Saturday, April 17, 2004

Boston, April 17, 1775, Through British Eyes

We continue with the examination of the diary entries of two British officers stationed in Boston just before the Battles of Lexington and Concord, Lt. Frederick Mackenzie, Adjutant of the 23rd Regiment of Foot, or Royal Welch Fusileers, and Lt. John Barker, of the light infantry company of the 4th Regiment of Foot, or the King's Own Regiment.

17th April. No Entry

17th April. Following promotions, 47th Regt. John Rotten Gent. to be Ensn vice McDormott 28th Jany. 1775--52nd Regt. Francis Grose Gent. to be Ensn. vice Martyn prefer'd 14th Jany. 1775--Lt. Chas. Sheriff late of the 45th to be Fort Adj. & Barrack Master at Fort St. Augustine, vice Woolridge who retires on half pay 31st. Jany. 1775

So, in the packets of letters General Gage had to deal with from Nautilus, there were two new ensigns for regiments currently in Boston. As Gage was also Commander-in-Chief for all British forces in North America, he posts information on the appointment of a half-pay officer as Fort Adjutant and Barrack Master at Fort St. Augustine--yes folks, that became St. Augustine, Florida.

Mackenzie was too preoccupied today puzzling the minds of the garrison's light infantry with the new drill to post a diary entry.

This is a good opportunity to learn a little about our two diarists. Frederick Mackenzie was the only son of sometime-merchant William Mackenzie of Dublin and Mary Ann Boursiquot Mackenzie, a lady of Huguenot descent. Frederick was born in Dublin, though we are not sure when. We know that he was an only son, and that despite that, his father could not afford to buy more than his initial commission. He was commisioned as a Second Lieutenant (the 23rd had them instead of the rank of Ensign) in 1745. This was probably a few years before Frederick was old enough to actually take the field. He must have served with the regiment in the Seven Years' War in Germany, but only was promoted once, to Lieutenant, probably by a death vacancy rather than by purchase. He married a lady whose first name was Nancy, and they had several children.

In the fall of 1775, Mackenzie at last got his captaincy, but would not actively command a company, as the captaincy was designed to make his job as Brigade Major easier (a captaincy was the minimal requiremtn to be the principal staff officer for a brigade). Likewise, he was given the regimental rank of major in 1780 on his appointment as Deputy Adjutant General of the Army in North America.

Mackenzie left the 23rd in 1787 to take on the lieutenant colonelcy of the 37th Regiment of Foot. He went on half-pay, but returned to the Army list as Colonel of the First Exeter Volunteers in 1794. He served as Assistant Barrack Master General at Horse Guards and later as Secretary of the Royal Miltary College, and died in 1824 at Teignmouth, Devon. His son took a commision in the 23rd Regiment of Foot.

John Barker came from a family a little higher up the economic ladder. He was the son of Admiral John Barker, and married Lady Caroline Conyers, the granddaughter of the Earl of Pomfret. But he was a younger son. Once his father died (in 1775) that was the end of what he could expect from his family. Both his ensigncy and lieutenancy were purchased. He was considered a keen enough officer to be assigned to the new light infantry company of the 4th.

In the fall of 1775, as the army was expanding, a vacant captaincy in the 10th Regiment of Foot opened up, and his father bought that commission for him. Barker commanded a battalion company of the 10th from December, 1775 until the regiment left for england in the fall of 1778. In 1787, he applied for a vacant majority in the 10th, and was granted it by seniority (and favor). He became Lieutenant Colonel of the 27th Regiment of Foot before retiring. He died at his home, Clare Priory in Suffolk.

Both diarists were officers of "Royal" regiments. Royal Regiments were specially honored for some distinguished service, and were distinguished from the rest by royal blue facings (lapels, collars, and cuffs). But "Royal Blue" in the 18th century was not the shade we think of. It was closer to navy, just a shade lighter than navy, actually.

There were the royal (or blue-faced) regiments of foot in the British Army in 1775 (not counting the three guards regiments, which were all blue-faced):
1st or Royal Regiment of Foot (so old a unit known as "Pontius Pilate's Bodyguard")
2nd or Queen's Regiment of Foot
4th or King's Own Regiment of Foot
7th Regiment of Foot or Royal Fusileers
8th or King's Regiment of Foot
18th or Royal Irish Regiment of Foot
21st Regiment of Foot or Royal North British Fusileers
23rd Regiment of Foot or Royal Welch Fusileers
41st or Royal Invalid Regiment
42nd or Royal Highland Regiment of Foot (the "Black Watch")
60th or Royal American Regiment of Foot

Of these, the 4th, and 23rd were in Boston in full strength. Three companies of the Royal Irish Regiment were also present, including their grenadier company. The other companies were in New York, or on the far western frontier around Indiana. The 18th was badly understrength and would see its active men drafted into the other regiments and the officers, NCOs, drummers, and servants sent back to England or Ireland to recruit the regiment afresh.

While we are talking about the 4th, the King's Own Light Infantry Company, part of the present day "garrison of Boston" has launched a brilliant new website just in time for Patriots' Day. Check out the photo galleries.

Ninth Day of the Divine Mercy Novena

From EWTN:
"Today bring to Me the Souls who have become Lukewarm,

and immerse them in the abyss of My mercy. These souls wound My Heart most painfully. My soul suffered the most dreadful loathing in the Garden of Olives because of lukewarm souls. They were the reason I cried out: 'Father, take this cup away from Me, if it be Your will.' For them, the last hope of salvation is to run to My mercy."

Most compassionate Jesus, You are Compassion Itself. I bring lukewarm souls into the abode of Your Most Compassionate Heart. In this fire of Your pure love, let these tepid souls who, like corpses, filled You with such deep loathing, be once again set aflame. O Most Compassionate Jesus, exercise the omnipotence of Your mercy and draw them into the very ardor of Your love, and bestow upon them the gift of holy love, for nothing is beyond Your power.

Eternal Father, turn Your merciful gaze upon lukewarm souls who are nonetheless enfolded in the Most Compassionate Heart of Jesus. Father of Mercy, I beg You by the bitter Passion of Your Son and by His three-hour agony on the Cross: Let them, too, glorify the abyss of Your mercy. Amen.

Sox Won the First Yankees Encounter 6-2

Pennant Fever Grips Hub!

Friday, April 16, 2004

Red Sox v. Yankees

Tonight at Fenway.

Boston, April 16, 1775, Seen Through British Eyes

We continue with our review of the diaries of Lt. Frederick Mackenzie, Adjutant of the 23rd Regiment of Foot (Royal Welch Fusileers), and Lt. John Barker of the light infantry company of the 4th or King's Own Regiment of Foot.

16th April. The Majors and Adjutants of Regiments, ordered to instruct the Grenadiers of their own Corps in the Grenadier Exercise.--It was also notified in Orders that the Light Companies would be instructed in the New Manoeuvres by Lieut. Mackenzie, Adjutant of the 23rd Regiment, who would fix with respective Captains the tim eof assembling.

16th April. His Majesty has been pleased to make the following promotions, Major Geo. Clark of the 43rd. Regt. to be Lt. Coll. vice Remington who retires (on full pay) 8th Feby. 1775; Major Roger Spendlove to be Major vice Clark, Cn Henry Knight to be Capn.vice Spendlove, Lt. Robt. McKenzie to be Capn. Lieut. vice Knight, Ensn Jas. Dalyrmple to be Lieut. vice McKenzie.

In Barker's account we see how promotion worked when it was all inside a single regiment (in this case, the 43rd Regiment of Foot). The promotion comes from the desk of the King himself. George III, like his grandfather and great grandfather, was passionate on the subject of keeping firm personal control of the army. In fact, it was all worked out by the regimental agent in London or Dublin (in this case London, as regiments serving in America were automatically on the English Establishment--a subject too technical for further discussion, though I'd happily e-mail any interested party the full details). The King approved or disapproved what had been worked out. But George III was unique in knowing the name and record, off the top of his head, of every officer in every one of the 70 regiments of foot, all three foot guard regiments, and the entire cavalry establishment (both guards and the line) so that successful agents avoided crteating outright blatant injustices to deserving officers who merited promotion in the eyes of the King.

Lt. Col. Remington is retiring. Somehow, he has managed to work it out that he retires on full pay, not half pay. Most likely, he is taking some positon in government (governor of some island, or castle, or something similar) and his pay as a Lt. Col. will be his pay in the new job. Major Clark is purchasing the rank of lieutenant colonel from Remington (and will probably only draw the pay of a major, since Remington is getting full pay). The senior captain of the 43rd apparently cannot afford the promotion to major. So an officer from the half-pay list, Major Roger Spendlove, will exchange onto the Army List of the 43rd, apparently also drawing half-pay for the time being (since Clark will be drawing a major's pay). The half-pay major, Spendlove, is not getting a captaincy (the Colonel, Lt. Col. and Major of a regiment were nominally captains of the three senior battalion companies of a regiment, in addition to their other duties--in fact, their companies were commanded by senior lieutenants, except for the Colonel's Company, whose de facto commander, though graced with the title Captain-Lieutenant was paid as a Lieutenant---confused?). Therefore, the Captain-Lieutenant, Knight, will get to be Captain of what was the Major's Company. Lt. McKenzie (the 18th century British Army was loaded with Scots), apparently the senior lieutenant who can afford promotion, takes ove rthe Colonel's Company as Captain-Lieutenant. And Ensign Dalrymple is purchasing the lieutenancy of McKenzie, and becomes the junior lieutenant. There is now a cvacant ensigncy (equivalent to a second lieutenant) which some young fellow's father will buy from Lieutenant Dalrymple. The only surprising thing is that there was not a buyer for the ensigncy already to step into Dalrymple's shoes.

Ah, the joys of the purchase system!!!

Mackenzie is being modest. The lack of the first person in most of the British diary accounts is maddening. Barker, a light infantry officer, makes no mention of training. But then, he almost never tells you what he personally is doing. Obviously, Mackenzie was a zealous, efficient officer who kept up on professional developments very keenly. It is likely that he had the agent in London buy him a copy of Howe's light infantry drill, and send it out to him. He may be only one of a few officers in the garrison who did that. Therefore, he is tasked with training the light infantry in the new drill. As Adjutant, he has a general responsibilty for the drill of his own regiment anyway.

Given Mackenzie's efficiency, one has no doubt that he was too busy to record the promotions that Barker notes, as he had to track down and meet the commanders of 11 light infantry companies, and set a time for training. I have no doubt that Mackenzie started the process that day. But he also had his own regimental duties to attend to. How well-trained in the new drill the light infantry companies (who would be sent off to Concord in 2 days) were is a matter of debate. I doubt that Mackenzie could have done more than introduce the evolutions to them in two days. As a veteran re-enactor, I can testify how difficult it is to learn how to extend to the left or right by two or three paces, to form front, to march and wheel at extended order, to fire by files. You really can't master it in two days, even working with an eager group of well-educated and fairly coordinated lawyers, teachers, librarians, and engineers.

Some of the companies may have known the drill already. Mackenzie undoubtably had made sure that the 23rd's light bobs knew it. But for some of the lights of other regiments, it is a sure bet that this was all new stuff, and as foreign to their previous training as if it had been written in Greek. Or as incomprehensible as my description of the purchase system at work.

The Church Today Also Honors 17 Christians Martyred At Saragossa in 304

Diocletian's work. Not enough is known about each to allow a separate link.

Saint Bernadette of Lourdes

Why Blessed Father Damien Is Not Yet A Saint

Best-selling author Amy Welborn, (and we at St. Blog's knew her way back when she was a little person like the rest of us) links to a story indicating that Rome may be having a problem with some of the evidence.

Join the Haugen/Haas Moratorium

We noted earlier this week that Haas presented at NCEA Conference. Apparently that is what the Catholic educational establishment thinks is great liturgical music. If so, we are in for a long-prolonged, generation after generation sinking in Catholic liturgical music.

Stop the madness. Ask Michael Gilleland to sign you up for his Haugen/Haas Moratorium. Do it for the children. And for our own sanity.

Eighth Day of the Divine Mercy Novena

From EWTN:
"Today bring to Me the Souls who are in the prison of Purgatory,

and immerse them in the abyss of My mercy. Let the torrents of My Blood cool down their scorching flames. All these souls are greatly loved by Me. They are making retribution to My justice. It is in your power to bring them relief. Draw all the indulgences from the treasury of My Church and offer them on their behalf. Oh, if you only knew the torments they suffer, you would continually offer for them the alms of the spirit and pay off their debt to My justice."

Most Merciful Jesus, You Yourself have said that You desire mercy; so I bring into the abode of Your Most Compassionate Heart the souls in Purgatory, souls who are very dear to You, and yet, who must make retribution to Your justice. May the streams of Blood and Water which gushed forth from Your Heart put out the flames of Purgatory, that there, too, the power of Your mercy may be celebrated.

Eternal Father, turn Your merciful gaze upon the souls suffering in Purgatory, who are enfolded in the Most Compassionate Heart of Jesus. I beg You, by the sorrowful Passion of Jesus Your Son, and by all the bitterness with which His most sacred Soul was flooded: Manifest Your mercy to the souls who are under Your just scrutiny. Look upon them in no other way but only through the Wounds of Jesus, Your dearly beloved Son; for we firmly believe that there is no limit to Your goodness and compassion. Amen.

Thursday, April 15, 2004

Another Priest Sex Abuse Case

This one in the Springfield (MA) diocese.

Seventh Day of the Divine Mercy Novena

From EWTN:
Today bring to Me the Souls who especially venerate and glorify My Mercy*,

and immerse them in My mercy. These souls sorrowed most over my Passion and entered most deeply into My spirit. They are living images of My Compassionate Heart. These souls will shine with a special brightness in the next life. Not one of them will go into the fire of hell. I shall particularly defend each one of them at the hour of death.

Most Merciful Jesus, whose Heart is Love Itself, receive into the abode of Your Most Compassionate Heart the souls of those who particularly extol and venerate the greatness of Your mercy. These souls are mighty with the very power of God Himself. In the midst of all afflictions and adversities they go forward, confident of Your mercy; and united to You, O Jesus, they carry all mankind on their shoulders. These souls will not be judged severely, but Your mercy will embrace them as they depart from this life.

Eternal Father, turn Your merciful gaze upon the souls who glorify and venerate Your greatest attribute, that of Your fathomless mercy, and who are enclosed in the Most Compassionate Heart of Jesus. These souls are a living Gospel; their hands are full of deeds of mercy, and their hearts, overflowing with joy, sing a canticle of mercy to You, O Most High! I beg You O God:

Show them Your mercy according to the hope and trust they have placed in You. Let there be accomplished in them the promise of Jesus, who said to them that during their life, but especially at the hour of death, the souls who will venerate this fathomless mercy of His, He, Himself, will defend as His glory. Amen.

*The text leads one to conclude that in the first prayer directed to Jesus, Who is the Redeemer, it is "victim" souls and contemplatives that are being prayed for; those persons, that is, that voluntarily offered themselves to God for the salvation of their neighbor (see Col 1:24; 2 Cor 4:12). This explains their close union with the Savior and the extraordinary efficacy that their invisible activity has for others. In the second prayer, directed to the Father from whom comes "every worthwhile gift and every genuine benefit,"we recommend the "active" souls, who promote devotion to The Divine Mercy and exercise with it all the other works that lend themselves to the spiritual and material uplifting of their brethren.

Boston, April 15, 1775 Through British Eyes

Continuing our pre-Patriots' Day review of the diaries of old friends Lt. Frederick Mackenzie (23rd Regiment of Foot, Royal Welch Fusileers) and Lt. John Barker (4th Regiment of Foot, King's Own Regiment):

15th April. The Grenadier and Light Infantry Companies were this day Ordered to be off all duty 'till further orders, as they will be ordered out to learn the Grenadier Exercise, and some New Evolutions for the Light Infantry.

The Sentence of the General Court Martial which sat for the trial of Lieut. Colo. Walcott and Ensign Patrick of the 5th Regiment, was this day published in Orders, in the following words.
The General Court Martial of which Brigadier Pigot is President, for the trial of Lieut. Colo. Walcott, and Ensign Patrick of the 5th Regiment, for quarreling, and the consequences that ensued, which were reported to be blows given, and a Challenge to fight; is of Opinion that the said Lieut. Colo. Walcott is Guilty, first, of quarreling with Ensign Patrick; Secondly of making use of reprouchful, menacing and abusive language; thirdly of giving a blow, to and drawing His Sword upon the said Ensign Patrick, on the public parade in presence of the Officers of the Regiment, when addressing the former as Commanding Officer; which conduct the Court considers as highly prejudicial to good order and Military discipline, as well as ungentlemanlike; which the Court find to be a breach of the 1st Article of the 7th Section, & of the 3rd Article of the 20th Section, of the Articles of War; therefore sentence the said Lieut. Colo. Walcott to ask Ensign Patrick's pardon at the head of the 5th Regiment (The 2nd brigade under arms) for the insult given him, and then and there to be reprimanded for unmilitary, and ungentlemanlike behavior; and also to be suspended for the space of three months.
The Court acquits Lieut. Colo. Walcott of giving Ensign Patrick a Challenge to fight.
It is further the opinion of the Court Martial that Ensign Patrick is not guilty, either of quallerling with Lieut. Colo. Walcott on the Evening of the 23rd March, or of giving a blow: and it appearing also to the Court, that the evidence produced does not prove Ensign patrick guilty of giving Lieut. Colo. Walcott a Challenge to fight, the said Ensign Patrick is acquitted of every part of the charge exhibited against him.
The Commander in Chief approves of the above Sentences.
The above General Court Martial is dissolved.
The 2nd Brigade to be under arms on Monday Morning the 17th Instant, at 11 OClock, on the Common, when the Brigadier Commanding the 2nd brigade will reprimand Lieut. Colo. Walcott, agreeable to the Sentence of the General Court Martial.

15th April. Genl Orders. "The Grenadiers and Light Infantry in order to learn Grenadrs. Exercise and new evolutions are to be off all duties 'till further orders." This I suppose is by way of a blind. I dare say they have something for them to do.
[Barker then also quotes vertabim the sentence of the General Court Martial involving the Lieutenant Colonel of the 5th Regiment of Foot].

We see General Gage spurred into action by the letters from Lord Dartmouth received the day before via Captain Delancy of the 17th Light Dragoons.

In fact, the Grenadiers Exercise was practically useless in the circumstances, as it spends a great deal of time instructing grenadiers how to sling their firelocks to enable them to hurl s. Since s had fallen out of use due to their unfortunate habit of going off in the hands of the thrower, there was little point in training the grenadiers, usually the tallest and strongest men of a regiment, in their use.

In the case of the light infantry, the order makes some sense, as General William Howe had published the previous year a new exercise for the light infantry companies. Regiments in England were being trained in the evolutions (from the summer of 1774), which involve firing in two ranks, rather than 3, fighting, marching, and wheeling in open and extended order, extensions, forming front, and passing defiles. Since the regiments of the Boston garrison had mostly come to Boston either from Canada or other parts of the English colonies, or had left England before Howe's drill was introduced, it would make sense to give the "light bobs" some training in the manner in which they could expect to fight. However, training men in entirely new evolutions three days before they might be expected to use them, when the change is very considerable from what they are used to, is questionable.

I should point out for the uninitiated (and I have lived and breathed this stuff for 30 years) that a British regiment in 1775 usually had a single battalion.

That battalion consisted of ten companies of about (in theory) 38 privates and corporals, 2 sargeants, 1 drummer, and three officers each. In war time, the companies might be augmented to 100 men each.

Eight of the companies were "hat," "center," or "battalion" companies, regular line infantry wearing a ed hat.

One company, the grenadiers (actually, most of the men in the photo are fusileers, but close enough for government work- fusileers wore a 10 inch bearskin, as opposed to the 12 inch job of the grenadiers, and had no shoulder wings-lace on the shoulders- or brass matchcases on their belts), consisted of the tallest and strongest men in the battalion (the grenadier company had 2 fifers added to their table of organization). They wore the tall bearskin helmets often thought characteristic of British soldiers of the period.

The last company had just been added to every regiment about 5 years before. The light infantry (the men in the different style caps behind the Welch coalminers in the foreground are elite 10th Regiment of Foot-my old regiment- light bobs) were light, agile men, supposedly good marksmen, the regiment's skirmishers. They had distincitve uniform parts, too, including leather helmets, black crossbelts rather than white, and often a tomahawk and/or powderhorn.

The grenadiers occupied the right of the regiment when it was drawn up, and the light infantry the left, giving them the nickname "flank companies". It was the common practice of the time to withdraw the grenadier and light infantry companies from each battalion in a hostile theater of operations, and brigade them together in light infantry and grenadier battalions. Wellington, however, would put an end to that practice 30 years later, as it skimmed the best men away from each regiment, and played havoc with command and control.

Barker shrewdly guesses that General Gage, both Commander in Chief of British troops in North America, and Governor of Massachusetts, has something in mind for the flank companies. That somethihng would be the march to Concord.

Both Barker and Mackenzie are distracted with what was undoubtably the principle topic in their respective messes, the Walcott-Patrick affair, a minor kerfuffle between officers of the same regiment, probably brought on by ing antagonism (they were related), boredom, and abuse of alcohol. There were several such courts martial and boards of inquiry that sat during the dreary winter of 1774-75 dealing with just such imbroglios between officers of the garrison, and the hostile Bostonians.

Computer Trouble This Morning

Even now, everything is intolerably slow.

Wednesday, April 14, 2004

Saint Peter Gonzales

So, so many of our American bishops could use a spill into a dung heap.

Boston April 14, 1775, Seen Through British Eyes

Diary entires from my old friends Lt. Frederick Mackenzie (23rd Regiment of Foot, Royal Welch Fusileers) and Lt. John Barker (4th Regiment of Foot, King's Own Regiment).

"14th April. Arrived the Nautilus Sloop of War of ___ Guns, Captain_____, in 30 days from England. Letters dated the 12th March have been received by her.
The Contractors having declined giving fresh meat to the Troops, orders have been given for their being supplied with Salt provisions 'till further orders."

"14th April. To days orders say, "As the Contractors decline giving fresh Meat for the present, the Troops will receive salt provisions 'till further Orders." This is because Meat happens now to be a trifle dearer than usual; so these Contractors are to have all the advantages but none of the disadvantages!"

As I said, Barker usually spoke his mind in his diary. Grousing: what every soldier has done from the Siege of Troy to Iraq, 2004. Barker underlined the word "decline."

The blanks in Mackenzie's entry indicate that he meant to find out how many guns Nautilus carried, and who her captain was, but did not get around to it (or that, when he recopied the diary in later life, which we know he did, he could not read his original entries).

What neither knew was that Oliver Delancy, scion of the wealthy New York loyalist family and an officer of the 17th Light Dragoons which was then aboard transports headed for Boston, arrived on Nautilus carrying orders for Governor Gage that would set in motion the expediton to Concord.

By the way, there is a chance, though a small one, that this is a portrait of John Barker in the uniform of the 4th's light company. I say that the chance is small because the portrait is generally dated between 1776-1780. The sitter is unknown. Barker was promoted to Captain in the 10th Regiment of Foot (my regiment) in the fall of 1775. The uniform (which Barker would have worn from November, 1775 until 1782) would have had bright yellow facings (almost apricot/orange), not royal blue. But I don't know the basis for dating the portrait 1776-1780. I've always had my doubts about the date, as the 4th was on American service from 1774 until 1780. If it was painted 2 years earlier than the "experts" say, it could indeed be our John Barker. Any Gainsborough scholars out there?

Sixth Day of the Divine Mercy Novena

From EWTN:
Today bring to Me the Meek and Humble Souls and the Souls of Little Children,

and immerse them in My mercy. These souls most closely resemble My Heart. They strengthened Me during My bitter agony. I saw them as earthly Angels, who will keep vigil at My altars. I pour out upon them whole torrents of grace. I favor humble souls with My confidence.

Most Merciful Jesus, You yourself have said, "Learn from Me for I am meek and humble of heart." Receive into the abode of Your Most Compassionate Heart all meek and humble souls and the souls of little children. These souls send all heaven into ecstasy and they are the heavenly Father's favorites. They are a sweet-smelling bouquet before the throne of God; God Himself takes delight in their fragrance. These souls have a permanent abode in Your Most Compassionate Heart, O Jesus, and they unceasingly sing out a hymn of love and mercy.

Eternal Father, turn Your merciful gaze upon meek souls, upon humble souls, and upon little children who are enfolded in the abode which is the Most Compassionate Heart of Jesus. These souls bear the closest resemblance to Your Son. Their fragrance rises from the earth and reaches Your very throne. Father of mercy and of all goodness, I beg You by the love You bear these souls and by the delight You take in them: Bless the whole world, that all souls together may sing out the praises of Your mercy for endless ages. Amen.

Churchill With Cigar and Tommy Gun

Check out the pic at the always-superb Irish Elk.

Keep Maine Catholic and Beyond's Chris In Your Prayers

Something major, it sounds like. Lord be with him.

And while you are at it, keep the Fitzpatricks in your prayers, too. I adhere to what I call the Dale Price Rule regarding very personal crises: "This ain't Oprah." But the crisis that began in September shows no signs of abating or being ameliorated or healed in any way, though many things may be hidden from my view. There is not thing one I can do about it. I have no option but to rely on prayer and grace to get through it somehow. And your prayers are very welcome.

I'm sure Chris agrees with regard to his own crisis: keep those prayers coming, please.

Good Advice For Men, From the Puritans

Thanks to Flos Carmeli for the information.

Catholic School Teachers Convene In Boston

The NCEA is holding its annual convention in Boston this week. I checked out the program, and was duly appalled. David Haas is presenting on liturgical music. Deacon Rizzuto on the "successful" TAT program.

Here is a list of some of the major presentations (Anybody notice anything else that cries out for mention? If so, please tell me.):
Barbara F. Campbell, D.Min., Skills of the Effective DRE; Soar With Your Strengths
Linda L. Gaupin, C.D.P., Ph.D., "Let the Little Children Come to Me": Catechumenate With Children
David Haas, Reach Toward Heaven: Singing the Journey of Faith in Liturgy and Catechesis
Diane Lampitt, Discovering the Fire Within: Facilitating Adult Faith Formation
Pilar Latorre, Las Catequesis Hispanas un reto y un privilego
Robert J. McCarty, D. Min., Adolescent Catechesis: The Pain and the Promise
Leisa Anslinger, Peg Hanrahan and Margo T. Morin, Sacraments of Initiation: Invite, Prepare, Celebrate and Live Christ’s Presence
Sr. Joan Curtin, CND, Douglas Wise, Maureen McKew, Enhancing Catechesis in Your Parish: The Power of Building Relationships
Robert Piercy, Healing Through Love
Diana Dudoit Raiche, Betsy Foer, Analyzing NCEA ACRE Reports
John Roberto, Generations Learning Together
Naomi Towvim, MA and Celia Sirois, MA, Jesus Was Jewish? I Knew That.
Dr. Eleanor Ann Brownell, Toward A Theology of Money
Caroline Cerveny, SSJ, D.Min, Information, Communication and Learning Technology for Parish Religious Education
Fr. Liam Lawton, Celtic Spirituality, Ancient Ways – Future Days
Maria Pascuzzi, SSL, STD, Bible Stories: The Use of Scripture in Catechesis
Deacon Anthony P. Rizzuto, Ph.D., Protecting All of God’s Children: A Comprehensive Approach to Sex Abuse Prevention
Jo Rotunno, Whole Community Catechesis: The Time Is Now; the Question Is "How?"
Joseph D. White, Ph.D. and Ana Arista White, Inattentive and Emotionally-Challenging Children: What’s A Catechist To Do?

I have long known that Catholic school teachers generally, and especially the "active" ones, tend to be much more liberal than Catholics as a whole (exceptions, of course, and I know some, one quite intimately). But, if in this age of growing dissatisfaction with the "reform" of the 1960s, the best the NCEA can do for its convention is a '60s-'70s re-tread like Haas, and the deeply morally flawed TAT, we are in for another generation of abysmal catechesis from the established Catholc schools.

Now it is not all the teachers' fault. Most are just doing their jobs. I recall one lower grade teacher telling my wife that she had been told by one of the parish priests some years back not to talk about sin, the devil, or Hell in religion class, as it "scares the kids." So my wife was getting third graders with no conception of sin, evil, or punishment due for sin. That teacher was just doing what she was told to do. But the consequences are terrible.

Can we finally all admit that the post-Vatican II "butterfly curriculum" that has prevailed in American Catholic schools for 35 years has failed to produce Catholics who are serious and understand the Faith? Can we all agree that the content-free "Jesus was nice. Be like Jesus and be nice" school is bankrupt and that a return to normal Catholic formation is essential? Well, I know my readers will be almost unanimous on the point, but is everyone else blind?

The day when the majority of kids coming out of 8 years in a Catholic grammar school can pass this test will be the day we can say Catholic education is working again.

And that, folks, is why people who are serious about the Faith are looking at homeschooling.

On a side note, I'll bet that the city and its merchants do much better with regard to net revenues from this convention than they will from the Democrats in July (no added security, no extensive pre-convention beautification program, no highways and train stations shut down, no lost productivity). And the local Catholic school kids take their April vacation when they should- Easter week, not Patriots' Day week.

Tuesday, April 13, 2004

I Like This Quotation Appropriate To The Banishment of Lenten Restrictions

"The Catholic Church is like a thick steak, a glass of red wine, and a good cigar."

The author may or may not be G.K. Chesterton. The American Chesterton Society says that they have not authenticated it.

But it is still a great quotation, no matter who said it first.

I saw it originally over at I. Shawn McElhinney 's Rerum Novarum.

Still Don't Feel Great

Hard to say where this sore throat is going.

Fifth Day of the Divine Mercy Novena

From EWTN:
"Today bring to Me the Souls of those who have separated themselves from My Church*,

and immerse them in the ocean of My mercy. During My bitter Passion they tore at My Body and Heart, that is, My Church. As they return to unity with the Church My wounds heal and in this way they alleviate My Passion."

Most Merciful Jesus, Goodness Itself, You do not refuse light to those who seek it of You. Receive into the abode of Your Most Compassionate Heart the souls of those who have separated themselves from Your Church. Draw them by Your light into the unity of the Church, and do not let them escape from the abode of Your Most Compassionate Heart; but bring it about that they, too, come to glorify the generosity of Your mercy.

Eternal Father, turn Your merciful gaze upon the souls of those who have separated themselves from Your Son's Church, who have squandered Your blessings and misused Your graces by obstinately persisting in their errors. Do not look upon their errors, but upon the love of Your own Son and upon His bitter Passion, which He underwent for their sake, since they, too, are enclosed in His Most Compassionate Heart. Bring it about that they also may glorify Your great mercy for endless ages. Amen.

*Our Lord's original words here were "heretics and schismatics," since He spoke to Saint Faustina within the context of her times. As of the Second Vatican Council, Church authorities have seen fit not to use those designations in accordance with the explanation given in the Council's Decree on Ecumenism (n.3). Every pope since the Council has reaffirmed that usage. Saint Faustina herself, her heart always in harmony with the mind of the Church, most certainly would have agreed. When at one time, because of the decisions of her superiors and father confessor, she was not able to execute Our Lord's inspirations and orders, she declared: "I will follow Your will insofar as You will permit me to do so through Your representative. O my Jesus " I give priority to the voice of the Church over the voice with which You speak to me" (497). The Lord confirmed her action and praised her for it.

Concern For the Decline of the Culture Helped Shape Judge Bork's Conversion To The True Faith

An excellent effort to to shed light on this conversion.

Boston April 12-13, 1775, Seen Through British Eyes

This year, Patriots' Day, the Massachusetts state holiday honoring the Battles of Lexington and Concord falls on the actual anniversary, April 19th. It is observed on the third Monday in April, to make a long weekend for school children and hacks. Today, it is more universally known as Marathon Day, because, though I have never witnessed it, it is said that a huge number of individuals torture themselves by running from Hopkinton to Boston on that day, and about half the state skips work to watch them make human wrecks out of themselves.

But the coincidence of Patriots' Day and the actual anniversary of the battles this year called up some old friends, people whose words I have been reading since I was 9 or 10 years old. These are British officers who served in Boston in 1775 and recorded their impressions of the events that led up to what we now know as the American Revolution.

Two old friends in particular stand out. John Barker was a lieutenant in the light infantry company of the 4th (King's Own) Regiment of Foot, which had been in Boston since May, 1774, after a voyage from England. The other is Frederick Mackenzie, a lieutenant of, and Adjutant (principal staff officer) of, the 23rd (Royal Welch Fusileers) Regiment of Foot, which had arrived in Boston after several years in New York garrisons in the late summer of 1774. Both Barker and Mackenzie kept regular diaries of their service during the dreary winter of 1774-75, as well as of the desultory Siege of Boston.

For the next few days, until April 19th, I'll give you the diary entires of both officers as they, unknowingly, tick off events that led to the expedition to Lexington and Concord, and the start of the war.

Barker's diary was printed by Harvard University Press in 1924, under the title The British In Boston. Harvard University Press in 1926 printed the portion of Mackenzie's diary that pertains to his time in Boston under the title A British Fusileer In Revolutionary Boston.

12th April. Rain mixed with hail from 12 last night, and during the whole of this day. The rain was very heavy about 6 in the Evening, with a strong wind at East.
Orders given for the Officers to provide themselves with Baggage Saddles, at the rate of 3 pr Company; vizt One for the Captain, One for the Companies tents, and one for the two Subalterns. As Pack Saddles cannot be had in this Country, Sunks and Sods (a kind of Baggage Saddle used by the troops during the German war) are recommended as the best substitutes.
Materials for Sunks or Sods--A kind of Baggage Saddle
2 yards of sail cloth at 1s6p...............3s
4 yards of Osnabrucks 1.....................4s
Besides labor ..............................9s

13th April No entry.

12th April. The Officers order'd to provide themselves with Baggage saddles, at least 3 pr. compy., 1 for the Capt.., i1 for the Companies tents, and 1 for the two subns.

13th April (No Entry)

Generally speaking, Barker has the more colorful opinions in his diary. Mackenzie, as a veteran of about 30 years, stuck because of his lack of the money to buy his next promotion at the rank of lieutenant, but meticulous enough to be appointed regimental adjutant (and he was apparently one of the best in the British army, being appointed a brigade major the next year, and ending up as Deputy Adjutant General for the whole army in America) sticks to the facts, mostly refrains from criticizing his superiors, unless they really step out of line.

Note how Mackenzie goes out of his way to note the materials that will be needed to construct a substitute baggage saddle, and how much it will cost (since the money has to come out of the pocket of the impecunious Scot, and he will have to make sure that all of the companies of the 23rd make up the saddles). Barker just notes the order.

Spelling and rules of captialization were not standardized in the 18th century, and I have provided the text of both Mackenzie and Barker as printed.

A note on time. As historian David Hackett Fischer has pointed out in an appendix to his excellent Paul Revere's Ride, there was no Daylight Savings Time in 1775, so correct by subtracting one hour from our present time. And times recorded by 18th century cources are generally best understood as local apparent solar time, rather than precise time as we keep it today. As Adjutant, Mackenzie undoubtably carried a watch which he endeavoured to keep accurate, so that he could note the time of orders.

And we have heavy rain in 2004, too.

Blessed John Lockwood

Another English martyr.

Monday, April 12, 2004

Blogging May Be Light For the Next Couple of Days

That presence in the back of my throat which started last night tells me that I am coming down with something. I'm not sure what it is, or whether it will peter out without lingering and messing my life up too much, or make life truly miserable for a couple of days, a week, two weeks, or three. But pardon me if I am not as prolific as usual while the germs having a field day in my throat presently sort themselves out and decide how miserable to make me.

Why the Divine Mercy Novena Helps Me

Today is the fourth day of the Divine Mercy Novena. I started it at 3:00 (the hour of mercy) on Good Friday and hope to be able to say it every day at the same time through Sunday.

After Lent, I will admit to be suffering from a little "devotion fatigue." For all of Passiontide, I had been doing an hour of Eucharistic Adoration daily. I did the morning office on Thursday, Friday, and Saturday, Mass of the Lord's Supper on Thursday, confession, Stations, the DM Novena, and the Passion/Veneration of the Cross, in addition to two Easter Sunday Masses (one good Novus Ordo, and the wonderful Latin High Mass). I also prayed the Sorrowful Mysteries every day during Holy Week.

In addition to that, I constructed my own morning office that I said throughout Lent, consisting of the Seven Penitential Psalms, the Holy Name Litany, Acts of Faith, Hope, Charity, and Contrition, Confiteor, Creed, Prayer to St. Michael, St. Patrick's Breastplate, Dies Irae, St. Thomas More's Prayer, St. Terese of Avila's Prayer to Redeem Wasted Time, and the Anima Christi. It doesn't actually take much time to read these prayers silently.

And then there was the lenten devotional reading, including the Mass readings for each day.

The end of Lent means a big gap has opened up in my prayer life. I am sorting through the morning prayers. The Seven Penitential Psalms will drop out, along with the Dies Irae (until November). I hope to continue the Eucharistic Adoration.

What I don't want is for my prayer life to shrivel up to the long litany of my personal needs that I usually fall asleep praying just before bed, and the private prayer I have been making now for more than 7 months.

The Divine Mercy Novena, aside from the indulgence and the grace it imparts, gives me a continuity from Holy Week into the season of Easter. It gives me a fixed point in the day to continue a devotion. It forces me to think about my prayer life and remember what time of day it is, and exercise a structured prayer during the weekday.

This novena is said to impart an awful lot of grace. It is said to wipe away all sin and the punishment for sin, if said with the proper attitude and meeting the other requirements. This is a powerful blessing, which I particularly need.

So I am glad that I discovered this novena this year, when my prayer needs seem to remain very high. According to Saint Faustina, even reciting this chaplet once during your lifetime in the proper frame of mind can give grace to the most hardened sinner.

I hope many people take this up, not replacing previous devotions like the Rosary and the Stations, the Angelus and the Holy Hour, First Friday and First Saturday, but in addition to them. You can never pray too much.

I See That John Kerry Received the Sacrament

At the Paulist Center on Beacon Hill.

I attended a Mass at the Paulist Center last September. I'll have more to say about that experience later. I took notes, and just need to dig them out, and have a couple of hours free to compose. But I need to be in a foul mood already, which I am not, as today is a pleasant spring day.

The Passion of the Christ Back At Number One

After three weeks out of the top spot, The Passion of the Christ outpaced The Alamo and other movies to reclaim the number one US movie position, something movie industry people say is unprecedented (I wonder if they are thinking back to the days of other Easter-oriented movies like The Greatest Story Ever Told and Ben Hur; probably before most of today's movie execs were born).

The movie has now grossed more in its US run than The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers. This was, admittedly, probably a last hurrah for the movie. It is seasonal viewing. With Easter Sunday in the past, it will now just bring in modest returns, until it goes to DVD (probably, if they are smart, for Christmas).

Again, not bad for a movie they worried would be a dead loss.

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