Saturday, July 26, 2008

SS. Anne and Joachim

This has apparently always been Saint Anne's Day, but Saint Joachim's has bounced all over the calendar over the centuries. His feast has been celebrated September 16, December 9, March 20, and on the Sunday after the Assumption. Finally, it has been joined to that of his spouse. This is another of those reforms of the calendar that actually makes sense (not all of them do).

This is a brief biographical sketch of the parents of Our Blessed Lady, but since the New Testament does not mention them, there is not much that has come down to us, except from dubious sources like the "Gospel of James."

Saint John Damascene had this to say about the blessed couple:

Joachim and Anne, how blessed a couple! All creation is indebted to you. For at your hands the Creator was offered a gift excelling all other gifts: a chaste mother, who alone was worthy of him.

Joachim and Anne, how blessed and spotless a couple! You will be known by the fruit you have borne, as the Lord says: "By their fruits you will know them." The conduct of your life pleased God and was worthy of your daughter. For by the chaste and holy life you led together, you have fashioned a jewel of virginity: she who remained a virgin before, during, and after giving birth. She along for all time would maintain her virginity in mind and soul as well as in body.

Joachim and Anne, how chaste a couple! While leading a devout and holy life in your human nature, you gave birth to a daughter nobler than the angels, whose queen she now is.


Our Blessed Lady's Saturday

Daily Prayer To Our Blessed Lady, by Saint Alphonsus Liguori

Most holy and immaculate Virgin! O my Mother! Thou who art the Mother of my Lord, the Queen of the world, the advocate, hope, and refuge of sinners! I, the most wretched among them, now come to thee. I honor thee, great Queen, and give thee thanks for the many favors thou hast bestowed on me in the past; most of all do I thank thee for having saved me by thy help from Hell, which I had so often deserved. I love thee, Lady most worthy of all love, and, by the love which I bear thee, I promise ever in the future to honor thee, and to do what in me lies to win others to thy love. In thine intercession I put all my trust, all my hope of salvation. Receive me as thy servant, and cover me with the mantle of thy protection, thou who art the Mother of mercy! And since thou hast so much power with God, implore Him to deliver me from all temptations, and obtain for me the grace ever to overcome them. From thee I ask a true love of Jesus Christ, and the grace of a happy death. O my Mother! by thy love for God I beseech thee to be at all times my helper, but above all at the last moment of my life. Cease not thy supplications until thou seest me safe in Heaven, there for endless ages to bless thee and sing thy praises. This is my hope. Amen.


Friday, July 25, 2008

Saint Christopher

Today is also the feast of one of the most popular saints, Saint Christopher, the Christ-bearer, who is the patron of travellers.

Those in charge of the reform of the calendar thought they were doing us a favor when they decided that Saint Christopher was legendary, and removed him from the Ordo. But Catholics in the pews, the real John and Mary Catholics, have rejected this "reform" and remain attached to Saint Christopher. His medals are still for sale in just about every Catholic gift shop. And he remains very popular.

Saint Christopher, pray for us!


Feast of Saint James the Greater

Click here to see my post from last year on one of my favorite saints.

And of all the places I would like to go for a pilgrimage, Santiago de Compostella is right up there, right after Rome. Last year, I managed to put together an excellent array of images of this outstanding pilgrimage center. Even I am still impressed with these photos from various online sources.

Now, let us revisit Saint James the Moor-Slayer and his relevance to our times.

July 25th is such an important day, and Saint James has become such an important symbol for the faith. In legend, St. James became the first apostle of Spain. In theory, his remains lie buried at Santiago de Compostela (St. James of Compostela, "Iago" in Spanish meaning "James"). Santiago became the patron of Spain, and Compostela became the thrid most important pilgrimage place in Christendom, after Jerusalem and Rome.

It was during the Reconquista, when Spain was painfully, bit-by-bit, inch-by-inch recaptured from the Moslems over a period of centuries, that St. James allegedly appeared leading the Catholic armies of Spain against the Moslems. That is how he got the title Santiago Matamoros, Saint James the Moor-Killer.

This July 25th, we are marking the anniversary of the start of the Spanish Civil War, when the forces of Catholic Spain rallied again to end pagan depridation on the Catholic cultural heritage that is the strength of Spain. Members of my own Irish family played some small part fighting as soldiers in the cause of the Church in Spain in the 1930s.

Spanish nationalist coat of arms, including the Sacred Heart at the center

And today, all is not well again in Spain. It is not the enslaving Moors and the vile doctrines of armed Mohammedanism that are the greatest threat (though Spain, like the rest of Europe has too many Moslems living there and their birthrate is alarmingly high, threatening to overwhelm the native Catholic population and submerge Catholic Christendom into an Islamic state, if measures are not taken to stop the flow into Spain, and reverse it).

It is not the murderous Communists. Franco gave Spanish communism its richly-deserved death sentence in his 30 years in power.

It is the secularizing socialists, stripping Spain of all that is good and pure and pushing filth like gay "marriage," divorce, and abortion onto the Spanish people with the avidity of a drug pusher. And the Spanish people, degenerating from the solid examples of their fathers, are not blameless, since they elected this vile government that now misrules Spain.

And as Spain goes, so goes the US?

Spanish communists shooting at the Sacred Heart statue, which they later blew up, courtesy of Rorate Caeli

Catholic Spain needs a rallying point now. Carlist requites once went into battle against the communists and their thoroughly reprehensible international allies with the Sacred Heart, the Corazon Sagreda, pinned to their chests or in their berets. Why shouldn't the Sacred Heart again serve as a symbol for a revival of Catholic Spain?

And if the cause of Catholic revival is to take on specific meaning for Spaniards and others, why not a rallying cry: "For the Sacred Heart and Saint James!" "Por Corazon Sagreda et Santiago!"

But today, while Spain is a battlefield in the war with Islamofacism, the conflict between Christendom and Islamofacism is global. All of Christendom finds itself fighting against Islamofascism at almost every point of the globe where Islam and Christendom come into contact. The Sacred Heart is the traditional symbol of Catholic counter-revolution. But the Sacred Heart allied to the patronage of Saint James, who aided Spain in its battle against the Islamofacists of his day would be a very compelling and totally politically incorrect symbol of Christendom militant and unwilling to cave into the Mohammedans today.

In Afghanistan, we are still fighting al Qaeda and the Taliban.
Help us Sacred Heart and Saint James the Moor-Killer!

In Iraq, we are fighting al Qaeda In Iraq.
Help us Sacred Heart and Saint James the Moor-Killer!

In Lebanon, Israel is fighting Hezbollah, and in Gaza, Hamas, both made up of militant Moslems, who, if they didn't have Israel to kick around, would be fighting us in Iraq. Even the supposedly "moderate" al Fatah Palestinian faction is part of the problem, allied as it is with Islamic Jihad and the Al Acqsa Martyrs Brigade. Help us Sacred Heart and Saint James the Moor-Killer!

Iran threatens to develop, and maybe use, nuclear weapons. Iran and Syria are supporting Hezbollah, Hamas, and al Qaeda in Iraq.
Help us Sacred Heart and Saint James the Moor-Killer!

In the Philippines, the Moro Liberation Front, essentially al Qaeda in the Philippines, is fighting the government, which is getting support from the US.
Help us Sacred Heart and Saint James the Moor-Killer!

In Pakistan, and Indonesia, and Malaysia, we see Moslem groups, either part of or inspired by al Qaeda, attacking western, and specifically Christian, targets. In Pakistan, they bomb Christian hospitals and schools. In Indonesia, they blow up western tourist resorts.
Help us Sacred Heart and Saint James the Moor-Killer!

In every Western nation, growing Moslem minorities threaten the peace, and often serve as recruiting grounds for Moslem terrorists. Look at the rail bombing in Spain which drove the solid previous Spanish government from power, and brought in this "surrender-to-the-terrorists-and-subvert-traditional-Spain" socialist government. In the UK, last July's rail and bus bombs were the work of Moslem terrorists. Numerous plots, all involving Moslems, have been thwarted here in the US since September 11th. Even France, so accomodationist to every enemy, was targeted by Moslem extremists, which caused weeks of destructive rioting by Moslem youths in the suburbs of Paris last fall.
Help us Sacred Heart and Saint James the Moor-Killer!

In every country of the West, the destructive forces of liberalism and socialism threaten the fabric of Christendom. Growing secularization and moral relativism, feminism and egalitarianism are destroying traditional Western culture, and Christendom along with it. Today, the US is poised to elect as president an individual who represents this threat in the most stark manner we have ever encountered, out of mere ennui with the necessary war we wage, and some legitimate frustration with high prices for oil-based products. It would be the most feckless and irresponsible abdication of responsibility and leadership that the US has perpretrated on the West since the bug-out from Vietnam, and the worst blow it has inadvertently struck at Christendom ever. And western elites think this is the greatest thing that could happen.

Help us Sacred Heart and Saint James the Moor-Killer!

SantIago Matamoros, pray for us!

Most Sacred Of Jesus, preserve us!


Friday At the Foot Of the Cross

Consecration to the Most Precious Blood

O Jesus, fairest of the children of men, Thou whom I see crushed beneath the weight of my sins, covered with wounds, Thy hands and feet pierced with nails, Thy side opened with a lance, I adore Thee and recognize Thee as my Lord and my God and as my beloved Redeemer. Pierced with grief at sight of the Blood flowing from Thy wounds for the redemption of souls, I feel irresistibly urged to consecrate myself to the worship of this regenerating Blood and, by an exemplary life, to atone for all the profanations of this Divine Blood and for those which It still receives daily in the veins of Thy Sacred Body present mystically on the altar. By this consecration which I beg Thee to accept, O my Savior, I desire to spend my whole life in proving to Thee my gratitude and my love by paying frequent homage to Thy Precious Blood and by propagating this devotion as far as is in my power. I desire every pulsation of my heart to be a renewal of this consecration, a constantly repeated act of love for this redeeming Blood, a perpetual offering of Its merits in behalf of sinners and all the souls dear to me, and a hymn of unceasing praise in union with that of the Saints and all the blessed in Heaven: "To the Lamb who redeemed us in His Blood, be honor and glory and benediction forever."

O Mary, Mother of the Divine Redeemer, obtain for me the grace of adoring fervently throughout my life the Blood of thy Divine Son and of singing forever Its mercies in Heaven. Amen.


Thursday, July 24, 2008

Brideshead Desecrated

The long-wished-it-would-just-go-away Andrew Davies production of Brideshead Revisited is due out tomorrow. Advance reviews have not been favorable, at least from my perspective. Deal Hudson is skeptical. And he isn't the only one.

I don't think there is any possibility of improving on the 1981 miniseries.

John Mortimer (Rumpole of the Bailey) is credited with the screenplay of the miniseries. But in fact, I read years ago that there was a very serious dust-up between Mortimer and the Waugh family. Mortimer's proposed version was probably closer to Davies', in downgrading the Catholicism of Waugh's novel. The dispute was so irreparable that Mortimer essentially had nothing to do with the final version of the screenplay. The producers essentially shot the series just taking the novel as the screenplay, with minimal changes. That is why the miniseries is so faithful to the novel, and is acclaimed as the best adaptation of a novel ever. For contractual reasons, Mortimer's name remained on the final version, but in fact, he had little to do with it.

And it sounds like Davies is essentially tinkering with the very essence of Waugh's work, just like Mortimer tried to do.

A pox on the thing.


Wednesday, July 23, 2008

More Details On Father Fitzpatrick

Can now be found at the Saint Gregory Society's website.

There will be a solemn requiem Mass on Friday morning at St. John the Evangelist church in Stamford, CT.

Lord, swiftly grant happy rest to Thy good servant.


Tuesday, July 22, 2008

The Dog Days of Summer

The Old Farmer's Almanac lists the traditional timing of the Dog Days as the 40 days beginning July 3 and ending August 11, coinciding with the ancient heliacal (at sunrise) rising of the Dog Star, Sirius.

This is the time for Countrytime Lemonade, and old Nat King Cole songs:

Roll out those lazy, hazy, crazy days of summer
Those days of soda and pretzels and beer
Roll out those lazy, hazy, crazy days of summer
Dust off the sun and moon and sing a song of cheer

Just fill your basket full of sandwiches and weenies
Then lock the house up, now youre set
And on the beach youll see the girls in their bikinis
As cute as ever but they never get em wet

Roll out those lazy, hazy, crazy days of summer
Those days of soda and pretzels and beer
Roll out those lazy, hazy, crazy days of summer
Youll wish that summer could always be here

Roll out those lazy, hazy, crazy days of summer
Those days of soda and pretzels and beer
Roll out those lazy, hazy, crazy days of summer
Dust off the sun and moon and sing a song of cheer

Dont hafta tell a girl and fella about a drive-in
Or some romantic moon it seems
Right from the moment that those lovers start arrivin
Youll see more kissin in the cars than on the screen

Roll out those lazy, hazy, crazy days of summer
Those days of soda and pretzels and beer
Roll out those lazy, hazy, crazy days of summer
Youll wish that summer could always be here

Youll wish that summer could always be here
Youll wish that summer could always be here

So how do I get through the summer doldrums, when most prelates are on vacation, and important ecclesiastical business grinds to a near halt?

Contemplating images of the British Army at the time of the American Revolution, of course.

Professor Gregory Urwin, who is also a serjeant in the 23rd Royal Welch Fusiliers has been producing a series called Redcoat Images, an ambitious project attempting to capture and comment upon every known contemporary illustration of the British Army between 1740 or so and 1800 or so. I am a very occasional contributor to the project, but an avid follower of it.

Today Greg provided us with the 1,000th installment of Redcoat Images, and for Number 1,000 he rolled out something spectacular. It is called, "The Mock Attack," by P.J. de Loutherbourg, painted in 1779, and features British Army units encamped at Warley Camp engaging in a mock battle as part of a review by King George and Queen Charlotte.

Take a look-see, and click on the image to see it in all its outrageous glory:


St Mary Magdalene

July 22nd is the feast of St Mary Magdalene, one of the great penitents, who stood by the Cross with Our Blessed Lady.

Note, there has been much confusion, conflating this Mary with either the woman taken in adultery, or Mary of Bethany, the sister of Martha and Lazarus. I see that the error about her being the sister of Martha and Lazarus is perpetuated in my St. Joseph's Daily Missal (1959), and in the Roman Breviary. The best scholarship indicates that she is a distinct person, and not either of these other identities.

Saint Mary Magdalene, pray for us!


Monday, July 21, 2008

The Transalpine Redemptorists Are Changing Their Name

This is part of the process of being recognized by Rome as a Catholic religious community. Since they are not affiliated with the larger Redemptorist community, they can't call themselves Redemptorists. The change was made in consultation with the Holy See.

Now they are the Sons of the Most Holy Redeemer, the F.SS. R.

Looks like they are moving swiftly towards completing the process.


Requiescat In Pace

I have heard, though I have not seen any official write-up yet, that Father Kevin Fitzpatrick (no relation), pastor of a parish in Fairfield, CT, and stalwart of the Saint Gregory Society and its traditional Mass at Sacred Heart in New Haven, died yesterday morning at the age of 52, from complications following surgery for an ulcer.

This is very sad news. Father Fitzpatrick was a very devoted priest and a kind pastor and man. He usually said the Society's Low Masses in New Haven, and was much loved. I did not have the pleasure of knowing him personally, beyond having been at his Mass many times.

The loss of such a good priest devoted to the traditional Mass (and he not only was involved with the Saint Gregory Society for many years, but was beginning, since Summorum Pontificum, a private Low Mass in his own parish, as well) is a great blow. Please remember him in your prayers, and if your situation allows it, please have a Mass said for him, or dedicate your daily Rosary for his soul.

V. Requiem aeternam dona ei Domine,
R. Et lux perpetua luceat ei.
V. Requiescat in pace.
R. Amen.

Father Fitzpatrick is the priest on the left of this photo (a groundbreaking for a new Catholic school in Fairfield)


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