Saturday, July 20, 2002

Baltimore Catechism On-Line
I just noticed something you may want to check out. The Baltimore Catechism is available on line here. The Baltimore was the standard religious instruction manual for most Catholic schools in the US from the turn of the Twentieth Century to the 1960s (so many older people were trained in the Faith through it). We have multiple editions in our Catholic bookcase, though we were too young to have been trained using it (which is quite a shame-all we got was watered down pap in religion class).

There is nothing wrong or heterodox in using the Baltimore Catechism today. It was not superceded by Vatican II. The truths about the Faith that it teaches are as true today as they were then. Vatican II changed some of the disciplinary aspects of Catholic life, but not the Faith itself. So go ahead, read it, download it, or better yet, go to a Catholic bookstore and buy a hard copy. Use it to teach your own children about the Faith. It really is one of the enduring treasures of the Roman Catholic Church.

Recommended Reading
TCR carries a lengthy address by Father John W. Mole O.M.I. regarding the politics, and relative claims of the Tridentine and Novus Ordo liturgical traditions.

I find myself with parts of my mind in both camps. I reflexively dislike anything that was the product of the 1960s. Yet, I grew up with the Novus Ordo Mass, and know that it can, if stripped of all innovations, be a dignified means of offering worship. Yet it is often abused, as I have been discussing on Sundays.

The Tridentine Latin Mass I must admit I scarcely know. I have never been to one in person. My family saved their missals from the 1960s, and I have a videotape of both a High Mass and Low Mass said in England in the 1980s. I feel genuine sympathy for those whose preferred means of worship was ripped away from them by the post-Vatican II reformers.

I would like to see both traditions accomodated. I think the time is past for the Novus Ordo Mass to be done away with and the Tridentine mandated universally again. I think that those who are holding out for that are delusional. But I hope that greater permissiveness toward saying the Tridentine Mass will guide the Church. Boston has one Latin Mass said in one parish on Sunday. The parish is not in the best part of Boston, which deters suburbanites like me from venturing into the city to participate. A large parish that has 4-5 Sunday Masses ought to be able to use the Tridentine Rite for one of them. At the same time, the Novus Ordo can be brought to a more dignified state, and should remain the primary mode of worship. I would like a Novus Ordo stripped of all the silliness-holding hands, skits, birthday greetings, balloons, undignified music, hosts of Eucharistic ministers, etc., etc., etc. predominate, but the Tridentine Mass remain part of Catholic worship, and be seen by more Catholics. I think this is a compromise everyone can live with, or at least should be able to.

Explaining the Mandatum
Deal Hudson in Crisis does a good job of explaining the need for a mandatum to be sure that a Catholic college is, indeed teaching orthodox Catholicism.

This is a good opportunity to pound Cardinal Law, yet again, for telling the theology faculty at Boston College not to even bother applying for the mandatum. In doing so, he is failing to implement Ex Corde Ecclesiae, which is not a matter of discretion, in my opinion. He is giving BC's wayward theology department a blank check to teach whatever they like, and failing to do his job as guider of the flock. In effect, he is sanctioning any sort of unorthodoxy the BC theology department's members decide to espouse, and not even going through the motions of holding them accountable. Goodness knows, this dereliction is not the first Law has committed. For a lot of reasons, we need a new broom in the cardinal's palace.

Since this is not a new issue, and the deadline has already passed, I hope a new archbishop would give the BC faculty (and Merrimack College, and any other Catholic colleges in the area) one month to comply once he is appointed.

The question, I know, is what happens to those who refuse. B.C. is independent of the Archdiocese (it is, in theory, run by the Jesuits, and in reality by a board mostly made up of laymen and non-Catholics who really don't give a darn if the theology faculty has a mandatum or not and are more interested in perhaps buying the seminary and cardinal's residence to expand the campus). The Archbishop of Boston probably has no authority to fire faculty members, or even put pressure on the Jesuits to do so. If you needed reminding, think back to the years-long kabuki performance over getting rid of the despicable Mary Daly. It started when I was an undergraduate and only ended a few years ago. We'll cross that bridge when we come to it.

It would be instructive to see what members of the faculty refuse to comply with even the minimum requirements of Ex Corde Ecclesiae. At the least, it would be a sure guide what theology professors orthodox students should avoid.

Now I went to BC (A&S '86, Law '89). Any other BC alums reading this? Give the president a piece of your mind. Don't bother sending anything to the archdiocese's offices. I am sure at this point they are just shovelling the negative mail into the incinerator. If the university does not comply, there are two very good Catholic colleges in New Hampshire- Saint Thomas More College and Magdalen College which are both much more orthodox than BC. They might be better places to send our kids. OK, there is no Big East football, and the alumni network isn't as pervasive as B.C's but the education is probably better, and certainly more faithful to the teachings of the Church.

Friday, July 19, 2002

Declaration of Responsibilities
This is an idea that I have not had time to fully develop, though it has been rattling around in my head for a couple of years. Perhaps, after putting it down on paper, I will find that it isn't worth any further thought. What else is a blog column for?

How about a mass social and civic movement, like the Promise Keepers (but not limited to men and without any quasi-religious overtone), with more than subtle implications in the national political arena during an election year, based on gaining assent to a Declaration of the Responsibilities of American Citizens? There are three precedents that I have in mind: YAF's Sharon Statement, The Contract with America, and the Promise Keepers.

There would be a huge national campaign to gather signatures. William Bennett would be a great national chairman. Adherence to the Declaration would be voluntary and noncompulsory. But politicians who failed to pledge support for it would be in serious trouble (Like Republican congressional candidates in 1994 who did not support the Contract With America) unless they are in the safest of districts. It would serve as a forum for like-minded responsible Americans to come together in national rallies and conventions. There would have to be significant outreach to bring Blacks, Hispanics and Asians into this program. After all, these are American responsibilities, not just white American responsibilities.

What would some of the responsibilities be?

1) To support law enforcement in its effort to keep the peace and ensure justice for all Americans

2) To treat all Americans equally without regard for race, ethnicity, or religion

3) To be gainfully employed and contribute to the public fisc

4) To participate in the political process by voting in national, state, and local elections

5) To foster religious faith by regular active personal participation

6) To be sexually responsible

7) To maintain a commitment to staying in any marriage entered into and to support the institution of marriage in general

8) To raise children to be good citizens

9) To foster respect for the nation, its symbols, and the ideals it stands for

10)To push children to achieve at as high a level as they are capable of and to behave respectfully

11)To preserve our cultural and historical heritage

12)To use the English language in all public venues and support English as the national language

13)To respect the rights of others to quietly go about their business

14)To tolerate (as the word was originally understood) people with different religious or political convictions

15)To not become a financial burden on our fellow Americans

16)To contribute time and funds for the support of genuine objects of charity

17)To respect the property of others

18)To encourage responsible use of alcohol and no use of illegal drugs

There are 18 responsibilities just off the top of my head. Bill Bennett or any other person with similar views is welcome to expand the list and expound upon any of the responsibilities I have listed.

What would this achieve? I see it building on the success of Bennett's Virtues books. I see it bringing people who agree with these ideals already together both locally and nationally. I see it galvanizing people who are already conservative and directing them towards a common goal. I see it forcing a generally conservative social agenda on to the national stage, and timed to have an impact during congressional or presidential elections. Most importantly, I see it bringing converts into the fold of those who lead a conservative lifestyle, and strengthening the national moral fiber. Moral progress comes not so much from government actions (though strong prohibitions of things that ought to be prohibited have their place) as from the private, voluntary adherence of people in general.

I think a mass movement in favor of a Declaration of the Responsibilities of American Citizens would have a significant impact on the national cultural and political debate. It could change the environment in which this debate takes place, and provide a boost for traditional culture at a time it needs it.

They say ideas have consequences. Those consequences can be magnified if someome publishes those ideas. This is a start.

Mrs. Phyllis Schlafly: Heroine
Ann Coulter writes today a great tribute to Phyllis Schlafly. This is the lady who almost singlehandedly stopped the ERA. She occupies the principal position in the pantheon of citizen activists who have stopped the spread of government as best they could (others in the Pantheon? Ward Connerly, Howard Jarvis, Barbara Anderson to name just a few).

Has Mrs. Schlafly been awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom yet? She deserves it. Hint. Hint, Mr. Bush.

MCC Spotlighted
World Net Daily has turned the spotlight on the extracurricular "workshops" of one branch of the Metropolitan Community Church, the "gay church". The content of these workshops is, to say the least, disgusting and repulsive. National Review's Rod Dreher noted the WND article in The Corner. Mark Shea also linked to it in Catholic and Enjoying It!, where there has been a lively discussion, including some comments from readers attacking Mark and WND for publishing the article. I must admit that MCC had not darkened the door of my consciousness before this article.

WND's critics claim that publishing the list of workshops of one MCC branch distorts the mission of MCC. They claim that these workshops are not typical. But what better way to find out about what really goes on? All WND did was take the MCC's own published list of activities, and examine it. WND is just reporting the news as MCC presented it to the world. Claiming that WND is out of line is like reading State Department press releases, and claiming that they are not representative of US foreign policy (would that that were true). This is just shining the flashlight into the dark kitchen. If lots of things unmentionable in polite company are scurrying to get out of the light, that tells us something about the kitchen.

The extent of it, and the boldness is significant. "Fisting 101", whipping, how to cause "exquiste pain" with clothespins, use of electrical shock for sexual stimulation are just some of the topics explored in these workshops. Some of this would not have been unusual in some of the seminaries described by Michael Rose in Goodbye, Good Men. These activities take place within the physical plant of the MCC "church". WND has done a good job alerting the public to what MCC is really all about. This is no provider of Christ's message to the "disenfranchised" homosexual community. This is recruitment and enabling.

We will keep this in mind the next time MCC issues a press release. Knowing what MCC is puts in perspective what they say about public topics. One would not give much credence to a press release from "Murderers United" calling for the abolition of life sentences and the death penalty. All right-minded people will treat MCC's pronouncements with similar contempt in the future. We now know what they are, if we had been ignorant of them before. Thanks WND.

The Washington Times reports in today's edition that Bishop Cawcutt resigned. My readers knew that two days ago thanks to Domenico Bettinelli (who just read the daily Vatican press release). The one new piece of information that popped up in the Times article was that Cawcutt had expressed the desire that Cardinal Ratzinger be killed or homosexually raped. Domenico warned that the "material" he could publish was only the tip of the iceberg. How did this person ever become a bishop?

Thursday, July 18, 2002

The Carmelites of Compiegne Again
Thanks to Amy Welborn for this link in which Kenneth Whitehead gives much more information about the 16 Carmelite nuns executed July 17th 1794. They offered themselves as sacrifices to end the Terror. A week after their executions, Robespierre fell from power, and the Terror was over. The manner of their death, as described by Whitehead, shows that theirs was a true martyrdom. I, for one, would like more people to know about their sacrifice, so that these brave and faithful ladies can be invoked by the Faithful, and move on to a deserved (I think) canonization.

Pervert Priest Leaves Trail Of Tears
Today's Boston Globe carries the tragic story of some of the victims of Father Robert Larson, a Kansas priest currently serving a 3-10 year sentence for child abuse. Five of his former altar boys, whom he sexually abused, have committed suicide.

This sort of story reminds us that we are not just dealing with abstract issues like tolerance for homosexuals, or welcoming changes in the constitution of the priesthood, or even what we want the Church to look like 20 years from now. We are dealing with a crime that violates the personhood of the victim and destroys faith, destroys hope, destroys life.

I know, these pervs prey upon boys who are not financially prosperous or psychologically whole to begin with. But they are people nonetheless. They deserve protection, hope, and prayer from the Church-not sexual abuse. These were families that turned to the Church, in the form of Father Larson, to help guide sometimes-troubled young boys. Instead, they received abuse of the most abominable sort.

"...Whoever causes one of these little ones who believe in Me to sin, it were better for him to have a great millstone hung around his neck, and to be drowned in the depths of the sea." (Matthew 18:6)

Wednesday, July 17, 2002

Happy Birthday
A lot of neat people have their birthdays in July. My beloved wife's is July 5th. Father Vincent Gianni's, who was associate pastor at my home parish when I was in school there and now lives at our parish's rectory (he is on the on-call emergency team) is July 6th. Father Dan Flaherty's, our current pastor is July 8th. My nephew Kevin's is July 11th. Mine is July 16th. My wife and I celebrated our 3rd wedding anniversary today (July 17th). I just read that collegue Amy Welborn celebrated her birthday today as well. Happy Birthday to us all. May the Holy Spirit guide us as we live our lives in the coming year.

I should probably relate this little anecdote. I was born within hours of Barry Goldwater's "Extremism in the defense of liberty is no vice. Moderation in the pursuit of justice is no virtue." speech -his acceptance of the Republican nomination in 1964. I guess I was so excited, I just had to get out and start campaigning for Goldwater (I was three weeks premature). My sainted mother was born at almost the exact moment that Calvin Coolidge took the oath of office on the death of Warren Harding. These two circimstances, combined with a great uncle who commanded Irish Catholic troops fighting in Spain for Francoshow my conservative bona fides, just in case you doubted them.

A Neat Gift
One of the things that my wife gave me for my birthday was the book Reagan: In His Own Hand, edited by the Andersons and Kiron Skinner. The variety of issues that Reagan dealt with in these radio addresses is broad, and therefore revealing. It is interesting to note that the rhetoric is not at the same level as his best stuff on the campaign trail and in the White House. I have been dipping into this book for the last couple of days. I think it could only help the cause of conservatism if others perused these texts for the purpose of developing ways of focusing attention on issues that still plague us, like immigration, low educational standards, "affirmative action", and welfare dependency. If the issue is phrased in a way people can understand, they might just agree with you that it is a problem, and that you have the best solution. The Gipper was no dope. We still have much to learn from him.

Thanks, dear.

We'll See How LongThis Works
Just found a way around the Error 503 problem that has been keeping me from publishing for most of the last four days. I have no idea how long it will work, though.

Today's Special At Cafe Palestine Is Barbarism
Today we saw two suicide bombings in Tel Aviv in which 3 Israeli civilians were killed, and forty injured. If I were the Israeli government, the gloves would have been long off regardless of US and European reaction. Time for Arafat and his henchmen, who have been preparing nice little nest eggs for themselves from the foreign aid they have been receiving, to go. However, they should not go to exile, but to condign punishment. Objectively, Arafat's life isn't worth the cost of a Hellfire missile, but if it can be efficiently done, it is past time. He and his henchmen are responsible for these outrages. Time for them to pay the price.

Makes You Sick At Heart
Another victim of the Palestinian barbarians died as a result of injuries sustained in yesterday's "courageous" ambush. This was an infant delivered by Caesarean Section from his severely injured mother. Among the other victims was an 8-month old girl, her father and grandmother. Another great blow for Palestinian nationhood!

Would you trust people like this with a state? I wouldn't trust them with a license to ride a bicycle.

Cawcutt Out
Fellow Salemite and cigar lover Domenico Bettinelli is reporting that Bishop Reginald Cawcutt has been removed by the Vatican. Cawcutt, you will remember is the notorious openly gay South African bishop who posted his desires concerning certain men and his hopes that the Holy Father and Cardinal Ratzinger would die on the Saint Sebastian's Angels website. He was recently chosen as spokesman for his fellow South African Catholic bishops. Officially, his resignation was accepted, but that is just a formality.

The Vatican has been doing a fair amount of good in cleaning things up lately. The excommunication threatened against the women ordained as priests three weeks ago if they don't recant by July 23rd, and sending Cawcutt packing represent two very significant improvements in the public health and cohesion of the Church. The resignation of Archbishop Weakland in the US has had a similar effect here. You know, it is refreshing to think that the Church is not hopelessly remote from the concerns of orthodox Catholics out here in the real world, nor so removed from day-to-day events as to be unresponsive. It is OK if the Church does what has to do slowly. As long as it does act so that the Faith will not be contaminated.

Nice catch, Domenico. If we needed the mainstream press to make note of this kind of news, we'd never know what is going on.

Blessed Carmelites of Compiegne
Today is the feast day of the Blessed Carmelites of Compiegne. On July 17th, 1794 a number of Carmelites from that city were guillotined at Paris during the Reign of Terror. They are very worthy of admiration in my view on two counts. First they were members of the Carmelite order, for which I have a special reverence. Secondly, they were martyred by the French revolutionaries in that orgy of blood known as the Terror. Anyone martyred by the revolutionaries has a special place in my devotions.

Tuesday, July 16, 2002

Better Late Than Never
Jonah Goldberg got around to publishing his annual Bastille Day column. It is a fine one. He is the high priest of Francophobia and has thought of things far beyond my humble musings. But he hasn't bayonet charged the French army. What a blast that is!

Rounding 'em Up
Kudos to the crew of Her Majesty's Canadian Ship Algonquin. They intercepted two suspected al Qaeda members in a small boat in the Arabian Sea, and turned them over to the US Navy. Some other suspects got away in other boats, but the Canadians, and other coalition naval forces patrolling the waters of the Persian Gulf and south of Pakistan have been doing good work keeping an eye out for al Qaeda operatives. Merci.

Palestinian Outrage du Jour
Today, a group of Palestinian gunmen dressed in Israeli army uniforms exploded a roadside bomb as a bus carrying civilians went by a Jewish settlement near Nablus. As the passengers fled the bus, the barbarians opened fire with automatic weapons, killing at least seven civilians. But we must remember, Islam is a religion of peace-and murder.

Do we really want a Palestinian state? I don't think so, not until the Palestinians have had a generation or two of living in peace with their Jewish and Christian neighbors. They must become accustomed to the democratic process, and a market economy, and genuine pluralism. Then, maybe, we could permit a Palestinian state. Until then, no- it would just be a haven for terrorism and gangster rule, just like it is now.

Feast of 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 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 mall here. 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. Since then, through my wife, I have become acquainted with several third order Carmelites, and one cloistered Carmelite who is taking her final vows today in Iowa.

In any case, I have my Brown Scapular.

Blogger is working again, at least for now.

Monday, July 15, 2002

Law Returns
Well, so much for the theory that I had implied, if not explicitly outlined, that Cardinal Law might not return from his trip to Rome, but might just find himself in a job in Rome. The Cardinal said his first Mass in a few weeks at the Cathedral with only 100 or so people in attendance. There were 30 protesters outside. If Law is to stay, he had better get used to the protesters. They are not going away.

A Weird Day On Wall Street
The Dow was down about 400 points after 2:00pm, but ended down just 40 points. The volatile conditions in the market are not for the faint of heart. But the bottom of this market cannot be far away. Start looking for bargains.

Granola Conservatives?
Rod Dreher has spurred a lot of discussion both at National Review and in the blogosphere with his essay on "Birkenstocked Burkeans". I must admit, the concept seems odd to me. I guess I'm just a Catholic paleolithic-conservative type. Here is my reaction to the attributes of the "crunchy."

Sandals on men? Always struck me as vaguely effeminate. Summer clothing for me is polos or madras with Bermudas and white sneakers or Sperry top-siders (no socks).

I've never used marijuana or any stronger drugs. I discovered 18-year old Glenlivet and Dunhill cigars in college, and use them infrequently. If you are going to have a vice, make it expensive enough that you can very rarely indulge in it.

When people go on about the scenic environment, I'm reminded of Johnson's response to Boswell praising the scenic prospects of Scotland, "The finest prospect a Scot ever sees is the high road to England."

Rachel Carson? No. Jim Watt? Si.

I have no interest in reading the "other side", except to criticize. I am well past the point of being pliable in my thoughts or open to persuasion on political matters. I know liberals are wrong and all their works destructive. Besides, I haven't read all of the works of all of the authors on my own side. There are still insights from Fisher Ames, Michael Oakeshott, and Cardinal Ratzinger that I haven't absorbed yet.

Starbucks has no appeal to me. A men's club with old leather chairs, mahogony bookshelves and an exclusive and like-minded membership would be my choice of a place to pass time away from home.

Abercrombie & Fitch, Birkenstocks, or cargo pants from the GAP? Hell no! Brooks Brothers (they have been getting a little too trendy lately, but still make the best shirts this side of a bespoke tailor), J. Press (where good clothing lives), LaCoste polos (have you noticed that the alligator is available again after a long absence?), some L.L. Bean? Yes.

Piercings, tatooes, or weird "dos"? No way. Even a beard or moustache is too outre for me.

Organic veggies from a co-op? I don't think so. Produce from a farm stand is quite nice, if you have to eat that stuff rabbits graze on. There is a great place in Lexington called Wilson Farms. If you are in the Boston area, it is worth the trip- even if just for their baguettes and root beer.

I don't want a motorcycle. I want a Jaguar. What I really want is a quiet and reliable driver who comes with a Bentley.

Bauhaus and Frank Lloyd Wright? No. Palladio, Wren, McIntire, and Bulfinch forever, preferably surrounded by acres of gardens and lawn and secreted from the road by a thick cordon of trees.

The natural foods section of the supermarket gets a pass. I head straight for the butcher's counter for some nice red meat which I invariably eat medium rare.

Ethnic music (meaning non-European), blue grass, or country music? Give me a break. Bach, Handel, Mozart, Vivaldi, Teleman, Locatelli, Scarlatti with a little English/Irish/Scottish traditional thrown in is the cultural heritage I want to conserve. I'll listen to the stuff I grew up with- AM top 40 from the '70s and '80s (but not very often anymore).

Work in the arts? Nah. I want to retire to the life of a gentleman-farmer and worry about my holly and my apple crop, and nothing else.

Homeschooling I like, but not just to keep the kids away from social pathologies. More importantly, homeschooling keeps them away from the watered-down religious education available in parochial schools (public schools are not even an option). Teaching the kids at home allows us to use the Baltimore Catechism and McGuffey's Readers and thereby produce knowledgeable, obedient, disciplined, faithfully Catholic children.

Trail Mix? No. My preferred mix consists of Junior Mints, Planter's salted peanuts, and chocolate-covered raisins. Nothing better to snack on during a Shakespeare play, or a Jane Austen adaptation.

Granola? Isn't it made of oats? It just reminds me of what Johnson (Samuel, not Paul) said about the stuff: "A grain fed to horses. But in Scotland, the people eat it." I prefer to snack on pound cake with lemon curd, or just plain good dark chocolate.

I guess no one would consider me a "granola conservative." Fine with me. Always thought that sort of thing was oddly inconsistent. Don't forget the English concept of having "bottom"- being stable, reliable, predictable, and being blessed with vast amounts of phlegm, stick-to-itivness, bull-dog determination, seriousness of purpose. Seems this kind of "granola-ness" lacks bottom. Its not the thing. NOKD

Sunday, July 14, 2002

Attempt To Kill Chirac
A neo-Nazi tried to shoot French President Jacques Chirac during Bastille Day ceremonies. He managed to fire one shot, which missed, before being subdued by police and spectators. He had concealed a rifle in a guitar case.

French security allowed someone carrying a guitar case to be that close to a presidential motorcade? Sounds kind of sloppy to me. But thank heavens that the attack was unsuccessful. The last thing the world needs is for heads of state to be assassinated now.

Error 503
I see Error 503 is again being displayed when I try to post. It has been doing this most of the weekend. Hopefully, things will be back to normal at Blogger tomorrow.

A Very Slow News Day
There has not been much to blog about today, though one notes with pleasure that Blogger is up and running again.

Spent the day devouring Bernard Cornwell's Sharpe's Trafalgar. This one has more humor than is usual with the Sharpe series (humor and a careful weaving of literary strands were the hallmark of Patrick O'Brian's unsurpassed work but Cornwell does not employ humor very often). I read most of the Sharpe series years ago, when I first "took the king's shilling" but have been working through the later additions to the series recently.

Sadly, there is only one more published Sharpe I have not read- Sharpe's Prey. Whether Cornwell will write more, I do not know. We now have an almost complete series from Sharpe in India in 1799 to an adventure in South America in 1820-1821. Perhaps we shall read of adventures in the Duke of York's campaign, or Cornwell will find a way to squeeze one or two more between the events he has already written about in the Peninsula. Sharpe is too valuable a character for Cornwell to let go easily (unlike the abortive Starbuck Chronicles, his Civil War series. And the novels are too much fun for us readers to set aside.

If you have seen the series aired on PBS' Masterpiece Theatre (just about the only stuff on PBS that I ever liked was British), buy the books, they are much better, and grander in scope. There are interesting changes in characters from the one medium to the other. Nairn is a menacing bastard in the TV series. In the books, he is a harmless old man, and a great friend of Sharpe's. Hogan likewise is almost a heavy on the TV series (from which he disappeared after the first season) but in the books is Sharpe's closest friend who advances Sharpe's career. It is interesting that Cornwell wrote the screenplays.

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