Saturday, October 08, 2005

Recruiting For the Church Militant

From The Curt Jester.

And This Is a Part Of Why We Don't Want Want Openly Gay Priests

Dog given Communion during gay Mass. this is a shocking outrage. This guy should be defrocked before I can type another sentence.

And I'm one of those people who see nothing wrong with dogs and cats being at Mass with their people.

The Cafeteria Is Closed found this one.

Judge Bork On Miers

An MSNBC Interview with Tucker Carlson.

So we now have, Bork, Will, Noonan, Limbaugh, Hannity, Krauthammer, Buchanan, Frum, and the editors of National Review all solidly against. That is a lot of people whose opinions I respect. And I trust that collective judgment more than I trust President Bush's unlawyerly subjective impression.

It sounds like, as a best-case scenario, she will look to see how Scalia, Thomas, and Roberts are voting, and just join them. It would be better if she had some substantive contributions to make to discussions of constitutional law, as Judges Jones, Garza, Alito, and Luttig, and Professor Glendon would.

Bad pick. Withdraw it. Spare her and spare us.

A Windy, Rainy, Gloomy Saturday

And more than a little warm and muggy.

So how about some more New England Fall images to cheer us up, eh?

Squam Lake, Holderness, New Hampshire (think, On Golden Pond)

OK, I admit it. I'm one of those guys who find graveyards cheery. This one, in Holderness, I have driven by almost every fall for 25 years.

Shaker Village, Canterbury, New Hampshire

Robert Frost's Farm, Derry, New Hampshire

Was this one the subject of "Mending Wall"?

Nantucket cranberry bog

Aerial view of another Nantucket bog

Vermont country road

Tour Salem

Via postcard.

Check Out Today's Posts

Over at Roman Catholic Blog. Good discussions on the forthcoming Vatican document, and the Apostolic Visitation, which I se as two sides of the same coin.

Traditional Catholic FAQ

From Hallowed Ground.

Looks Like the Vatican Document on Gay Priests Will Compromise

And stop short of where it ought to go. Don't let the perfect be the enemy of the good. Politics (and all institutions run by humans are political) is the art of the possible.

Half a loaf is better than nothing at all. A complete ban would be better, and much safer.

Looking At Our Other Sport, Now That New England Has No More Baseball

BC takes on Virginia at 1pm at the Heights.

The Patriots play in Atlanta tomorrow at 1 pm.

And St. John's Prep will host Marshfield at 2 today.

Now its just football, football, football.

For New England, It Is Situation Normal

The Red Sox will not be defending their 2004 World Series Championship. The were swept out of the playoffs, in three straight games, by the White Sox. Add to that the fact that they blew a safe 5-game lead in the AL East in the last month of the season.

Last year was euphoria beyond belief. But this year, we are back to life as usually experienced here in New England, the Red Sox leading for part of the season, then choking badly.

Were to point fingers? Well, the starting pitching was not all that it should be. Pedro Martinez should have retained, no matter what it would have cost. David Wells made up for some of the early disappointment later in the season, and Tim Wakefield actually had a very decent year, better than I would have expected. Missing Schilling for the first half of the season was very harmful, and he struggled in the later part of the season as a starter. Matt Clement, so promising early in the season, was a joke after the All Star break: worse than useless. And the bullpen was far too shallow. With Foulke injured, Schilling was briefly the star of the pen, and did a nice job. But after that, we all looked in vain for a reliable fireman.

So, here we are again: "Wait 'til next year."

Many Dead in India/Pakistan Earthquake

This was a magnitude 7.6 quake that was felt in the capitals of India, Pakistan, and Afghanistan. There may be thousands dead in the affected area, which is along the India/Pakistan border. Please say a prayer for those afflicted people.

Today's Catholic Cultural Heritage Images

In past installments, we have featured some images from San Lorenzo, Florence, which was the "family" church of the Medici. Today we will begin a look at Florence's main church, the Duomo. Its official name is St.Maria del Fiore, or St. Mary of the Flower, and the basic design was done by Arnolfo di Cambio at the end of the 13th century. It is Florence's Cathedral, and just happens to be one of the most beautiful and distinctive churches in Christendom, adorned with the first-rate work by many of the outstanding artists of the Italian Renaissance.

Particular to Florence are the picturesque red tile roofs seen here, and mirrored in the dome of the Duomo, as it is in the dome at San Lorenzo. The Dome is Brunelleschi's work, finished around 1435.
Here are some details on the dome, from Euroweb:
Brunelleschi's dome consists of two layers, an inner dome spanning the diameter and a parallel outer shell to protect it from the weather and give it a more pleasing external form. Both domes are supported by 24 stone half arches, or ribs, of circular form, 2.1 metres (seven feet) thick at the base and tapering to 1.5 metres (five feet), which meet at an open stone compression ring at the top. To resist outward thrust, tie rings of stone held together with metal cramps run horizontally between the ribs. There are also tie rings of oak timbers joined by metal connectors. The spaces between the ribs and tie rings are spanned by the inner and outer shells, which are of stone for the first 7.1 metres and brick above. The entire structure was built without formwork, the circular profiles of the ribs and rings being maintained by a system of measuring wires fixed at the centres of curvature. Brunelleschi obviously understood enough about the structural behaviour of the dome to know that, if it were built in horizontal layers, it would always be stable and not require timber centring. He also designed elaborate wooden machines to move the needed building materials both vertically and horizontally. Having all but equaled the span of the Pantheon in stone, Brunelleschi was hailed as the man who "renewed Roman masonry work"; the dome was established as the paragon of built form.

The West Facade. This was designed and completed in the 19th century in the Gothic Revival style.

The north wall, which seems to blend with the plan of the 19th century West Facade.

A more comprehensive view of the north wall.

Close-up of the main portal.

The simple vaulting of the nave.

The interior of the dome. It is The Last Judgment by Vasari.

I like this interior shot better, because it shows the wonderful Crucifix, though the painting of the dome is harder to see.

The Florentine Pieta by Michaelangelo. I did not know that he had done another one, and that it was at the Duomo. He started it at age 73, fifty years after he started the Roman Pieta that everyone knows so well. the figures are Our Blessed Lady, St. Mary Magdelene, and either Joseph of Arimithea, or Nicodemus.

This is St. John the Evangelist by Donatello

This cantoria by Lucca della Robbia was in the cathedral, but is now in the museum associated with it.

Speaking of Lucca della Robbia, old readers will remember that I use this image every Ascension Thursday. It is from the Duomo of Florence.

The Duomo has a baptistry that is a seperate building. The doors to that baptistry were the work of Ghiberti, and Michaelangelo nicknamed them the "Gates of Paradise."

Friday, October 07, 2005

Father, That Was Exceptionally Gross

But I love it.

Peggy Noonan On Miers


As I said the other day I would be just as happy if some nasty revelation from her past popped up (the inexplicable perversion of giving money to Democrats is enough in my book, but I suppose it has to be marijuana use or something financial for everyone else) and forced a speedy withdrawl of the nomination without too much damage.

Laura Ingraham Is Better Qualified For the Supreme Court

Side by side, there is no comparison.
She is also a lot better looking.

Plus she is an old aquaintance from the days when she was editing the Dartmouth Review and I was editor of the BC Observer.
My, we are marching down memory lane today, aren't we?

Once More Unto the Breach, Dear Friends! Once More!

Or fill up the wall with our New England dead!
Game time, 4pm at Fenway. It is victory or death today.

Go Red Sox!!!!!!

Now, and Then. Then, and Now

Every once in a while, I think it is instructive to glance through the department course catalogue for the current semester at my alma mater, Boston College. I was a history major, and graduated in 1986. My last year there was also the last year for several of my professors, who had been teaching there since the 1950s, including specialist in Early Modern Europe, the late Dr. Samuel Miller, and Medievalist Dr. William Daly.

Here, in a nutshell are the history courses I took in my four years, and a list of the current department offerings will be offered later as a contrast.

Freshman Year:
Modern Europe 1500-1945 I (core requirement)/Professor Thomas Perry
Modern Europe 1500-1945 II (core requirement) /Professor John Heinemann

Sophmore Year:
Medieval Europe I /Professor William Daly
Europe In the 17th Century /Professor Samuel Miller
Modern European Diplomatic History I /Father Leonard Mahoney, SJ
Medieval Europe II /Professor William Daly
England From the First Elizabeth To the Second /Professor Thomas Perry
Modern European Diplomatic History II /Father Leonard Mahoney, SJ

Junior Year:
Rise of Modern Germany 1815-1945 I /Professor John Heinemann
History of the Reformation /Professor Samuel Miller
Medieval France /Professor William Daly
Rise of Modern Germany 1815-1945 II /Professor John Heinemann
History of the Byzantine Empire /Professor John Rosser

Senior Year:
Scholar of the College Project I(a dissertation on the legal reforms of King Henry II)/Professor William Daly & Honors Program
England In the 18th Century I/ Professor Thomas Perry
Europe in the 18th Century/ Professor Samuel Miller
Scholar of the College Project II/ Professor William Daly & Honors Program
England In the 18th Century II/ Professor Thomas Perry

The rest of my courses were fulfilling core curriculum requirements in the Freshman Year, with 2 semesters of Calculus, 2 semesters of Latin, and BC's modified Great Books program, called the Honors Program, which included a double course both semesters for the Freshman and Sophmore years, a topical seminar in the Junior year, and the thesis, or Scholar's Project in the Senior year.

For non-departmental electives, scattered through my three last years, I took 3 from the English department, including a course in English Literature covering the 17th, 18th and early 19th centuries, a course on Hawthorne and Melville, and a seminar on Pope aqnd Fielding. I also took a Business Law course, and Microeconomics.

I could have taken American History courses, but did not choose to, as I had an AP credit in it, and was more interested in European History.

All told, I was reading between 3-4 books per week for the first two years, 2-3 in the last two, plus text reading. At the same time I was writing for, and eventually became editor of, BC's conservative newspaper, The Observer.

Now we come to this semester's course offerings from BC's History Department. There are tons of Discussion Groups, which I will omit, as we had them for our core class, too.

Modern History:Cul&Institut His/Mod Europe I
Modern History:Modern Europe 1500-1789
Modern History II:Europe 1789 to the Present
Pedagogical Content Laboratory
Introduction to Feminisms
Introduction to Black Urban History
American Civilization I
American South Since 1865
Native Americans in U.S. History
Islamic Civilization
Modern Brazil
West Africa
Study and Writing of History
Greater China in Modern Age 1895-Present
Revolutionary Cuba
Rise and Fall of the Ottoman Empire
Human Rights as History
Slave Societies in the Caribbean and Latin America
History of Northern Ireland 1912 to the Present
Ireland Before the Famine
Rise of Modern Germany 1815-1945/I
St.Petersburg/Leningrad:From Peter the Great/Putin
Europe 1814-1871/Between Revolution and Reaction
Intellectual History of Modern Europe I
France in the Nineteenth Century
History of the American West
Text and Context:Ralph Ellison's Invisible Man
History of American Religion
U.S. 1912-1945
U.S. Foreign Policy/I
Racial Violence in American History
Irish Women Emigrants:Irish and American Context
Seminar in College Teaching: Women's Studies

Oh yes, they are weeding out the study of the accomplishments of dead white men, especially in Europe. There is nothing in the area of medieval history, nothing in the history of the Roman Catholic Church. There is nothing about the 18th century. there is no local history or history of Colonial America, or of the Civil War period. Early Modern Europe is a void, except in the core courses.

The only course that I took that is still in the curriculum, other than the core, is the German History course (Professor Heinemann has retired since I left, so I doubt that the content and thrust and rigor of the course is the same).

And there is far too much, well, crap, in the curriculum. Specifically:

Pedagogical Content Laboratory
Introduction to Feminisms
Introduction to Black Urban History
Modern Brazil
West Africa
Study and Writing of History
Revolutionary Cuba
Human Rights as History
Slave Societies in the Caribbean and Latin America
Racial Violence in American History
Irish Women Emigrants:Irish and American Context
Seminar in College Teaching: Women's Studies

What!? No "Gay Perspectives On Industrialization"?? The filthy homophobes!!!

Seriously, the United States is a western country whose population, political institutions, language, and cultural heritage is predominantly European and whose religion is predominantly Christian. And BC is, allegedly, a Roman Catholic university. That is not adequately reflected in the course selections available to BC students this semester.

There is far too much emphasis on the allegedly "oppressed" viewpoint, and not nearly enough on the normative. BC students (and their parents who are footing the astonishingly hefty bill) are not well-served by these course selections, and neither is American society. BC's history department is not educating its students to become responsible citizens of the only superpower, and cultural representatives of Western Civilization.

We've Shot At Each Other Many Times

BC's Dean Ryan on re-enacting. He's an American rebel.


The Battle painted in 1572 at Venice by Veronese

G.K. Chesterton's Lepanto
White founts falling in the Courts of the sun,
And the Soldan of Byzantium is smiling as they run;
There is laughter like the fountains in that face of all men feared,
It stirs the forest darkness, the darkness of his beard;
It curls the blood-red crescent, the crescent of his lips;
For the inmost sea of all the earth is shaken with his ships.
They have dared the white republics up the capes of Italy,
They have dashed the Adriatic round the Lion of the Sea,
And the Pope has cast his arms abroad for agony and loss,
And called the kings of Christendom for swords about the Cross.
The cold queen of England is looking in the glass;
The shadow of the Valois is yawning at the Mass;
From evening isles fantastical rings faint the Spanish gun,
And the Lord upon the Golden Horn is laughing in the sun.

Dim drums throbbing, in the hills half heard,
Where only on a nameless throne a crownless prince has stirred,
Where, risen from a doubtful seat and half attainted stall,
The last knight of Europe takes weapons from the wall,
The last and lingering troubadour to whom the bird has sung,
That once went singing southward when all the world was young.
In that enormous silence, tiny and unafraid,
Comes up along a winding road the noise of the Crusade.
Strong gongs groaning as the guns boom far,
Don John of Austria is going to the war,
Stiff flags straining in the night-blasts cold
In the gloom black-purple, in the glint old-gold,
Torchlight crimson on the copper kettle-drums,
Then the tuckets, then the trumpets, then the cannon, and he comes.
Don John laughing in the brave beard curled,
Spurning of his stirrups like the thrones of all the world,
Holding his head up for a flag of all the free.
Love-light of Spain--hurrah! Death-light of Africa! Don John of Austria Is riding to the sea.

Mahound is in his paradise above the evening star,
(Don John of Austria is going to the war.)
He moves a mighty turban on the timeless houri's knees,
His turban that is woven of the sunsets and the seas.
He shakes the peacock gardens as he rises from his ease,
And he strides among the tree-tops and is taller than the trees;
And his voice through all the garden is a thunder sent to bring
Black Azrael and Ariel and Ammon on the wing.
Giants and the Genii, Multiplex of wing and eye,
Whose strong obedience broke the sky
When Solomon was king.

They rush in red and purple from the red clouds of the morn,
From the temples where the yellow gods shut up their eyes in scorn;
They rise in green robes roaring from the green hells of the sea
Where fallen skies and evil hues and eyeless creatures be,
On them the sea-valves cluster and the grey sea-forests curl,
Splashed with a splendid sickness, the sickness of the pearl;
They swell in sapphire smoke out of the blue cracks of the ground,--
They gather and they wonder and give worship to Mahound.
And he saith, "Break up the mountains where the hermit-folk can hide,
And sift the red and silver sands lest bone of saint abide,
And chase the Giaours flying night and day, not giving rest,
For that which was our trouble comes again out of the west.
We have set the seal of Solomon on all things under sun,
Of knowledge and of sorrow and endurance of things done.
But a noise is in the mountains, in the mountains, and I know
The voice that shook our palaces--four hundred years ago:
It is he that saith not 'Kismet'; it is he that knows not Fate;
It is Richard, it is Raymond, it is Godfrey at the gate!
It is he whose loss is laughter when he counts the wager worth,
Put down your feet upon him, that our peace be on the earth."
For he heard drums groaning and he heard guns jar,
(Don John of Austria is going to the war.)
Sudden and still--hurrah!
Bolt from Iberia!
Don John of Austria
Is gone by Alcalar.

St. Michaels on his Mountain in the sea-roads of the north
(Don John of Austria is girt and going forth.)
Where the grey seas glitter and the sharp tides shift
And the sea-folk labour and the red sails lift.
He shakes his lance of iron and he claps his wings of stone;
The noise is gone through Normandy; the noise is gone alone;
The North is full of tangled things and texts and aching eyes,
And dead is all the innocence of anger and surprise,
And Christian killeth Christian in a narrow dusty room,
And Christian dreadeth Christ that hath a newer face of doom,
And Christian hateth Mary that God kissed in Galilee,--
But Don John of Austria is riding to the sea.
Don John calling through the blast and the eclipse
Crying with the trumpet, with the trumpet of his lips,
Trumpet that sayeth ha!
Domino gloria! Don John of Austria
Is shouting to the ships.

King Philip's in his closet with the Fleece about his neck
(Don John of Austria is armed upon the deck.)
The walls are hung with velvet that is black and soft as sin,
And little dwarfs creep out of it and little dwarfs creep in.
He holds a crystal phial that has colours like the moon,
He touches, and it tingles, and he trembles very soon,
And his face is as a fungus of a leprous white and grey
Like plants in the high houses that are shuttered from the day,
And death is in the phial and the end of noble work,
But Don John of Austria has fired upon the Turk.
Don John's hunting, and his hounds have bayed--
Booms away past Italy the rumour of his raid.
Gun upon gun, ha! ha!
Gun upon gun, hurrah!
Don John of Austria
Has loosed the cannonade.

The Pope was in his chapel before day or battle broke,
(Don John of Austria is hidden in the smoke.)
The hidden room in man's house where God sits all the year,
The secret window whence the world looks small and very dear.
He sees as in a mirror on the monstrous twilight sea
The crescent of his cruel ships whose name is mystery;
They fling great shadows foe-wards, making Cross and Castle dark,
They veil the plumèd lions on the galleys of St. Mark;
And above the ships are palaces of brown, black-bearded chiefs,
And below the ships are prisons, where with multitudinous griefs,
Christian captives sick and sunless, all a labouring race repines
Like a race in sunken cities, like a nation in the mines.
They are lost like slaves that sweat, and in the skies of morning hung
The stair-ways of the tallest gods when tyranny was young.
They are countless, voiceless, hopeless as those fallen or fleeing on
Before the high Kings' horses in the granite of Babylon.
And many a one grows witless in his quiet room in hell
Where a yellow face looks inward through the lattice of his cell,
And he finds his God forgotten, and he seeks no more a sign--
(But Don John of Austria has burst the battle-line!)
Don John pounding from the slaughter-painted poop,
Purpling all the ocean like a bloody pirate's sloop,
Scarlet running over on the silvers and the golds,
Breaking of the hatches up and bursting of the holds,
Thronging of the thousands up that labour under sea
White for bliss and blind for sun and stunned for liberty.

Vivat Hispania!
Domino Gloria!
Don John of Austria
Has set his people free!

Cervantes on his galley sets the sword back in the sheath
(Don John of Austria rides homeward with a wreath.)
And he sees across a weary land a straggling road in Spain,
Up which a lean and foolish knight for ever rides in vain,
And he smiles, but not as Sultans smile, and settles back the blade....
(But Don John of Austria rides home from the Crusade.)

An excellent account of the battle is set out as a chapter in Victor Davis Hanson's Carnage and Culture, which I read a last year, and recommend highly.

Our Lady of the Rosary

The history of the feast from the Catholic Encyclopedia.

The Fifteen Promises To Those Who Recite the Rosary given By Our Blessed Lady to Saint Dominic:
1. Whoever shall faithfully serve me
by the recitation of the Rosary, shall
receive signal graces.
2. I promise my special protection
and the greatest graces to all those
who shall recite the Rosary.
3. The Rosary shall be a powerful
armor against hell, it will destroy
vice, decrease sin, and defeat heresies.
4. It will cause virtue and good works
to flourish; it will obtain for souls the
abundant mercy of God; it will with-
draw the hearts of men from the love
of the world and its vanities, and will
lift them to the desire of eternal
things. Oh, that souls would sanctify
themselves by this means.
5. The soul which recommends itself
to me by the recitation of the Rosary,
shall not perish.
6. Whoever shall recite the Rosary
devoutly, applying himself to the
consideration of its sacred mysteries
shall never be conquered by misfor-
tune. God will not chastise him in His
justice, he shall not perish by an
unprovided death; if he be just he
shall remain in the grace of God, and
become worthy of eternal life.
7. Whoever shall have a true
devotion for the Rosary shall not die
without the sacraments of the Church.
8. Those who are faithful to recite the
Rosary shall have during their life and
at their death the light of God and the
plentitude of His graces; at the
moment of death they shall participate
in the merits of the saints in paradise.
9. I shall deliver from purgatory those
who have been devoted to the Rosary.
10. The faithful children of the Rosary
shall merit a high degree of glory in
11. You shall obtain all you ask of me
by the recitation of the Rosary.
12. All those who propagate the holy
Rosary shall be aided by me in their
13. I have obtained from my Divine
Son that all the advocates of the
Rosary shall have for intercessors
the entire celestial court during their life
and at the hour of death.
14. All who recite the Rosary are my
sons, and brothers of my only Son
Jesus Christ.
15. Devotion of my Rosary is a great
sign of predestination.

Thursday, October 06, 2005

Well, Why Wasn't He?????

Archbishop O'Malley is insisting that Father Cuenin was not removed because of his heterodoxy, but just for the financial dealings.

This raises questions about the Archbishop's judgment. His is the responsibility to make sure that all his parishioners here in the Archdiocese are in conformity with Rome through their pastors. His is the responsibility to be sure that heresy is not being preached in the pulpits of Boston and its suburbs. His is the responsibility to oversee priests and call them to account when they overstep.

Father Cuenin overstepped the bounds of Catholic orthdoxy for many years on matters relating to, what some are taking to calling, "pelvic issues": birth control, abortion, marriage, homosexuality. For all I know, he might be great on the Blessed Virgin, the Communion of Saints, and the Real Presence, but Catholicism is not a cafeteria. It is all or nothing. You don't pick and choose what you want to believe in.

Why wasn't he ever called on the carpet? Why wasn't he ever demoted from the very plush parish he was running? Why was the only time he was publically slapped on the hand was when he started agitating against Cardinal Law directly? Is it OK to preach or tolerate heterodoxy in the Archdiocese, as long as you don't directly challenge the Cardinal/Archbishop?

And why is the Archbishop going to such unseemly lengths that really undermine his credibility, to insist that he didn't remove Cuenin for the right reason, but instead over some arguable financial transations that had the full support of the relevant parish councils and had been seen by Archdiocesan audits over the years and not commented on?

Don't get me wrong: I think Father Cuenin can apply for Paul Shanley's old job at the gay B&B in California. I won't shed a single tear if he leaves the priesthood. Good riddance! But I think the Archbishop is demeaning himself and being ridiculous in disciplining him for the financial transations in question, and saying Cuenin is not being punished for his heterodoxy and misleading of souls.

And frankly, it gives me little confidence that he will do the right thing, and keep Holy Trinity open as the Archdiocese's Latin Mass parish.

I wonder often about the intellectual tepidity of the people in the chancery. As they go blithely along insisting that Holy Trinity will close by December 15th, and dreaming green eyeshaded dreams of the dollar signs from the sale of the real estate, has it ever once occured to anyone there that the plan is radically at odds with the Holy Father's stated intention of making the traditional Latin Mass more broadly available? Why are they going after the one Latin Mass parish, a very healthy parish with no financial problems and no debt, with a meat clever, when they should be looking at giving it a daily Mass, confirmation, having it open during the day for Adoration, and finally getting it a pastor of its own?

Pro-Abortion and Gay Marriage Canadian PM Will Receive the Blessed Sacrament No Matter What Rome Says

That is what his ultra-liberal pastor says.

Maybe it is time that pastor spent some time reconsidering his vocation.

The New England Fall Is Coming On

The trees are still almost all green here in Boston, with a few hints of yellow, but outside the Hub, things are coloring up in the White Mountains, and in New Hampshire's Lakes Region rather steadily, if somewhat behind the usual pace.

If you are planning a Columbus Day Weekend foliage trip, plan to stop in at Hart's Turkey Farm in Meredith, NH, the best turkey joint on the East Coast. It serves huge portions of delicious food, at very reasonable prices. If I lived anywhere in close proximity to the place, I swear I'd weigh 500 pounds rather than 200.

Columbus Day is traditionally the best time to tour northern New England for foliage. For one thing, it is a legal holiday in Massachusetts, with schools, government offices, and upper management all free for the day. And secondly, the foliage almost always coincides with the second weekend in October.

In fact, there are a lot of New England places worth looking into in my links section. Scroll way down and check out the link categories"Welcome Respites For the Hungry Traveller" and "Other Recta Ratio Retailers." There's lots of good stuff there, from ice cream stands and road-side produce stands and pick-your own apples and pumpkin places, to old-fashioned candy shops, B&Bs in Maine and Nantucket, and old-fashioned full-service inns, plus pizza, fried clams, and tonic.

Plenty to see and do in New England for the next month. Enjoy!

Espionage At the White House

Maybe I am just lax in my scrutiny of the headlines, but I didn't see this in the MSM, but over at The Cafetaria Is Closed.

On the good side, this spying was not done on behalf of our enemies, but for domestic political reasons in the Philippines. Still, it is disturbing that this went on over two administrations (Clinton and Bush (43)).

Espionage is a fact of life in government and business. We spy on everybody, and they spy on us. I'm sure we spy on the Canadians, the Filipinos, the Brits, the Aussies, the Irish, the Israelis, and the Vatican, and I'm sure they all spy on us. And that's just our best friends. Imagine what we do with more hostile states, and what they do to us.

Tom Bethell Is An Indult Mass Worshipper

This is big news to me. In the 1980s and 1990s, I used to revel in his monthly baroque disquisitons on American and international politics in the old-format American Spectator, when Elliot Banfield did the covers, Bob Tyrell lambasted every liberal under the sun and every manifestation of that silly world view in The Continuing Crisis, the best book reviews anywhere could be found at the back, and the publication luxuriated in the dimensions of a tabloid newspaper.

Phil Blosser carries the text of Bethell's encomium to the traditional Latin Mass. And there is a lively debate with 93 comments as of this moment.

I had forgotten that Bethell, like fellow Brit Paul Johnson, is a cradle Catholic.

Still Reeling From Last Night

The Red Sox blew, and that is the only word for it, a 4-0 lead to lose to the White Sox 5-4. Now, in order to face the Yankees (most likely), they have to beat the White Sox twice in Fenway, then go back to Chicago and beat them once there. That is a tall order, though a trifle compared to what last year's team pulled off. the next game is Friday afternoon.


Desecration And Disruption In Decatur

This is just so sad. And we thought the age of Cromwell was long since past.

I witnessed a similar thing once, in Boston at Saint Anthony's Shrine on Arch Street, when, during Adoration, some woman came up the side aisle, to the Divine Mercy image, threw something at it, and started screaming. The Franciscans have some security (they have to, given the location) and the guards dragged her out. I don't know if that was crazy fundamentalist heretic-inspired thing, or some disgruntled petitioner who didn't get what she asked for in prayer and decided to lash out. No damage was done to the picture that I could see (I was kneeling a few yards away).

But this is more serious.

And we can expect more of this sort of thing, not just from heretical sects chaffing at a resurgent and more aggresive Catholicism, but from the just plain godless, those who follow the religion of their groins rather than of their souls.

Wednesday, October 05, 2005

Communion In the Hand Discussed At the Synod

There is at least one bishop in favor of abolishing it. But Cardinal arinze seems content to leave it to national conferences.

To me, Communion in the hand is a horrid protestant thing. It doesn't belong in Catholic practice. And I don't trust the USCCB to do anything right.

The Topsfield Fair Is In Full Swing

People who have raised enormous misshapen pumpkins have hauled them to Essex County to be weighed and judged. One lucky gourd will be, "The Great Pumpkin."

This is last year's winner, from Johnston, Rhode Island, weighing 1,253 pounds.

Weighing in, at a whopping 1,314.8 pounds, from Goffstown, New Hampshire, this year's winner.

I prefer mine about 20 pounds, round but with some lateral spread, not too vertical, and unblemished with no funny indentations.

Visit San Damiano

Via St. Peter's Helpers!

The Least Said, The Better

The Red Sox get to pick themselves up, dust themselves off, and try again to beat the White Sox in Chicago tonight.


Additional Information On Miers

I have read that she was born Catholic, and became an Evangelical. So this is an affirmative action spot for an Evangelical, a group that makes up a major part of the Bush Coalition. So she is solid because she is an Evangelical? And Anthony Kennedy is solid because he is a Roman Catholic? For those who think that being born-again is a sure sign that anyone is a sincere conservative, I have two words: Jimmy Carter.

So obviously, the President wanted two things, a woman, and an Evangelical. But not another Roman Catholic. So Judge Jones, Judge Corrigan, and Professor Glendon were disqualified, though women with sterling, no, golden, credentials, because they were (presumably) mainline protestant, or Roman Catholic.

The disquieting thing is the money given to Gore and other Democrat causes. Sure there is room for conversion, and it might well be that Miers conversion happened after 1988. I am someone whose political identity was fully in place at age 10 or so. My views have waivered very little since 1974. For a time, I had a brief flirtation with libertarianism. But I outgrew that immaturity before college. My Faith was a gift from birth, that I have tried togrow into. So I don't really understand educated adults who, presumably, have been paying attention to politics and moral issues since the age of majority, suddenly having a course correction in mid-life.

The first Hispanic Justice will have to wait until Justice Stevens assumes room temperature. Then there will be a huge fight, because that will be swinging a seat from the hard-left column somewhere to the right. And since the left depends on the federal judiciary to enact policy preferences it cannot get passed at the ballot box, and the Supreme Court becoming 5 conservatives against only 4 liberals would be the end of that, they will fight that nomination to the last bullet in the last trench, whether the nominee is the first Hispanic or not. If he is appointed by President Bush, they will fight. So, in that case, President Bush would be well advised to go with a staunch conservative, like Judge Garza or Judge Alito, as there is no way the left will go quietly, even if he picks someone conservatives distrust, like AG Gonzales. The leftists won't give Gonzales the benefit of the doubt, there are lots of hot-button issues regarding the War on Moslem Terrorism that would look bad in the hearings, and conservatives won't fight for someone they don't trust. So, the next rabbit President Bush pulls out of his hat ought to be Alito or Garza.

Saint Faustina Kowalska

Saint Faustina, whose feast is today, was the recipient of the revelations that led to the adoption of the Divine Mercy devotion.

Here is a brief biography of Saint Faustina.

You can get more information about Saint Faustina and the Divine Mercy devotion here.

If you are pressed for time but want to use your beads to pray, keep in mind that the Divine Mercy Chaplet takes about 5-7 minutes praying silently, but the Rosary takes about 20 minutes to silently pray a set of Mysteries.

Tuesday, October 04, 2005

Republican Presidents and Their Lousy Supreme Court Appointments

President Bush is not alone in trying to put a clinker, if that is what Harriet Miers is, on the US Supreme Court. Many Republican presidents in the last 55 years have done the same.

President Eisenhower. After Democrat dominance of the White House for 20 years, and a Supreme Court thus packed with New Dealer liberals (no one belly-ached about litmus tests then, as long as the Justices appointed by Roosevelt and Truman were good liberal Democrats), you would have thought that General Eisenhower would have been very eager to restore some conservative balance to the court. He appointed three justices in his 8 years in office. But Eisenhower was a general, not a lawyer, and relied on others to advise him on judicial appointments. The liberal former governor of California, Earl Warren, he picked for Chief Justice, to defuse alleged presidential ambitions. Another pick proved to be the most consistently liberal Justice from the 1950s to the 1980s: William Brennan. Eisenhower only picked one moderately conservative justice, Potter Stewart (who, incidentally, was friendly with Vice President George H.W. Bush in the 1980s: Republican Establishment "conservatives"). After he left office, Ike was asked about what he thought his biggest mistake was. "My two biggest mistakes are sitting on the Supreme Court." So Ike was 1 Win and 2 Losses in his SCOTUS picks.

President Nixon. President Nixon, facing a hostile Senate throughout his terms, even before Watergate, had trouble with his nominations. He nominated 6 men to the Court, though 2 were defeated in the Senate, or the nominations withdrawn after various scandals were disclosed concerning the nominees. His first nominee, Warren Burger to be Chief Justice, was fairly successful, from Nixon's perspective. He got what he bargained for: another Potter Stewart. Burger was a moderately conservative jurist who lead the Court (somewhat imperiously, I am told) until he resigned loyally, allowing President Reagan to pick his successor. The nominations to succeed LBJ crony Abe Fortas, Clement Haynesworth and G. Harold Carswell faced a buzz-saw of Democrat opposition in the Senate, and were filibustered. The nominations were withdrawn. Then Nixon settled on Harry Blackmun, the author of Roe v. Wade, and as big a judicial traitor to the GOP as Brennan and Souter. Then, Nixon had the chance to appoint a successor to Justice Black. Lewis Powell was a soft-spoken moderate, who won Democrat support. He was no more conservative than, say, Anthony Kennedy or David Souter. Pretty much a flop as a Republican Justice. Finally, in his last pick, to succeed Justice Harlan, Nixon gave the faithful real red meat: William Rehnquist, the model conservative Justice from 1973-2005. So Nixon's score was 2 wins, 2 losses, and 2 rainouts.

President Ford. President Ford picked only one Justice, John Paul Stevens, in 1975, and he has been, consistently, one of the most liberal Justices. So Ford went 0-1.

President Reagan. As the most conservative president since Coolidge, one expected great things from President Reagan. And he tried to deliver. He played politics with his first nomination, however, and appointed a mushy Republican "moderate conservative" Sandra Day O'Connor to his first vacancy, so that he could appoint the "first woman justice." He did better with a Chief Justice vacancy 5 years later, appointing Rehnquist Chief Justice, and appointing Justice Scalia to fill Rehnquist's seat as Associate Justice. And his nomination of Robert Bork to succeed Lewis Powell was brilliant, but Bork was, well, "Borked" and that nomination, the best made by any president in 50 years, went down to defeat. Anthony Kennedy, at best a moderate, got the nod after Judge Douglas Ginsburg's nomination collapsed. So President Reagan was, arguably, 3-1, with 2 rainouts, in his nominations.

President Bush (41). His first nomination, David souter, the former Attorney General of New Hampshire and a Sunnunu crony, was an unmitigated disaster. Souter is as liberal as Stevens and Clinton's two appointees. Clarence Thomas' nomination has been a great success. Sometimes, Thomas is even better than Scalia on some issues. Bush was 1-1.

President Bush (43). The nomination of Judge John Roberts, a former clerk for Rehnquist, to be the new Chief Justice was a great move. Roberts will almost certainly prove himself to be a solid conservative. And now we have this Miers nomination. President Bush himself says she is just what conservatives want, but no one else knows much about her. Donations to Democrats in her past is not something that inspires confidence. She could be another Clarence Thomas, a fine conservative without much of a paper trail, or she could be a David Souter, a traitor waiting to strike. The jury is out on her. Her age, however, is against her. At 60, she is not exactly calculated to be on the Court for the 3 decades that Rehnquist enjoyed. Justice Clarence Thomas has been on the Court 12 years now, and is still 3 years younger than Miers. But Bork was older when President Reagan nominated him 19 years ago, and is still intellectually active.

An interesting point is that, of these six Republican presidents, four (Ike, Reagan, and both Bushes) were not themselves trained in law school, and thus had only tangential knowledge of the legal issues at stake. But the performance of the two who were, Nixon and Ford, is not encouraging. Reagan and the Bushes, at least, have done better than Nixon and Ford with their nominees. Still, despite all the effort, President Reagan is responsible for one liberal (or unreliable conservative) on the Court, and President Bush (41) is responsible for another. Let us hope that President Bush (43) has gauged Harriet Miers correctly, and that he will not be responsible for a third Republican-appointed liberal on the current Court.

San Damiano Crucifix

This is the crucifix that St. Francis was praying before when he received his command, "Rebuild My Church!"
Here is an explanation of its iconography.

The Playoffs Start Today

The Red Sox take on the White Sox in Chicago at 4pm today in their first playoff game.


Papal Dental Appointments

The Holy Father had to leave a session of the Synod yestrday, for a previously scheduled dental appointment.

Hope it went well. I hate going to the dentist myself, and would have grasped at any straw to postpone, unless I was in utter agony. And even then, there are few toothaches that 3 500 mg Extra Strength Tylenol and a liberal application of Anbesol won't tame.

Also A Birthday

Today would have been my father's 85th birthday. He died in 1989.
V. Requiem aeternam dona ei, Domine,
R. Et lux perpetua luceat ei.
V. Requiescat in pace.
R. Amen.

Saint Francis of Assisi

October 4th has always been the feast of The Poor Man, Saint Francis of Assisi.

I just read his life by Saint Bonaventure in August for the first time. And while I was amazed at the just sheer love he radiated, I know his is an example I am not drawn to. If I were to take a "Which Catholic Order Are You Most Like?" quiz, I can be fairly certain it would not be the Franciscans. I'm probably more a Templar, or maybe a Benedictine, but certainly not a Franciscan.

This is what The Golden Legend has to say about St. Francis.

You know the "Prayer of Saint Francis"? He didn't write it. It appears in no prayer collections before the early 20th century. It was "discovered" by an American prelate touring Italy and passed off as Il Poverello's own work.

This is the best day for the Blessing of the Animals, as St. Francis' affection for our dumb chums is well documented. Some parishes move it to the evening of the Sunday before. I've owned some very high-strung, pampered pets in my time, and I have never seen an animal misbehave badly at a blessing. They all are apprehensive about going to someplace strange to them, and having a man dressed in what looks, to them, like weird clothes, speak to them, but they are pretty calm, tolerant of the other animals, and content with their blessing. And, of course, happy to be home again at the end.

Monday, October 03, 2005

Lots of Disgruntlement

Conservatives are, as a whole, not an easy to please bunch. We prefer our politicians, and our judges, out of the exact same mold that we are from. We prefer people with long track records of devoted activism in the same causes. We loved Ronald Reagan because he had been wearing our causes on his sleeve, speaking at our rubber-chicken dinners for 2 decades before running in 1980. Judges like Bork, Scalia, Thomas, Roberts, and Rehnquist are what we like because we know that they are our guys.

That is why so many conservatives, including me, are dissatisfied with President Bush's pick of Harriet Miers for the vacany on the Supreme Court this morning. She has no history of reliable loyalty to the conservative cause. She was picked, as Mark Levin said this morning at NRO's The Corner, because she is a) a woman, and b) a crony of the President.

David Souter came with high recommendations from John Sununu, too. And he has turned out to be the most liberal member of the Court, more inimical to conservative goals than Clinton's two appointees. His lack of a paper trail was touted as a strength in the confirmation process. Instead, he was an empty vessel, waiting to be filled up with liberalism.

President Bush could have done so much better with this appointment. Judges like Garza, Jones, and Luttig, all would have made fine Associate Justices, and would have had the full confidence and support of the conservative movement. If Bush wished to go outside the federal judiciary, why not Professor Glendon, former Attorney General Ashcroft, Michigan Supreme Court Justice Maura Corrigan?

I'm afraid one dynamic told against Garza, Corrigan, and Glendon. They are all Catholics, and appointing another one would make the Supreme Court majority Catholic, which might not be acceptable to the other important interest group that supports the President, Evangelicals. Ashcroft and Luttig and Jones are not Catholics, but Ashcroft and Luttig are men, and that was apparently not a desideratum for the President on this nomination.

That leaves us with the vexing question: Why not Judge Jones? She has been a bridesmaid so often in nominations for the Supreme Court that she must be almost dizzy now. If a woman was to be picked for this appointment, and it was not be a Roman Catholic, the nomination should have gone to Judge Jones.

All of which is not to say that Miers is a bad pick, or will be a disaster. She might indeed be very good, at least as good as O'Connor. but the jury is out on that. We know nothing of her. She is not someone we will be willing to carry water for, unless she proves that she can be relied on not just now, but 10 years from now, 20 years from now, and so on.

But, frankly, I'm uncomfortable with this pick, and I am hoping that some unforseen factoid will come to light that will derail the nomination without much sturm und drang, something finacial or something like that. I'd like to see the President take a mulligan on this one, and tee up another ball. Better that than saddling the Court with another Souter, another Brennan, another Stevens, another Earl Warren. There is a strong sense that the President, with a Republican Senate majority now that he may not have later, missed an opportunity to appoint a strong conservative in the mold of Scalia or Thomas, as he promised, to the Court. Now it may well be that he has another chance soon. Justice Stevens is in his mid-80s. But waiting for old men to die is often frustrating. And shifting the Steven seat out of the hard-left column even to the middle would be a good move. But the chance was blown with this nomination. Therefore, I am washing my hands of it, unless her conservative credentials have been grossly understated by the initial reports.

Sunday, October 02, 2005

But the Pats Lost

41-17. How long before the chorus begins to call for the coach's head? Not much more he can do with the injuries the team suffered last week.

The Red Sox Are In the Playoffs!!!

They clinched the AL East Wild Card slot this afternoon, even before their game with the Yankees has ended. the Indians did it for the Sox, by losing this afternoon.

The Sox themselves, meanwhile, now lead the Yankees 7-0 in the bottom of the 5th (an uncharacteristically late start at Fenway, for the TV network's convenience, accounting for Cleveland finishing their game so much earlier).

It is entirely an academic matter now, but the score on the game, in the bottom of the 7th, is 10-1.

Today's Catholic Cultural Heritage Images

Today, we focus on cloister garths. That is, the enclosed courtyard of a monastery or convent usually with lawn, flowerbeds, or other plantings, and usually enclosed by columned walkways.

Mont Saint Michael, the island monastery off the Norman coast

Canterbury Cathedral, which was once not only Catholic, but home to a monastic community

A two-story cloister walk from Toledo, Spain

San Lorenzo of Florence, a much less elaborate 2-story arrangement

Saint Paul de Mausole, St. Remy de Provence, France. I love this cheery photo.

A secular adaptation of the cloister garth, the courtyard of the Boston Public Library

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