in their scarlet and pipeclayed glory, and of the long, somewhat more wavering lines of seamen, clean and trim, standing in their easy, round-shouldered way, covering the decks fore and aft, a sight that always gave him a certain pleasure.

During the service itself he joined other Catholics for a recital of a Saint Brigid's rosary under the forecastle: they were of all possible colours and origins, and some were momentarily confused by the unusual number of Aves, but wherever they came from their Latin was recognizably the same; there was a sense of being at home; and they recited away in an agreeable unison while from aft came the sound of Anglican hymns and a psalm. They both finished at about the same time, and Stephen walked back to the quarterdeck, overtaking Captain Pullings as he was walking into the coach, where he lived, necessarily resigning the cabin to the Commodore. ‘Well, Tom,’ he said, ‘so you have survived your ordeal?’ - As Captain of the Bellona he had just read one of South’s shorter sermons to the people – ‘I have, sir: it comes a little easier, as you said; but sometimes I wish we were just a pack of wicked heathens. Lord, I could do with my dinner, and a drink.’

Saturday, July 10, 2004

If It's Tuesday, It Must Be Belgium -- Catholic Edition

Tomorrow is the second Sunday of the month, so it must be Duarte. Now that St. Mary's by the Sea in the Diocese of Orange no longer provides a traditional Gregorian Mass on Sundays, my friends and I look to the Archdiocese of Los Angeles for spiritual sustenance. In Los Angeles if you're going to be a traditional Catholic you need to be on your toes. Mass on the first Sunday of the month is in San Pedro at the chapel of the Little Sisters of the Poor. On the second Sunday it's in Duarte at the Santa Teresita Hospital Chapel. On the . . .well, you get the idea. You can look up the details here. Suffice to say, Mass anywhere else requires a Missal. In Los Angeles it requires a Thomas Guide, private transportation, and a moderate to large income to pay for the $2.25 to $2.50 a gallon petrol.

Morpeth Chantry Bagpipe Museum

The Morpeth Chantry Museum maintains one of the finest collections of bagpipes from all over the world. Scotland's highland pipes are the most well-known but every country in Europe and many elsewhere has its own particular type of bagpipe. The Morpeth museum's collection, housed in a medieveal chantry attached to Morpeth castle in Northumberland, is centered around the development of the bellows blown Northumbrian small pipe and lowland pipes and borders pipes native to the area. However, the museum has samples of most European pipes.

Or at least it does at the moment. It may not tomorrow. The bean counters have decided that cancelling the museum's lease and opening a restaurant on the site will bring in a lot more cash. As one writer put it to the management:
For such action to be taken would seem to me to be a gross act of cultural vandalism. Northumberland is one of the only counties in England to have it's own regional instrument, the Northumbrian small-pipes, associated with which are musicians of immense kill and of international reputation. (I'm thinking here of Alistair Anderson, DPD of the Folk Degree Course at Newcastle University, and of the superb piper and composer, Kathryn Tickell.) Their playing of that unique and complex instrument has been central to the promotion of Northumberland as a county of great beauty, history and artistic integrity, whilst the Bagpipe Museum itself attracts people from all over the world year after year. It is an effective resource in terms of education, tourism and regional identity. I understand that a restaurant is poised in the wings to take it's place. The Bagpipe Museum provides sustenance for the mind and the soul. Restaurants just sell food.

The Castle Morpeth Borough Council has requested input to help them decide the museum's fate.

Those interested in expressing their views on the Morpeth Chantry Bagpipe Museum can e-mail Ken Dunbar of the Castle Morpeth Borough Council at

Condiment Wars

Lenin or someone equally unpleasant proclaimed that all is now political. For once in his degenerate life he seems to have hit the nail right on the biscuit. Videlicet Bush Country Ketchup. Not one of the 57 varieties and clearly not targeting the Heinz/Kerry/Edwards demographic. I assume they have the neocon barbarque community sewn up. But what is the paleo position? Silly to even ask after the libertarian view; they are not ones to be tied down.

Life gets more complicated by the minute.

The Magic of a Pope

Wednesday, July 07, 2004

No wonder the Post got it wrong. . . .

Can it be? Have the Dems really decided to run a tort lawyer for VP? And they complain that Bush and Cheney got their money from oil. Won't it be a bit difficult to convince the voter that the oil business is "tainted" when you make your money suing everyone in sight and taking a nice 33 to 45% cut of the recovery for yourself?

Wonderful. Does he know he won't get a one third cut of the federal budget? I can see it now: Air Force One for the President and Ambulance One for the Veep.

No wonder the Post was confused.

Tuesday, July 06, 2004

What Cardinal Ratzinger Really Said. . .

. . .in his document to the American bishops regarding John Kerry and Holy Communion. (Hint: it wasn't: "Every bishop can do what he wants.") Here is the text.

Sunday, July 04, 2004

The Glorious Fourth

I'll will be staying close to home after Mass today attempting to keep the homestead safe from the universal orgy of neighborhood patriotic pyromania. The rocket's red glare is all very well so long as it doesn't set the roof on fire.

These fireworks are relatively safe and sane. (Thanks to Hilary for the citation.)

And all you ever wanted to know about Yankee Doodle. (Which fits fairly well on the pipes; only one false note required.)

A ModestWish

Here it is the Lord's day again, the 5th Sunday after Pentecost and incidentally the 4th of July, Independence Day. Pious thoughts (as Virgil would have understood the word) are especially in order. And yet other thoughts are intruding on the pious and holy. The principal one: does anyone have a decent starting pitcher (or two) that they're not using and would like to unload? And would anyone like to buy a slightly used one? Not, alas, cheap. But make an offer anyway.

The Ford Brain Trust

A note under that same title from a Joseph Sobran column last June on choosing your advisors carefully. Among other things.

In a tribute to Ronald Reagan in "Newsweek", former President Gerald Ford recalls Reagan's powerful 1976 effort to wrest the Republican nomination from him. Ford was so impressed by Reagan as a campaigner that he wanted him for his running mate. But his two chief advisers said that "under no circumstances" should Reagan be on the ticket. Ford, of course, lost the election to Jimmy Carter; Reagan might have made the difference.

The two advisers were Don Rumsfeld and Dick Cheney. I'll let you draw your own moral.