Monday, February 28, 2011

Changing of the Guard

More than 4,000 churchgoers sang a heartfelt "Happy Birthday" to Cardinal Roger Mahony on Sunday, just minutes after he officially stepped down from leading the largest Roman Catholic archdiocese in the nation to transfer his pastoral leadership to Los Angeles' first Latino archbishop.

The birthday wishes inside downtown's overflowing Cathedral of Our Lady of the Angels came during a historic Mass that officially marked the cardinal's retirement and the installation of Archbishop Jose. H. Gomez. Mahony, who turned 75 on Sunday, kept the ceremony of transition lighthearted in spirit yet steeped in ancient traditions.


Sunday, February 27, 2011

27 February 1601 -- The Execution of St Anne Line

Her story is recounted on the blog Supremacy and Survival: The English Reformation.

Her dying statement: "I am sentenced to die for harboring a Catholic priest, and so far I am from repenting for having so done, that I wish, with all my soul, that where I have entertained one, I could have entertained a thousand."

Friday, February 25, 2011

Learning Scottish Country Dancing the Hard Way

A clip from the 1960 Alec Guinness film Tunes of Glory opening up with reveille and mandatory dance practice at oh dark thirty in the Ay Em. And there's even a bit of piping to help you through the weekend.

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Some Piping for the Tail End of the Weekend

Some pipe marches from an old recording of the Queen's Own Cameron Highlanders. The Camerons merged with the Seaforth Highlanders in 1961 so this recording can't be any later than that. Note the lower pitch of the pipes as compared to more modern pipe bands such as The Highlanders band - the Cameron's lineal descendants - posted here for February 12, 2011. It sounds like they were still playing the old rope-tension side drums, too.

Saturday, February 19, 2011

An Ordinariate Group in Orange County?


Information, such as it is at this point, can be found here.

Friday, February 18, 2011

Queen Mary Highland Games

It's today.

The weather guesser says it will be lashing down with rain, although the sun is out at the moment.

The L.A. Scots (the only U.S.-based grade I pipe band west of the Mississippi) will be there. Rumor has it that they may be renamed for the Long Beach Police Dept. Or at least some sort of sponsorship thing. I'll be interested to see what's up.

Death panels? What death panels?

No, of course, we don't have them here. Not officially, anyway. (But then we won't have Obamacare either until, what, 2014?)

But Canada's got 'em.

Canada: where a tracheotomy is too risky but a lethal injection isn't.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Exterminavit eam aper de silva. . . . Ps lxxix

Is Summorum Pontificum in danger? Rumors are flying.

The usually very reliable Rorate Cæli has posts here and here and here.

Hilary White cites a prominent Italian internet source here.

Fr Z proposes a plan.

The Ordinariate in Scotland

Very small at the moment. In fact, technically, non-existent. But there are stirrings.

This website proposes to report on progress.

[Tip of the balmoral to The Anglo-Catholic for the citation.]

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Prayer of St Joseph Cafasso

Oh, my dear Jesus. . . I commend in a special manner to your mercy the greatest sinner in your eyes, the dying person in greatest danger of damnation, the most abandoned soul in purgatory, and the most desolate person on this earth.

Reprinted in the February 2011 number of The Magnificat

Monday, February 14, 2011

St Valentine, Priest & Martyr

As February 14 rolls round once again, everyone knows immediately that it is the feast day of. . . .Ss. Cyril and Methodius. Oh, yes it is. It's right there in your 2004 liturgical calendar. In a move that one would think even such an unimaginative bureaucrat as Annibale Bugnini would have had second thoughts about, the liturgical tinkerers removed one of the only two saints days that the average American could recognize. St. Valentine has vanished from the new calendar.

I first said that in 2004. Poor St Valentine is still MIA in the Pauline Rite.

If you visit the link, there's more there than my complaint. There's also a little of St Valentine's legenda taken from The Anglican Breviary.

Oh, and the other saint's day that every American knows is St Patrick's Day. Attenuated and deformed as the American observance is, they were - are - still reminders of the old faith that underlies everything good in the west.

And so long as we're on forgotten saints, today is also the old commemoration of St Conran. He was an early bishop of the Orkneys. No one seems to know much of anything else about him. Talk about forgotten. Fr Butler has a whole paragraph here but it's only nominally about St Conran.

Sunday, February 13, 2011

A bheil Gàidhlig agad?

An Iolair may be coming to a theatre near you. Or maybe it'll be called "The Eagle". In any event, there'll be some Gaidhlig in it. The Times tells us all about it here.

But it doesn't mention who's going to help Mr Tatum with his Latin. Sure the noble centurion isn't going to be speaking English? (And we won't ask why the ancient Caledonians would be speaking modern Gaelic, or even Gaelic at all, instead of old Brythonic.)

St Domnoc

Another old Irish saint is commemorated today, St Domnoc or Modomnoc, occasionally Anglicized as Dominic. Here is what Mrs D'Arcy has to say about him in The Saints of Ireland

Domnoc, of the royal line of O'Neill, studied under St David of Menevia in Wales and then returned to become a solitary at Tibraghny in Kilkenny. He had taken care of the bees at Menevia and at the time of his departure they swarmed determinedly about his boat. He tried three times to return them to their hives, all to no avail. At last David told him to be gone, bees and all, with God's blessing. This is supposedly the beginning of the cultivation of honey in the monasteries of Ireland.

The Catholic Ireland site has a little more about him here.

Friday the 13th. . . .

. . .comes on a Sunday this month. All the usual precautions apply.

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Some Piping for the Weekend

Here's a nice performance by the 1st Battalion, The Highlanders. It's a pretty high quality video. It'll be worth clicking on the full screen link to get the full benefit of the No. 1 dress uniforms. They're not very comfortable to play in (in my occasionally humble opinion) so you shouldn't let the effort go to waste. There's even a bit of highland dancing.

Saints from the British Isles

As you may have noticed, The Inn has a special fondness for the out-of-the-way and little-known saints of the British Isles. They aren't in the general Roman calendar and aren't much known any more. There are a couple of them commemorated today.

St Ludan is a Scottish saint of the later part of the 12th century. This is what John J Delaney's Dictionary of the Saints has to say about him:

According to legend, he was the son of Scottish Prince Hiltebol and on the death of his father gave his inheritance to the poor and built a hospice for pilgrims and the ill. On the way back from a pilgrimage to Jerusalem, at a spot near Strasbourg, he dreamed of his death, was given communion by an angel when he awakened, and died; whereupon all the bells in the surrounding churches pealed his death.

The 8th century St Ethelwald is also remembered today. A "border" saint, he at times he was both Abbot of old Melrose in Scotland and Bishop of Lindisfarne. He was a disciple of St Cuthbert and was highly praised by the Venerable Bede in his Ecclesiastical History of England. You can read the relevant excerpt here.

Several English priests were martyred on this day in 1584. They are listed separately in various places on the web but all of them are mentioned together in the old Catholic Encyclopædia under the title "Ven George Haydock". In addition to Fr Haydock, they include Bl James Fenn, Bl John Nutter, Bl Thomas Hemerford, and Bl John Munden. I believe they've all been at least beatified, if not canonized, by now.

Wednesday, February 09, 2011

Grammatical Tribulation

It has been remarked that I overuse the hyphen. I do not overuse the hyphen. I occasionally -- very occasionally -- misuse the hyphen. But overuse? Never in life, my dear.*

Did you know that Wikipedia has an entire article on the hyphen? Yes, of course, you did because Wikipedia has entire articles on everything. Even dirt. But the hyphen article is here. In which we read:

The use of the hyphen in English compound nouns and verbs has, in general, been steadily declining. Compounds that might once have been hyphenated are increasingly left with spaces or are combined into one word. In 2007, the sixth edition of the Shorter Oxford English Dictionary removed the hyphens from 16,000 entries, such as fig-leaf (now fig leaf), pot-belly (now pot belly) and pigeon-hole (now pigeonhole).

My job, as I see it, is to put it back again. It's what we reactionary, out-dated, non-aggiornamentoed, non-progressive obstructionists are for.

Take co-operate. I think I can safely say you have never seen it in The Inn without the hyphen. And you've probably never seen it with the hyphen in anything printed after, say, the second world war. Not in this country, anyway. And yet co-operate has a lovely, antique, comfortable look about it. I had given some thought to coöperate. But the diaeresis is too easy to miss in the Blogger type-face. There's always the highly visible coøperate but I'm not really the Scandinavian type. Northern European, to be sure, but that's too far north. So co-operate it is.

If you really want to know about the hyphen, Fowler has six double-columned pages devoted to it beginning:

The chaos prevailing among writers or printers or both regarding the use of hyphens is discreditable to English education.

But fear not: he proceeds to sort it out for us.
*A sure sign I've been paging through O'Brian last night.

Sunday, February 06, 2011


Messing about in the key of G this morning: did you know that you can play "The Last Rose of Summer" straight in G with no note substitutions? The Navy Hymn -- "Eternal Father" -- seems to work, too. Maybe even "Anchors Aweigh", but I haven't quite solved that yet.

The problem is they don't sound right with the drones still tuned to A. Somewhere around here I still have a set of those reed extenders. If I can get the drones tuned to G, we may have something here.

Or not.

Wednesday, February 02, 2011

Current Events

Egypt takes up at least 20% of every news broadcast these days. With it comes the urge to inform oneself. Thus far, I have been able to resist.

However, in the spirit of the thing, I've pulled Agatha Christie's Death on the Nile off the shelf for a re-read. I'd forgotten how good it is. I think perhaps the Peter Ustinov film version disappointed and coloured recollection of the book.

Death on the Nile is classic Christie; she puts us right in the time and place within a couple of pages. And so long as current events are going to guide the evening reading, I've pulled Murder in Mesopotamia and They Came to Baghdad off the shelf and put them next in the queue. That's the great thing about having a wonky memory. I can re-read mysteries any number of times with full enjoyment because I never remember who dunnit.

Weather Divination

The results are in: the groundhog says it'll be an early spring. My email correspondents from the east and midwest who are currently up to their oxters in snow will be delighted to hear it.

Whether a Pennsylvania rodent's mojo is strong enough to work all the way out in southern California is doubtful. On the other hand, we may not need it. It was a lovely, sunny day in the low 70s, high 60s today.

Candlemas Day

End now the white-loaf and the pie,
And let all sports with Christmas die.

It's Candlemas Day -- Christmas is officially over. You've got to have all the Christmas decor, especially the greenery, down by today or, um, well, or else. You might see goblins say The Poet and a thousand or so years of tradition.

Down with the rosemary, and so
Down with the bays and mistletoe;
Down with the holly, ivy, all
Wherewith ye deck's the Christmas hall;
That so the superstitious find
Not one least branch there left behind:
For look! How many leaves there be
Neglected there, Maids, trust to me,
So many goblins you shall see.

But even without the white loaf and the pie it's not actually penitential season yet. Why, we've two and half weeks worth of time-after-Epiphany-green-vestment season in which to catch our breath before it's even Septuagesima Sunday. Time enough then to think about penance.

Think I'll see what's in the fridge. I know there's some cold roast. Don't know about pie. . . . .

Tuesday, February 01, 2011

1 February -- St Bridget of Kildare

St Bridget - or Bríd in the Irish - is honoured on this day in the Irish calendar. She is secondary patroness of Ireland after St Patrick. Fr Butler had this to say in his Lives of the Saints:

She was born at Fochard, in Ulster, soon after Ireland had been blessed with the light of faith. She received the religious veil in her youth. from the hands of St. Mel, nephew and disciple of St. Patrick. She built herself a cell under a large oak, thence called Kill-dara, or cell of the oak; living, as her name implies, the bright shining light of that country by her virtues. Being joined soon after by several of her own sex, they formed themselves into a religious community, which branched out into several other nunneries throughout Ireland; all which acknowledged her for their mother and foundress, as in effect she was of all in that kingdom. But a full account of her virtues has not been transmitted down to us, together with the veneration of her name. Her five modern lives mention little else but wonderful miracles. She flourished in the beginning of the sixth century, and is named in the Martyrology of Bede, and in all others since that age. Several churches in England and Scotland are dedicated to God under her name, as, among others, that of St. Bride in Fleet- street; several also in Germany, and some in France. Her name occurs in most copies of the Martyrology which bears the name of St. Jerome, especially in those of Esternach and Corbie, which are most ancient. She is commemorated in the divine office in most churches of Germany, and in that of Paris, till the year 1607, and in many others in France. One of the Hebrides, or western islands which belong to Scotland, near that of Ila, was called, from a famous monastery built there in her honor, Brigidiani. A church of St. Brigit, in the province of Athol, was reputed famous for miracles, and a portion of her relics was kept with great veneration in a monastery of regular canons at Aburnethi, once capital of the kingdom of the Picts, and a bishopric, as Major mentions.[1] Her body was found with those of SS. Patrick and Columba, in a triple vault in Down-Patrick, in 1185, as Giraldus Cambrensis informs us:[2] they were all three translated to the cathedral of the same city; but their monument was destroyed in the reign of king Henry VIII.[3] the head of St. Bride is now kept in the church of the Jesuits at Lisbon.[4] See Bollandus, Feb. t. 1, p. 99.

The Rev Sabine Baring-Gould in his Lives of the British Saints has many exotic stories to tell of St Bridget. Apparently she was well-known in her time as an excellent brewer. Hence:

She was famous for the ale she brewed, and on one occasion supplied seventeen churches in Meath with liquor from Maundy Thursday to Low Sunday. She also furnished [St] Mel, her diocesan, with beer continually. Lepers and poor people clamoured for her ale, and on one occasion she bluntly told them that all she could give them was her bath-water. The [medieval] biographer improves this story into a miracle, her tubbing water was converted into excellent beer. Indeed such was her desire to supply the Saints with wholesome home-brewed ale, that the only hymn of hers that has been preserved, runs as follows:

I should like a great lake of ale
For the King of Kings!
I should like the whole family of heaven
To be drinking it eternally.

One day Bishop Mel arrived with a large party of clerics, and clamoured for breakfast. "This is well for you to be hungry," replied Brigid, "but we also are hungry and thirsty, and that for the Word of God. Go into the church first and serve us with the spiritual banquet. After that we will attend to your victuals."

And it's also my grandmother's birthday. She'd be 132 today.