Thursday, October 31, 2002

All Saints Day

Mostly from The Church’s Year of Grace by Dr. Pius Parsch (slightly adapted):

As early as the end of the first century the Church in the East was keeping a day in honor of “all the martyrs”. The day is still kept among the Greeks on the first Sunday after Pentecost. The Syrians keep it on the Friday after Easter. The traditional Roman Missal gives the station church on the Friday after Easter as that of Sancta Maria ad Martyres.

“Early in the seventh century Pope Boniface IV ordered the Pantheon at Rome, which had been given him by Emperor Phocas, transformed into a church (this temple had been built by Marcus Agrippa to commemorate Augustus’ victory at Actium in 27 B.C.). After a great stock of relics had been transferred to the purified temple (allegedly twenty-eight wagons full), Pope Boniface dedicated it on May 13, 610, in honor of the Mother of God and all the holy martyrs (see [the old] Roman Martyrology for May 13). Accordingly the feast of All Martyrs was celebrated on May 13, very appropriately soon after the resurrection of our Blessed Savior. Due perhaps to the difficulty of procuring food in Rome for great numbers of pilgrims in the springtime, Gregory IV (827-844) transferred the feast to November 1 and extended it to include all the saints. Thus it received its place toward the end of the church year and serves well as an occasion to anticipate the consummation of Christ’s kingdom and His Second Coming”.

Vespers on All Saints – an Hour in Heaven:

“No Vespers during the whole year makes so deep an impression upon me as Vespers of All Saints. Artistic reliquaries decorate the altar; in the relics the saints themselves are present, and Christ their leader is the altar. The latter is adorned in feast-day robes, golden antependium, glistening snow-white linens. Upon six golden candlesticks burn six huge candles. Behind them resplendent is the Lamb of the Apocalypse. Upon the throne as representative of the eternal Father sits the abbot in a golden-threaded cope. About him are the “seniors” of the monastery in white robes, while below four chanters, clothed in flowing pluvials, lead the monastic choir in the heavenly melodies. Out in the nave stand or sit ‘the multitude of faithful which no man can number, from all peoples.’ And throughout the edifice resound the jubilantly sonorous harmonies from the organ. It is an hour in heaven” (from a description by Fr. Kutzer of Mendelzell). [Parsch, vol. V]


In the Ruthenian Byzantine Church – and perhaps other Eastern Churches – the Blessed Theodore Romzha is honored. From the unofficial Ruthenian website:

"Blessed Theodore Romzha was martyred by the Soviets for his unshakable faith in Christ and the Byzantine (Greek) Catholic Church on November 1, 1947. The communists first attempted to kill him by ramming his cart with a military truck. When he survived the communists completed the murder with poison."


The month of November is dedicated to the Holy Souls in Purgatory. A partial indulgence is always granted for visiting a cemetery and praying for the dead. But from November 1 through November 8 a plenary indulgence can be gained on each of these days. cf. Section 13 of “The Handbook of Indulgences: Norms and Grants”, Catholic Book Publishing Company, (1991).

The New Cathedral from the Freeway

I played for a funeral in Hollywood this afternoon. This required driving through the middle of downtown L.A. on the 5/101 which I haven't done in a long time. So I got my first glimpse of the new Cathedral. It is built right up against the 5 and looms over that part of the freeway as it flows through the downtown and city hall area. I would say I probably got about 15 seconds of available viewing time as I went past, some of those 15 seconds being apportioned to paying attention to my driving. This does not prevent me giving my impressions.

The entire complex is much bigger than I had imagined. The colour is not nearly as ghastly as that article in the late lamented New Times led me to believe either. It's sort of a slightly darker adobe mission sort of colour. Not bad for California.

As a building it seemed huge and oppressive. As I said a few weeks ago, I am a native L.A. suburbanite (almost) and boxy, style-less churches are what I was raised with. But on this massive scale there is a sense of oppression which is not there in the smaller neighborhod churches. There is no lightness about it, at least from the freeway side.

There are three things that are good about it from the freeway side. Two huge crosses are visible to everyone. I think I read that at least one of them is illuminated at night. And since this is private property, there isn't much the ACLU can do about it. When heading west on the 5 you can also see a huge representation of Our Lady of Guadalupe looking down over the freeway. It seemed to me to be larger than life-sized and a very careful copy of the original. It is apparently angled slightly to face the east since I couldn't see it on my way back. Our Lady's self-portrait is a very welcome addition to the landscape of the downtown area.

The cathedral's website is here.

Wednesday, October 30, 2002

31 October

. . . .is the 351st anniversary of the execution of the Blessed Terence Albert O’Brien, O.P. Blessed Terence, the last bishop of the Diocese of Emly, was captured after the Siege of Limerick. In view of his fighting spirit and constant advocacy of resistance, he was excluded from any quarter and was put to death by Cromwell’s troops. He was beatified by Pope John Paul II in 1992.

This is also the feast of St. Quentin, the son of a Roman senator, who evangelized the area around Beauvais and Amiens. He was martyred somewhere between 282 and 287. “San Quentin” is a California town named after the saint and famous for its prison, which makes more interesting one of St. Quentin’s miracles which involved delivering a convict from the gallows. The martyrdom of St. Quentin as recorded in Jacobus de Voragine’s Golden Legend may be found here.

It is also the Eve of All Saints’ Day, i.e., Hallowe’en. You can find all you’ll ever need to know about pumpkins here including, albeit a little late, tips on growing your own. And a recipe for Maple Pumpkin Cheesecake here.

All Saints Day will be tomorrow, Friday. If you happen to be in or near Orange County, you might like to attend the traditional Latin Mass at 7:15 p.m. at St. Mary’s by the Sea in Huntington Beach. Take Pacific Coast Highway and turn on to 10th Street. (You can only turn one direction; the other side of PCH is the Pacific Ocean.) St. Mary’s is three blocks up.

Our "Catholic" Governor is Delighted with Himself

"I can now say, without contradiction, that California is hands down the most pro-choice state in America," said Davis while happily signing new legislation. He had a wonderful opportunity to force his immorality on everyone in the state and he took it. There were several bills involved. One in particular provides that all state resident programs in gynecology and obstetrics teach abortion procedures to students on a mandatory basis. This law provides no self- exclusion from learning these procedures though, formerly, one could cite personal conscience to avoid being taught the procedure. As the law now stands, Catholics or other pro-lifers can no longer avoid learning the procedures if they wish to enter obstetrics. The article is here in the Los Angeles Lay Catholic Mission. There may have been some mention of this in the Times but I didn't see it there.

Justice Mildred Lillie

Any one who’s spent any time at all reading California appellate decisions has come across Justice Mildred Lillie, someone the California judiciary can be justifiably proud of. Justice Lillie died last Sunday morning. She’ll be buried this afternoon from Good Shepherd Church in Beverly Hills with Cardinal Mahony presiding.

Justice Lillie was appointed to the California Court of Appeal by Goody Knight in 1958. President Nixon tried to appoint her to the Supreme Court in 1971. That bastion of fairness and legal probity, the American Bar Association, turned her down as “unqualified”. The missing qualification was a y chromosome. The Times obit is here. Much better are the two stories here and here.

Traditionalists and Ecumenism

From Gregg the Obscure who maintains Vita Brevis:

“I suppose it would be good to expand a bit on yesterday’s long post about traditionalists and ecumenism. I’m frankly baffled why it is that ecumenism tends to be such a big issue with so many traditionalists.”

Since you ask, I will put my oar in here. I consider myself a traditionalist, even if not a few other traditionalists don’t. My best guess is that it has its origins in the way changes in the Church were explained in the 60’s and 70’s. I am antique enough to remember this stuff. Almost everything – good, bad, and indifferent – was explained, at least on the popular level, as good for ecumenism. This will make the Church more open to the world. Non-Catholics will now understand and love us. The only worry will be where we will ever find the money to build all the new Churches that the avalanche of converts will require.

That didn’t happen and a lot of very ugly things did happen on almost every level in the Church. Devotions were discarded, the liturgy was made unrecognizable, beloved churches were denuded of their ornaments, and a carload other things all suitable for disorienting one’s religious life happened.

Short and dirty syllogism: Traditionalists don’t like the changes in the Liturgy. Changes in the Liturgy are explained as being necessary for ecumenical reasons. Ergo, traditionalists don’t like ecumenism.

There are other articulated reasons for disliking ecumenism – Gregg mentions Mortalium Animos for one. But I think the articulated reasons came after the initial dislike. And I don’t say the reasons are wrong either. Ecumenism seems to me to have been wrong-headed in many ways. I think some of that appears to be changing. A prime example is Touchstone, a.k.a. The Fellowship of St. James. “Ecumenism for those who don’t approve of ecumenism” as they sometimes call themselves. There is no “let’s pretend” ecumenism there. Real disagreements are explored and explained not wall-papered over.

What to do about traditionalist anti-ecumenism? Dunno. Too complex for me. A good start, though, might be to recognize that in many cases the traditionalist complaints are well-founded. If the powers that be dispense with the more egregious events that cause scandal, the useful and productive ones would be more readily accepted.

Or so it seems to me.

Tuesday, October 29, 2002

30 October

. . . .is kept in Prussia as the feast of St. Dorothea of Montau. She was a 14th century wife, mother, widow, and finally recluse. She is considered the patroness of Prussia. The Catholic Encyclopaedia article says she was never canonized. Engelbert says that the Teutonic Knights introduced her cause for canonization at Rome and seems to imply that she was, although he does not say so explicity.

This is also the day kept in honor of St. Alphonsus Rodriguez, a 16th century husband and father. Upon his wife’s death he became a Jesuit lay brother. For the final 40 years of his life he worked as porter at Palma, Majorca.

St. Marcellus was a soldier of the Trajan Legion, martyred at Tangier in 298.

A Severe Talking To

According to Bishop Daily of Brooklyn that, apparently, is the sum total of punishment if a priest teaches contrary to the teaching of the Church and refuses to stop doing so. Domenico Bettinelli is understandably upset.

That attitude is also why a pro abortion, pro homosexualist governor like Gray Davis is never reprimanded by any California bishop. The man does claim to be a Catholic. Simon may not be a prize but he's not the disgrace Davis is.

Case Solved?

Patricia Cornwell may have identified Jack the Ripper. According to a Reuters article she may have done it by matching the Ripper's DNA with that of Walter Sickert, an artist who revelled in painting violent and gruesome killings. Apparently DNA can be identified from the saliva used to lick a postage stamp to post a letter.

Cornwell is the novelist who created Kay Scarpetta, a Virginia crime-solving coroner. I've "read" several of her books, thanks to Books on Tape. She maintains the tension right the way through. Well plotted, too.

Give you joy, my dear

Browsing through Summa Minutiæ and what should I find but this. A movie is being made of one of Patrick O'Brian's Aubrey- Maturin novels. For those who feel the need to understand every one of the innumerable 18th century nautical references, they can be a bit of an acquired taste. But those of us who love O'Brian's novels love them dearly and this is great news indeed.

Monday, October 28, 2002

29 October

. . . .is in some old martyrologies the day of St. Narcissus, bishop of Jerusalem. He would be a good patron for some bishop who might be slandered, such as the heroic Australian Archbishop Pell. St. Narcissus’ story can be found here.

In England the old lists give this as the day of St. Aelfleda, who was, according to Engelbert, “daughter of Oswy, king of the Northumbrians, and granddaughter of St. Edwin, succeeding St. Hilda as abbess of Whitby in 680; her own mother came and placed herself under her guidance (d. 575).” St. Aelfeda is mentioned in passing in the Catholic Encyclopaedia article on the Abbey of Whitby.

Some Anglican churches celebrate on this day the martyrdom of James Hannington, an Anglican missionary bishop in Uganda who was murdered by King Mwanga in 1885. It was the rebuke of King Mwanga by some of his Catholic and Anglican subjects because of this murder that precipitated the martyrdom of Charles Lwanga and companions. St. Charles’ feast is kept in the reformed Catholic calendar on June 3d.

In the Irish diocese of Kilmacduagh this is the patronal feast of St. Colman mac Duach. St. Colman died about the year 632. Some stories about St. Colman can be found here.

Elizabeth Countess of Longford

Also found among the obituaries today is Elizabeth Longford's. As a young woman she was fiercely radical; latterly, she became a reverent chronicler of the House of Windsor. In religion, she was born a Baptist and converted to Roman Catholicism. Both changes were reflected in her marriage. Under her influence Frank Pakenham shrugged off Conservatism and became a Labour Cabinet minister. Under his influence she overcame her horror of Rome. Indeed, she and her husband became quite prominent figures in 20th century English Catholicism. Her obituary can be found here.

H.M. Queen Geraldine of the Albanians

. . . .died this week aged 87. Born of an Hungarian nobleman Count Gyula Apponyi de Nagy-Appony and his American wife, she wed King Zog of Albania in 1938. The details of her life related in the Daily Telegraph's obituary of her make The Prisoner of Zenda a mundane, colourless little tale by comparison.

Leftism Resurgens

Rumors of the death of the hard left seem to have been premature. Brazil has a new leftist government as the Daily Telegraph reports here.

A Brazilian correspondent on several Catholic lists has a request:

Pax Christi!

38 years ago, my country faced a Communist insurgence, led by a leftist President. Millions of families prayed the rosary on the streets, and the threat was over. Without sheding any blood, the military expelled the Communists and saved Brazil.

Since that date, the Communists have used another tactic, infiltrating the Academy and the press, and creating a leftist culture in the midst of our society. Now they have conquered the power the seeked. The Brazilian country has been taught to think in Marxian modes, and no-one is praying the rosary on the streets. A Communist has been elected President, and our country needs your prayers.

May Our Lady of Czestochowa, who liberated Poland, free our country. May our Patron Saint, St. Peter of Alcantara, free our country.

I beg you all, please, to pray for Brazil, once a great Catholic country. Pray the Rosary, with or without addicional mysteries. Pray it so that Our Lady comes to our rescue and delivers us from the hands of the Evil One.

Your brother in Christ,


Sunday, October 27, 2002


For the first time ever.

28 October

. . . .is the feast of Ss. Simon and Jude. Everybody knows St. Jude, the saint of the impossible. There isn't a Catholic prayer book in print without a novena to St. Jude in it. You can read a little about St. Jude and a lot about his Epistle here. You can read his Epistle itelf in your New Testament.

St. Simon you probably don't know; he's usually more forgotten than the forgotten saint, St. Jude. There are a couple of paragraphs about him here.


Ever so slowly nostalgia for the Pacific Coast League is taking control of this blog. The Times is exacerbating the process with this wonderful article on the old Coast League Angels.


has a worthy entry on the 6th game of the world series. This means, of course, that I agree with it. (Except the part about New York.)

The Last Sunday in October – Tu Rex gloriæ, Christe!

In the traditional Roman calendar this is the feast of Christ the King. The feast is one of the newer feasts of Our Lord, being instituted by Pius XI in 1925. The encyclical Quas Primas which proclaimed the new feast can be found here.

This is, in a manner of speaking, the feast of the social teaching of the Catholic Church. In paragraph 32 of Quas Primas Pius XI writes

Nations will be reminded by the annual celebration of this feast that not only private individuals but also rulers and princes are bound to give public honor and obedience to Christ. It will call to their minds the thought of the last judgment, wherein Christ, who has been cast out of public life, despised, neglected and ignored, will most severely avenge these insults; for his kingly dignity demands that the State should take account of the commandments of God and of Christian principles, both in making laws and in administering justice, and also in providing for the young a sound moral education.

Not much wiggle-room here for the “personally-opposed-but” crowd.

In the Pauline rite (which celebrates the feast of Christ the King on the last Sunday before Advent) this is the 30th Sunday per annum.

In the sanctoral cycle the 27th of October is the feast of the 15th century Dominican nun, Blessed Antonia Gainaci who reformed her convent of St. Catherine in Ferrara.

It is also the feast of the 4th century Apostle of the Abyssinians, St. Frumentius.

I have already set my watch back an hour so there is at least a fighting chance that I will make it to Mass on time rather than an hour early.

Saturday, October 26, 2002

The Price of Fame

Nihil Obstat has discovered The Inn. Oh, dear. It’s not a pretty sight. I seem to have given the poor soul a long night of it, hacking his way through an Amazonian rain forest of grammatical infelicity, graphotypical errors, and enough creative spelling to bring Noah Webster back from the dead.

I was going to bluff it out. < condescending grin > “That’s all well and good for those who care about that sort of thing. Spelling is the hobgoblin of little minds and grammar evolves as we all know.” < / condescending grin > But I don't think I can carry it off. The worst part is I haven’t figured out how to access the earlier material to edit the more egregious stuff.

If Nihil is going to be reviewing my blog on a regular basis, it might be more fitting to change his name. Perhaps Cunctus Obstat. Or at least Multus Obstat. Sigh. It will probably be more appropriate in the long run.

Off to find my Fowler’s and write a stiff note to Blogspot about the lack of a spell check feature.

It's Official!

Earlier in the week The Inn was listed in Blogs4God so we are officially a Christian blog. And as of today Gerard Serafin has listed the Inn in his list of Catholic blogs. So The Inn is now officially a Catholic blog, too. Christianus mihi nomen, Catholicus cognomen. The entire staff of The Inn at the End of the World, starting with me and going all the way down to me, wishes to thank Blogs4God and Gerard for the recognition. And welcome to all who linked here from either of these sites. The staff will do our best to make sure there is cold beer, a warm fire and a little something to read on your visit.

Once more into the fray, dear friend, once more

The Angels play again tonight and tomorrow (yes, and tomorrow, oh ye of little faith). "Check your local listings."

Mark Sullivan of Ad Orientem sent me this great link in which you can see the old L.A. Wrigley Field. Talk about a memory flogger. My Uncle Harry and I were there more times than I can remember. The photo even reminds me of the non-existent parking. The local people would open up their driveways and yards and charge 50 cents or a dollar to park for the games. It must have been a nice little income for them. You could buy a lot of groceries with $20 in those days.

26 October

. . . .is on the old calendar the feast of St. Evaristus, pope and probably martyr. I once worked with a girl named Eva who was born on this day. In accordance with the Hispanic tradition of her family she was named after the saint of the day and her full name was Evarista. She infinitely preferred Eva and you would have to know her a long time before she admitted to Evarista.

Today is also the feast of a 15th century Colettine Poor Clare with the beautiful name of Blessed Bonne D' Armagnac. She was granddaughter of the constable of Armagnac and sister to Jacques, duke of Nemours. Her birth was attributed to St. Colette who told her parents to bring her up well so she could enter the convent. She vetoed that idea. When her parents finally made a good match for her - the younger brother of Louis XI, no less - she changed her mind and insisted on entering the Poor Clares. (You get the feeling her parents should at least be "venerables".) [Information on Bl. Bonne is from a much longer passage in Engelbert's Lives of the Saints.

Friday, October 25, 2002

Before Snow

Here a portent broods
not dread, nor fear,
only the grey
turn of the year.
Through the gaunt trees
patrolling the west
uncertain clouds bar
a vast urest.
The air broods soft
as a great cat's paw,
but the fur bodes cold
and stings like a claw.

Once the snow falls
there wil be peace. . . .
So the taut heart strains
before release.
-Sr. Mary Maura

It's only threatening rain here, the first of the season. "Only the grey turn of the year."

Thursday, October 24, 2002

25 October

. . . .in the traditional calendar is the feast of the Roman martyrs Ss. Chrysanthus and Daria, a married couple martyred for Christ. Also commemorated are the martyred brothers, Crispin and Crispinian. Their stories can be found here.

In the reformed calendar in England and Wales this is the proper feast of the English and Welsh martyrs: Ss. Cuthbert Mayne, John Houghton, Edmund Campion, Richard Gwynn, and thirty-six companions.
All the forty martyrs are listed here with some have brief descriptions of their lives linked.

If you can lay your hands on a copy, an excellent way to become more familiar with the English and Welsh martyrs - and a handful of Scots and Irish, too - is with Henry Sebastian Bowden's Mementoes of the Martyrs and Confessors of England and Wales for Every Day in the Year. It was first published in 1910 and a revised edition was put out in 1962.

On to Anaheim

< denial >The Angels were actually just relaxing tonight. Subconsciously, they wanted to be able to play two more games at home and give the fans two more chances to see them play. They just don't want this season to end. < / denial >

Whatever tonight was, I hope the Angels have it out of their system now.

Ad Orientem links to a picture of the Angels old "halo" hats from their "California Angels" days. The Angels have had quite a variety of caps. When they first came up from the minors they had a stylized "LA" that looked a lot like the Dodger's "LA", although the font was different. (Did they have the halo around the "A" then? I can't remember. It's possible.) They were then the Los Angeles Angels as they had been when they were in the old Pacific Coast league. Those were the days when Los Angeles had a Wrigley Field -- almost an exact duplicate of Chicago's, right down to the ivy. "Wrigley Field" since the Los Angeles Angels used to be the Chicago Cubs triple A farm team. Our Wrigley Field was torn down many years ago. I have no idea what's there now and I'm sure I couldn't find it again.

The Piping Racket

I think I'm going to live to regret using "racket". Even now, the punsters among us are grinning at their keyboards and preparing to strike.

Well, Mark, "in demand" may be over-stating the case. But I do get a small but welcome income out of it. Is it because I'm a dead-brilliant piper or because my schedule is flexible? Sigh. The probabilities are leaning heavily toward the later.

The memorial service went well. Very sad. The woman who died was a 42 year old sheriff's deputy. There was an off-duty traffic accident in which her car over turned, fatally injuring her. From the pictures at the service, she was a very pretty young woman, too. And from the geezer side of 50 where I stand, 42 is indeed young and getting younger every day. I played A/G for the flag-folding ceremony. And afterward, I did play some of the old traditional tunes also: Flowers of the Forest, Lochaber No More, Chí Mí na Mor Bheanna, The Limerick Lament, and Ar Eirinn ni Neosfainn cé hí. And a little of The Company's Lament.

Tell ya' 'nother thing (as Percy Kilbride used to say): The worst Catholic funeral I was ever at is still better than the best non-Catholic funeral. My liturgical preferences are pretty obvious from the column of links on the left. But I'll take the full ICEL OCP production if the only alternative is the non-Catholic version. The absence of the sacrifice of the Mass and the complete lack of any prayer for the soul of the deceased make these services very depressing for this papist. I always pray for the people I play for and I occasionally have Masses said for their souls.

The Washington Murderer

The police seem to have captured the Washington, D.C. area murderer. Has anyone heard from those "profilers" who were so confidently pointing police to a right-wing, gun-nut, middle-aged white guy as the obvious culprit? Me neither. We probably just missed it; no doubt they were on CNN, MSNBC, and Fox apologizing up one side and down the other.

Wednesday, October 23, 2002

Please excuse John for being tardy

Thursday the 24th will be a full day, starting with a police funeral I'm doing in the morning. My portion shouldn't take long -- they only want Amazing Grace. (It's such a shame. There are all those beautiful traditional tunes written precisely for pipes to play at funerals and all anyone ever wants is A/G.) But I still need to be there thirty minutes beforehand and for the duration. Several appointments during the afternoon probably means no blogging until the evening. The late evening. You have no doubt noticed by now that the Giants have pulled even with the Angels. It is necessary that I pay strict attention to Thursday's game. Mike Scioscia is without doubt counting on me to shout encouragement to the television at the appropriate junctures. I can't let the team down.

24 October

. . . .is the feast of St. Anthony Mary Claret in the Pauline calendar. The references were given for the 23rd, which is his feast day in the traditional calendar.

The traditional calendar keeps the feast of St. Raphael the Archangel on this day. He is a major figure in the book of Tobias in the Old Testament. Also commemorated today is St. Proclus, Archbishop of Constantinople, who died in 447.

Another thank you

. . . .this time to Dave Pawlak of Pompous Ponderings for the link. And a welcome to all who followed the link here.

A Small Pro-Life Victory

But even tiny ones are welcome. From the National Law Journal: The Washington University School of Law in St. Louis has sanctioned, among other groups, a Jewish Law Society and a club for golf enthusiasts. But a group of law students with anti-abortion sentiments was twice denied recognition. However, the Student Bar Association relented last week and granted recognition to Law Students Pro-Life after the group's plight became a cause célèbre for civil rights advocates.

"I expect we will have our war."

So says Jerry Pournelle here. Will it mean the advent of the American empire and the death of the old republic? He thinks so. Some, like Joseph Sobran, think it's already happened.

It is not quite the Republic that Franklin wondered if we would keep, nor is the privilege of imperial citizenship the same as the rights of a free man in a free republic; but it will not be long before there are none who remember what that kind of freedom was like.


. . . .to all those who have been linked here from "Ad Orientem". And a thank-you to Mark for the link and the kind words. Go raibh mile maith a dhuit.

Tuesday, October 22, 2002

Angels Again!

10-4 Angels

And Barry Bonds is truly amazing. I wish he weren't hitting against the Angels. But you have to be in awe of the man.

23 October

. . . .in the Pauline calendar is the feast of the great Capuchin crusader St. John of Capistrano. He was a lawyer who traded his bar card for the Franciscan habit. He accompanied John Hunyadi throughout his campaign against the Turks and was present at the battle of Belgrade. The Mission San Juan Capistrano in California was named after him by the Blessed Fray Junipero Serra. The Mission’s official website is here.
If you click on the “Historic Mission” link and then on the “Tour” link you’ll find some streaming videos on the mission. The one entitled “The Great Stone Church” shows in its opening scenes the magnificent sanctuary, including the golden reredos of the Serra Chapel. The Serra Chapel is where one of the two traditional indult Masses in the Diocese of Orange is celebrated. The narrator doesn’t tell you it’s the Serra chapel, but it is. Off to the right of the chapel you can catch a glimpse of the nicest statue of St. Teresa of Avila I’ve ever seen. The mission itself has been "tourist-ized", if you will, although still very much worth a visit. But the Serra Chapel is pristine. The jewel of Orange County.

On the traditional calendar today is the feast of St. Anthony Mary Claret, Archbishop of Havana and founder of the Claretians (officially the “Congregation of the Sons of the Immaculate Heart of Mary”). The delightful and saintly Fr. Bishop who celebrates the indult Mass in the Archdiocese of Los Angeles is a Claretian.

Finally, in France this is (or at least was) the feast of the Blessed Marie Clotilde and the other Ursulines of Valenciennes. I found nothing on-line about them. So here is what Omer Engelbert has to say:

“For more than two centuries Valenciennes possessed an Ursuline convent. On September 30th, 1790, municipal officials came to make the inventory prescribed by law and to ask the thirty-two sisters present if they wished to re-enter the world. Following the example of their superior Mother Marie Clotilde, they unanimously expressed their wish to remain nuns. In August 1792 they were deprived of the right of teaching and ordered to vacate their house. On September 17th, with the exception of five who were sick and their bursar, all were furnished with regular passports and reached Mons in carriages This Belgian town was then in the power of Austria. The sisters stayed there until November of the following year at which time they returned to Valenciennes, which had just been seized by the Austrians. The latter gave the congregations the right to remain and to teach, and the Ursulines took advantage of it. It was then that three former nuns, deprived of shelter, joined them: two Brigittines and a Poor Clare.

“However, the Austrian army evacuated Valenciennes in August 1794, and the victorious French, re-entering as liberators, immediately drove out those of their compatriots who were suspected of connections with the former regime. Numbered among the ‘fanatics, traitors, and emigrants,’ the Ursulines were confined to their convent. Two-thirds of them escaped their persecutors; eleven from choice or necessity remained in their hands. It was these who, in two groups, mounted the scaffold in the great marketplace on October 17th and 23rd, 1794. All died courageously, happy, they told their executioners, to have come back to Valenciennes ‘to teach the Catholic, apostolic, and Roman religion.’ “

On To Baghdad

A thoughtful article from Pat Buchanan, with many questions that the saber rattlers never choose to answer.

Towns May Bar Churches and Temples From Residential Areas

The Third U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals has allowed Abingdon Township in Pennsylvania to bar a Jewish congregation from purchasing a small monastery formerly used by a group of Catholic nuns. According to the AP report "The facts of this case illustrate why religious uses may be, in some cases, incompatible with a place of 'quiet seclusion.' " "(W)e do not believe land use planners can assume anymore that religious uses are inherently compatible with familiy and residential uses."

This has several interesting aspects. Random thoughts:

Note that the use has been religious since the 1950's. They are not allowed a grandfathered non-conforming use.

If this concept becomes widely applied, it could make the concept of the nieghborhood parish impossible in newer areas. Possibly even in older areas faced with re-development projects. According to the article the area in question is 20% Jewish but they have no synagogue anywhere in the township. It could be done to Catholic churches just as easily. The Byzantine eparchy of Van Nuys had a fight on its hands to get permission to build its church in Anaheim with just these sort of objections being made.

The synagogue is not completely out in the cold. The 3d Circuit ordered a re-hearing based on the points made in their hearing. So the Kol Ami congregation still has a chance.

More on the Rosary

To tell the truth I had expected the Groucho Wing of the traditionalist movement to rail against the Holy Father's suggestions for new mysteries of the Holy Rosary and have not been disappointed. I didn't expect some of the venom I've been reading. One fellow even calls them "wacky novelties". What can he possibly mean by that other than the passages from the Holy Gospels indicated by the pope? One wonders what the point of his "traditionalism" is if the Holy Gospels can become "wacky novelties".

Initially, I had been fully prepared to ignore the new mysteries. In view of the mindless vitriol directed at them by professed Catholics I have become their partisan. I await Thursday - the day of the new Luminous Mysteries - with great anticipation.

Vivat Johannes Paulus. Vivat Maria Regina Sacratissimi Rosarii.

22 October

. . . .is in the old martyrologies the feast of St. Salome, the mother of the Apostles James and John and the daughter of St. Mary of Cleophas. On this day is also kept the memory of two martyrs of the Mohammedans. From Omer Engelbert's Lives of the Saints: "St. Alodia and her sister St. Nunilona. . .were daughters of a Christian woman who had remarried a Moor of importance. So much did their stepfather importune them, that they were compelled to take refuge with their aunt at Huesca. They were found there when the persecution of Abd-er-Rahman II broke out, and from there they were brought to toruture (d. 851).

Monday, October 21, 2002

How does this work?

According to this article in the Daily Telegraph some conservative evangelical clergy in the Church of England are going to refuse their salaries because of the disordered views of the new Archbishop of Canterbury on sexuality. The article says this is the first example of "direct action" against Dr. Williams and that it will "further raise tensions between traditionalists and liberals".

Well, O.K. I'm on the side of the protesting clergy in this one. But, um, how does this work? How does not taking your salary sock it to his lordship? If it had been me, my first thought would have been to refuse to send money to the archbishop. I'm clearly missing something here. Maybe you have to be English and we poor Scots and Irish are just genetically indisposed to understanding the finer points of Anglican church polity. Or maybe it's being American. Is a puzzlement.

21 October

. . . .is the commemoration of St. Hilarion, Abbot in the traditional calendar. He used to counted as a Carmelite in the days when our founding by the prophet Elias was taken quite literally. All of the monastic saints from the area around Palestine seemed to presumed by the Order to be "one of us" in those day. Sons of the prophets. I rather like that and I continue to look upon them as my fathers in the Order.

Let's see, where was I?

The last post pointed out that the up-coming weekend was going to be busy. It was. Saturday morning's wedding went very well. The tuning held during a long service and one tune I recommended not be played, they requested I play anyway. I played it and all seemed delighted with it. I still think it was inappropriate. But it was their service and if they're happy, I'm happy. The afternoon wedding also went fairly well. Toward the end the chanter reed was starting to close down on me and became very easy to over-blow. But with a little care it finished out well. I opened it up with a mandril Saturday night and we'll see how it goes tonight at band rehearsal. The Sunday gig consisted in playing on the dock as the boat (carrying the deceased's ashes to be scattered at sea) left for the open sea. Processed down the dock to the boat with Flowers of the Forest and gave Amazing Grace, as requested while the boat moved out. It went four times through until the boat passed out around the lighthouse. (This was from Rainbow Harbor in Long Beach, if you know the area.)

Back in time for our Secular Carmelite Community's meeting, followed by Sunday Mass. My wife and I got home in time to find the Angels behind by one. Final score: 11-10 Angels. Hoo-yah! (No, I didn't forget Saturday's game. Just passing it over in respectful silence.)

Friday, October 18, 2002

The Wandering Piper

I had quite a bit to do today and the blog suffered. Or received a welcome respite, depending upon how you look at it. And tomorrow shall be much the same. I have a wedding to do locally in the morning -- a 7 or 8 minute drive. In the afternoon I have another wedding, this time in Temecula which is about a two hour drive. Beautiful country around Temecula and there are several fine wineries. A taste of their product would not go amiss. "Catholic men who live upon wine, are deep in the water and frank and fine" and all that, you know. Sunday I am playing in the morning for a memorial service down by the docks. So the pipes should have a fine work out this weekend.

19 October

. . . . is the feast of the great Jesuit martyrs of North America, Sts. Isaac Jogues "and companions": Rene Goupil, Gabriel Lalemant, Anthony Daniel, Jean de Brebeuf, Charles Garnier, Noel Chabanel, and Jean de Lalande.

18 October

Today is for St. Luke the writer of the third Gospel and the Acts of the Apostles. The 18th of October is his on the traditional calendar, the Pauline calendar and the Byzantine calendar. St. Luke's is also a "Prayer Book" day in the Anglican communion. There is a short "life" of St. Luke here which also includes a discussion of his Gospel and the Acts of the Apostles.

There is a tradition that he was a painter. Although people who claim to know about the dating of paintings claim otherwise, several early paintings of the Blessed Virgin Mary carry the tradition that they were painted by St. Luke. Probably the most well-known among western rite Catholics is the icon called Our Lady of Perpetual Help. You can see the icon here along with an explanation of its meaning.

Thursday, October 17, 2002

God grant peace to your soul, Derek

Just saw the news that Derek Bell died suddenly after minor surgery. This is a great sadness for lovers of Irish traditional music. The story as known so far is here and here.

I will play The Flowers of the Forest for him tomorrow.

Ar dheis De go raibh a h'anam.

The Royal Society of Chemistry Honour Sherlock Holmes

No foolin'. Being fictional has not prevented Sherlock from receiving a "Special Honourary Fellowship". It seems they have discovered that he was a pioneer in the use of chemistry to solve crime. Took 'em long enough. I thought Macaulay's veriest schoolboy knew that. See the RSC's website here and click on the appropriate link for more.

The award is going to be presented by - are you ready? - Dr. John Watson, a Fellow of the Royal Society of Chemistry. Honestly. You can read it for yourself.

From the morning papers

There's a good story, not so much about the Angels as about Angel fandom, here. (It's the L.A. Times so you must, like John Charles Daley's next contestant, sign in please.)

I flew back to Beijing that August wearing an Angels cap. I started reading the International Herald Tribune to check the abbreviated Angel box scores on the back page. When the Angels made the 1979 playoffs, my father, at my urging, bought an enormous shortwave radio so that, from across the world, I could have the first of many experiences with October disappointment. The Angels lost to the Orioles in four games.

Otherwise, the only baseball to be had in China was the Wiffle ball contests I organized in a parking lot next to the Forbidden City. Convincing curious Chinese passersby to pitch, I imitated the batting stance of Don Baylor (think Tim Salmon, with more power). Throwing a ball in Tiananmen Square, I pretended I was Nolan Ryan. (When the Angels let him go to Houston, I finally understood the depths of the Chinese dismay with free markets.)

And the "elections". . . .

There is much in the Times and the Press Telegram about our alleged elections which will be coming up in November. Most of the ink is, of course, spilled on the governor's "race", since most of the other "races" have been predetermined by the bargain basement mafia that runs this state. Re-districting, doncha know. There probably aren't a half dozen incumbents who have an actual contest on their hands.

And can someone tell me what happened to Bill Simon? You know, the fellow who's supposed to be running for governor against the late Gray Davis. Is Simon dead, too? Has he been kidnapped by terrorists? Or is it just another in our series of Republican candidates for office in this state who fight for the nomination and then go into hiding for fear someone might vote for them.
Shouldn't someone notify the authorities and have a search mounted?

If he has any kind of campaign organization at all, perhaps in his absence they might consider mounting at least a small campaign for him. Maybe a television ad or two. Or some sort of notice in the newspapers. Send out a flyer. Or has the entire campaign staff been kidnapped, too?

Is anybody there? Anybody? Hello? Bill, can you hear me? If you can, call your office: THERE'S AN ELECTION IN TWO WEEKS!

17 October

. . . . In the traditional Roman calendar today is the feast of St. Margaret Mary Alacoque. References for her were given yesterday. In the Pauline calendar St. Ignatius of Antioch is honoured today. The old Catholic Encyclopaedia gives not only a short précis of his life here but also a discussion of his well-known seven letters to the churches.

In many of the Eastern Churches it is also the feast of St. Andrew of Crete whose Canon of Penitence is prayed during Lent and before the Sacrament of Penance. At least in part (Nine odes and three hundred and twenty Troparia!)

Wednesday, October 16, 2002

You know that paragraph in your owner's manual?

You know. The one in which they tell you the maximum weight load your car can carry? They're serious about that. If you have access to a photocopier you might want to shoot this fellow a copy.

16 October

. . . .is the feast of St. Margaret Mary Alacoque. A short profile of her is given here, including the 12 promises of the Sacred Heart of Jesus. A more complete life can be found here.

Henri Gheon’s short life of St. Margaret Mary is excellent – if you can find it. I have it as part of the old “Image” paperback entitled Secrets of the Saints, which also included biographies of Don Bosco, the Little Flower, and the Cure of Ars. I don’t know if it is still in print in any format. It is well-worth the effort to search for it.

You can’t mention St. Margaret Mary without mentioning the Sacred Heart of Jesus. Thanks to Gerard Serafin for these sites honouring the Sacred Heart of Jesus.

Today is also the feast of St. Hedwig

Tuesday, October 15, 2002

Whatever happens, there is always something from Chesterton that is relevant.

The following seems to me especially so now:

A Hymn

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 honour and the sword,
From sleep and from damnation,
Deliver us, Good Lord!

Tie in a living tether
The prince and priest and thrall,
Bind all our lives together,
Smite us and save us all;
In ire and exultation
Aflame with faith, and free,
Lift up a living nation,
A single sword to thee.

-G.K. Chesterton

The Rosary (again)

Such a lot of kerfuffle on the web over the Holy Father's suggested additional mysteries for meditation. Um, it's a private devotion. If you don't like them, why not just not use them?

A few years ago there was a whole new set of stations of the cross produced for Good Friday. There was also a 15th station suggested for the traditional stations devotion. Did anybody adopt any of this? Anywhere? Was anybody's spritual life irreparably harmed by it?

Of course, what people are really objecting to isn't the new mysteries themselves. It's the mere fact of change. A great many people are competely fed up with it. That means any change, even change manifestly for the better. I would suspect that the real problem here is that it is the wrong time.

In a recent post in a mailing list to which I belong one woman compared it to herself as a housewife. If she re-arranged the living room each week, her husband would soon get tired of it, then irritated by it. Eventually he'd start avoiding the living room altogether.

Try the new mysteries again in 50 years when people again feel at home in their own churches and see what the response is.

And speaking of piping. . . .

I did my annual gig playing for the inaugural session of the American Lawn Bowls Association’s National Open last Friday. Why does it remind me of piping competitions? There must be something about the atmosphere – the “feel” – of the competition environment that is the same everywhere.

And then Saturday, a few tunes for a young man who died of cancer. Young is relative to a degree. And as he was younger than I, I say young without qualification. God rest his soul.

New (sic) Tunes

Last night we had the second session with the new band tunes. Some of us have played the strathspey before but not in a few years. Why is it that even though I have so far forgotten the tune that I need the written music for every part, yet the mistakes are still there right where they always used to be. You’d think I’d have to learn those afresh, too, now wouldn’t you.

Some of last year’s tunes will, I think, go into my permanent repertoire whatever the band does. Loch Ruan is actually a pretty little tune. But we have hammered it to death. I really don’t want to hear it again. But I doubt it will ever go away, no matter how hard I try. Like some of those commercial jingles of my youth. (Has anybody else ever noticed that the old Pepsodent theme “You’ll wonder where the yellow went. . . .” is actually a strathspey? Try it; it is. It seems to be a slightly re-arranged “Roes Amang the Heather”.) And Royal Scots Polka is a knock-out tune. That one is definitely staying alive.

Doña Teresa Sanchez D’Avila Cepeda y Ahumada

. . . .a.k.a. Madre Teresa de Jesus or St. Teresa of Avila is celebrated today in most if not all calendars of the western Church. An excellent essay on her life (in English) done by the Austrian Discalced Carmelites can be found here. Today is a memorial in the standard reformed Roman calendar, a feast for the Ancient Observance Carmelites, and a Solemnity for the Discalced Carmelite Order. In the traditional Roman Rite it is a feast of the third class.

Hæc est dies, qua candidæ
Instar columbæ, cælitum
Ad sacra temple spiritus
Se transtulit Teresiæ

Sponsique voces audiit:
Veni, soror, de vertice
Carmeli ad Agni nuptias:
Veni ad corona gloriæ.

Te, sponse Jesu virginum,
Beati adorent ordines,
Et nuptiali cantico
Laudent per omne sæculum. Amen.

-Proper Hymn for Lauds on the feast of St. Teresa.

Monday, October 14, 2002

GK's Blog

G.K. Chesterton, the Fundator, the fons et origo of "The Inn at the End of the World" has his own blog here. Sort of.

At least if he had a blog, that would be it. A good place to get your daily nutritional supply of GKC.


Not too much blogging about baseball this week. The Giants and the Cardinals will fight it out and the Series will start at the weekend. And the Angels for the first time ever will be in it.

Angeli Domini, Dominum benedicite in aeternum.

14 November

. . . .is the feast of St. Callistus, Pope and Martyr.

If you are a Carmelite, today is a fast day since it is also the vigil of the feast of St. Teresa of Jesus (of Avila). For the Discalced it is also a solemnity, so remember to bring out the red book as there is a proper 1st Vespers!

And a happy Thanksgiving to any Canadians in the congregation.

From Summa Minutiae:

Right at the top of his page underneath the title his motto reads: "An aptness for quotation covers the absence of original thought. - Lord Peter Wimsey"

Crikey, I wish I'd seen that first. Not only does it describe me - and this blog - to a "T" but it's from Lord Peter himself, one of my very favourite detectives. So far as I can tell, I have read every word Sayers ever wrote about him. If you haven't yet, get hold of a copy of The Nine Tailors. Not only is it a cracking good read, but you will learn more about change ringing than you knew existed.

Sunday, October 13, 2002

God in Man

A shuttered house He occupies
Whose home is wider than the skies.
(On Thabor, all its windows lit,
Three men were blinded, seeing it).
He hid His Godhead in some sort,
Successfully, by all report.
(Some jars of water once, they say,
Rebelled and gave the truth away).

-Rev. Charles L. O'Donnell, C.S.C.

The Coming Iraqi War

This article by Jerry Pournelle echoes some of my thoughts and expresses some others that had not occured to me. Begin after the second bar line with the words "I have a lot to do on fiction for the rest of the week." Oddly enough, I especially like his uncertainties. The glib confidence of those who are so eager to go to war ring especially false to me. I am more convinced of its necessity by someone who actually regrets the necessity. "More convinced" I should add is not the same as "convinced".

13 October

. . . .is the 21st Sunday after Pentecost in the traditional Roman Rite and the 28th Sunday per annum in the Pauline Rite. It is also the feast of St. Edward, King and Confessor. His relics can still be visited in Westminster Abbey.

It's also the feast of St. Gerald of Aurillac who is the patron saint of bachelors. There is a fascinating, if non-hagiographical, essay on St. Gerald here.

Saturday, October 12, 2002

Columbus Day

October 12 is also Columbus Day, when we commemorate the discovery and claiming of the new world for Christ by the Servant of God Christopher Columbus in 1492.

Found this today on Gerard Serafin's Blog:

"Sometime in the early seventies Hans Urs von Balthasar commented along these lines:

'The difference between Trent and Vatican II is this:

Trent took a Church that was in chaos and disrepair, and put it in good order and renewed holiness.

Vatican II took a Church in good order and put it into chaos and disrepair.

The difference being that Trent was implemented by saints; while Vatican II was

implemented by bureaucrats.' "

Gerard says that von Balthasar found too much structure and not enough spirit in the implementation of Vatican II. Interesting, as this is almost 180 degrees from what we were continually told at the time of its initial implementation. The mantra went that we should only be interested in the "spirit" of Vatican II; the old "legalism" was dead.

12 October

. . . .is the feast of St. Wilfred, Abbot of Lindisfarne and Bishop of York. When the great Father Faber first became a Catholic, he founded a small order named after St. Wilfred. It did not last, but for a short time there were "Wilfredites". There's more about St. Wilfred here and here.

It is also the traditional feast of Our Lady of the Pillar. Relying on unreliable memory here, but I believe it is Our Lady of the Pillar who is the Commander in Chief of the Armies of Spain.

"The Council" is 40 today

If I hurry and get this published in the next three minutes this will still be 11 October and it will still be the 40th anniversary of the opening of the Second Vatican Council. In my occasionally humble opinion, it has been a catastrophic event in the history of the Church. The documents themselves that were issued by the council are another question. Since they have been almost entirely ignored in practice, as a practical matter, it doesn't make much difference what they say. And it won't make any difference until (or unless) they are interpreted in the light of the constant tradition of the Church and applied according to the mind of the legislators.

In the meantime, the event of the Council has been an excuse for the dismantling of the Church by those who claim an insight into the "spirit" of the council even if it cannot be located in the products of the council.

Friday, October 11, 2002

Angels Two Games up on the Twins

Since last I blogged about them, the Angels have won two more games in their quest for the American League pennant.

Random observations: I couldn't agree more with Doug Krikorian's comment in today's Press Telegram: "I enjoy watching David Eckstein play baseball, since he plays it so smartly and resourcefully and joyfully. . . ." He's got that Pete Rose Charlie Hustle attitude. When he makes contact with the ball, he's racing for first base. None of that lost-cause-loping that Someone Else (who shall remain nameless) is guilty of. And who would've gotten on base at least once if he'd been running all out from the git-go -- because the easy-out ball was dropped by the fielder.

Alex Ochoa earned his keep in the outfield tonight. Switiching him out with Tim Salmon seemed a good move; a man with an injured leg probably couldn't have made at least one of those crucial outs that Ochoa made.

It's hard to root agains the Twins. All those Polish and Hispanic names; the whole team could be Catholic. And they keep showing Pierzynski crossing himself as he comes up to the plate. I'm getting a complex here. One has to keep bearing in mind that Mike Scioscia is an RC. He attended Assumption parish in Claremont when he played for the Dodgers. Says so in this week's Tidings. And, anyway, the Twins fans seem like such decent folks. Yankees fans act like they eat small children for breakfast. It's easy to wish a loss on them. But Twins fans are good folks who drove all the way down from North Dakota (I mean, North Dakota, fer cryin' out loud) to see their team. What kind of a low-lfie wants to wish any more misery into their lives? I use the principal of double effect here. One only wants the Angels to win. Desolate Twins fans is not the primary effect desired from the game, merely an unintended consequence. You never know when Aquinas will come in handy.

St. Teresia Benedicta a Cruce

. . . otherwise known as St. Edith Stein. While not her feast day - that's in August - it is the anniversary of her canonization on this 11th day of October.

"It is good to think about our having our citizenship in heaven and the saints of heaven as our fellow citizens. . . .Then it is easier to bear the things that are on earth." -St. Teresia Benedicta

Osama's Greatest Hits

Right after the comics and the box scores I do actually look at the news sections of the mornining papers. Usually. If I have time. I did this morning, and whadya know? Osama's got a hit record.

"DOHA, Qatar -- The latest CD to hit the streets may not yet be No. 1, but it is climbing the charts.

For about $8, Qataris can buy a 70-minute disc featuring Osama bin Laden discussing his views and urging forceful action against the United States."

You can find the whole article in the L.A. Times here. It doesn't say what his "style" is. Rock? Country? Folk? Techno? It says he "discusses" his views so maybe it's rap. I think we can be fairly certain it isn't going to be filed in the "Contemporary Christian" bin.

Thursday, October 10, 2002

11 October

. . .is the feast in the traditional calendard of the Motherhood of Mary. The new calendar has much the same feast on the first of January which is listed as The Solemnity of Mary, the Mother of God.

The old second nocturn at Matins gives the background for today's feast:

"In the yar 1931 a jubilee marking the fifteenth centenary of the Council of Ephesus was celebrated to the great joy of the whole Catholic world. The fathers at that Council, under the guidance of Pope Celestine, formally condemned the errors of Nestorius and declared as Catholic faith the doctrine that the Blessed Virgin Mary, who gve birth to Jesus, was truly the Mother of God. Prompted by holy zeal, Pope Pius XI determined that the memory of so important an event continue alive in the Church. Accordingly he ordered the renovation of Rome’s famous memorial to the Council of Ephesus, namely, the triumphal arch and transept in the Basilica of St. Mary Major on the Esquiline. His predecessor Pope St. Sixtus III (432-440) had embellished that arch with a beautiful mosaic, but time had done it damage.

In an encyclical Pius XI, morerover, underscored the principal teachings of the General council at Ephesus, developing in detail and with loving affection the singular privilege of divine Motherhood granted to the Blessed Virgin Mary. For so sublime a mystery should ever become more firmly anchored in the hearts of the faithful. At the same time the Pope singled out Mary, the Mother of God and the one blessed among women together with the holy Family of Nazareth as the foremost model of the dignity and sanctity of chaste married life and for the religious education of youth. Lastly, in order that this event should likewise have its liturgical memorial, the Pope decreed that a feast in honor of the divine Motherhood of the Blessed Virgin Mary with a proper Mass and Office rated as a double of the second class be celebrated annually throughout the Church on October 11.”
-quoted text is taken from Pius Parsch's "The Church's Year of Grace", volume V, pp 277-8.

Origins of the Modern World

A review of Deborah Cadbury's The Lost King of France. A disturbing story of what the proponents of "the rights of man" and enlightenment did to a small boy who had the misfortune to be the son of the King of France. The precis related in the review is appalling enough. The book must be horrifying.

On Perseverance

“In a work by the amiable Mr. Alban Butler, there is the following anecdote: ‘During the civil War, the famous Marquis of Worcester marching once in Cardiganshire, near the ruins of a monastery, at Strata Florida, a woman who was a hundred years old was presented to him, who had remembered the monks in Catholic times, and had lived above three-score years in great regret for the loss of the public service of the altar, and in constant private devotion, without seeing a priest, nor thinking that any could be found in England. The Marquis asked her, ‘When the religion altered, you altered with the religion?’ She answered, ‘No, master, I stayed to see whether or not the people of the new religion would be better than the people of the old; and could see them in nothing, but grow worse and worse, and charity to wax colder and colder, and so I kept me to my old religion, I thank God, and mean, by God’s grace, to live and die in it.’

When the Marquis told her he would take her to Ragland Castle (his seat in Monmouthshire), where she would find a priest, and might hear Mass every day, she was so transported with joy, that she died before the next morning. The Marquis wept when he heard of her death, and said, ‘If this poor soul died where she might have served God, how joyfully will she serve Him in a place where she will never die.’ “


from Kenelm Henry Digby’s “Morus”, the third volume of his “The Broadstone of Honour or Rules for the Gentlemen of England”, appearing in 1826-7. This text is taken from that portion excerpted in Francis Beauchesne Thornton’s anthology “Return to Tradition”, Bruce Publishing Company, Milwaukee, Wisconsin (1948)

Wednesday, October 09, 2002

10 October

. . .is the feast of St. Francis Borgia, S.J. in the traditional calendar. He was born on 30 September 1572 and canonize in 1671. A remarkably quick canonization. On his father's side he was the great-grandchild of the notorioius Pope Alexander VI. After the death of his wife, he became a Jesuit and eventually the third Father General of the Jesuits. There's more about him here. He doesn't seem to have made it into the reformed calendar.

This is also the day on which the second group of Franciscan martyrs, Ss. Daniel, Hugolinus, Samuel, Nicholas, Leo, Agnellus, and Donulus were martyred in 1227. The Franciscan keep (used to keep?) their feast on the 13th of October. They travelled to north Africa to convert the Mohammedans. According to Omer Englebert's hagiography "(i)n the presence of the Moors they soon began to vituperate Mohammed, asserting that he was burning in the pit of hell and that all his followers would certainly join him there. Like certian Christians of the primitive Church, they sought martyrdom as the supreme testimony of their love for Christ and as the best means of spreadng the true faith." The Catholic Encyclopaedia article asserts that the sultan first arrested them, not for blasphemy, but because he thought they were mad. In the end though, they were beheaded for refusing to acknowledge the Koran.

". . .the great flagons in the tavern at the end of the world"

. . .are, of course, not filled with Sam Adams beer. And everyone here has, of course, sworn off it entirely. But that is certainly no excuse for resorting to Budweiser. Even the lowliest supermarket has a wealth of choices. Guinness is no longer the gaseous battery acid brew that it was not so very long ago for those who had the misfortune not to live in Dublin. Their "Widget, a plastic ring inside canned GUINNESS Draught which releases nitrogen into the beer as it is opened, creating a creamy, long-lasting foam" has made Guinness in cans almost the delight it is in Dublin.

Disputations has brought up an excellent point. Not drinking Sam Adams will make their market share go down. A good thing. Drinking more of a competitor's product will make it go down even more. A better thing. We are, after all, called to sacrifice.

Anyway, I need a beer to console myself after the Angel's razor thin loss last night.

Tuesday, October 08, 2002

9 October

. . . .is the feast of St. John Leonardi in both the traditional and the reformed calendars. St. John is a relatively new saint, being canonized by Pope Pius XII in 1941 at the height of the second world war. He founded the Clerks Regular of the Mother of God. This congregation still existed at the time of the publication of the old Catholic Encyclopaedia but I cannot tell if it still does.

This is also the feast of St. Dionysius - or Denys – of Paris, the patron of that city. It appears he was confused with Dionysius the Areopagite, who was in turn confused with an unknown writer referred to as Pseudo-Dionysius resulting in a hagiography that is a bit of a muddle.

For your library. . . .

This was reprinted recently in a mailing list to which I subscribe. It is well-worth giving a wider audience. (At the end of the article there is some information on acquiring the book that is being reviewed.) The review is by my friend Kirk Kramer and appeared originally in The Sooner Catholic.

With the author's permission, herewith:


[Review of Poetic Knowledge: The Recovery of Education, by James S.
Taylor. 1998, State University of New York Press, for the Family Life
Office supplement to The Sooner Catholic, by Kirk Kramer]

O Lord our Lord, how admirable is thy name in all the earth!

My heart leaps up when I behold
A rainbow in the sky.

Twinkle, twinkle little star,
How I wonder what you are.

Awe. Admiration. Amazement. Marvel. Delight. The Psalmist,
Wordsworth, the child who looks up at the night sky and lisps the
nursery rhyme, all speak of that passion of wonder which Aristotle
taught is the beginning of philosphy. The immediate, direct
apprehension of reality that inspires wonder and awe is called by St
Thomas Aquinas "poetica scientia", poetic knowledge. It is the first
of the four kinds of knowledge that St Thomas distinguishes. It is
this neglected, even distrusted way of knowing that is the subject of
an important new book published by the State University of New York

The author, Dr James Taylor, explains that poetic knowledge is
not merely a knowledge of poetry, "but rather a poetic experience of

Poetic experience indicates an encounter with reality that is
nonanalytical, something that is perceived as beautiful, awful (awe-
full), spontaneous, mysterious. . . . Poetic knowledge is a
spontaneous act of the external and internal senses with the
intellect, integrated and whole, rather than an act associated with
the powers of analytic reasoning. . . . It is, we might say,
knowledge from the inside out, radically different from a knowledge
about things. In other words, it is the opposite of scientific

If this passage seems like heavy going, abstract and difficult,
it must be said straight away that it is, and that it is not the only
one. This book is a work of philosphy, the kind of book that calls
for the powers of a Francis Kovach or an Etienne Gilson or some other
great teacher of the Thomistic Revival to be properly studied and
absorbed. The author's elucidation of the distinction between
subjectivism and subjectivity is brilliant (and incidentally of great
value, at least to this reviewer, for understanding the philosophical
personalism of the present pope). Dr Taylor has has made an
exhaustive study both of what poetic knowledge is, using the methods
and vocabulary of scholastic philosphy, and of its history from
ancient Greece through the Middle Ages down to its deformation since
the time of Descartes in the 17th century.

However, the book is not only or principally a philosophical
treatise, of interest solely to academics. Consider these passages:

When Wordsworth writes "My heart leaps up when I behold / A
rainbow in the sky" . . . , something of the rainbow's reality is
truly known, but rational explanation alone is insufficient, in fact
impossible, for this is the gaze of contemplation, of love. It is the
difference between being unexpectedly moved by an unknown attractive
face--desiring to know the person better--and the desperate
premeditation of computer dating.

Knowledge at the poetic level considers neither ends nor means.
. . . For example, in the case of furniture there are chairs and
tables placed together in such a way that we may sit and have a meal.
Sometimes we consider these things in themselves apart from any
purpose as in the case of their beauty: a Shaker-style chair, for
example, set on a polished wood-plank floor, against a white-washed
wall with the sunlight from a bare window fallings in beams and
shadows across the room. It is a serene view, and for that moment
completely without purpose, yet the viewer is certainly filled with a
profound and mysterious sense of the real and of the beauty of this

So when Aristotle speaks, in the tradition of Socrates, about
the qualities of music contrary to the virtues, to grasp his meaning
we have only to recall the obvious effects, worldwide in our day, of
rock music and musicians on manners and style of life on millions of
children. Braving a generalization in the spirit of Socrates, I
would say that such music perfectly promotes the contraries of the
virtues: violence, brazen vulgarity, and intemperance.

And a marvellous section, too long for quotation here, where Dr
Taylor comments on these lines from Rousseau: "Love childhood,
indulge its games, its pleasures, its delightful instincts", and "May
I venture to state the greatest, the most useful role of education?
It is: do not save time, lose it".

As Dr Taylor says above in defining poetic knowledge, "it is the
opposite of scientific knowledge". The scientific knowledge he speaks
of is not science in the ancient and Thomistic sense of metaphysics,
but knowledge which is empirical, quantifiable, dialectical. It is
the kind of knowledge demanded by Professor Thomas Gradgrind in
Dickens' Hard Times.

Now what I want is Facts. Teach these boys and girls nothing
but Facts. Facts alone are wanted in life. Plant nothing else. You
can only form the minds of reasoning animals upon Facts: nothing else
will ever be of any service to them.

The modern West (far more than the East), and modern education
especially, are faithful disciples of Thomas Gradgrind in believing
that "Facts" are the only thing of any importance.

The chief interest of this book for parents, and its importance
for family life, lies in its discussion of the role of poetic
knowledge and experience in education. Having laid the philosophical
and historical groundwork, the final chapters of this book discuss
concrete, practical ways in which a school inspired by the poetic
mode of learning will teach and function. They also relate the story
of two attempts in the 20th century to take seriously Aristotle's
dictum that philosophy begins in wonder, and that unless a man's
education awakens his heart to this disposition of wonder, he can
never fruitfully study anything. One of these was a boarding school
for boys at a village in France called Maslacq, which closed in 1950
(among its alumni is the Abbot of Le Barroux). Nearly twenty years
later, in the midst of the student unrest of the late 1960s, the
second was established at the University of Kansas. It was called the
Integrated Humanities Program.

Dr Taylor writes:

The professors of the I.H.P. clearly recognized the steady
falling off of students' abilities to read, speak, and write on a
general level taken for granted only a generation ago. But the goal
was never to improve test scores. They would say that the tests
themselves and the entire system built up around such Cartesian
measurement instruments were an indication of the problem in modern

The professors in the I.H.P. did more, however, than bemoan the
problem. They set out to solve it by stirring up wonder in the
hearts of their students. How?

The core of the I.H.P. was a four-semester sequence of
humanities courses in which the students read and considered the
great books of Western civilization: in the first semester, Homer and
other Greek writers, in the second, Virgil and the Romans, in the
third, the Bible and St Augustine and other writers of the Middle
Ages, and finally Shakespeare and other modern writers. So far the
curriculum appears identical to Great Books or letters programs at a
hundred other colleges. But there the similarity ends.

The three professors of the I.H.P. spent class conversing
together about the assigned books. The students were not allowed to
take notes, but rather were asked to listen. The aim of these
conversations was not to use the books to impart moral instruction,
much less to pile up facts about them and their authors and their
historical setting. Rather the professors sought to help the students
to experience the purpose of all stories and songs and poems:
delight. In place of Cliff notes and all the other suffocating
apparatus of modern critical scholarship, the conversations of the
professors revealed the beauty of these books and made the hearts of
their students leap up in delight. Outside of this core class, the
students met in smaller groups to memorize poetry, not by reading it
from a book, but by hearing it recited by upperclassmen and then
repeating it. The students also learned calligraphy, the art of
beautiful writing. An attempt was made early in the program to teach
horseback riding, a poetic way of teaching young men chivalry (a word
which means a man upon a horse) far more effective than mere didactic
instruction. In Dr Taylor's words, "Night-time outings were organized
for star gazing with the unaided eye where students learned to
recognize the constellations and their main stars and the Greek
stories that accompanied them." (How important for wonder is that
verb to gaze!) "In addition to the weekly lectures, the I.H.P. also
offered Latin, taught in the beginning entirely by the oral method,
that is, without the use of a textbook or formal grammar." Each
semester the students learned several traditional songs, and often
the class would begin with the students singing a favorite by
Stephen Foster. Each winter the older students in the I.H.P. began
teaching the younger ones to waltz, and together they hired an
orchestra and organized a formal spring waltz--poetry incarnate.

The Integrated Humanities Program, as it had existed in its
heyday in the 1970s, had come to an end by the mid-1980s. But it
remains an example and a lesson today. It reminds homeschoolers, and
the veterans of the pro-life movement and of the battles against the
silly liturgical and educational experiments of the last few decades,
not to succumb to a mean, hypercritical spirit that is suspicious of
everything and expects the worst of everyone. Braving, as Dr Taylor
has done, a generalization in the spirit of Socrates, I would say
that it suggests to parents, teachers, and students that they should
worry less about science and math, and devote more time to
literature, history, languages, music, and art, taught and studied
poetically (throw out the textbooks, smash the televison, and
disconnect the internet). And never give a thought to ACT scores,
grade point averages, or how something's going to look on your resume.

The last chapter of the book, 'The Future of the Poetic Mode of
Knowledge in Education', begins with some other lines from Wordsworth:

I listened, motionless and still;
And, as I mounted up the hill
The music in my heart I bore,
Long after it was heard no more.

Dr Taylor, both as a student and as a teacher, has harkened to the
music and the Muse of poetic knowledge. In the final chapter, he
makes a passionate call for the restoration of the poetic mode to
education. Or if that is too much to ask, then the establishment of
at least one school grounded in this way of knowing and the tradition
that grew out of it in pagan antiquity and the Christian West. Let
his eloquence have the last word:

To found a school (of this kind) requires only the listening
heart of perhaps just one courageous, poetic soul who has come to
see - intuitively and positively in an awful delight of wonder, as
well as from the heights of reason and deliberate serious thought -
that our land, our homes, the heavens and the earth, and those dear
and those distant from us are important not only in their nature, but
have meaning and purpose far beyond the reach of the current means of
analysis and measurement. . . . Science sees knowledge as power;
poetic knowledge is admiratio - love.

[This book can be ordered by calling the SUNY Press tollfree at
800/666-2211, or from]


The following passage is an example of the poetic mode of knowledge
that will delight every Sooner Catholic.

The immediate (practical) purpose of drinking a cup of coffee is
to wash the biscuit down; the proximate (ethical), the intimate
communion of (say) cowboys standing around a campfire in a drenching
rain, water curling off their Stetsons, over yellow slickers,
splashing on the rowels of spurs, their faces creased with squinting
at the sun, drawing the bitter liquid down their several throats into
the single moral belly of their comradeship. The remote (political)
purpose of coffee at the campfire, especially in the rain, is the
making of Americans: born on the frontier, free, frank, friendly,
touchy about honor, despisers of fences, lovers of horses,
worshippers of eagles and women. Nations have their drinks: the
English tea, the Irish whiskey, the Germans beer. Drinking coffee
from a can is us. The ultimate purpose is mystical. To drink a can
of coffee with the cowboys in the rain is as Odysseus said of
Alcinous's banquet: something like perfection.

John Senior, The Restoration of Innocence.

"Out of curiosity, I phoned the
SUNY Press to see whether this book is still available from them.
The paperback is out of stock, but the hardback is available for
$22.50 plus $4 shipping, for a total of $26.50 (no tax). That's
considerably less than the $60 it originally cost. Call 'em on
800/666-2211 & you can order it with a credit card. If you do not
own it, you absolutely should order a copy. The author speaks
explicitly of the kind of poetic knowledge given in the old Mass.
This book is of particular interest to teachers and homeschoolers."

8 October

. . . .is the traditional feast of "St. Bridget of Sweden. Day of death: July 23, 1373 (October 8 commemorates the day of her canonization I391). Grave: she died in Rome; her body was transferred to Vadstena, Sweden. Life. St. Bridget, patroness of Sweden and one of the great mystics of the Middle Ages, was born about the year 1303 at Upsala, Sweden. While still in the womb, she saved her royal mother from shipwreck at sea. A sermon on the sufferings of Christ made a lasting impression on her as a ten-year-old child; the following night she was privileged with a vision of the crucified Savior who invited her to meditate constantly on His bitter passion.

Later she married a nobleman and did eminently well in the difficult art of rearing children; for her daughter Katherine also received the honors of the altar. In 1344 her husband entered the Cistercian Order, where he soon died. Thereafter she was favored with extraordinary revelations. Following the wishes of our Savior, she founded a religious Order. She used her influence with Pope Urban V to encourage him to leave Avignon and return to Rome; but after a three-year residence at Rome, he left again for Avignon. In other respects, too, Bridget strove zealously for the reform of bishops and members of diocesan curias, of priests and monks.” [from “The Church’s Year of Grace”, Pius Parsch, vol V, The Liturgical Press, Collegeville, Minn, (1959), pgs. 269-270]

Monday, October 07, 2002

The New Season

No, not television. The new band season. Tonight is our first rehearsal for the new pipe band season. Tonight I find out what the new tunes are going to be. We'll have to learn a new MSR - that's march, strathspey, and reel - and a new competition medley at least. And refresh the old parade tunes and learn some new ones. I'm assuming tonight will be mostly practice chanter on new tunes. But I'd better replace my Selbie bass drone reed with the Henderson just in case. The Selbie doesn't always strike in cleanly but it's got a much more robust sound than my mach I Henderson.

On this day in history, Islam was stopped. . .



White founts falling in the Courts of the sun,
And the Soldan of Byzantium is smiling as they run;
There is laughter like the fountains in that face of all men feared,
It stirs the forest darkness, the darkness of his beard;
It curls the blood-red crescent, the crescent of his lips;
For the inmost sea of all the earth is shaken with his ships.
They have dared the white republics up the capes of Italy,
They have dashed the Adriatic round the Lion of the Sea,
And the Pope has cast his arms abroad for agony and loss,
And called the kings of Christendom for swords about the Cross.
The cold queen of England is looking in the glass;
The shadow of the Valois is yawning at the Mass;
From evening isles fantastical rings faint the Spanish gun,
And the Lord upon the Golden Horn is laughing in the sun.

Dim drums throbbing, in the hills half heard,
Where only on a nameless throne a crownless prince has stirred,
Where, risen from a doubtful seat and half attainted stall,
The last knight of Europe takes weapons from the wall,
The last and lingering troubadour to whom the bird has sung,
That once went singing southward when all the world was young.
In that enormous silence, tiny and unafraid,
Comes up along a winding road the noise of the Crusade.
Strong gongs groaning as the guns boom far,
Don John of Austria is going to the war,
Stiff flags straining in the night-blasts cold
In the gloom black-purple, in the glint old-gold,
Torchlight crimson on the copper kettle-drums,
Then the tuckets, then the trumpets, then the cannon, and he comes.
Don John laughing in the brave beard curled,
Spurning of his stirrups like the thrones of all the world,
Holding his head up for a flag of all the free.
Love-light of Spain--hurrah!
Death-light of Africa!
Don John of Austria
Is riding to the sea.

Mahound is in his paradise above the evening star,
(Don John of Austria is going to the war.)
He moves a mighty turban on the timeless houri's knees,
His turban that is woven of the sunsets and the seas.
He shakes the peacock gardens as he rises from his ease,
And he strides among the tree-tops and is taller than the trees;
And his voice through all the garden is a thunder sent to bring
Black Azrael and Ariel and Ammon on the wing.
Giants and the Genii,
Multiplex of wing and eye,
Whose strong obedience broke the sky
When Solomon was king.

They rush in red and purple from the red clouds of the morn,
From the temples where the yellow gods shut up their eyes in scorn;
They rise in green robes roaring from the green hells of the sea
Where fallen skies and evil hues and eyeless creatures be,
On them the sea-valves cluster and the grey sea-forests curl,
Splashed with a splendid sickness, the sickness of the pearl;
They swell in sapphire smoke out of the blue cracks of the ground,--
They gather and they wonder and give worship to Mahound.
And he saith, "Break up the mountains where the hermit-folk can hide,
And sift the red and silver sands lest bone of saint abide,
And chase the Giaours flying night and day, not giving rest,
For that which was our trouble comes again out of the west.
We have set the seal of Solomon on all things under sun,
Of knowledge and of sorrow and endurance of things done.
But a noise is in the mountains, in the mountains, and I know
The voice that shook our palaces--four hundred years ago:
It is he that saith not 'Kismet'; it is he that knows not Fate;
It is Richard, it is Raymond, it is Godfrey at the gate!
It is he whose loss is laughter when he counts the wager worth,
Put down your feet upon him, that our peace be on the earth."
For he heard drums groaning and he heard guns jar,
(Don John of Austria is going to the war.)
Sudden and still--hurrah!
Bolt from Iberia!
Don John of Austria
Is gone by Alcalar.

St. Michaels on his Mountain in the sea-roads of the north
(Don John of Austria is girt and going forth.)
Where the grey seas glitter and the sharp tides shift
And the sea-folk labour and the red sails lift.
He shakes his lance of iron and he claps his wings of stone;
The noise is gone through Normandy; the noise is gone alone;
The North is full of tangled things and texts and aching eyes,
And dead is all the innocence of anger and surprise,
And Christian killeth Christian in a narrow dusty room,
And Christian dreadeth Christ that hath a newer face of doom,
And Christian hateth Mary that God kissed in Galilee,--
But Don John of Austria is riding to the sea.
Don John calling through the blast and the eclipse
Crying with the trumpet, with the trumpet of his lips,
Trumpet that sayeth _ha_!
Domino gloria!
Don John of Austria
Is shouting to the ships.

King Philip's in his closet with the Fleece about his neck
(Don John of Austria is armed upon the deck.)
The walls are hung with velvet that is black and soft as sin,
And little dwarfs creep out of it and little dwarfs creep in.
He holds a crystal phial that has colours like the moon,
He touches, and it tingles, and he trembles very soon,
And his face is as a fungus of a leprous white and grey
Like plants in the high houses that are shuttered from the day,
And death is in the phial and the end of noble work,
But Don John of Austria has fired upon the Turk.
Don John's hunting, and his hounds have bayed--
Booms away past Italy the rumour of his raid.
Gun upon gun, ha! ha!
Gun upon gun, hurrah!
Don John of Austria
Has loosed the cannonade.

The Pope was in his chapel before day or battle broke,
(Don John of Austria is hidden in the smoke.)
The hidden room in man's house where God sits all the year,
The secret window whence the world looks small and very dear.
He sees as in a mirror on the monstrous twilight sea
The crescent of his cruel ships whose name is mystery;
They fling great shadows foe-wards, making Cross and Castle dark,
They veil the plume graved lions on the galleys of St. Mark;
And above the ships are palaces of brown, black-bearded chiefs,
And below the ships are prisons, where with multitudinous griefs,
Christian captives sick and sunless, all a labouring race repines
Like a race in sunken cities, like a nation in the mines.
They are lost like slaves that sweat, and in the skies of morning hung
The stair-ways of the tallest gods when tyranny was young.
They are countless, voiceless, hopeless as those fallen or fleeing on
Before the high Kings' horses in the granite of Babylon.
And many a one grows witless in his quiet room in hell
Where a yellow face looks inward through the lattice of his cell,
And he finds his God forgotten, and he seeks no more a sign--
(But Don John of Austria has burst the battle-line!)
Don John pounding from the slaughter-painted poop,
Purpling all the ocean like a bloody pirate's sloop,
Scarlet running over on the silvers and the golds,
Breaking of the hatches up and bursting of the holds,
Thronging of the thousands up that labour under sea
White for bliss and blind for sun and stunned for liberty.

Vivat Hispania!
Domino Gloria!
Don John of Austria
Has set his people free!

Cervantes on his galley sets the sword back in the sheath
(Don John of Austria rides homeward with a wreath.)
And he sees across a weary land a straggling road in Spain,
Up which a lean and foolish knight for ever rides in vain,
And he smiles, but not as Sultans smile, and settles back the blade....
(But Don John of Austria rides home from the Crusade.)