Friday, March 31, 2006

The Diocese of Arlington

You've all read about the Diocese of Arlington: there will be two indult Masses instituted in the Diocese. And at the same time (in exchange?) every parish will get girl altar boys. If you haven't read about it yet, Elinor mentions it here and includes an agreeable comment. (Proof that, like Dave Barry, I don't make this stuff up.)

But what no one has mentioned and what I very much want to know is, how does one pronounce L-O-V-E-R-D-E ? Is it LOV-erd or Luh-VER-dee or even (one can only hope) LOV-er-day? It doesn't make any difference on the weblog, but sometimes I belabor people about this sort of stuff in person.

Wednesday, March 29, 2006

The CIEL Colloquium for 2006

It's web page is now up with all the details for this year's meeting. You can find it here.

And it will be held here:

I'm afraid the commute is a little more than I can handle. Maybe next year. I understand our new cathedral here in the Archdiocese of Hollywood has wonderfully spacious meeting rooms. [Sometimes my attempts at humour depress even me.]

The Bean Counters Win Again

400 Years of Glory and Valour Consigned to History" says The Scotsman of today's amalgamation parade - or parades - in which Scotland's remaining historic regiments are merged into one. These folks did their best to prevent it but without success. And these folks are doing their best to undo it. Good luck to them.

In the meantime, the soldiers do what they've always done: soldier on.

But without so much music: "Regimental Bands to be Merged in Defense Cuts".

And in lower-quality, foreign-made kilts.

And, it seems, there won't be quite so many of them. The new "SuperRegiment" has had problems with recruiting.

And for a slight change of pace from all this Scottish news, there was this paragraph in the cited article about the regimental bands: However, the band of the Royal Irish Regiment will be disbanded, armed forces minister Adam Ingram said. Pipes and drums only for the Irish, then.

SSPX Reconciliation With Rome

Rumours and articles replete with the inside scoop continue to abound. You have seen them, too, I have no doubt. Distilled to their essence: Except for the Holy Father, possibly some curial officials, and presumably some officers of the SSPX, nobody knows anything. And as for me, having read all those inside sources, I not only don't know what's going on, I know several things that aren't so.

On a more serious note, so long as we're talking about people being brought back within the fold, it's beginning to look more and more like Tim Salmon will find a permanent place on the roster. Couldn't happen to a nicer fella.

Lyn Nofziger, R.I.P.

Lyn Nofziger was what the press calls a "political operative". I think that's supposed to mean someone deeply involved in politics but who doesn't hold any elective office and probably not an executive one either. In any event, he was one of the more entertaining "poltical operatives" that the last century produced. His political memoir, modestly entitled Nofziger, is a cracking great read. I bought it when it first came out but only got round to reading it when President Reagan died. (He was President Reagan's press officer, campaign manager, and a few other things.) If I had started it when I bought it that wouldn't have happened. Veterans of the political wars of those days won't find it easy to set aside.

The Times has an extensive obituary here.

Lyn had a blog which hasn't been updated since the end of last year, probably due to the advancing cancer. At least for the time being you can find it here and read some of his "musings".

A Lesson I Re-Learn Every Two or Three Years

Mary is just back from a fortnight's visit with her mother. (Mother is in Dublin. We are 15 minutes or so from the Pacific Ocean on the left-hand side of the North American continent.) How did I in my youth ever expect to live a celibate religious life when a mere two weeks without my wife puts me into a blue funk of Homeric proportions? Even playing pipes didn't bring its full measure of joy. But now the sun is once again in the heavens and spring has returned to the land. Iam hiems transiit, imber abiit et recessit, flores apparuerunt in terra nostra. Life is good again.

Personal Whinge to Follow; of no ecclesiastical, political, and very limited social significance.

Is there any insurance more useless than Delta Dental?

In my experience, no. Even credit life and disability - a legendary waste of money - provides more benefits than DD.

Thursday, March 23, 2006

Clear Creek Monastery

My friend Kirk sent me a link to this essay (with pictures!) on the writer's visit to Clear Creek Monastery in Oklahoma. It's a lovely read. And I herewith pass it on to you. Enjoy.

Wednesday, March 22, 2006

Post festo S Patricii

You have probably assumed by now that I did not, in fact, survive the first gig. It was a near run thing to be sure. The poor old drone reeds were soaked at the end of three hours and didn't survive. The final set at that site was done with only intermittent drone accompaniment. But I and my embouchure appear to have muddled through. For the second gig the number one pipe was swabbed and opened up to dry and I played my old Irish warpipe - the two drone set. That occasion was rather a nice one. [And thanks for the referral, Ziggy.] It was a 40th anniversary Mass for an Irish priest who was born on St Patrick's Day, baptized Patrick, ordained on St Patrick's Day and said the first Mass of his first pastorate on St Patrick's Day. The pipes provided some entrance and exit music and a bit of a serenade at the reception.

A pleasant St Patrick's Day all-in-all, though it was impressed upon me that a better moisture control system is needed. Maybe this one.

Friday, March 17, 2006

Lá fhéile Pádraig

This has been a very busy week. And today will be completely occuppied with the pipes. (If I survive the first gig -- six 20 minute sets in three hours. My lip is collapsing just thinking about it.) But fear not. All you need to know about St Patrick you can find at Recta Ratio. You can just start at the top and scroll down or go directly here or here or. . .well, maybe just starting at the main page and scrolling down would be best after all.

I've got to pack up and be off now. St Patrick and St Cecilia pray for us!

Wednesday, March 15, 2006

The Snotty Leftist Advocacy Masquerading as Journalism Award

This week's award goes to the anonymous toiler for the Press Telegram who penned the following lead sentence in the "Briefcase" column:

A coalition of groups that oppose civil rights for gay people is pressing a boycott of the Ford Motor Co., the latest push by religious convservatives to influence how and where companies advertise.

Ah, yes. Opposing civil rights for gays. Shorthand for the well-known plan to deprive gays of their right to vote. And then without doubt the ones who aren't driving Fords will be seated in the back of the bus.

Tuesday, March 14, 2006

"Unlikely to do any harm to the sales of either book."

So says the Telegraph about the plagiarism suit against Dan Brown's "Da Vinci Code". Criminy: not only lies, but stolen lies?

[Lector: Oh, so now you're worried about plagiarism. Didn't you just swipe that whole Lector/Auctor thing from Belloc's Path to Rome?

Auctor: Yes. Go away.]

The Rev. Richard McBrien


More Bad News for Newspaper Addicts

The 21st century - and the later part of the 20th - have not been good times for newspapers. The latest bout of bad news involves the San Jose Mercury News which while not yet out, is once again down. Those of us who are newspaper junkies hate to see the grand old newspaper names disappear.

[Lector: Wait a minute. You do nothing but criticize newspapers. What's this sudden case of the miseries when one of the major media finds itself on the skids?

Auctor: Well, I do something other than criticize newspapers. I read them. Three a day, most days. Not counting weeklies. And, yes, most are in an advanced state of cultural and moral collapse. Maybe they always were. But there's something exciting about newspapers. The first thing I do visiting a city is buy the local papers. It gives you a feel for the place. If you don't understand that, I can't explain it. Anyway, like God and the sinner, one hopes for their conversion rather than their extinction.

Lector: "Three a day"? "Like God and the. . . ."? Oh, for. . .you're such a pompous, bloody hypocrite.

Auctor: Occasionally, yes.]

Where was I? Oh, yes. This part of L.A. County was awash in newspapers when I was growing up: Long Beach had the morning Press-Telegram and the evening Independent, the Los Angeles papers included The Times, The Mirror, The Examiner, The Herald Express, and I think the old Daily News. I get arguments on this last. I'm told the Daily News folded long before my time. But I swear I remember it; perhaps I dreamed it. And I'm not confusing it with the old Valley News and Green Sheet which was the parent of the current L.A. Daily News, which still doesn't circulate much outside the valley despite its new name. All gone now but for the Times and the PT. And no more evening papers at all. The internet has its place but it's no replacement for a proper newspaper. You can't fold it up and stuff it in your pocket or circle the good parts or fling it across the room half way through a half-witted editorial. And Lord knows there's no shortage of those. Even so, I don't want The Times to die. I just want to run it myself.

Thursday, March 09, 2006

The Roman Mass in Latin in an Anglican Context

Who knew? I didn't. But now you will if you read this post from Fr Marco's excellent Traditional Anglo-Papist.

And as long as we're mentioning The American Conservative. . .

. . .this article is on line: Denmark's Intifada by the Brussels Journal's own Paul Belien. There is much here about The Cartoons incident that I have seen no where else. In the first place it is largely not about The Cartoons:

Today, Denmark is at the center of a controversy over 12 drawings, the infamous Danish cartoons. Syria and Iran have virtually declared war on Denmark, Danish consulates and embassies have been attacked in the Middle East and Africa, and Islamic countries are officially boycotting Danish products.

Those who believe that the whole issue has to do with 12 cartoons are naïve. Denmark is being punished for its alleged Islamophobia. Its crime is not the publication of 12 drawings in Jyllands-Posten, a paper in the rural province of Jutland. Its crime is the staunch refusal of the Danish Vikings to allow Muslim immigrants to impose their laws upon their host country.

In 2001, the various parties of the center-right and so-called “far Right” won the Danish elections. As a consequence, Rasmussen’s free-market Liberals formed a coalition with the Conservatives. The new government did not have the majority in the Folketing, the Danish Parliament, but it received the support of the Dansk Folkeparti, the populist, anti-immigration Danish People’s Party led by the housewife-turned-politician Pia Kjaersgaard.

In return for Kjaersgaard’s support, but also because the two coalition parties believed it was necessary, the government introduced drastic measures to curb the influx of low-skilled immigrants from Third World countries. “There is no danger that Denmark will become a multicultural society, because this is not our goal,” Rasmussen said before the elections.

The new government introduced legislation that made it harder for immigrants to enter Denmark and to acquire Danish nationality. Copenhagen began to repatriate illegal immigrants and encouraged rejected asylum seekers to leave. It implemented stricter rules to determine who should receive residence permits. It slashed social benefit payments to newcomers, allowing them only a box of bare necessities.

Much more here. Well worth your time.

Catching Up

The stack of periodicals is haunted. No matter how much I read it never gets any shorter. Today's recommendation from the back issues: there is a wonderful article in the 26 September 2005 number of The American Conservative on Evelyn Waugh the polemicist. Sample of Waugh's slicing and dicing:

In 1935, Waugh had drubbed a bungling biographer of the pre-Raphaelites, who through her sheer incompetence -- her many solecisms included confusing Giovanni Bellini the painter with Vincenzo Bellini the composer -- goaded Waugh to the following conclusion:

"All these faults occur in the first eight and a half pages . . . On the wrapper of the book it is prominently announced that Miss Winwar has been awarded a £1,000 prize, and that this shocking work was selected from over 800 manuscripts. It is not revealed by whom the prize was offered or who made the selection. Perhaps the name was drawn out of a hat. But if, as it is reasonable to assume, this book was chosen for its superior merit, the mind reels at the thought of the unsuccessful 800."

Waugh in a better frame of mind on New Orleans on Ash Wednesday:

"There is witchcraft in New Orleans, as there was a the court of Mme. de Montespan. Yet it was there that I saw one of the most moving sights of my tour. Ash Wednesday; warm rain falling in the streets unsightly with the draggled survivals of carnival. The Roosevelt Hotel overflowing with crapulous tourists planning their return journeys. How many of them knew anything about Lent? But across the way the Jesuit Church was teeming with life all day long; a continuous, dense crowd of all colors and conditions moving up to the altar rails and returning with their foreheads signed with ash. And the old grim message was being repeated over each penitent: 'Dust thou art and unto dust thou shalt return.' One grows parched for that straight style of speech in the desert of modern euphemisms. . . ."

Alas, it isn't on line. But you can order a back issue or even try the library.


Well, I hope so. But isn't there some sort of Roman paperwork needed before we get to this sort of thing?

We await the Bl Marilyn Monroe window with trepidation.

[First noted at Dom's site.]

St Mary's -- III

"Now, I don't know who these unhappy folks are. Most of those that I knew when I went there left with Fr Johnson and now attend elsewhere. Perhaps they are just the sort of ornery curmudgeons that Fr Tran's notice says they are."

So I said the other day when pontificating about the situation at St Mary's. Well, after a chance meeting the other day while practicing my pipes down at Rynerson, I find that I do know at least some of these folks. We had a long discussion, my friend from St Mary's and I. Many of them were the backbone of the parish, the workers and the volunteers. Not crackpots or idle rabble-rousers. These are the ones "invited to leave". Perhaps they should clap the dust from their shoes on their way out as the scripture suggests.

Wednesday, March 08, 2006

Paid Your Credit Card Bill In Full? You're Probably a Terrorist

Every man a spy for our ever-inquisitive gummint. I'm old enough to remember when it was still (mostly) a free country.

Tuesday, March 07, 2006

Patriarch of the West -- Again

Here I mentioned being puzzled that the Holy Father dropped his title "Patriarch of the West". I remain puzzled. There is quite a variety of interpretation of the de-patriarchization of the west. One correspondent thinks it is all good news, will be welcomed by the Orthodox, and portends a separate jurisdiction for the classic Roman Rite. Naturally, Steve is the one I want to be right:

I wrote about this at Dom's blog:

"This is enormously good news for Orthodox-Roman Catholic relations. To better understand Papa Benedict’s rationale, please check out the following link from May 2005 at Orthodoxy Today”:

The key quote from Cardinal Ratzinger’s essay, “Primat und Episkopat” (Primacy and Episcopacy):

“the task to consider for the future will be to distinguish again and more clearly between the proper function of the successor of Peter and the patriarchal office and, where necessary, to create new patriarchates and to detach them from the Latin church. To embrace unity with the pope would then no longer mean being incorporated into a uniform administration, but only being inserted into a unity of faith and communio, in which the pope is acknowledged to have the power to give binding interpretations of the revelation given in Christ whose authority is accepted whenever it is given in definitive form. [emphasis added]”

Part of Orthodox fears of reunion with Rome has been the experiences of “Latinization” where Uniate churches were forced to conform to Western practices. New Patriarchies will allievate that, since the Patriarch of a church decides the form of the rite. Cardinal Hussar of the Ukraine proposed unification under a Pariarch of the Ukraine. I’ll bet Papa Benedict suggested that proposal."

As a fellow Traditionalist sympathizer, I expect you can empathize with the fears of fellow Christians who dread the imposition of alien rubrics and rituals that strip away their beloved traditions. Imagine an actual Latin Patriarch who shepherds the Tridentine believers, in union with Rome, but immune to Novus Ordo pressures. And this approach neutralizes the canonical issue of Catholics not subject to the local bishop.

But then there's this one from the Catholic World News site.
A spokesman for the Russian Orthodox Church has denied that Pope Benedict XVI (bio - news) advanced ecumenical prospects by dropping the use of the papal title, "Patriarch of the West."

"It remains a mystery how the omission of the 'Patriarch of the West' title can improve relations between the Holy See and the Orthodox Church," Bishop Hilarion of Vienna told the Interfax news service. "On the contrary, this omission could be viewed as further claims to the Church's worldwide jurisdiction."

And in the latest number of Touchstone, there is this paragraph excerpted from a review of Walter Cardinal Kasper's latest book:

"Patriarch of the West" is one of the many titles the pope has, but the vast majority of Catholics have never heard of it -- it does not, for example, appear in the 1992 universal Catechism of the Catholic Church -- and those who have, generally regard it as meaningless. Kasper argues that it needs to be resurrected "to distinguish the essential and therefore indispensable duties of Petrine ministry from those duties which pertain to the Pope as the first bishop (patriarch or primate of the Latin Church."

Hmm. What's the opposite of "resurrected"? Is this, then, a sign that authority is to be consolidated again in Rome? Less collegiality? Less ecumenism? Doesn't seem likely to me either. But what does it mean?

Monday, March 06, 2006

St Mary's Again

For those who missed the start of the St Mary's tale, there is some history here and here. (All written by me, so yes, "highly biased commentary" might be a more appropriate use of language than "history".)

In memetipso juravi:
Egressa est de ore meo iustitia,
verbum, quod non revertetur;
quia mihi curvabitur omne genu,
et iurabit omnis lingua.

--Isaias 45 : 23

"Every knee shall bend to Me. . ." But not in the Diocese of Orange. Bishop Todd Brown will have none of that outdated carry-on. Standing is to be the order of the day because. . .uh, well, Because.

Read more about the new mortal sin of kneeling here. And here.

25 years ago the great Fr Daniel Johnson took this dying, empty parish and with blood, sweat, and prayer filled it to overflowing. Fr Johnson retired due to age and illness a couple of years ago and Brown has been devoting himself to bringing it back to its original empty condition ever since. He wasted no time. Before Father had even left he forbade the old Roman Rite Mass which Bishop MacFarland had inaugurated at St Mary's. And now he has expelled these recusant parishioners from the church and the diocese.

Now, I don't know who these unhappy folks are. Most of those that I knew when I went there left with Fr Johnson and now attend elsewhere. Perhaps they are just the sort of ornery curmudgeons that Fr Tran's notice says they are. [Sudden thought: did the notice get nailed to the church door? Brown is big on nailing stuff to church doors. Messages about corruption. Condemnations of Our Lady Help of Christians Chapel. All sorts of things. I can't imagine where he got that habit.] In any event, even if these recalcitrant folk really are utterly without the pale, is it really that necessary to make them stand instead of kneel? Cui bono?

And canonically, precisely what does it mean to be "officially invite[d] to leave the parish. . . .and the diocese. . . ."? Is that schism? Or excommunication? Or just the usual Niagra of incomprehensible bafflegab that gushes out of Newchurch? How does one appeal a "penalty" which doesn't seem to exist officially?

Prediction: when His Excellency has tinkered with the parish sufficiently so that it is no longer viable, look for a sale of the very valuable - two blocks from the beach - property. Then look for a notice in the news that some funds have suddenly become available for this thing.

Thursday, March 02, 2006

His Eminence Gets One Right

Well, partly right anyway. Maybe even mostly right. The Times says here that the Cardinal has directed his clergy to continue to aid illegal immigrants in need:
In his most forceful comments to date, Mahony said he would instruct his priests to defy legislation — if approved by Congress — that would require churches and other social organizations to ask immigrants for legal documentation before providing assistance and penalize them if they refuse to do so

And that's exactly as it should be. Shopping the poor to the cops is not part of the Divine Mandate.

Unfortunately, there's more to his talk than that. He doesn't appear to want any borders or immigration laws at all. Something there is that doesn't love a wall and its title is Eminence. But the government has obligations to people who are already here. It's a difficult balance to be kept. Alas, the difficulty doesn't eliminate the need to keep it.

"It’s Sunset Boulevard for the Cardinal Secretary of State"

You've probably seen the article with that headline in more than a few places. (Here's one.) But it's such a nice headline I thought I'd repeat it. And it does give an object lesson on not getting too cute for your own good.


I can't say as I understand this: Vatican removes title 'patriarch of the West' after pope's name

Apparently, it's supposed to make the Eastern Churches happy. I would have thought that that was the one title to which the East would relate the most. Do they really object to "Patriarch of the West"? Isn't the Patriarch of Constantinople the "Patriarch of the East"?

Not the scandal of the age, to be sure. But a bit of a head-scratcher nonetheless.

Found While Looking for Something Else

I went searching last night for a verse of Dryden's that Dr Summers mentions in The Galanty Show and found the following instead. Piping isn't mentioned all that often in Restoration poetry but "anon" contributed this:

The Plaything Changed

Kitty's charming voice and face,
Syren-like, first caught my fancy;
Wit and humour next take place,
And now I doat on sprightly Nancy.

Kitty tunes her pipe in vain,
With airs most languishing and dying;
Calls me false ungrateful swain,
And tries in vain to shoot me flying.

Nancy with resistless art,
Always humorous, gay and witty,
Has talk'd herself into my heart,
And quite excluded tuneful Kitty.

Ah, Kitty! Love a wanton boy,
Now pleased with song, and now with prattle,
Still longing for the nearest toy
Has chang'd his whistle for a rattle.

"Kitty tunes her pipe in vain". Oh, yes, indeed. I've had reeds like that, too.

Wednesday, March 01, 2006


I was giving some of the bookcases in the den their quinquennial dusting the other day and up on one of the very top shelves amongst the pennydreadfuls where the overflows from the detective case are stuffed, uh, I mean "carefully shelved", and in the midst of a whole row of Sax Rohmer's finest, it came to me: the key to the whole Al Qa'eda terrorism difficulty: Osama bin Laden is modeling himself on Fu Manchu. Al Qa'eda is his own version of the Si Fan. No, seriously*. Think about it. The parallels are astonishing. Eastern secret society wreaking havoc on the west. Wealthy eastern mastermind. Rohmer had it all. Well, his eastern mastermind was a bit too far east. But otherwise, spot on.

Now we know. If the security wonks want to get to the bottom of all this Al Q'aeda business they need to be reading more Sax Rohmer. Anyone know the National Security Agency's phone number?

I can hardly wait to dust the Lord Dunsany shelf tomorrow.