Saturday, October 07, 2006


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.)

Our Lady of the Rosary

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.

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

Wow!!! I Never Knew

James Wentworth Day, or J. Wentworth Day as I have known him these 30 years that I have been faithfully re-reading his ghost stories every Halloween, was a fellow, his views on race apart, I would have rather enjoyed. I first mentioned Day in my first year of blogging.

How did I make his aquaintance? In 1977, my mother gave me for Halloween a book of ghost stories, titled 50 Great Ghost Stories, edited by John Canning. And about a half dozen of the 50 were written by J. Wentworth Day. And that half dozen includes my all-time favortie, "The Club of Dead Men". And doing a little new research today, I find that a version of that story is available as a podcast. The radio-play makes the narrator a Canadian, and I wonder what other liberties are taken. Someday, I will have to get an iPod so I can listen.

I had tried to google Day before, but came up blank. Now, I find there is a Wikipedia article on the crusty old Tory bastard. While his views on race are highly politically incorrect, and I don't share them, I have never been one to toss the baby out with the bath water.

It turns out that J.Wentworth Day was, even in the 1950s, a famously reactionary British writer, one-time Tory candidate for a seat in the Commons, and spokesman for everything that went against the modernist zeitgeist.

"I confess it. I do not like modern furniture or much of modern architecture, less or none of modern art and little of modern literature. I am, of course, an antediluvian, a reactionary, an out-of-date or, as I prefer it, a rural romanticist."

Sounds like Rod Dreher and the crunchy cons might even have common ground with J. Wentworth.

Gosh, wouldn't it be a wonderful dinner conversation if we could invite old J. Wentworth, Russell Kirk, and Haydn Pearson for an evening? Toss in maybe Flannery O'Connor and Edward Rowe Snow, and there would be some table talk.

For that matter, how about my ultimate dinner conversationalists: Paul Johnson, G.K. Chesterton, Dr. Samuel Johnson, Hilaire Belloc, with Bill Bennett and Rush Limbaugh thrown in to give an American perspective. One thing that occurs to me is that, given the poundage represented there, you might want to reinforce the floor boards in the dining room.

St. Francis of Assisi

Most High, glorious God,
Enlighten the darkness of my heart,
And give me right faith,
Certain hope,
And perfect charity,
Wisdom and understanding,
Lord, that I may carry out
Thy holy and true command.

Today Would Have Been My Father's 86th Birthday

V. Requiem aeternam dona ei, Domine,
R. Et lux perpetua luceat ei.
V. Requiescat in pace.
R. Amen.

“The Old Man”
The tears have all been shed now
We've said our last good-byes
His soul's been blessed and he's laid to rest
And it's now I feel alone.
He was more than just a father
My teacher, my best friend
He can still be heard in the tunes we shared
When I play them on my own.

I never will forget him for he made me what I am
Though he may be gone memory lingers on
And I miss him ... The Old Man.

As a boy he'd take me walkin'
By mountian, field, and stream
And he showed me things not known to kings
Just secret between him and me.
Like the colors of a pheasant
As he rises in the dawn
And how to fish and make a wish
Beside the holly tree

I never will forget him for he made me what I am
Though he may be gone memory lingers on
And I miss him ... The Old Man.

I thought he'd live forever
He seemed so big and strong
But the minutes fly and the years roll by
For a father and his son
And suddenly when it happened
There was so much left unsaid
No second chance to tell him thanks
For everything he'd done

I never will forget him for he made me what I am
Though he may be gone memories linger on
God, I miss him ... The Old Man.

The Heart of the Cure of Ars Coming To Boston

To help with vocations.

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

Today's Catholic Cultural Heritage Images

No, not a great European cathedral or basilica today. On a whim, I image-googled "reredos." One of the results led me to a 125th anniversary site for St. Boniface parish, Sublimity, Oregon. By the look of it, St. Boniface is just an average Catholic parish in the mid-west. But how richly it is blessed compared to other contemporary American parishes which have wreck-o-vated themselves into protestant meeting houses.

The history of the parish has roots in the mostly Germanic community of Sublimity. The parish was founded as a Benedictine parish, with a convent of Sisters of the Most Precious Blood (they later became Sisters of St. Mary of Oregon). This structure, the current church, is the third in the history of the parish. It was built in 1889, and is anly about 35'x75'.

The Sanctuary was re-designed in 1908. This is the result. Note the Rood Group in the center of the reredos, and the Tabernacle just above the main altar. Also, note the two side altars to Our Blessed Lady, and, I think, the Sacred Heart of Our Lord.
You can just see the frame of the First Station of the Cross on the left.

This is the exterior of the church in 1959. Note the parish churchyard adjoining the church, just like a medieval English parish church!

Bronze memorial to one fo the late pastors in the churchyard.

Re-painting being carried out for the 100th anniversary of the parish in 1979.

Con-celebrants of the parish's 100th anniversary Mass. This is in the late 1970s or early 1980s, when the wheels were coming off the wagon at most parishes, and the worst liturgical abuses were being perpetrated.

Gentle transition to the Novus Ordo. The Tabernacle remains in its rightful place on the central axis of the Sanctuary. They are using the new low altar, but have put plenty of candles on it. Also note, they apparently thought that the Rood Group high above the Tabernacle was not a close enough identification of the Sacrifice on Calvary with the Sacrifice of the Mass, so they have added a lower Crucifix on the roof of the Tabernacle, just to make the identification crystal clear. So now there is a "double crucifix." At the time of this Mass, in the mid-1990s, it was noted that St. Boniface was one of the few parishes in that area to have an intact reredos.

Continuity. This is the present pastor giving his sermon in October 2005. Notice the vibrant colors of the statuary, such a refreshing change from the stark, bare interiors favored today.

Monday, October 02, 2006


Is being decidedly uncooperative this morning.

Our Guardian Angels

Angel of God, my guardian dear,
To whom God's love commits me here,
Ever this day be at my side,
To light and to guard, to rule and to guide.

Sunday, October 01, 2006

Allow Me To Introduce A Great Photographic Gallery You Probably Have Never Heard Of

But should.

William Joseph Gallery, WilliamJosephGallery.com, specializes in nature photos of the Pacific Northwest. But that isn't what caught my eye. I have collected a little treasure tove of pictures from this gallery featuring New England autumns.

Yes, I am about to bring you more breathtaking images of autumn in New England, all available for purchase in large size from the William Joseph Gallery.

You like? I know I sure do. That is just a small sampling of the great photography available for sale at this gallery. That barely scratches the surface of their New England autumnal images. And that isn't even their area of expertise. Go buy their stuff.

And with such lovely images of autumn in New England, let us note that peak foliage has been reached in extreme northern New England, and moderate color throughout most of New Hampshire. Looks like the peak is 7-10 days off.

Seventy Years Of General Francisco Franco

Jay reminds us that 70 years ago today, General Franco was proclaimed head of the Nationalist Spanish cause, and subsequenly head of government once the civil war was won.

And, from our vantage point of 70 years later, I think we can almost unreservedly say, thank God for that. Without Franco's steady leadership, the communists might have won the civil war. If that had happened, there might not be a single living priest left in Spain. Or nun. Or religious brother. Opus Dei would certainly have been wiped out. Every single Catholic shrine, chapel, church, cathedral, monastery, school, and nunnery in Spain might have been destroyed, along with every vestige of the Faith there. And from an American perspective, it would have been immensely more difficult to win the Cold War had Spain gone over to the Bolsheviks. Just imagine the Red Navy with bases on the Atlantic coast of Spain.

The communists would never have allowed democracy to make a comeback in Spain. Franco did, and trained King Juan Carlos to become a constitutional monarch of a Catholic country.

If Frano's rule was harsh towards those who favored the communists, think how much harsher the rule of the communists would have been. Wouldn't have been that bad, the Michael Moores and George Soros and Hillary Clintons say? Just ask the Spanish bishops, priests, and nuns butchered in the areas the Republicans (Spanish communists) controlled.

The Seventeen Sunday After Pentecost

From The Liturgical Year, by Abbot Prosper Gueranger, O.S.B.

THE Gospel, which is now assigned to the Mass of the seventeenth Sunday, has given it the name of the Sunday of the love of God, dating, that is, from the time when the Gospel of the cure of the dropsy and of the invitation to the wedding-feast was anticipated by eight days. Previously even to that change, and from the very first, there used to be read, on this seventeenth Sunday, another passage from the new Testament, which is no longer found in this series of Sundays: it was the Gospel which mentions the difficulty regarding the resurrection of the dead, which the Sadducees proposed to our Lord.{St. Matt. xxii. 23--33.}

The judgments of God are always just, whether it be, in His justice, humbling the proud, or, in His mercy, exalting the humble. This day last week we saw this sovereign disposer of all things, allotting to each his place at the divine banquet. Let us recall to mind the behaviour of the guests, and the respective treatment shown to the humble and the proud. Adoring these judgments of our Lord, let us sing our Introit; and, as far as regards ourselves, let us throw ourselves entirely upon His mercy.

The Church, by thus giving these words from St. Paul's Epistle to the Ephesians, again takes up the subject so dear to her, viz., the dignity of her children. She beseeches them to correspond, in a becoming manner, to their high vocation. This vocation, this call, which God gives us is, as we have been so often told, the call, or invitation, made to the human family to come to the sacred nuptials of divine union; it is the vocation given to us to reign in heaven with the Word, who has made Himself our Spouse, and our Head.{Eph. ii. 5.} The Gospel read to us last week was formerly the one appointed for this present Sunday, and was thus brought into close connexion with our Epistle. These words of St. Paul to the Ephesians are an admirable commentary on that Gospel, and it, in turn, throws light on the apostle's words about the vocation. `When thou art invited to a wedding (cum vocatus fueris) sit down in the lowest place!' These were our Lord's words to us last Sunday; and now we have the apostle saying to us: Walk worthy of the vocation in which you are called, yes, walk in that vocation with all humility!

Let us now attentively hearken to our apostle, telling us what we must do, in order to prove ourselves worthy of the high honour offered to us by the Son of God. We must practise, among other virtues, these three---humility, mildness, and patience. These are the means for gaining the end that is so generously proposed to us. And what is this end? It is the unity of that immense body, which the Son of God makes His own, by the mystic nuptials He vouchsafes to celebrate with our human nature. This Man-God asks one condition from those whom He calls, whom He invites, to become, through the Church, His bride, bone of His bones and flesh of His flesh.{Eph. v. 30.} This one condition is, that they maintain such harmony among them, that it will make one body and one spirit of them all, in the bond of peace. `Bond most glorious!' cries out St. John Chrysostom---`bond most admirable, which unites us all with one another, and then, thus united, unites us with God.'{ST. CHRYS., in Ep. ad Eph., Hom. ix. 3.} The strength of this bond is the strength of the holy Spirit Himself, who is all holiness and love; for it is that holy Spirit who forms these spiritual and divine ties; He it is who, with the countless multitude of the baptized, does the work which the soul does in the human body---that is, gives it life, and unites all the members into oneness of person. It is by the Holy Ghost that young and old, poor and rich, men and women, distinct as all these are in other respects, are made one, fused, so to say, in the fire which eternally burns in the blessed Trinity. But, in order that the flame of infinite love may thus draw into its embrace our regenerated humanity, we must get rid of selfish rivalries, and grudges, and dissensions, which, so long as they exist among us, prove us to be carnal,{1 Cor. iii. 3.} and, therefore, to be unfit material either for the divine flame to touch, or for the union which that flame produces. According to the beautiful comparison of St. John Chrysostom,{ST. CHRYS., ubi supra.} when the fire lays hold of various species of wood which have been thrown into it, if it find the fuel properly dry, it makes one burning pile of all the several woods; but, if they are damp and wet, it cannot act on them separately, nor reduce the whole to one common blaze. So is it in the spiritual order; the unhealthy humidity of the passions neutralizes the action of the sanctifying Spirit; and union, which is both the means and the end of love, becomes an impossibility.

But our Lord does not stop there; He obliges them to acknowledge, at least implicitly, the Divinity of the Messiah. He puts a question, in His turn, to them, and they answer it by saying, as they were obliged to do, that the Christ was to be of the family of David; but if He be his Son, how comes it that David calls Him his Lord, just as he calls God Himself, as we have it in Psalm cix., where he celebrates the glories of the Messiah? The only possible explanation is, that the Messiah, who in due time, and as Man, was to be born of David's house, was God, and Son of God, even before time existed, according to the same psalm: `From my womb, before the day-star, I begot thee.'{Ps. cix. 3.} This answer would have condemned the pharisees, so they refused to give it; but their silence was an avowal; and, before very long, the eternal Father's vengeance upon these vile enemies of His Son will fulfil the prophecy of making them His footstool in blood and shame: that time is to be the terrible day when the justice of God will fall upon the deicide city.

St. Therese Of the Child Jesus

If today were not a Sunday, it would be celebrated liturgically as the feast of the great Carmelite Theresa (or Therese) of Lisieux.

I think it is no exaggeration to say that she has become the most celebrated female saint since Jeanne de Arc and Bridget of Ireland. Her autobiographical Story Of A Soul is a modern Catholic classic. The spirituality of her "little way" has become a role model for millions of the faithful (and was a source for the spiritual approach to life of Opus Dei's founder St. Josemarie Escriva de Balaguer).

You may explore her poetry in e-book form here.

Things May Not Turn Out As Badly For the GOP As Feared

If Rove and his collegues are right, and they are playing this election smarter and a lot richer than the Democrats, we could be looking at a loss of just 2-3 Senate seats, and 15-20 House seats. That is not bad for the second midterm election of an incumbent president.

And after the election, President Bush should begin to look a lot better to the people, once the second mid-term doldrums are past. Then it is legacy time. By the 1988 election, Ronald Reagan, who was called a "failed president" in 1986 by some of the same leftist wishful thinkers who are now calling Bush that, was seen as a Promethean model for conservatives and Republicans, and the cultural grandfather of every non-moonbat leftist American.

I think Bush's reputation will settle down to that of a man who had a job thrust upon him by the negligence of his predecessor, did the job well, though not perfectly (if he did it perfectly, the American flag would be flying in Damascus, Tripoli, and Tehran now), who comported himself with dignity, represented us well, and who has earned a respectful Eisenhowerish respected elder-statesman status.

Football: Weekend 4

Recall that I had speculated that Weekend 3 of football season would be a mettle-tester. Well, the weekend saw the Patriots come up short against the Denver Broncos, and the BC Eagles suffer their first defeat of the season to North Carolina State. In fact, that defeat dropped them out of the AP top 25, though Clemson, which BC had beaten, remained in the top 25, with an identical record. Only my St. John's Prep Eagles were victorious, beating Springfield Commerce 28-0.

Well, Weekend 4 is off to a better start. My St. John's Prep Eagles beat perrenial powerhouse Brockton 22-20 yesterday (making them 4-0), and the BC Eagles blanked Maine 22-0, giving them a 4-1 record). Now if the Patriots can beat the Bengals this afternoon, all will be well again in New England's football realm.

Meanwhile, our Red Sox are playing the last game of this benighted season today, not that anyone cares, except it may be the last game in a Red Sox uniform for fan favorite Trot Nixon, and maybe everyone's least favorite attention-getting cry-baby Manny Ramirez.


Important feasts observed during the month of October include:

1st St. Theresa of Lisieux
2nd Guardian Angels
4th St. Francis of Assisi
7th Our Lady of the Rosary (Lepanto)
9th St. Denis
11th Bl. Pope John XXIII
12th St. Wilfred of York
13th St. Edward the Confessor
15th St. Terese of Avila
16th St. Gall and St. Gerard Majella
17th St. Margaret Mary Alacoque
18th St. Luke the Evangelist
19th North American Martyrs
21st St. Gaspare de Bufalo
22nd St. Mary Salome
23rd St. John of Capistrano
25th Forty Martyrs of England and Wales, and SS. Crispin and Crispinian
28th St. Jude and St. Simon
31st All Hallow's Eve (Halloween)

The entire month of October is within the Season After Pentecost, or "Ordinary Time".

Our Holy Father Pope Benedict XVI's published prayer intentins for the month of October, 2006 are:

General: That all those who are baptized may mature in their faith and manifest it through clear, coherent and courageous choices in life.

Missionary: That the celebration of World Missionary Day may everywhere increase the spirit of missionary animation and cooperation.

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