Monday, August 25, 2014

Iraqi Christians

The Christians in Iraq are in a desperate situation.  (For reference, see Rorate Cæli which has done much to bring attention to the genocide of these people.)   Please consider Catholic Near East Welfare Association who are able to help with some of our brother Christians' immediate needs.


Sunday, August 24, 2014


But you'd never know it if you were depending upon what you heard at Mass this morning.  Not in the Pauline Rite.  Not in the 1962 version of the Roman Rite. Apostle though he be, he doesn't get a look-in on Sundays.

Fr Hunwicke hopes for better days here.


Saturday, August 23, 2014

Not My Town Exactly. . .

. . .but close enough.

As if we didn't have enough home-grown murderers.


Friday, August 22, 2014

Reliving the Worlds

No doubt you were up at 3:30 a.m. last Saturday brewing pots of tea and frying up bacon and eggs so as to breakfast with the livestream of The World Pipe Band Competition last Saturday.  Of course you were.

But in the event you missed a band or two while reconnoitering an extra sticky bun, you can view the whole works again right here.  Or most of it anyway. They seem to be editing Bob Worral's commentary rather severely.  Unfortunate, but the  music is still there.

"By the right. . . ."

[Addendum:  Yes, 3:30 a.m. would be about right here on the left coast of the Benighted States of America, 8 1/2 miles from the Pacific Ocean.  Your time zone may vary.]


Found While Looking for Something Else

The melodeon is my new enthusiasm.   (Do I have time for any more obsessions?Probably not; something may have to give.  But what?)

In any event, this is Katherine and Melanie Biggs as "Freshly Squeezed" playing their tune "Skepparschottis" on piano accordion and a G/D button box.


Friday, August 15, 2014

27 Best J.R.R. Tolkien Quotes

"Best" is more than a little subjective.  27 quotes out of how many volumes?  Nevertheless, most of them are pretty good. 


Thursday, August 14, 2014

Assumpta est Maria in Cælum

August 15 -- the feast of the bodily Assumption of Our Lady into heaven.

One of the few remaining Holy Days of Obligation.


Monday, August 11, 2014

The Caliphate

Three short paragraphs from Jerry Pournelle:

Perhaps the President will call off a fundraiser or two and pay some attention to the situation in the Middle East? The time to have been sending in support for the Kurds has passed; now they are under direct attack from the Caliphate. It will take more than Navy and Marine air strikes to assure the survival of Kurdistan. 
This crisis has been building ever since Bremer the Unsuccessful disbanded the Baathist Iraqi Army, and anyone who has not seen it coming ought to be dismissed as being incapable of service to the United States. Fortunately a number of officers have known this day would come, and we can hope they have been able to make some preparations; but it will be a near thing. 
It is not too late for a combination of US Special Forces and CIS, with plenty of logistic support, to work with the Kurds to roll back the Caliphate; but whether we have the will to do so is another matter.  If Iraqi Kurdistan falls, the Middle East situation become more serious than it has been for a long  time. American meddling has brought about this result; we have a moral obligation to restabilize and then get out.  I have little confidence that the President understands this.

EWTN in California

We've seen the news elsewhere in several places but it made page 2 in the Wall Street Journal this morning.  EWTN is establishing an outpost in California, indeed right in The OC on the campus of the new cathedral.  It says so here.

Um.  O.K.  I guess.

But the article included this:

On a recent day, the campus was buzzing with construction, even as visitors toured the grounds. "Disney donated those bells," said docent Mary Susa, pointing out a cluster of golden bells affixed to one tower. "But they're plastic and they don't ring."
I do hope that isn't symbolic of . . . oh, anything at all.


Ad Orientem

A new video from the Latin Mass Society of England and Wales on the whys and wherefores of Mass celebrated ad orientem.


Sunday, August 10, 2014

Heard on the Radio

An actress was being interviewed on the radio as I was driving home from Mass this afternoon.  I don't remember the name; it wasn't familiar to me.  But apparently she is well-known to the rest of the radio-listening population for acting in a television series, probably British, in which she plays a Danish detective who wears a sweater.

But this is the part of the interview that stayed with me.  She had had breast cancer and is now in remission.  She told of how she is continually asked by interviewers, "How did you feel to learn that you might die?"  She found that an extraordinary question.  Of course she's going to die. Everybody's going to die.  She thought the really interesting question was how is it that the majority of the population seems to think that they won't die.

It's really not an if question; it's a when question.

More New Martyrs

From The Telegraph a couple of days ago:
The last day of Qaraqosh’s time as a Christian town, a time almost as old as Christianity itself, began with a mortar shell at nine in the morning.
It came through the roof of Melad and Marven Abdullah’s house on Wednesday, killing them instantly. Melad was nine; his cousin, Marven, four. The mortar struck Marven in the head as it landed. They found his arms and feet, crushed against the wall, but nothing else.
The family’s next-door neighbour, Enam Eshoo, had popped in to deliver some fresh drinking water; she too died where she fell.
The day ended with an order to evacuate. Within a couple of hours, the city’s tens of thousands of inhabitants were crowding the road to Kurdistan, fighting with troops manning checkpoints, trying to find shelter where they could.
The streets of the capital Erbil’s newly Christian suburb, Ainkawa, swelled by exiles from ten years of punishing terror and oppression in northern Iraq, are now full of stunned and helpless people. They are camping on the floors of church halls, in a building site, in the street. An old woman was sleeping in a flower bed. Another begged for help.

Yes, it's a few days old but a gripping read.  And things have not changed for the better.  I'm pretty sure Rorate Cæli is due an "h/t" for this link but I've actually forgotten where I harvested it.  In any event, Rorate has done more to keep us informed about the new Christian martyrs of the Middle East than anyone else I'm aware of.

To be sure, WSJ has several fine articles this weekend about the ongoing persecutions of the "religious minorities" in Iraq.  They seem principally worried about Yazidis, although later on there is mention of another persecuted minority. Begins with a "C" I think.   Chris- something.

V.That there may be peace to thy Church and to the whole world,
R. We entreat thee, O Lord.
    -Evening Prayer


Anthony Trollope Better Than Dickens?

This writer thinks so. and he makes some good points.

. . . .Trollope could truly develop a character throughout a book, making them far more believable than Dickens’, who would change their outcomes on public demand. Trollope’s work can seem like the broadsheet press, compared to Dickens’ tabloid. Trollope’s own economic hardship further lent him a uniquely realist portrayal of money. To quote W.H. Auden, “Of all novelists in any country, Trollope best understands the role of money. Compared with him, even Balzac is too romantic”.
In 1868, Trollope was persuaded to stand as a Liberal candidate for Beverley, deemed the most corrupt constituency in the country. He came last, following votes being bought by the two Conservative candidates, and spent £400 on his election campaign. This experience gave him great insight into the Victorian political world, accurately translated into his work in books such as The Palliser Chronicles and his 1875 masterpiece The Way We Live Now. . . .
I probably agree, at least so far as my own enjoyment goes.  But I can't help thinking the competition framework is a mistake.  They're different, not better or worse.

Although Anthony Trollope was certainly a better human being than Dickens.


Found While Looking for Something Else

"The Power of the Pentatonic Scale" says the title on the Youtube page.  Don't know whether power is the right word but it's rather interesting.  The pipe scale is supposed to be an interworking of three pentatonic scales if I recall correctly.  (And two partial ones?  I think Roderick Cannon explains it all in his book but I'm not sure where it is at the moment.)


Sunday, July 27, 2014

Another Modest Proposal

This one from Fr Hunwicke.  He proposes his solution here.  Adherents of  the religion of peace will no doubt be taking it up on this side of the Atlantic also.

[h/t to Fr Phillips' Twitter feed, which I don't know how to link to.]


27 July -- Bl Titus Brandsma, O. Carm.

Today is the feast of Blessed Titus Brandsma, O.Carm.   That's him* in the picture above with his beloved pipe.  He was a martyr of the second world war, dying in Dachau for his insistence on maintaining Catholic truth in the teeth of Nazi objections.  So he's too new to be in the traditional Roman calendar and he's not in the Pauline calendar.  But he's an obligatory memorial in the Ancient Observance Carmelite calendar and an optional one in the Discalced calendar.   I would hope he would be in the local Dutch calendars, but I don't have enough Dutch to look it up.  Or, indeed, any Dutch if it comes to that.

In any event, it's Sunday so he's liturgically overlooked everywhere anyway.

But as he's a favourite of mine, The Inn will do what it can in lieu of a liturgical celebration  and that is to cite you to an excellent site containing biography, pictures, and some of his writings.  You can find it here.  If that one is too long, there is a somewhat shorter vita at EWTN's site here.  But  really: give the first link a look-in and try some of  his lectures.  There's some beautiful stuff there.

(*I know, I know.  But I just can bring myself to say "That's he".  It sounds wrong.)


Saturday, July 26, 2014

26 July - The Feast of St Ann, Mother of the Bl Virgin Mary

"AnneSantiago" by Dickstracke at en.wikipedia - Transferred from en.wikipedia by SreeBot. Licensed under Public domain via Wikimedia Commons.

Anna parens sublimis Dominæ,
quæ est mater misericordiæ,
gemma lucens cælestis curiæ,
te veneramur amore Filiæ. 
Anna, mother of that eminent Lady
who is the Mother of Mercy,
the bright gem of the celestial court,
we venerate thee with the love of thy daughter.
   -- Magnificat antiphon in the Carmelite office of Vespers for the        feast of St Ann
Some prayers to St Anne for her feast day.

(FWIW, as far back as I have been able to find, which is 1824 at the moment, every woman on my father's side of the family has been named Anne, AnneMarie, or Mary Ann.  And my wife's confirmation name is Anne.  And that means . . . um, well I don't know what that means.  But happy St Anne's day, anyway.)

A Thought from Fr Willie Doyle

You ask how to pray well. The answer is, Pray often, in season and out of season, against yourself, in spite of yourself. There is no other way. What a man of prayer St. James, the Apostle must have been since his knees became like those of a camel! When shall we religious realize the power for good that prayer, constant, unflagging prayer, puts into our hands Did it ever strike you that when our Lord pointed out the ”fields white for the harvest”, He did not urge His Apostle to go and reap it, but to pray?
Fr Doyle was a Jesuit and chaplain to the 16th Irish Brigade in the 1st World War.  There is a movement for his canonisation (not officially begun, so far as I can tell) and a very fine website dedicated to him here.  And he has been mentioned in The Inn a few times, here and here for example.

The thought above is yesterday's "Daily Thought" from the very fine blog, Remembering Father William Doyle.  It's an insight that can't be repeated too often, in my occasionally humble opinion.


Tuesday, July 22, 2014

A Day of Prayer for the Persecuted Christians of the Middle East

Friday, August 1, 2014
This was the day chosen by the Priestly Fraternity of Saint Peter (FSSP) for a worldwide day of Public Adoration of Our Lord Jesus Christ in the Blessed Sacrament in supplication for our persecuted brethren in Iraq, Syria, and the Middle East. . . .
More here.

Collects from the Missal:

O God, who makest wars to cease, and, by thy powerful defence, dost defeat the foes of them that put their trust in Thee; assist thy servants who implore thy mercy, that the fierceness of their enemies being overthrown, we may praise Thee with ceaseless thanksgiving. Through Christ our Lord. 
We beseech Thee, O Lord, mercifully to hear the prayers of Thy Church, that all adversities and errors being done away, she may serve Thee in freedom and quietness.  Through Christ our Lord. 
Almighty God, despise not Thy people who cry to Thee in their affliction; but for the glory of Thy name mercifully assist them in their tribulation. Through Christ our Lord. 
O God, who art the lover of peace, and preserver of charity; grant unto all our enemies true peace and charity; and vouchsafe unto them remission of all their sins, and by Thy mighty power deliver  us from their snares.  Through Christ our Lord.

F.S.S.P. in L.A.

That somewhat cryptic headline is meant to indicate that the Priestly Fraternity of St Peter will now have an apostolate in the Archdiocese of Los Angeles.  Alas, since the Archdiocese runs from the Orange County line all the way up to the northern most border of Santa Barbara County the chances of the apostolate being anywhere near you or me is minimal . . . even allowing for the expansive definition of "near" which Californians and westerners in general have. Nevertheless, it's worth at least a privately-prayed Te Deum to have an established apostolate dedicated to the traditional liturgy here in the Archdiocese.

Here's the announcement in Rorate Cæli.
Here's the new apostolate's website.


Thursday, July 17, 2014

Found Again

If you happen to frequent the Anthony Trollope webpage, you know that you can subscribe to the Anthony Trollope quote of the week.  Not usually riotously funny, if that's what you were hoping for.  But usually insightful enough into human nature -- or at least my human nature -- as to give a start of recognition.

In clearing out the email in-box, I found this one from two or three weeks ago.

"He did not find in the contemplation of his grievance all that solace which a grievance usually gives."
          -The Small House at Allington

And then in looking up the webpage citation -- for what's a blog post without a citation? -- there was this:

"In ordinary life events are so unfrequent, and when they do arrive they give such a flavour of salt to hours which are generally tedious, that sudden misfortunes  come as godsends, almost even when they happen to ourselves."
          -Marion Fay

Anthony Trollope's webpage
The Trollope Society


17 July - The Holy Carmelite Martyrs of Compiegne

Their feast day is today in the Carmelite calendar.  The best source for their story is William Bush's "To Quell the Terror".  You can find it here.  (Note that it's half price until September; it's well-worth your $8.48)

If you haven't got the eight and a half bucks, try here for an introduction.

A collect for the feast of the Holy Martyrs:

Deus, qui ob invictam in tuo amore constantiam beatam Teresiam et socias eius de vertice Carmeli ad martyrii coronam vocasti:  tribue quæsumus, ut, te fideliter diligentes, ad contemplandam speciem tuæ celsitudinis perducamur.  Per Dominum nostrum.  Amen.


Things Found in Books

Abebooks not only sells books but writes about them every now and again.  Today's essay is on Things Found in Books.

I've found a fair number of holy cards, some memorial cards, a few ordination cards, assorted advertisements and business cards, and in one volume years ago a service card for a Te Deum sung in St Patrick's Cathedral in New York celebrating the end of World War II.   Alas, no money and no Mickey Mantle 1952 rookie cards in mint - or any other - condition.


Wednesday, July 16, 2014

16 July: In Commemoratione Solemni Beatæ Mariæ Virginis de Monte Carmelo, Titularis et Patronæ totius Ordinis Carmelitarum

Today is the titular feast of the Carmelite Order, that of the Blessed Virgin Mary of Mount Carmel.

Here's what the old 2d nocturn had to say about the feast in the translation done by the compilers of the Anglican Breviary:

Lesson iv  
There is an old story to the effect that many men continued to live on Mount Camel in the spirit of the holy Prophets Elijah and Elisha. And that those of them who were of the times of Saint John Baptist were made ready by his preaching to accept the Messiah. And that when the Apostles were filled with the Spirit upon the holy day of Pentecost, and spake with diverse tongues, and worked miracles by calling upon the Name of Jesus (which is above every name), these Carmelites, seeing and being assured of the truth, straightway embraced the Faith of the Gospel. And that on account of their singular love toward the Blessed Virgin, (who was personally known to them as a familiar friend,) they paid her the respect of building her a little chapel, (the first which was ever raised in her honour, ) which same stood on that part of Mount Carmel whence the servant of Elijah had in old days espied that manifest type of the Virgin, whereof he spake, saying: Behold, there ariseth a little cloud out of the sea, like a man’s hand. 
Lesson v 
To this new chapel they repaired oftentimes, day by day, and in their liturgy honoured the blessed Virgin as the particular guardian of their community. For this reason they came to be everywhere called the Brethren of Blessed Mary, of Mount Carmel. Now it would seem that this her name and protection are not the only gifts which this Virgin Lady bountiful hath given them. For it is believed that she gave them also the badge of the Holy Scapular which is said to have been bestowed on blessed Simon Stock the Englishman. This same is a certain holy vesture which hath become the special mark of this Order, whereby Carmelites trust that they are harnessed against all assaults. Moreover, in olden times, when as yet this Order was unknown in Europe, and not a few were importuning Honorius III to put an end to it, the gracious Virgin Mary (so it is said) appeared by night to the said Honorius, and flatly commanded him to shew kindness to the Order and to the men belonging thereto.
Lesson vi 
Many godly persons believe that it is not in this world only that the blessed Virgin hath marked with her favour this Order which pleaseth her so well, but in the next world also. For there her power and mercy have freer scope than here. And so they most surely trust that all who belong to the Guild of the Scapular if they have practised what is enjoined on them, (that is, a certain easy rule of abstinence, faithfulness in brief daily prayers, and the keeping of chastity according to their state of life,) are comforted by her motherly love while they are being cleansed in purgatory, and by her help are borne forward towards their home in heaven more quickly than others. Thus this Order (because it cherisheth these things as so many and so great gifts) hath instituted today’s feast as a solemn Commemoration of the Blessed Virgin Mary, to be made year after year in perpetual observance thereof.

There is a fine piece on Our Lady's Carmelite scapular in this morning's post in the Fountain of Elias.

Finally, a collect:

O God, who didst adorn the Order of Carmel with the special title of thy most blessed Mother, the ever Virgin Mary, graciously grant that we who celebrate her Commemoration this day with solemn observances, by the help of her succour, may be worthy to attain unto everlasting joys: Who livest and reignest, etc. Amen.

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Thursday, July 10, 2014

On YouTube at Last - Part I

St. Laurence O'Toole Pipe Band All-Ireland Championships 2014 - MSR
(If you think it's raining when they start, wait until they get to the reel.  Mercy.)


On YouTube at Last -- Part II

St Laurence O'Toole Pipe Band - All Ireland Championships 2014 - Medley


Saturday, July 05, 2014

St Laurence O'Toole Pipe Band -- All-Ireland G-1 Champions for 2014

The above which was shot a few hours ago is meant to give a taste of the competition field on the day.  Apparently, no one has put up any videos of the actual comp performances yet.

But word in the net has it that SLoT won it all today.  Well-done and congratulations.  I am delighted to have my semi-prediction proved wrong.  We await some YouTube videos.

FWIW, RTE has never broadcast the All-Ireland.  But BBC1 has for the past 4 or 5 years.  But this year, nada.  Hence, we await YouTube and some folk with video cameras.

ADDENDUM:  For those who have landed here via Google looking for full results, the Northern Ireland branch of the RSPBA gives the top winners in each grade here.  "Full" results don't appear to be up anywhere yet.


Friday, July 04, 2014

The Glorious Fourth

This evening my town indulges once again in its annual orgy of patriotic pyromania: the rocket's red glare, the bombs bursting in air to a fare-thee-well. We shall thankfully be elsewhere leaving the family manse in the care of its guardian angel, who has so far successfully protected it from the aforesaid annual exercise in negligent arson.

We saw survey results the other day on the (one hopes not infallible) internet which revealed that a sizeable chunk of the American populace believes that this 4th of July celebrates America's 2014th birthday.  One does have to wonder what  else some folks may think they're celebrating.

Happy 4th, anyway.

Oh, and the video clip is not me being egregiously unpatriotic and obnoxious.  Not entirely, anyway.  It seems the melody for "The King Enjoys His Own Again" is the very same as "The World Turned Upside Down" which the British military band played at Yorktown for Lord Cornwallis's surrender to the American and French forces.  So they tell me, anyway.  It does seem a touch cheerful for the purpose, though, doesn't it.

And before the day is over, this day also commemorates the death day of the blessed Chideock martyrs, Fr John Cornelius,  John Carey, Patrick Salmon, and Thomas Bosgrave.  Their story can be found here.


Thursday, July 03, 2014

All Ireland Pipe Band Championship

The All-Ireland is coming up this Saturday, the 5th, in New Ross, County Wexford.  Hoping for a win for SLoT (shown above earlier this year) but FMM looks unstoppable . . . in the immortal words of Victor R. Gook, "smooth as peach butter and goose grease".  They'll be very hard to beat.

If you're in the area on Saturday  (I won't even be on the same continent) there's a bit more information here.  And the chances of a webcast are, alas, nil.  {{{sigh}}}.


Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Nobody Loves A Monarch Like Those Who Don't Have One

Even the French.


Particularly Inauspicious

I have been called to account for failing in The Inn's self-appointed task of alerting all and sundry to the approach of Friday the 13th.  (Well, with the demise of Pogo someone had to.)   And this month Friday the 13th fell particularly inauspiciously on a Friday.   That was 4 days ago and your servant failed in his mission.  No mention in The Inn.  Even Homer nods and your servant isn't even Helen Steiner Rice.

So apparently if you inadvertently walked under a black cat or broke a ladder or something and are now experiencing the requisite 7 years of bad luck, it's my fault.  I do apologize.

Looking on the bright side, though, you've only got 6 years, 11 months, and 13(!) days of bad luck left.

(I shall try to more vigilant in the future, Richard.)


Monday, June 09, 2014

A "less than ringing endorsement"

Humility is the first of the virtues, so say the spiritual writers.  Pipers, I'm told, are also occasionally in need of lessons in humility.  One James Ritchie received such on 6 April 1739 in a petition from his father to the Town Councillors who employed James Smith as their town piper:
Unto the Council of Peebles shews your ser[vant] John Ritchie That whereas I have put my son to learn to play on the pipes to your piper he not being fit for other work, and I not being able to buy him a pair of pipes Beseeches your Honours to give me some small thing to the end fore[said].

That "he not being fit for other work"  must have done the trick for the Council record is endorsed:

The Council grants Warrant to their treasurer to give the petitioner John Ritchie five Shillings Ster for the use mentioned in the petition.

(from Keith Sanger's article on the history of Peebles Burgh pipers in the June 2014 number of Common Stock, the journal of the Lowland and Border Pipers Society.)


St Columba of Iona, the Apostle of Scotland

Today is the feast  of St Columba or Colum Cille, if you prefer.  He is on the liturgical calendars of Scotland and Ireland but he didn't quite make the cut in the United States.

The Inn had this to say about St Columba a few years ago.  The Catholic Encyclopædia has a detailed life here.  Perhaps the best things on the web on St Columba can be found at the Trias Thaumaturga blog.  You could start here but you don't have to stop there.  A little searching reveals a lot more.


Tuesday, June 03, 2014

From this morning's reading

From Mattins:

The LORD is King, be the people never so impatient; * he sitteth between the Cherubim, be the earth never so unquiet.
-- Ps 99

From Romano Guardini's "The Rosary of Our Lady":

Let us stress the words "He began to feel dread and to be exceedingly troubled," and "His sweat became as drops of blood running down upon the ground."  It is the horror of the Redeemer before sin, not only before the Passion and death as such, but before the fact that all this must be endured in expiation for our sins, and that He was meant to take them upon Himself and be responsible for them.  How terrible it  must have been is shown by the other words He speaks in prayer:  "Father, all things are possible to Thee.  Remove this cup from me."  What was to come went against the Redeemer's whole being; not only because death is a revolt against the will to  live, but because sin is a revolt against God.  His third exclamation is "Yet not what I will but what Thou willest." 
The Worst part of sin is its hiddenness.  It hides everywhere: under the pretense that it is something natural, that it is something unavoidable, and that the power, gravity, or tragedy of life is expressed by it.  If we are witnesses here of Christ's fate, our eyes are opened wide to this pretense.

Sunday, June 01, 2014

Interesting Questions

It's been 7 months on Youtube.  Any answers yet?

The Tavern at the End of the World

The hour of absinthe is over. We shall not be much further troubled with the little artists who found Dickens too sane for their sorrows and too clean for their delights. But we have a long way to travel before we get back to what Dickens meant; and the passage is along an English rambling road — a twisting road such as Mr. Pickwick travelled. But this at least is part of what he meant: that comradeship and serious joy are not interludes in our travel, but that rather our travels are interludes in comradeship and joy, which, through God, shall endure for ever. The inn does not point to the road: the road points to the inn. And all roads point at last to an ultimate inn, where we shall meet Dickens and all his characters. And when we drink again it shall be from the great flagons in the tavern at the end of the world.

From GK Chesterton's Charles Dickens.   At least, originally.  I, however, have pilfered it shamelessly from the "Wit and Wisdom of G.K. Chesterton" site, which you can find here.  You can follow that site on Twitter and never miss a bon mot from GKC.


Another Case of Chateau Plonque, Please

Red wine is the best thing for you since penicillin.  Mrs Vidal cites the relevant Telegraph article here in the always interesting Tea at Trianon.  There we find that the fruit of the vine improves your balance, sharpens up the brain, keeps the weight off, and even chases away the bed bugs.  And Hilaire Belloc knew that

Catholic men who live upon wine
Are deep in the water, and frank, and fine.
Wherever I travel I find it so,
Benedicamus Domino!

Not to excess, of course, but otherwise pretty much of a good thing all 'round.

And if the Telegraph isn't good enough for you, how about the Minneapolis Star-Tribune?  Yet another gold star for red wine but this time not focusing so much on resveratrol.  These folks think the good stuff is, well, alcohol itself.

I await anxiously the study on beer.


Hiding for Three Years After Culloden

Work to restore the medieval tower at Drum Castle, 12 miles west of Aberdeen on Royal Deeside, has revealed a secret chamber where a Jacobite hero of the Battle of Culloden hid out for three years . . . .

You can read the rest of the article here.  Unfortunately, that's pretty much the most interesting part.
A bit more about the Laird of Drum and his doings wouldn't have gone amiss.


Sunday, May 25, 2014

Highland Games II

Early Mass and back to the Highland Games today in Costa Mesa.  Lovely cool weather, thanks be to God.  Last week at this time  it was, what? 108°?  But today, high 60s to low 70s.

And a whole afternoon of pipe bands.  Who could ask for more?


Saturday, May 24, 2014

Costa Mesa Highland Games

Lovely cool day in southern California --for a change -- where I am ensconced in the center bleachers watching the pipe band competitions. The grade V heat sa just finished.Prediction: the Blandfords have won this one. Caution: my predictions are notoriously unreliable. More later; the grade IVs are starting.

Wednesday, May 07, 2014

The York Pilgrimage of 2014

A lovely video from the Latin Mass Society of England and Wales highlighting their pilgrimage to York in honour of the martyr St Margaret Clitherow.

Sunday, April 27, 2014

"Roscommon's Holiest Mountain"

The annual Sliabh Bán Pilgrimage in Co Roscommon takes place today.
 Sliabh Bán hill lies between Strokestown and Ballyleague, and the pilgrimage follows the route taken by monks who lived in Cloontuskert Abbey founded by St Brendan and St Faithleach in 520 AD.
So says the Shannonside News page.  And it points out that it will probably be the last one.  The powers-that-be have decided to install a herd of wind turbines that will effectively block it off.

What's being lost:

Sliabh Bán and its southern ridge Fairymount are both an intrinsic part of the Cruachan complex of archaeological sites near Tulsk, identified as the site the traditional capital of Connacht, and are named in the epic Táin Bó Cúalnge.
The mountain has at least seven ring forts on its slopes, two near the summit. Most of these are now visible only on the old maps, as Coillte planted spruce trees on and around them in the period before this became illegal.
Further testimony that the mountain was a place of religious significance in prehistoric and mythic times was uncovered by the local people who erected the cross on the summit in the Marian year of 1950; they discovered ancient bones when they were digging the foundations.
Sliabh Bán is threaded by an ancient walkway which connects Cloontuskert Abbey on its east, and Lisonuffy Abbey to its west. It was used by monks passing between the two establishments. In 2003 the path was cleared and made passable again in accordance with the 1840 map of the area, with the help of a FAS Community work scheme.
Coillte supported the FAS scheme that cleared the monastic track. However they have recently destroyed a section of it once again by widening an access road.
There is a 17th century Mass Rock on Sliabh Bán, and in 2002/3 a route to it was cleared by a FAS scheme in association with the local community. A photo and directions to it are available in the ‘Walking Through Time’ pamphlet. It is sited very near to a proposed turbine and it it doubtful whether it would survive the construction process: its peace and sanctity certainly would not.
Read the rest here.

The main page is here.

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Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Found While Looking for Something Else

ADDENDUM:  This post would have made a lot more sense yesterday -- what with allusions to nostalgia and all -- had I remembered to mention that the video cited is from 1931.  I.e.,  the "New Lord Abbot" hasn't been new in 83 years.  So, once again, bearing the date 1931 in mind, herewith:

"The New Lord Abbot receives the Abbatial Blessing at Mount Melleray" says the title of this silent video:

We don't actually get to see an abbatial blessing. What it is, is about two minutes worth of procession into the monastic chapel by assorted clerics and religious: lots of lace-on-cottas, old religious habits (I noted after a couple of run-throughs Franciscans, Dominicans, one each Redemptorist, Passionist, and Discalced Carmelite, and perhaps a couple of Augustinians).   There are a few clerics wearing what look like papal mozettas  --  I suspect they're canons of the local diocese.  A pair of cappae magnae bring up the rear.

It's a delight to see in the beginning and in the end kind of sad and nostalgic, remembering the stark-white polyester nightgowns that make up clerical processions in the 21st century.  (They seem to be called "cassockalbs", God help us.)


Sunday, April 20, 2014

Mass of Easter Day

 photo 0e222e2b-0b17-407a-9ad4-5e61fe64f1d9_zps36178787.jpg
Easter at Bl John Henry Newman Catholic Church of the Ordinariate of the Chair of St Peter.

Yes,  yes, of course there was a congregation. It's just that no one sat in the front row.

And it was a beautiful Easter Mass.  It seems to me our little chapel should be filled (even the front row) and all of Orange County clamouring to get in.  But they weren't.  Hmm.  Another of the increasing number of things in life I don't understand.

But as for me:

 "I was glad when they said unto me: We will go into the house of the Lord."


One Ha'penny . . .

. . . two ha'penny, hot cross buns.

In the dear, dead days of my youth we used to buy them - or occasionally make them -- on Good Friday and eat them on Easter Sunday.  Officially.  One,  of course,  might turn up as part of the "single normal sized meal" allowed on Good Friday.  Or one might comprise the breakfast on Holy Saturday.  But officially they were a treat for Easter Sunday no matter what others might do.

Chambers' wonderfully eclectic and occasionally accurate Book of Days has something to say about hot cross buns:

A superstition regarding bread baked on Good Friday appears to have existed from an early period. Bread so baked was kept by a family all through the ensuing year, under a belief that a few gratings of it in water would prove a specific for any ailment, but particularly for diarrhea. We see a memorial of this ancient superstition in the use of what are called hot cross-buns, which may now be said to be the most prominent popular observance connected with the day. 
In London, and all over England (not, however, in Scotland), the morning of Good Friday is ushered in with a universal cry of Hot Cross-Buns! A parcel of them appears on every break-fast table. It is a rather small bun, more than usually spiced, and having its brown sugary surface marked with a cross. Thousands of poor children and old frail people take up for this day the business of disseminating these quasi-religious cakes, only intermitting the duty during church hours; and if the eagerness with which young and old eat them could be held as expressive of an appropriate sentiment within their hearts, the English might be deemed a pious people. The ear of every person who has ever dwelt in England is familiar with the cry of the street bun-vendors: 
One a penny, buns,
Two a penny, buns,
One a penny, two a penny,
Hot cross-buns! 
Whether it be from failing appetite, the chilling effects of age, or any other fault in ourselves, we cannot say; but it strikes us that neither in the bakers' shops, nor from the baskets of the street-vendors, can one now get hot cross-buns comparable to those of past times. They want the spice, the crispness, the everything they once had. Older people than we speak also with mournful affection of the two noted bun-houses of Chelsea. Nay, they were Royal bun-houses, if their signs could be believed, the popular legend always insinuating that the King himself had stopped there, bought, and eaten of the buns. Early in the present century, families of the middle classes walked a considerable way to taste the delicacies of the Chelsea bun-houses, on the seats beneath the shed which screened the pavement in front. An insane rivalry, of course, existed between the two houses, one pretending to be The Chelsea Bun-house, and the other the Real Old Original Chelsea Bun-house. Heaven knows where the truth lay, but one thing was certain and assured to the innocent public, that the buns of both were so very good that it was utterly impossible to give an exclusive verdict in favour of either.
Things may have gotten even worse since Chambers' day (which according to the imprint was 1867, if you were wondering.)  Look at that picture again.  That's not where the cross goes.  Hmpf.  Although to tell the truth, mine tasted pretty good.

I may have another.


Saturday, April 19, 2014

Good Friday II

Good Friday is also the start of the Divine Mercy Novena.  Leaving Sr Faustina's diary in the middle of the kitchen table makes a pretty good reminder should you be the sort who forgets to begin novenas. Or continue novenas.  At least it's worked so far.  One down, eight to go.

(There's a website on the Divine Mercy devotion here.  A link to the novena text is about 15 or so lines down the table of contents on that page.)


Friday, April 18, 2014

Good Friday

The Rome of a thousand years ago and more as related by the Blessed Cardinal Schuster in his Liber Sacramentorum:

Christ had said, Non capit prophetam perire extra Hierusalem; for this reason the station is held today in the basilica known as Sancta Hierusalem, to which the Pope formerly went barefoot, walking in procession from the Lateran. He swung, as he went, a censer filled with precious perfumes before the wood of the true cross, carried by a deacon, whilst the choir sang Psalm csviii: Beati immaculati in via.
Originally, as a sign of deep mourning, this day was aliturgical, as were usually all the Fridays and Saturdays of the year in Rome. Thus, when towards the sixth century the rigour of the ancient rule was somewhat relaxed and the Friday stations of Lent were instituted, the Popes still continued for many centuries the ancient Roman usage, which excluded even the Mass of the Presanctified on this day. Therefore the present rite does not go back beyond the Middle Ages, and represents the order used in the titular churches in Rome, in which the Pope was never present.
The Adoration of the True Cross on Good Friday was taken, as we have already said, from the Liturgy of Jerusalem, where it was already in use towards the end of the fourth century. Indeed, for a long time, in the West also, this adoration formed almost the most important and characteristic part of the ceremony, the central point, as it were, of the whole Liturgy of the Parasceve. Ecce lignum crucis: this is the beginning of the parousia of the divine judge, and at the sight of the triumphal banner of redemption, whilst the Church prostrates herself low in adoration, the powers of hell flee away terror-stricken into the abyss.
In Rome in the Middle Ages the papal reliquary containing the true cross was sprinkled with perfumes, indicating thereby the sweetness of the grace which flows from the sacred wood, and the inner unction and spiritual balm which the Lord pours into the hearts of those who carry the cross for love of him. 
According to the Ordines Romani of the eighth century, today's ceremony took place partly in the Sessorian Basilica and partly in the Lateran. Towards two o'clock in the afternoon the Pope and palatine clergy moved in procession barefoot from the Lateran to the stational basilica, where the Adoration of the Cross took place, followed by the reading of the Passion according to St John, and the Great Litany for the various ecclesiastical orders and for the necessities of the Church. The procession then returned to the Lateran. Singing as they walked the psalm Beati immaculati in via. On this day of sadness neither the Pope nor the deacons received Holy Communion, but the people were free to do so either at the Lateran, where one of the suburbicarian bishops celebrated, or at any of the titular churches in the city.
Towards the ninth century the rite was somewhat altered. The Adoration of the Cross was deferred until after the Litany, which was followed by the Pater Nostertogether with the Communion of those who were present. The procession of the Blessed Sacrament did not take place at that point, the ceremony ending with the Pope's blessing – “In nomine Patris et Filii et Spiritus Sancti” – to which the assembly replied: “Et cum spiritu tuo”. Everyone then recited privately the Vesper psalms, after which all went off to break their fast.

And if you were wondering, no, I have no idea why the font size changes in the above quote.  It's not that way in the original and it's not that way on the work page.  Blogspot just decided to do it.  Mysterious are the ways of Blogspot, its wonders to perform.

Sunday, April 13, 2014

Advice on a Sunday Afternoon

From Professor Wilson, late of the University of South Carolina:

Those who are still addicted to the useless and indeed pernicious vice of following U.S. politics—let me urge you to go into recovery now. The habit of abstinence must be well-established soon  or you will be tempted by the hoopla of the 2016 Presidential sweepstakes. The primaries are only two years away and the uproar will start long before that. Without a determined recovery you will have to endure an endless carnival  of water temperature testing, trial balloon floating, absurd and short-lived ambitions and enthusiasms, and arrant speculation. It will all be pointless and ephemeral and have absolutely no relevance to any genuine process for selecting the next “Leader of the Free World” and Great Decider.

There is no hope  that any statesmanship or even real leadership can emerge from the carnival. The American political system, and alas probably also the American people,  left behind any such possibility long ago. What we will see is a contest of superficial celebrity backed by special-interest pandering that can have no meaning for any serious lover of his country. In case you haven’t noticed, the U.S. is now a glorified banana republic culturally and politically, if not quite yet economically and militarily.

There is more here but you have just read what you need to take away with  you.


Some Piping for the Weekend

Some outstanding uilleann piping this week.  Here Tommy Martin plays a knockout rendition of what The Fox Chase.  Listen for the dogs, the fox, and the hunting horn.  The couple of tunes whose names I knew were The Foxhunt and An Maidrín Rúa. There are more.