Saturday, May 10, 2003

Morris Dancers Invade Salem
This afternoon, about 40 Morris dancers from 6 different groups from parts of the Northeast performed in Salem, in East India Square a block from our house. That is one of the neat things about living in downtown Salem. Morris dancing is an old English custom that was popular between Hocktide and Midsummer. Hocktide, Whitsuntide, May Celebrations, parish ales, and Midsummer Games all often featured Morris dancing. The afternoon was sunny and bright, the temperatures not too hot, and it was a great thing to watch. I don't think more than 10% of the tourists who stopped to observe a few minutes of this old custom had any clue what was going one.

One group performed to one of my favorite tunes, Over the Hills and Far Away. Another performed Irish clog dancing on a portable floor to the tune of The Irish Washerwoman (which it the tune used for The Tenth Regiment Song, written in 1767, the informal regimental song of my old regiment: the formal one is The Lincolnshire Poacher).

This is the third year the Morris groups have descended upon Salem in May, and the first time we have had the time to enjoy the whole performance. We had no advanced warning about it this year. We just heard the bells a block or two away as the performers made their way from Salem Beer Works past our front windows.

Morris dancing: one of those things that has put the Anglosphere where it is today.

Update: Here is a link to Red Herring Morris, the group that organized Saturday's gathering, courtesy of one of its members.

A Parents' Group Opposing the Explicitness of the Archdiocese's "Talking About Touching" Program Has Started
I'll have more to say about the program shortly. Mrs. F. is being trained in it soon, and I will have access to the printed materials and her memory of what goes on in the training.

On the surface it seems like a huge overreaction to me, since there has not been a single instance of a student being abused by a parochial school teacher. However, there were instances of priests pulling boys out of CCD or religion class to abuse them, and the teachers should have been more suspicious.

I don't know if it is necessary to subject everyone who works for a parish or its school to this type of training when all that is really needed is being put on notice about men, especially priests, who want to spend an unusal amount of time with young boys, or who is caught spending any time alone with young boys without one or more other trustworthy adults present. It seems as if the program over-reaches to me.

But we will soon see.

Daily Marian Reflection
From YeOldeWoburn.com:

Mary: Presenting Jesus In The Temple

"She teaches us to have charity. Remember the scene of the presentation of Jesus in the temple. An old man, Simeon, said to Mary, 'Behold: This child is destined to bring about the fall of many and the rise of many in Israel - and to be a sign, which people will refuse to acknowledge, so that the thoughts of many hearts shall be made manifest. As for your own soul, it shall have a sword pierce it.' So great is Mary's love for all mankind that she, too, fulfilled Christ's words: 'Greater love has no man than this, that he should lay down his life for his friends.'"

Let us offer to our Mother today:

A pilgrimage to one of her shrines.

Friday, May 09, 2003

Four More New Hampshire Pervert Priest Cases Settled
The price tage was $815,000.00, making a total of $6.8 million paid out to settle 79 cases. There are at least 60 more cases being negotiated. None of the priests who were the subjects of the allegations were on a list of accused priests released by Bishop McCormack. Of the victims, as usual, three were men, one was a woman, which is pretty close to the general nationwide pattern.

Meanwhile, in other New Hampshire pervert priest news, some folks from out of state want to challenge the settlement by which the Diocese of Manchester and Bishop McCormack avoided criminal charges. They don't like the precedent that the settlement sets of state supervision over clergy personnel.

I am not enamored of the deal either, but because Bishop McCormack, more than any other US bishop deserves to exchange his red cassock for an orange jumpsuit for his protection of perverts in the priesthood. More than Law, Mahony, Daily, Egan, Grahmann, Hart, or anyone else you can name, McCormack provided cover for pervert priests for more than 30 years in both Massachusetts and New Hampshire. If any bishop deserves to model the latest in handcuffs, it is McCormack. It is a shame he was able to weasel out of facing charges, because the outgoing New Hampshire AG wanted to clear his plate before leaving office last year.

But I doubt these guys have standing to challenge the settlement.

Thanks To Mark Shea for the Link
The latest effort to pinpoint the time and date of the Lord's Crucifixion has settled on Friday, April 3, 33 A.D. This date was favored over Friday April 7, 30 A.D. because there was a solar eclipse in 33 A.D.

But it plays havoc with the notion that the Lord began His public ministry at the age of thirty, and that it lasted three years. It would work, but for St. Denis' 3-4 year error in dating the Nativity. Christ was actually born, apparently, around 4 B.C., which would make the 30 A.D. date work better.

And the story of the Passion does not say that there was an actual solar eclipse at the time of the Crucifixion, it merely says that darkness covered the land, which could mean just very dark clouds. And solar eclipses don't last for 3 hours.

Try again, guys. Personally, I favor the 30 A.D. date.

URL Change Warning
This Sunday morning, the URL of Recta Ratio will become http://rectaratio.blogspot.com. The archives are currently working, so hopefully they will be coming along with the blog. I'll be e-mailing those I know link to me Sunday morning to confirm the change.

Victor Davis Hanson's Reflections On the End of the Iraq Campaign
It is a homecoming for him, too, as his one-year tenure at the Naval Academy is ending and he is heading back to his farm. In that year, he has become the go-to-guy among conservative pundits on matters concerning the use of military force. The result of the Iraq campaign has vindicated his views rather dramatically.

Krispy Kreme's First Boston-Area Store To Open Next Month
Near Wellington Circle in Medford, which is almost within my normal patrol radius (there is a hobby shop in downtown Medford that I frequent as it has a supply of Polly's Paints that I need for figure painting).

It also plans stores in Dedham and Saugus.

Dunkin Donuts is of course a Boston chain, with outlets on almost every street corner. But its donuts are not that great. In fact, they have become worse in the last ten years. You can often get a better-tasting donut at a supermarket bakery section (Shaw"s and Shop & Save & DeMoulas/Market Basket, not Stop & Shop). One of the big problems with DDs' donuts is that they are only baked once a day, early. If you have a yen for a donut around 4:00 pm, it won't be fresh any longer. And they have been playing games with the availablity of my favorite, the Marble Cruller.

Dunkin's coffee is what is keeping Starbucks from really flourishing in Greater Boston. The two are pretty much at a stalemate, with roughly comparable quality. Starbucks provides more upscale coffee products, but its supporting pastries are weak and over-priced. Dunkins provides good basic coffee, and (at least early in the day) decent donuts. That plus New Englanders' brand loyalty have kept DDs in good shape vis-a-vis Starbucks. Honey Dew Donuts, which has some better donut products, has a niche in the market, but isn't much of a threat to DDs. Throw Krispy Kreme with its substantially better donuts into the mix, and one cannot predict how the coffee and donuts wars will end.

One thing is certain. On a weekday morning, someone who has to drive through several downtown areas will see long lines that often have an impact on traffic at every place that sells coffee or pastry or both. New Englanders may be self-reliant, but they don't want to get up ten minutes earlier to make their own coffee at home to take on the road.

The best donuts in New England, though are only available at a place on Route 1 in Wells, Maine. It is a family breakfast/lunch/dinner establishment called Congdon's. We honeymooned in Kennebunkport, and discovered this treasure (rediscovered it, actually, as it seemed very familiar and I think my parents brought me there when they had a place near Wells back in the late '60s). But the donuts are heavenly there. Their coffee, however, is indifferent.

Welcome Back!
Amy Welborn has made it official. She is back to daily blogging, but on a more limited basis than before. The title is back to In Between Naps. This is good news for news-hungry Catholics.

Frist To "Go Nuclear" On Judicial Nominations
Go for it. And work like heck to widen the majority in 2004.

Daily Marian Reflection
From YeOldeWoburn.com:

Mary: Welcoming The Shepherds

"You must look at the Child in the manger. He is our Love. Look at him, realizing that the whole thing is a mystery. We need to accept this mystery on faith and use our faith to explore it very deeply. To do this, we must have the humble attitude of a Christian soul."

Let us offer to our Mother today:

Small hidden sacrifices, especially those that go against the grain.

Thursday, May 08, 2003

Iraq, Al Qaeda Linked By US Court
There was enough evidence to link Saddam Hussein to the September 11th hijackings (without using much in the way of classified information) for a federal district court judge deciding a suit by survivors of victims of September 11th, but not enough for the French and the domestic liberals. Go figure.

V-E Day
The calendars mostly don't mark it any more, but in 1945 on this date, the US & UK celebrated a day of jubilation to mark the defeat of Nazi Germany. That victory was won at the price of much, much blood. In fact we suffered losses in liberating Italy, France, Luxembourg, Belgium, The Netherlands, Germany, Austria, part of Czechoslovakia, and North Africa that would make modern pundits blanch. Eighty thousand Americans were killed, wounded, or captured in the Battle of the Bulge alone. The effort took almost 31/2 years, including the North African and air campaigns.

It has been my privilege to know several men who fought to free Europe from the Nazi tyranny. My Dad spent V-E in a hospital in England recovering from a gunshot wound he had received a few weeks before in Germany (the town of Weissenfels, to be specific). William Daly, one of my history professors, spent it recovering after being liberated from a German prisoner-of-war camp (he was a B-17 crewman).

The fighting in Europe was of a scale and ferocity that, thank God, has not been reached since. The entire national effort of the US and Britain needed to be focused on defeating the Nazis and not only driving them back to their homeland, but taking them out forever. Even the fighting in Vietnam, where roughly 56,000 Americans died over ten years, was light combat by comparison. We lost hundreds of men each day in the ETO.

This V-E Day, as we have the recent experience of liberating another country victimized by a tyrant and by a single-party government, we look back on the accomplishments of the men who fought World War II with renewed awe.

We repeat, again, the words of the Psalmist:

Truly, who is God except the LORD? Who but our God is the rock?
This God who girded me with might, kept my way unerring,
Who made my feet swift as a deer's, set me safe on the heights,
8 Who trained my hands for war, my arms to bend even a bow of bronze.
You have given me your protecting shield; your right hand has upheld me; you stooped to make me great.
You gave me room to stride; my feet never stumbled.
I pursued my enemies and overtook them; I did not turn back till I destroyed them.
I struck them down; they could not rise; they fell dead at my feet.
You girded me with strength for war, subdued adversaries at my feet.
My foes you put to flight before me; those who hated me I destroyed.
They cried for help, but no one saved them; cried to the LORD but got no answer.
I ground them fine as dust in the wind; like mud in the streets I trampled them down.
You rescued me from the strife of peoples; you made me head over nations. A people I had not known became my slaves;
as soon as they heard of me they obeyed. Foreigners cringed before me;
their courage failed; they came trembling from their fortresses.
The LORD lives! Blessed be my rock! Exalted be God, my savior!
O God who granted me vindication, made peoples subject to me,
and preserved me from my enemies, Truly you have exalted me above my adversaries, from the violent you have rescued me.
Thus I will proclaim you, LORD, among the nations; I will sing the praises of your name.
You have given great victories to your king, and shown kindness to your anointed, to David and his posterity forever.

Psalm 17/18, 32-51

Provincial or Metropolitan Conservatism?
NRO's John Derbyshire confronts an interesting division between urbanized conservatives and red-meat conservatives from the provinces. In his classification, I find myself an urban or metropolitan conservative, though, unlike Derb, I am not comfortable in the company of urban liberals, but rather in the company of other urban conservatives, particuarly orthodox Catholic ones.

I don't believe in Creationism. The Church has long since made its peace with evolution. It is only some of the Protestant heretics who have problems with it.

I would criminalize abortion, but would charge the performer, not the reluctant mother.

I have owned a gun, but it is a musket which is essentially useless for anything except blasting away at lines of troops within 100 yards. I have never hunted, or even fished. For outdoors recreation I enjoy golf, watching baseball games, taking walks, and re-enacting. Mrs. F. enjoys the process of gardening. I enjoy only the finished product. You would never see me, of my own consent, at a NASCAR race. Or a monster truck rally.

Unlike Derb, I am not reluctantly religious. I am not a particularly good Catholic, but I try to keep up on developments, and worship in a traditional and appropriate manner, even if I don't always live up to the high ideals I set. Religion is certainly not an area of discomfort to me. But I have little in common with red-neck evangelical heretics, except making common cause on some political matters. I'll admit to a Northeastern outlook on evangelicals; vague distaste and condescension.

I do favor not just the right of states to have sodomy laws, but the idea of them, though I'm not sure if I would jail anyone for homosexuality. I would have no hestitation jailing someone who promotes homosexuality as a valid lifestyle choice, or a valid sexual choice. Much better that those with doubts about their sexuality bury those doubts and live a normative life as best they can than explore alternative lifestyles. I see the moral force of making it illegal as vital in holding society together against a vicious evil masquerading as a lifestyle choice that recruits young people. The moral suasion of the community must have some teeth if it is to deter the wary from sliding into a surprising slippery slope of vices. The community in the form of its local, and even national, government has a right to enforce certain norms on human behavior, for self-preservation and to assure that family and community continue in their present form (or their forms of 50 years ago). In fact, as Senator Santorum said, if a state cannot maintain laws against homosexual sodomy, there is no right for states to criminalize bestiality, permanent (or semi-permanent) multiple sexual unions, or perhaps even age-of-consent laws. "Do your own thing, as long as it feels good" cannot be society's governing ethic. It is not an ethic at all. It is not liberty. It is licentiousness. But this argument is firmly rooted in old conservative notions of the good society and how to preserve it. It has little to do with the motives of most of those who support sodomy laws.

I dislike modern art, sculpture, architecture, what passes for philosophy, music, urban planning, and am uncomfortable with the lifestyles of a great many people who share the megalopolis with me. But again, much of my distaste is motivated by an older, elite sense of aesthetics. I have the high urban tastes of 200 years ago, and the sartorial tastes of 40 years ago, not modern provincial tastes. The Academy of Ancient Music is my delight. I get excited at the prospect of a slide lecture on 17th-early 19th century period gardening. I love looking at buildings built by Bulfinch and McIntire (and live in one of McIntire's). When I am in a philosophical mood, I take out Marcus Aurelius, Cicero, or Montaigne. I'd rather lop off a finger than get a tatoo.

So, am I a "milk and water conservative," as Derb's dinner companion put it? No. I think my conservatism is quite genuine, and deep. I may not be ready to haul truckloads of homosexuals off to jail, or, as some enthusiast at Mark Shea's comments put it the other day, forcibly convert them, but I dislike what they espouse enough to recognize it as a huge threat to society. My conservatism is more deeply informed and pervasive than that of most of the red-state crowd. There is no doubt that I am, as Derb divides them, a "metropolitan conservative." I am just part of a subset of orthodox Catholic beliefs and antiquarian tastes. Although I may believe in some things that are popular, there is nothing of populism in my conservatism. Such a conservatism probably has only a limited appeal. In fact, it probably only appeals to similarly educated Catholics with similar tastes and similarly rigorous views. So, though my views are very well-defined, I will never be the leader of a popular faction. So be it.

Changes Coming In Massaschusetts' Dioceses
Not only is the See of Boston vacant, but the Bishop of Worcester will send his letter of resignation to the Holy Father on Monday when he turns 75 (though it could be years before it is accepted). The Bishop of Springfield, though only 69, has said that he will ask the Holy Father to accept his early retirement, as he suffers from back and heart problems. Fall River had a new bishop appointed in the last couple of weeks.

And New Hampshire may soon see a change, also. Though Bishop McCormack is 3-4 years away from submitting his resignation, no figure is more deeply implicated in the protection of perverts in New England than he is. There is essentially no constituency outside his chancery for his remaining in charge of the Diocese of Manchester.

It is hard to imagine the scope of the change that may take place within a few months in the leadership of the Church in Massachusetts. New bishops all around. New marching orders from Rome on the Eucharist and (still coming, hopefully) on homosexuals not being ordained. Add that to the realization that the Archdiocese of Boston, and the other dioceses have been badly damaged financially by their own historic leniency towards perverts, so that hopefully an institutional lesson about not coddling perverts, even if they are your seminary classmates, has been learned and will last.

Let us pray that the changes have a very positive result.

The Holy Father Exhorts Europe To Retain Its Christian Spirit
But that Christian spirit is under assault both from within and from without. From within, it is assailed by secularism, modernism, hedonism, socialism, materialism, and a growing agnosticism and atheism. From without, the Christian identity of Europe is in serious danger from continued Moslem immigration. Preserving Europe as the heart and homeland of the Faith over the next 50 years will not be easy. What will be needed will be a generation of saints and prophets, reformers resanctifying the Church, purging Her of modernism and its effects, and calling Catholics and all Christians back to the Faith.

In addition, it will require a strong, determined, and orthodox papacy. The idea current in the curia that the next pope should be a weak and short-term one is foolhardy. I urge the appointment of a strong successor, if anything more confrontational and vigorous than John Paul II, and one who may naturally expect to reign for 20 years or more.

She's Well Out Of It
Archdiocese of Boston spokeswoman Donna Morrissey has resigned. What a terrible job she has had over the last 16 months! For much of that period, there wasn't a day without awful revelations about how corrupt and in the pockets of perverts the Archdiocese has been over the last 50 years.

As spokeswoman, Morrissey was the one on the firing line, though she was never responsible for any of the underlying behavior. I often wished that Cardinal Law was the one who had to face the press day in and day out, not Morrissey. Though there have been few damaging revelations since Law resigned in December, the atmosphere at the chancery cannot be pleasant, as the administration of the Archdiocese sits with a financial sword of Damocles hanging over its head.

She did as well as can be expected in an incredibly depressing situation. The only spokesperson situation I can think of that would be worse would be being Enron's spokesman. We wish her well in her future endeavours.

Daily Marian Reflection
From YeOldeWoburn.com:

Mary: Mother of Christ

"Iesus Christus, Deus homo: Jesus Christ, God-man. This is one of the 'mighty works of God,' which we should reflect upon and thank him for. He has come to bring 'peace on earth to men of good will,' to all who want to unite their wills to the holy will of God - not just the rich, not just the poor, but everyone: all the brethren. We are all brothers in Jesus, children of God, brothers of Christ. His mother is our mother."

Let us offer to our Mother today:

Jesus himself, when we receive him in holy Communion.

Wednesday, May 07, 2003

Iain Murray At the Very-Coolly-Titled Edge of England's Sword Blog Makes a Great Point About the Anglosphere
He does not mention Canada, New Zealand, or Ireland, but surely they are part of it, too.

Mark Steyn On Bob Hope's Coming 100th Birthday

The Archdiocese of Boston is going to post details of its budget on its website. That is nice, very positive, in fact. Now toss out the remaining perverts, crack down on the dissenters from Church teaching among the priesthood, settle the lawsuits, and get back to the business of preaching Christ and Him crucified to the faithful and making converts of all nations and peoples (including our own rising generation). Then we will all be happy with the Archdiocese.

There Is A Lot of Buzz About Liturgy At Saint Blog's
Amy Welborn has this great column on how to overcome anger at a too-trendy-for-words Mass. Some of the comments drift into the Novus Ordo/Tridentine Rite controversy.

Mark Sullivan at Ad Orientem not only discusses the possibility of a universal indult, but shares some of Hilaire Belloc's reflections on how the Mass made him feel.

Father Rob Johansen raised the issue of the universal indult (caution: the source is a British newspaper, and we know how notoroiusly unreliable they have become) in a May 3rd blog (you have to scroll down because linking directly to the blog does not work; probably the same kind of archive trouble I have been having on and off) which has generated a fair amount of comment.

It is safe to say that, at least among St. Blog's regulars (and I don't know how representative we are of practicing Catholics in general), there is a fair degree of dissatisfaction with the current state of Catholic worship. Far too many of us have had the experience far too often of a Mass that made us want to run screaming from the church. For me, it was a Lifeteen Mass 5 years ago late on a Sunday at another parish here in Salem, a youth/family Mass at a parish in Danvers, and the Christmas Eve family Mass (complete with liturgical dance, a skit in place of the Gospel, and hand gestures by the congregation towards a disco ball) I blogged about last December at my own parish, and a hundred smaller things that gnaw at one's goodwill.

Poor or uninspired preaching isn't the issue, though it is a notorious failing of Catholic priests over the years. Poor liturgy (liturgy that focuses on the congregation rather than on the Lord), abysmal liturgical music that sounds too much like the Carpenters or the Lovin' Spoonfuls, or is performed by soloists who try to swallow the mike like torch singers, or by twenty-something rock bands, or is said by priests so caught up in the ethos of the '60s and '70s that they wear sandals and tie-dyed vestments and treat the Mass like a badly-done retreat weekend, and the gutting or razing of traditional churches to make them into meeting spaces appropriate for the new congregation-focused liturgy have individually and cumulatively had the effect of turning off so, so many Catholics, and infuriating many of those left.

With regard to liturgy, it is fairly plain that something is about to give. With the new, better translation soon to come into use, there is bound to be change. The celebration of a Tridentine Rite Mass in the Vatican by a Cardinal on May 24th for the first time in a long time spells greater openess towards the old Mass. The Holy Father's latest encyclical on the Eucharist (I linked to its full text yesterday courtesy of Adoremus and encourage all to take the time to read it) is solid stuff indeed.

Good things may be about to happen in Cathlic liturgy. The dominance of '70s retro is about to finally be challenged. A sense of the sacred may be restored, along with a renewed focus on the unbloody sacrifice on the altar. Whether significant improvement comes through a cleaned-up Novus Ordo, or through greater liberality in permitting the Tridentine Rite Mass to be said, or both, it appears to be coming. Keep praying that its effect will be as we would all hope.

Republican Senators Have A Plan To Break Democrat Filibuster On Judges
Rush reported on this yesterday, and today it has made the Washington Times. Essentially, it utilizes a tactic the Democrats used to break the filibuster against the civil rights legislation. But so calcified is the Republican majority in the Senate that they are keeping it in reserve, very reluctant to use it. They hope that ust suggesting that they might do it will bring the needed 9 Democrat votes. I doubt it will. Ultimately, the judges will be confirmed in this manner, or President Bush will use his recess-appointment power.

Daily Marian Reflection
From YeOldeWoburn.com:

Mary: Our Model in Ordinary Life

"We can't forget that Mary spent nearly every day of her life just like millions of other women who look after their families, bring up their children, and take care of their houses. Mary sanctifies the ordinary, everyday things - what some people wrongly regard as unimportant and insignificant: everyday work, looking after those closest to you, visits to friends and relatives. What a blessed ordinariness, that can be so full of love of God."

Let us offer to our Mother today:

Affectionate details of service and attention to those closest to us.

Tuesday, May 06, 2003

A Universal Indult?
Neighbor Mark Sullivan at Ad Orientem is reporting that there are rumors floating about that the Holy Father may this month announce a universal indult permitting any priest anywhere to say the Tridentine Rite Latin Mass without the incredible hassle of going through the local bishop and beyond. Personally, I welcome more leniency with the Latin Mass. In my view both the Novus Ordo and the Tridentine Rite are legitimate Catholic modes of worship. Both should be readily available. For convenience, I like a "straight," uncluttered but dignified Novus Ordo Mass. For aesthetics, I prefer the Latin Mass. Both should be observed with reverence and respect.

If both are available on a liberal basis, and Catholics tend to go to one rather than the other, that is just the market at work. For thirty years, the market was skewed by unnatural regulation against the Tridentine Rite.

I know that the Latin Mass aficianados have some trepidation about a universal indult. They fear bastardized variations from priests not trained in the rubrics of the 1962 Missal. They fear hybrid Masses, with elements of the old and new Mass combined. Also, they think it just won't feel right without altar rails, with no high altar, but a low altar oriented towards the congregation, with altar girls, with Communion in the hand, or under both Species, with the wrong music, without the right vestments and linens for the altar. And I will admit that the atmosphere will be different in those parishes that may choose to provide a Latin Mass once a month or so, but are configured for the Novus Ordo Mass. Frankly, had I been given dictatorial powers over Catholic liturgy after Vatican II, what would have emerged would have been a hybrid, with the best of the old Mass like seasonal sequences, the commons said at every Mass, and much of the litugical music preserved in Latin, and the Liturgy of the Word in the vernacular. Wider availablity of good interlinear translations would have been my answer to the objection that people don't understand what is going on in the Mass when it is said in Latin. That, in my view, would have been prudent reform. So the objections to a hybrid Mass really don't get far with me. And I'll be happy just to see more of the traditional regularly integrated into the Novus Ordo Mass.

As long as both forms of the Mass are said and observed with reverence, with a Christ-centered focus, and without undue showmanship, I have no problem with either form.

Helen Hull Hitchcock Explores Ecclesia de Eucharista
From the latest Adoremus. The complete text of this encyclical is offered by Adoremus here.

"Religion of Peace" Strikes Again
This time the victims included 2 Catholic seminarians working in a remote parish in the Philippines. The Philippines is a front in the war on terror. US Special Forces units that have been busy in Iraq and Afghanistan may be deployed there to help the Philippine government suppress the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (yet another local branch of al Qaeda). US troops backed up Philippine units last year when they took on the Abu Sayyaf Moslem rebel group.

Capuchins and Local Bishop At Odds Over Saint Pio Shrine
The Vatican has stepped in to make it clear that, while the Capuchins will continue to run the shrine, they are subject in its operations to the diocesan bishop.

Follow The Money
Alexis Amory, writing for FrontPage Magazine follows the supply of money supporting left-wing MP George Galloway. A large amount of it seems to have come from the coffers of Saddam Hussein. Now the British government is thinking of prosecuting Galloway on charges that he incited British troops to disobey orders. Some of the financial machinations that have been the basis for Galloway's prosperity may also be prosecutable. Even if they are not chargeable offenses, they stink.

Requiescat In Pace
Tony Savage, long-time assistant To William F. Buckley, Jr, died unexpectedly last week. Rich Lowry posts this moving tribute to this fellow baseball fan. I dealt with Tony quite a bit at one point. From a few phone conversations, I can affirm that what Rich says of him was true in my dealings with him. We talked baseball for a good few minutes, though we root for very different teams. In fact, Tony helped me compose the ad in National Review through which I met Mrs. F. Mrs. F. and I owe Tony a great debt for his help. He will be missed here below. I have no doubt that he is watching a really terrific baseball game being played beyond the Pearly Gates (What teams Heaven must have!).

Eternal rest grant unto him, O Lord, and may perpetual light shine upon him. May his soul, and all the souls of the faithful departed, through the mercy of God, rest in peace. Amen.

Requiescat in pace.

Mark Shea Has Figured Out Andrew Sullivan's Primary Motivation
Welcome aboard, Mark.

Daily Marian Reflection
From YeOldeWoburn.com:

The Annunciation - Mary: The First Tabernacle

"If you seek Mary, you will find Jesus. And you will learn a bit more about what is in the heart of God, who humbles himself, discarding all manifestations of his power and majesty to take the form of a servant. Speaking in human terms, we could say that God outdoes himself, because he goes much further than he needs to go in order to save us. The only way to measure what he does is to say that it cannot be measured; it comes from a madness of love which leads him to take on our flesh and bear the weight of our sins."

Let us offer to our Mother today:

The Angelus recited punctually at noon and with great affection.

Monday, May 05, 2003

It's Early Yet, But the Polling News For President Bush Is Good

The Station Nightclub Fire Has Claimed Its 100th Victim
May God have mercy on all who died there.

"Doctor Germ" Has Been Captured

The Chaps With the Jackhammers Are Back On Essex Street
As soon as I'm done with work, I'm out of here for the afternoon.

Michael Novak On What A Catholic University Ought To Be
His commencement address to the graduates of Ave Maria College, reprinted at National Review On Line.

Catholic Or "Catholic"?
Neighbor Domenico Bettinelli points out that Father Walter Cuenin just last month allowed seances on his parish's premises (Our Lady, Help of Christians). I dislike saying this about any priest, but this guy is no longer a member of the Roman Catholic Church, no matter whether his orders are recognized as legitimate or not. He openly dissents on most of the Church's teachings on sexual morality, allows an open forum to dissenters and kooks of the worst kind. There is not a bad cause among the supporters of which he is not prominent.

I know that there is a distinction that defenders of "Call Me Walter" may raise. No one is claiming that Cuenin is promoting channeling as proper Catholic doctrine. He is just renting out his parish hall and providing a meeting space, just as he presumably does for AA, and other 12-step groups, which have a spiritual dimension that is not always entirely consistent with Catholic doctrine (at least not specifically so). This is a money issue, they will say, not a faith issue.

I am sorry, but I don't buy the distinction. What groups the local parish decides to provide meeting space for speaks volumes about what the parish stands for. My old re-enactment group, the British 10th Regiment of Foot and the Lexington Minutemen both rented space for monthly drills from a Catholic parish in Lexington. But no one would say that, by doing so, the parish supported either loyalism to the British crown or rebellion against it. That isn't what is at issue with either group as they exist today. They are both just community groups that need an indoors location to drill in during the winter, and a decently big parking lot to both park their cars in and march around in from April-October. There is no idealogical context to renting space to either group.

The same cannot be said of New Age spiritualism. It is a rival belief-system inconsistent with Catholic orthodoxy. By giving space to New Age figures to dupe the public in, the Father Cuenin implicitly endorses seances and channeling. It is not distinguishable from telling Cathoics For a Free Choice that they can meet at the local parish (except that CFFC has no local chapters). As an ecumenical gesture, you might allow a dispossessed Christian sect to meet in the parish hall (though you would never allow, say, Unitarian services in the main church itself). But we do not seek ecumenical understanding and eventual reconciliation with the New Age movement. It is a work of the Evil One that we seek to win souls from. Its functions have no place on the property of a Catholic parish.

My contempt for Father Cuenin has reached the Cardinal Law-Bishop McCormack level. It is time for the Archdiocese to take serious action. Father Cuenin must go, no matter what that would do to his liberal parish. Send them a hard-nosed conservative priest, and let him convert the parish, or drive the dissenters out to the Unitarians or Episcopalians. The Church must speak with one voice on matters of faith and morals. That voice is Rome's. Father Cuenin's voice ought not to be heard.

Time for someone in the chancery to wake up to this growing threat to orthdoxy just a few miles from the seminary and Archbishop's residence. Anybody awake over there, Bishop Lennon?

Some Perspective On Iraq War Casualties
The final count was 171 British and American troops killed during operations in Iraq. There were 495 Americans wounded or injured during the campaign. Of the 171 Allied dead, at least one-third were caused by accidents or blue-on-blue firing. Essentially, the Allies lost the equivalent of a re-inforced company dead, and about half of one reinforced battalion dead or injured. That to liberate a country the size of Texas, and a country with a moderately powerful armed forces.

Some historical perspective is helpful here.

In taking Guadalcanal in November, 1942, the US had 1,592 men killed, and killed 25,000 Japanese.

At Tarawa in November, 1943, The US had to kill all but 17 of the island's 5,000 defenders, and lost about 1,000 dead.

The US was dissatisfied with these losses, and so increased the amount of firepower. At Kwajalein, US firepower was so intense that it killed nearly all of the island's 8,500 defenders, at a cost of 373 American servicemen.

At Leyte Gulf in 1944, the US lost 3,500 men, but killed 65,000 of 70,000 Japanese defenders.

At Iwo Jima, the US had its worst Pacific Campaign casualty ratio, losing 4,917 dead to just over 18,000 Japanese dead.

At Okinawa, the US lost 12,520 dead, essentially an entire division, though the casualties were split between the Air Corps, Army, Navy and Marines, but the Japanese lost 185,000 killed.

In the fighting in World War II in Burma, the Indo-British 14th Army killed 128,000 Japanese, and lost 20,000 of their own, amid thick jungles where air superiority was not so much a factor.

During Patton's less-successful-than-hoped Lorraine Campaign in November/December, 1944, the Third Army lost 6,657 killed, 36,406 wounded, 12,119 missing, and 42,088 killed or injured in non-battle accidents, or evacuated as sick. While German casualties are uncertain, it is recorded that the Third Army took 75,000 German prisoners in the fighting in Lorraine.

Eighty thousand American troops were killed, wounded, or captured during the Battle of the Bulge (December/January 1944/45).

A little more perspective gives a clearer picture of the stunning magnitude of the Allied victory in Iraq. In a single June afternoon in 1775 on the heights of Charlestown, Massachusetts, the entrenched Yankee farmers killed 226 British redcoats, and wounded 828. The Brits took the hill and drove the New Englanders from their entrenchments, killing 140, wounding 271, and capturing 30. The Brits lost twice as many men in the course of about 3 hours that June afternoon at Breed's Hill as the Allies lost in the three weeks of fighting throughout almost the extent of Iraq. While the Brits in 1775 gained just the Charlestown Peninsula, the Allies took the entire country of Iraq.

But 18th century warfare was much more concentrated in terms of time and space than modern warfare.

Still, I think the comparison is informative.

And, though our losses were compariatively light, we still pray that God will have mercy on the souls of all of those who fell during the Iraq campaign.

Bill Bennett
This whole gambling thing concerning Bill Bennett is fairly distasteful. Gambling is most certainly not a virtue. It is a vice that has been practiced by many otherwise nice people. Apart from buying a lottery ticket when the jackpot grows large enough to interest me, it has never been, and I pray never will be, a fault of mine. And Bennett, by writing so extensively about public virtues made himself particularly vulnerable to charges that he was involved in private vice. This really is no different than if he had been caught with another woman, or buying drugs, or stopped for drunk driving. It is a nasty business, but it does go to show that all men are sinners, no matter how high their ideals are. Let us pray that the otherwise sensible Bennett is able to overcome this problem and to continue his otherwise very useful public commentary.

Change of URL Warning
One week from yesterday, the URL of Recta Ratio will become http://rectaratio.blogspot.com . Hopefully, the Verus Ratio and Verus Ratio Goes To War archives will be coming with us.

Daily Marian Reflection
From YeOldeWoburn.com:

Mary: Her Immaculate Conception

"How would we have acted, if we could have chosen our own mother? I'm sure we would have chosen the one we have, adorning her with every possible grace. That is what Christ did. Christ being all-powerful, all-wise, Love itself, his power carried out his Will...This is the clearest reason why our Lord granted his mother, from the very moment of her Immaculate Conception, all possible privileges. She was free from the power of Satan. She is beautiful, spotless and pure in soul and body."

Let us offer to our Mother today:

The renewal of our baptismal vows.

Sunday, May 04, 2003

Bob Novak: 4-Seat GOP Gain In Senate in 2004
Assuming that Governor Edgar runs and wins in Illinois, that we lose a seat in Alaska (thanks a lot, Governor Murkowski), and that we pick up seats in the south and Nevada (which is not a 75% certainty) or South Dakota (which would mean taking Daschle himself out, not easy, but sweet if it happened), Novak may be right. There could also be other surprise not-running announcements between now and the end of the year.

Five New Spanish Saints
One, Saint Pedro Poveda, was martyred by the Communists during the opening days of the Spanish Civil War in 1936.
Saint Angela de la Cruz founded the Sisters of the Company of the Cross.
Saint Genoveva Tores founded the Sisters of the Sacred Heart and of the Holy Angels.
Saint Maravillas de Jesus founded convents of Discalced Carmelites in Spain.
Saint Jose Maria Rubio was a Jesuit priest.

Daily Marian Reflection
From YeOldeWoburn.com:

Mary's Family: The Trinity On Earth

"It is only natural that the Church rejoice as it contemplates the modest home of Jesus, Mary, and Joseph. We read in the hymn from Matins on the feast of the holy Family: 'It is pleasing to recall the humble house of Nazareth and its slender resources. It is pleasing to tell again in song Jesus' hidden life. Jesus grows up in hidden seclusion, to be trained in Joseph's unpretentious trade. The loving mother sits beside her dear Son, the good wife by her husband, content if her loving attention can ease and comfort them in their weariness.'"

Let us offer to our Mother today:

A loving review of her life with Jesus, as we recite the Joyful Mysteries of the Rosary.

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