Saturday, September 30, 2006

The Italo-Greek Albanian Byzantine Catholic Rite

Yes, we do so have one of those. And if you're in Long Island, NY this Sunday you can attend their liturgy. They are the descendants of 15th century Albanian Christians who resisted the Turkish Mahometan invaders. In the end, they were unsuccessful and many fled to Italy where they maintained their Byzantine Rite. There is a page on their local New York community here and on the Sunday liturgy in Long Island here. They have a parish in Las Vegas, too, which used to have a website but it seems to have gone missing.

It's Bad Luck to be Superstitious

Except in baseball.

Nomar Garciaparra has more tweaks, twitches, and rituals than anyone else. It's been written about before but it made the front page of the Times this morning. (By the way, we went to the same high school. In our separate decades, of course. And I don't think he learned all that from the Salesians.)

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Poor St Mary's

St Mary's by the Sea continues its slow death at the hands of Bishop Brown.

And all for the sin of adhering to Catholic tradition.

September 27 -- Ss Cosmas and Damian, the Unmercenaries

The holy brothers were physicians
who didn't charge for medical services or even demand an insurance card. It wasn't quite enough to get them canonized; there was also that martyrdom. But it was unusual enough to warrant a mention in every "life" of them that I've ever seen. They even made it into the Roman Canon.

And, yes, there is too a lawyer who didn't charge: St Yves. But he's on another day.

Tokyo Rose Dead at 90

Or at least the woman who was railroaded by the press and the feds is dead. But the real Tokyo Rose(s)? Who knows.

Some of the stories make it sound as though "Rose's" broadcasts were everywhere. My father was with the U.S. Navy in the Pacific during the second world war. He said that he doesn't recall hearing "her" at all.

Thursday, September 21, 2006

The Reading Habits of our Mahometan Brethren

It turns out that they don't actually follow the theological ruminations of German academicians all that closely. Not even Very Highly Placed German academicians. The relevant theological insights have to be pointed out to them by helpful media people.

Hilary points out here
how Auntie Beeb and The New York Times ("All The News That Fits, We Print, Embellished With A Pinkish Tint") did their bit in the cause of warfare, terror, and anti-Christian bloodshed.

The Hitch in the Technological Gitalong

It was the keyboard. I have a new one now, so blogging - and writing in general - is a great deal easier. But the last one had a space bar that worked only occasionally, say, one out of seven or eight times. Soeverysentenceread likethis. One typed a sentence. And then one went back, carefully placed the cursor at the proper place, and hammered on the space bar until it decided to work. Then on to the next place where a space ought to be.

Henceforth, typing errors in this space will be, alas, solely the fault of the typist.

Sunday, September 17, 2006

The Carmelite Calendar

St Albert the Lawgiver, Patriarch of Jerusalem

Today is the feast of St Albert, the Latin Patriarch of Jerusalem who wrote the original Rule of the Carmelite Order. He himself was not a Carmelite but an Augustinian canon; yet he only appears in the Carmelite calendar, the Augustinians paying him no particular honour. He was stabbed to death on September 14, 1214 during a liturgical procession in Acre by the Master of the Hospital of the Holy Spirit whom he had dismissed for his licentious life. The old Catholic Encyclopædia tells his life here.

The original rule as written by St Albert is no longer extant; it only exists in the form modified by Pope Innocent IV in 1246. (The Catholic Encyclopæda calls it "mitigated". Perhaps a better description is "modified" so as to be better suited to the mendicant status the Order had in Europe as opposed to the eremitical life the brothers led in Palestine.) A copy in English of the text of the Rule of St Albert can be found here.

By the end of the century there would be no more Carmelites on Mount Carmel. On 30 July 1291 Haifa and Carmel were occupied by Mahometan troops. There is an account by William of Sandwich of the last days of the Order on Mount Carmel, although some warn that it is not contemporary and the buildings at the Wadi 'ain es-Siah are known to have been still standing years later. It is known that the monastery of St Margaret and of St Elias were destroyed so perhaps William conflated more than one account. In any event, he says "The Saracens completely devastated the city of Acre and the beautiful house of this Order [of the Carmelites] which was found there. From there they set out for the not distant Mount Carmel. This they climbed, destroyed the monastery of the Friars of the Blessed Virgin Mary of Mount Carmel with fire and put all the friars to the sword. These men met their deaths whilst singing the Salve Regina."

[Vide: "Carmel in the Holy Land", Silvano Giordano, O.C.D., ed., pp 61-62]

Quod erat demonstrandum II

Two West Bank Churches Fire-bombed over Papal Remarks

Saturday, September 16, 2006

Felony Home Schooling

In the U.S. it's called "home schooling". In Germany it's called "'Hochverrat und Volksverhetzung', high treason and incitement of the people against the authorities". Lifesite reports that this young mother has been hauled off to prison while her husband and children fled to Austria. Deutsche Welle reports here on another family persecuted by the German state for home schooling. This family has taken their case to the EU Court of Human Rights.

Meanwhile the Education apparat and the all-powerful Califoria Teachers Union can only look on in envy.


A good one from Peggy Noonan. Miss Noonan is no Bush-hater but sees the problems clearly.

QED: Manuel II Paleologus Knew A Thing or Two about Jihad

The perfect response to the "response".

Brother Roger's Conversion

Or non-conversion. Or "step". Or something. Whatever it was you can read about it here. Or possibly not. At first glance it appears to be in English but what it means is difficult to say. Perhaps a translation is due soon. The good brother does seem to have been, like Walt Whitman, large and containing multitudes.

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Calendars Other Than Carmelite

Because yesterday, the 12th of September, was the feast of the Blessed Mary of Jesus, O.C.D. I neglected to mention that it was also the feast of the Holy Name of Mary. This is the patronal feast of the Oblates of the Virgin Mary, among the best of the religious congregations in this area. And it is also a feast established in honour of the Catholic victory at the battle of Vienna over the Mahometan armies in 1683:

Vienna had to suffer another siege by the mortal foe of Christendom during the reign of Emperor Leopold I. Influenced by Louis XIV of France, the sultan sent directly against Vienna an army of 200,000 men under the command of the Grand Vizier Kara Mustapha; this army appeared before the city before the gathering of the imperial army had been completed. The defenders f Vienna were led by Count Rudiger von Starrhemberg, Bishop Leopold Kollonitz, who laboured unweariedly for the wounded and for the obtaining of provisions, and the burgomaster, Johann Andreas von Liebenberg. The Turks began the attack 13 July, 1683, and made violent assaults almost daily; the number of defenders sank from day to day, hunger and misery appeared, and the hospitals were full of sick and wounded. It was not until early in September that the relieving army, which had collected at Tulln, set out for Vienna; the commander-in-chief was the King of Poland, John Sobieski; among his generals were Charles of Lorraine, Maximilian Emmanuel of Bavaria, Margrave Louis of Bavaria, and others. The memorable battle began on 12 September; the Christian army descended form the Kahlenberg in three charges and won a brilliant victory over the Turks. Thenceforth Austria and Germany were permanently relieved of the danger of invasion by the Turks, and Vienna was released from its difficult position of being the outpost of Christendom. From the old Catholic Encyclopædia

The John Sobieski in question was the great-grandfather of Charles Edward Louis John Philip Casimir Sylvester Maria Stuart, a.k.a. Bonnie Prince Charlie who came so close to restoring a Catholic monarch to the British throne.

As for today, well it seems that Friday the 13th comes on a Wednesday this month.

Of Arms and the Man He Sings

The other kind of arms: coats of arms. "Emcadi" points me to the probably armigerous Andrew Cusack's wonderful series of pictures of the heraldic conference held recently in St Andrews. You can find it here. You can see what the new Lyon King looks like. ("New" is, of course, a relative term. After so many years in that office Sir Iain Moncreiff of that Ilk will always be "the" Lord Lyon King of Arms.)

(And many thanks to "Emcadi", to whom I also owe even more correspondence. The transfer of computers means she's probably not alone in being lost in the electronic shuffle. If I owe you too, apologies are hereby tendered.)

Tampering with Tea

The other Times - the one on the Atlantic coast - provides more bad news this morning. Not content with turning the typical cup of American coffee into a gelatinous, fatty-slime filled sugar drink, the powers that be are now attempting to make a proper cup of tea impossible to find instead of merely difficult. Apparently "fruit-flavoured" is to be the going thing.


We Might Have Been Better Off With The Olivetti Typewriter

So says the Times this morning. It seems the information highway needs a speedlimit; technological obsolesence is making relatively recent records inaccessible. Of course, there are two sides to this coin. One can look at it this way:

"If we don't solve the problem, our time will not become part of the past," said Kenneth Thibodaux, who directs electronic records preservation for the National Archives. "It will largely vanish."

This is the good news. History will have no record of Bill Clinton, George W. Bush, the Novus Ordo, rap music (or indeed pop music at all), reality television or the designated hitter rule. In this sense, technology can't move fast enough.

The bad news is that The Inn will be lost to the memory of man. Oh, the horror.

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

The Carmelite Calendar

Blessed Mary of Jesus

Today the Discalced Carmelites keep the feast of Blessed Mary of Jesus, one of the early daughters of St Teresa and one who knew her personally. There is very little on the web about her; only the paragraph included in the book of Carmelite propers for the introduction to the propers for her feast. You can find that here.

The following piece is taken from Carmel: Its History, Spirit, and Saints a book produced early in the last century by the nuns of the Carmels of Boston and Santa Clara. And as such, it has much of the hagiographical style of the early part of the last century. And none the worse for it either.

Venerable ["Blessed" since this was written] Mary of Jesus, a most illustrious daughter of St. Teresa, was born at Tartanedo in the province of Guadalajara, August 18, 1560, of parents distinguished for ancestry and virtue. Before she could speak, she knew and tenderly loved God and proved her supernatural knowledge by fasting even in infancy like some of the greatest saints, as soon as she was permitted food. She loved to make little churches, and to dress her dolls to represent Our Lady, and she was ever a model of childlike virtues.

Her vocation to Carmel was supernatural; three distinct times when praying before an image of Jesus bearing His Cross, she heard the words: "I wish thee to be a Car­melite." As she hesitated where to apply, the Most Holy Virgin said to her: " I desire you to be a Carmelite in Toledo." There she received the habit, and during the cere­mony two Religious saw her accompanied by Our Lord, Our Lady, and St. Joseph.

St. Teresa wrote to the Nuns of Toledo: "Daughters, I have sent you Mary of Jesus with five thousand ducats — I assure you that I would give fifty thousand with pleasure for such a one." And again the Saint said, "Mary of Jesus not only will be a saint, but she is one now." There was difficulty at her Profession because of her delicate consti­tution, but Saint Teresa wrote that if they did not admit Mary of Jesus to Profession she would be transferred to Avila, feeling confident that the Monastery which possessed her would be the most fortunate of all.

On her Profession day, a number of the Religious present saw Our Lord interpose His hands to receive her vows at the moment when she placed hers in the hands of the Prioress. She had the gifts of prophecy, discernment of spirits, visions, ecstacies, and revelations, but she was most admira­ble for the solidity of her spirit and the depth of her humility. St. Teresa affirmed: "Much has been said of Mary of Jesus, but now that I have seen her I declare that she is more than they have told me." She had a keen intellect and sound judgment, and the Saint used to call her playfully, " my little counsellor."

The Cardinals Quiroga and Zepata used to visit her, and Philip III sought her opinion on difficult matters, and on leaving her remarked: " Never have I spoken to a more in­telligent woman."

Her piety equalled her intelligence, and her devotion to the Blessed Sacrament was so intense as to be a marked characteristic. Once on the Ascension, she cried out to Our Lord, " Thou dost not leave us orphans," and He answered, " No, I do not leave you orphans, since I remain in the Sacrament of the Eucharist. Contemplate Me in It, and be­hold thy heart in Me." In the Divine Heart of her Lord she fixed her abode, there she reposed, there her soul was en­kindled with seraphic love, and in the brightness of its flames she saw what passed in the hearts of other ardent lovers. " To the Heart of my Jesus," she wrote, " we have to fly as doves, and there, too, make our nest." Jesus Christ said to her one day: " I hold thee in My Heart to enjoy the ardors of My love." Her devotion to Our Lady was equally re­markable, and was manifest from earliest childhood. " She is my Mother and is all goodness to me," she said, and her love was recompensed by many tender words and loving visions of our dear Lady, especially when she was suffering from severe illnesses.

Her longing was " rather to suffer than to enjoy," and in her early religious life she made a compact with Jesus never to pass a day without something to suffer. Her offering was accepted, and great were her tribulations, scruples, aridities, abandonments, and interior trials of every description. Con­tempt and persecution were added to her chalice of suffer­ing; the demon, too, was permitted to torment her innocent soul. Never did she lose interior peace, or give way to the least complaint. She rejoiced in all, looking upon trial as a mercy and a caress from the divine Hand. " Certainly," she said, " I should not be contented in this exile without suffer­ing for God. The only good in life is the power of suffering for the Supreme Good; ... the privation of the eternal life is only tolerable with suffering."

Mary of Jesus was regarded as a saint in life by the most distinguished theologians and contemplatives as well as by all who knew her. She died September 13, 1640, at eighty years of age, sixty-three of which she had passed in religion. Her body was preserved and distilled a sweet oil and ex­haled a delightful fragrance. Devotion has spread through­out France, Italy, Flanders, and the Americas. Her Cause was begun in Toledo January 15, 1914, and was presented in Rome January 3, 1916. Favors are being granted, and it would seem that God wills the exaltation of His faithful and humble Carmelite, Mary of Jesus.

The English-language collect for her feast (I don't have the Latin original):

Lord, you enabled Blessed Mary of Jesus to contemplate the mysteries of your son and become a living image of his love. Give us through her prayers the burning faith to seek Jesus in all things and the love to prove by our actions the presence within us of him who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

Saturday, September 09, 2006

The Maronite Bishops of Lebanon Have Had Enough of Hizballah

The human shield role leaves much to be desired.

A New Traditionalist Institute

Catholic World News reports here
that the Vatican has approved the establishment of another clerical institute devoted to the Roman Rite: the Institute of the Good Shepherd. There is much more on the new Institute at Rorate Cæli here, here,, here, and here. Much of it is in French but there is some English. Fr Zuhlsdorf provides some more Engish here (and, in a pinch, there's always Babelfish).

In my occasionally humble opinion, Rorate Cæli is correct that this will have no particular impact on either the FSSP or the ICR. I would guess, though, that it might have some impact on negotiations between the FSSPX and the Vatican. The FSSPX has always resented these various institutes that seem to take from their constitutency. It seems to me that Fr Zuhlsdorf is right on the money when he says that "(t)he fact that this group is for former SSPXers suggests that it is not going to be accepting new candidates who were not in the SSPX. Thus, this is aimed squarely at the SSPX.


"Given the fact of the plenary of the SSPX and the contact Bp. Fellay had with Pope Benedict XVI, it strikes me that His Holiness believes that there is enough discontent in the SSPX, or enough harmony with the positions of the former SSPX priests founding this new institute, that it was time to "strike while the iron is hot" so to speak."

It seems so to me, too.


Monday, September 04, 2006

Illustra faciem tuam super servum tuum. . . . -- Ps 30

Two fascinating and related articles appeared in my In-box this morning. The first was this report of the Holy Father's visit to the shrine of the "Sacred Visage" in Manopello. The "Sacred Visage" is, perhaps, the original of the veil of Veronica recounted in the stations of the Cross. The second was this much longer investigation of the relic at Manopello.

Saturday, September 02, 2006

The Carmelite Calendar

In the old Carmelite calendar in both the Ancient Observance and the Discalced Order, this was the feast of St Brocard considered one of the founders of the Order in the Latin Rite. What follows is a short summary of his life, based on a slap-dash translation by me of the second nocturn in the old office of Matins for his feast day. (Corrections welcomed; your servant presumeth to erudition but he hath it not.)

St Brocard was born in Jerusalem and was greatly given to the study of the things of the Lord. He entered he Order of the Most Blessed Virgin Mary of Mount Carmel. There he shone with sanctity. And at the death of the holy Berthold, the first of the Latin priors general, he was elected prior general by unanimous consent of the brethren. That he might foster a more regular religious observance, he begged a Rule from the blessed Albert, the Patriarch of Jerusalem. By this brief compendium, the institution of the Order was completed. At his direction the young Order grew in numbers and in merit.

Knowing his prudence and sanctity, the blessed Patriarch Albert sent him to Damascus to Saladin, the king of Syria and Egypt, to arrange a treaty. While there he was considered by all a wise and knowledgeable man and was thus importuned by Soldanus, the vice-regent, who had contracted leprosy. To the river Jordan he led him and baptized him, thus cleansing him in both body and soul. So becoming a faithful defender of the name of Christ, he led him to Carmel where in the habit of Carmel and in the Carmelite observances he faultlessly persevered, growing always closer to Christ. By this and similar tales did this holy man shine in glory and miracles.

When he had reached the 80th year of his life, and arrived at his death agony, he exhorted the brethren this way: “Sons, into this Order and among the number of the hermits God has called you, and by His singular gift we re called the Brethren of the Most Blessed Virgin Mary. Therefore after my death, take care lest any false name be taken up by you. Remain firmly constant in goodness, revile riches, condemn the world, observe a righteous life after the pattern of Mary and Elias.” Acquiting himself of these things, he breathed forth his soul.

The collect for his feast:

Sanctify Thy servants, Lord, who humbly beseech Thee on the feast of blessed Brocard, hermit of Mount Carmel and Thy confessor, so that by his salutary patronage our life maybe everywhere protected in adversity : through Christ our Lord. Amen.

Highland Games

If you're anywhere in the San Francisco Bay area, particularly the Livermore Valley and Pleasanton today, you're not too late to take in the 141st Highland Games put on by the San Francisco Caledonian Society. These are the oldest games west of the Mississippi and one of the largest on the continent. 35 pipe bands are scheduled to attend, including 5 grade 1 bands. (FYI there are only three grade 1 bands in the United States. Two will be in Pleasanton plus three from Canada.) It will be a great day with more on tomorrow. (So what am I doing in Lakewood, the Athens of southeastern L.A. County though it be? Languishing in the heat and lamenting that the travel funds were spent elsewhere.)

Friday, September 01, 2006

Carmelite Calendar

Today the Carmelite Order honours St Teresa Margaret [Redi] of the Most Sacred Heartof Jesus, an 18th century nun who reached the heights of mystical contemplation. Her sanctity was recognized immediately aided by the miraculous preservation of her body from corruption. But she was not canonized until 1934.

From her Decree of Canonisation:

BRIEF as it was, Teresa Margaret's whole life may be regarded as one continual raising up of her guiltless soul to God. . . .

. . . .The fires of her love were fed principally by the Eucharist, and she looked forward with longing to her communions. She was also especially devoted to the Sacred Heart of Jesus, a devotion which did much to curb the advances of Jansenism at that time in Tuscany. She was utterly devoted to Our Lady, whom she regarded as the model and protectress of her own virginal purity. She was endowed to a high degree with the gift of contemplative prayer, and daily grew closer to God, as though reflecting the glories of the eternity she was fast approaching.

This year her feast day falls on the first Friday of the month which is dedicated to the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus.

The original collect for her feast day:

Deus, qui beatæ Teresiæ Margaritæ Virgini de fontibus Salvatoris inæstimabiles dedisti puritatis et caritatis haurire, thesauros : da nobis, quæsumus; ut, ipsa interveniente, iisdem mereamur donis cælesitibus abundare. Per eumdem Dominum. Amen.

O God, Who didst grant to the virgin blessed Teresa Margaret, to draw from the wounds of Our Saviour the pricelss treasures of purity and love, grant to us also that through her intercession we may abound in these same heavenly gifts: through the same Christ our Lord. Amen.

Her collect in the Pauline Rite:

Father, you enabled Saint Teresa Margaret Redi to draw untold resources of humility and charity from the fountain-head, our Savior. Through her prayers may we never be separated from the love of Christ. Grant this through our Lord. Amen.

There is a wonderful collection of material on St Teresa Margaret at this website, including a contemporary portrait.