Tuesday, January 31, 2006

The New Yorker Explains How We Really Fell Into the Hands of the ICEL

{It's on the back page of the 26 Sept 2005 number.)

Monday, January 30, 2006


Pictures of over half a dozen (i.e., seven) monstrances from the turn of the last century. You can find them here. Gorgeous stuff.

O, quam bonum et iucundum habitare fratres in unum. . .

Rocco says a reconciliation with the SSPX and affiliated societies is in the offing this week. Maybe Wednesday. You'll find his story here.

Friday, January 27, 2006


Pointed commentary from "Father Peregrinator" at Canterbury Tales. Look here, here, and here.

Piping Picture of the Week II

Two piping pictures in one week. What a treasure trove this blog is. The picture above was scanned from the Times the other day; not to be found on line. Not by me, anyway. The photographer must have been distracted as some sort of politician got in the way and only one piper got into the shot. And he didn't even get his name and band. So, is he a portion of the Khartoum Pipes and Drums? Or a soloist? Or part of a mini-band? The Times doesn't say. Paper of record, indeed.

Wednesday, January 25, 2006

25 January -- Burns Day

Our monarch's hindmost year but ane
Was five-and-twenty days begun,
'Twas then a blast o' Janwar' win'
Blew hansel in on Robin.

Today is the poet's 245th birthday and either today or on the closest free day Burns Suppers will be taking place in most parts of what remains of the civilised world. This means recitations of his poetry, toasts to the man himself, to the lassies, to the haggis, some music and sometimes dancing. This page has a bit more on the tradition. I played for one last Saturday and will play for another one on the coming Saturday, both for different branches of the RSCDS, so there was indeed dancing. And I discovered last Saturday that the plantar fasciitis, or however you spell it, has gone clean away and I can dance again, slowed down only a little bit by the wonky knee, the same one that makes kneeling for Holy Communion without an altar rail such an exciting proposition. Saturday should be great fun.

Did you know that Burns was also Private Robert Burns of the (Royal) Dumfriess Volunteers? I hadn't until I found this page. It sounds like a wonderful regiment: The Royal Dumfries Volunteers had agreed to serve His Majesty without payment for the duration of the war with France. However, it was also agreed that they were not obliged to march more than five miles from the town. A committee was formed to run the Corps, to be changed every three months; this comprised of all the officers plus eight other members. I think we can safely conclude that the pentagon was not involved. The gallant, although not particularly well-travelled, band was the cause of this stirring bit of business:

Does haughty Gaul invasion threat?
Then let the louns beware, Sir;
There's wooden walls upon our seas,
And volunteers on shore, Sir:
The Nith shall run to Corsincon,
And Criffel sink in Solway,
Ere we permit a Foreign Foe
On British ground to rally!
We'll ne'er permit a Foreign Foe
On British ground to rally!

O let us not, like snarling curs,
In wrangling be divided,
Till, slap! come in an unco loun,
And wi' a rung decide it!
Be Britain still to Britain true,
Amang ourselves united;
For never but by British hands
Maun British wrangs be righted!
No! never but by British hands
Shall British wrangs be righted!

The Kettle o' the Kirk and State,
Perhaps a clout may fail in't;
But deil a foreign tinkler loun
Shall ever ca'a nail in't.
Our father's blude the Kettle bought,
And wha wad dare to spoil it;
By Heav'ns! the sacrilegious dog
Shall fuel be to boil it!
By Heav'ns! the sacrilegious dog
Shall fuel be to boil it!

The wretch that would a tyrant own,
And the wretch, his true-born brother,
Who would set the Mob aboon the Throne,
May they be damn'd together!
Who will not sing "God save the King,"
Shall hang as high's the steeple;
But while we sing "God save the King,"
We'll ne'er forget The People!
But while we sing "God save the King,"
We'll ne'er forget The People!

Who will not sing "God save the King,"
Shall hang as high's the steeple;
But while we sing "God save the King,"
We'll ne'er forget The People!

I wonder did anyone ever put a tune to that?

And for another sample of the poet himself, why, you've only to visit Hilary's page this morning, which you were going to do anyway. Of course you were.

On-Line Liturgical Calendar

For anyone observing the traditional (or "Classical", as our Holy Father calls it) Roman Rite, there is a wonderful little on-line liturgical calendar here. It gives all the appropriate references for celebrating the Mass of the day. The propers in both Latin and English for all the Sundays and many other days are available in both html and pdf format. There is also a printable calendar format colour-coded as to the vestment colour for the day. Quite nice, really, but, alas, they don't reference the particular calendar for the U.S. or Canada -- just the U.K. and Ireland.

(And, yes, I do realize this is an SSPX site. The last time I cited one of their pages I received a couple of warnings on the dangers of schism. Duly noted. If you are worried that your computer will acquire the schism virus upon accessing an SSPX page, consider this your warning. Oddly enough, no one has ever cautioned me about my rather numerous references to the Book of Common Prayer. Is a puzzlement.)

Now. Where was I? Oh, yes. The calendar. Unfortunately, it also doesn't reference any rubrics for the Divine Office. I would think that this would be of even more use as this seems to be an area where it is far easier to get muddled. Prior to the 1955 reforms you needed a Philadelphia lawyer to figure out what to say at Matins. But even under the 1962 regimen it is no walk in the park. A suggestion for the future, dear fathers.

Still and all. A nice book mark for those who want to know what day it is in the classical Roman Rite's general calendar.

And if you're still feeling out of sorts about that SSPX link, you might try this one. The link is to a Vatican Radio page. There you can hear each day an "on demand" broadcast of the new, reformed Pauline Rite Lauds, Vespers, and Compline chanted in Latin at a convent in Rome. Well, mostly in Latin. They broke into French for the chapter and the preces the last couple of times I listened. But still very well done. No guitars, no Grail psalter, no Marty Haugen, no ICEL, no cream-faced loon with a cheesy commentary.

(I've forgoten where I first noted that reference to Vatican Radio. I think it may have been some other resident of St Blog's but I can't find it again. The thanks will have to be in petto unless I find the link again.

UPDATE: Found it. Thanks are due to Fr Zuhlsdorf, where the link to Vatican Radio can be found on the sidebar of his WDTPRS blog, which is just as indispensable as his column with which it shares a name.)

Tuesday, January 24, 2006

What the world needs now. . .

. . .isn't this guy. My friend Gary has mentioned him a few times lately as something of a worry. I hadn't paid that much attention. A little googling of "Ahmadinejad" will raise your eyebrows right up to your hairline. Rosaries for peace are still in order.

Monday, January 23, 2006

23 January -- The Feast of the Betrothal of Our Lady to St Joseph

This feast appeared in many - perhaps most - particular calendars of the Church prior to the liturgical reform, including the calendars of both the Discalced and Ancient Observance Carmelites. In honour of Our Lady's feast I had planned to put up a translation of the old second nocturn from the old Discalced Carmelite office.

Well. That turned out to be not so much an exercise in translation as an exercise in humility. The text I produced last night I have in front of me. I thought perhaps if I slept on it things would be clearer in the morning. Sometimes that works, you know. Refined but impenetrable grammar glows with meaning after a good night's percolation in the subconscious. But no. Not this time. My "version" is obviously rubbish. Lesson V only occasionally makes sense and I have no real confidence in the rest. Not even with my one ton Oxford Latin Dictionary and my tattered and torn, personally annotated in pencil copy of Fr Henle's Grammar can I make it make sense. I know better than to try St Augustine with his snazzy classical idioms and arcane vocabulary. But now good ol' medieval St Bernard has me banjaxed.

So, instead you get a collect from the old Ancient Observance liturgy. Translation courtesy of an old Carmelite Missal:

Supplicationem servorum tuorum, Deus, miserator exaudi : ut, qui in Desponsatione Dei Genitricis et Virginis Mariæ congregamur; eius intercessionibus, a te de instantibus periculis eruamur. Per eumdem Dominum. Amen.

Graciously and mercifully hear the plea of Thy servants, O God, so that we who have gathered to celebrate the Betrothal of the Virgin Mary, Mother of God, may at her intercession be saved by Thee from pressing evils: through the same Christ our Lord. Amen.

The Swiss Guard -- 500 Years Old

The Swiss Guard was established 500 years ago yesterday by Pope Julius II (della Rovere). You can view an RTE news report on the anniversary ceremony via RealPlay at this link. The Swiss Guard has its own section on the Vatican website here. There is a wealth of interesting history there, including a short essay on those uniforms. ("Camo" isn't in it.) A few more good pictures can be found here. Don't be misled by the sepia miniatures; they click into full-sized colour photos.

[The picture was scanned in from a special photo essay on the Guard published in 1994 by the always-beautifully-illustrated Inside the Vatican magazine.]

New Employment Opportunties in India

And not just answering the helpline for Earthlink, either.

From last November's New Oxford Review (yes, still not caught up with the periodicals):


An Indian firm is doing swift business with a new concept. The Best Guest Centre in Rajasthan rents out wedding guests to families who fear they will fall short of real family members and friends. The guests dance at the reception and try to impress without letting anyone know they're hired hands. Proprietor M.I. Syed briefs his staff about the bride, the groom, and their families before the wedding in hopes of preventing a faux pas. He told The Statesman (Aug. 17): "The breaking up of joint families and lack of affection among relatives also creates a demand for paid guests."

Hope for the Indult in Boston

Recta Ratio reports and includes excellent suggestions for the Archdiocese.

Sunday, January 22, 2006

Piping Picture of the Week

"At the opening ceremony of the African Nations Cup in Cairo on Friday, Egyptian guards of honour play their bagpipes..."

And look at those drones! Tuning just a bit flat today, aren't we?

Wednesday, January 18, 2006

Right to Whack the Sick and Dying in Oregon Confirmed by the U.S. Supreme Court

So says the Supreme Court.

The Times says California could be next. The Times can hardly wait.

(At the moment The Inn despairs of this one for an additional reason. At least according to what The Times reports, it seems to us that the Court actually ruled correctly on the states' rights issue, which was the issue in question here. Getting it right for the wrong reason or wrong for the right reason? Perhaps a read of the actual opinion is in order before the really heave-duty pontificating commences. The Inn at the End of the World has its eye on the Tsar of Ru-. . ., uh, I mean, the U.S. Supreme Court.

Tuesday, January 17, 2006

Culture Wars: Catholic Church vs Homosexuals vs Poland & the Baltic states vs Islam vs the European Union vs. . . .

The culture wars were easier to follow when there were only two sides.


For the past two or three days the computer has been making A Noise. I have cleaned it and adjusted the fan. I have placed a medal of St Benedict on it. It is still making A Noise. Apparently stronger medicine is needed. In the event I am absent from this space for an inordinately long time, you will know that the Noise turned out to be something serious. I may go see if Fr Amorth's number is on line. Just in case.

17 January St Anthony, Abbot

The name of this celebrated patriarch was first made popular in Rome by St Athanasius, who, as he described his virtues and miracles to the descendants of the Scipios and the Gracchi in the house of Marcella on the Aventine, awoke in them a love for them monastic life. Nevertheless, the feast of St Anthony did not find a place in the Roman Calendar until much later, when in consequence of the disease commonly known as the holy fire or St Anthony's fire, a great number of hospitals and chapels called after him arose throughout France and Italy.

In Rome, there were several churches dedicated to the saint; those, for instance, near the Mausoleum of Hadrian, on the Ripetta, and in the Forum Romanum, but the most celebrated was that one on the Esquiline -- the ancient Basilica of St Andrew, formerly of Junius Bassus, and afterwards dedicated to the great patriarch of Egyptian monasticism -- which stood near St Mary Major. Attached to it was a hospital in which St Francis of Assisi, amongst others, found a temporary refuge inthe time of Innocent III.

The Mass is the Common of Abbots, just as for the feat of St Sabbas.

More from the Blessed Cardinal Schuster.

All the Tea in China

Found this while looking for something else. Not everyone's - ahem - cup of tea, but I found it quite interesting. And this, too. Not least for the almost perfect, but not quite, English. Such as: After wining, strong tea may prove to be a sobering pick-me-up. "After wining". Lovely.

(What I was actually looking for was this. O felix culpa. If I'd spelled "Hylton" right we'd never have learned all about Chinese tea, now would we.)

Sunday, January 15, 2006

There once was a fellow from Limerick. . .

. . .and if he were in Limerick today he would be celebrating the patronal feast of St Ita. The old Catholic Encyclopædia has this to say about her:

Saint Ita, called the "Brigid of Munster"; b. in the present County of Waterford, about 475; d. 15 January, 570. She became a nun, settling down at Cluain Credhail, a place-name that has ever since been known as Killeedy--that is, "Church of St. Ita"--in County Limerick. Her austerities are told by St. Cuimin of Down, and numerous miracles are recorded of her. She was also endowed with the gift of prophecy and was held in great veneration by a large number of contemporary saints, men as well as women. When she felt her end approaching she sent for her community of nuns, and invoked the blessing of heaven on the clergy and laity of the district around Killeedy. Not alone was St. Ita a saint, but she was the foster-mother of many saints, including St. Brendan the Voyager, St. Pulcherius (Mochoemog), and St. Cummian Fada. At the request of Bishop Butler of Limerick, Pope Pius IX granted a special Office and Mass for the feast of St. Ita, which is kept on 15 January.

When a small boy, St Brendan the Navigator was one of her students. He once asked her what God detested most. She answered, 'A scowling face, obstinacy in wrong-doing, and too great a confidence in the power of money'.

Saturday, January 14, 2006

Piping Picture for the New Year

This is Sebastiano Conca's Adoration of the Shepherds painted in Naples about 1720. As all good representations of Our Lord's nativity should, it includes a piper. You can see him with his pipes in the upper right corner of the picture keeping his one-and-only drone out of the way of the cherub thurifer.

A larger view of the piper and his pipes, probably an Italian Zampogna:

[Thanks to Bagpipe Iconography site for the lead on this one.]

It doesn't seem right. . .

. . .to just start posting again after a two week hiatus without giving some sort of explanation. It's just that there isn't one. I haven't moved house, had triplets, died, or won the lottery. No one has sensed my innate brilliance and hired me for several hundred thousand dollars to, uh, do something terribly complex in finance. Instead, a lot of little things came up. Think very, very small plague of locusts. A nuclear family of locusts. Say, mother, father, children, perhaps some grandparents and a dotty uncle or two. Something suitable for devouring that portion of the day used for blogging.

Other parts of the day were mercifully untouched. The section devoted to finishing all my back issues of The Spectator stayed fresh and green and allowed me to do just that. And so I did. And delivered all of the said back issues to the library where the overseer of the periodicals section was touchingly grateful. I made some notes of some items to refer you to but they seem to have vanished. If you got a list of citations to The Spectator in your Christmas card it was inadvertant. It wasn't an assignment and there won't be a quiz. But if you do look them up, you should be highly entertained and much better informed. For the rest of you who didn't get a list, at some point before the end of the year, Paul Johnson had an excellent essay on hats and the wearing thereof as a sign of a civilised person. And, no, a baseball cap is not a hat, properly so called, and is not an indicator of civilisation. In fact, wearng one backwards - unless you are a catcher - is a precursor of the Apocalypse. I don't remember any of the other citations I had for you. As noted elsewhere, things do get in something of a muddle here.

I also found time to get deep into one of my Christmas presents, all five volumes of the Blessed Ildefonso Cardinal Schuster's "The Sacramentary (Liber Sacramentorum)", an outstanding work on the history of the Roman liturgy, with great emphasis on the liturgical celebrations at the papal court. A sample from his essay on The "Ordinarium Missæ", discussing the antiquity of the Roman canon:

Let us now sum up that of which we have been speaking. A Roman tradition, which we find already fully established in the fifth century, unquestioned, nay, reverently accepted by the whole papal Patriarchate, assigns an apostolic origin to the Canon. In harmony with this belief, the Roman historians considered that in the Liber Pontificalis they had succeeded in noting even the smallest modifications introduced by the early Pontiffs into the text of this traditional Eucharistia. Moreover, the Popes and the writers who treat of the Canon regard it as a prayer unaltered and unalterable, the acceptance of which is incumbent upon all the churches. The documentary evidence of the various parts of our Canon goes back at least to the fifth century, and obliges us to identify it in its main outline with that which the early Christians held to be of apostolic tradition. A closer examination of this evidence, far from weakening our contention, only reinforces it, giving to our Roman Eucharistia the glory of such great age that when, to-day, after the lapse of so many centuries, we repeat the consecratory prayer of the Mass, we can be sure of praying, not only with the faith of Damasus, of Innocent and of Leo the Great, but in the very same words which they uttered at the altar before our day, and which thus sanctified that pristine age of doctors, confessors and martyrs.

Well, first day back, you know. Had to work in some sort of traditionalist business.

Sunday, January 01, 2006

On the Eighth Day of Christmas. . .

. . . it is also (depending upon your calendar) the Octave Day of Christmas, the feast of the Circumcision of Christ, and the Solemnity of the Theotokos, the Mother of God. Schuster says the Octave Day is probably the most ancient name for today's feast. The Circumcision came from Gallican sources and the feast of the Mother of God from the Eastern Church.

Gueranger says the antiphons for Lauds and Vespers in the old rite were taken from Byzantine sources. (They still occur in the Pauline rite but are distributed differently due to the different number of psalms at each hour.) He must have forgotten, though, to mention how beautiful they are. Some of the loveliest in the Divine Office. Herewith the Lauds antiphons, followed by Dom Laurence's own somewhat-less-earthy-than-the-original translations, a work of Victorian art in its own right:

1. O admirabile commercium! Creator generis humani animatum corpus sumens, de Virgine nasci dignatus est; et procedens homo sine semine, largitus est nobis suam deitatem.

1. O admirable Interchange! The Creator of mankind, assuming a living Body, deigned to be born of a Virgin; and becoming Man without man's aid, bestowed on us his Divinity.

2. Quando natus es ineffabiliter ex Virgine, tunc impletæ sunt Scripturæ; sicut pluvia in vellus descendisti, ut salvum faceres genus humanum: te laudamus, Deus noster.

2. When Thou wast born ineffably of the Virgin, the Scriptures were fulfilled. As dew upon Gideon's Fleece, Thou camest down to save mankind. O Lord our God! we praise Thee.

3. Rubum, quem viderat Moyses incombustum, conservatam agnovimus tuam laudabilem virginitatem: Dei Genitrix, intercede pro nobis.

3. In the bush seen by Moses as burning yet unconsumed, we recognize the preservation of Thy glorious Virginity. O Mother of God, intercede for us.

4. Germinavit radix Iesse; orta est stella ex Iacob; Virgo peperit Salvatorem: te laudamus, Deus noster.

4. The Root of Jesse hath budded; the Star hath risen out of Jacob; a Virgin hath brought forth the Saviour. O Lord our God! we praise Thee.

5. Ecce Maria genuit nobis Salvatorem, quem Ioannes videns exclamavit, dicens: Ecce Agnus Dei, ecce qui tollit peccata mundi, alleluia.

5. Lo! Mary hath brought forth a Saviour unto us, Whom John seeing exclaimed: Behold the Lamb of God! Behold Him that taketh away the sins of the world, alleluia.

The Year of Our Lord, 2006

No piping to bring in the new year. I could blame it on the rain, of which there was more than a sufficiency. But actually now that I am yet another year older, I find that midnight comes much later than it used to. I was in no fit condition to go out in the cold and the damp and try to tune. I get more pathetic by the day. The new year was rung in with tea and soda bread. . .and television, God help us.

The papers, the radio, and, yes, the television are full of the predicted torrential rains on the time and the very route of the liturgy of the Sacred Rose Parade. The parade officials at this writing have consulted the auguries and find that they disagree with the weather report. The parade will go on. Now, all I ever enjoy in any parade is the bands. And as the commentators always talk over them I find parades unbelieveably tedious. But this year it could be different. If Pasadena really does get hit by a gully whumper it should be the most interesting Rose Parade ever. One certainly doesn't wish for catastrophe. But if it happens anyway, it does make for interesting. . . uh, television.