Friday, January 20, 2006

Some Newly Noticed Blogs

The blog roll has had some good additions in the last few weeks that I wanted to make note of beyond just adding them.

True Restoration

Hard Sayings

Vive Christus Rex



The Lion and the Cardinal

Fish Eaters' Forum

Corpus Meum

Irish and Dangerous

Society of Saint Barbara
Welcome, all!!!

Saint Sebastian

Saint Sebastian, by Raphael
Saint Sebastian is a great martyr of the Church who has, in modern times gotten a bad rap because of the manner in which he is always depicted: young, in good shape, stripped, and pierced by arrows.

For centuries, this depiction when along without the slightest problem. Then the gay culture made Saint Sebastian an icon, because they apparently found the way he was depicted erotic. So the gay priests' website that was broken up a few years ago (due to the hard work of Roman Catholic Faithful) was called Saint Sebastian's Angels.

The Golden Legend has this to say about him.

Here is a short modern biography.

Father McCloskey On the State Of the Catholic Church In the US

Father McCloskey is one of the most solid priests around (right up there with Father Rutler, Father Fessio, and Father Wilson). He is affiliated with Opus Dei, and is responsible for the conversions of Judge Robert Bork and columnist Robert Novak.

If the new nuncio is making up lists of American priests who would make great bishops, all four of those priests deserve to on that list.

Found via The Inspired Traditionalist

More Mitres

Father Tucker at Dappled Things has collected yet more photos of impressive mitres.

He's Baaacccckkk!!!

Theo Epstein has returned to the Boston Red Sox, though his job has yet to be announced. Hopefully, this is the end of the seriously ridiculous experiment with co-GMs that has been going on most of the winter.

Thursday, January 19, 2006

Great Baroque/Classical Music Opportunity

You may have noted the absence of references to iPods and MP3s here. Simply put, I haven't come to grips with this technology yet. I buy a CD, and keep it foreover in its jewel case to be listened to a few times a year.

But I found this treasure trove at the Boston Public Library's website. They have aquired the entire Naxos catalogue for digital download. I am very familiar with the Naxos label, as they have many good editions of Vivaldi (at one point they were trying to publish every concerto Vivaldi had written, some 500). They also have a couple of good Gregorian Chant discs out, including the Requiem Mass and Good Friday Veneration of the Cross.

Now Naxos recordings are not your top baroque artists: no Academy of Ancient Music or Academy of Saint Martin-In-the-Fields. But the recordings are competently performed by less well-known ensembles. Seems like a good free way to fill up those 15,000 tracks on your iPod.

Wednesday, January 18, 2006

Feast of Saint Peter's Chair

The Chair of Peter is dear to Catholic hearts. When speaking from this chair on matters of Faith or morals, the Holy Father enjoys the grace of infallibility. It represents Christ's special mission for Peter and his successors as bishops of Rome, their special teaching authority, their primacy over all Christian doctrine and practice. More than the Ring of the Fisherman, any tiara, the sedan chairs of yore, the red shoes, the Chair of Peter is the symbol of the One Holy Roman Catholic Apostolic Church.

The Quartet Meme

I've been generally tagged by The Inspired Traditionalist, so here goes.

Quartet Meme

Four Jobs I've had in my life

1. Associate attorney in a small law firm
2. Senior loan processor at a mortgage company
3. Free lance writer
4. Historic tour guide

Four Movies I could watch over and over

1. A Bridge Too Far
2. The Patriot
3. The Passion of the Christ
4. Saving Private Ryan

Four Places I have lived

1. Born in Malden, MA
2. West Peabody, MA for 30 years
3. Salem, MA
4. Boston, MA

Four T.V. Shows I love to watch
I have not watched a TV series for going on 9 years now. I just sort of gave up on TV after watching way too much of it in my first 33 years on earth. Besides, there is the values thing. Not watching TV has given me time for much more important things. But my life is not entirely without passive visual stimulation, as I like to occasionally watch DVDs of old series, mostly British.

1. Warner Brothers' cartoons
2. Blackadder
3. Brideshead Revisited
4. Sherlock Holmes Mysteries

Four Places I have been on vacation

1. Quebec City
2. Kennebunkport, ME
3. Bermuda
4. UK

Four Websites I visit daily

1. Drudge Report
2. The Inspired Traditionalist
3. The League of Evil Traditionalists' Webring
4. A Penitent Blogger

Four Favorite Foods

1. Pizzeria Uno's Four Cheese (Pesto) Pizza with pepperoni, hold the tomato slices
2. Rare sirloin tips, with a steakhouse marinade
3. Christmas (fruit) Cake
4. Lasagna and meatballs

Four Places I would rather be right now

1. Colonial Williamsburg
2. In Florida, waiting for Red Sox Spring Training to open
3. County Clare, Ireland
4. In a rabbit warren of a large used bookstore with baroque music playing, comfortable chairs, and no problems with me lighting up my pipe

Four People whom I tag:

Consider yourself "Tagged" if you read this and have not already done this one.

Tuesday, January 17, 2006

Interesting Side-By-Side Comparison

Of the rubrics (and we may be using that term loosely) for the traditional Latin Mass and the Novus Ordo Mass.

Via Catholic Caveman's Lair

While you are over visiting my friend the Caveman, check out his post on those who have left the Church, and those who have joined her.

Why are so many of my favorite blogs named things like Catholic Caveman's Lair, The Curmudgeon's Cave, Dyspeptic Mutterings, or The Troglodyte? Is God trying to tell me something?

225th Anniversary of the Battle of the Cowpens

On January 17, 1781, a small American army led by General Daniel Morgan defeated a small British army under the command of Lt. Col. Banastre Tarleton.

The appointment of Nathaniel Greene to command the Southern Department of the Continental Army after Horatio Gates disastrous defeat at Camden at the hands of Lord Cornwallis, the British commander in the South, changed the face of American strategy. Cornwallis after Camden had been on the offensive, rapidly gaining tenuous control over South Carolina.

Instead of directly confronting Cornwallis as Gates had done, Greene decided to play Fabius to Cornwallis' Hannibal. He would play cat and mouse with Cornwallis and avoid major battles. Guerilla fighters like Francis Marion, Thomas Sumter, and General Pickens would harass and wear down Cornwallis by attacking his line of supply and communications and his isolated garrisons, while terrorizing loyalists into inaction. In January, he took the unusual step of dividing his force in the face of a superior enemy, and gave Daniel Morgan about nine hundred militia, continentals, and cavalry. Cornwallis divided his force too, and sent the impetuous and fairly ruthless cavalry officer Lieutenant Colonel Banastre Tarleton with some of the best light troops in his army, a total of about a thousand including two light six-pounder cannon, after Morgan.

Morgan fled before Tarleton, but at Hannah's Cowpens, with his back to a river, he stopped and waited for Tarleton. Morgan had a plan. He would arrange his force in two lines. The militia would hold a first line, with instructions to fire two rounds at the advancing British, and withdraw in good order. The continentals would hold a firm line to the rear, behind the crest of a hill. Morgan had his cavalry on both flanks in reserve.

Tarleton came up to Morgan's position after a forced night march. His force consisted of the light companies of three British regiments, his own loyalist force called the British Legion (a mixed force of light cavalry and infantry), a badly under-strength battalion of Fraser's Highlanders (71st Regiment of Foot), and the single battalion of the 7th (or Royal Fusileers) Regiment of Foot, which consisted of new recruits on their first service. Had any of the units under Tarleton been at authorized strength, he would have had more than 3,000 men. But so many British units had been detached to hold lines of communications, and recruits and replacements so few and far between, that he could muster less than a third of the forces he might have. The two gun crews completed Tarleton's force.

Despite the state of his men, tired after a night's forced march, Tarleton did not give them a rest. He did not use his artillery to bombard (and demoralize) the militia. He had his force deploy into line directly from the route march column, and sent them headlong at the American line.

Morgan's militia did what was asked of them. They took a serious toll of Tarleton's force (many were backwoodsmen and veterans of the fight at King's Mountain the previous autumn, and were, unlike New England militia, were armed with accurate, if slow-loading, rifles). Then they withdrew in decent order. Seeing them withdraw, Tarleton sent his reserves in.

The continentals held firm. The militia rallied and put presure on Tarleton's flank. Then Morgan's cavalry struck the flanks of Tarleton's force. Tarleton allowed himself to be Cannaed. The half-trained 7th gave up. The Legion's infantry fled. Fraser's Highlanders, abandoned by their comrades, were cut down where they stood. Tarleton and some of his cavalry tried a counter charge to allow the rest of the detachment to rally, but were turned back by Morgan's cavalry under William Washington (a cousin of George Washington). The guns were abandoned. Tarleton eventually made it back to Cornwallis' army with a band of not more than 300 fugitives. American casualties had been less than 200.

Artist Don Troiani's modern depiction of the 7th Foot losing its colours.

Troiani's other Cowpens painting, showing the cavalry melee, the British cavalry are the 17th Light Dragoons, who were attached to the British Legion but declined to wear the Legion's green jackets, but stuck with their red regimentals and distinctive helmets.
Recreated 17th Light Dragoon. Note the skull and crossed bones on the frontpiece of the helmet. I played with them one weekend, a decade ago. Let me tell you, taking care of a horse is a lot more work than my normal re-enacting job, just being an infantry officer.

The American victory was quite a jolt to Cornwallis, and a boost to American public opinion. The years 1779 and 1780 had not been good ones for the American cause. The loss at Camden was joined by mutinies in the Pennsylvania and New Jersey regiments of the Continental Army, and the treachery of Benedict Arnold. The new American states were near financial collapse. The French alliance had not yet born fruit, as the joint American-French attack on the British garrison at Savannah had been a disaster. Another joint operation aimed at Newport, Rhode Island had similarly failed in late 1778.

By his impetuousity Tarleton not only crippled Cornwallis' ability to know what Greene was up to, but encouraged Greene to greater boldness by materially altering the balance of forces in the south. With a slight numerical superiority, a 100% superiority in artillery, and a leavening of good experienced troops, a set-piece engagement on open terrain should have resulted in at least a tactical victory for "Butcher" Tarleton. Properly handled, his troops should have won. But the cavalryman was too impetuous to wait and prepare a victory. Because of the forces Tarleton lost at Cowpens, Cornwallis had to fight at Guilford Courthouse two months later at a significant numerical disadvantage, and won only a bloody tactical victory.

Cowpens, such a little-known battle, has had an interesting film career. In the Alan Alda comedy (I know, but guys I know from re-enacting were extras) Sweet Liberty, it is the battle the Alda character wrote about. In The Patriot, it is the climactic battle, though Cornwallis and Nathaniel Greene were not present in real life, and the Tarleton (renamed Tavington, and played very well by Jason Issacs who plays Draco Malfoy's Death Eater father Lucius in Harry Potter) character is killed in the movie.

In real life, Tarleton was a man with a reputation. His father was a wealthy merchant, and intended his son for the law. But the American War broke out, and young Tarleton wanted a military career, not a legal one (like Patrick Ferguson, and John Simcoe (and, later as a re-enactor, G. Thomas Fitzpatrick). Jason Issacs also was trained as a lawyer, but opted for an acting career.

Tarleton boasted that he had killed more men, and lain with more women than any other officer of the British Army. London wits said the word "raped" ought to be substituted for "lain." Banastre Tarleton lived on, became a general and a member of Parliament, took up with the discarded mistress of the Prince Regent, Perdita Robinson, had to flee to France for a time to escape his creditors, and back in England in 1808-1814, conspired to take over the command of the army in the Iberian Peninsula from Wellington. What a disaster that would have been!

Tarleton by Sir Joshua Reynolds

Nice Piece On Monstrances

Over at In Veritate Ambulare.

Recta Ratio: The Yahoo Group has a collection of some 60 monstrances for viewing in the Monstrances Photo Album.

300th Birthday Of Benjamin Franklin

On this date 300 years ago, Benjamin Franklin was born here in Boston, in a little house (no longer standing) a few blocks from where I am now. Franklin made his career in Philadelphia. But the tomb of his family is in the Old Granary Burial Ground.

Franklin was a printer, a publisher of almanacs, a political figure, an inventor, and a diplomat. But his most significant contribution may be his wit, a wit fueled by a worldview that shaped what it is to be an American.

"A little neglect may breed mischief: for want of a nail the shoe was lost; for want of a shoe the horse was lost; and for want of a horse the rider was lost."

"Idleness and pride tax with a heavier hand than kings and parliaments. If we can get rid of the former, we may easily bear the latter."

"Dost thou love life? Then do not squander time, for that is the stuff life is made of."

"Our Constitution is in actual operation; everything appears to promise that it will last; but in this world nothing is certain but death and taxes."

"A man may, if he knows not how to save as he gets, keep his nose to the grindstone."

"Early to bed and early to rise, Makes a man healthy, wealthy, and wise."

"Vessels large may venture more, But little boats should keep near shore."

"Never leave that till to-morrow which you can do to-day."

"We must all hang together, or assuredly we shall all hang separately."

"He that goes a borrowing goes a sorrowing."

"Plough deep while sluggards sleep."

"It is hard for an empty bag to stand upright."

"Remember that time is money."

“A good example is the best sermon”

“What is serving God? Tis doing Good to Man.”

"God helps them that help themselves."

"The things which hurt, instruct."

"No gain without pain."

"Lend money to an enemy, and thou'll gain him; to a friend, and thou'lt lose him."

"It is easier to suppress the first desire than to satisfy all that follow it."

"Drive thy business, or it will drive thee."

I have not failed; I have found 10,000 ways that don't work."

"Three may keep a secret, if two of them are dead."

"A country man between lawyers is like a fish between two cats."

"Any fool can criticize, condemn and complain, and most fools do."

"Beer is proof that God loves us and wants us to prosper."

"A word to the wise is enough."

"There will be sleeping enough in the grave."

“A penny saved is a penny earned”

“If you would not be forgotten, as soon as you are dead and rotten, either write things worth reading, or do things worth the writing.”

"Think of these things, whence you came, where you are going, and to whom you must account."

"Be studious in your profession, and you will be learned. Be industrious and frugal, and you will be rich."

"Fish and visitors smell after three days."

"Beware of the young Doctor & the old Barber."

"God works wonders now & then; Behold! a Lawyer, an honest Man!"

"A learned blockhead is a greater blockhead than an ignorant one."

I have particular reason to be thankful to Franklin, as I have worn one of his inventions every day for about 30 years now: bifocals.

Saint Anthony the Abbot

The Temptation Of Saint Anthony the Abbot, by Bl. Fra Angelico

The Golden Legend has this to say about the Father Of All Monks.

And check this modern biography of St. Anthony.

Monday, January 16, 2006

Today's Catholic Cultural Heritage Images

Today, we are keeping it close to home, and feature the Basilica of Our Lady of Perpetual Help, more popularly known as the Mission Church, in Boston's Roxbury neighborhood. It is run by the Redemptorists (in fact, it appears to be Redemptoist Headquarters in Boston). Many parish missions over the years were carried out by Redemptorist priests assigned to the Mission Church. The current structure dates to 1878.

One of the two spires is 2 feet higher than the other, due to settling.

Rear view, showing the dome to advantage

West front. Adoration was apparently in progress, based on the sign board

Looking up from the west portal. Our Lady of Perpetual help is carved above the portal.

The Shrine of Our Lady of Perpetual Help, the most famous shrine to OLPH in the US.

Close-up of this copy of the icon.

The Sanctuary viewed from the nave.

Closer view of the high altar

The Purgation Altar

The Saint Joseph Altar

The Sacred Heart Altar

The ceiling of the dome.

A recent view of the ceiling of the dome

The Great Organ, built in 1897. The organ has 3 manuals and pedals, 5 divisions, 62 stops, 75 ranks and close to 3,200 pipes.

The Umbrellina which symbolizes the Mission Church's status as a basilica or Papal Church.

Church Statistics


Bad news all around. The worst being the numbers of religious sisters.

When do we just recognize that the reforms instituted after Vatican II have been an unmitigated disasterous failure? That isn't the same as saying that Vatican II is a complete failure, you will note. We can allow the Vatican II people to save face, by just saying it hasn't been implemented properly, and has been seriously misinterpreted, and taken out of the context of the rest of Church history. But these numbers make it clear that the post-Vatican II reforms have been about as successful as that other 1960s initiative, the War on Poverty.

Buffalo Traditionalists Ask For Parish Devoted To the Latin Mass

There are not many of those in the US, though 194 indult parishes exist.

Maybe that is something Holy Trinity ought to try. Why don't we just ask the Archbishop to suppress the German parish at Holy Trinity, and make Holy Trinity an oratory devoted to the Latin Mass (though we would invite the German people to have one German/English Novus Ordo Mass per week, plus whatever marriages or funerals they want).

Given the numbers alone, as German parish, honestly, Holy Trinity deserves to be suppressed. There are usually less than 50 people at the German Mass. It is the Latin Mass that keeps Holy Trinity going. So why not just recognize reality and try to engineer the conversion of Holy Trinity into an oratory?

Precedent? Yes. The Archdiocese's Eucharistic Shrine, Saint Clement's on Boylston Street, is run by the Oblates of the Virgin Mary. It is the oratory for their seminary, while they also staff St. Francis Chapel at the Prudential Center Mall. And, every once in a while, they have a Novus Ordo Mass in Latin there.

Admittedly, given that it is the ethnic parishes whose appeals have not been decided by the Vatican yet, there might be merit tactically in keeping the facade of Holy Trinity as a German parish.

At the same time, feelers ought to go out to the FSSP, Canons Regular of the New Jerusalem, Institute of Christ the King Sovereign Priest, and the Oratorians, to see if they would be willing to take over administration of Holy Trinity as a Latin Mass parish.

Sins Against Marriage

When separation is a mortal sin. As is birth control, sterilization..

From Our Lady of the Rosary.

The Joys Of Winter In Boston

Thirty six hours ago, I could walk about the city in just a sweater (and I did: well, with shoes, shirt, and pants, too :) ). Now this morning, it is 11 degrees, with a wind chill below zero. But milder weather (though not as mild as last week's) begins tomorrow.

Sunday, January 15, 2006

Alito Filibuster Unlikely

DiFi thinks it would backfire on the Dems.

SSPX Is Being Standoffish

Reports are that the SSPX sees a slow effort at regularization.

That is bad news because a more generous grant of the Latin Mass seems to be tied up with reconciliation with these (well, the Yiddish word "Goniffs" comes to mind). It should not be. More generous granting of the Latin Mass ought to be in place regardless of the status of the SSPX, just through the offices of the FSSP, Canons Regular, and diocesan priests who say the Indult Masses.

Reality check time, guys. You are the ones excommunicated. Pope Benedict is a 78 year-old man. Though I hope he reigns as Pope for 30 years, the reality is that we only have a brief window of this pontificate. Then, who knows what will follow? It might be a liberal with absolutely no interest in the Latin Mass or in reconciling the SSPX.

Seize the moment guys. Get it done now. Close the deal. Don't hold out for more than the excommuncations and the Latin Mass. Let Rome worry about the ecumenism issue. It is above your paygrade anyway. The important thing is getting the excommunications formally lifted, and the Latin Mass more widely available.

Since the Vatican wants to move this at a faster pace, the SSPX would do well to accomodate themselves to Pope Benedict's timetable.

Well, Yes, the Patriots Lost

Sad. With the dog-ass Bruins and Celtics the only games in town now, Boston sports fans can only pine for the opening of Spring Training for the Red Sox in a month.

But witht he number of players who have left or want to leave, and the very little value the team has received in replacements, it is likely to be a long boring summer for the Olde Towne Team, too.

OK Maybe I Do Get It

Regarding the Holy Father and the cat situation. I remember reading some months ago a statement from the Vatican to the effect that the Holy Father did not own a cat. That was probably a true statement, but it was not complete. From something else I read, it appeared that then-Cardinal Ratzinger had, like me, for years been feeding a group of stray cats.

Now it makes sense.

The Holy Father does not own any cats, in the sense that he has one or two who live with him. But at a certain time each night, maybe a dozen or more strays have become accustomed to gathering at his old residence for chow time, with their head waiter being none other than the former Cardinal Ratzinger.

Why not bring them to the Vatican? They are semi-feral. They would trash the place and would not want to be locked inside. In my own case, one cat of the family of strays I was feeding was bright enough to figure out that the food came from inside the house, and that there was more of it in there, and that if he went in, he would probably eat better than his brothers and sisters, aunts, and mother. He became my housecat. I tried several times to accustom one or more of the family to come inside with him, but they were too nervous of being locked in.

That is why the Holy Father is returning incognito to his old apartment. The cats have to eat, and they are used to being fed by him.

And the Vatican isn't elaborating because they don't want the Holy Father to come off as a dotty old bachelor who feeds stray cats. But I think it is rather charming. Another reason to like Pope Benedict.

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