Thursday, April 30, 2009

GOP Confronts Its Future Viability

So says the headline on page 2 of yesterday's WSJ. Seems the solution is all about "broadening the party" and regaining "ideological and geographical diversity". Oh, my. I think in English that means dump those horrid pro-life types who always bring religion into everything and become even more like Democrats, except with stock options and better country clubs.

I don't think so. You can read the article at the link. It's mostly whistling past the graveyard. The GOP is in the tank and will probably never get out.

The reason is neither ideological nor geographic but demographic. The Republican party is the party of the white middle class and the white middle class decided some time ago not to reproduce itself. Even those who disdain abortion wouldn't be without their pills. You cannot expand a party whose membership has decided to contracept itself out of existence.

Back in the latter part of the 20th century the party tried to appeal to blacks. Blacks didn't buy it and the appeals went nowhere. Bush #2 has tried hard to appeal to Hispanics. They seemed a good bet. They have a nominal attachment to the Catholic Church and its socially conservative doctrines and, at least in the first generation, are not attempting die out as a race. This in my opinion is the principal reason the Republican establishment made no effort control the borders. They did not wish to alienate those they hoped would be a future constituency. That worked better than attempts to create a black Republican power base but in the end it didn't work well enough.

There's no one else left. There's no other major block that will make a political difference. The Democrats own the blacks and the Hispanics and will continue to do so. Combined with that portion of the white population that considers itself liberal, and those that can be bought either under the table or with "programs", the Democrats have a lock on the American political future.

If the GOP had wanted a future it should have paid more attention to Pope Paul VI and Humanæ Vitæ 45 or so years ago.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Consolation from The Piping Times

Editorial in the November 2008 number:

THE nights draw in. Dark forces rattle on the window pane. The invidious McPhater threatens to wrest the porridge bowl of prosperity from the arms of civilisation . . .
In these straitened times aren't you glad you love the pipes? When the young Winston Churchill said that given plain food and a philosophical attitude man could survive anything he forgot one thing - a good going bagpipe. Credit crunch, sub prime, toxic debt, HBOS, RBS (aren't we Scots meant to be good with money?), Freddie, Fannie — do these things mean anything to us? Not really. We can retire into our bagpipe bubble immune from the fiduciary maelstrom raging above.
What matters more than a sweet reed or a princely doubling preserved if not in aspic then in memory? We pipers rise above all. Entertainment? A few beers after a good blow at band practice provides satisfaction enough. Pshaw to your expensive restaurant, your folderol theatre, your dramatis personae of amusement. We have the pipe. We have the 'Green Hills', Willie Ross and the Piob Soc 1-15.We have the never ending quest for the glorious effect. Many times we have related the tale of the high court judge, the millionaire and the pauper all equal in the eyes of the great God MacCrimmon and united in an obsession worthy of Sisyphus. Does wealth matter when you can't make that D gracenote and the drones are howling? No; so let's keep our sanity intact and our bagpipe manufacturers free from recession. Spend what remaining gilder you have not on the latest stock market good thing but on that new chanter you've always been promising yourself, that true chanter, that chanter which with luck will prove more precious than any Government bail out. Who knows the pleasure it may still give when the politician has long since retired to his final salary pension and orgy of self justification? Or why not invest in a new bag or a new reed. Share port­folio in tatters? The rejuvenated pipe will remain sounding well despite all your woes. Learn some new tunes. Buy a few books and CDs and if the fingers still refuse to do what you want them to then at least the brain has been engaged and enriched.
. . . . .
As with nature you will learn that in times of turmoil the bagpipe provides all the mental ballast you need and an entertaining distraction once you tire of counting your moolah.
The nights draw in. Dark forces rattle on the window pane. Worry not. You have the pipe.

Rab does recommend (at the ellision) that you make the recommended purchases at the College of Piping shop. I took that out as it interfered with the philosophical flow. But should you want to, you can find the CoP shop on line here.

Friday, April 24, 2009

Some Piping for the Weekend. . . .

A fine medley from a quartet out of the St Laurence O'Toole Pipe Band. And, no your memory isn't playing tricks on you. I do post a lot of stuff from SLOT. Perhaps my favourite band. Very fond of their tune choices. And the quality of the playing speaks for itself.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Found While Looking for Something Else

From Orestes Brownson:

Where the people are Catholic and submissive to the law of God, as declared and applied by the vicar of Christ and supreme pastor of the church, democracy may be a good form of government; but combined with Protestantism or infidelity in the people, its inevitable tendency is to lower the standard of morality, to enfeeble intellect, to abase character, and to retard civilization, as even our short American experience amply proves. Our republic may have had a material expansion and growth; but every observing and reflecting American, whose memory goes back, as mine does, over fifty years, sees that in all else it is tending downward, and is on the declivity to utter barbarism.

The Works of Orestes A. Brownson: Explanations and Index by Orestes A. Brownson - pg 385 On-line here.

The Portugese Vatican

It might have been.

Secret plans were drawn up by the Vatican to elect a new Pope and flee to a friendly country should Hitler have carried out his threat to kidnap the wartime Pontiff. . . .

The Daily Telegraph has the rest here.

From The Crackpottery Barn

We are almost never in favour of national day's of pretty much anything at all. This morning's Press Telegram informs of even more being promoted by the glassy-eyed brethren:

WHAT PEOPLE WANT: Environmental and public health experts are hectoring our president to proclaim national "meatless" Mondays. An overly ambitious 12-year-old author, fundraiser and UNICEF Children's Ambassador is asking everyone to go shoeless this week to raise awareness of underprivileged children. The Los Cerritos Wetlands Land Trust is throwing a dusky Friday evening vigil and protest over the leveling of the wetlands property by our old mobile home "estates" on Loynes Drive. And a Huntington Beach band is unilaterally declaring Friday as National Shave That Beard and Facial Hair Day. And people in hell continue to want ice water.

The moustache, the bacon and eggs on Monday mornings, and the shoes all stay. The Los Cerritos wetlands are a pretty nice stretch of ground. I'd hate to see a WalMart there. But the "evening vigil and protest" will have to do without me.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

The Traditional Mass Gets Its Own Parish

Not, alas, here in the Archdiocese of Hollywood.

Congratulations are due to the Catholics of the Diocese of Venice, Florida.

Same state as Ponce de Leon's fountain of youth.

Introibo ad altare Dei:
Ad Deum qui lætificat iuventutem meam.

Scraping the Bottom of the Barrel

Could California government do worse than Ahnald?

You betcha.

The Prophecy of St Malachy

I don't read French. This usually isn't a problem. A very long time ago when I first became addicted to mystery novels, Agatha Christie's use of French and failure to translate was annoying enough to cause me to buy a paperback Teach Yourself French course. Well, I didn't teach myself French and the book is long gone. It has since been replaced by a nameless Teach Yourself French computer course and a La Rousse French-English dictionary that some bookseller had on sale.

I still don't read French. And it's annoying again. Occasionally, mildly, because of posts at Tea at Trianon in which Mrs Vidal forces me to stand on a chair and pull the La Rousse off the top shelf so I can puzzle out a few sentences. And now she's published this post reviewing Fr René Thibaut, S.J.'s book La Mystérieuse prophétie des papes (Liège: Bibliothèque de la Faculté de philosophie et lettres,1951, Imprimatur: June 28, 1945, Et. Jos. Carton de Wiart) which sounds utterly fascinating and completely beyond my abilities, with or without La Rousse.

The post is a tantalizing read. I do hope she fulfills her promise of further analysis.

Monday, April 13, 2009

Easter Week

I was looking for a straight Solesmes-style chant version of Victimæ Paschali Laudes, and though there are indeed some on the web, found the following version an interesting alternative. The chant melody is maintained but with organ and polyphonic harmonies. A very 19th century arrangement it seems to me.

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Christ is Risen! Alleluia!

Saturday, April 11, 2009

For Holy Saturday

Tenebræ from Westminster Cathedral.

Friday, April 10, 2009

Some Piping for the Weekend. . .

Martyn Bennett plays MacCrimmon's Lament (Cha Till MacCriomain) on a set of smallpipes in A. A suitable tune for Good Friday. But it's a medley, so it's followed by The Ewe W' the Crookit Horn and finishes up with some dazzling fingerwork on what might be a jig. (Or might not. Can't quite figure out what that time signature is.) So you might want to leave the finale for Easter Sunday.

The Times in the News Again

There ought to be a word for cynical, snarky laughter. In fact, there probably is but my thesaurus isn't providing one and I can't remember any.

Whatever it is, this article about The Times brought on a fit of it. It seems The Times published an advertisement on its front page the other day which looked too much like a news article to some folks. As we see, it was deemed both "deceptive" and "in poor taste".

Oh, my. Shock and horror. Has anyone noticed that The Times's Calendar section is a monument to poor taste and the Opinion section could give lessons in deception to the KGB? God forbid there should be an advertisement on the front page. Especially one labeled at the top "Advertisement".


Tuesday, April 07, 2009

University of Notre Dame: Non Serviam

Pretty much all you need to understand about the Notre Dame and its obeisance to America's abortionist-in-chief can be found here.

I would only add that the issue is still important because of the perceptions. Each autumn Notre Dame plays U.S.C. in football. I enjoy seeing Notre Dame beat U.S.C. Or I would if it ever happened. I would enjoy this not because Notre Dame is a Catholic university. It's because U.S.C. thinks Notre Dame is a Catholic university. Just so with the infamous invitation. You and I may know that Notre Dame isn't a Catholic university and hasn't been since 1967 but most of the country doesn't know that. The result is, using that good old fashioned word in its traditional sense, scandal.

Fun With Statistics

At least I think they're statistics. Unless I'm misreading things - which happens more often than I would like - some of the statements in this WSJ article don't appear to refer to any particular study or resource. But there are some of those wonderful Gee Whiz! sorts of stats which you can't resist quoting.

The first thing they do refer to is Newsweek which reports on something called "American Religious Identification Survey (ARIS)" which tells us that

". . .the proportion of Americans who claim to have no religion has increased to 15% today from 8.2% in 1990. The Christian right has lost yet another battle, this time in the heartland state of Iowa, with its Supreme Court voting unanimously to legalize gay marriage. The proportion of Americans who think that religion "can answer all or most of today's problems" is now at a historic low of 48%."

O.K., fair enough. One would like to see the questions and the sample surveyed and that sort of thing but the results aren't particularly surprising. But later on there's this wonderful illustration of American ratiocination:

A fifth of the "atheists" in a recent Pew Survey said that they believed in God, a semantic confusion rich in meaning.

The mind reels.

And then this, which includes the statement "China will soon be the world's biggest Christian country. . . .":

Looked at from a celestial perspective, the American model of religion, far from retreating, is going global. Pastorpreneurs are taking their message around the world. In Latin America, Pentecostalism has disrupted the Catholic Church's monopoly. Already five of the world's 10 biggest churches are in South Korea: Yoido Full Gospel Church, which has 800,000 members, is a rival in terms of organization for anything Messrs. Warren and Hybels can offer. China is the latest great convert. There are probably close to 100 million Christians in China, most of them following a very individualistic American-style faith. Already more people attend church each Sunday than are members of the Communist Party. China will soon be the world's biggest Christian country and also possibly its biggest Muslim one.

No, I don't have any idea what a "celestial perspective" might mean in this context. But it is certainly an interesting collection of truly remarkable statements. Have fun asking people if they know which country is soon to be the world's largest muslim country.

(And the point of the article? It seems to be that the world is getting more religious. That would be interesting if it were converting to the true Church founded by Christ and not to assorted sects which make it up as they go along. Still, the statistics, if such they are, are fun to quote.)

Monday, April 06, 2009

Time Marches On

And not a moment too soon either.

From Sunday's L.A.Times:

Headline: "Aging of Catholic bishops could lead to rebirth"

With Los Angeles Cardinal Roger Mahony prominently among them, many of the nation's senior Roman Catholic bishops are nearing mandatory retirement, offering the Vatican a significant opportunity to reshape the American church.

The Times is obsessed with race. But does mention that

Church experts say Benedict's recent appointments suggest that he is concerned more with orthodoxy than ethnicity and with putting a positive public face on the church.

"Hope and change", indeed.

Friday, April 03, 2009

Some Piping for the Weekend. . . .

Mick O'Brien from Dublin playing The Morning Thrush on the uilleann pipes

She Must Have Liked The iPod After All