Saturday, July 16, 2005

My Devotion To Our Lady of Mount Carmel

Both the reformed and traditional calendars of feasts specify today as the Feast of Our Lady of Mount Carmel. For generations, Carmelite monks maintained a monastery on Mount Carmel in what is now Syria. At the time, the Carmelites were a contemplative order under the patronage of the Blessed Mother.

In the Thirteenth Century, Simon Stock, an Englishman, became general of the Carmelite order. In 1226 Pope Honorious III recognized the rule of the Carmelite order on July 16th. On July 16th, 1251, the Blessed Mother appeared to Simon Stock, and provided him with a brown scapular, with a promise that those who wore it to honor her would be released from Purgatory on the Saturday after they died. This feast was extended to the whole Church in 1726. Simon Stock was later canonized.

I have a special devotion to Our Lady of Mount Carmel. For one thing, July 16th is my birthday. For another, when I returned to an active faith many years ago, it was largely through the Carmelites. As I started to become active in the Church again, a Carmelite priest heard my first confession in about ten years. At the time I was a bachelor without very much in the way of direction or guidance.

The Carmelite Chapel at the North Shore Shopping Center became my regular parish for almost two years. Yes, for those not familiar with the area, there is a Carmelite chapel on the lower level of a shopping mall here (and another one on the main level of the Prudential Mall in Boston). It is very well-frequented - SRO for most of its Saturday Masses. It appeals to people who don't want to be attached to a regular parish, dislike the pastor at their own parish, or just don't have the time or resources to seek out a new parish. And since then, I have become acquainted with several third order Carmelites, and one cloistered Carmelite who took her final vows two years ago today in Iowa.

In addition to the images of Our Lady that have appared here during the novena and today, there is a good file of Carmelite images in the Our Lady of Mount Carmel file at Recta Ratio: The Yahoo Group, the other half of my Recta Ratio project.

Off Today

In addition to being the Feast of Our Lady of Mount Carmel, it is also my 41st birthday.

Keep me in your prayers as I sure need 'em.

Our Lady of Mount Carmel

Flos Carmeli
Flos Carmeli,
vitis florigera,
splendor caeli,
virgo puerpera

Mater mitis
sed viri nescia
esto propitia
stella maris.

Radix Iesse
germinans flosculum
nos ad esse
tecum in saeculum

Inter spinas
quae crescis lilium
serva puras
mentes fragilium

fortis pugnantium
furunt bella
tende praesidium

Per incerta
prudens consilium
per adversa
iuge solatium

Mater dulcis
Carmeli domina,
plebem tuam
reple laetitia
qua bearis.

clavis et ianua,
fac nos duci
quo, Mater, gloria

Flower of Carmel,
Tall vine blossom laden;
Splendor of heaven,
Childbearing yet maiden.
None equals thee.

Mother so tender,
Who no man didst know,
On Carmel's children
Thy favors bestow.
Star of the Sea.

Strong stem of Jesse,
Who bore one bright flower,
Be ever near us
And guard us each hour,
who serve thee here.

Purest of lilies,
That flowers among thorns,
Bring help to the true heart
That in weakness turns
and trusts in thee.

Strongest of armor,
We trust in thy might:
Under thy mantle,
Hard press'd in the fight,
we call to thee.

Our way uncertain,
Surrounded by foes,
Unfailing counsel
You give to those
who turn to thee.

O gentle Mother
Who in Carmel reigns,
Share with your servants
That gladness you gained
and now enjoy.

Hail, Gate of Heaven,
With glory now crowned,
Bring us to safety
Where thy Son is found,
true joy to see.

Friday, July 15, 2005

There, They Call It Cheek

Here, we call it gall.

Finally In Order

I have adjusted the old Missal images at the bottom of the page, after much planning and cutting and pasting, so that they now actually reflect a reasonably chronological approach to the life of the Lord on earth.

Thanks for your patience.

You Know, It Has Been 100 Days...

There have been lots of photos of Pope Benedict XVI published on-line, on TV, in the print media.

Yet, 100 days into his papacy, a Google image search under the terms "Pope Benedict XVI" or "Pope Benedict" still only turns up images of prior Pope Benedicts. Isn't it about time for Google to update this?

While a Yahoo image search for the same terms yields many results, they come up in bitmap format, unusable in blogger or in a Yahoo group.

You have to do an MSN search to get usable jpegs of the Holy Father (or a web search under Google, and hope to find images).

100 Days of Pope Benedict

Sandro Magister on the first 100 days of this papacy. Good analysis, as always.

Pope Benedict on vacation

London Bomb-Maker Arrested In Cairo

This may the guy who made the bombs that murdered over 50 Londoners last week.

God may have mercy on him, but no one else ought to.

Fire At the North Shore Music Theater

Shows for this weekend, at least, cancelled.

I have only been there once in my life, a wonderful performance of The Mikado 6 years ago this month.

All This Stuff About Pope Benedict Condemning Harry Potter Is Just Stuff

Routine correspondence, probably written by a clerk, and signed by the then-cardinal. No big deal. No evidence that the current Holy Father ever actually read any of the Harry Potter books, or considered any implications that they may contain.

And on review, the book that was condemning HP that the letter was connected with is not a serious critique by a knowing reviewer, just the rantings of a crank the cadinal's office was politely responding to.

So you can read Harry Potter in good conscience.

Courtesy of Jimmy Akin.

Another Fine Blog Goes Into Retirement

Fiat Mihi this time.
Saintly Salmagundi, Fiat Mihi, and Apologia in the last 2 months.


A New Martyr

Italian-born missionary bishop murdered in Kenya.

Requiescat in pace.

Not Leaving Yet

Chief Justice Rehnquist says he is not stepping down from the court yet.

What is he waiting for, the Democrats to control the Senate, as they likely will after the mid-term elections, so that a good conservative choice to succed him can be blocked?

What an incredibly selfish move! Now is the time to go. There is a consenus now, with Republicans in charge of the Senate, that a "hard" conservative can be replaced with a "hard" conservative, as that just maintains the balance of the court. But if the Democrats take control after the 2006 elections, we will not have that luxury. They will block anyone who does not hew to their line, as they have with all of the President's judical nominations since 2001. Better to now get that seat sown up for another 30 years, God willing, in an off-year.

"The Seraphic Doctor"

July 15th is the feast of Saint Bonaventure (formerly July 14th). July 15th was St. Bonaventure's actual death date, so I have no issue with this slight shange int eh calendar, unlike, say, St. Thomas, moved from December 22nd to July 3rd for no good reason.

I can't see the writing on the holy card very clearly, but it looks like it might be German to my incredibly myopic eyes.

Here is a good short biography of this Doctor of the Church. Boy, the 1200s were a great time! Saint Bonaventure was closely associated with St. Francis of Assisi (whose biography he wrote), was close friends with St. Thomas Aquinas, and was associated with the transfer of the relics of St. Anthony of Padua. And this was the time when the great gothic cathedrals were building, Gregorian chant was filling cathedral and cloister, the Mass was in Latin, and nobody thought of grabbing the had of the person next to them in the pew during the Pater Noster.

Novena To Our Lady of Mount Carmel

Ninth Day: July 15th

O Most Holy Mother of Mount Carmel,
when asked by a saint to grant privileges to the family of Carmel,
thou gave assurance of thy Motherly love
and help to those faithful to thee and to thy Son.
Behold us, thy children.

We glory in wearing thy holy habit,
which makes us members of thy family of Carmel,
through which we shall have thy powerful protection in life,
at death and even after death.

Look down with love,
O Gate of Heaven,
on all those now in their last agony!

Look down graciously,
O Virgin, Flower of Carmel,
on all those in need of help!

Look down mercifully,
O Mother of our Savior,
on all those who do not know
that they are numbered among thy children.

Look down tenderly,
O Queen of All Saints,
on the poor souls!

(State your request here...)

Recite the following prayers...

Our Father...
Hail Mary...
Glory Be...

Our Lady of Mount Carmel,
pray for us.

Thursday, July 14, 2005

How To Foil Those Hand Grabbers

Gerald at The Cafeteria Is Closed has a good suggestion to keep people from trying to incorporate you into their hand-holding chain during the Pater Noster at a "progressive" parish you have the misfortune to be visiting.

As for me, I don't care to try to place myself anywhere particular. If someone tries to hold my hand during the Pater Noster, they will get the coldest reptilian glare they ever beheld, and slink back into the bumptious fatuity from which they came.

D.C. Priest Attacks Cardinal McCarrick

Apparently not some traditionalist ranting against the lax Cardinal.

Reading between the lines, I would say that the reason for the reassignment lies in the attendance (and presumably reception of the Blessed Sacrament while supporting abortion) of Senators Kennedy and Kerry. It is clear from the elevation to the papacy of Pope Benedict, and from various recent pronouncements, that the Vatican is going to continue to demand a hard line on this even from slackers like Cardinals McCarrick and Mahony and Archbishop O'Malley.

The accomplishments listed are almost all purely administrative, just what any normal pastor would do. How did he triple Mass attendance? Was another parish merged into this one? Influx of young people: with abominable LifeTeen Masses?

So what is going on?

I would guess that Cardinal McCarrick is using Father Brainerd as a scape goat, a ritual sacrifice intended to placate Rome, while not demanding accountability for his own laxness, a peace offering that makes him look like a true Roman, just at the time when the Holy Father has a letter of resignation from His Eminence to consider.

The Holy Father may not be a day-to-day reader of American Catholic news and opinion outlets. But I am sure that he is neither stupid nor naive. He knows the true record of Cardinal McCarrick, just as well as a glance at the article will tell even someone so far removed from the issues as me about Father Brainerd's activities.

So I don't grieve that a priest who has allowed Kennedy and Kerry to receive the Blessed Sacrament while abetting the murder of numerous helpless babies legislatively is removed from his parish. On the contrary, I rejoice. But I also am not buying Cardinal McCarrick's cynical pose as a defender of the sanctity of life and of the Blessed Sacrament. His failures last year in the election campaign have not been forgotten, here or in Rome.

Further evidence that this is part of a last-minute effort to keep his resignation from being jumped at with the alacrity it deserves is found in this exercise in boot-licking.

Gay Brownshirts On the March!

Striving to criminalize opposition to gay "marriage" in Canada.

Getting Ready For the Fight

For, or against, one or two nominations to the Supreme Court.

This is an historic opportunity, one which conservatives have waited for more than 3 decades. this is no time for a Souter, Kennedy, or O'Connor. It is time for appointments in the mold of Scalia, Bork, Rehnquist, and Thomas. Conservatives and orthodox Catholics did not turn out for the President last November to see another liberal Rockefeller Republican appointed to the one body in the federal government that has something to say about abortion.

No more Mr. Souters!

I Had Almost Forgotten That This Is Bastille Day

Today is the national day for the people most of us love to hate, the French. What is it that we dislike so much? The answer depends upon your perspective. There are so many things to dislike about the French that it is difficult to pick out just one.

As a veteran British re-enactor, I can say that there are few joys greater than driving home a bayonet charge against "French" troops. Some of that is just disdain for lazy re-enactors who chose the French because they could keep their moustaches, whose drill is poor, and who are slow and unskilled on the battlefield. But it goes much deeper than that.

Someone portraying an 18th or early 19th century British soldier is necessarily steeped in what it was like to be a Brit of that period. For them, the great enemy was France. Britain and France were at war from 1689-1698, from 1701-1714, from 1740-1748, from 1755-1763, from 1778-1783, from 1793-1802, from 1803-1814, and again in 1815. And that came a couple of hundred years after the Hundred Years' War. "Confusion to the French" was one of the most popular toasts in any British officer's mess, in war or peace (and is still heard after the first couple of bottles of port today).

In the 18th Century, England looked to the continental colossus across the Channel with fear, disdain, and loathing. Of course, there was the religion issue. England was protestant, isolated, xenophobic. Catholic France was the "great nation" the largest single one in the West, with a homogeneous population more than twice England's. France was despotic, ultramontane Catholic, and expansionist under the kings, dangerously chaotic, irreligious, and expansionist under the Terror, and expansionist, globalist and destabilizing under the Directory and Bonaparte.

Englishmen viewed Frenchmen as poor, priest-ridden, ignorant peasants. The diet of the ordinary Frechman was represented as thin gruel, while Englishmen ate roast beef, and were damned proud of it. If the French had wine, England had much more healthy beer and cider.

Check out this print by William Hogarth called O, The Roast Beef of Old England. Notice the greedy monk fingering the joint of English beef, while the half-starved French soldiers follow along. Note that the hand of authority is resting on Hogarth's shoulder on the left of the print (he was detained for sketching in Calais in real life).

Frenchmen were so poor, the English thought, that they wore clothes made from canvas and wooden shoes (the wooden shoes that we Americans think of as a quaint Dutch thing were seen by 18th century Brits as signs of hopeless poverty, and possibly tyranny: a British politician opposed a census or a tax, or some centralizing measure, with the dire prediction that the the "canvas frock and wooden shoes will soon be pressed upon us"). This attitude was reinforced by Englishmen on the Grand Tour, who were met at the quays of Calais not with glasses of Chambord or French noblemen, but by hordes of beggars hoping to batten off the rich Englishmen, rather like what happens to Americans in Thailand or such places today.

And the policy of the French government, harboring the Jacobite pretenders to an English throne they could only reclaim at the point of French bayonets, did not soften the British view. The French managed to support Jacobite invasions of the British Isles in 1715 and 1745. In 1798, the Directory aided and abetted the United Irishmen in their rebellion, and even managed to send a small force of French troops to Ireland (a rebellion put down by Lord Cornwallis, of Yorktown fame). Bonaparte threatened to invade England itself with a large French army, until Nelson smashed the French and Spanish fleets at Trafalgar.

You think I'm making all this up, don't you? Well, if you don't believe me, read these passages from the works of the historical novelist (and Brit) Bernard Cornwell.

In Sharpe's Siege, Sharpe, commanding a small British force near the close of the Napoleonic Wars, is holding a fort miles behind French lines (Wellington at the time was invading France from Spain), but is uncharacteristically low on confidence (because of the feared illness of his wife). He confides this to his friend Captain "Sweet William" Frederickson. Cornwell puts this gem of a reply in Frederickson's mouth,

...I...would fight the bastards...Why?...Because they are Crapauds! Because they're slimy Frogs! Because as long as they are fighting us they can't go south and give the Peer a headache!
Because the English have a God-given duty to rid the world of the French! Because its what I'm paid to do. Because I've got nothing better to do! Because Napoleon Bonaparte is a foul little worm who
grovels in his own excrement! Because no one's ordered me to surrender just because the odds are unhealthy! Because I don't want to live under French rule and the more of those bastards I kill the more the rest of them will slowly comprehend that fact!

And that from an urbane gentleman who spoke fluent French, loved nothing better than to sit and sketch architecture, and appreciated French food, art, and culture.

British troops always called the French the "Crapauds", which in French means "Toads". The French, by the way called the British troops the "Goddamns" because of the norotious profanity of the British soldier.

A great deal of what we Americans think comes from 18th Century England. An American whose attitudes were not formed in part by Adam Smith, Edmund Burke, Samuel Johnson, Edward Gibbon, Alexander Pope, Jonathan Swift and, yes, John Adams, George Washington, and Thomas Jefferson is actually quite rare. Of these, Jefferson was the only one who was an all-out lover of all things French. He was also the least sound and stable of the Founding Fathers. John Adams set the good American precedent of speaking English to the French king, and just making it slower and louder when the king could not understand. Washington fumed over the pretensions of the French ambassador Genet.

Americans thinking back to the early days of our own republic can recall the arrogance of the French Directory in general, and Talleyrand in particular, in demanding that we grease the Great Turncoat's palms before he would deign to meet with our envoys. That was the XYZ Affair, which brought on an undeclared naval war between the US and France during John Adams' term (we got the better of them, but with help from the Royal Navy). "Millions for defense: not one penny for tribute!" was the first rallying cry of our government. And it was directed at France.

USS Constellation captures French frigate L'Insurgente
The event the French have chosen as their national day, the storming of the Bastille, represents one of the saddest events in world history, not the triumph of liberty they tell us. The French Revolution is better forgotten, not glorified. Burke spelled out the reasons for this more than two hundred years ago in Reflections on the Revolution in France. The Terror was not a step forward for freedom, but a triumph of barbarism. Bonaparte was no better, a man of blood ruling by the sword, and trying to force the rest of Europe to adopt France's "system". Why couldn't they pick the feast day of Saint Joan of Arc, or a date in the life of Henry IV for their national day? Why not the day in August when Paris was liberated?

Nor have the French done much since Waterloo to gain the approbation of the right-thinking. Socialism first reared its ugly head there, as the red flag waved over the barricades in 1830 and 1848, and 1871. Once the Germans put France in its place in 1871, French national policy consisted of nothing but revenge.

When the opportunity came for revenge in 1914, French armies failed. They were again out-fought by the Germans. Then as the war dragged on, it was the French army that was in the greatest danger of mutiny and collapse (in the same manner and in the same cause as the Russian army did-communism). The US and Britain pulled a reluctant France to victory nevertheless.

France between the wars was even less enthusiastic than Britain in restraining Germany. When even a Neville Chamberlain, a Stanley Baldwin, or a Ramsey MacDonald wanted to stand up to Germany, they found France not supporting them boldly, but curled up in a corner sucking its thumb. France had no Churchill, no pillar of stalwart nationalist resistance. France just had lots of vermin sapping its will to resist from within.

The collapse came in 1940, after weak resistance. There followed four years of pouring wine for their occupiers, and precious little genuine resistance, despite all the movies about the Maqui.

Meanwhile, in the south, Vichy did its best to toady to the Germans, and happily shipped its Jews to the gas chambers. When American troops landed in Operation Torch, they were fired upon by the French.

Marshal Petain, collaborationist leader of Vichy France
Then, when the Germans were too weak to hold on any more, the French finally found courage and organized an army (with American help).

Even when deigning to deal with allies, they could be dificult. Churchill said that the heaviest cross he had to bear was the "Croix de Guerre", referring to de Gaulle. Winston also said that sometimes he managed to get de Gaulle into a towering rage, when he resembled nothing so much as a female llama who has been surprised in her bath.

Since World War II, France has paid nothing but lip service to the cause of the alliance. It was unable to maintain its responsibilities in Vietnam, which led the US to get involved there. The French could not even keep Algeria, which they considered administratively part of France.

The French, in a fit of pique (their distinguishing national characteristic of the 20th century) and jealousy at American leadership, bolted the military part of the NATO alliance in 1966. That weakend the alliance and gave the Soviets hope that they might be able to use conventional forces to reach the Atlantic coast (if only they could assemble a single, entirely sober tank crew).

Almost every time the US has needed to get something done, it has been France that has put roadblocks in the way. When President Reagan bombed Libya, France refused to allow US aircraft in England to fly over France, forcing a long detour, that, if I recall correctly, contributed to the loss of a plane and its crew.

France was a force against determined effort in Desert Storm back in 1990-91. Its brittle forces and duplicitous generals were entrusted by General Schwartzkopf with as much as it could reliably handle-- basically guarding empty desert way out on a flank no one threatened.

Today, the French refuse to extradite Moslem terrorists to the US because of their hypersensitive disdain of the death penalty. As the US took action against Iraq, it was France that was the great nay-sayer.

With regard to Israel, France has praised the Palestinians, permitted anti-Semites there to conduct a vicious campaign against Jews and synagogues (as if the poor Jews of France had not been adequately betrayed by their government between 1940-1944), and counseled the US to put pressure on Israel to just roll over and let the Palestinians murder Jews to their hearts' content.

And the French government is the leading force in trying to create a United Europe, not to cooperate with the US, but as a rival. That French voters gave their own government's ambitions a slap in the face last month was pure serendipity. It had to do more with fear for even more unemployment, not with love for the US or Britain.

And then, there is French "culture". I'm not talking about Fragonard, or David, or even Renoir or Manet. I'm talking about that ethos so compelling to Bohemian lefties the world over. That "culture" consists of nothing but sitting in cafes on the left bank, sipping coffee that is too strong, talking about nothing (like a never-ending episode of Seinfeld but conducted with the air of a philosophe), praising the truly reprehensible Picasso and Sartre and Camus and partaking of decadence combined with communism and nihilism, and cultivating a nasty self-important attitude and morals lower than the average alley cat while wearing far too-much black.

Anti-French sentiment has really taken off in the last ten years. A good deal of the credit goes to Jonah Goldberg of National Review, and his inspired adoption of The Simpsons' "Cheese-eating surrender monkeys" monicker for the French.

The war-years' attitude that the French were gallant allies forced to surrender by circumstances and who rejoined the fight as soon as possible has been replaced by a new consensus. The readiness of the French to give up and live under the heel of any oppressor has been given more attention. Doubt it? A couple of years ago, Get Fuzzy cartoonist Darby Conley produced a witty anti-French piece (sadly no longer in the archives).

Brits have been playing villains in Hollywood for years. But the French are about to eclipse them. Think about the NATO admiral in Behind Enemy Lines. Even if he wasn't French (he may have been Spanish) his character had the feel of a French admiral.

Of course, the French are not all bad. Some few Frenchmen are still pious Catholics. French peasant culture is fairly healthy. Peter Mayle writes amusing books about them and their food. They produce nice wines (though California is gaining on them). The world owes Angier a debt of gratitude for Cointreau. Pates, truffles, and Brie are the embodiment of high cuisine. France has managed to do what Britain has not; elect a conservative government, though a perverted conservatism that is more at home with socialism at home, and anti-Americanism at home. And years ago, the French actually had the chutzpah to sink the Greenpeace ship Rainbow Warrior when it got in the way of a French nuclear test. That was the last time I gave the French a cheer.

Particularly in its government's shameless whoring on behalf of Saddam Hussein in our war to rid the world of that terrorist regime, France has been a boil on the backside of the civilized world for some time. When last heard from a year ago, the French Navy was participating in wargames off democratic Taiwan with the Communist Chinese Navy.

If we wish to summon up warm thoughts for our French "partners" this Bastille Day, I'm afraid the best we can do is to sip a nice Sauterne ("its heaven with strawberries"- points if you know where that comes from), serve a nice goose pate and some brie, and fondly recall the Rainbow Warrior going to the bottom.

But if that is the best we can do to celebrate the French, to hell with them.

So, this Bastille Day, I offer this, "Confusion to the French!"

Bl. Kateri Tekakwitha

Lily of the Mohawks

Three Cheers For Senator Santorum!!!

He only said in 2002 the same things I have said here, in printed articles, and elsewhere.

Dissent, liberalism, and homosexuality all work hand-in-hand. Liberalism creates an atmosphere in which sexual perversion and outright dissent from the orthodox teachings of the one, holy, Catholic, and apostolic Church are tolerated. And things that are tolerated tend to grow. Things that are not tolerated, tend to fade away.

Dissent and liberalism look the other way at homosexual priests chicken-hawking teenage boys. After all, it is inconvenient to recognize that homosexual priests are raping kids, because that would tend to make people look askance at homosexuality. And when it is as plain as the nose on my face (and I have a particularly large one) that homosexual priests are 85% of the priest sex abuse problem, they respond to that fact by commissioning interested academic parties to conduct studies to see if this public relations disaster can somehow be blamed on something other than the true cause.

Homosexuality, with its own demands and need for darkness to cover its evil actions, thrives where liberalism flourishes. And it colors the politics (both secular and religious) of many.

Just look at the late David Brudnoy and the still-living Andrew Sullivan. Their Mr. Happys' needs dictated their views on social and religious issues on any topic relating to sex. "Libertarianism" becomes the cloak they choose to dress up their perversions with. That way they can make sense on economic and foreign policy issues, while still prating the most arrant self-interested nonsense on social issues. It is self-interested because its sole purpose is to make it possible for them to enjoy their perversions without guilt, without fear of being stigmatized as perverts while practising perversion, certainly without fear of criminal, moral, and religious sanctions.

Conservatives rightly regard homosexuality as a disgusting perversion, so conservatives must be ignored, treated as imbeciles, or painted as something out of the Middle Ages, because people like Sullivan can't admit that their self-interested notion of "liberty" is really sexual license, license that the founders of the Republic would be horrified at, as would any Christian of any century before the mid-20th. So it is with particular vehemence that these gay libertines hate the Roman Catholic Church, about the only institution that holds strongly to the traditional view that sex exists for one man and one woman to form a family and mate for life in order to raise children.

Liberalism protects homosexuality, because, after all, it is
so "progressive" to foster civil rights for minorities. And gays are one of the interest groups that make up the liberal and Democrat coalition (such as it is). So, in liberal Boston, not even a "conservative" cardinal (not really all that conservative, by the way) would dare stir up the hornets' nests that would be more than irritated by forthrightly removing homosexual priests from ministry and defrocking them. In liberal Boston, even years before the aftermath of Vatican II (St. John's Seminary Class of 1960 had more than its fair share of perverts), the floodgates were open and churchmen were looking the other way regarding homosexuals in the seminary and the priesthood. Because, if they didn't, they would be seen as, oh perish the thought, reactionary.

The interplay of dissent and homosexuality is an interesting one.

One the one hand, homosexuals in the Church are the loudest in proclaiming that Church doctrine on sexuality must be updated, must bend to the zeitgeist (see: Andrew Sullivan). They and their supporters are a vocal and well-organized (and well-connected) bloc, with ready access to the ears of local journalists, foundation heads, lawyers, judges, and corporate executives. Homosexuals and their friends have the strongest reason for dissent: self-interest. It is much easier, and more popular, to push for the "reform" of the Church than to reform their own behaviour and views, especially in the toxic modern culture that glorifies homosexuality.

But dissenters who are not themselves homosexual invariably side with homosexuals, because they constitute potential allies for their own struggles for Church-sanctioned euthanasia, abortion, cloning, birth control, divorce, married priests, female priests, gay "marriages," multi-party "marriages," more protestant-looking churches, more protestant liturgy and music, or whatever else is on the leftist agenda for the Church. So, though many go along with the queer agenda from conscience, it is in their self-interest, too, to not alienate homosexuals, who can be valuable allies in their own treasured causes.

So, yeah, Senator Santorum was an idiot for pointing out that the epicenter of the priest sex abuse scandal is right here in Boston, that Boston is the most liberal city in the coutnry, and that liberalism, homosexuality, and dissent from the teachings of the Church work together. He was an idiot for saying it because it is true. Evil hates to have the truth spoken of it. And its votaries will hate him for speaking the truth.

Great Altar Photos

Over at Dappled Things, Father Tucker is beginning a project of collecting photos of notable altars from the D.C. area.

Nice idea.

Of the first batch, this one is my favorite:

But it is Episcopal, not Catholic. Its beauty puts ours to shame. Shame on us for not bettering that. We know we can, if we want to.

Just look at Santiago de Compostela, a shrine I have been reading about lately. It is one of the most important pilgrimage sites in Christendom. The main altar is near what is believed to be the burial place of St. James the Greater.

Novena To Our Lady of Mount Carmel

Eighth Day: July 14th

Thou give us hope,
O Mother of Mercy,
that through thy Scapular promise
we might quickly pass through the fires of purgatory
to the Kingdom of thy Son.
Be our comfort and our hope.

Grant that our hope may not be in vain but that,
ever faithful to thy Son and to thee,
we may speedily enjoy after death
the blessed company of Jesus and the saints.

(State your request here...)

Recite the following prayers...

Our Father...
Hail Mary...
Glory Be...

Our Lady of Mount Carmel,
pray for us.

Wednesday, July 13, 2005

The Holy Father Is Writing His First Encyclical

According to Zenit, he began some weeks ago.

No word on the topic.

The London Terrorists Were Suicide Bombers

Three of the four were native-born British subjects, Moslems of Pakistani ancestry. All appear to have been between the ages of 19 and 22. They apparently had help in devising the plan: help from al Qaeda is most likely.

The "shoe bomber," Richard Reid, was also a British subject (I don't care tuppence for Tony Blair's habit of calling British subjects, "British citizens": the UK is still a monarchy, not a republic).

What does this datum tell us? Well, it tells us that you can't just give carte blanche to the travel plans of people because they happen to be born in an allied country.

You have to find out if they are Moslems, even if they are Brits, or Italians, or Spaniards, or Poles. And if they are young Moslem males (15-40), no matter where they were born, they probably have to be excluded, for the safety of all. It is too much of a risk, allowing them to come here.

And that same demographic needs to be watched carefully no matter where they are. Even if they were born here in the US. Unfair? Maybe. But we are at war. And we have been far too fuzzy-headed these last almost 3 years of war about not making things "unduly" inconvenient for Moslems.

The ACLU will scream, as will the universities, but let them. Better that they are alive to scream, than murdered by Moslem terrorists, and unable to.

Now That the All-Star Game Is Over...

Baseball's interminable 3-day mid-season vacation terminates with tomorrow's games.

The AL won last night, 7-5. No Red Sox players were injured (which is really the best you can hope to get out of an All-Star game).

Now we come back to a tight pennant race in the American League East. The Orioles, Yankees, and Blue Jays are all within 5 games of the Sox.

Novena To Our Lady of Mount Carmel

Seventh Day: July 13th

O Mary, Help of Christians,
thou assured us that wearing thy Scapular worthily
would keep us safe from harm.
Protect us in both body and soul
with thy continual aid.
May all that we do be pleasing to thy Son and to thee.

(State your request here...)

Recite the following prayers...

Our Father...
Hail Mary...
Glory Be...

Our Lady of Mount Carmel,
pray for us.

Benedict XVI "Not Our Pope"

Those are the words of a former Catholic whose heretical and schismatic positions on various issues led to her excommunication years ago.

I'm sure they have the Holy Father trembling in his white cassock, when he is not playing pieces by Mozart or Palestrina.

Link discovered via Papa Ratzi Post.

Requiescat In Pace

Bishop Joseph Delaney of the Diocese of Fort Worth died unexpectedly the day before his co-adjutor bishop, Kevin Vann, was to be consecrated. Bishop-elect Vann will now be consecrated as the ordinary of Fort Worth. Bishop Delaney was appointed to his see by Pope John Paul the Great 24 years ago. Requiescat in pace.

Tuesday, July 12, 2005

Bishop Olmstead Is Busy

Sweeping the filth out of the Church in Arizona.

Good man. Add him to the very short list of American prelates and priests who are archbishop and cardinal material.

And what is that list?

Among the prelates, well, there is already Cardinal George. Best that could happen would be to transfer him to NYC, making him the most visible Catholic churchman in the US.

Archbishops Burke, Chaput, and Myers seem ready for red hats.

Archbishop O'Malley is a bean counter who will probably end up in Rome in charge of something technical.

Bishops Bruskewitz and Olmstead look like good candidates to take on archbishoprics.

And two very prominent priests, Fathers Fessio and Rutler look like they could handle a bishop's responsibilities very easily (maybe even archbishops' responsibilities).

There is currently one open see in San Francisco, and in 2 days, D.C.'s Cardinal McCarrick hands in his resignation on turning 75.

Always good to scout out the possibilities.

Good Interview

With Dr. Joachim Navarro-Valls, Pope Benedict's spokesman.

The Vatican Has Told the Philippine Catholic Bishops To Cool It

Philippine bishops like to think of themselves as major players when it comes to the circus of Philippine politics. Governments, always corrupt and shaky, go through the pantomime of genuine representative democracy, fall far short, and fall.

Those who like to think that the "revolution" that toppled Marcos was a great thing really ought to look at the context. It was just one more chapter in the melodrama of Philippine politics.

And now another Philippine government is ready to topple. The Catholic bishops all want to be modern-day Cardinal Sins, playing a major role in bringing down the government (which, like Marcos', really oppresses no one and is just busy lining its pockets). After all, the Philippines is a deeply Catholic country, more faithful to the Church than Italy or Spain. So bishops have a lot of influence.

But the Vatican has warned them to back off.

The office of the papal nuncio to the Philippines did not deny Monday that the envoy, Antonio Franco, had conveyed the displeasure of Pope Benedict XVI in a speech delivered to the bishops Saturday.

Happy Birthday, Royal Greenjackets!

This is the 250th anniversary of the founding of what was first called the Royal American Regiment, or 60th Regiment of Foot.

It was manned mostly by men recruited in Europe, mostly Germans and Swiss, and had several excellent Swiss officers, including Henry Bouquet and Frederick Haldimand. It fought in several campaigns of the French and Indian War, and in the southern backcountry in the American Revolution.

After the loss of the American colonies, the title "Royal American Regiment" tended to be downplayed. Still with a majority of Germans and Swiss in the ranks in the 1790s, it was converted into a rifle regiment, trained at Shornecliff Camp with the 43rd and 52nd Regiments, and the 95th Rifles.

Like the 95th (the regiment of the fictional Richard Sharpe), the 60th's riflemen were dressed in green jackets to aid them in their skirmishing work.

Its companies, like those of the 95th, were scattered across the divisions of Wellington's army in Spain and Portugal, and provided excellent marksmen and skirmishers for the constant duel with the French voltigeurs.

The 60th served in many imperial campaigns, and was renamed the King's Royal Rifle Corps in the mid-19th century.

Many battlaions were formed in World Wars I & II (the British custom is, in wartime, to raise a few new regiments, but also to greatly expand existing regiments by adding new battalions to the peacetime skeleton formation of 1-4 battalions).

After World War II, once the army was cutting back to a peacetime establishment, the regiment was amalgamated with the old 95th, to form the Royal Greenjackets, under which name it is still known.

And I was just checking out the BBC for further information on the Anglicans' disasterous decision to consecrate female bishops, honest!

Novena To Our Lady of Mount Carmel

Sixth Day: July 12th

O Mother of Fair Love,
through thy goodness,
as thy children,
we are called to live in the spirit of Carmel.
Help us to live in charity with one another,
prayerful as Elijah of old,
and mindful of our call to minister to God's people.

(State your request here...)

Recite the following prayers...

Our Father...
Hail Mary...
Glory Be...

Our Lady of Mount Carmel,
pray for us.

Monday, July 11, 2005

The Anglicans Approved It

Watch for conservative Anglicans to start "Poping".


It is 88 degrees at 1PM in Boston. It is supposed to get into the 90s later. But we are to have some T-storms this evening and tonight that will escort in a cold front that will leave us with comfortable temps for the balance of the week.

On the whole, the last couple of weeks have been alterately wet and cold, or way too hot and humid (except for exceptionally nice "summer polar air" over the July 4th weekend). I haven't checked, but I don't think the Boston area is currently in any danger of a drought. The grass I see is mighty green.

If things keep up this way, it should be a bountiful apple harvest, too.

Three Stories I Am Watching (Or Is It Really Two?)

I'm keeping tabs on the Anglican story. So far, I have heard nothing about the decision that was supposed to be made today.

So far there is no word from President Bush on who he will nominate to replace Justice O'Connor.

And there is no word from Chief Justice Rehnquist on whether he is resigning or not. Last week, he was playing cat-and-mouse with the press: "That's for me to know, and you to find out." To me, that means he is resigning. If he was staying, he would just say he had no plans to retire.

It might very well be that there is no word on the O'Connor replacement because the President is going to announce the resignation of the Chief Justice first, then appoint 2 new justices. There are many ducks to be got into a row first, of course.

Profile Of the Traditional Latin Mass In Orlando

Not an altogether upbeat look.

For one thing, this indult parish only regularly draws about 50 people, and only 20 during the summer(compared to the 250 at Holy Trinity).

For another thing, most of the congregation there is older. Here in Boston, most are under 45.

And the priest who says the indult Mass there is 80 and doesn't think the celebration of the Traditional Latin Mass will survive the current generation. In Boston, the priest who does the best job, Father Higgins, is in his mid-40s, and there is no cause for pessimism, if the chancery rats leave the indult Mass alone and at Holy Trinity.

Maybe it just does not catch on as much in jumped-up new places like Florida or California as it does here in Boston, which is about as traditional as any city in North America (despite the liberalism of our political leaders). Maybe we have younger crowds at Holy Trinity because of the the college groups that join us frequently (Boston is practically the biggest college town in the world). Maybe Orlando needs to bring in FSSP or Institute of Christ the King priests who are more dynamic and will do a better job promoting the indult Mass than a good man in his 80s is capable of.

I Doubt This Will Happen This Way

But there is a rumor being floated by the British press that John Paul the Great might be beatified at World Youth Day in Cologne next month.

I think his beatification is inevitable, but I don;t think it will happen quite so quickly.

Speaking Of Anglicans Swimming the Tiber

Read the moving account of The Pontificator's being accepted into the Church.

And check out this magnificent Eucharistic image he unearthed. E-mail me if you know the provenance, artist, etc.

It Looks As If the Anglican Communion Is About To Set Another 800 Or So Of Its Clergy Swimming the Tiber

They are voting today on whether to remove the obstacles to consecrating women as bishops.

These guys have no common sense. With the ruckus caused by consecrating on openly gay man who is "married" to his catamite as bishop in New Hampshire, they are about to alienate another bloc of their clergy and laity and vote to start consecrating women bishops.

Even if they table the issue this year, it will come back, and be approved, shortly. The trajectory of these things in their communion makes it inevitable. They are on a course for Unitarianism/Universalism, and nothing I can see is going to stop it, not as long as the very liberal mindset of the leadership in the US, Canada, and the UK sets the agenda.

Seems as if they have a death wish. At every further leftward lurch, they are giving more of their clergy and laity no choice but to seperate, or swim the Tiber.
So get ready for another large influx of Anglicans seeking sanity, sanctity, and tradition, and get ready to welcome more stalwart Christians aboard.

The great thing about them is that they are like Massachusetts natives who move to New Hampshire: they will be the most aggressive defenders of their adopted tradition as they are fleeing the destruction of the tradition they grew up with, just as Bay Staters who flee to New Hampshire to avoid the high taxes and liberalism of the Gay/Pay State are the most vigorous tax foes in the Granite State. They will make great contributions, and may counteract the liberalism of cradle Catholics.

Cardinal McCarrick Turns 75 On Thursday

As you know, under Canon Law, every bishop must submit his resignation to the Holy Father when he turns 75, and it is up to the Pope to decide when to accept it.

If I were Pope Benedict, and had the chance to appoint a new Archbishop of Washington, D.C., putting his stamp on a major see in the US, plus getting rid of one of the weakest of the US bishops (probably the worst of the current cardinals after Mahony of Los Angeles), the resignation would be accepted with alacrity.

That would leave 2 archbishoprics available for immediate filling. Archbishops Bruskewitz (D.C.) and Fessio (S.F.), anyone? It would be great.

Novena To Our Lady of Mount Carmel

Fifth Day: July 11th

O Mother of Fair Love,
through thy goodness,
as thy children,
we are called to live in the spirit of Carmel.
Help us to live in charity with one another,
prayerful as Elijah of old,
and mindful of our call to minister to God's people.

(State your request here...)

Recite the following prayers...

Our Father...
Hail Mary...
Glory Be...

Our Lady of Mount Carmel,
pray for us.

Saint Benedict

The founder of Western monasticism.

A good time to peruse the very wise Rule of Saint Benedict, which is the basis for just about every Catholic monastic rule in use. You can also read this short biography of St. Benedict.

His feast used to be observed on March 21 under the traditional calendar.

Update: The Anchoress has lots more good stuff on St. Benedict.

Sunday, July 10, 2005

At the All Star Break

The Red Sox go into the All Star break 2 games up on the Orioles, and 3 up on the Yankees. But they lost 2 out of 3 to the Os in Baltimore, mostly due to pathetic offensive. Wakefield was a tough luck 4-1 loser today.

The AL East race is still very close. And it could very well be a 3-way race. The Blue Jays are only 5 games back, and certainy could come back with a timely winning streak. The only team that is out of it for sure is Tampa Bay (21.5 games back).

AG Gonzales Says He Is Not A Candidate For the Supreme Court Vacancy

But that he is helping the President make the decision.

I do fear a precedent here. Dick Cheney was just the trusted adviser who was helping Gov. Bush decide who to pick as his running mate. Then he ended up as the Republican Vice Presidential candidate.

My pick to replace Justice O'Connor would be Judge Edith Jones.

If Chief Justice Rehnquist steps down this week, as is widely rumored (actually it was rumored for last week, but the presence of the President at the G-8 Summit, and the London terror bombing pushed this item off the agenda until later), then my picks would be Judge Jones and Judge Emilio Garza. And Justice Scalia should be elevated to Chief Justice.

And should Justice Stevens decide to call it quits as well, then Jones, Garza, and Judge J. Michael Luttig.

I Know This Is A Summer Weekend, But Is There Anybody Out There?

News is sort of slim this weekend, and most of St. Blog's seems to be taking weekends off this summer.

But the time has come to address one of the great indelicacies of public accomodations. All those public water fountains that anemically shoot out a pulse of water about an inch and half from the spigot end, have to be replaced!

Not only is it a rampant health hazard, because of other folk's germs, but it looks darned undignified. I just saw a guy trying to take a drink from one, and it looked like he was trying to perform a sex act on it.

And, when you have to do that to get a drink, you are not getting that much water from the pathetic stream into your mouth. The less water you get, the longer you have to stay there practically deep-throating the spigot, so the greater the health hazard.

All public bubblers ought to shoot the water up at least 4-6 inches from the spigot. If they don't they ought to be replaced.

So let it be written. So let it be done!

Oblates of the Virgin Mary News

Over at St. Francis Chapel at the Prudential Center, there is a change in ministry coming next month.

Father Tom Carzon, OMV, a very promising young priest who says the Mass with great reverence and gives excellent homilies and who has been on the staff of the chapel for 9 years, and director of the chapel for some years, is bing sent by the Oblates to Denver,Colorado, to take over Holy Ghost Parish. He begins his new ministry August 18th, and our prayers are with him.

Father John Wycks, OMV, who has been on staff at the chapel and also gives excellent homilies and says the Mass with great reverence, will become the new director. He has a wide life experience, including working in the family carpentry business, and working as a journalist, before becoming a priest. And he is teaching a class on film and its impact on life and belief at the Oblates' seminary, which adjoins St. Clement's Eucharistic Shrine. Father Wycks takes over at St. Francis Chapel August 14th. May God bless his work in his new role.

In fact, all four of the priests on the staff of the chapel who I have heard say Mass are gret homilists, in different ways. And all say the Mass with great dignity and reverence. There is nothing of the showman about any of them.

Father Dennis Brown, OMV, I think, ought to be a bishop. His sermons are always great, and peppered with quotations from the Catechism, from the encyclicals of various popes, the writings of our Holy Father before he became our Supreme Pontiff, and from the writings of the saints, including St. Josemaria, and St. Alphonsus Liguori. And he is a good, if somewhat exacting, confessor.

Father Alan Hall, OMV, is a convert to the Faith, whose insights are often right on.

And over at St. Clement's Eucharistic Shrine, there will be a Gregorian Chant Workshop the next 5 Thursdays from 7pm-8:30pm (July 14, 21, 28, August 4, 11). Father Carzon is the listed contact, though with the hustle and bustle of moving to Denver, that may have to change.

Pray For the Folks Down In Alabama and the Florida Panhandle

Who are about to face a Category 4 Hurricane for the first time. Over a million especially endangered people have already been evacuated.

From Saint Josemaria Escriva's The Way

From Chapter 2, On Guidance

56 'They have the stuff of saints in them.' At times you hear this said of some people. Apart from the fact that the saints were not made of 'stuff, to have stuff is not sufficient.

A great spirit of obedience to your Director and great readiness to respond to grace are essential. For, if you don't allow God's grace and your Director to do their work, there will never appear the finished sculpture, Christ's image, into which the saintly man is fashioned.

And the 'stuff' of which we were speaking will be no more than a heap of shapeless matter, fit only for the fire..., for a good fire if it was good stuff!

57 Get to know the holy Spirit, the great Stranger, on whom depends your sanctification.

Don't forget that you are God's temple. The Advocate is in the centre of your soul: listen to him and be docile to his inspirations.

58 Don't hinder the work of the Paraclete: seek union with Christ so as to be purified, and feel with him the insults, the spits, and the blows, and the thorns, and the weight of the Cross..., and the nails tearing through your flesh, and the agony of a forsaken death.

And enter through our Lord's open side until you find sure refuge there in his wounded Heart.

59 Here is a safe doctrine that I want you to know: one's own mind is a bad adviser, a poor pilot to steer the soul through the storms and tempests and among the reefs of the interior life.

That is why it is the will of God that the command of the ship be entrusted to a Master who, with his light and his knowledge, can guide us to a safe harbour.

60 Without an architect you wouldn7t build a good house for your life on earth. How then, without a Director, can you hope to build the palace of your sanctification for your eternity in heaven?

61 When a layman sets himself up as an expert on morals he often goes astray: laymen can only be disciples.

62 A Director. You need one. So that you can give yourself to God, and give yourself fully..., by obedience. A Director who understands your apostolate, who knows what God wants, who can effectively second the work of the holy Spirit in your soul, without taking you from your place, filling you with peace, and teaching you how to make your work fruitful.

63 You think you are quite important: your studies, your research work, your publications, your social standing, your name, your political activities, the positions you hold, your wealth... your age: you're no longer a child!...

Just because of all that, you, more than others, need a Director for your soul.

64 Don't hide from your Director those insinuations of the enemy. Your victory, on taking him into your confidence, brings you more grace from God. And moreover you now have what will help you to keep on conquering, your spiritual father's prayers and his gift of counsel.

65 Why are you so reluctant to see yourself and to let your Director see you as you really are?

You will have won a great battle if you lose that fear of letting yourself be known.

66 A Priest — whoever he may be — is always another Christ.

67 Though you well know it, I shall remind you again that a Priest is 'another Christ'. And that the holy Spirit has said: 'Nolite tangere Christos meos — do not touch my Christs'.

68 Presbyter — Priest — means, literally, an elderly man. If old age deserves veneration, think how much more you ought to venerate the Priesthood.

69 It shows very little refinement — and great lack of respect — to make fun of a Priest, whoever he is, and whatever the pretext!

70 I repeat: to make fun of a Priest — no matter what the circumstances — is always, at best, a sign of coarseness and poor taste.

71 How we should admire sacerdotal purity! It is their treasure. No tyrant can ever wrest this crown from the Church.

72 Don't place a Priest in peril of losing his dignity. It is a virtue which, without being pompous, he simply must have.

How that young cleric — a friend of ours — prayed for it: 'Lord, grant me... eighty years of dignity!'

Pray for it for the whole Priesthood, and you will have done a good thing.

73 It cut you to the heart to hear people say that you had spoken badly of those Priests. And I am glad that it hurt: for now I am sure you have the right spirit!

74 To love God and not venerate his Priests... is not possible.

75 Like the good sons of Noah, throw the mantle of charity over the defects you see in your father, the Priest.

76 Without a plan of life you will never have order.

77 This tying of one's life to a plan, to a timetable, you tell me, is so monotonous! And I answer: there is monotony because there is little Love.

78 If you don't get up at a fixed time you will never carry out your plan of life.

79 Virtue without order? Strange virtue!

80 When you bring order into your life your time will multiply, and then you will be able to give God more glory, by working more in his service.

Tidbit About Justice Scalia

From a Potomac News profile on the private lives of the Supreme Court justices:
...[A]rch-conservative Antonin Scalia, known for his stinging opinions, relentless grilling of lawyers and “Italian temper.” He’s been called “a madman behind the wheel of the car.” He likes to sing and play the piano at parties, according to a recent profile in The New Yorker. He attends Latin Mass, and one of his nine children is a priest. Another fought in Iraq.

Could this be the next Chief Justice of the United States? I hope so.

I did not know that Justice Scalia was a Latin Mass aficianado.

Novena To Our Lady of Mount Carmel

The Fourth Day: July 10th

When thou gave us, Gracious Lady,
the Scapular as our Habit,
thou called us to be not only servants,
but also thine own children.
We ask thee to gain for us from thy Son
the grace to live as thy children in joy,
peace and love.

(State your request here...)

Recite the following prayers...

Our Father...
Hail Mary...
Glory Be...

Our Lady of Mount Carmel,
pray for us.

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