Wednesday, June 29, 2005

Sources for the Roman Rite

After a long absence, Archivium Liturgicum is back at a new site. Beginning to be back at any rate. Some of the links don't contain much information at this point. But it's very encouraging to see this very useful and inspiring site make a come-back.

Thanks to Serge's blog for highlighting the return.

Tuesday, June 28, 2005

De Profundis

Out of the depths, indeed. I don't care what your point of view is on the substantive issues involved, neither of these "protests" should have happened. The Times covered both of them.

The story at this link involves some person called Robertson who chained himself to the cathedra during a Mass celebrated Cardinal Mahony last Sunday. Don't care what your problem is, Robertson. It's Holy Mass. Sure, protest away; knock yourself out. But chain yourself to something else somewhere else. Try the chancery office.

At the other end of the continent, these whack-jobs decided to demonstrate at the funeral of a soldier killed in Iraq.

The 14 demonstrators from Westboro Baptist Church in Topeka, Kan., picketed Monday on a corner near the Old North Church, a Congregational parish founded in 1635, soon after Marblehead was settled. The followers of the Rev. Fred Phelps, who blame American tolerance of homosexuality for the Sept. 11 attacks and the resulting U.S. military casualties in Iraq and Afghanistan, have targeted Massachusetts for protests because it is the only state where same-sex marriage is legal.

Shirley Phelps-Roper, a lawyer for the Kansas church, said Monday that the funeral demonstration was nothing personal against Piper, who was not gay.

"We are protesting the sins of this nation," Phelps-Roper said. "That doesn't exclude him."

Once again, I don't care what their cause was. Disrupting someone's funeral, anyone's funeral, puts them right at the bottom of the moral hierarchy of being. Try the Massachusetts Supreme Court folks.

The Times also mentions that the Boston Police Pipe Band was there:

On the corner of a narrow street lined with Colonial-era buildings, the Kansas contingent tried shouting its anti-homosexual message at mourners who overflowed from the church. But every time demonstrators spoke out, the 14-man Boston Police Department bagpipe band broke into thunderous sound.

Well done, Boston pipers.

The First Episcopal Appointment of Pope Benedict XVI

. . .is Msgr Raymond Centène, Chancellor of the Diocese of Perpignan. The notice of the appointment of Msgr Centène as bishop of Vannes is on the Vatican's website here. If the early word about Msgr Centène is accurate this is extremely good news. Example: this link is to the website of the journal Kephas. The page linked shows the editorial board. The second name is that of Msgr Centène. Kephas is the French language journal of the Priestly Fraternity of St Peter. Other good things are being rumored here in the recusant corner of the Church. Indications are good. But, as always, we shall see. . . .

[And thanks to a CTNGreg correspondent for the pointer.]

"Just Desserts"

You've seen this, of course? Kelo v City of New London which the Supremes decided the other day held that the city fathers can take your home if it would help to enrich their developer friends. Ahem. Well, perhaps that wasn't the precise ruling. But something very like it in my completely unbiased opinion.

And now an outfit called "Freestar Media" has published a press release. Although they claim to be serious they have nevertheless brought a smile to my face.

Herewith the press release:

For Release Monday, June 27 to New Hampshire media
For Release Tuesday, June 28 to all other media

Weare, New Hampshire (PRWEB) Could a hotel be built on the land owned by Supreme Court Justice David H. Souter? A new ruling by the Supreme Court which was supported by Justice Souter himself itself might allow it. A private developer is seeking to use this very law to build a hotel on Souter's land.

Justice Souter's vote in the "Kelo vs. City of New London" decision allows city governments to take land from one private owner and give it to another if the government will generate greater tax revenue or other economic benefits when the land is developed by the new owner.

On Monday June 27, Logan Darrow Clements, faxed a request to Chip Meany the code enforcement officer of the Towne of Weare, New Hampshire seeking to start the application process to build a hotel on 34 Cilley Hill Road. This is the present location of Mr. Souter's home.

Clements, CEO of Freestar Media, LLC, points out that the City of Weare will certainly gain greater tax revenue and economic benefits with a hotel on 34 Cilley Hill Road than allowing Mr. Souter to own the land.

The proposed development, called "The Lost Liberty Hotel" will feature the "Just Desserts Café" and include a museum, open to the public, featuring a permanent exhibit on the loss of freedom in America. Instead of a Gideon's Bible each guest will receive a free copy of Ayn Rand's novel "Atlas Shrugged."

Clements indicated that the hotel must be built on this particular piece of land because it is a unique site being the home of someone largely responsible for destroying property rights for all Americans.

"This is not a prank" said Clements, "The Towne of Weare has five people on the Board of Selectmen. If three of them vote to use the power of eminent domain to take this land from Mr. Souter we can begin our hotel development."

Clements' plan is to raise investment capital from wealthy pro-liberty investors and draw up architectural plans. These plans would then be used to raise investment capital for the project. Clements hopes that regular customers of the hotel might include supporters of the Institute For Justice and participants in the Free State Project among others.

# # #

Logan Darrow Clements
Freestar Media, LLC

Phone 310-593-4843

Do you have a spare three hours?

And do you speak Italian and have a speedy internet connection? Then you might be interested in this video: the papal visit to the Quirinale Palace, the first state visit of Pope Benedict XVI.

I didn't watch it all. (I don't speak Italian and I didn't have a spare three hours.) But I ran it in a corner of my screen while I did other work and so caught a fair bit of it. Less pomp and not quite so much circumstance as the old days but worth a look if you have a taste for that sort of thing.

Well, it wasn’t a quiet weekend in Lakewood, my home town.

(Actually, although the Lakewood Sheriff's station was very much involved, it was fairly quiet in Lakewood. Almost everything in this post happened elsewhere. But how else could I work in the punning popular culture reference?)

On Friday afternoon as often happens I was practicing in a local park. At one point the drones seemed to lose their tuning pretty drastically. I stopped to give them a look and there were helicopters overhead. (Bagpipe trivia point: the sound small planes and helicopters make is just a few clicks away from where the pipe drones tune. When they fly over you don’t really hear the sound of the engines, you hear drones going out of tune.)

The helicopters moved on and hovered over a location perhaps a mile or so away where they could still be seen and heard. And they stayed there for the evening. And squad cars were shooting past the park in both directions, with and without sirens. When I got back in the car the radio was reporting the murder of a sheriff’s deputy – about a mile or so from where I was. An assassination, really. Point blank in the face. The officer was checking i.d. and hadn’t drawn his gun. The murderer hadn’t been caught.

That Friday night was one of my assigned adoration hours from 11 to 12. When I got to the church, actually not in Lakewood but in Hawaiian Gardens, there were more helicopters, closer and louder. The murder had taken place only a few blocks away. Sometime during my hour they captured the murderer (excuse me: the “alleged” murderer). A great relief and the reason for the increased police activity. And the papers are full of it yet, as you’d expect.

On Saturday evening I played for a wedding. The bride was of Scottish descent and the groom a Mexican-American. He works for one of the more useful programmes in the Los Angeles area attempting to break the hold of the gangs. This one is run by a well-known local Jesuit so the wedding was in his parish in the heart of the Boyle Heights barrio. As I played the processional, the drones started going seriously out. I finished the processional and, whaddya know? Helicopters. This time, directly over the church, where they stayed for the entire service. I never heard a word of it. I eventually played the recessional and led the bridal party out and there on the street were more LAPD than you could shake a stick at, which at that point would not have been a good plan. Not even a very small stick. Don’t know what they thought about a kilted piper playing for a service in el barrio. Several of the nearby streets were blocked off, including the one with the parking lot. I and a couple of others by chance happened to be parked on one of the streets not barricaded and were able to leave – with a good bit of relief I don’t mind telling you – for the reception. Every one else waited a couple of hours.

What this last incident was about, I never found out. Someone was obviously Up To No Good but details were not forthcoming. One of the officers told a guest who enquired that he couldn’t get to his car until “the bomb-sniffing dogs get here”. Otherwise, mum was the word. Neither The Times nor the electronic media found it worthy of a mention. Too common in that area to be news? Or do the poor and Spanish-speaking buy too few newspapers to make it worth while?

At the reception a few miles and another world away in Pasadena, the bride and groom and I and couple of the more fortunately parked guests awaited the, uh, release of the rest of the guests. Meanwhile, a helicopter started circling the area. Now, I’m not the sort who’s inclined toward paranoia but I was beginning to long for the good old days when the proper kit of a highlander in formal attire included a dirk, a basket hilt sword and a brace of pistols.

Thanks be to God, whatever this latest helicopter was looking for it found in five minutes or so and moved on. The rest of the reception was quite nice and uneventful. Good food, good cerveza, good music and good company.

And on Sunday law enforcement rested. And after Mass and lunch, I had a short practice without helicopters.

Wednesday, June 22, 2005

Terri Schiavo - Another Thought on the Autopsy Findings

A friend of mine sent along a copy of an article from National Review on Terri Schiavo and the recent autopsy report. In fact, my friend is a practicing physician and I found his comments in the "cover letter" more interesting than the article. Herewith:

This piece came from the NR and coolly extinguishes the ejaculatory response made by the pro-"choice" people of the right to die group. How crassly ignorant are the misconceptions tossed about a complex clinical diagnosis such as PVS. That diagnosis is made with great caution and care by astute clinicians such as intensivists in the ICU. The brain cuttings revealed a brain that apparently suffered from hypoxic encephalomalcia. But who is to say contrary that the coup de grace by the Bench of not giving any protein and fluids normally supplied to her did not further distort the findings? Not too many brain cuttings are done on deliberately starved brain damaged patients. Let's go to Darfur, Sudan and see if there are similar findings of their neurologically infirm that were pushed to extinction.

The autopsy,of course, did not reveal if Terri's husband was telling the truth. This is the great tragedy coupled with the court who willfully ignored the legislation passed by the lucubrating Congress. Dismissing the actions of the Congress (even if the laws were passed at midnight) as reacting only in the interests of the Bible belt is highly judgmental. It is actually seemingly more egregious than all the brouhaha on the nuclear option. Certainly I would never expect that from a suspicious thinking old Leftists who seem to have a tendency for a Pavlovian responses on any attack on the sacrosanct "choice" whether it be the choice of the Right to Die or the choice of Roe vs. Wade as being one in the same.

When you put the thoughts in proper sequence how can anyone be dismissed as lunatic that supports the unequivocal protection of innocent life? And how can the word of one man who was estranged from his wife carry such power to bring on the desuetude of laws which were present to sustain his brain damaged loved one?

This was the crux of the issue.

Our courts should have acted better and erred on the side of life.

Like my friend, I would be very interested to know just how much of that shrunken brain, pictures of which The Times carefully put before us, was caused by a two-week deprivation of water.

[The article, for which this was a cover letter, is here.]

Back Again

Another few days devoured by locusts with little time left for the blog. Amongst the good things, the weather is warming up nicely and the Highland pipes really enjoy the warmth. There isn't much moisture getting to the reeds and they are really singing. The Irish warpipes are another matter. I re-tuned the Irish chanter to play with some other folks a couple of weeks ago and it is taking far too much time to get it tuned back to its sweet spot. Too much valuable practice time wasted footering about with tuning.

In the past few days there has been good news for the traditional liturgy. Not, alas, locally. But still good news for the Church in general. Two new Roman Rite Masses have been instituted in the Orlando, Florida diocese. The diocesan website gives the details here. And the news from Phoenix, Arizona under Bishop Olmsted gets better and better. The Priestly Fraternity of St Peter is to begin a new apostolate on the first of July at the invitation of the bishop. The following details are taken from a letter recently distributed on a board devoted to the celebration of the traditional liturgy with the permission of the bishop:

The indult community currently celebrating the traditional Mass at St Thomas the Apostle parish in the diocese has been raised to the status of a mission, bearing the title Mater Misericordiæ Mission and under the pastorate of Fr Saenz, who remains pastor St Augustine parish. The Masses at St Thomas will continue.

The traditional liturgy will now be celebrated in a second location, at St Augustine's parish. This location will include daily traditional Roman Rite Masses Monday through Friday at 6:30 a.m. and another one on Wednesday evening at 6:30 p.m. with confessions beginning at 5:00 p.m. And what appears to be a first in the United States: at this indult location the sermons will be in Spanish as will, presumably, the confessions and the non-liturgical aspects.

The new Fraternity priest, Fr Stephane Du Pre, F.S.S.P., will be in charge of yet a third apostolate at St Cecilia parish, the details of which aren't defined yet.

Wonderful news for Arizonans.

[Addendum: a web-based confirmation here. Cite found via Recta Ratio and AMDG -- gratias ago vobis.]

Meanwhile, in the Diocese of Orange there is one Mass on Sunday morning in a gorgeous but far too small location that cannot begin to hold all those who would like to attend. And in the eastern part of the Archdiocese of Los Angeles, we continue to travel, from San Pedro on the first Sunday of the month, which is likewise a lovely location but very small, to Daniel Murphy High School chapel on the fourth and fifth Sundays of the month. The second Sunday is at the highly congenial chapel at St Therese's hospital run by the wonderful Carmelite Sisters of the Sacred Heart. But there is no Mass on the third Sunday of the month and hasn't been since St Bernardine's chapel closed some ten or fifteen years ago.

Friday, June 17, 2005

Bill Luse sends Apologia over Reichenbach Falls

Or something like that. We can only hope with the same results as in the I-hope-not-too-obscure-literary-reference in the headline. You can read what he says for yourself here.

Thursday, June 16, 2005

U.S. Open Opens in Style

Monday, June 13, 2005

What Not To Wear -- Ecclesiastical Edition

Mike Fieschko's blog In Illo Tempore has been cited here before. If you've visited you know it's great plum pudding of interesting citations. Today he's given a reference to "Quodlibet" a blog brand new to me. And what we have here in the Quodlibet citation is the text of a 1969 papal document, Ut sive sollicite, which gives the revised do's and don't's of prelatial "vesture, titles, and coats-of-arms". The relevant post is here. Now you know why you never see red cardinalatial galeros any more. Or episcopal mantelletas. Or silver shoe buckles on anyone (other than the pipers in the of the Irish regiments.)

Heaven knows why, but I love this stuff.

13 June -- St Anthony of Padua

The image shows St Anthony preaching to the fish, who responded to his preaching with joy when the people of the area refused. (They had a change of heart after the fish incident.)

St Anthony is the patron of those who are searching for their lost property. Our assistant priest swears there used to be a little rhyme that people in his neighborhood in New York would use when the needed St Anthony's assistance:

Tony, Tony
Come around!
Something's lost
And can't be found!

He doesn't say how effective is was as a prayer. I think I'll stick with. . .

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.

Oh, yes: And a very happy ~~th Birthday to my sister-in-law, Goretti.

Sunday, June 12, 2005

Gee, Ma, It Was a Wurlitzer

Since Mark is currently overly-involved in gainful employment, I should take this opportunity, which I haven't done in a while, for a short post on baseball. In particular, the ballpark organist. Yet another one has been handed his, uh, her, walking papers. The Times has the story here. It's to be all ear-splitting recorded rock all the time now.

Say it ain't so, Arte; say it ain't so.

A First for the Inn

An earthquake while in the midst of publishing a Sunday morning post. Tends to get your attention Worked even better than coffee.

12 June -- If it weren't Sunday. . .

. . .Carmelites would be celebrating the feast either of St Alphonsus Mary Mazurek or of Bl Hilarion Januszewski. St Alphonsus was of the Discalced branch of the Order and Bl Hilarion of the Ancient Observance.

A little page on St Alphonsus Mary can be found here. It includes a small "life" of this martyr of the Nazis and some of the texts for his feast day in the new Liturgy of the Hours.

Bl Hilarion (or Hilary) was another martyr of the Nazis, dying in Dachau in 1945 a few days before the liberation of the camp. I haven't found a website giving his story, but this precis is from a Carmelite source:

Hilary Januszewski was born on 11 June 1907 in Krajenki (Poland) and was
given the name of Pawel. He received a Christian education from his
parents, Martin and Marianne. He attended the college in Greblin (where his
family lived from 1915), and then continued his studies at the Institute of
Suchary, but had to abandon these due to economic difficulties of the
family. He took up other studies and in 1927 entered the Order of Carmel.
He was ordained priest on 15 July 1934. He obtained his lectorate in
theology and the prize for the best students of the Roman Academy of St.
Thomas and in 1935 returned to Poland to the monastery in Cracow. On his
return to Poland he was appointed professor of Dogmatic Theology and Church
History at the institute of the Polish Province in Cracow. On 1 November
1939, Fr. Eliseus Sánchez-Paredes, Provincial, appointed him prior of the
community. At that time, Poland had already been occupied by the Germans a
few weeks earlier. One year later, the invaders decreed the arrest of many
religious and priests. On 18 September 1940 the Gestapo deported four
friars from the Carmel in Cracow. In December, when other friars were
arrested, Fr. Hilary decided to present himself in exchange for an older
and sick friar. In April 1941 to the concentration camp of Dachau. There he
was a model of prayer life, encouraging others and giving hope for a better
tomorrow. Together with the other Carmelites, among whom was Blessed Titus
Brandsma, they often joined in prayer. To help the sick, 32 priests
presented themselves to the authorities. A couple of days later, Fr. Hilary
Januszewski spontaneously joined the group. His apostolate lasted 21 days
because, infected by typhus, he died on 25 March 1945, a few days before
the liberation of the concentration camp. His body was cremated in the
crematorium of Dachau. Fr. Hilary Januszewski was beatified by John Paul II
on 13 June 1999, during his apostolic visit to Warsaw (Poland). On this
occasion the Pope beatified 108 Polish martyrs of the Second World War,
victims of Nazi persecution.

The collect for his feast day can be found here.

[Addendum: The same vita reprinted above can be found here. There is also this letter of Fr Joseph Chalmers, O.Carm. written on the occasion of the beatification which provides more detail and insight.]

Both these memorials are obligatory in the Pauline rite. And it seems to me we are in especial need of the prayers and examples of these martyrs. Although, the Nazi party and its official machinery lost the second world war, its eugenic theories and anti-life creed seem very close to a complete victory throughout the western world. St Alphonsus and Bl Hilary, for us.

Wednesday, June 08, 2005

The Anglican Breviary

Hilary posted here a lovely and well-merited little encomium for The Anglican Breviary.

I'm very fond of it myself and I don't think it's too much to say that Fr Gavin produced a work of art in that volume. But it really is too much to say, as I see repeated so often, that it is merely the old Roman Breviary in English. TAB certainly follows the format of the old Roman Breviary and keeps to the 1955 rubrics with only a few simplifications. But there are significant differences.

The collects for Sunday and the prayer book feast days are those of the Book of Common Prayer not those of the Roman Breviary. Particularly in the beginning of the ecclesiastical year these are quite different. It was Archbishop Cranmer's original intent to provide all new collects for his new liturgy. Eventually, the exigencies of providing quickly the new English liturgy resulted more and more often in translations of the old collects with adaptations to fit the new theology. Here are the two collects for the 2d Sunday of Advent. The old concept has been completely replaced:

The Prayer Book: Blessed Lord, who hast caused all holy Scriptures to be written for our learning; Grant that we may in such wise hear them, read, mark, learn, and inwardly digest them, that by patience and comfort of thy holy Word, we may embrace, and ever hold fast, the blessed hope of everlasting life, which thou hast given us in our Saviour Jesus Christ. Amen.

The Roman Rite: Stir up our hearts, O Lord, to prepare the way of Thine only-begotten Son: that through His coming we may attain to serve Thee with purified minds, Who liveth and reigneth, with God the Father, in the unity of the Holy Ghost. Amen.

There's no heresy in the Prayer Book collect; it's a beautiful sentiment. But it's not the Roman Rite.

The patristic and other writers used for the Matins lessons often comment on the scripture readings at Mass. But when the Prayer Book scripture readings are different from what is found in the Roman Rite the commentaries are changed so as to apply to the readings for that day. Again, neither heretical, immoral, nor fattening. In fact, a useful thing to do considering the intended users. But not the Roman Rite either.

The second nocturns read at Matins on saints days are usually a short biography of the saint. In the Roman Rite these can be startlingly unhistorical medieval tales. Fr Gavin has changed these stories considerably. I don't recall an instance when it hasn't been an immense improvement. But it's not what someone praying the old Roman Breviary circa 1955 would have found.

And there are other odds and ends which differ. On the feast of the Immaculate Conception, for instance, the declaration of the dogma by Pope Pius XII is replaced with something of St Jerome's. The office still proclaims the reality of the Immaculate Conception. But it avoids the papal infallibility issue, which the Roman Breviary does not.

Some of the differences have to do with the fact that the Prayer Book itself is not an adaptation of the Roman Rite but of the Sarum Rite. So The Anglican Breviary, like the Book of Common Prayer and the old Sarum Rite, counts the Sundays after Trinity instead of the Sundays after Pentecost. (Other Latin Rite liturgies also count the Sundays after Trinity; the one I know of is the old Carmelite Rite of the Holy Sepulchre.)

In sum, I don't think any Catholic should have a problem praying the hours with the Anglican Breviary. It's a magnificent and very Catholic work. And it's certainly in the spirit of the Roman Breviary. But there's more to it than just "the Roman Breviary in English".

Pope Benedict XVI

In a happy co-incidence, the very article I wanted to cite to you here is one of the few given for "free" this week on The Spectator's website: Damian Thompson's "The Counsel of Trent". [Yes, it really says "Counsel". The Spectator doesn't indulge in typos, so you and I are no doubt missing out on an excellent pun, which The Speccie does do, and very well, too.]

In any event, this is a bracing and realistic article on our new pope. Not always what I wanted to read. But with many good things, too.

Such as:

Here is a list of the changes Benedict would like to see introduced in dioceses around the world: the lifting of all restrictions on the celebration of the Tridentine rite; the replacement of toe-curling folk hymns by plainchant and polyphony; a return to the congregational rituals of bowing and breast-beating; the occasional Tridentine-style recitation of the canon of the modern Mass sotto voce; and — where architecturally feasible — a revival of the practice of the priest facing eastwards, away from the people, as he celebrates the Eucharist.

This literal reorientation is crucial because it captures the essence of Benedict’s theology. Orthodoxy, he argues in his masterpiece The Spirit of the Liturgy, should recover its older meaning of ‘the right way to glorify God, the right form of adoration’. And this means priest and people facing the risen Lord together, rather than facing each other and talking complacently about ‘the people of God’ (a phrase whose overuse irritates Benedict).

And a dose of realism:

One of the keys to understanding Benedict is his brutal assessment of the immediate future of the Church. John Paul, with the cheers of crowds of bused-in ‘young people’ ringing in his ears, predicted a ‘springtime of Christianity’. His successor believes that the Church will grow smaller, and that this is by no means a bad thing. (One of the joys of reading Ratzinger is spotting how often he subtly tiptoes away from John Paul’s obsessions: it would be surprising if we were to hear any more about Fatima during this pontificate, and there will be no more talk of Mary as ‘Co-Redemptrix’ of humanity.)

Benedict’s apparent pessimism should be welcomed by Catholics, since it can only be to their advantage to have a pontiff whose view of the Church corresponds to sociological reality. The number of practising Catholics in the developed world is shrinking and will continue to shrink. The conventional view of Benedict has him planning to do battle with the diabolical materialism that has caused this decline. In fact, he grasps the complexity and irreversibility of the social forces involved. ‘The historical hour isn’t turning around,’ he said in an interview in 1996. ‘It would undoubtedly be false to expect that a sort of historical shift could take place, that the faith will again become a large-scale mass phenomenon that dominates history.’

"No more" about Fatima and Our Lady as co-redemptrix seems excessive, if only because the concept of co-redemptrix is expressed pretty clearly in the section on the Blessed Virgin Mary in Lumen Gentium. But otherwise, he seems spot on. And one is especially delighted to read that Pope Benedict is not entranced with the capitalist superstition.

In any event, you can read it for yourself here.

The Unblushing Bride

Played at a wedding recently which still sticks in the mind. This one, like so many others, was remarkable for the astonishing immodesty of the dresses on the bride's maids. They would almost be appropriate if we had become pagan enough to consider a wedding as some sort of fertility rite. But, of course, fertility is the last thing on anyone's mind, except insofar as it needs to be counter-acted with the appropriate pharmaceuticals. So I suppose it's just immodesty for the sake of immodesty. But why does the bride want her friends to dress like that? Another, it seems, of the ever-multiplying number of things which I don't understand.

And then there is the law of unintended consequences. At least, I think it was unintended. Everything matched, of course: shoes, dresses, ribbons in hair, the lot. The one thing that didn't match was the back of #3 which sported a whacking great butterfly tattoo in living colour - shoulderblade to shoulderblade - fully revealed by the backless dress. So, of course, that was the centerpiece of the ceremony. Not the bride or the groom or the clergyperson (yes, it was a "clergyperson"). Had the bride ever gone to the beach with this lady? I.e., did she know the butterfly was there when she chose the bride's maid dress with the coccyx-level back? Or was it intentional after all? Perhaps she was socially insecure and wanted to be sure all eyes were fixed elsewhere than on herself.

Yes, another post with deep social significance which, alas, you will have to work out for yourselves. Far too confusing for me.

Monday, June 06, 2005

D-Day -- 6 June

The image is of a double commemorative stamp set showing an image of the D-Day landings in Normandy in 1944. The soldier shown on the right is Bill Millin, Lord Lovat's personal piper. You can see a bit of his bass drone and cords just on the left side of his head. Millin was the only piper who played on the beach that day although there were other pipers present. And there were a couple of Royal Navy pipers who played from their ships as the landings started.

Cornelius Ryan in "The Longest Day" describes the moments depicted on the stamps and those immediately succeeding:

As the commandos touched down on Sword, Lord Lovat's piper, William Millin, plunged off his landing craft into water up to his armpits. He could see smoke piling up from the beach ahead and hear the crump of exploding mortar shels. As Millin floundered toward the shore, Lovat shouted at him, "Give us 'Highland Laddie', man!" Waist-deep in the water, Millin put the mouthpiece to his lips and splashed on through the surf, the pipes keening crazily. At the water's edge, oblivious to the gunfire, he halted and, parading up and down along the beach, piped the commandos ashore. The men streamed past him, and mingling with the whine of bullets and the screams of shells came the wild skirl of the pipes as Millin now played "The Road to the Isles." "That's the stuff, Jock, " yelled a commando. Said another, "Get down, you mad bugger."

Exciting stuff. But not written by a piper. If you are waist-deep in water you can't play the pipes: the chanter would be submerged. You could sound drones and blow bubbles but that's about it. The movie rather more accurately shows him starting to play at about the knee-deep point. (Although, whoever edited the sound rather less-accurately has him starting the tune before he's even finished striking-in the drones.)

The pipes Millin played that day can be seen at the National War Museum of Scotland.

Millin even got a mention in President Reagan's classic address at the U.S. Rangers Memorial at Pointe du Hoc on the 40th commemoration of D-Day. You can read (and see and hear) it here. Give it a listen if you have a few moments. No one gives this sort of tribute like Reagan.

Thursday, June 02, 2005

Still Open for Business

For those few who have been concerned: The Inn has not been abandoned and is still a going concern. And I am still in pretty good health for someone who does all the wrong things. But the minutiæ of daily life has ganged up on me. I hadn't planned to be gone this long and I wanted something up on both the Visitation and Corpus Christi. But the days were eaten up almost before I knew they were here. And tomorrow I do plan on putting something up about the Sacred Heart. Will it happen? First, I have two funerals on Saturday so tomorrow the pipes need a good maintenance session. And something needs to be done about that water trap; the drone reeds are too wet after only an hour or so. We shall see what happens. Stay tuned. . . .