Friday, January 27, 2006

This Just In

Francisco Franco is still dead.

My reading of Warren Carroll's The Last Crusade: Spain, 1936 has convinced me further that the right side won the Spanish Civil War. I first came to that conclusion twenty years ago after reading Paul Johnson's Modern Times: The World From the Twenties To the Eighties (later updated for the '90s). And the fact that Irish ancestors of mine volunteered to fight in Spain on the Nationalist side cements that conclusion.

While I would not want to have been on the receiving end of Franco's sometimes harsh measures, the Communists were much worse. And Franco's rule was by all accounts authoritarian, not totalitarian. As long as you weren't a leftist bent on overthrowing his regime, you could live very happily in Franco's Spain.

And then there are the thousands of priests the Communists murdered, and their vicious, wholesale attack on the Church. A communist Spain would have been an unwanted and unneeded complication for the West in the Cold War. Franco's Spain was a defacto ally of the West.

Franco groomed Juan Carlos to be king after Franco died. And by all accounts, he did a fair job readying the young prince to become a democratic Catholic monarch. Unlike other right-wing authoritarians, like Chile's Pinochet, Franco knew he had to stay in power until the day he died, just for self-preservation.

The Nationalist Arms

The Spanish Civil War really was the last Crusade

Franco propaganda with declaration of the end of the war. A dashing image, but in person, Franco was a cold, austere functionary. When told that the last last communist resistance had been mopped up, he did not even look up from his desk.

A 1959 visit with Ike

Franco's grandson's First Communion

Franco with King Juan Carlos

Mozart's 250th Birthday

Mozart is one of my favorite composers, though he is just part of a group that includes Vivaldi, Handel, Bach, Scarlatti, Telemann, and Locatelli. I particularly like his chamber music, which is on the cusp between baroque and classical.

His range, versitility, and virtuosity are without compare. It is fair to say that he was one of the first composers to make great use of the piano (which only became popular about the time he was born).

And that is why he does not stand out particularly from the others listed in my own taste. I prefer the sound of the harpsichord to that of the piano. I like the true baroque, and am not much enamoured of the romantic or classical.

You can read much much more about Mozart and his works at The Mozart Project.

One Of My Many "Bag Over My Head" Moments

One of those "Makes me proud to be from Massachusetts moments. NOT!

Massachusetts' own Senator John Forbes Heinz Kerry wants to organize a filibuster of Judge Alito's nomination.

Meanwhile, Senate Majority Leader Frist is pushing for a vote on Tuesday, before the President's State of the Union speech. I doubt that the President will get his nominee confirmed by then, but a day or two later. And that does not trouble me overmuch.

The Swimmer, our Senior Senator, is also on record supporting a filibuster. Anything to keep Banned Parenthood happy. What lengths these two alleged "Catholics" will go to to whore themselves out to NOW!

Massachusetts has, if anything, become even more liberal in the 20 years since I was active in local politics. I don't think there are many of those Ed King conservative Democrats around anymore. They fled to New Hampshire (or points west or south) and became Republicans.

The Bay State was known for years as the Pay State because of our high tax burden. Proposition 21/2 and 16 years of Republican governors have narrowed that problem. But now we are justly called the Gay State, since we are the only state with gay "marriage" and social liberalism is rampant here.

So though this is still the best place in the country to live (except between January and mid-March) we really could use a complete transfusion of different voters. But if I were into social engineering (like the Libertarian Party scheme of having lots of Libertarians move to Vermont, so that the Libertines can control one state), I'd just give up on Massachusetts as a lost cause, and urge conservatives to move to New Hampshire and shore up New England's only conservative bastion, as it has shown alarming tendencies to jump ship in national elections in the last 15 years.

I Read Deus Caritas Est Yesterday

And found it a wonderful teaching document on love, on charity, and on social work. It says that proselytism does not belong in social work (tell that to evangelicals, please!). It does say that the Catholic context for social service providers ought not to be forgotten (which I take to mean "Catholic" Charities had better straighten out its act). There was a huge smackdown of liberation theology. And parts of it can be read as a good justification for capitalism. I am sure Michael Novak will be busy on that aspect. There were many things in it on love and the need for forgiveness that I and many others can apply in their personal lives.

But the subject matter did not lend itself to what many in the circles I travel in wanted to see in the Holy Father's first encyclical, lightning bolts on bad liturgy, on dissenting theologians, on the woeful state of Catholic education, on the need for the Latin Mass. All in good time, I hope.

Thursday, January 26, 2006

If You Just Sit Still, Listen, Take Good Notes, Understand, And Repeat It All Back On the Tests, You'll Do Just Fine

There may be some discrimination regarding how girls are treated at Milton High compared to boys.

But I have no sympathy for guys who complain about being made to sit still, and learn. You need to be silent, still, attentive, and responsive. Rebellion has no place in a classroom. You are there to learn. Hardly any young skulls full of mush have anything worthwhile to contribute. Education is at its best when information is poured forth and absorbed.

Girls face fewer restrictions from teachers, like being able to wander the hallways without passes....Grading on homework, which sometimes includes points for decorating a notebook, also favor girls, according to Anglin's complaint, filed last month with the US Department of Education's Office for Civil Rights.

And again:

As for assignments, she said, one teacher expects students to type up class notes and decorate their notebooks with glitter and feathers.

''You can't expect a boy to buy pink paper and frills to decorate their notebooks," Little said.

Obviously, there is something wrong. Any teacher who expects a boy to do that is off her rocker. Or she is trying to train boys to be effeminate. That can't continue.

But as for the rest, what these underachieving boys need is self-discipline in large doses. I have never seen this problem, because I went to a prep school filled with overachieving boys, where academic brilliance was taken for granted. And I am one of the most self-disciplined students out there. That was how I graduated 9th of 135 in high school (and won the Social Studies Medal), 45th out of 1200 in college (and earned a Phi Beta Kappa key), and 45th out of 175 in law school(and was an editor on a law review). You don't get that being a skirmy worm in class, or endlessly wandering about instead of being in the classroom, doing work.

Keeping All the Fingers and Toes Crossed

So far, Boston has had a mild winter. There has been little snow, and temperatures have been above freezing for the most part. Traditionally, the period January 10th to February 20th is considered the heart of the winter in Boston. It is in those 40 or so days that you can expect the worst arctic cold, and the heaviest snows. We are more than 2 weeks into this period, and things have been OK so far. The forecast indicates temperatures in the 40s and 50s into next week. We could end up with a viciously cold February and March, but we are thankful that things have been so good so far.

Judge Alito Moves Toward Confirmation

And the Wall Street Journal editorial staff is as happy and hopeful as I am.

Catholics ought to reward Republicans, and punish Democrats, at the ballot box this year. After all, the great battle over judicial nominations remains to be fought. It will happen when Justice Stevens either dies or resigns. Conservative control of that seat will doom Roe v. Wade and its progeny. And be sure, there will be a liberal filibuster if President Bush sends up Judge Jones, Professor Glendon, Judge Garza, or another judge likely to swing the Court against Roe. And to overcome that filibuster, we need at least 5 more conservative Republicans in the Senate.

That is a tough order, given that mid-term elections in a President's second term generally are a disaster for the President's party. The last thing we need is victory for the Party of Murdered Babies.

And keep in mind, abortion is not the only reason to support the GOP. President Bush has been solid on embryonic stem cell research, human cloning, euthanasia, and gay "marriage." All of these issues are battles traditional Catholic values must prevail on for the good of society (for civilization's continuance). It looks like the marriage between a reinvigorated orthodox Catholicism and conservative social values (and hence the GOP) is permanent and will last much longer than Roe v. Wade.

Hamas Unseats Fatah In Palestinian Elections

Fatah was bad enough. At least it maintained a facade of having mainstream aspirations for the Palestinian people. Hamas is nothing more or less than a terrorist organization. It is just the same as Hezbollah, Islamic Jihad, or al Qaeda. And the fact that it won about 80 of 132 seats, a clear majority, tells us where the Palestinian people are. Essentially they are still the people Americans saw celebrating on September 11th, 2001.

I, for one, have little respect for Palestinian national aspirations. Hamas is not something any party in the Middle East can deal with. It is something to be effaced from the globe. I'm in favor of Israel just dealing with Hamas unilaterally and without carping from the peanut gallery. We in the US are at war with Moslem terrorism, and a whole government full of Moslem terrorists has just been put in power by the Palestinians. It just shows that Palestinian nationhood is a very bad idea: essentially a guarantee of a new Taliban Afghanistan on the shores of the Med. I am afraid that the Palestinian people will need at least a generation of tutelege in democracy before they are ready for it. By electing Hamas, they just proved that.

Bishops Bruskewitz and Corrada On Vatican II

Their interpretation (which they share with the Holy Father) is the correct one.

Detroit's Leftist Auxiliary Bishop Gumbleton Resigns

First Weakland, now Gumbleton.

Mahony, McCarrick, and McCormack, as well as Terri's Schiavo's alleged episcopal pastor. Let's have a clean sweep of really bad bishops.

Deus Caritas Est

Here, from EWTN, is the full text of the Holy Father's first encyclical.

Wednesday, January 25, 2006

Conversion of Saint Paul

By Michelangelo, and painted between 1542 and 1545. From the Vatican Collection (displayed currently at Cappella Paolina).

The Golden Legend has this to say about Saint Paul's conversion.

Tuesday, January 24, 2006

This Is Inconceivable

Michael Schiavo weds in a Catholic Church. After judically murdering his wife.

Good Discussion On The Prince of This World

From Cardinal Cottier's introduction to Father Amorth's latest book.

"They Have Numbered All Of My Bones"

Sometimes, things just pass by me without being taken due notice of. Here is one of those things. In the Indulgenced Prayer Before a Crucifix, there is at the end a quotation from Psalm 21/22 (which is the clearest foreshadowing of the Passion).

I always understood the first part of the quotation clearly enough ("They have pierced my hands and my feet.") But the second part, I sort of passed over without thinking all these years (well, I only began incorporating this prayer in my daily morning prayer last year). I wasn't really conscious of it before then.

"They have numbered all of my bones." Some translations render it, "They have disjointed all of my bones." Don't laugh, but for the longest time, I took it to mean, if I ever did think of it, that, Our Lord not being a particularly fleshy individual to start with, and having undergone enormous privation in the Passion, he looked so thin on the Cross that you could literally count His bones.

But, eventually, light dawns on even the dullest of us. This quotation (just in case there is anyone who has given this even less thought than I had) refers to the effects of the scourging. The whip literally laid bare His ribs. You could count (or number) His bones because they were exposed! You could count them because you could see them! Also, the scourge hit Him so indiscriminately, as depicted in The Passion of the Christ, over virtually all of the surface of His Body, that it probably scored the flesh above just about every bone.

And the bones of His head that the scourge did not reach were wounded by the Crown of Thorns.

I knew that flogging did that, having read several accounts of floggings from the British Army and Royal Navy of the period 1740-1815. But I never connected that type of flogging with what Our Lord endured.

Any rational high schooler probably made that connection long ago.

Crucifix based on the Shroud of Turin, showing Our Lord's Wounds with particular accuracy.

Statue of Our Lord as The Man of Sorrows, depicting the effects of the scourging, and showing the ribs laid bare.

Front view of the same statue. Just to illustrate my own folly, I even used these images back on the Feast of the Most Precious Blood without making the connection.

The same statue, showing the Wounds caused by the Crown of Thorns.

Eucharistic Miracle of Lanciano, Italy

Carmel over at Winterr's Words turned me on to this one. I have had the Real Presence Association in my links for an age, but never checked out the Eucharistic Miracles section.

The kicker for me is that the blood type matches that found on the Shroud of Turin: AB. And this was from the 900s, before they knew about blood types, and while the Shroud was still in Constantinople.

Saint Francis de Sales

Here is a brief biography of this great saint of the Counter Reformation and Doctor of the Church.

His An Introduction To the Devout Life, which I read for the first time last year, is a Catholic classic. Here it is in e-text.

You don't really need that St. John's Wort.
One of the principle effects of holy abandonment in God is evenness of spirits in the various accidents of this life, which is certainly a point of great perfection, and very pleasing to God. The way to maintain it is in imitation of the pilots, to look continually at the Pole Star, that is, the Divine Will, in order to be constantly in conformity with it. For it is this will which, with infinite wisdom rightly distributes prosperity and adversity, health and sickness, riches and poverty, honor and contempt, knowledge and ignorance, and all that happens in this life. On the other hand, if we regard creatures without this relation to God, we cannot prevent our feelings and disposition from changing, according to the variety of accidents which occur.

Double Dose Of Great Political News

The last year or so, we have had too much of the Second Term Doldrums: high gas prices, indifferent economy, endless carping from some quarters about the War On Moslem Terrorism. But today there is good news.

First, today, the Senate Judiciary Committee will vote to approve the nomination of Judge Samuel Alito to be Associate Justice of the US Supreme Court. The full Senate is expected to take up the nomination by the end of the week, with a vote next week, if the Democrats lack the strength to filibuster.

Second, Canada gave the Progressive Conservatives a narrow win in the parliamentary elections (though not quite a majority). The Liberal Party with abortion on demand, gay "marriage," and reflexive anti-US bias is out of power. Look for better relations with our great neighbor to the north. Congratulations to Hilary, Peter Vere, and our other St. Blog's stalwarts up there for a return to some measure of national sanity.

Monday, January 23, 2006


The form of excommunication, from the Good Old Days.

May he be cursed in all the faculties of his body. May he be cursed inwardly and outwardly. May he be cursed in the hair of his head. May he be cursed in his brains, in his vertex, in his temples, in his forehead, in his ears, in his eyebrows, in his cheeks, in his jaw-bones, in his nostrils, in his foreteeth and grinders, in his lips, in his throat, in his shoulders, in his wrists, in his arms, in his hands, in his fingers, in his mouth, in his breast, in his heart and purtenance, down to the very stomach, in his reins, in his groin, in his thighs, in his genitals, in his hips, in his knees, in his legs, in his feet, and in his toenails.

From The Lion And the Cardinal.

Espousal Of Our Blessed Lady and Saint Joseph

By Giotto, from the murals of the Scrovengi Chapel.

So Much For Our January Thaw

It got colder yesterday, and today, Boston is being treated to plenty of wet falling snow. When I got back from morning prayer this morning, I looked like a rapidly melting snowman.

And on a further winter note, though my flu shot seems to have kept the flu at bay so far, I have a miserable sore throat, made much worse by my sinuses.

Sunday, January 22, 2006

Holy Trinity Update

The latest in the Holy Trinity saga is that the Father Hugh O'Regan, administrator of Holy Trinity (and pastor of St. James, the parish the Archdiocese, at Father's suggestion, apparently) is resigning, effective February 2nd.

Father's resignation letter indicates that he is reaching age 75 and the 40th anniversary of his priesthood.

But this comes a couple of weeks after it was discovered by an Archdiocesan audit that Father O'Regan had seriously understated the financial assets of Holy Trinity parish, by crediting over $175,000 to St. James that Holy Trinity parishioners had contributed. And the financial state of Holy Trinity, its alleged financial weakness, was given as a reason for including Holy Trinity on the list of parishes to be closed, and taking St. James off of the list. Father O'Regan lives at St. James' rectory, and has significant social and business contacts with the Chinatown business community via St. James. And his history with Holy Trinity has been, on the whole, antagonistic.

What will be the impact? Well, it seems to me unlikely that the Archbishop would assign a new administrator to just have him wind down the affairs of the parish. Father O'Regan's departure from the scene ought to be used as an opportunity to raise with the Archdiocese again concrete proposals for turning Holy Trinity over to one of the Latin Mass orders, FSSP, ICKSP, CRNJ, or even the Oratorians (why not make Holy Trinity a Boston Oratory?

The Archbishop has said that he prefers to keep control of the Indult Mass with his own diocesan priests. So how about this? Appoint Father Higgins, who says a wonderful High Mass, Administrator, and allow an FSSP priest (Father Rizzo?) as parochial vicar. The finances would be handled by the FSSP, but the Archdiocese would retain control. And at the same time, Holy Trinity can be upgraded in status, so that it is an oratory of the Archdiocese for the purpose of perpetuating the traditional Latin Mass, with an expanded liturgical schedule, adoration, expanded ctechumenical activities, etc. We have a liturgical shrine run by the Oblates of the Virgin Mary, why not a Latin Mass Center with a large role for the FSSP or another order)?

In any case, I see this resignation as an opportunity that should be exploited to its fullest to keep Holy Trinity open.

Anniversary of Roe v. Wade

Maybe there is finally an end in sight for the murder of millions of babies each year as a federal constitutional right.

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