Tuesday, May 24, 2005


Some pictures are up of the annual Pentecost Pilgrimage; just a few thousand Catholics out for a stroll from Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris to the Cathedral of Chartres for a Solemn Mass. An even one hundred pictures of this years jaunt can be found here. Each year the pilgrimage takes place on Pentecost holiday weekend (it takes the weekend: it's 70 some miles) to plead with Our Lord and petition the hierarchy for the return of the free use of the traditional liturgies. (The pilgrimage website can be found here. It's mostly in French, but not too difficult to decipher.)

A recent clerical comment regarding the institution of a new indult Mass in Michigan: "The idea behind allowing this mass was that it could help older people in the later stages of their lives. The hope is that this mass eventually will fade away." Take a close look at the pictures on the linked pages. Pictures like this:

Looking pretty spry, those older folks in the later stages of their lives. Could the traditional rites be the fountain of youth? Ponce de Leon: Call your office.

Monday, May 23, 2005

Terms of Art

Every area of life has its special words. If you're going to cover one of them for a newspaper it's good to know those terms of art. This paragraph from The Weekly Standard showed up in my mailbox the other day (thanks, Judith):

We missed this at the time, but there was a classic mistranscription in the International Herald Tribune's coverage of Pope John Paul II's funeral last month: "His folded hands intertwined with a rosary, the body of Pope John Paul II was laid out inside the papal palace on Sunday as the balance of power in the Roman Catholic Church began its shift to the unnamed man who will soon replace him... Tucked under his left arm was the silver staff, called the crow's ear, that he had carried in public." As the correction sheepishly noted: We "used an incorrect term to describe the silver staff of Pope John Paul II. It is a crosier."

Or perhaps it's just one of the hazards of phoning in your copy. (Is that still done? Or did it fade away with Ben Hecht and "His Girl Friday"?)

Sunday, May 22, 2005

For the Recently Bereaved. . .

. . .i.e., the brethren still chanting the De Profundis over the death of hope in Archbishop Levada's appointment to CDF. Even though he was, perhaps, not our first choice, his performance in the post remains to be seen. In any event, he's not the only recent appointment to that prestigious congregation. Fr Patrick Burke, a parish priest of Stirlingshire in Scotland has recently been appointed an official in "the Church's highest doctrinal body". He takes up his post in September.

This profile of Fr Burke originally from the Catholic Times gives some background on him, theological and otherwise. I see a multitude of good things there, including this:

Fr Burke is refreshingly free from any wishy-washy social-worker cliché's about his ministry: "My experience as a pastoral priest is that orthodox Catholicism works; that youth groups where we teach the faith, and challenge kids to live up to the ideals of Christian living, work; that the devotional life of the parish is extremely important; that where we have exposition of the Blessed Sacrament, where we encourage people to come to daily Mass and say the rosary, that these things work." The liberal establishment has had control of the Church for 30 years. Where is the renewal? Where is the reform? Where is the growth? The only growth point in the modern Church is in the movements, and the movements are almost all of them united in loyalty to the teachings of the Church, devotion to Christ in the Eucharist and so on "all the things that the liberal establishment have been trying to undermine for 30 years."

He believes Catholics want holy priests, but the key is kindness. "It sounds a silly thing to say, but there is a compassionate way of upholding the Church's teachings. I tell seminarians on placements with me 'all the theology in the world won't help if you snap at people when they come to the front door'. It is difficult being a Catholic, but the problem is that most priests whose hearts bleed for people in difficulty simply abandon the Church's teaching. But there is a middle way." The Church knows it is difficult "it is not condemning you, but it cannot change the teaching of Christ."

Fr Burke is also the editor of "Faith Magazine" (on whose website the article quoted was reprinted). Have a look at the "Faith" links page. Note the links thereon to Una Voce, The Latin Mass Society, Adoremus, and The Association for Latin Liturgy. Surgete, amici mei, iam enim hiems transit; imber abiit et recessit. (Although occasional showers remain a possibility.)

[The references courtesy of CTNGreg.]

Saturday, May 21, 2005

The Book Challenge

Mark Sullivan has tagged me and I am apparently it.

1. Total Number of Books I've Owned. Impossible to tell. I've given some away over the years. Some have been lost. And a few - a very few desperate, infuriating mistakes - have been thrown away. I can hazard a guess this way: there are 101 built in shelves, mostly in the den but also covering one wall in the bedroom which my long-suffering wife has permitted. I counted 4 shelves and arrived at 31, 25, 27, and 28 books on each respectively. Some shelves have many fewer, some have more both because the books are smaller and because there's another row stacked in front of the first. I'm presuming an average of 28 books per shelf times 101 shelves and arriving at 2,828 volumes. This doesn't count the children's books which I've gathered over the years for the huge family that never arrived. These are being parceled out to assorted nieces, nephews, and friends of family where appropriate. It also doesn't count the books on the desk, the kitchen table, the night table, the large table in the front room (ideally only used for state occasions, but there seems to have been a subtle anschluss by the den), the floor, and the dozen or so plastic tubs in the garage. I expect the total would come to something in the neighborhood of 3,500. But: perhaps 500 to 1,000 of those are my wife's. So, my books would be perhaps 2,500-ish.

2. Last Book I Bought. We were in B&N just last Tuesday and I came away with the latest of Alexander McCall Smith's #1 Ladies Detective Agency series "The Full Cupboard of Life" The latest in paperback, anyway. Also "Portugese Irregular Verbs" by the same author. And one mistake: Tony Hillerman's "Hunting Badger". Not that it isn't an excellent book of its type. It is very good indeed. But, addle-brain that I am, I already own it and I've already read it. But the synopsis on the back cover wasn't at all familiar and I thought it was one I'd missed. Nope. Two pages into it and it was immediately familiar. Graham Greene once said that his poor memory was a wonderful asset: he could read the same mysteries over and over and never remember whodunnit. My memory kicks in at all the wrong times. The final book was a corker of an adventure story just finished last night: James Brady's "Warning of War".

3. The last book I read. Well, as I said, "Warning of War" finished last night. I'm currently in the middle of "Merry in God" a biography of Fr William Doyle, S.J. who was chaplain to the 8th battalion Royal Irish Fusiliers in the first world war, Pope John Paul's "Crossing the Threshold of Hope", a re-read of E.F. Benson's "Queen Lucia", and Fr Eugene-Marie's "I Want to See God" (which I will probably be "in the middle of" for a very long time).

4. Five books that mean a lot to me. Peter Thomas Rohrbach's "Journey to Carith", a history of the Carmelite Order, emphasizing the Disclaced reform. It gave me an enthralling introduction to the Carmelite Order in just the way most suited to me: its history. If I had come across Carmelite spirituality first it would have scared me off. (Should it have? No, of course not. But it would have nonetheless.)

Fr Quadrupani's "Light and Peace". This is a wonderful little book, ideally suited for calming down the obsessive. It was in my back pocket constantly for a certain period in my life. It's still nearby and I still refer to it.

"The St Anthony Sunday Missal" That little book was my first missal and the first prayer book I ever had not intended for a child. I was already serving Mass at the time so I must have been 10 or 11 when it was gifted to me. It was also my introduction to the Gospels. We had a bible in the house but it was too daunting. The print was very small and most of it was incomprehensible. But the little Sunday missal had its Epistle and Gospel for each Sunday that seemed designed exactly for me. I remember exercizing great restraint in not reading the Sunday Gospel selection until it was actually the Sunday. The epistles, I'm afraid, I mostly found impenetrable. Truth be known, they're still not the easiest read in the whole wide room. It finally wore out completely. I think I may still have the pieces in a trunk somewhere.

Michael Davies' Liturgical Trilogy. The first solid work I had seen defending the traditional Roman Rite. Heretofore, nothing but a few pamphlets and some very poor books, mostly filled with invective and conspiracy theories. This series was a landmark. And more than that an enormous consolation. This gave traditional people a tremendous sense of confidence we had not had before; there really was an intellectual foundation for our beliefs, beyond nostalgia, beyond sentiment.

Jane Eyre. "Jane Eyre??" I hear you ask. Yes, the guy who just finished following a Marine detachment through North China at the beginning of WWII in "Warning of War" was knocked for a loop by Jane Eyre. We had a list of books in high school. We had to choose a certain number to write on, one every month I think. I don't know why I chose Jane Eyre. Maybe it was because we already had a copy in the house. Maybe because "Bronte" came at the beginning of the list. Who knows? In any event, it was completely absorbing. I still love it. The Orson Welles film was good. And there was a multi-part tv series with Zelah Clarke as Jane that is magnificent and as close to the book as was possible. But the book is the best. My high school copy is on the shelf; the pages turned to yellow long ago and are now nearer brown. We have a couple more copies now to keep it company, newer and with intact bindings.

Oh, one more: Agnes Repplier's "In Our Convent Days". A sentimental favourite, although not an overly sentimental book under the circumstances. It's a good humoured recounting of the author's life in a 19th century boarding school as a very young girl -- perhaps 9 or 10. A wonderful look into a Catholic culture we'll never see again. I've re-read it a dozen times. Highly recommended.

5. Tag 5 people and have them do this on their blog.

And like the man said: "my apologies if they've already been tagged." (But it didn't look like it.)

Ellyn at Oblique House
Ellen of Mommentary
Hilary of Fiat Mihi
Jeff of Hallowed Ground
and MamaT of the SummæMatri who usually asks the questions.

Thursday, May 19, 2005

Do they teach simple arithmetic anywhere in this country anymore?

If they teach it, no one seems to be learning it. This evening's rant is brought on by the butchers at the local market. They have a wonderful electric scale that has a digital read-out of the price per pound, the weight of the cut of meat, and the total price. But it reads out the weight as a decimal figure. And if you order two-thirds of a pound of salmon - as I did - you encounter a butcher's helper who has no idea what that might be as a decimal. He plops as much poundage as 1.05 and as little as .52 on the scale and then gives me the cornered-rabbit look waiting for me to tell him if that's correct. Which I do. And if sufficient grace and patience have been allotted to me that day, I will even tell him whether that is too much or too little.

Someday I'll tell you about the day the electric cash register broke down at a local drug store. You know, the ones that tell the cashier how much change to give? . . .it was quite a day.

Crossing the Tiber

The author of Pontifications has reached a crossroad and made a difficult decision. The right one, in my occasionally humble opinion. But a difficult one, nonethless, and with difficult consequences. Welcome aboard, Sir. And be assured of our prayers in the days ahead.

Wednesday, May 18, 2005

H.H. Pope Benedict XVI

Some elegant pictures of the then Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger celebrating Holy Mass in the traditional Roman Rite in Weimar in 1999. The text on the linked page is only in German but the pictures don't really need much explanation.

Tuesday, May 17, 2005

Syttende Mai!

Here in the lower, left-hand corner of the United States of America where we value diversity, diversity is our strength, and so on apparently into infinity, the weary toilers in the dark, satanic legal mills can pursue their right to peaceably assemble in one or more of the following:

Asian Pacific American Bar Assn. of Los Angeles County
Black Women Lawyers of Los Angeles
Italian American Lawyers Association
Japanese American Bar Association of Greater Los Angeles
John M. Langston Bar Association [for African-American lawyers]
Korean American Bar Association of Southern California
Lesbian and Gay Lawyers of Los Angeles Association
Mexican American Bar Association
South Asian Bar Association of Southern California
Southern California Chinese Lawyers As sociation
Women Lawyers Association of Los Angeles
Orange County Japanese American Lawyers' Assn.
Pan Asian Lawyers of San Diego
The Irish-American Bar Association

At one time there was also a Celtic Bar Association and a Scottish-American Bar Association but they seem to have vanished without a trace.

But my favourite is the one whose logo is shown above: The Half-Norwegian (on the mother's side)-American Bar Association. They get together every 17th of May - Syttende Mai. The 17th of May is the anniversary of the adoption of Norway's constitutions. Sometimes called "Constitution Day," "National Day" or "Norwegian Independence Day," May 17 is a day of revelry and reflection for Norwegians worldwide, just as the Fourth of July is here. And the association does seriously honour Norwegian institutions sponsoring an annual banquet. And they also have some gentle fun at their own expense with perhaps a slight nudge at our oh-so-correct local ethnic attitudes.

You might be able to join. It's not as ethnically restrictive as name would lead you to believe:

Full membership is open to all lawyers who are licensed to practice law in any jurisdiction and to all judicial officers. Being half-Norwegian on the mother's side is not a requirement. Even Swedes are accepted.

There is a one-time non-refundable membership fee of $35. A certificate evidencing life membership will be sent by mail. Members who are disbarred, convicted of a felony, or proclaim a preference for Scottish smoked salmon forfeit membership.

Persons who are not lawyers or judges — such as law students, paralegals, lawyers' wives, judges' mistresses, or deposed prime ministers of obscure nations — may join as lifetime associate members. (If they are subsequently admitted to practice, they may "upgrade" to full membership by paying the then-prevailing fee, minus what they already paid.)

Monday, May 16, 2005

16 May - St Simon Stock

Precanti ei divam Virginem, ut ordinem iam confirmatum (qui sacro titulo eius gaudet singulari) aliquo privilegio a ceteris discerneret, apparuit ipsa Virgo benedicta, Angelorum multitudine comitata, tenens præ manibus scapulare ordinis, dicens: "Hoc erit signum tibi et cunctis Carmelitis privilegium, quod in hoc pie moriens, æternum non patietur incendium."
-from the proper office of St Simon Stock in the old Breviarium Carmelitarum

Plebs tibi, Domine, Virginique Matri dicata, beati Simonis, quem ei Rectorem et Patrem dedisti, solemnitate lætetur : et sicut per eum tantæ protectionis signum obtinuit; ita prædestinationis æternæ munera consequatur. Per Dominum. Amen.

O Lord, Thy people dedicated to the Virgin Mother rejoice in the solemnity of Blessed Simon whom Thou didst give to them as guide and father; may they receive the eternally predestined reward the sign of which protection was received through him. Through Christ our Lord. Amen.

Thus the collect for today's feast day of St Simon Stock taken from the old Discalced Carmelite proper. An account of his life can be found here in the old Catholic Encyclopædia. A little more on St Simon and the Scapular can be found here and here.

The current propers for St Simon are very spare. There is a proper second reading for the Office of Readings - taken from Fr Nicholas's "Flaming Arrow" - a proper collect and antiphons for the Benedictus and the Magnificat. The old Discalced propers were even more lean: only the collect quoted above (accompanied here by my own wobbly translation) was proper. The rest was taken from the common for a confessor not a bishop.

But the Ancient Observance Carmelites had a beautiful office for St Simon with a first vespers and three nocturns at matins, including an extensive vita for the second, from which the quote above the picture is taken.

Here is the Magnificat antiphon for second vespers and the proper collect from the old Jerusalem rite of the Calced Carmelites:

Magnificavit Dominus Sanctum suum, et replevit eum spiritu intelligentiæ ad dandam scientiam salutis Ecclesiæ suæ. [The Lord has magnified His saint and filled him with the spirit of wisdom for giving knowledge of salvation to His Church.}

Deus, qui precibus et meritis beati Simonis Confessoris tui, Carmeli Montis ordinem, per manus Genitricis Filii tui Domini nostri Iesu Christi, singulari privilegio decorasti: concede; ut, ipso interveniente, ad gloriam, quam diligentibus te præparasti, pervenire valeamus. Per eumdem Dominum. Amen.

[O God, Who by the prayers and merits of blessed Simon Thy confessor, didst beautify the Order of Mount Carmel with a singular privilege through the hands of the Mother of Thy Son our Lord Jesus Christ, grant that by her intervention, we may be enabled to arrive at the glory Thou didst prepare for them that love Thee. Through the same Christ our Lord. Amen.]

Thursday, May 12, 2005

Another Vaticanologist

As you may have noticed The Inn is occasionally in danger of toppling off the right end of the ecclesiological spectrum. (Assuming there is such a thing; does truth really occur on a number line?)

But there are other points of view. I found this one yesterday while looking for something else. "Whispers in the Loggia" is in no danger whatsoever of falling off the right side of the earth. In fact if it has any insurance for that, it's probably safe to cancel it. But it's worth a visit: lots of information you won't see elsewhere written in a racy style. You may not like it all - I didn't. But you won't be bored.

Et in Arcadia, Ego

The bloom is certainly off the rose for some of the brethren of St Blogs, what with the rumors about Archbishop Levada's imminent elevation to Grand Inquisitor.

Nobody asked me but I would recommend a nice sit down, some deep breaths, perhaps a cold beer, something from Bavaria for preference.

For up to this point, no official announcement has been made. And even if the nominee is to be Archbishop Levada, His Excellency of San Francisco is currently in an executive position. The putative new job is an administrative - not to say bureaucratic - one. Different types of jobs require different types of people. It's a truism that a good senator does not necessarily make a good governor or president. A friend whom I consider knowledgeable in the bay area insists that the Archbishop is personally both quite orthodox and rather conservative in the broad sense of the term. But as point man he doesn't stand up well to confrontation. The situation at CDF will be quite different. He will no longer be an isolated executive at odds with a local clergy.

And, anyway, it may still be Cardinal Schoenborn who gets the job.

Funny, You Don't Look Ugandan

This one gets more interesting all the time.

All Saints, a local Episcopal church in Long Beach, along with two other Episcopal parishes in the L.A./Orange County area, withdrew from the ECUSA a few months ago and was accepted as a parish in an Anglican diocese in Uganda. All this was precipitated by the Robinson affair.

The local diocese, not surprisingly, has taken legal action to get the property back.

And you're thinking, "What's the matter with him? We haven't got enough trouble in our own Ecclesia Romana that he has to go looking for more amongst the Episcopalians?"

Ordinarily, I probably wouldn't. But now in this morning's paper there was this: "Breakaway Churches to get day in Court" which says in part,

On June 9 in Orange County Superior Court, the three churches will present similar motions to Judge David Velasquez claiming the suit by the diocese infringes on First Amendment protections of freedom of speech and religion.

The motion, known as an anti-SLAPP motion, is typically filed by individuals or groups who say they are being sued for exercising their First Amendment rights, usually of free speech and petition. SLAPP is an acronym for strategic lawsuits against public participation.

I don't really have a dog in this fight, although my instinctive reaction is to favor All Saints and traditional morality. But it's difficult to see this as a SLAPP suit. All Saints is represented by a member of the ominously named firm of Payne and Fears, who did not just fall off the turnip wagon, so we can presume they know whereof they speak. It should be very interesting to see how this sort of intra-church dispute can be framed as an anti-SLAPP case.

[This site can tell you more than you really wanted to know about SLAPP cases in California; but it also has some short definitions, too.]

Tuesday, May 10, 2005

Found While Looking for Something Else

This particular bit of serendipity is a short biography and appreciation of Maurice Baring. I started to skim it, perhaps to mark it for future reference, and ended reading the whole thing before breakfast.

Monday, May 09, 2005

Miss Jane Marple

"Mystery" has a solid entry with the new version of Agatha Christie's Miss Marple. If you're a stickler for adhering to the novel, the best interpretation is still Joan Hickson's. But Geraldine McEwan does an excellent job in this new series, although there may perhaps be as much McEwan as Christie in the end product. This isn't necessarily bad, but for the dedicated Christie fan Miss McEwan may be insufficiently fluffy. It seems to me that Miss Hickson keeps the razor sharp intelligence hidden behind the sweet, little, old lady demeanor rather more than Miss McEwan. (Or is it just me? It's difficult to forget Miss McEwan's imperious Mrs Proudie or grandly devious Lucia.)

In any event, there are still two more books that have been filmed and are yet to be shown. There are worse ways to spend a late Sunday evening if you're a Christie fan. The schedule can be found here.

[And did you know that the preservation of the traditional Roman Rite Mass in England and Wales all throughout the worst times for the old Rite was due at least in some part to Agatha Christie? The Latin Mass Society of England and Wales devised a petition to the Holy Father to continue the old rite. It was signed primarily by prominent people in British life including, not only the Anglican bishops of Exeter and Ripon but by Agatha Christie. The story goes that when John Cardinal Heenan presented the petition to Pope Paul VI, he was reading quietly through the list of signatories and then suddenly said, "Ah, Agatha Christie!" and signed his approval. It has since been known, informally, in traditional circles as the Agatha Christie Indult. The full story is given here.]

The Period of Experimentation is Over

It has been suggested by Someone that the continual use of the second person plural is both (a) "silly" and (b) confusing, as there exists not only the royal and the editorial "we" but also the marital "we". The casual reader might infer that the wife of the author was somehow involved in some of the more eccentric opinions expressed here. Hmmm. A nice point. As the absolute Gibralter of good sense in the family does not actually maintain a weblog or influence this one, except to damp down some of the wilder fantasies, it may be more prudent to revert to the first person singular.

In This Morning's Paper

The Times weighs in on "ad orientem". Rather even handedly, too, for The Times.

America. . . God mend thine every flaw.

A few months ago when Cardinal Maida instituted a traditional Roman Rite Mass in his Archdiocese of Detroit, it was the Reverend Thomas Reese, S.J. who pontificated that "[i]t would be counterproductive if too many people turn this into a marketing strategy to fill churches. The idea behind allowing this mass was that it could help older people in the later stages of their lives. The hope is that this mass eventually will fade away."

And now, as my friend Gary observed yesterday, it appears to be the Reverend Thomas Reese, S.J. who is fading away.

[For the time being, anyway. A political observation of William Buckley's is transferable to the ecclesiastical realm: The left retrieves its wounded. It is only the disgraced of the right who remain disgraced.]

Sunday, May 08, 2005

The Weblog Style Sheet

In reviewing that last piece of ephemera, we notice with some surprise that the royal/editorial "we" has crept back in a big way. It took a good deal of weeding out and some intense concentration to get rid of it a couple of years back when its appearance was first noted. I, ahem, we have half a mind to leave it in now. It adds a little tone to the enterprise. After all, Eric Scheske uses the third person over at The Daily Eudemon and he's doing very well indeed. Perhaps it'll start a trend.

Ascension Day Mass - M.I.A.

One of the pins that tends to drop when juggling two rites is the Mass for Ascension Day. Here in the Archdiocese of Hollywood Ascension Thursday comes on a Sunday. So when we went to Mass last Thursday in the Pauline Rite it was just the Thursday in the sixth week after Easter. But on Sunday, when we are able, thanks be to God and Pope John Paul II, to attend the Roman Rite it is, of course, celebrated according to the traditional calendar as the Sunday within the Octave of the Ascension. Somewhere in the past 4 days we have mislaid an entire First Class Feast Day.

And now the day is almost over and we have to make do with the pedestrian headline shown above. Try as we might our creativity does not run to a "two rites don't make a something-or-other-that-rhymes-with-wrong" sort of headline which the topic is crying out for.

Saturday, May 07, 2005


An encore for me, at least. I had it in my mind that last week's Metropolitan Opera broadcast of Faust was the last of the season. But what do I hear on my ancient Grundig this morning? La Clemenza di Tito. Va bene! One more broadcast to finish out the season. And Mozart, too. (Sorry, Hilary.)

And according to the talk on the intermission feature it looks as though the broadcast will continue next season and probably for the foreseeable future. (No thanks to the merged ChevronTexaco conglomerate and its new emphasis on politically correct meddling which has no time - or money - for the greatest vocal music on earth.) Wonderful news on which to end the season.

Southron & Yankee: American and How She is Spoke

A correspondent from Massachusetts (thanks, Marjorie) referring to this little quiz, has informed me that the choices for non-alcholic beverages were even more deficient than I had supposed. Apparently, "the true yankee calls it 'tonic'". Now that is brand new to me. I had never heard of "tonic" as being anything other than carbonated water with a bit of quinine.

And maybe I shouldn't have included "RC" in the original list. "RC" always used to actually mean "RC". But "coke" could be anything. As in, "I'll have a coke but make it a Nehi." (And a Nehi was always an orange Nehi unless you actually wanted a grape, and why would you?)

Anyone with a love for words ought to be following James J. Kilpatrick's "The Writer's Art". His column appears throughout the country. In Los Angeles, it's in the Metropolitan News-Enterprise. And on the net, thanks be to God. (Although it appears later than the print edition.) A sample can be found here. A few of his more recent columns can be found here, including his first-rate coverage of the doings of the U.S. Supreme Court.

"England's 'pre-eminent ethicist'"

The proud bearer of that honour is someone called Baroness Warnock, according to Touchstone magazine's summary of an article in The Sunday Times. The rest of the newsnote from Touchstone says that she
has suggested that "the frail as well as the terminally ill should shuffle off early," to avoid spending money "that society could use better as inheritance tax." If parents want to keep a prematurely born baby alive on a life-support machine, she said, "Maybe it comes down to saying, 'Okay, they can stay alive but the family will have to pay for it.'" And if doctors wanted to keep the child alive, "I don't see why the rest of us should be sacrificed to the scruples of the medical profession."

It doesn't need any comment and Touchstone doesn't provide any. But I can't resist. If this is the pre-eminent ethicist the blood runs cold at what the opinion of the least eminent ethicist might be.

Anti-Bush Members Are Voted Out of Church

That's the real headline for this article. I tried to think of a snazzier one but words failed. The summary which isn't much larger than the entire article, runs: A pastor of a small Baptist church in Waynesville led an effort to kick out church members because they didn't support President Bush, members said. Assuming The Times got it right, you don't have to be anywhere on the left side of the spectrum to consider this Not A Good Idea.

Friday, May 06, 2005

Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow; they toil not, neither do they spin: And yet I say unto you, That even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these.

So it doesn't seem fair that TAN Books is facing Chapter 11 yet again. But so it is. Their announcement can be found here. You might want to check your "want" list and stock up. To help, of course. But also, just in case.

Nine Days Until Pentecost

This is the first day of the Novena to the Holy Ghost traditionally prayed in anticipation of the feast of Pentecost.

Here are some texts to choose from:

Novena to the Holy Ghost by St Teresia-Benedicta a Crucé

Novena to the Holy Ghost for the Seven Gifts


The writer of the book of Ezechiel no doubt had something quite different in mind. But when I read this passage today assigned to morning prayer I couldn't help thinking it was addressed to our new pope and somewhat descriptive of our last.

And he said to me, "son of man, stand upon your feet, and I will speak with you." And when he spoke to me, the Spirit entered into me and set me upon my feet; and I heard him speaking to me. And he said to me "Son of man, I send you to the people of Israel, to a nation of rebels, who have rebelled against me; they and their fathers have transgressed against me to this very day. The people also are impudent and stubborn: I send you to them; and you shall say to them 'Thus says the Lord God.' And whether they hear or refuse to hear (for they are a rebellious house) they will know that there has been a prophet among them. And you, son of man, be not afraid of them, nor be afraid of their words, though briers and thorns are with you and you sit upon scorpions; be not afraid of their words, nor be dismayed at their looks, for they are a rebellious house. And you shall speak my words to them, whether they hear or refuse to hear; for they are a rebellious house."

And whether they hear or refuse to hear ... they will know that there has been a prophet among them.

Reading the Morning Papers

This was in The Times this morning:

The three are accused of trading prescription drugs for car repair and construction work.

I laughed at that article for 5 minutes. So far nobody else - absolutely nobody - has found that funny. Every day I find a new way in which I'm not in touch with the 21st century.

Thursday, May 05, 2005

Pope St Pius V

If it weren't occluded by the feast of the Ascension of the Lord, the Roman Rite would keep today, May 5th, as the feast of Pope St Pius V, the Pope of Lepanto and one of the great patrons of the Holy Rosary. It was this pope who tidied up the Roman Rite and presented it as the common Rite of the Latin Church for all those communities who could not boast of a liturgy at least 200 years old. This rite has become known these days by the unfortunate name of "Tridentine", unfortunate since in its essence it predates the Tridentine Council by some thousand years. (And as the late and greatly missed Fr Bryan Houghton used to complain, "Tridentine sounds like something for people with three teeth.")

The always reliable Catholic Encyclopædia gives the basics of St Pius' life here. But a far better read is this essay of Wyndham Lewis's.

Ascension Thursday comes on a Thursday. . .

for those who follow the traditional calendar of the Roman Rite. St Benedict's Monastery in Brazil provides us with the Introit in its proper Gregorian chant setting here.

The Ascension of the Lord from the Acts of the Apostles:
4And, being assembled together with them, commanded them that they should not depart from Jerusalem, but wait for the promise of the Father, which, saith he, ye have heard of me.

5For John truly baptized with water; but ye shall be baptized with the Holy Ghost not many days hence.

6When they therefore were come together, they asked of him, saying, Lord, wilt thou at this time restore again the kingdom to Israel?

7And he said unto them, It is not for you to know the times or the seasons, which the Father hath put in his own power.

8But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judaea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth.

9And when he had spoken these things, while they beheld, he was taken up; and a cloud received him out of their sight.

10And while they looked stedfastly toward heaven as he went up, behold, two men stood by them in white apparel;

11Which also said, Ye men of Galilee, why stand ye gazing up into heaven? this same Jesus, which is taken up from you into heaven, shall so come in like manner as ye have seen him go into heaven.

12Then returned they unto Jerusalem from the mount called Olivet, which is from Jerusalem a sabbath day's journey.

13And when they were come in, they went up into an upper room, where abode both Peter, and James, and John, and Andrew, Philip, and Thomas, Bartholomew, and Matthew, James the son of Alphaeus, and Simon Zelotes, and Judas the brother of James.

14These all continued with one accord in prayer and supplication, with the women, and Mary the mother of Jesus, and with his brethren.

Wednesday, May 04, 2005

The Truth is Out There

In another forum altogether, a former officer of a group to which I belong was lamenting about the ten plagues and more that befall anyone who volunteers. Most of them will be familiar to anyone who's ever blundered into a position of leadership in a volunteer organization. But this one, this one is classic. Herewith, edited slightly to keep it anonymous as we are evidently dealing with the reflexively litigious:

And nearly one year prior to that, a member from Utah actually
started pursuing the legal action to sue me because she *knew* I was
in conspiracy with a [local group] from the southern branch to take
control of her computer through the [Main Group's] web site. She had proof of
this because when she clicked the link to email the President of
[the Main Group], her email program opened up and automatically addressed a

Monday, May 02, 2005

I can't HEAR you!

Poor Jennifer Willbanks. Unfit and with no training. Of course she fled from the enemy. Tsk. That's why we have boot camp for brides and bridesmaids. Oh, yes we do. Says so right here.

(This may be the only article you'll ever see with the words "boot camp" and "nurturing" in the same sentence.)