Tuesday, November 30, 2010

St Andrew's Novena

It isn't to St Andrew and it isn't a novena but a beautiful old tradition of prayer in preparation for Christmas.

St Andrew's Day

There was a tidy little post here about the feast of St Andrew which Blogspot blasted into oblivion. They were sorry they could not complete my request, which, I suppose, is something. They could've made some remark about whiny people who don't appreciate a free service and added something about getting what I pay for.

But it was a nice post. It mentioned St Andrew's patronages, which included Russia, Prussia, the Ukraine, somewhere in Greece, Amalfi in Italy, and of immediate pertinence to The Inn, Scotland. So today is his national feast day in Scotland.

Now, having a parade on your national day is a good thing. Mostly. It can come a cropper when your national day occurs on November 30th. Vide licet:

Above and beyond the call of patriotism. I don't know how they can feel the holes on the chanter.

Monday, November 29, 2010


A week ago yesterday was the original "Stir Up" Sunday. Time to get started on the Christmas pudding. If it slipped your mind, followers of the traditional Roman Rite get a second reminder. For yesterday was the 1st Sunday of Advent and in the traditional Roman Rite that Sunday's collect also begins in Latin Excita, quæsumus, Domine. . . ", i.e., "Stir up, we beg Thee, O Lord. . . ." Not as immediate as the old Prayer Book but for Latinists who are paying attention a timely nudge.

Recta Ratio posts The History Of Advent from The Liturgical Year, by Abbot Prosper Gueranger, OSB

So, what is a Christmas pudding, anyway?

Some ideas for making your own
. None of them will be as good as my mother-in-law's, God rest her soul, but do the best you can.

November 29th


Vin Scully

Archbishop Lefebvre

and. . . . Janet Napolitano.

At the other end of the life span, Cardinal Wolsey and Cary Grant both died on 29 November. In their respective centuries, of course.

And on a more solemn note,

the martyrdom of Bl Denis of the Nativity, O.C.D. and Bl Redemptus of the Cross, O.C.D. is celebrated today in the Carmelite calendar. The Inn had more to say about them here a few years ago. Bl Denis had his throat slit and Bl Redemptus had his head split open by the natives of Sumatra when they refused to renounce Christ for Mohammedanism.

O God, Who in Thy wondrous providence, didst lead blessed Dionysius and Redemptus through the perils of the sea to the palm of martyrdom, grant through their intercession that in the midst of earthly vicissitudes and worldly desires we may remain steadfast even unto death in the confession of Thy name. Through Christ our Lord. Amen.

Friday, November 26, 2010

Some Piping for the Weekend

Assorted pipes - uillean, Scottish small pipes, Northumbrian small pipes - and a fiddle play some cracking good reels.

Clear Creek Nuns

I didn't know there were any nuns at Clear Creek.

This article says they're having a Christmas sale-of-work.

Can we presume they are affiliated with the monks across the road from them? What we need here is a website.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Rejoice in the Lord, O ye righteous; for it becometh well the just to be thankful. - Ps XXXIII

What would Thanksgiving Day be without a Norman Rockwell illustration? Impoverished. A sham. That's what.

Right this very moment -- as we speak -- the house is filled with the smell of roasting turkey. I await the call at any moment to proceed with the giblet gravy, my own contribution to the table. That, and choosing an appropriate long grace, which is the point of the exercise after all: every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and cometh down from the Father of lights, with whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning.

I haven't found a grace that mentions mince pie, and since we were actually able to find one this year. . . . .well, maybe not. Probably something that doesn't mention mince pie from the prayer book will have to do. There are wonderful long graces in the back of the old Roman Breviary intended for religious communities. But I don't think Herself will put up with me going on for an entire psalm.

Now, I know what you're thinking: what do I mean "find one". Why don't I bake my own mince pie. It's very sad, but neither one of us are very successful with pies of any kind. I don't know where Herself got her lack of talent, but I inherited mine from my grandmother, who, family rumour says, sold her pie crust recipe to the government for use as armor-plating for Sherman tanks.

If you still need a thanksgiving prayer, try this one:

Most gracious God, by whose knowledge the depths are broken up, and the clouds drop down the dew; We yield thee unfeigned thanks and praise for the return of seed-time and harvest, for the increase of the ground and the gathering in of the fruits thereof, and for all the other blessings of thy merciful providence bestowed upon this nation and people. And, we beseech thee, give us a just sense of thy great mercies; such as may appear in our lives by an humble, holy, and obedient walking before thee all our days; through Jesus Christ our Lord, to whom, with thee and the Holy Ghost, be all glory and honour, world without end. Amen.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

November 23 - St Columban

Today is the feast of St Columban, the great 6th century Irish saint and missionary who went about founding monasteries in France and Italy and converting the locals.

"Catholic Online" has reprinted the Rev Sabine Baring-Gould's wonderful Life of St Columban here. It has all those heroic stories full of marvels that the lives of the saints used to have.

Like this one:

A strange tale is told of a huge vat of beer, offered to the God Woden, which burst at the mere breath of Columban. S. Gall, his companion, set the temples at Tuggen on fire, and threw the idols into the lake. The monks were compelled to fly; and Columban left the pagans of that district with a most unapostolic malediciton, devoting their whole race to temporal misery and eternal perdition.

Or this one:

He lived there the simplest life with his companions, on the bark of trees, the wild herbs, the bilberries in the firwoods, and whatever the neighbors would give, out of charity. Often he separated himself from his companions to plunge alone into the forest. There, in his long and close communion with bare and savage nature, every living creature obeyed his voice. The birds came to receive his caresses, and the squirrels descended from the tree-tops to hide themselves in the folds of his cowl. He expelled a bear from the cavern which became his cell; he took from another bear a dead stag, whose skin he used for shoes for the brethren. One day, while he wandered in the depths of the wood, bearing a volume of Holy Scripture on his shoulder, and meditating whether the ferocity of beasts was not better than the rage of men, he saw a dozen wolves surround him. He remained motionless, repeating the words, "Deus in adjutorium." The wolves smelt his garments, and passed on their way without molesting him. He pursued his [way], and a few steps further on heard the voices of a band of Swabian robbers who wasted the country. He did not see them; but he thanked God for having preserved him from the maw of the wolf and the less merciful hand of man.

And my favourite from the beginning of his story:

He received a good classical education, and resolved early to embrace an ascetic life. But the good looks and winning ways of the Irish girls were a snare to him. He tried to forget their bright eyes by toiling (desudavit) at grammar, rhetoric, and geometry, but found that at least syntax and the problems of Euclid were a less attractive study than pretty faces, and that the dry rules of rhetoric failed altogether before the winsome prattle of light- hearted maidens. He consulted an old woman who lived as a recluse. She warned him that if he wished to maintain his purpose of self-conquest he must fly to a region where girls are less beautiful and seductive than Ireland. "Save thyself, young man, and fly!" His resolution was formed; he decided on going away.

Ah, yes. Be careful of those Irish girls. Some things don't change.

Festina lente with the Ordinariates

The proposed Anglican Ordinariates are finally starting to see daylight in England. (And possibly Wales and maybe even Scotland; three different jurisdictions in the Anglican world and two in the RC realm. Very complex. Canon lawyers should be happier than an ass in clover.) The Anglo-Catholic posts the English RC bishops' document here. There should be an existing structure at least in England by this Pentecost.

Here in the U.S. Archbishop soon-to-be-Cardinal Wuerl of Washington is the relevant prelate in charge of putting things together. He's still doing a head count. There's contact information here but not much else seems to be happening in the U.S.

Monday, November 22, 2010

5,000 Years of Bagpipe History in 55 Minutes

Give or take a few seconds.

Really. That's just what this is, courtesy of the CBC.

It may be a little recondite for the non-enthusiast but well-worth the time if the sound of drones and chanter makes your eyes light up and say "howdy".

And it may be taken down soon. I don't know for quite how long CBC keeps these things live. Don't dawdle.

Senescence Proceeds Apace

It's been overcast for about a week now and it rained on and off all weekend. The daylight is gone before 5 p.m. And it's cold. Well, cold for here, anyway. Somewhere in the 50's. I used to love that. I waited all the long, hot, miserable summer for the clouds and the rain and the cold to come back.

And now I don't. It must be my advancing decrepitude. The poor, ole fella can't take it any more. And in last week's Spectator I find that Ron Liddle can't either:

I realised this week that I am also past the point in life where I appreciate autumn. While once upon a time, with my silly head full of Ray Bradbury novels and Keatsian melancholy, I would be positively excited by the passing of summer and the new chill in the air and whiff of decay, these days I lock myself inside with several copious beakerfuls of the warm south, shipped in by the crate from Oddbins. The whiff of decay is still around, though, no matter how tightly I bolt the windows. I am also infuriated by that autumn thing which I used to so enjoy, the copper-brown mounds of fallen leaves. There comes a point in your life where you start to think autumn leaves are untidy and that someone should clear them up, and it won't be me, with my knee being how it is.

There's more, but rest of the piece is about taxes and unemployment benefit or something. But that bit was endearing. It's nice to have one's gloomy sentiments validated, or at least echoed, in print.

Fashion News

Funerals aren't what they used to be. You've heard that before if you frequent this parish. Today's sermon, dearly beloved, is in particular about dress.

I used to be surprised when the funeral director and I were the only two men wearing neckties. We still are, but I'm no longer surprised. (Of course, sometimes the funeral director is a woman so it's only me.) The well-dressed man at a California funeral is usually wearing freshly-pressed slacks and a clean sport shirt. That's the well-dressed portion. It's down hill from there.

But this weekend there was a trend of sorts: a large assortment - a dozen perhaps? - of men all in black. Black trousers, jacket, shirt, shoes, and occasionally a tie. All black. Even clergymen have that little square inch of white at the throat. Not these fellas. Just black. Maybe the Zorro Look-alike Contest was being held afterward.

Snarky asides aside, this is an improvement. Makes for a change from the purple and orange aloha shirts or the T shirt with the owner's favorite semi-obscene rock band logo on the back. It does show some appreciation for the place and the occasion and some respect for the dead. Tradition would be best, but this is, at least, better.

(And, yes, I did wonder whether someone who, in addition to the aforementioned shirt and tie, shows up in kilt, Argyll jacket, sporran, knit hose, ghillie brogues, sgian dhu, and a glengarry might be a bit too kenspeckle himself to be commenting on anyone else's attire. But not for long.)

Friday, November 19, 2010

Some Piping for the Weekend

A ceilidh in London with Fred Morrison on the bellowspipe.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

November 17 - St Hugh of Lincoln

St Hugh was a Carthusian monk, prior of Witham and finally bishop of Lincoln. He was the first Carthusian to be canonized, even before the founder, St Bruno, apparently. "St. Hugh's emblem is a white swan, in reference to the beautiful story of the swan of Stowe which contracted a deep and lasting friendship for the saint, even guarding him while he slept."

The image shows his cathedral which he rebuilt after the earthquake of 1185.

Like most of the great prelates who came to England from abroad, St. Hugh was a mighty builder. He rebuilt Lincoln cathedral, ruined by the great earthquake of 1185 and, though much of the minister which towers over Lincoln is of later date, St. Hugh is responsible for the for the four bays of the choir, one of the finest examples of the Early English pointed style. He also began the great hall of the bishop's palace.

So says the good old Catholic Encyclopædia.

There is a short life here and a longer one from the said good old Catholic Encyclopædia here. The CE is worth a look. St Hugh was a much better diplomat in dealing with King Henry II than was the poor martyred St Thomas. The CE tells the story.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Friday the 13th. . . .

. . .comes on a Saturday this month.

All the usual precautions apply. Don't break any mirrors. Don't practice Flowers of the Forest if no one has died. And according to Peter Cooke and Dudley Moore, always leave the bathroom before the toilet has stopped flushing or "a nameless horror will occur". And above all, don't be superstitious; it's very bad luck indeed.

So there.

You've been warned.

Hi-Tech Tradition

The traditional Roman Rite on your Iphone?

According to the Catholic Herald, there is an app for that.

No streaming confessions beforehand, though.

Not yet, anyway.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

235 Years Old Today

Happy birthday to the United States Marine Corps.
Thinking of you today, Cap'n Mac.

Friday, November 05, 2010

Some Piping for the Weekend

Something a little different this week. This is the victory march of the 51st Highland Division through Bremerhaven, Germany on 7 May 1945. I don't know the first tune. It sounds a bit like Siege of Delhi but it isn't. After that, the film jumps around a bit and we get snippets of Piobaireachd of Donal Dhu, Highland Laddie, and Cock of the North. The last few seconds show armoured vehicles and tanks rolling by with no pipe accompaniment. Just as well, I suspect. I wouldn't like to blow a pipe in all that dirt those tanks stirred up. (Or could it be exhaust? No catalytic converter on your 1945 all-tread armoured vehicle? Either way, not a pleasant piping experience.) It seems to have covered the reviewing stand, too. (Stop that sniggering in the ranks!)

Two New Priests for Carmel and Tradition

Two Carmelite Monks of Wyoming were ordained to the priesthood on the feast of Our Holy Mother Teresa of Jesus last month. Ordained according to the traditional pontifical they will celebrate in the ancient Carmelite Rite of the Holy Sepulchre.

EWTN has more here.

Wednesday, November 03, 2010

Votin' Day Post Mortem

The Republican gubernatorial candidate who made a point of being neither a conservative nor pro-life, who thought she could buy herself a state with a her money - she spent $140 million of her own money, who when she was a CEO shipped thousands of jobs overseas, and who couldn't be bothered to vote here or anywhere else for a quarter of a century or so lost the election. My heart is not broken.

The other ex-CEO, the one who wanted to buy herself a senate seat, lost also. This result is somewhat more unfortunate as she seemed to be pro-life. As Dr Pournelle pointed out, she took some conservative stands but made no positive attempt to appeal to the conservative base. She wouldn't touch the tea party folks with a ten foot pole. And it's very hard to buck the Democratic machine in this state, bankrolled as it is by the unions, with its forced labor "volunteers" and truly admirable (if you're a Democrat) get-out-the-vote system. A Republican candidate needs to court its base not ignore or insult it. So we get another six years of Barbara Don't-Call-Me-Madam Boxer.

The treacherous Maldonado doesn't get to be Lieutenant Governor. But, alas, the loathsome Gavin Newsome does. The Dems won all the other statewide offices and all of our local offices, too. The attorney general's office is still in some doubt according to the Times but at the moment that ludicrous woman from San Francisco is ahead.

Proposition 19 which was meant to legalize marijuana and prohibit any private discrimination against the potheads got squashed like a bug. That was something of a surprise. Our polling place had a couple of pro-19 space cadets wandering about trying to figure out how to get a ballot and what to do with it once they got it. (Hmmm. Well, maybe not so surprising.) As for the rest, there may be some relief from the gerrymandering, depending upon what the "independent" commission does. Some of the taxing props went the right way, a couple not.

Oddly the California voters decided that we don't need any more jobs in the state. The economy must not be as bad as the papers say.

Wondering what "Gerrymander" looks like in the flesh?

There's California's 39th congressional district. Tailor-made for any hack democratic non-entity of the machine's choice. At one point it divides an apartment building in half according to a friend of mine who used to live the said building.

Tuesday, November 02, 2010

All Souls Day

From the "Handbook on Indulgences", English edition:

Grant number 67
Visiting a Church or an Oratory on All Souls Day

A plenary indulgence which is applicable only to the souls in purgatory is granted the Christian faithful who devoutly visit a church or an oratory on All Souls Day.
This indulgence can be obtained either on the day mentioned above or, with the consent of the ordinary, on the preceding or following Sunday or on the solemnity of All Saints.
This indulgence is already contained in the apostolic constitution, Indulgentiarum doctrina, norm 15. it is included here in light of the Sacred Penitentiary's deliberations since the constitution was issued.
According to norm 16 of the apostolic constitution, this visit is to include the "recitation of the Lord's Prayer and the Creed, (Pater and Credo).

Grant number 13
Visiting a Cemetery

An indulgence is granted the Christian faithful who devoutly visit a cemetery and pray, if only mentally, for the dead. This indulgence is applicable only to the souls in purgatory. This indulgence is a plenary one from November 1 through November 8 and can be gained on each one of these days. On the other days of the year this indulgence is a partial one.

De Profundis
Out of the depths I have cried to thee, O Lord:
Lord, hear my voice. Let thy ears be attentive to the voice of my supplication.
If thou, O Lord, wilt mark iniquities: Lord, who shall stand it.
For with thee there is merciful forgiveness: and by reason of thy law, I have waited for thee, O Lord. My soul hath relied on his word:
My soul hath hoped in the Lord.

From the morning watch even until night, let Israel hope in the Lord.
Because with the Lord there is mercy: and with him plentiful redemption.
And he shall redeem Israel from all his iniquities.

Eternal rest grant unto them, O Lord;
And may light perpetual shine upon them.

May they rest in peace.

O God, the Creator and Redeemer of all the faithful, grant unto the souls of Thy servants and handmaids departed the remission of all their sins, that through pious supplications they may obtain that pardon which they have always desired, Thou Who livest and reignest with the Father and the Holy Ghost, one God, world without end.

Votin' and Nostalgia

Orwell confounded. 1984 was the good ole days.

An Election Day Prayer

O God of earth and altar, Bow down and hear our cry,
Our earthly rulers falter, Our people drift and die;
The walls of gold entomb us, The swords of scorn divide,
Take not thy thunder from us, But take away our pride.

From all that terror teaches, From lies of tongue and pen,
From all the easy speeches That comfort cruel men,
From sale and profanation Of honor, and the sword,
From sleep and from damnation, Deliver us, good Lord!