Friday, December 02, 2005

Warren H. Carroll

I just started his book, The Last Crusade: Spain, 1936, and am enjoying it. This historian (and founder of Christendom College!) joins a short list of modern practising historians I like:
Paul Johnson
Joyce Lee Malcolm
David Hackett Fisher
Eamon Duffy

So many other historians are either still deluded by Marxist fantasies, or entirely co-opted by the whole "oppressed minoritiy perspectives" approach to history so that their works are of no value.

Want to get a very cursory glimpse of Dr. Carroll's work right this second? Check out this EWTN discussion on The Benefits Of Burning Heretics At the Stake. Cool.

Daily Advent Meditation

From The Word Among Us.

Quite Right

Cardinal Ruini:
Catholics ought not to marry Moslems.

It is mostly Catholic women who marry Moslem men. And the children end up being brought up Moslem, not Catholic.

I will add that a Catholic ought not marry any non-Catholic, unless there are rock-solid guarantees that the children, all of them, will be brought up Catholic, even if the Catholic spouse should die while they are all infants.

The Scandal In Brazil

We are not alone in being plagued by sexually abusive priests.

But the headline is inaccurate. It says that 10% of Brazilian priests are "sex offenders." That is patently false, as one discoveres from reading the article. It says 10% were involved in "sexual misconduct."

Sexual misconduct is not the same as sex abuse. A priest could break his vows of chaste celibacy (and therefore perpetrate an act of sexual misconduct) with an adult female, and not be a sex abuser. And a priest who has any sort of sexual encounter with a woman is a sinner, but not a sex offender.

He would only be a sex offender if rape were involved, if there was coercion, or undue influence, or his partner was underage, or part of a protected class, like the mentally retarded.

And I suppose you could also say the same of a priest who had a sexual encounter (or even a relationship) with an adult male. Unless homosexual acts are illegal in Brazil, having homosexual sex with another adult does not make the priest a sex offender.

The article acknowledges that most of the problem in the USA concerns homosexual conduct by priests with teenage boys (even if our own media and hierarchy refuse to see the truth), and contrasts the situation with Brazil, where most, but by no means all, of the problem involves contact with women.

It is curious to note some of the diary items cited in the article. They caution the offender to stay away from rich (and therefore connected) boys, and prey upon the poor. That is just what most of the American pervert priests were doing, too. They disproportionately went after kids in poor parishes, because they could do little or nothing about them, where rich kids' parents could raise a mighty stink.

Thus, as far as I know, the well-to-do Lynnfield parish I grew up in was untouched by any pervert priest, but the working-class parish in Salem I later lived in had been the happy hunting ground for two different perverts, as well as one of the most blatantly culpable enablers of pervert priests, New Hamphire's current Bishop John McCormack.

Cover Letter Fills In Big Gap

The Instruction on admission of homosexuals to the seminary left a very big omission: gays who are already priests on seminary faculty and formation staffs.

A cover letter that went out to bishops covered this obvious problem:
"Because of the particular responsibility of those charged with the formation of future priests, they are not to be appointed as rectors or educators in seminaries."

Otherwise, the foxes would be guarding the henhouse, as has been the case at so many seminaries, when the Lavendar Mafia get hold of the place.

So, to understand this document as a whole, you need the Instruction itself, the cover letter that went out to the bishops, the accompanying article from L'Osservatore Romano, and you probably also need the instructions under which the Apostolic Visitations of US Seminaries are now being conducted.

When you put all of that together, it is fairly solid. But some pro-gay bishops will still manage to evade the intent, unless they draw a particularly tough Visitation team at their seminary.

Thursday, December 01, 2005

I Love the Creche

I'm a Fontanini guy now. I love collecting the right pieces, making additional terrain and buildings, and taking each piece carefully out of its box every December. My ideal is to have a creche in every room of the house, and one on the front lawn (not the plastic ones that light up, though). So, I love creche scenes.

But I have to agree with the compiler that this is a Cavalcade of Bad Nativities.

Thanks to Amy Welborn for the link.

Daily Advent Meditation

From The Word Among Us.

Saint Edmund Campion

Ten Reasons has a good post up on St. Edmund, martyred by Queen Elizabeth's anti-Catholic gestapo.

Saint Edmund was a central character in Monsignor Hugh Benson's Come Rack! Come Rope!, which I read this past summer. He is also the subject of a biography by Evelyn Waugh, a small portion of which, dealing with his capture, is excerpted here.

Catholic Michigan Family Wins Fight To Keep Front-Lawn Nativity

The defiance of a Catholic family in Novi, Michigan has made the management company of their subdivision back down and allow them to continue to display their Nativity set on the front lawn.

They were threatened with a $100 per week fine. But the good guys at The Thomas More Law Center and popular support brought the management company in line with reality and allows the 25+ year tradition of this (Filipino?: I'm guessing from the names) family to continue.

The Good, the Bad, and the Indifferent

Ad Majorem Dei Gloriam has compiled reactions to the Instruction from various US bishops.

No big surprises so far, with Cardinal George, Archbishop Chaput, and Bishops D'Arcy and Baker indicating that it will be implemented, and others (Tucson and Burlington, VT) joining the Axis of Pro-Gay Weasels.


December's image from the Calendar of Les Tres Riches Heures de Duc de Berry depicts a wild boar hunt. We are reminded that then, as now, late November and December are prime hunting season. Why a boar hunt? Well, in the forest of Vincennes, boar abounded. But I think it is a stretch to say it has anything to do with the boar's head tradition on the Christmas table. The Limbourgs' patron, the Duke of Berry, was born here at Vincennes, on November 30th, 1340.

Notice how life-like the actions of the dogs are as they swarm over and tear at the dying boar.

Important feasts celebrated during December include:

1st St. Edmund Campion
3rd St. Francis Xavier
4th St. Barbara
6th St. Nicholas
7th St. Ambrose
8th Immaculate Conception
9th Ven. Fulton Sheen
12th Our Lady of Guadalupe
13th St. Lucy
16th St. Adelaide
21st St. Peter Canisius
22nd St. Frances Xavier Cabrini
23rd St. John Cantius
24th Christmas Eve and Adam & Eve
25th Christmas
26th St. Stephen
27th St. John the Apostle
28th Holy Innocents
29th St. Thomas a Becket

December is dedicated to the Immaculate Conception of our Blessed Lady.

Our Holy Father Pope Benedict XVI's prayer intentions for December, 2005 are:
For all men and women: may they come to an ever deeper understanding of their dignity, granted them by the Creator in His plan.

For people all over the world searching for God and truth: may they encounter the Lord Jesus.

The First Friday of the month is December 2nd.
The First Saturday of the month is December 3rd.

Important novenas commonly said during the month include the Advent Novena I (Nov. 30th-Dec. 24th), Advent Novena II (Dec. 16th-Dec. 24th), and the Epiphany Novena (Dec 29-January 6th).

The O Antiphons of Advent are integrated into evening prayer beginning December 16th.

The Season of Advent continues until the 24th, when it is succeeded by the Season of Christmas.

The Advent Embertide is the week of Gaudete Sunday. Ember Wednesday is December 14th, Ember Friday is December 16th, and Ember Saturday is December 18th.

December 31st is New Year's Eve in the secular calendar.

Wednesday, November 30, 2005

Daily Advent Meditation

From The Word Among Us.

Saint Andrew's Night

The feast of Saint Andrew is one of the four saints' days commemorated in the messes of the British Army. Andrew is the patron of Scotland. Saint George (April 23rd) is the patron of England. Saint David (March 1st) is the patron of Wales. Saint Patrick, of course, is the patron of Ireland. Saint Andrew's Day is the only one of the four not in late-winter/early-spring.

Because of my re-enacting experience, I am either a member of, or have been a guest of, the messes of regiments of all four major ethnic groups. I have dined with the Royal Welch Fusileers (23rd Regiment of Foot) officers' mess on March 1st, with the Friendly Brothers of Saint Patrick on March 17th, with the officers' mess of the Black Watch (Royal Highland Regiment, or 42nd Regiment of Foot) on November 30th, and with the Loyal and Friendly Society of the Blue and Orange on April 23rd.

These evenings are convivial occasions, with a formal dinner, many, many toasts, and seemingly eccentric regimental customs. You would not want to drive yourself home after one of these dinners. Re-enactor officers are just being true to the characters they portray in these celebrations. But 18th century officers could not be pulled over for DUI.

John Peebles, an officer of the grenadier company of the 42nd Regiment celebrated St. Andrew's Night thus in his New York-area garrison in 1779:

Went to town to celebrate the day with his Ex (he mounted a round blue device with a white Saint Andrew's cross in his regulation highland bonnet-GTF): where the field offs. & Capts. of the 42nd. were invited , the Adml. there the offrs. of the Royal Highland emigrants & some others, about 24 in all. Major Small personated the Saint who gave very good toasts & apropos for the occasion. The Adml. very chatty & entertaining. Major Hay sang some good songs & spouted a prologue very well. A good dinner & drink till 10 o'clock. A numerous party of the Sons of St. Andw. din'd at Hick's above 60, among whom were the subs. (subalterns: lieutenants and ensigns- GTF) of the 42d. Exchanged a complit. & some of our Compy. join'd them after we broke up, & made a night of it.

John Peebles' American War 1776-1782, edited by Ira Gruber, 1997.

I wish my Scottish friends a happy Saint Andrew's Day, with much enjoyment of haggis and that amber-coloured beverage distilled in the Highlands.

Saint Andrew

Today, the Church celebrates Saint Andrew, brother of Simon Peter, disciple of John the Baptist, and Apostle of the Lord.

Andrew was a fisherman from Capharnaum. He was with John the Baptist at the time of the baptism of the Lord, and followed Him from that time, later bringing Peter into the fold of the apostolic college. It was Andrew who reported the state of the food supply to the Lord before the feeding of the five thousand. But ortherwise, he appears to have faded into the apostolic group.

Andrew exercised his ministry in the region of the Black Sea, and was crucified on an "X" form crucifix at Patras in Achaia. He is the patron of fishermen and fishmongers, as well as patron of Scotland.

Tuesday, November 29, 2005

Don't Forget

The short, 15 times per day Advent Novena begins tomorrow, if you choose to pray it.

Lots of Good Photos of the Holy Father

From L'Osservatore Romano

The Gloss From L'Osservatore Romano Is Tougher

The accompanying article in the Vatican's official newspaper is even tougher than The Document itself.

"Homosexuality could not be considered an acceptable moral alternative to heterosexuality."

'It (homosexuality) does not represent a social value and even less so a moral virtue that could add to the civilization of sexuality," Anatrella said. "It could even be seen as a destabilizing reality for people and for society."'

"Homosexuality is 'against conjugal life, the life of the family, and priestly life.'"

"In no case is this form of sexuality a sexual alternative, or even less, a reality that is equivalent to that which is shared by a man and a woman engaged in matrimonial life."

Homosexuality is "an incomplete and immature part of human sexuality."

In other words, it is a DISORDER, and giving it equal treatment with normal sexuality is morally wrong and socially unacceptable.

All very good and very true. The paper is cleared by the Vatican's Secretariat of State, and represents the official position of the Church.

At Least the Man Had the Fortitude To Step Aside

Gay priest resigns in Arizona, ostensibly over The Document.

How many others, with an eye towards their pensions, health insurance, and the fact that the job involves no heavy lifting, will continue under the radar screen.

In my view, even if a third of all existing priests are so outraged ("Stop it, or I'll stratch your eyes out!") by The Document that they resign now, I would not be troubled. Were they really preaching Christ and Him Crucified, or just some "I'm OK, you're OK" pap acceptable to a decadant modern society? I doubt very much that they were preaching authentic Catholic teachings on marriage and sexuality, or the Church's hard messages about the Passion, the Sacrifice, the Four Last Things, or promoting good liturgy.

Of course, there would be a short-term personnel problem. But a more faithful Church would produce more solid vocations within ten years to replace them, and I would regret their loss as little as the air traffic controllers under Reagan. All those men deterred from priestly vocations by the homosexualization of the priesthood would more than make up for the loss of these weakest links. Sure there would be a little chaos, but we'd get over it. They wouldn't.

But I don't think we will be seeing any mass exodus. When Bishop McCormack in New Hampshire steps down, then we will know that The Document is having good effect. But I think he will cling to power as long as he can.

La Salette Shrine, Attleboro, MA

An annual visit to the Christmas light display at La Salette Shrine in Attleboro is a hearty December tradition in Massachusetts. Work begins there every year around Labor Day to assemble the many displays. The ten-acre site features some quarter of a million lights. Lots to put one in the seasonal mood on display there!

Plenary Indulgence For the Immaculate Conception

Annunciations has the details.

Birth Of An Evil Traditionalist

The blessed event in the Skojec family has taken place, and the world is one evil traditionalist richer. Sophia Marie Skojec is a lovely little lady.

God bless them, every one!

Forty Years And Counting

Charles M. Schulz' A Charlie Brown Christmas remains the top-rated Christmas special forty years after it first aired. And it is one of my favorites as well.

I think it is an interesting thing that annuals like Charlie Brown, Garfield, Santa Claus Is Coming To Town, Frosty, Year Without A Santa Claus, The Little Drummer Boy, Rudolph, The Grinch, the various versions of A Christmas Carol, remain must sees not so much for children as for baby-boomers like me, for whom annual viewing is a nostalgia-laden ritual. But then, we were the generation Warner Brothers was aiming at when it brought back the cartoon in Pinky and the Brain and the Anamaniacs. Maybe we have just never really grown up.

Ultra Liberal Canadian PM Ousted On "No Confidence" Vote

It is not every day that a parliamentary party loses a confidence vote. The minority government went out of its way to be unpopular, by undermining marriage, supporting euthanasia, and antagonizing Washington.

The sooner we see the back of PM Martin, the better. Elections may be January 23rd.

Today's Advent Meditation

From The Word Among Us.

Well It Is Out

And last week's leaked text appears to have been genuine regarding the content.

This is a step in the right direction, and may be seen by right-thinking bishops as authorization to reverse the feminization and gayification of the Church.

May it do some good in helping to re-establish the Catholic priest as role model for Catholic children, and reliable, trustworthy substitute caretaker of same, as needed.

Monday, November 28, 2005

Daily Advent Meditation

From The Word Among Us.

Coming Down With Something

Never a good sign when you wake up in the middle of a mild night, with a blanket already over you, and are shivering and your teeth are chattering. And there is that feeling in the back of my throat, the infallible omen that some sort of cold is taking root.

Can't be the flu, as I had my flu shot a month ago.

Rise In Italian Women Feeling Called To Live the Cloistered Life

Good, of course, though it is taking prime breeding stock out of an Italian society that needs to get its native Italian and Catholic birthrate up dramatically. You can argue that women who are thus deeply Catholic, in this demographic emergency, ought to be finding good Catholic Italian men, and devoting their efforts to bearing and raising 6-10 children each, as good Catholic laywomen ought.

One wonders if God is genuinely calling them to the cloister, or are they taking to the cloistered life as a perceived better life than careers and family, or just family. In other words, are they making it a career choice, or are they responding to a divine call.

Via In Illo Tempore.

Sunday, November 27, 2005

Observing Advent

Sacramentum Vitae has a very good rant on the topic of taking this time to prepare for Christmas, not celebrate it.

Damage Control

Letting liberal Democrats behind the scenes express their PC sentiments in official publications gets politicians in trouble.

Here in Boston, it has been noted (rightly) by Jerry Falwell and others that the official website of the City of Boston, was calling the 48-foot spruce erected on Boston Common a "holiday tree." Mayor Mumbles Menino, Boston's living testimony that the semi-literate can thrive in modern America, took the heat.

"mhzifhehfuen fpuypwehwenpe 9dsef98c nwe8fyoc'eukjc; auyasnadyp
dhafdypquhde qugfp8qd hqhdqpi uqpiwu;ak sugfpwe8 fuy[e hfe."

And his aide quickly translated his mumbled gibberish:

"Him say, he calls it a Christmas tree and always has."

Now the website is calling it a Christmas tree, not once, but twice (click on the Full Description option).

Make 'em feel the heat, and they back down. Fail to call them to account, and we'll be calling Christmas the "winter holiday" before you know it, just as "B.C.E." and "C.E." are creeping into daily usage instead of "B.C." and "A.D."

Here is a good chance to cause some more trouble. I saw the tree the other day, and I'll tell you, it sure doesn't look like it is 48 feet tall. It looks more like about 30, at most. In fact, I recall that other places get 70+ foot trees. So why is Boston stuck with this sapling that looks no bigger than Danvers' or Peabody's official Christmas trees? It is nothing like the tall, majestic city Christmas trees I remember from my youth.

And last year, it was so sparsely lighted as to be a disgrace to the reputation of the city. The Downtown Crossing tree, in contrast, is profusely lit, with thousands of tiny multi-colored lights. I've been known to put around 3,000 lights on a 7 foot tree, so I found Boston's idea of a lighted tree laughable last year. I hope they do better this year.

Advent Cope

The Holy Father was sporting a very nice purple cope for today's First Vespers for the First Sunday of Advent.

Advent Prayers

From the Files section of Recta Ratio: The Yahoo Group

Advent Wreath blessing in the home and prayer for the First Sunday

Prayer for the Second Sunday

The Third Sunday

The Fourth Sunday

Plus I have a guide for using the O Antiphons, blessings for the Christmas tree and the Christmas creche, and 2 novenas for Advent, as well as the text of the O Antiphons themselves.

And in case you are nervous about joining a Yahoo Group, don't be. I keep very tight control over Recta Ratio, and screen potential members very carefully to keep spammers out. Just yesterday, I denied membership to someone who had SPAMMER written all over her.

For the Fontanini Fanatics

I meant to mention this the other day, but I discovered that Fontanini has, for an anniversary this year, re-scultped some of its most important 5-inch creche figures, including the entire Holy Family.
The old Holy Family looked like this:

The new one lookes like this:

I think I like the older version better. But I suppose introducing a new look to a collectible line is to be expected, as it will increase the value of the existing examples of the older pattern.

Meditation For the First Sunday of Advent

From The Word Among Us

First Sunday of Advent

It is the time of the year to dust off the cyber Advent Wreath, and the real one. Today's Gospel in the normative rite is a stark warning to be on guard. In fact, it echoes Gospel messages we have been hearing for the better part of the last month of the old liturgical year.

Coming after the parables of the wise and foolish virgins and the talents, this Gospel provides continuity from one liturgical year to the other. It reminds us that, at Christmas, we are not just waiting to celebrate the birth of our Lord in a stable, at midnight, in Bethlehem, in the piercing cold, but also on watch for His coming at the end of time, which no one knows the hour or moment of.

That is why this season of Advent, which most of us spend shopping, baking, decorating, wrapping, writing cards, partying, and entertaining, is intended as a period of prayerful preparation, reconciliation, and penance. Yes, dear reader, Advent is a penitential season. That is why its liturgical colors are the same as those of Lent. Admittedly, it is a more joyous and hopeful penitential season. There is no Good Friday in Advent, only the joy of Christmas at its end. But in times past, the fasting and abstinence of Advent was as severe as that of Lent.

Advent is an opportunity to patch up that quarrel, to bind up that old wound, to forgive, and to be forgiven. It is a marvelous opportunity to say to a family member or friend you are estranged from, "I'm sorry I hurt you. Please forgive me. I love you. You know, you hurt me, too. But I love you enough to forgive you, and do. And if we need counselling help working through all the implications of reconciliation, let's get it." Christ would want us to behave that way towards all, especially our kith and kin, who often are at loggerheads with us during the tense periods around holidays.

If you can be reconciled to just one person this Advent, try for it. It will make your preparation for His coming worthwhile.

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