Saturday, February 12, 2005

James Porter Has Died

James Porter, who trial for abuse a decade ago opened the ball on the modern pervert priest crisis died at the age of 70 in a Boston hospital Friday.
May God have mercy on his soul.


Next week is the Lenten Embertide.

Saturday After Ash Wednesday

Station Church:
S. Agostino in Campo Marzio

Prayers, Readings, and Reflections for today.

My devotions for a Lenten Saturday:
Divine Mercy Chaplet
Seven Penitential Psalms
Prayer of St. Thomas More (you have to be a member of Recta Ratio: The Yahoo Group)
Threnus Prayer (scroll down)
Stabat Mater Dolorosa
Litany of Our Lady of Sorrows
Sorrowful Mysteries

Friday, February 11, 2005

Vatican Defrocks Four Boston Pervert Priests

Details from the Globe, here.

Slow. But it needed to be done.

Requiescat In Pace

Arthur Miller, author of the plays Death of a Salesman, and The Crucible, died at the age of 89. Requiescat in pace.

Catholic Blog Awards Voting Closes Today

You may have noticed that in years past, and so far this year, I have not mentioned this at all. Some folks seem to be taking this stuff rather too seriously. And I do hope the great Father S is trying to make a point about pride or something, as this frantic begging for votes is rather undignified.

As far as I know, Recta Ratio has never been nominated for any award. I frankly don't give a rip. This blog is here to showcase my thought and writing, and to serve as a resource for others' spiritual journeys as well as my own. If it pleases some, great. If it pleases nobody but me, that's too bad. I won't lose any sleep over it.

I'm not interested in the politics of blogging. I try to link to as many good orthodox Catholic blogs as I can. I read a fair number every day, and have my own dozen or so favorites. But I have no interest in who is a popular blogger, and who is not.

Peer recognition means little when the ultimate goal is working out, as far as one can, salvation.

And to be honest, with the pride problem I have (a constant struggle with pride that would do credit to the highest, touchiest Spanish grandee) peer recognition may be a very bad thing for me personally.

Oh, we've had our moments of fleeting recognition. My coverage of the 2002 elections was archived by somebody (I have no idea who) at the Smithsonian. According to some bot someone devised last summer, of all the blogs hosted by Blogger, Recta Ratio had the 7th best use of vocabulary. And as far as I know, Recta Ratio is the only Catholic blog with its own associated Yahoo Group.

So St. Blog's may be having its own mini-Oscars today. But as far as I'm concerned, the time and effort would be better spent praying the Stations or Adoring the Blessed Sacrament, which is what I plan to do for a good part of the afternoon.

Friday After Ash Wednesday

Station Church:
Ss. Giovanni e Paolo al Celio

Prayers, Readings, and Reflections For Today.

Devotions For a Lenten Friday Holy Hour
Dies Irae
Divine Mercy Chaplet
Seven Penitential Psalms
Prayer of St. Thomas More
Threnus Prayer of Saint Augustine (scroll down)
Devotions To the Holy Cross (scroll down)
Stations of the Cross

I, for one, prefer to do the Stations by themselves at a different time from the other devotions. If you are doing the Stations on your own, as I may be today, try reading St. Josemaria Escriva's reflections in conjunction with St. Alphonsus Liguori's format. It takes more time, but I think it may be worthwhile in bringing the meaning of the devotion home.

By the way, though today is only a fast day if you want it make it a personal one, it is a day of abstinence.

Thursday, February 10, 2005

The English Bishops Just Don't Get It

And we are not talking about the usual mealy-mouthed CofE chaps, but ours, the RCs.

They have decided that homosexuals must be given equal rights to church employment (positions like Directors of Religious Education, and various other ministries), even when that would put them in contact with children.

We here in Massachusetts have a different experience. One of the most shocking incidents of homosexual predation upon children was the Reardon case from St. Agnes in Middleton. And Reardon was never a priest, he was the parish Youth Minister.

No. Employing homosexuals in certain key positions that would give them unsupervised contact with children and teenage boys in particular is insane, a crisis waiting to happen, and the Church in England will regret this decision, probably sooner rather than later.

The Boy Scouts have it right with their "No Homosexuals" employment policy. Hopefully, the Vatican will intercede here, though the Vatican needs to intercede in so many of these "domestic" issues, that there is little hope they ever will be able to catch and corect all this. A "for-instance" on the scope of the problems the Vatican needs to intervene in is this, from Austria.

Prospects For Pius XII's Beatification

I would say most of this Free Republic piece is wishful thinking.

The person I think the Holy Father is determined to canonize before he dies is Bl. Mother Theresa of Calcutta.

A Tremendous Gallery Of Passion Images

Many to great works of art depicting our Lord's Passion.

New Link For Lent

As we are now in the Lenten season, I have added a link on the right (under E-Texts) to St. Josemaria Escriva's The Way of the Cross, his meditations on the Stations. I think this might be a powerful addition to the Via Crucis as said by St. Alphonsus Liguori (which is available at Recta Ratio: The Yahoo Group, among many other places).

Thursday After Ash Wednesday

Station Church:
S. Giorgio al Velabro (Link from the Vatican's Lenten website).

Prayers, Readings, and Reflection For Today.

I think I like this format better than AmericanCatholic.org's daily Lenten reflections. So Creighton University's Lenten page will be my guide for this year. Here is its home page.

And here are the devotions I have settled on for today's Lenten Holy Hour:
Dies Irae
Divine Mercy Chaplet
Seven Penitential Psalms
Prayer of St. Thomas More
Threnus Prayer of Saint Augustine
Devotion To the Holy Face

All of these can be found at Recta Ratio: The Yahoo Group in the Files section, Catholic Prayers File, Lenten and Passiontide Prayers subfolder.

North Korea Says It Has Nukes

This might well be the case.

It means deterence of possible North Korean aggression becomes all the more important. I suspect this news, if believed, will have a galvanizing effect on Japan, China, the US, and South Korea, and bring some cooperative measures to ensure mutual security against a nuke-armed rogue state ruled by a lunatic.

It also means you can forget the idea about re-fighting the Korean War as the final act of the war on the Axis of Evil (and North Korea is more supplier and enabler than participant in the Moslem Terrorists' War On Civilization).

Important People In the News

I see in the news today that the Holy Father is getting out of the hospital. I am sure that the prayers of all of my readers, as well as my own, are with him for a full recovery.

I also see that Prince Charles is announcing plans to marry his mistress in April. She will be the Duchess of Cornwall now, and Princess Consort after he becomes king (assuming he outlives his mother the Queen). That way, the technical prohibition on a divorcee becoming Queen is gotten round.

Well, the fact is that Charles is a widower. No matter what happened in his first marriage and how it ended, his wife is dead, so he is free to re-marry. Short of his marrying some foreign princess, marrying his long-time mistress is probably for the best. It is not as if Britain needs him to marry for alliance purposes or dowry. And by now, Camilla should be quite used to the type of press scrutiny she will be getting, unlike the young Princess Diana. All the old nastiness (not talking about any new nastiness) is out there in the public view, and can be considered dealt with. And if the Royal Family or the Parker Bowleses were Catholic, I have little doubt that an annulment could be worked out to ease things along. So I don't have any serious objections.

His Royal Highness is a man of a somewhat quirky public persona. Many of his public statements are solid, even vaguely Tory, some quite as if they came from outer space. Maybe marrying someone he actually loves will be a good thing for him personally, and have a settling effect on him. And maybe being nominally ruled by a settled middle-aged, somewhat dowdy couple devoted to horses and dogs and skiing will be good thing for Britain.

Wednesday, February 09, 2005

Ash Wednesday Devotions

Station Church:
S. Sabina all'Aventino

Prayers, Readings, and Reflections For Ash Wednesday

Devotions For a Lenten Wednesday Holy Hour:
Dies Irae
Divine Mercy Chaplet
Seven Penitential Psalms
Prayer of St. Thomas More
Threnus Prayer
Seven Prayers of St. Gregory

Dies Irae

Dies irae, dies illa
solvet saeclum in favilla:
teste David cum Sibylla.

Quantus tremor est futurus,
quando judex est venturus,
cuncta stricte discussurus!

Tuba mirum spargens sonum
per sepulcra regionum,
coget omnes ante thronum.

Mors stupebit et natura,
cum resurget creatura,
judicanti responsura.

Liber scriptum proferetur,
in quo totum continetur,
unde mundus judicetur.

Judex ergo cum sedebit,
quidquid latet apparebit:
nil inultum remanebit.

Quid sum miser tunc dicturus?
Quem patronum rogaturus,
cum vix justus sit securus?

Rex tremendae majestatis,
qui salvandos salvas gratis,
salva me fons pietatis.

Recordare, Jesu pie,
quod sum causa tuae viae:
ne me perdas illa die.

Quaerens me, sedisti lassus:
redemisti Crucem passus:
tantus labor non sit cassus.

Juste judex ultionis,
donum fac remissionis
ante diem rationis.

Ingemisco, tamquam reus:
culpa rubet vultus meus:
supplicanti parce, Deus.

Qui Mariam absolvisti,
et latronem exaudisti,
mihi quoque spem dedisti.

Preces meae non sunt dignae:
sed tu bonus fac benigne,
ne perenni cremer igne.

Inter oves locum praesta,
et ab haedis me sequestra,
statuens in parte dextra.

Confutatis maledictis,
flammis acribus addictis:
voca me cum benedictis.

Oro supplex et acclinis,
cor contritum quasi cinis:
gere curam mei finis.

Lacrimosa dies illa,
qua resurget ex favilla

judicandus homo reus.
Huic ergo parce, Deus:
pie Jesu Domine, dona eis requiem.

Day of wrath and doom impending,
David's word with Sibyl's blending!
heaven and earth in ashes ending!

Oh, what fear man's bosom rendeth,
when from heaven the Judge descendeth,
on whose sentence all dependeth!

Wondrous sound the trumpet flingeth,
through earth's sepulchres it ringeth,
all before the throne it bringeth.

Death is struck and nature quaking,
all creation is awaking,
to its judge an answer making.

Lo! the book exactly worded
wherein all hath been recorded;
thence shall judgment be awarded.

When the judge His seat attaineth,
and each hidden deed arraigneth,
nothing unavenged remaineth.

What shall I, frail man, be pleading?
Who for me be interceding,
when the just are mercy needing?

King of majesty tremendous,
who dost free salvation send us
fount of pity, then befriend us.

Think, kind Jesu, my salvation
caused thy wondrous incarnation;
leave me not to reprobation.

Faint and weary Thou hast sought me,
on the Cross of suffering bought me,
shall such grace be vainly brought me?

Righteous judge, for sin's pollution,
grant thy gift of absolution,
ere that day of retribution.

Guilty now I pour my moaning,
all my shame with anguish owning;
spare, o God, thy suppliant groaning.

Through the sinful woman shriven,
through the dying thief forgiven,
Thou to me a hope hast given.

Worthless are my prayers and sighing,
yet, good Lord, in grace complaying,
rescue me from fire undying.

With thy favoured sheep o place me,
nor among the goats abase me,
but to thy right hand upraise me.

When the wicked are confounded,
doomed to flames of woe unbounded,
call me, with thy saints surrounded.

Low I kneel, with heart's submission!
See, like ashes my contrition!
Help me in my last condition!

Ah! that day of tears and mourning!
From the dust of earth returning,

man for judgment must prepare him;

spare, o God, in mercy spare him!

Lord , all pitying, Jesu blest,
grant them thine eternal rest.

Ash Wednesday

Remember man, that thou art dust, and unto dust thou shalt return.

Lord Jesus Christ, have mercy on me, a sinner.

Tuesday, February 08, 2005

Shanley Guilty

I don't think there was much doubt that he had done these things (and others that he was not criminally charged with) but I was pleasantly surprised to see that a Middlesex County jury convicted former Boston Archdiocese priest Paul Shanley of raping a minor.

Shanley, you will all recall, is the pervert priest who was present to give his "blessing" at the founding meeting of NAMBLA (The North American Man-Boy Love Association, the legal window dressing via which perverts who want to have sex with under-age boys try to lobby for changes in the law to eliminate the concept of an age of consent, or lower it to something that suits their purposes, like about 12).

Given that 4 accusers had come forward against this pervert, but that only one stuck it out to testify at this criminal trial, and that one was subjected to a withering barrage of cross-examination by Shanley's lawyers, a conviction here was no sure thing.

But I think justice has been done. Now you can legally call this pervert a pervert.

An Important Day

Boston is celebrating the Patriots' Super Bowl win today, with a parade through the center of the city.

But that is not the big thing on the agenda for me, except trying to keep all the nonsense out of my way as much as possible.

Today, my catechuman is making his first confession. As this is a first confession for someone who has had very little religious guidance until the last 12 months of his 41 years, this is a daunting experience for him. Please remember him in your prayers.

Shrove Tuesday

Fasting's Eve, Mardi Gras, Carnival, or Shrove Tuesday are names for this day before the beginning of Lent. The great fast of Lent begins tomorrow. Since pre-modern Europe observed what we would call a stringent fast (no meat, or dairy products from Ash Wednesday until Easter Sunday) the last day before the fast was a time for eating up meat, eggs, cheese, and drinking.

The names reflect that reality. The French "Mardi Gras" means "fat Tuesday." The Latin "Carne Vale" means "good-bye meat." The name "Shrove Tuesday" comes from the expectation that the pious would seek to be shriven (to confess) before undertaking the Lenten fast. "Fasting's Eve" is fairly clear.

Shrove Tuesday celebrations are continued to some extent in New Orleans' Mardi Gras, and Rio's Carnival. Drinking, feasting, and lewd behaviour were common.

But some Shrove Tuesday pastimes have passed away.

This used to be a great day for cockthreshing. A cock would be tethered to a pole, and selected participants would hurl stones at it in an effort to knock it down or kill it. It was also a good day for cockfighting, which continued to be popular into the 18th century. PETA-types would probably immolate themselves to stop that if it were common today (common, at least at the top of society: it is still widely, though secretly undertaken down at the lower levels).

Football games (we would call it soccer) were common on Shrove Tuesday in England. The difference was that in the 15th century, there were no teams and no rules. A football game was, therefore, a free-for-all. With the participants fueled by large amounts of alcohol and fresh meat, lots of people were injured. But it was all in good fun.

The Shrove Tuesday pancake is a slightly later tradition. The pancake requires milk, eggs, and butter, all of which had to be consumed before Lent started in that age before refrigeration. So the eating of pancakes became a Shrove Tuesday custom. Pancake races started at least 100 years before the Reformation. The Tossing of the Pancake at England's Westminister School is a natual development of the pancake tradition (a large pancake is tossed in part of the refectory, and the boy who comes out of a general scramble with the largest piece is given a reward).

Enjoy this last free day of Carnival. Tomorrow things take on a more sober cast.

Monday, February 07, 2005

Collop Monday

Originally, the word "collop" meant only a dish of fried eggs and bacon. But it came to mean slices or steaks or chops of meat of all kinds.

Because of the stringent fasting and abstinence requirements of pre-Vatican II Lents, traditional European society consumed the existing meat and dairy stocks in a huge celebration known as Shrovetide or Carinval, the Sunday, Monday, and Tuesday before Ash Wednesday.

The meat and dairy products could not be eaten for six and a half weeks, and could not be frozen or refrigerated as we would do today. So, a huge feast was held to finish off meats so that they would not go to waste. Monday before Ash Wednesday was a day for eating collops of meat, especially, though eating as much meat as possible would have taken place on all the days of Shrovetide.

First the World Series, Now the Super Bowl

These are the best of times for the Boston sports fan. The Red Sox just a few months ago ended their interminable run of late and post-season bad luck to win the World Series. And now the Patriots have won their third Super Bowl in 4 years, making them an official dynasty, as these things are judged by the makers of sports cliches.

Meanwhile, Boston College's basketball team is 20-0 at the start of the season, the first time any Big East team has started the season so well.

Even the dog-assed Celtics are in first place in their pathetic division of losers (they still have a losing record, it is just that everyone else in their division is even worse than they are).

Meanwhile, the NHL lock-out prevents the Bruins from spoiling our euphoria.

Until October, Boston is home to the defending World Series Champions and Super Bowl Champions. I do not know if any other city has ever been in this enviable position.

Let the good times roll. The victory parade is Tuesday, and then were are into Lent.

Sunday, February 06, 2005

The Good Things In Life

Anyone who really knows me knows how highly susceptible I am to suggestion. I was reading a book about chocolate yesterday by someone named Chantal Cody, who owns a chocolate boutique in London called "Rococo."

And, of course today I had to have chocolate.

Now, not just any chocolate would do. No Hershey's Bars, or Reeses' Peanut Butter Cups. No, I was in the mood for what Miss (?) Cody called "real chocolate": at least 50% cocoa and containing real vanilla. But my budget is very tight.

Thank heavens for Trader Joe's, which sells under its own label 3-1.75 0z. 56% cocoa bars from Belgium with real vanilla (not vanillin) for only $1.29 (it went up ten cents after Christmas)! They also have a Swiss half pound+ bar for $1.99 with vanilla, but are not telling us what the cocoa content is, only that it is "Dark Chocolate. " So I stuck with the package of the three smaller Belgian bars.

The scent of this chocolate is quite good. It has a good crisp snap (at room temperature) when broken. It is pleasing to the eye, with no discernable bloom, and a shiny exterior. The taste is excellent, not in the least bit greasy, or over-sugared.

Three bars later, my seratonin levels are sky-high, thank you very much. A pleasant buzz enshrouds me, better than one almost ever gets from drinking or smoking a cigar. And real chocolate has so many health benefits that one can scarcely call such a pre-Lenten indulgence a vice.

Quinquagesima Sunday

Here we are now in Shrovetide, with Carnival in full swing, though all the festivity (and having the Super Bowl during Shrovetide is a happy coincidence) will come to an abrupt halt Wednesday at mignight. Now all that stands between us and Lent is Collop Monday and Shrove Tuesday.

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