Friday, November 30, 2007

St Andrew's Day

St Andrew is the patron saint of Scotland, Russia, Greece, Sicily and a few other places. The national flag of Scotland is called the cross of St Andrew. This site gives a little of his history and the relationship of Scotland to St Andrew:

Saint Andrew was one of Jesus's original disciples, the brother of Simon Peter and a fisherman by trade, who lived in Bethsaida in Galilee (in present-day Israel.) He was originally a follower of St.John the Baptist until he was called to follow Jesus. After Jesus's crucifixion and subsequent resurrection, Andrew travelled widely in Greece and Asia Minor, preaching as he went and making converts to the new Christian religion. Eventually he fell foul of the Roman authorities who were trying to stamp out the new religion, which refused to worship the Emperor as a god, and he was crucified on a diagonal cross in Patras in southern Greece and buried there.

300 years after his death the Emperor Constantine decided to remove the Saint's bones to Constantinople, but according to legend the monk St. Regulus was warned in a dream by an angel, who told him to remove as many bones as he could to the "ends of the earth" to keep them safe.

As far as the Greeks and Romans were concerned, Scotland was as near to the world's end as you could get, so some of his remains were taken to Scotland. St. Regulus brought the relics ashore at what is now St Andrews (some versions say he was shipwrecked there) and a chapel was built to house the bones, followed in 1160 by a cathedral. St Andrews was the religious capital of Scotland and an important place of pilgrimage.

A more plausible version of how the Saint's bones found their way to Scotland is that Acca, Bishop of Hexham, who was a renowned collector of religious relics, actually bought the bones quite legitimately and took them there in 733 AD.

Unfortunately the bones have now disappeared, probably destroyed during the Reformation when anything connected with "Catholic idolatry" was removed without trace. The site where the relics had been is now marked by a plaque in the ruins of the Cathedral in St Andrews.

Not all of St. Andrew's bones were originally sent to Scotland, the rest were stolen from Constantinople by the Crusaders in around 1204 and taken to Amalfi in Italy, from where some fragments were sent in 1879 to Scotland, and in 1969 Pope Paul VI gave some further relics to the Catholic church in Scotland during a visit there and these are now displayed in a reliquary in St. Mary's Roman Catholic Cathedral in Edinburgh.

Ahem. "[B]ought the bones quite legitimately", that is, if you ignore the simony issue.

This link
will take you to the old breviary (not only pre-V-II, but prior to the Pian reforms of 1955) where you can find the second nocturn readings giving the medieval legend of St Andrew.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Bureaucrats Gone Wild

Good job it involved oaks and not a yucca. I do believe cutting a yucca in these parts is a felony.

Many years ago for a period only slightly longer than the blink of an eye, I was pipe major of the G-IV City of Glendale Pipe Band. I wonder what the penalty for the possession of African blackwood drones would have been?

The Day That's In It. . . .

So Happy Birthday, Mary.

Yes, indeed. Herself is having a birthday today. So we shall be going out this evening and having a break from turkey leftovers. (No, actually, it is a small sacrifice for me. I love turkey leftovers; that's why we cook such an enormous bird on Thanksgiving. Lots of leftovers for as long as possible. And finally, wonderful turkey soup. I bought the onions and leeks yesterday.)

Where was I? Oh, yes. The Birthday. Mary has a wonderful faculty for remembering birthdays. If she ever heard your birthday, she'll remember it forever. She might forget your name momentarily but she'll remember your birthday. So it doesn't do to forget hers.

Latin in Los Angeles

This was in this morning's Times. It's a book review and readable in itself. And also a small indication that Latin is not quite dead here in the lower left hand corner of the United States.

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Thanksgiving Day

O most merciful Father, Who hast blessed the labours of the husbandman in the returns of the fruits of the earth; We give Thee humble and hearty thanks for this Thy bounty; beseeching Thee to continue Thy loving-kindness to us, that our land may still yield her increase, to Thy glory and our comfort; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

The "fruits of the earth" this year were to have been tomatoes. There's nothing like them, right from the vine still warm from the sun. Except I didn't have the heart to move the purple lantana which took over the tomatoes' space in between seasons and looked so nice where the tomatoes were to have gone. So all our tomatoes this year were store boughten. Next year I and the garden shall be better prepared for tomatoes.

And I shall be better prepared for The Traditional Feast. Mary's part turned out wonderfully. I, alas, fumbled badly. I am the gravy chef. Failed to check the flour yesterday. Today: gone off. Unusable. No gravy. Lamentation was heard in the city.

On the plus side, the pie came out wonderfully. Naturally. I am not in charge of pie. Except for eating. Which I shall do when the kettle for the tea goes, which should be any moment.

It's also St Cecilia's day today. She is the patroness of music. Those who know about these things say that is because one of the antiphons for her feast, quoting the second nocturn, says Cantantibus organis, Cæcilia Domino decantabat . . . ." i.e., "While the musical instruments played, Cecilia sang to the Lord. . . ." "Musical instruments" is how St John's Abbey translated organum. Elsewhere, (Psalm 150 for example) organum is translated "pipes". Could it be bagpipes? Highly unlikely. But since no one seems to know for sure what an organum is. . . .I say let's go with bagpipes and pfui on the scholars.

If you're hankering for something more about St Cecilia, I liked this post.

Friday, November 16, 2007

In the Papers This Morning

As we have grown used to this month, there is once again much about Pakistan in the paper this morning. Too late to make our early morning edition (does the Times even have more than one edition these days?) was this on line piece announcing that President Musharraf is stepping down. Or something like stepping down. I think. Sort of.

Full marks to the Times for giving extensive coverage to Pakistan's problems. It isn't as prominent as I would have expected, but certainly more prominent and extensive than the television news. It seems to me that a nuclear power with an unstable government and a strong jihadist minority would have focused the attention more than it has.

There was a piece in The Atlantic a couple of months ago that gave a useful background, highlighting the position of the military in Pakistan. You can find it here.

The Times also had one of those little paragraphs that seems unexceptionable at first glance. It was in the "World in Brief" section way in the back. The headline said "Sentence Doubled for Rape Victim". And then after turning a couple of pages the penny drops: "Hang on. . . victim??" Sure enough, it was "rape victim" not "rapist". The Times doesn't seem to think this worthy of inclusion in the on line edition, so here's another version of the story.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Naimh Lorcan Ua Tuathail

Yet another major feast day today: St Laurence O'Toole - Lorcan Ua Tuathail in the Irish - has his feast today in Ireland. If I recall correctly, a solemnity in the Archdiocese of Dublin as he is the Archdiocese's principal patron. In fact, he was the first native Irish Archbishop of Dublin. Dublin was founded by Vikings and all previous bishops had been of Norse heritage. As St Laurence lived at the time of Strongbow and Henry II of England, his successors for several hundred years were mostly English.

The good old Catholic Encyclopædia has a basic life here. The Catholic Information Network has another here with a bit more commentary. His body lies in a shrine in Eu in France where he died according to what -- so far as I can tell -- is the most reliable story. According to another story, it was transferred to the parish church of St Laurence in Chorley, England where the relics were lost under Henry VIII. All the accounts agree, though, that his heart is in a simple, iron reliquary in Christchurch Cathedral in Dublin.

The leading pipe band in the Republic of Ireland
(you knew this was coming, didn't you) is named after him.

Christchurch: St Laurence's cathedral, now maintained by the Church of Ireland.

The Carmelite Calendar

In festo Omnium Sanctorum Ordinis Beatæ Virginis Mariæ de Monte Carmelo

Today in the Carmelite calendar is the Feast of All Carmelite Saints.

O saints of Carmel, throned above
In Mary's court, obtain this grace
That where you are in glory now
We, too, may find a resting-place.

May martyrs, brave in word and deed,
Confessors, holy pastors pray,
And choirs of virgins intercede
That God may wash our sins away.

O blessed saints of solitude,
And all the heavenly company,
Obtain for us that life in God
Which lasts for all eternity.

-from Iesu, Salvator Sæculi,
today's hymn at Lauds in the Carmelite

In the Papers This Morning

Been in a Cemetery Lately?

Maybe more recently than you think. It seems folks have been disposing of assorted relatives at any number of unlikely places. Say, Disneyland or your local country club. Thanks to the miracle of modern cremation technology, grandpa can be reduced to manageable size, placed in a handbag and popped over the side while the family enjoys the Pirates of the Caribbean. Talk about your "E Ticket" ride. The Times fills in the details for you here.

There's nothing so dreadful, so drab,or so drear
As to stand in the bar of a pub with no beer. . .

World-wide oil shortages. California's water level is dangerously low. And now this:

A global shortage of hops and rising prices for every other ingredient in the brewing of beer.

"In the U.S., where one-fourth of the world's hops are grown, acreage fell 30% between 1995 and 2006.

Australia endured its worst drought on record. Hailstorms across Europe damaged crops. Extreme heat in the Western U.S. hurt both yields and quality."

Barley malt prices grew 10% to 15% this year.

The eschaton advances apace.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

The Rest of the Story

There is an interesting follow-up in last week's Wanderer to a story I saw in The Times a few weeks ago. The original AP headline read something like "Study Finds No Bonus From Private Schooling". That's pretty much how the Times put it, if I recall aright. Might as well go to public schools was the gist of the piece; private schools are a waste of money and time. The Wanderer adds a qualification the AP story failed to highlight:

[The study] was conducted by a group called The Center on Education Policy, which bills itself as an "advocate for public education and for more effective public schools." And, indeed, it is true: The study found that public schools do as well as private schools when "income and other family characteristics were taken into account."

But if anyone quotes the AP headline or those lines from the study and leaves it there, he is misleading you. The article notes that the study found one kind of private school that made a difference: "The only kind of private schools that had a positive impact on student achievement were Catholic schools run by religious orders." Reading scores weren't affected by the type of school a student attended "unless it was a Catholic order school." Neither were math scores, except for students in a "Catholic religious order school" Social studies? "The only kind of school that had a positive impact on scores was a Catholic religious order school"

Sometimes a headline can be misleading. Sometimes it may be intentional.
from the 8 November 2007 issue of The Wanderer, James K. Fitzpatrick's column, page 7.

Just thought you'd like to know.

Friday the 13th. . . .

. . . .comes on a Tuesday this month.

In the United States, it's also the feast of our first canonized saint, St Frances Xavier Cabrini. She worked in this archdiocese in the early part of the 20th century and there was a school and and orphanage in Los Angeles that she built. Almost every trace of her work in this area is gone now, torn down in the case of the orphanage and the school transformed to secular use. There is one (1) sister from her community left in the Archdiocese. On the grounds of St Francis Xavier Church in Burbank there is still a small Marian chapel that she helped build. I was there a few years ago. It's a lovely little place, alas, only open a few hours a month these days. It's a moving experience to walk where a saint has walked; not an every day experience in California.

If you go to the home page of St Francis Xavier Church, the photographs at the top of the page change every few seconds. In one of them you can see the exterior of the little chapel.

Saturday, November 10, 2007

Look Right!

That's painted on the road at the major crossings in downtown Dublin. No politics involved at all. Alas. Instead it's done in an effort to keep the economically advantageous American tourists from looking left to check for on-coming traffic and then being mowed down by the on-coming traffic which will, in fact, be coming from the right.

Cultural education comes in many forms, though. Should you happen to be a foreign cleric moving to England, you can take a "three-week course designed to introduce foreign priests to the British way of doing things in the Roman Catholic church . . . .at Ushaw College outside Durham in Northumberland, England." It doesn't say whether they will teach you to drive on the "other" side of the road. But you will learn not "to be too dogmatic about the church’s moral rightness on just about everything."

Oh, joy. And for only £1,500.

More here.

This just in. . . .

The Inn's agent in charge of monitoring the Orange Diocese traditional Mass situation, has just reported in with clarification on the old Mass at St Mary's. It appears to be a "go".

From last Sunday's parish bulletin (a copy of which you can find for yourself here):

Pastor’s Corner

Dear Brothers and Sisters,

I am finally back to our parish after two
months of a very successful mission in Hanoi, North
Vietnam. There at the Grand Seminary of St. Joseph: I
taught Scriptures and English, 16 hours per week. All
the professors were very nice. All of the seminarians,
about 250 (from 8 different dioceses in the North),
were very respectful, friendly and so studious, and
particularly so eager to learn English. I told them that
while I was with them teaching, my whole parish of
St. Mary's by the Sea in Huntington Beach,
California, was praying for me and all of them. They
are so thrilled to have the Diocese of Orange as a
sister Diocese of the Archdiocese of Hanoi. They send
you all their sincere gratitude for supporting and
praying for them. They will continue to pray for us!
Please continue to pray for them.

On another note, I have already spoken to our
Bishop, and we have good news: Bishop Brown, with
all his love/charity and care, is going to allow us to
have the Tridentine Mass here, starting with the First
Sunday of Advent (December 02, 2007). Therefore,
we need to continue to prepare worthily for this!
May God bless you all!

Your servant/brother in Christ,

Fr Martin

[Thanks, Gary.]

Some Piping for Saturday. . . . .

Back to the Highland pipes for this one. The piper is Ann Gray from Calgary. There is some beautiful piping here. She has a nice sounding pipe (even with the blips in the recording) and a deceptively smooth style that makes it all look so easy. In my occasionally humble opinion, she also has a well-nigh perfect sense of the tempo that a tune "belongs" at. No speed for the sake of speed.

Her website.

Monday, November 05, 2007

The Project IV

Isn't that lovely? It's my new bellows. Green leather to match the bag cover, soft padding against the rib cage, and as air tight as you please. Things are definitely looking up. Now that we have all the components, we have moved from the tinkering phase to the practice phase. I.e., what needs to be improved now is not the pipes but the piper. Perfect the bellows technique and then we can fine tune the reeds.

One of the country's finest violinists was late for a performance and he was lost in New York City. Couldn't make heads or tails out of the map. He pulled over near an old Roumanian fruit pedlar and pleaded with him desperately "How do I get to Carnegie Hall?" The old man removed his cap, smoothed his white hair, and shook his finger at the violinist, saying "Practice! Practice! Practice!"

Sunday, November 04, 2007

Found While Looking for Something Else

A fascinating site for political junkies: C-SPAN's Campaign Network. You'll find just about every aspect of every national candidate's campaign linked here. Speeches, interviews, debates, and much more.

Everything except a viable candidate for the traditionalist/paleo-con/old right coalition. All half dozen of us.

Saturday, November 03, 2007

Monastery of the Annunciation - Clear Creek

This little video has apparently been "out there" for a couple of years but it's new to me. Very nicely done, too. (But how did it get on that website? I wouldn't have thought monasticism was their glass of beaujolais at all.)

Los Angeles Baseball . . . .

. . . .is in the news again. Joe Torre is going to manage the Dodgers next season and the local media is all agog. Um, O.K., that's nice. But can he hit? Or pitch? How's he at third base? You can count the Dodgers' 300+ hitters on one hand. And is there a less intimidating pitching staff in the league? A good manager is a great asset, no doubt. But, c'mon folks. He needs something manage if we're going to think "World Series".

And speaking of which I only looked in on it occasionally this year. It could really be enjoyed only by the dyed-in-the-wool Red Sox fan or by those who enjoy seeing kittens and puppies tormented.

Sometimes you really had to look away.

Thursday, November 01, 2007

A Helping Hand-book

This is a bit different for The Inn. Not a life of a saint, a snarky political comment, or a lese majestic reference to one of our most reverend fathers in God. Not even a single bagpipe mention.

You may have seen in the news that a sizeable portion of southern California was on fire last week. A good many people are now homeless. Many who aren't have lost property, wages, and important documents from deeds to immigration documents.

If you're one of those folks, or you know one, you will be interested in this link. Morrison & Foerster is California's largest law firm (so they tell me; I thought it was Gibson, Dunn, & Crutcher; but what do I know?) and it has put out a small book to help people recover. It has practical information on dealing with FEMA, the SBA, housing, and much else. There's even a bit on how to reconnect with your lost dog. You can get it for free at local Red Cross centers and, I think, FEMA centers. Otherwise you can click the link above and access a downloadable PDF file of the book. It's something over a 100 pages so make sure your printer is loaded with paper and ink and up to the job.

Apparently MoFo has done this before. There are still copies of a Katrina book, a 9/11 book and a couple of others available at the same link.