Saturday, March 13, 2004

Looks More and More As If the Spanish Bombings Were the Work of Al Qaeda Affiliates

Another Pervert Priest In Alaska

This one a Jesuit.

St. Patrick's Day Is Comin', Part IV

With the "Great Day To Be Irish" hard on our heels, I've been indulging a little bit in that perennial hobby of Irish-Americans, checking out my family history.

The Fitzpatricks are one of the larger clans in Ireland. Unlike every other surname starting with "Fitz," Fitzpatrick is actually an Irish name, not Norman. It is anglicized from Mac Goilla Padraig. It means the devotee of St. Patrick.

Ah and what a grand history we have. We have a coat of arms, and a well-deserved one. It is described thus:

Mac Giolla Phadraig (anglicised as Fitzpatrick, Kilpatrick, Mac Gilpatrick, Mac Kilpatrick, MacIlpatrick) Family Coat of Arms. Blazon: Sable a saltire argent, on a chief azure three fleur-de-lis or. Crest: A dragon reguardant vert surmounted of a lion guardant sable dexter paw resting on the dragon's head.

I recall an old Star Trek episode where one of the junior officers, under the influence of something or other, went sort of nuts (if I recall correctly, everyone was going sort of nuts) and the Irish side of his personality came out. I recall Spock saying that he fancied himself the descendant of Irish kings.

Well there were lots of kings in Irish history. Every noble with a few dozen peasant families under his control called himself a king. And the Fitzpatricks were kings, too.

Upper Ossory was our kingdom. That would be the modern counties of Kilkenny and Laois. Spanish Celts invaded Ireland in the time before our Lord. It is from them that the Fitzpatricks are descended.

Like most native Irish families of some prominence, the Fitzpatricks fought a long losing struggle against Englishmen, in our case the Ormond Butlers, who ended up with most of our titles and land. Gowran was the family seat, and the y Butlers got that, too.

But we were still kings as late as 1158, when Donagh MacGillapatrick founded the Cistercian monastery at Jerpoint. It is now just a set of romantic ruins.

One of the more prominent members of the clan in "modern" times was Sir Barnaby Fitzpatrick. The knighthood was English, the result of the favor of Henry VIII. But He was also, in Ireland, Baron of Upper Ossory.

The next Fitzpatrick to play an important role was Brian Fitzpatrick, Vicar Apostolic of Ossory. He had a copy made of the Book of the O Byrnes, which preserved that document at the time of the Cromwellian devastation of Catholic Ireland. But Brian himself was ed by Cromwell's men.

At the time of the Glorious Revolution, the Fitzpatricks split. Some took service with the Pretender, becoming officers of the French King's Irish Brigade (documented in the Regiments of Dillon and Lord Clare). That was the Wild Geese side of the family. Others stuck it out in Ireland, or moved to England for fame and fortune. Still others came to America and Australia.

Richard Fitzpatrick was captain of HMS Richmond in 1687, and was given a generous grant of land in Offaly for a victory in 1696 against the French. He was a member of the Irish Parliament, and was raised to the Irish peerage as 1st Baron Gowran. His son, John Fitzpatrick became Earl of Upper Ossory in 1751.

Inded by this time Fitzpatrick was a sufficiently common name that Henry Fielding, needing a name for some Irish characters in Tom Jones (the scandalous Mr. and Mrs. Fitzpatrick), picked ours.

John's son Richard (1747-1813) was a member of the English Parliament. He was a great social figure, something of a roisterer, and was a friend of Charles James Fox. Some say that he was promoted to Major General of the army in America during the 1775-1783 war, but i have found no evidence of that.

The last Fitzpatrick nobleman was Bernard Fitzpatrick, aka Lord Castletown of Granston Manor. He died in 1937, and the ancestral home burnt to the ground in 1977.

Sir Jeremiah Fitzpatrick of Westmeath was inspector of medical service of the British Army in the late 18th century. He alaso worked for prison reform.

A Thomas Fitzpatrick appears in Wyoming after 1824 and discovered the South Pass.

Benjamin Fitzpatrick was a governor of Alabama before the Civil War.

Perhaps the greatest glory of the family, and fairly closely related to my branch of the family, is John Bernard Fitzpatrick. His father had been an officer of the Continental Army. John Bernard himself became Catholic Bishop of Boston (long before my branch of the family got here) in time to take in the great wave of Irish following the potato blight of the 1840s.

My Great-Uncle Noel Fitzpatrick served in the Connaught Rangers in World War I, along with my grandfather Thomas Bernard and his other brother James. Great Uncle Noel led an interesting life. He was commissioned in the Connaught Rangers, and retired after the war. But he was restless. He spent some time as a Trappist monk (the family's second known connection with that order, though there were probably others), was in England to help break the General Strike. When the Spanish Civil War broke out, he volunteered to serve on Franco's staff in the interests of the Faith. Later, he was in command of the Irish BlueShirt Regiment fighting against the Communists in Spain. What happened to Great Uncle Noel after the war is unknown, for my grandfather died of what was probably a cerebral hemmorage in 1936, and we lost contact. I don't think my grandmother thought much of her brother-in-law.

That my great-grandfather Patrick Fitzpatrick was from County Clare, I have no explanation for, except the natural pressure of cadet lines branching out from the home turf.

There is a Jim Fitzpatrick today who is an artist specializing in Celtic motifs. Dublin-born, He is not apparently an immediate relative, though he is the spitting image of my uncle and grandfather (sans his beard and longer hair).

We have not been a particularly prolific family since my grandfather came to America in 1922. In fact, I am the last of my grandfather's descendants, and our branch of the family will probably, as it stands now, die with me.

Well those are the more interesting members of my clan.

Daily Lenten Reflection From the Precious Blood Leadership Conference

Readings: Micah 7: 14-15, 18-20; Luke 15:1-3, 11-32

We are all familiar with the parable of the prodigal son, perhaps too familiar. It might be good to look at Luke’s story through the lens of the reading from Micah, a lens which shows us a prodigal God, prodigal in the sense of being lavish, abundant, and bountiful.

Our prodigal God, like the father in the parable, removes guilt and pardons sin, does not persist in anger and delights in clemency. Our God has compassion on us time and time again, treads our guilt underfoot and casts our sins into the depths of the sea.

At times we are very unlike God and the father of the parable. We find it difficult to pardon. We persist in anger and delight in pointing out guilt. Instead of casting wrongs into the sea, we bring them up time and time again. We do this not only to the other, as the older brother in the parable did, but also to ourselves.

Reflecting on the power of forgiveness, we pray:

Let your words of reconciliation be in our mouths and in our hearts that your peace
might be present to all. Do not count our sins against us . . . build us up into the body
of Christ, we who are washed in the Precious Blood of Jesus.

Forgiveness. Reconciliation. The call of the Blood.

How do I, we, reflect our prodigal God, who sent Jesus to redeem us in his blood, in the way we forgive ourselves and others?

Reflect on “A Reconciliation Prayer” found on page 43 of United in Prayer.

Reflection by: Sister Nadine Flott, C.PP.S. (O’Fallon, Missouri)

Daily Lenten Reflection

From the Franciscans at AmericanCatholic.org.

Friday, March 12, 2004

I Like Fisking

I wish I had the time to do more of it myself.

But then there are true masters of the art, like Dale Price.

And CWN's Off the Record's Diogenes shows that he is no lightweight in the category of fiskers with this take on the ramblings of Father Andrew Greeley.

The Pope's Spokesman Says The Passion of the Christ Is Not Anti-Semitic

"The Passion of the Christ cannot be considered anti-Semitic without also regarding the Gospel the same way. "
Thanks to Chris at Maine Catholic and Beyond for the link.

Traditional Feast of Saint Gregory the Great

I recall in particular one quotation of Gregory the Great that my late pastor was fond of in light of the scandal.

"If the truth be scandalous, it is better that the scandal become public than that falsehood be taken as the truth."

Blogger Is Very, Very Slow Publishing Posts This Morning

Good News On the Father Groeschel Front

He is well enough to have sent this letter of thanks to all of those helping him either physically or with prayers. He still has a way to go to full recovery, I imagine, so please keep him in your prayers.

Lenten Friday Stations of the Cross

Daily Lenten Reflection From the Precious Blood Leadership Conference

Since it is Friday (amazing that we are already at the Friday of the Second Week in Lent), St. Blog's own Father Keyes is the author of today's reflection.

You will note in clicking on the links on the right that Father Keyes' site, The New Gasparian, has a new address. He has moved over to St. Blog's. The old site will be kept open as an archive.

Readings: Genesis 37: 34,1213, 1728; Matthew 21:3343, 4546

St. Gaspar
“It is true–they are thorns, but, they are thorns that sustain the mystical rose. They are bitter drink, it is true–but a bitter drink that helps anyone to a change of life in the spirit and assists us to be distrustful of self and confident in the divine goodness, which is the sum total of our sanctification. To this mystical winter, there usually follows a flowering spring; to this most beautiful mystical night, there usually follows a most serene day; to this mystical storm, there follows a most consoling calm. In any event, it is always proper to remain in conformity to the sovereign dispositions and to recommend oneself to the Lord to keep us always faithful to him. Amen.” St. Gaspar – writing from prison: (from Letter No. 51 to Countess Lucrezia Ginnasi, February-April, 1813) SP4, pg.26)

Joseph shared his dreams with his brothers. Joseph’s brothers rejected that dream and sold him into slavery. In God’s mysterious designs, over a period of years, this tragedy was a place for God to show his marvels as Joseph became a source of nourishment for Egypt and for his brothers.

The Landowner in Jesus' parable had a dream of a rich and bountiful harvest. The tenants rejected that dream and resorted to violence. In God's marvelous design, the stone rejected by the builders has become the cornerstone.

St. Gaspar reminds us that any dream worth dreaming is worth remaining faithful to, even if denied and rejected. We trust in the marvels God can do. The darkness of Joseph's slavery and the winter of the murder of the landowner's son all become the light and spring of nourishment and life.

What dreams of mine have been rejected?
Do I tend to trust in my own strength only?
Am I willing to endure the winters in my life, hopeful of spring?

Reflection by: Rev. Jeff Keyes, C.PP.S. (Province of the Pacific)

Daily Lenten Reflection

From the Franciscans at AmericanCatholic.org.

Thursday, March 11, 2004

Another St. Blog's Parishioner Does Well

Amy Welborn's well-deserved thumping of The Da Vinci Code is the cover story for The American Spectator.


Despite having a highly "Catholic" population, Boston has not been a strong city for The Passion of the Christ.

Probably because of the justified use of those quotation marks.

Not the Best That Could Have Been Done

But the ConCon has approved an amendment to the Massachusetts constitution that would prohibit gay marriage. It also approves civil unions, and that is the illogical rub. And, of course, it won't make its first appearance on the ballot until 2006, long after the horse is out the barn door.

Meanwhile, sanity is beginning to take hold in California (at least until the California Supreme Court rules). Encouraging for the Breakfast State (fruits, flakes, and nuts).

And New Hampshire is taking steps to protect itself from the Vermont/Massachusetts/San Francisco disease.

For Information On the Terrible Terrorist Bombing In Spain

Go to Irish Elk. Mark is on top of the story with a number of links to news sources.

The first reports were that this was the work of Basque separatists. But al Qaeda has now claimed responsibility. Whether it was al Qaeda or not remains to be seen. But Mark has pointed to some evidence that tends to link al Qaeda to it.

The scale of the thing, and the target, make it look more like the work of al Qaeda.

For those almost 200 innocents murdered in this attack, Eternal rest grant unto them, O Lord, and may perpetual light shine upon them. May their souls, and all the souls of the faithful departed, through the mercy of God, rest in peace. Amen.

And may the Lord bring healing to the more than thousand people injured, and to those who have lost loved ones.

Dale Price Takes On Christopher Hitchens

And the winner is...Dale Price (surprise, surprise).

Saint Patrick's Day Is Comin', Part III

And so is the annual flood of Irish music.

Many groups and individual Irish performers are in the Boston area already. Some like Tommy Makem and his sons, the Makem Brothers, have taken up permanent residence (in New Hampshire).

We in America make more of St. Patrick's Day than the Irish ever did, until the last decade, when the extent to which it was observed in America sank in and began to be reflected in Irish practice. So it is natural for the performers to come over at this time of year in large numbers. This is where the money is.

I grew up listening to Irish music on WROL (950 AM) Boston. Every Saturday, from 10:00 am until sunset for the last 35 years, it has broadcast a mix of contemporary and traditional Irish music. My parents listened every week. And I did, too. My wife took a dislike to the number of songs with a country-western twang to them. Until she called that to my attention, I hadn't noticed them, or just chalked them up as what needed to be waded through to get to the good stuff: the traditional Irish music. In my research for re-enacting (my regiment, though nominally English, was heavily Irish in composition at the time of the American Revolution) I found that a great many of the Irish traditional songs played every week had roots going back to the 18th century, or to the Napoleonic Wars.

About a decade ago, Irish and Celtic music was hot. I was ahead of that trend, since I was already listening to that music. Now it is not quite so trendy, but I still listen whenever I can.

Now a fair number of the songs that we are familiar with (My Wild Irish Rose and When Irish Eyes Are Smiling spring to mind) are not Irish at all, but Irish-American. As the late novelist Thomas Flanagan (The Year of the French) said, there are probably no two groups more dissimilar than Irishmen and Irish-Americans (a point also made in the Harrison Ford/Brad Pitt movie The Devil's Own). So songs by Irish-Americans are very different from actual Irish songs, both in tone and subject matter. They are more upbeat and nostalgic, and deal with the effects of the great Irish diaspora of the last two centuries.

But my likes, as I said, run to the traditional Irish song, not the Irish-American tune.

There are groups that, in the last 50 years, have been more prominent in that field than others. Pre-eminent among them are the Clancy Brothers and Tommy Makem. In the 1950s and early 1960s, they popularized the traditional Irish song for the American audience. In the field of instrumentals, the Chieftans have the same distinction. But other groups, like the Wolfe Tones, The Fureys, the Irish Rovers, Danny Doyle, and the Dubliners also have carved niches for themselves in the field of traditional Irish music. Even very modern groups like the Pogues come up with an interesting new twist on a classic once in a while.

In looking at some of my favorite Irish tunes, the ones I find myself humming as I walk along, I found that they break down into seven topical categories.

First there are the fun songs. These songs are mostly upbeat (though not all are), appropriate for a drinking party. The Irish have always like to boast of their accomplishments with knife, fork, and flagon. And there are many songs that celebrate the joys of good food, strong drink, and good company.

Then there are the rebel songs. Chesterton said that all the wars of the Irish were happy, and all their songs, sad. Not true. The rebel songs are much sadder than the drinking songs. They are even sadder than the songs about Irish soldiers.

Then there are the songs that deal specifically with the 1798 Rebellion, itself a subcategory of the rebel songs. I break them out because there are so many of them, and they are uniformly glum, just as the fate of that rebellion was glum. Tommy Makem's sons, the Makem Brothers produced a CD a couple of years ago (Who Fears To Speak?) in which all the songs dealt with the '98. The '98 Rebellion was put down, finally, by Lord Cornwallis, of American Revolution/Yorktown fame.

I see a category of songs that date to the time of peace and prosperity of the 18th century, before the '98 started Ireland into the Fenian era of emigration, economic catastrophe and rebellion that culminated in 1916-22. These 18th century songs are mostly happy, and were popular in my regiment (and period, too).

Then there are the songs that deal with the Peninsular War. Irishmen crowded the ranks of every regiment of Wellington's Army. And the regiment that came out of that war against French tyranny with the most fearsome fighting reputation was Irish, the Connaught Rangers (the regiment my grandfather and great uncle enlisted in during World War I).

There are songs of Irish soldiers (the national anthem is A Soldier's Song) that don't fall into any of the above categories.

And then there are two inexpressibly sad songs about World War I that Tommy Makem made popular in his last album with Liam Clancy that I see as distinct. They almost never fail to bring a tear to my eye.

World War I Songs Popularized by Tommy Makem and Liam Clancy
The Band Played Waltzin' Matilda (a song about the Australians being slaughtered at Gallipoli)
The Green Fields of France (also known as Willie McBride, written, I think, by the Fureys)

Rebel Songs
The Broad Black Brimmer (the Wolfe Tones)
The Boys of the Old Brigade
Four Green Fields (another Makem/Clancy classic, very moving when Tommy and his sons end a show with it)
The Merry Ploughboy
The Patriot Game

Songs From the 18th Century
The Rakes of Mallow (featured in The Quiet Man)
Waxies Dargle (the same tune as The Girl I Left Behind Me, a song popular with the US and British armies)
Maid of Amsterdam
The Parting Glass (ending song of Waking Ned Devine)
The Wild Rover
Whisky In the Jar
Arthur McBride

The Rocky Road To Dublin
The Maid of Fife
Garryowen (the song of the 7th US Cavalry)
The Irish Washerwoman (the tune was used for the 10th Regiment Song in 1767)

Irish Soldier Songs
The Morning Glory
Cold Blow and the Rainy Night
O'Donnell Aboo

Brian Boru's March (if only there was a category for songs about Clontarf)
The Dublin Fusileers
The Inninskilling Dragoons
Reilly's Daughter

The Irish Volunteers (a song about the US Civil War)
The Connaught Rangers (the Wolfe Tones)

The '98
The Croppy Boy
The Rising of the Moon
God Save Ireland
Kelly, the Boy From Killanne
Roddy McCorley

The Boys of Wexford

The Peninsular War
Mrs. McGrath (pronounced "McGraw")
Whisky, You're the Devil (a favorite of the Connaught Rangers in Spain)
The Minstrel Boy
The Spanish Lady (not to be confused with the Royal Navy song Spanish Ladies)
St. Patrick's Day

Songs of Mirth and Love (not always happy love)
Finnegan's Wake
The Rambles of Spring
The Dingle Fair
Molly Malone
Dublin In the Rare Oul' Times
Roisin the Bow
Courtin' In the Kitchen
Old Maid In the Garrett
Rale Oul' Mountain Dew
The Hills of Connemara
I'll Forgive Him
The Old Woman From Wexford
Three Lovely Lassies From Kimmage
The Galway Races

Dicey Riley
Cruiscin Lan
The Londonderry Aire (Danny Boy)
Mairi's Wedding

You could almost create an eighth category (religious) among my favorites, but I know of only one song that belongs in it:
Our Lady of Knock.

These are just some of hundreds of Irish songs, just the ones I like and know well enough to sing or hum (though I don't read music and couldn't carry a tune in a bucket). It would be impossible to link to all of these songs. There are several sites on the net that have the lyrics of some of them. The Contemplator has some of the older ones (it's in the links on the right). If you are interested in one The Contemplator does not have, just Google the title.

I Agree

Karen Csengeri, in the latest Adoremus asks if we are not becoming too casual in how we treat priests. I think we have been.

I Had No Idea...

That the Templars Had Been Restored.

Thanks to the Shrine of the Holy Whapping for the news and link.

No Dispensation For Opening Day

First, let me say that it is a terrible idea for Major League Baseball to have scheduled the Red Sox opening game at Fenway for 3:05 pm on Good Friday. Things that you celebrate just don't belong on Good Friday. It is a day of solemn prayer, abstinence, fasting, and reflection.

It is as if this were Israel, and the Israeli national soccer team opened its schedule on the Day of Atonement. Very, very bad taste.

And the Archdiocese is perfectly correct in denying such a frivilous dispensation as this would have been. St Patrick's Day is one thing (though notice that dispensations have only been granted for St. Patrick's Day when it falls on an ordinary Lenten Friday, not on Good Friday itself). Opening Day is quite a lesser animal.

But baseball often plays on Good Friday, even if it does not open on that day.

And if you must go to the ball park, instead of where you belong, at Veneration of the Cross or Stations, there are non-meat alternatives to eat. There is cheese pizza, and Legal Seafoods' clam chowder.

But this would be one opening day I would skip, even if I were a season ticket holder.

Daily Lenten Reflection From the Precious Blood Leadership Conference

Readings: Jeremiah 17:5-10; Luke 16: 19-31

The Scripture readings present very vivid contrasts–a healthy, green tree rooted near refreshing water providing good fruit–as opposed to a barren bush in the desert. Not too hard to get the point. Again, in the Gospel reading, it is not too difficult to see two very different types portrayed: the rich man, gifted with plenty as opposed to the poor, lowly, hungry.

Ah, but now the tough part-applying these clear-cut contrasts to contemporary life! How do I make choices for Gospel values when it could upset some people or “rock some boats”? Is it possible these Scripture contrasts could be pointing to some injustices like-power and maintaining power-as opposed to-suppression of gifts and talents not permitted to be used for the people of God because of a gender difference? Does it say anything about the contrast of an earth that is being polluted and exploited for profit-as opposed to-responsible stewardship of the environment?

How does the person who shares in the life-giving charism of the Blood of Jesus apply these Scripture readings to contemporary life?

Can dedicated people become clouded in the enjoyment of their gifts and ignore the plight of others around them?

How do I apply the call to be prophet and mystic in my world?

How do the signs of the times, for example, in environmental issues, direct one to apply these readings to life?

Reflection by: Sister Irene Holz, C.PP.S. (Dayton, Ohio)

Daily Lenten Reflection

From the Franciscans at AmericanCatholic.org.

Wednesday, March 10, 2004

St. Patrick's Day Is Comin', Part II

Time for some links that tell us about the life and works of the great blind 18th century Irish harpist Turlough O'Carolan.

The Contemplator (AKA Contemplations From the Marianas Trench) has some of his work in midi format.

Dennis Doyle has a lot to say about him, including a poem of O'Carolan's:

O Whiskey, heart of my soul!

You always knock me down.
I'm without sense, I don't know where I am!
You'd think that I'd take the warning.

My coat is all torn up and
I lost my cravat because of you.
But let all you've done be forgiven,
So long as you meet me again tomorrow

It sounds better in Gaelic.

You can buy modern renditions of some of his music at Amazon.

Carrying on O'Carolan's work today is The Angel Band, a group I first heard in Kennebunkport on our honeymoon (seemingly decades ago, but actually less than 5 years)

All I Want For Easter, Birthday, Anniversary, Christmas

Well, there is something I'd want even more, but that is private. As Dale Price said about his own troubles, "This ain't Oprah."

Actually, in my re-enacting days I owned an original of this pattern sword. The 1796 pattern was the regimental pattern for officers. And regimental regulations specified ownership (and use) of an original (there was no good reproduction available at the time). As our regiment's metal was silver, I had to have the hilt silverplated. What an act of desecration on a sword that belonged in a museum! I carried that sword into battles all over the East Coast.

I even had the original leather scabbard, though thank heavens I carried the sword around in a reproduction scabbard.

The provenance of that sword was unique. It belonged originally to a Guards officer, Sir Henry Sullivan, Bt., who was killed at the very end of the Peninsular War (even after Bonaparte's abdication) in a French sortie from the besieged city of Bayonne. It may be the sword he was carrying in a portrait painted of him a year or two before his death in 1814. It has beautiful bluing on the blade, with gold engraving.

I hope whoever owns that sword today is taking good care of it. It really ought to be in a museum.

Saint Macarius of Jerusalem

From Catholic.org:
Bishop of Jerusalem, Israel, who aided St. Helena in identifying the True Cross. He became the bishop of Jerusalem in 314 and was a foe of the Arian heresy. He was also one of the signers at the Council of Nicaea. When St. Helena discovered the True Cross in Jerusalem, Macarius suggested that a seriously ill woman be touched with each of the crosses to identify the real one. One cured the woman instantly. At the command of Emperor Constantine. Macarius built a church over Christ’s sepulcher which was consecrated as a basilica on September 13.

Supreme Court Retirement Rumor Mill In Full Gear Again

Chief Justice Rehnquist turns 80 this year, and has health problems (who reaches 80 without them?).

As Usual...

I'm late noting this. Ramesh Ponnuru did the cover story for the March 8th National Review On Dead Tree on The Passion of the Christ. Very much worth a read.

Way Out Of Bounds Behaviour

The following happened between fans of St. John's of Shrewsbury and Matignon after a high school hockey championship game last night (from the Boston Herald):

A group of high school hockey fans who watched their team lose a championship jumped supporters of the winning team after the game last night in Billerica, stabbing one boy in the belly and whacking another in the nose with a bat, police said.


The melee erupted outside after St. John's of Shrewsbury beat Matignon of Cambridge, 4-2, winning the MIAA Division 1 North final.

The stabbing victim...was listed in fair condition with injuries to his abdomen, a hospital spokesman said. A second boy clubbed in the nose also went to the hospital.

Several Matignon fans who are not students of the school jumped a half-dozen St. John's fans with bats and a knife, police and witnesses said. No arrests were made.

Just the other day, another fanatic dad was being charged with assault at another youth hockey game. Are we turning into English soccer fans? What ever happened to polite decorum in sports? It pains me to note this, but both of the schools involved in this brawl are Catholic.

Massachusetts Constitutional Convention Reconvenes Tomorrow

The ConCon takes up the gay marriage issue again tomorrow.

Those of you who are Massachusetts voters, please continue to let your legislators know that you want them to vote in the convention to uphold traditional marriage and nothing else, or you will vote against them this fall, or even just leave their race blank if there is no opponent.

Recall how the good people of Ireland mercilessly twisted the arms of Dial members to get an airport to service the shrine of the Blessed Mother at Knock: "People who'd been loyal for years all talked of changing coats..." It worked.

New Blog Alert

Fidelis. Check it out.

Daily Lenten Reflection From the Precious Blood Leadership Conference

Readings: Jeremiah 18:18-20; Matthew 20:17-28

Both the prophet Jeremiah and Jesus confront us with a painful reality of our human condition, namely, the fact that bad things do happen to good people. To be a prophet might sound like an appealing enterprise, but it’s not a fun thing. Jeremiah was being faithful to his prophetic vocation trying to convince the people of God’s provident care. But, they responded with hardened hearts and were out for his blood. They literally made his life miserable. I’m sure that we’ve encountered similar experiences in our own lives through rejection and misunderstanding. Our humanity cringes at such blood-letting happenings.

Today’s gospel finds Jesus sharing a heartfelt message with his apostles, namely his coming passion, death and resurrection, the very heart of his earthly mission–the paschal mystery–the most precious blood-letting of history poured out of love for our salvation. The puzzling response to our Lord’s revelation to the Twelve was a manifest disregard for what he had just told them. Those sons of Zebedee and mom were more concerned about the best places in the kingdom. Jesus must have shaken his head and said, “They just don’t get it.” His response was a jolting question, “Are you willing to drink the cup of suffering with me?” His Father held the reserved seats in the kingdom.

Jesus then gives us all a lesson in Christian servanthood. Let’s ask ourselves just how willing are we to drink the cup of suffering, to pour out ourselves in loving service of God’s People? What must I change to be a more generous servant in the likeness of Christ? Do I hold all of life’s blood to be precious in the Blood of Christ, compelling me to the service of all?

Reflection by: Rev. LeRoy Moreeuw, C.PP.S. (Cincinnati Province)

Daily Lenten Reflection

From the Franciscans at AmericanCatholic.org.

Tuesday, March 09, 2004

St. Patrick's Day Is Comin'

And the Makem Brothers will be playing Memorial Hall, Melrose, MA on March 13th.
Call 781 662-5407 for ticket information.

They have a new CD: Stand Together

Tommy, their Dad, will be performing elsewhere this year. We were happy to see him perform with the Brothers twice in Melrose.

A Goodie From a Year Ago Today

The benighted French have been saying that the policy of the US with regard to Iraq and Islamo-fascist terrorism generally is a "cowboy policy." We are the prisoners of our own iconography, they claim. We are addressing 21st century problems with the solutions of a 19th century gunslinger.

OK, for the sake of argument, let us accept that we are a cowboy nation with a cowboy philosophy.

The question then becomes (since the French perception is based on Hollywood creations) which cowboy are we? Cowboy movies are not all alike. They have a great variance of themes and views of right and wrong. I recall reading a lengthy review of Unforgiven, in which the reviewer compared Clint Eastwood's character to Achilles. Just as the movies vary, so do the characters in them.

Are we the vicious killer Angel Eyes, played by Lee Van Cleef in The Good, The Bad, & the Ugly, sadistic, and waiting for an opportunity to kill again for profit and fun?

Are we Shane, played by Alan Ladd, who has done a bit too much killing in the past, but is willing to stand up to help those who need him?

Are we Gary Cooper in High Noon, who knows that law enforcement at the point of a gun is a dirty, thankless job, not unlike being a dustman, but one that must be done if the filth isn't to overwhelm us?

Are We John Wayne in The Shootist: someone who just wants to be left alone, but must continuously defend himself? Or the very different John Wayne of Rio Bravo, who decides to stay and fight to help a friend, though he has nothing to gain in the fight?

Are we the Clint Eastwood character of Unforgiven, looking for one last opportunity to cash in on gunslinging prowess (the French are pretty obviously English Bob, who talks a good game, but when push comes to shove does not have what it takes)?

Other suggestions are welcome, but my vote is on Gary Cooper in High Noon.

A Hopeful Sign

The regional vicars will weigh in on parish closings next. One bit of hope for our Indult parish, Holy Trinity is that its administrator is also vicar for the downtown Boston region, Father O'Regan.

And An Appointment For Professor Glendon

From the same wire story as the Bishop McManus appointment:

Also, the pope chose Mary Ann Glendon of Harvard University to lead the Pontifical Academy of Social Sciences, which produces research to help the Church establish policy.

Glendon, a Harvard law professor, is a longtime adviser to the pope and was the first woman ever to lead a delegation of the Holy See, at the United Nations Women's Conference in Beijing in 1995. Glendon is a well known anti-abortion scholar and has also written on the ill effects of divorce and increased litigation on society.

A great appointment! I missed my chance to study under Professor Glendon. She was on the BC Law Faculty the year before I got there, but jumped to Harvard during my 1L year. Her book Rights Talk is terrific.

Whole Lot of New Headlines At Seattle Catholic

Some of it hypersensitive stuff for schismatics, but some reasonable pieces of information, too. That's the thing with them, you have to pick and choose very carefully.

I've Always Liked Michael Moriarty's Work

Whether in Holocaust or Law and Order. Read what he has to say about The Passion of the Christ.

Talk about a forthright Christian message.

Thanks, Michael.

Didn't See This In the Globe

But the ever-sharp Domenico Bettinelli has it.Worcester is getting a new bishop, too.

"Bishop Robert McManus, auxiliary in Providence, RI, was named to succeed Bishop Daniel Reilly of Worcester, Mass."

Let's see, Boston, Worcester, Springfield, Fall River, Portland, and various Connecticut dioceses all have new bishops within the last 2 years. No change yet where the need is now greatest: Manchester, NH.

Anybody know anything about either Bishop McDonnell or Bishop McManus?

Update: The Globe now has the Bishop McManus story.

With the information Mark Sullivan supplied in the comments box, this looks like a hopeful appointment, perhaps the best in New England. After all, when was the last times Archbishop O'Malley said the Tridentine Mass? He never even sanctioned one in Fall River in a decade as its bishop. And there is a good chance he will be closing Boston's only Indult parish (and it remains to be seen if he will allow the Indult Mass at any other parish once he wipes out its current home).

Feast of Saint Dominic Savio

Horribly Acted With Putrid Script Writing

I saw ten minutes of Judas last night. It wasn't up to the standards of Jesus of Nazareth (which was also made for TV). It wasn't even up to the standards of that 1960ish classic, King of Kings, probably the worst-acted rendition of the Lord's life on the big screen.

Update: Haven't seen much on the "movie" today, but I'm glad my judgment was not unique.

St. Patrick's Day Is Comin'...

And the yen for Irish Soda Bread is on the rise.

Here is a recipe pretty close to the one my grandmother and mother baked every year at this time:

2 C. flour
1 t. baking soda
1/2 t. salt
1/2 t. nutmeg
1 1/2 T. sugar
6 T. butter
2/3 C. raisins, brown or golden or mixed
2 t. caraway seeds
1 C. buttermilk

Preheat oven to 375°F.

In a large bowl sift together the flour, baking soda, salt, nutmeg, and sugar. Using a pastry blender or fingertips, work the shortening into the flour until the consistency is the same as that of small peas. Stir in the raisins and caraway and mix to distribute evenly.

Gradually stir in the buttermilk, 1/4 cup at a time, using only enough to allow the dough to come together. Knead the dough for 1 - 2 minutes.

Shape the dough into a round loaf and place on a greased baking sheet. Cut an X on the top and over the sides of the loaf. Bake for 45 minutes or until the bread sounds hollow when tapped.

Cool on a rack.

Great heated with butter melting over the top.

I Am Professor Cosmo Fishhawk

Or at least I used to be before dropping 60 pounds in the last 6 wretched months.

Maybe the scale isn't groaning so much in complaint since I've dropped from a 46 waist size to a 38. But the desk with piles of paper ready to cause a fatal avalanche is still me.

But then, people who knew me 10-15 years ago said I "was" Calvin. I remember my ex-fiance saying, "I'm marrying Calvin."

And I was said to "be" Alf prior to that. And not a few people have compared me to Alex J. Keaton over the years.

But as I settle into middle age, I think "The Perfessor" is a more reasonable resemblence.

Requiescat In Pace

Actor Paul Winfield, who has had a distinguished career on both the big screen and television died last night at the age of 62. I mostly recall him as the OC USS Reliant in Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan. Requiescat in pace.

An OK Start

Our beloved Boston Red Sox are playing baseball again. Sure it is mostly split-squad games now. But they beat two different teams yesterday, and beat two college teams (BC and NU) the other day. OK, they lost one to the Yankees, and that does not bode well. But the baseball season is a long one, and they play the Yankees quite a bit between April and the end of September. It is the team that has more wins then, not in the Grapefruit League, that wins the pennant.

Springfield's Next Bishop Named

That was prompt.

Good luck to Bishop McDonnell! May the Holy Ghost guide his ministry.

Daily Lenten Reflection From the Precious Blood Leadership Conference

Readings: Isaiah 1:10, 16-20; Matthew 23:1-12

“Learn to do good” has a consoling sound to it. It implies I’m not going to have it all right or all together overnight, nor maybe even over years. But if we are “to set things right,” then we do need to be about learning to do the good.

Three of my favorite learning processes are listening, modeling and dialogue. Matthew says “look to your own conduct and attitudes.” Learning to do good has a lot to do with the exercise of reflection. Before bedtime each evening I journal two sentences. One is a memory, be that person, event or some thing for which I am grateful. The other comment is one thing I would like to do better with tomorrow. Listening to my life has helped.

Learning to do good is so much easier when there are models in our midst, folks who are further along the learning curve. They make choices for good and that encourages us.

Learning to do good happens most dramatically when we talk and dream and share so as to live ourselves into a bigger goodness. If we say it often enough, we will dare it. We become the fulfillment of what we share. This is at the heart of the journey in community.

If we wish to learn to do good and set things right, we will become more attentive to our choices, our models and our conversations with one another. Precious Blood spirituality invites us to that struggle, that breaking open and breaking through so as to be about greater life. It’s Lent. And Lent is about journey, about learning and breakthrough, about choices that move us down the road. May we all know the blessing of good company along the way.

Of the three-reflection, models, dialogue-which do you find most encourages your “learning to do good”?

Reflection by: Sister Kris Schrader, A.S.C. (U.S.A. Province)

Daily Lenten Reflection

From the Franciscans at AmericanCatholic.org.

Monday, March 08, 2004

St. Patrick's Day Is Coming

How about a T-shirt featuring the Colours of Dillon's Regiment, Irish Brigade, Army of Louis XV?

Remember Fontenoy!

More On Parish Closings

More reaction from St. James parishioners about closing that parish.

Maybe This Guy Ought To Join Cardinal Law At That Convent In Maryland

On second thought, that would be unfair to Law. After all, Weakland himself is a pervert. Law, as far as we know, is not.

But what part of, "GO AWAY!" does Rembert not understand.

"Christians Who React Favorably To Gibson's Film Are Shamefully Evading Their Religious Responsibility"

Don't worry, Otto Da Fe deals nicely with this insanity.

Daily Lenten Reflection From the Precious Blood Leadership Conference

Readings: Daniel 9: 4b-10; Luke 6: 36-38

Both of these readings have a similar theme: be compassionate and merciful. Yet these readings go further, for they say that we should be merciful as God is merciful. I am always disturbed to have the model for my life be God or the Lord, for I know I will never measure up. If my model for mercy was my past that may not be too bad, or if it was another human being, that may not be too bad either, for I could find in myself or others some weakness that would keep me from having to be too merciful and compassionate myself. But when the comparison is with the Lord, then I know I will not be able to find any weaknesses and will have to bear the whole of the comparison myself. This is difficult. When God tells me to be compassionate as God is compassionate, then I know my life’s work is ahead of me; I will never finish the work, never be totally successful and always come up short. Yet I have the Lord's word that the Lord will always be with me.

Verse 37 of the gospel says this: “Stop judging and you will not be judged. Stop condemning and you will not be condemned. Forgive and you will be forgiven.” Does this mean by others or by God? I know that if I stop judging others, others will still judge me, etc. But if I stop judging will then God stop judging me? No, I do not think so. God will always judge me. So what does this great verse mean? It means that God wants me to stop judging, period. What happens after I stop judging is not up to me, it is up to others. The verse says I will be rewarded when I stop doing certain things. But the reward is not as important as doing what the Lord wants. The Lord will take care of me after I do first what the Lord wants me to do. It is less important who will stop judging me than I should stop because the Lord wishes it for me.

Reflection by: Rev. James Urbanic, C.PP.S. (Kansas City Province)

Daily Lenten Reflection

From the Franciscans at AmericanCatholic.org.

Sunday, March 07, 2004

The Book That Mel Gibson Relied On In Creating The Passion of the Christ

Is The Dolorous Passion of Our Lord Jesus Christ by Ven. Anne Catherine Emmerich, which is available here from TAN.

Salem Parish Closings

Dom Bettinelli has been serving on the cluster committee that is making the decisions regarding parish closings for Salem, and has an excellent discussion of the nerve-wracking debates.

It is sad to see St. James the parish most likely to close. But we don't have a pastor (I use "we" in a nostalgic sense, as I have been attending parishes in Boston since last September) since the death of our beloved (beloved at least by us) pastor Father Dan Flaherty. The building is an old one, in need of significant repair. It does not have a wealthy benefactor (though my wife and I dreamed, many a time, of what we would do for the church if we ever won the lottery). And the sacramental numbers are low. More funerals than weddings or baptisms. The pews are thinly populated on Sunday. There is almost no active parish social life, something we have lamented time and again for 4 years. And the folks in the pews are old, and getting older.

One thing I don't like about the criteria urged on the clusters by the Archdiocese is that older churches are more likely to be closed than newer ones. They have higher heating bills because of the vaulted ceilings, and are generally more in need of repair. Agreed. But they are exactly the type of location for Catholic worship that we should be struggling to preserve.

With Michael Rose in Ugly As Sin, and The Renovation Manipulation, I find the traditional church a better venue for accomplishing the teaching goals of the Church. They inspire the sense of being a part of Heaven, which, as Scott Hahn discusses ina book I finished last week and recommend, The Lamb's Supper: The Mass As Heaven On Earth, is what the Mass is supposed to do.

So are we to be left with ugly, stripped-down, modernist churches like St. Joseph's in Salem (and much worse in parts of the state more recently built-up) the meeting spaces that modern church architects love?

I am eager to hear what is in store for Holy Trinity, the home of the Indult Mass. It has almost no geographic base (it sits between the heavily homosexual South End and Chinatown). It has a small ethnic German base that comes there from all over the Archdiocese, and a large Latin Mass base that does the same. It, too, is an old traditional church. While the Latin Mass community there is healthy and unique, I don't know if that will be enough to keep it open. The Archbishop has not established a track record of being particularly friendly to traditionalist worship in his decade in Fall River (no Indult Mass established). Regulars there fear they very likely will be slated for closing by their cluster.

I also worry about other traditional churches I am familiar with. St. John the Baptist in Peabody looks safe (big parish, with school and politically connected congregation). Sacred Heart in Malden, the parish where I was baptized and which was the home of my (now defunct) family for 50 years could be in trouble. Saint Leonard of Port Maurice in the North End is run by the Franciscans, so I am not sure if it is subject to closure as a diocesan parish. Older parishes in Lynn and Medford seem likely to close.

I recommend prayers for all of those involved in the process. As Father Ron Tacelli, S.J. of BC just said at a lecture I atttended this afternoon, "this is Golgatha." Pray. But remember that this hurry-up process is being forced on us because of the perverts and their enablers, and the money the Archdiocese has had to dish out for their victims.

Daily Lenten Reflection From the Precious Blood Leadership Conference

Readings: Genesis 15:5-12, 17-18; Philippians 3:17–4:1; Luke 9:28–36

We can look at the Lenten experience in one of two ways. We can view it as a time of deprivation, or we can view it in more positive terms as an opportunity for growth. Naturally, the Church wants us to see this time in a positive spirit because Lent offers people the opportunity for transformation.

Images of mystery, wonder and marvelous transformation dominate and animate today’s readings. We hear the words of promise as we continue on our Lenten journey, as we move into an ever-deeper awareness of the invitation Jesus holds for us: an intimate relationship with God and an experience of the glory of Christ. Luke tells us that Jesus went up a mountain to pray. There he became transfigured. His face changed and his garments became dazzlingly white. This manifestation prefigured the glory that would come to him through his death and resurrection, the shedding of his blood and its corresponding life-infusing grace. God leads his Son through moments of suffering and joy, humiliation and exaltation, death and life. This, in fact, is the transformation, which is at the heart of Lent.

We are also drawn to the experience of Abram and of the other disciples in their encounter with the Other which was at once awe-inspiring and terrifying. God has the last word each time: God speaks; each person has a new awareness as a result; each responds with silence. “This is my Son, my Chosen; listen to him!”

Attentive listening. Openness. Silence. All these seem appropriate Lenten characteristics, attitudes that will certainly allow us to experience Jesus’ passion, death and resurrection. How do we reconcile this promise of glory, for example, with our everyday lives? Is the glory of the Lord visible in a society with hungry children, homeless people sleeping outdoors, brutal and terrifying crimes, a growing sense of apathy and loneliness? Where is the glory of the Lord, our transfiguring relationship when we ignore the vulnerable, the sick, and the needy?

The world is not a stage upon which a play is enacted. Rather, the world is a part of God’s kingdom of truth and life. The truth is that we ourselves are on a journey and it is not a death march. We have been transformed through the shedding of Christ’s blood to become children of God. Children, whose sole purpose is to please the Father.

Reflection by: Rev. Mario Cafarelli, C.PP.S. (Atlantic Province)

Daily Lenten Reflection

From the Franciscans at AmericanCatholic.org.

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