Saturday, November 04, 2006

Check The Lion And the Cardinal

For Daniel's post on the Capuchin Catacombs of Palermo

Memento Mori

Pray for the Poor Souls in Purgatory

The Cure of Ars On Purgatory

I come on behalf of God. Why am I up in the pulpit today, my dear brethren? What am I going to say to you? Ah! I come on behalf of God Himself. I come on behalf of your poor parents, to awaken in you that love and gratitude which you owe them. I come to bring before your minds again all those kindnesses and all the love which they gave you while they were on earth. I come to tell you that they suffer in Purgatory, that they weep, and that they demand with urgent cries the help of your prayers and your good works. I seem to hear them crying from the depths of those fires which devour them: "Tell our loved ones, tell our children, tell all our relatives how great the evils are which they are making us suffer. We throw ourselves at their feet to implore the help of their prayers. Ah! Tell them that since we have been separated from them, we have been here burning in the flames!

Oh! Who would be so indifferent to such sufferings as we are enduring?" Do you see, my dear brethren, do you hear that tender mother, that devoted father, and all those relatives who helped and tended you? "My friends," they cry, "free us from these pains; you can do it." Consider then, my dear brethren: (a) the magnitude of these sufferings which the souls in Purgatory endure; and (b) the means which we have of mitigating them: our prayers, our good works, and, above all, the holy sacrifice of the Mass. I do not wish to stop at this stage to prove to you the existence of Purgatory. That would be a waste of time. No one among you has the slightest doubt on that score. The Church, to which Jesus Christ promised the guidance of the Holy Ghost and which, consequently, can neither be mistaken herself nor mislead us, teaches us about Purgatory in a very clear and positive manner. It is certain, very certain, that there is a place where the souls of the just complete the expiation of their sins before being admitted to the glory of Paradise, which is assured them. Yes, my dear brethren, and it is an article of faith: if we have not done penance proportionate to the greatness and enormity of our sins, even though forgiven in the holy tribunal of Penance, we shall be compelled to expiate them.... In Holy Scripture there are many texts which show clearly that although our sins may be forgiven, God still imposes on us the obligation to suffer in this world by temporal hardships or in the next by the flames of Purgatory. Look at what happened to Adam. Because he was repentant after committing his sin, God assured him that He had pardoned him, and yet He condemned him to do penance for nine hundred years, penance which surpasses anything that we can imagine. See again: David ordered, contrary to the wish of God, the census of his subjects, but, stricken with remorse of conscience, he saw his sin and, throwing himself upon the ground, begged the Lord to pardon him. God, touched by his repentance, forgave him indeed. But despite that, He sent Gad to tell David that he would have to choose between three scourges which He had prepared for him as punishment for his iniquity: the plague, war, or famine. David said: "It is better that I should fall into the hands of the Lord (for his mercies are many) than into the hands of men." He chose the pestilence, which lasted three days and killed seventy thousand of his subjects. If the Lord had not stayed the hand of the Angel, which was stretched out over the city, all Jerusalem would have been depopulated! David, seeing so many evils caused by his sin, begged the grace of God to punish him alone and to spare his people, who were innocent. See, too, the penance of Saint Mary Magdalen; perhaps that will soften your hearts a little. Alas, my dear brethren, what, then, will be the number of years which we shall have to suffer in Purgatory, we who have so many sins, we who, under the pretext that we have confessed them, do no penance and shed no tears?

How many years of suffering shall we have to expect in the next life? But how, when the holy Fathers tell us that the torments they suffer in this place seem to equal the sufferings which our Lord Jesus Christ endured during His sorrowful Passion, shall I paint for you a heart-rending picture of the sufferings which these poor souls endure? However, it is certain that if the slightest torment that our Lord suffered had been shared by all mankind, they would all be dead through the violence of such suffering. The fire of Purgatory is the same as the fire of Hell; the difference between them is that the fire of Purgatory is not everlasting. Oh! Should God in His great mercy permit one of these poor souls, who bum in these flames, to appear here in my place, all surrounded by the fires which consume him, and should he give you himself a recital of the sufferings he is enduring, this church, my dear brethren, would reverberate with his cries and his sobs, and perhaps that might finally soften your hearts. Oh! How we suffer! they cry to us.

Oh! You, our brethren, deliver us from these torments! You can do it! Ah, if you only experienced the sorrow of being separated from God! ... Cruel separation! To burn in the fire kindled by the justice of God! ... To suffer sorrows incomprehensible to mortal man! . . . To be devoured by regret, knowing that we could so easily have avoided such sorrows! ... Oh! My children, cry the fathers and the mothers, can you thus so readily abandon us, we who loved you so much? Can you then sleep in comfort and leave us stretched upon a bed of fire. Will you have the courage to give yourselves up to pleasure and joy while we are here suffering and weeping night and day? You have our wealth, our homes, you are enjoying the fruit of our labors, and you abandon us here in this place of torments, where we are suffering such frightful evils for so many years! ... And not a single almsgiving, not a single Mass which would help to deliver us! ... You can relieve our sufferings, you can open our prison, and you abandon us. Oh! How cruel these sufferings are! ... Yes, my dear brethren, people judge very differently, when in the flames of Purgatory, of all those light faults, if indeed it is possible to call anything light which makes us endure such rigorous sorrows. What woe would there be to man, the Royal Prophet cries, even the most just of men, if God were to judge him without mercy. If God has found spots in the sun and malice in the angels, what, then, is this sinful man? And for us, who have committed so many mortal sins and who have done practically nothing to satisfy the justice of God, how many years of Purgatory! "My God," said Saint Teresa, "what soul will be pure enough to enter into heaven without passing through the vengeful flames?" In her last illness, she cried suddenly: "O justice and power of my God, how terrible you are!" During her agony, God allowed her to see His holiness as the angels and the saints see Him in heaven, which caused her so much dread that her sisters, seeing her trembling and extraordinarily agitated, spoke to her, weeping: "Ah! Mother, what has happened to you; surely you do not fear death after so many penances and such abundant and bitter tears?" "No, my children," Saint Teresa replied, "I do not fear death; on the contrary, I desire it so that I may be united forever with my God." "Is it your sins, then, which terrify you, after so much mortification? " "Yes, my children," she told them. "I do fear my sins, but I fear still another thing even more." "Is it the judgment then?" "Yes, I tremble at the formidable account that it will be necessary to render to God, Who, in that moment, will be without mercy, but there is still something else of which the very thought alone makes me die with terror." The poor sisters were deeply distressed. "Alas! Can it be Hell then?" "No," she told them. "Hell, thank God, is not for me. Oh! My sisters, it is the holiness of God. My God, have pity upon me! My life must be brought face to face with that of Jesus Christ Himself! Woe to me if I have the least blemish or stain! Woe to me if I am even in the very shadow of sin!" "Alas!" cried these poor sisters. "What will our deaths be like!" What will ours be like, then, my dear brethren, we who, perhaps in all our penances and our good works, have never yet satisfied for one single sin forgiven in the tribunal of Penance?

Ah! What years and centuries of torment to punish us! ... How dearly we shall pay for all those faults that we look upon as nothing at all, like those little lies that we tell to amuse ourselves, those little scandals, the despising of the graces which God gives us at every moment, those little murmurings in the difficulties that He sends us! No, my dear brethren, we would never have the courage to commit the least sin if we could understand how much it outrages God and how greatly it deserves to be rigorously punished, even in this world. God is just, my dear brethren, in all that He does. When He recompenses us for the smallest good action, He does so over and above all that we could desire. A good thought, a good desire, that is to say, the desire to do some good work even when we are not able to do it, He never leaves without a reward. But also, when it is a matter of punishing us, it is done with rigor, and though we should have only a light fault, we shall be sent into Purgatory. This is true, for we see it in the lives of the saints that many of them did not go to Heaven without having first passed through the flames of Purgatory. Saint Peter Damien tells that his sister remained several years in Purgatory because she had listened to an evil song with some little pleasure. It is told that two religious promised each other that the first to die would come to tell the survivor in what state he was. God permitted the one who died first to appear to his friend. He told him that he was remaining fifteen years in Purgatory for having liked to have his own way too much. And as his friend was complimenting him on remaining there for so short a time, the dead man replied: "I would have much preferred to be flayed alive for ten thousand years continuously, for that suffering could not even be compared with what I am suffering in the flames." A priest told one of his friends that God had condemned him to remain in Purgatory for several months for having held back the execution of a will designed for the doing of good works. Alas, my dear brethren, how many among those who hear me have a similar fault with which to reproach themselves?

How many are there, perhaps, who during the course of eight or ten years have received from their parents or their friends the work of having Masses said and alms given and have allowed the whole thing to slide! How many are there who, for fear of finding that certain good works should be done, have not wanted to go to the trouble of looking at the will that their parents or their friends have made in their favor? Alas, these poor souls are still detained in the flames because no one has desired to fulfill their last wishes! Poor fathers and mothers, you are being sacrificed for the happiness of your children and your heirs! You perhaps have neglected your own salvation to augment their fortune. You are being cheated of the good works which you left behind in your wills! ... Poor parents! How blind you were to forget yourselves! ... You will tell me, perhaps: "Our parents lived good lives; they were very good people." Ah! They needed little to go into these flames! See what Albert the Great, a man whose virtues shone in such an extraordinary way, said on this matter. He revealed one day to one of his friends that God had taken him into Purgatory for having entertained a slightly self-satisfied thought about his own knowledge. The most astonishing thing was that there were actually saints there, even ones who were beatified, who were passing through Purgatory. Saint Severinus, Archbishop of Cologne, appeared to one of his friends a long time after his death and told him that he had been in Purgatory for having deferred to the evening the prayers he should have said in the morning. Oh! What years of Purgatory will there be for those Christians who have no difficulty at all in deferring their prayers to another time on the excuse of having to do some pressing work! If we really desired the happiness of possessing God, we should avoid the little faults as well as the big ones, since separation from God is so frightful a torment to all these poor souls!

Novena For the Holy Souls In Purgatory

Third Day:
My God! because Thou art infinite goodness, I love Thee above all things, and repent with my whole heart of my offenses against Thee. Grant me the grace of holy perseverance. Have compassion on me, and, at the same, on the holy souls suffering in Purgatory. And thou, Mary, Mother of God, come to their assistance with thy powerful intercession.

Say one Our Father, one Hail Mary, and the Prayer to Our Suffering Saviour for the Holy Souls in Purgatory below.
Prayer to Our Suffering Saviour for the Holy Souls in Purgatory

O most sweet Jesus, through the bloody sweat which Thou didst suffer in the Garden of Gethsemani, have mercy on these Blessed Souls. Have mercy on them.
R. Have mercy on them, O Lord.

O most sweet Jesus, through the pains which Thou didst suffer during Thy most cruel scourging, have mercy on them.
R. Have mercy on them, O Lord.

O most sweet Jesus, through the pains which Thou didst suffer in Thy most painful crowning with thorns, have mercy on them.
R. Have mercy on them, O Lord.

O most sweet Jesus, through the pains which Thou didst suffer in carrying Thy cross to Calvary, have mercy on them.
R. Have mercy on them, O Lord.

O most sweet Jesus, through the pains which Thou didst suffer during Thy most cruel Crucifixion, have mercy on them.
R. Have mercy on them, O Lord.

O most sweet Jesus, through the pains which Thou didst suffer in Thy most bitter agony on the Cross, have mercy on them.
R. Have mercy on them, O Lord.

O most sweet Jesus, through the immense pain which Thou didst suffer in breathing forth Thy Blessed Soul, have mercy on them.
R. Have mercy on them, O Lord.

(Recommend yourself to the Souls in Purgatory and mention your intentions here)

Blessed Souls, I have prayed for thee; I entreat thee, who are so dear to God, and who are secure of never losing Him, to pray for me a miserable sinner, who is in danger of being damned, and of losing God forever. Amen.

Friday, November 03, 2006

The Day of the Dead

I have been meaning to do a photo essay on the Mexican Days of the Dead since last year. But time just has not been an ally for me this past month. In fact, I think I didn't even touch my blog last week, and scarcely touched e-mails.

So I will refer you to my compadre Jay, who has done something like I wanted to do, and has a few photos, but more importantly some great links up on the Days of the Dead.

Keep this image in mind for comparison to november 8th's Memento Mori!
And Mark Sullivan has a nice set of links, too.

Novena For the Holy Souls In Purgatory

Second Day
Woe to me, unhappy being, so many years have I already spent on earth and have earned naught but hell! I give Thee thanks, O Lord, for granting me time even now to atone for my sins. My good God, I am heartily sorry for having offended Thee. Send me Thy assistance, that I may apply the time yet remaining to me for Thy love and service; have compassion on me, and, at the same time, on the holy souls suffering in Purgatory. O Mary, Mother of God, come to their assistance with thy powerful intercession.

Say one Our Father, one Hail Mary, and the Prayer to Our Suffering Saviour for the Holy Souls in Purgatory below.
Prayer to Our Suffering Saviour for the Holy Souls in Purgatory

O most sweet Jesus, through the bloody sweat which Thou didst suffer in the Garden of Gethsemani, have mercy on these Blessed Souls. Have mercy on them.
R. Have mercy on them, O Lord.

O most sweet Jesus, through the pains which Thou didst suffer during Thy most cruel scourging, have mercy on them.
R. Have mercy on them, O Lord.

O most sweet Jesus, through the pains which Thou didst suffer in Thy most painful crowning with thorns, have mercy on them.
R. Have mercy on them, O Lord.

O most sweet Jesus, through the pains which Thou didst suffer in carrying Thy cross to Calvary, have mercy on them.
R. Have mercy on them, O Lord.

O most sweet Jesus, through the pains which Thou didst suffer during Thy most cruel Crucifixion, have mercy on them.
R. Have mercy on them, O Lord.

O most sweet Jesus, through the pains which Thou didst suffer in Thy most bitter agony on the Cross, have mercy on them.
R. Have mercy on them, O Lord.

O most sweet Jesus, through the immense pain which Thou didst suffer in breathing forth Thy Blessed Soul, have mercy on them.
R. Have mercy on them, O Lord.

(Recommend yourself to the Souls in Purgatory and mention your intentions here)

Blessed Souls, I have prayed for thee; I entreat thee, who are so dear to God, and who are secure of never losing Him, to pray for me a miserable sinner, who is in danger of being damned, and of losing God forever. Amen.

Why Hallowmas Continues Past All Souls' Day Here

Americans, and all moderns, are geared for holidays that come crashing to an end with the stroke of midnight. One is reminded of the Salem Police on horseback and motorcycle pushing the 60,000+ crowd down the streets towards the train station with the message over the bullhorn: "Halloween in Salem is over. Go home!" Or the middle aged housewife who, after Christmas Day dinner and the unwrapping of the last present says, "Well, that was a nice Christmas. Who is going to help me take down the tree tomorrow?"

So we are not really ready for a season of celebration, or in this case, observance. Our consumerist notions lead us to believe that, once there is nothing more to buy and get, that is the end of the holiday.

But the Church approaches holy days and holy seasons in a different way. We have long penitential seasons of Lent and Advent, periods of mournful and joyful waiting. Each month is dedicated to some holy cause. Fasting and abstinence was never just a "Friday" thing, but includes the Ember Days and the penitential seasons as well. The Church takes its important holy days, and gives them both a novena period of 9 days before, and an octave after. The celebrations and observances of the Church are not rushed. They are not enslaved to the 24-hour clock.

Modern society is puzzled by a period of time that requires us to buy nothing, and is not confined to a 24-hour period. Thus everyone is in a rush to end Christmas and get back to work. And everyone forgets about the Poor Souls in Purgatory once Halloween and All Souls' Day are past.

Part of the reason I have maintained this blog is to try to foster a renewal of interest in Catholic customs and traditions, customs and traditions that I, a 40-something cradle Catholic and the product of 19 years of "Catholic education" in the 1970s and 1980s, missed almost entirely growing up. And, at this time of year, it is praying for the dead that is the custom that I wish most to put people in mind of.

And so, since the entire month of November is devoted to the Poor Souls, those helpless forebearers of ours who can do nothing themselves to bring Heaven closer, but are dependant on our prayers, Masses, and sacrifices, we continue to remind everyone reading this blog, at least through the octave of All Souls', that we, too, will die one day, and be in need of prayers to move us from the awful pains of Purgatory to Heaven. Someday, maybe a thousand years from now, any one of us may be that poor soul which has languished amidst the fires of Purgatory for a millenium without prayers or Masses.

"Memento Mori," and pray for the Holy Souls!

Thursday, November 02, 2006

A Cool Trad Site Specializing In the Dead and the Holy Souls

Death Angels

Traditional Office of the Dead

Last year's post, with links to the appropriate file at Recta Ratio: The Yahoo Group (which means they won't work, unless you are a member, and logged in. The recitation of the Office of the Dead during the octave of All Souls was indulgenced for the Poor Souls.

Wanna Go Souling?

Here is a recipe for Soul Bread, and some souling songs:

Soul Bread
2 TBSP. Yeast (Instant)
1c. milk
5c. flour
1c. sugar
1 tsp. grated orange peel
1 tsp. grated lemon peel
1/2 c. butter

You start with the yeast, and have to knead this thing three times after it rises to double its size (which is why I prefer to use a bread machine). When you think you have kneaded it enough, bake it at 350 degrees for an hour.

And if you don't want to go through the kneading process, buy some good plain or cider donuts. The round shape is supposed to put us in mind of God's infinity. In some cultures, the Bread of the Dead is fried, so fried dough will do, also.

Souling Songs
Just like the Wren Boys on St. Stephen's Day, and our trick-or-treaters on Hallowmas Eve's cry of "trick-or-treat", there was a set formula for what the souling luck visitors were supposed to chant as they came to the door. It varied however, from place to place.

Here are two:

Soul! Soul! For a souling-cake!
I pray you, good missus, a souling-cake.

In another part of England, the children sang:

Soul! Soul!
For an apple or two!
If you have no apples,
Pears will do,
If you have no pears,
Money will do.
If you have no money,
God bless you!

(and yes, the lyrics are very similar to Christmas Is Comin', the Goose Is Gettin' Fat, thank you for noticing the similarity of these two luck visit rites).

Poem and Prayer For the Holy Souls

Rest Eternal Grant Them, Lord!
Take we up the touching burden of November plaints,
Pleading for the Holy Souls, God’s yet uncrowned Saints.
Still unpaid to our departed is the debt we owe;
Still unransomed, some are pining, sore oppressed with woe.
Friends we loved and vowed to cherish call us in their need:
Prove we now our love was real, true in word and deed.
“Rest eternal grant them, Lord!” full often let us pray—
“Requiem æternam dona eis, Domine!”

Requiem Aeternam
Requiem aeternam dona eis Domine: et lux perpetua luceat eis.
Requiescant in pace. Amen.

Dies Irae

The day of wrath, that day
which will reduce the world to ashes,
as foretold by David and the Sybil.

What terror there will be,
when the Lord will come
to judge all rigorously!

The trumpet, scattering a wondrous sound
among the graves of all the lands,
will assemble all before the Throne.

Death and Nature will be astounded
when they see a creature rise again
to answer to the Judge.

The book will be brought forth
in which all deeds are noted,
for which humanity will answer.

When the judge will be seated,
all that is hidden will appear,
and nothing will go unpunished.

Alas, what will I then say?
To what advocate shall I appeal,
when even the just tremble?

O king of redoutable majesty,
who freely saves the elect,
save me, o fount of piety!

Remember, merciful Jesus,
that I am the cause of your journey,
do not lose me on that day.

You wearied yourself in finding me.
You have redeemed me through the cross.
Let not such great efforts be in vain.

O judge of vengeance, justly
make a gift of your forgiveness
before the day of reckoning.

I lament like a guilty one.
My faults cause me to blush,
I beg you, spare me.

You who have absolved Mary,
and have heard the thief's prayer,
have also given me hope.

My prayers are not worthy,
but you, o Good One, please grant freely
that I do not burn in the eternal fire.

Give me a place among the sheep,
separate me from the goats
by placing me at your right.

Having destroyed the accursed,
condemned them to the fierce flames,
Count me among the blessed.

I prostrate myself, supplicating,
my heart in ashes, repentant;
take good care of my last moment!

That tearful day,
when from the ashes shall rise again.

Sinful man to be judged.
Therefore pardon him, o God.

Merciful Lord Jesus,
give them rest.


Dies irae, dies illa
solvet saeclum in favilla,
teste David cum Sybilla.

Quantus tremor est futurus,
quando judex est venturus,
cuncta stricte discussurus.

Tuba mirum spargens sonum
per sepulchra regionum,
coget omnes ante thronum.

Mors stupebit et natura,
cum resurget creatura,
judicanti responsura.

Liber scriptus proferetur,
in quo totum continetur,
unde mundus judicetur.

Judex ergo cum sedebit,
quidquid latet apparebit,
nil inultum remanebit.

Quid sum miser tunc dicturus?
Quem patronum rogaturus,
cum vix justus sit securus?

Rex tremendae majestatis,
qui salvandos salvas gratis,
salva me, fons pietatis.

Recordare Jesu pie,
quod sum causa tuae viae,
ne me perdas illa die.

Quaerens me sedisti lassus,
redemisti crucem passus,
tantus labor non sit cassus.

Juste judex ultionis,
donum fac remissionis
ante diem rationis.

Ingemisco tanquam reus,
culpa rubet vultus meus,
supplicanti parce, Deus.

Qui Mariam absolvisti,
et latronem exaudisti,
mihi quoque spem dedisti.

Preces meae non sunt dignae,
sed tu, bonus, fac benigne,
ne perenni cremer igne.

Inter oves locum praeta,
et ab hoedis me sequestra,
statuens in parte dextra.

Confutatis maledictis,
flammis acribus addictis,
voca me cum benedictis.

Oro supplex et acclinis,
cor contritum quasi cinis,
gere curam mei finis.

Lacrimosa dies illa,
qua resurget ex favilla

judicandus homo reus -
Huic ergo parce, Deus.

Pie Jesu Domine,
dona eis requiem.


All Souls' Day

V. Requiem aeternam dona eis, Domine.
R. Et lux perpetua luceat in eis.
V. Requiescant in pace.
R. Amen.
Kathryn & George
Mary & Charles
Nora & Thomas
Felicia & Louis
Patrick & Susan
Mary & John
Thelma & Herbert
Ida & Edward
Emily & Anthony
Mary and John
Grace & William
Winifred & Louis
Rose & Harold
Mildred & Frank
Bea & Roland
Mary & James
Brother Daniel
Father Flaherty
President Reagan
Our late Holy Father Pope John Paul II
Chief Justice Rehnquist
Secretary Weinberger
Governor King
Doctor Kirk
Memorial Prayer for the Suffering Souls in Purgatory
(For Private Use Only)
Almighty God, Father of Goodness and love,
have mercy on the Poor Suffering Souls,
and grant Thine aid:

To my dear parents and ancestors;
Jesus, Mary, Joseph! My Jesus Mercy.
To my brothers and sisters and other near relatives;
Jesus, Mary, Joseph! My Jesus Mercy.
To my benefactors, spiritual and temporal; etc.
To my former friends and subjects;
To all for whom love or duty bids me pray;
To those who have suffered disadvantage or harm through me;
To those who have offended me;
To all those who are especially beloved by Thee;
To those whose release is at hand;
To those who desire most to be united with Thee;
To those who endure the greatest suffering;
To those whose release is most remote;
To those who are least remembered;
To those who are most deserving on account of their services to the Church;
To the rich, who now are the most destitute;
To the mighty, who now are as lowly servants;
To the blind, who now see their folly;
To the frivolous, who spent their time in idleness;
To the poor, who did not seek the treasures of Heaven;
To the tepid, who devoted little time to prayer;
To the indolent, who were negligent in performing good works;
To those of little faith, who neglected the frequent reception of the Sacraments;
To the habitual sinners, who owe their salvation to a miracle of grace;
To parents who failed to watch over their children;
To superiors who were not solicitous for the salvation of those entrusted to them;
To the souls of those who strove for hardly anything but riches and pleasures;
To the worldly-minded, who failed to use their wealth and talents in the service of God;
To those who witnessed the death of others, but would not think of their own;
To those who did not provide for the great journey beyond, and the days of tribulation;
To those whose judgment is so severe because of the great things entrusted to them;
To the popes, rulers, kings and princes;
To the bishops and their counselors;
To my teachers and spiritual advisors;
To the deceased priests of this diocese;
To all the priests and religious of the whole Catholic Church;
To the defenders of the Holy Faith;
To those who died on the battlefield;
To those who are buried in the sea;
To those who died of stroke or heart attack;
To those who died without the last rites of the Church;
To those who shall die within the next twenty-four hours;
To my own poor soul when I shall have to appear before Thy judgment seat;

V. O Lord, grant eternal rest to all the souls of the faithful departed,
R. And let perpetual light shine upon them.
V. May they rest in peace.
R. Amen.

White Stuff

Not here in Boston, thanks goodness! But on the local radar this morning, it looks like there is some light snow in the air around Laconia, Holderness, and Meredith, Cow Hampshire. First time I have seen that this season. It is rainy, warm, and humid now in Boston, after flirting with 70 degrees yesterday afternoon. But a cold front is coming through that, according to Accuweather, will chill things off to around 44 this evening.

What is coming our way reminds me of Thomas Hood's 1844 poem:

No sun - no moon!
No morn - no noon -
No dawn - no dusk - no proper time of day.
No warmth, no cheerfulness, no healthful ease,
No comfortable feel in any member -
No shade, no shine, no butterflies, no bees,
No fruits, no flowers, no leaves, no birds! -

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

A Note On Ossi di Morti

They taste wonderful, but man, are they hard! They have a wonderful cinnamon flavor, but you could break rock with them, not to mention teeth. Try dunking them in coffee, or, as I did, vanilla chai.

For All the Saints

For all the saints,
who from their labors rest,
Who Thee by faith before the world confessed,
Thy Name, O Jesus, be forever blessed.
Alleluia, Alleluia!

Thou wast their Rock, their Fortress and their Might;
Thou, Lord, their Captain in the well fought fight;
Thou, in the darkness drear, their one true Light.
Alleluia, Alleluia!

For the Apostles’ glorious company,
Who bearing forth the Cross o’er land and sea,
Shook all the mighty world, we sing to Thee:
Alleluia, Alleluia!

For the Evangelists, by whose blest word,
Like fourfold streams, the garden of the Lord,
Is fair and fruitful, be Thy Name adored.
Alleluia, Alleluia!

For Martyrs, who with rapture kindled eye,
Saw the bright crown descending from the sky,
And seeing, grasped it, Thee we glorify.
Alleluia, Alleluia!

O blest communion, fellowship divine!
We feebly struggle, they in glory shine;
All are one in Thee, for all are Thine.
Alleluia, Alleluia!

O may Thy soldiers, faithful, true and bold,
Fight as the saints who nobly fought of old,
And win with them the victor’s crown of gold.
Alleluia, Alleluia!

And when the strife is fierce, the warfare long,
Steals on the ear the distant triumph song,
And hearts are brave, again, and arms are strong.
Alleluia, Alleluia!

The golden evening brightens in the west;
Soon, soon to faithful warriors comes their rest;
Sweet is the calm of paradise the blessed.
Alleluia, Alleluia!

But lo! there breaks a yet more glorious day;
The saints triumphant rise in bright array;
The King of glory passes on His way.
Alleluia, Alleluia!

From earth’s wide bounds, from ocean’s farthest coast,
Through gates of pearl streams in the countless host,
And singing to Father, Son and Holy Ghost:
Alleluia, Alleluia!

All Hallows

The Blessed In Heaven, by Bl. Fra Angelico
The Litany of the Saints
Lord, have mercy on us. (Lord have mercy on us.)
Christ, have mercy on us. (Christ have mercy on us.)
Lord, have mercy on us. (Lord, have mercy on us.)

Christ, hear us. (Christ, hear us.)
Christ, graciously hear us. (Christ, graciously hear us.)

God the Father of heaven, (have mercy on us.)
God the Son, Redeemer of the world, (have mercy on us.)
God the Holy Ghost, (have mercy on us.)
Holy Trinity, one God, (have mercy on us.)

Holy Mary, (Pray for us.)
Holy Mother of God,
Holy Virgin of virgins,

St. Michael,
St. Gabriel,
St. Raphael,
All ye holy Angels and Archangels,
All ye holy orders of blessed Spirits,

St. John the Baptist,
St. Joseph,
All ye holy Patriarchs and Prophets,

St. Peter,
St. Paul,
St. Andrew,
St. James,
St. John,
St. Thomas,
St. James,
St. Philip,
St. Bartholomew,
St. Matthew,
St. Simon,
St. Thaddeus,
St. Matthias,
St. Barnabas,
St. Luke,
St. Mark,
All ye holy Apostles and Evangelists,
All ye holy Disciples of the Lord,

All ye Holy Innocents,
St. Stephen,
St. Lawrence,
St. Vincent,
SS. Fabian and Sebastian,
SS. John and Paul,
SS. Cosmas and Damian,
SS. Gervase and Protase,
All ye holy Martyrs,

St. Sylvester,
St. Gregory,
St. Ambrose,
St. Augustine,
St. Jerome,
St. Martin,
St. Nicholas,
All ye holy Bishops and Confessors,
All ye holy Doctors,

St. Anthony,
St. Benedict,
St. Bernard,
St. Dominic,
St. Francis,
All ye holy Priests and Levites,
All ye holy Monks and Hermits,

St. Mary Magdalen,
St. Agatha,
St. Lucy,
St. Agnes,
St. Cecilia,
St. Catherine,
St. Anastasia,
All ye holy Virgins and Widows,

All ye holy Saints of God, (Make intercession for us.)
Be merciful, (Spare us, O Lord.)
Be merciful, (Graciously hear us, O Lord.)

From all evil, O Lord (Deliver us.)
From all sin,
From Thy wrath,
From sudden and unlooked for death,
From the snares of the devil,
From anger, and hatred, and every evil will,
From the spirit of fornication,
From lightning and tempest,
From the scourge of earthquakes,
From plague, famine and war,
From everlasting death,
Through the mystery of Thy holy Incarnation,
Through Thy Coming,
Through Thy Birth,
Through Thy Baptism and holy Fasting,
Through Thy Cross and Passion,
Through Thy Death and Burial,
Through Thy holy Resurrection,
Through Thine admirable Ascension,
Through the coming of the Holy Ghost, the Paraclete.
In the day of judgment.

We sinners, (We beseech Thee, hear us.)

That Thou wouldst spare us,

That Thou wouldst pardon us,

That Thou wouldst bring us to true penance,

That Thou wouldst vouchsafe to govern and preserve Thy holy Church,

That Thou wouldst vouchsafe to preserve our Apostolic Prelate, and all orders of the Church in holy religion,

That Thou wouldst vouchsafe to humble the enemies of holy Church,

That Thou wouldst vouchsafe to give peace and true concord to Christian kings and princes,

That Thou wouldst vouchsafe to grant peace and unity to the whole Christian world,

That Thou wouldst call back to the unity of the Church all who have strayed from her fold, and to guide all unbelievers into the light of the Gospel

That Thou wouldst vouchsafe to confirm and preserve us in Thy holy service,

That Thou wouldst lift up our minds to heavenly desires,

That Thou wouldst render eternal blessings to all our benefactors,

That Thou wouldst deliver our souls, and the souls of our brethren, relations, and benefactors, from eternal damnation,

That Thou wouldst vouchsafe to give and preserve the fruits of the earth,

That Thou wouldst vouchsafe to grant eternal rest to all the faithful departed,

That Thou wouldst vouchsafe graciously to hear us,

Son of God,

Lamb of God, who take away the sins of the world, (spare us, O Lord.)
Lamb of God, who take away the sins of the world, (graciously hear us, O Lord.)
Lamb of God, who take away the sins of the world, (have mercy on us.)

Christ, (hear us.)
Christ, (graciously hear us.)
Lord, have mercy, (Lord, have mercy.)
Christ, have mercy, (Christ, have mercy.)
Lord, have mercy, (Lord, have mercy.)

[Our Father inaudibly] And lead us not into temptation (but deliver us from evil.)


Important feasts observed during the month of November include:
1st All Hallows
2nd All Souls
3rd St. Malachy O'More
4th St. Charles Borromeo
5th St. Elizabeth
7th Bl. John Duns Scotus
10th St. Pope Leo the Great
11th Martinmas, St. Martin of Tours
15th St. Albertus Magnus
16th St. Gertrude the Great
17th St. Elizabeth of Hungary
18th St. Odo of Cluny
22nd St. Cecilia
23rd St. Columbanus
26th St. Leonard of Port Maurice
28th St. Catherine Laboure
30th St. Andrew

The month of November is dedicated to the Poor Souls in Purgatory.

The month of November begins and ends during the season after Pentecost. Sunday November 26th is the Last Sunday After Pentecost for 2006. The season of Advent will begin on Sunday December 3rd (and will be a very short one this year, as Christmas Eve falls on the 4th Sunday of Advent).

Our Holy Father Pope Benedict XVI asks the faithful to pray for the following intentions during the month of November, 2006:

General: "That, everywhere in the world, an end be put to all forms of terrorism."

Missionary: "That through the effort of believers, together with the living forces of society, the new and old chains which prevent the development of the African continent may be broken."

The First Friday of the month is November 3rd.
The First Saturday of the month is November 4th.

Sunday the 26th is Christ the King in the normative rite. It is the Last Sunday After Pentecost in the traditional rite.

Thursday 23rd is Thanksgiving Day in the United States.

Important novenas associated with November include the Novena for the Holy Souls in Purgatory, began traditionally on All Souls, and The Advent(or Christmas) Novena, said from Saint Andrew's Day (Nov. 30th) until Chirstmas Eve.

Tuesday, October 31, 2006

The Propriety of Catholics Celebrating Halloween

From Traditio.com (they agree with me on this):


The question often arises about the celebration of Halloween by
Catholics. Is it, for instance, "pagan" to dress up and go about as ghosts
and goblins? The question often comes up because many modern Christians
(mostly non-Catholic ones) believe that Halloween has something to do with
worshipping the devil and participating in witchcraft. The truth is that the
origins of Halloween are rooted deeply in the theology and popular customs of

It is a revision of actual history to say that our modern celebration
of Halloween has origins in Druid customs. It is true that the ancient Celts
celebrated a major feast (the Celtic New Year) on October 31st, but the fact
is that they celebrated a festival on the last day of almost every month.

Halloween, a contraction of "All Hollows Eve," falls on October 31st
because the Feast of All Saints or "All Hallows" falls on November 1st. The
feast in honor of all the Saints used to be celebrated on May 13th, but Pope
Gregory III, in 731, moved it to November 1st, the dedication day of All
Saints Chapel in St. Peter's in Rome. This feast spread throughout the
world. In 998, St. Odilo, the abbot of the powerful monastery of Cluny in
France, added a celebration on November 2nd. This was a day of prayer for the
souls of all the faithful departed. Therefore, the Church had a feast of the
Saints and those in Purgatory.

It was the Irish Catholics who came up with the idea to remember
somehow those souls who did not live by the Faith in this life. It became
customary for these Irish to bang on pots and pans on All Hallow's Eve to let
the damned know that they were not forgotten. In Ireland, then, ALL the dead
came to be remembered. This, however, is still not exactly like our
celebration of Halloween. On Halloween we also dress up in costumes.

This practice arose in France during the 14th and 15th centuries.
During the horrible bubonic plague, the Black Death, Europe lost half of her
population. Artists depicted this on walls to remind us of our own
mortality. These pictures and representations are known as the "Dance of
Death" or "Dance Macabre." These figures were commonly painted on cemetery
walls and showed the devil leading a daisy chain of people into the tomb.
Sometimes the dance was re-enacted on All Soul's Day as a living tableau,
with people dressed up as the dead. But the French dressed up on All Souls,
not Halloween, and the Irish, who celebrated Halloween, did not dress up.

The two were brought together in the colonies of North America during
the 18th century, when Irish and French Catholics began to intermarry. Thus
the two celebrations became mingled, and we began dressing up on Halloween.
It is, as we can see, a very "American" holiday, but Catholic as well.

"Trick-or-Treating" is a very odd addition to Halloween. It is the
most American aspect of the holiday, and is the (unwilling) contribution of
English Catholics.

Guy Fawkes Day became a great celebration against Catholics in
England. It celebrated the day the plot to blow up Parliament and King James
I was discovered. This was on November 5, 1605. Guy Fawkes was the rather
reckless man guarding the gunpowder. He was arrested and hanged. During
these times of persecution of the Catholic Church, bands of revelers would
wear masks and visit Catholics in the night demanding they be given cakes and

Guy Fawkes Day arrived in the American colonies with the first
English settlers. Old King James had long been forgotten, but "Trick-or-
Treating" was too much fun to give up. Eventually, it moved to the
Irish/French Catholic masquerade. This practice of "Trick-or-Treating" was
simply moved to coincide with the Catholic celebration involving dressing up.
The ancient Druids did contribute the candy, which was used to welcome the
good spirits, and masks (jack o'lanterns), which were used to scare away the
evil spirits.

Halloween can still serve the purpose of reminding us about Hell and
how to avoid it. Halloween is also a day to prepare us to remember those who
have gone before us in Faith, those already in Heaven and those still
suffering in Purgatory. Halloween is a time to let people know about our
Catholic roots and significance. (Fr. Scott Archer)

Catholic parents who are not comfortable with the worst secular
aspects of Halloween, which are admittedly increasing, can avail themselves
of alternative activities on that day: family prayer and fasting for the
Vigil of All Saints Day, visitations of houses in the garments of non-
devilish personae, the reading aloud of stories of the Saints or of seasonal
literature such as Edgar Allen Poe's "The Masque of the Red Death" and
Washington Irving's "The Legend of Sleepy Hollow", and the playing of
seasonal music such as Saint-Saens "Danse Macabre," Modest Moussorgsky's
"Night on Bald Mountain," and Sergei Rachmaninoff's "Isle of the Dead".

A word of caution, however. The Church has always condemned as sins
against the First Commandment, and thus cautioned her children to stay far
away from, astrology, charms, divination, fortune-telling, magic, ouija
boards, sorcery, spells, witchcraft, and other occult activities, even if
they are treated in a trivial or jesting fashion.

St. Thomas Aquinas says that it is not permitted to Christians even
to dabble in such things: "Man has not been entrusted with power over the
demons to employ them to whatsoever purpose he will. On the contrary, it is
appointed that he should wage war against the demons. Hence, in no way is it
lawful for man to make use of the demons' help by compacts -- either tacit or
express" (II-II, Q96, Art. 3).

We remember too the the Prayer to St. Michael against "Satanam
aliosque spiritus malignos qui ad perditionem animarum pervagantur in mundo"
[Satan and the other evil spirits who roam in the world for the ruin of
souls]. As in all things, parents must be sure to teach their children the
proper balance in such matters, erring neither on the side of defect or


Another cherished Halloween custom is trick-or-treating. This is another one with some Christian origins.

In Celtic times, the inhabitants of the British Isles believed that on the night of October 31, which was their new year's eve, the spirits of those who had died during that year could come back to visit their families. Offerings of food were left by the living for these relatives.

Some donned the clothes of the departed, and begged for the treats from door to door in the village. Sometimes banquests were laid out, after which the people in the guise of the dead were escorted to the edge of town (we still send what we don't want to the edge of town: to the dump).

The Church looked somewhat askance at this custom. But, as the Church did with many pre-Christian customs that we still observe as Christmas rituals, it gave the celebration of the night of October 31st a Christian content.

First All Saints' Day was imposed on November 1st, and made a day of mandatory attendance at Mass. Later, a day to honor all the faithful departed, All Souls' Day was added on November 2nd.

The custom of dressing up in the clothes of the and going door-to-door was transformed into the "luck visit" ritual called "going a-souling." Young people would visit, and beg for soul cakes (square cakes of something like raisin bread), sometimes singing souling songs.

If given a soul cake, the visitor would promise to pray for the soul of the donor, or anyone he designated. This custom was, in the 19th century revived and transformed into trick-or-treating.

You will notice a strong resemblence between trick-or-treating and Christmas "luck visits" like carolling, John Canoe, wassailing, the Plough Monday ritual, and the Wren Boys in Ireland. In England, once Hallowmas was more-or-less replaced with Guy Fawkes Night, and souling fell out of fashion, children used to go door to door to beg "A penny for the Guy?". There was also here in the US, particularly in New York in the 19th century a Thanksgiving Day begging door-to-door ritual which is similar.

They are indeed related customs. Luck or good fortune, in this case in the form of prayers for the soul, are exchanged for gifts of food or drink. Both are new year rituals, with trick-or-treating a reminder that October 31st was new year's eve for the Celts.

Today many Catholic schools have children dress up as saints, and attend Mass on All Saints Day so attired. This is another adaptation of the "luck visit" ritual that is at the root of trick-or-treating. And many children now have two costumes, something spooky or pop culturish for All Hallows' Eve, and a saint's attire for All Hallows.

Why not?

The Ghost's Lament

The Ghost's Lament
Woe's me, woe's me
The acorn's not yet fallen from the tree,
That's to grow the wood,
That's to make the cradle,
That's to rock the baby,
That's to grow a man,
That's to release me!

The Jack-O-Lantern

Many of you will be familiar with this story, but it illustrates the Christian origins of one of the most cherished Halloween customs.

Back in the days after Saint Patrick had converted Ireland, there lived an Irishman named Jack. Now Jack was a notoriously mean, stingy, and hard-drinking reprobate. Jack wanted a drink, but could not afford one. He somehow summoned the Devil, and offered him his soul for a drink. The Devil agreed.

Jack asked for hard cider, and asked the Devil to climb a tree to get apples to make cider from. The Devil climbed up, and sent down some apples. Once Jack had the apples. he quickly carved a cross in the trunk of the tree, making it impossible for the Devil to come down out of the tree. Jack and the Devil agreed that Jack would efface the cross, so that the Devil could come down, and the Devil would never accept Jack's soul into Hell. Jack went off with the cider and laughing in his sleeve.

Jack continued his life of sin. When he finally died, he presented himself at the Gates of Heaven, only to be turned away for being in life too , too tight, and too thirsty.

"Well," Jack said, "off to Hell I go." But when he got there, the Devil reminded Jack of their bargain, and refused him. To speed him on his way, the Devil hurled a coal from the fires of Hell at Jack.

Jack had been eating a turnip, and had hollowed it out fairly well. Jack defended himself from the burning coal by putting up the turnip, and caught the coal in it. Since then, using his hollowed out turnip with its coal from the fires of Hell as a lantern, Jack has been wandering the earth in search of a drink and a refuge.

He is known as Jack of the Lantern, or jack-o-lantern.

In Ireland, it was the custom to carve grotesque faces into turnips, and use them as lanterns for going a'souling around Hallowmas.

When the Irish came to America, they found turnips not particularly popular. But the Yankees used pumpkins for everything, including soup tureens, ladles, and storage pots. The Irish found that pumpkins made excellent substitues for Jack's turnip lantern. That is why we carve pumpkins into jack-o-lanterns to this day.

Without Noticing It

I guess this blog passed the 8,000th post milestone sometime this month. The dashboard counter now reads 8025 entries. Didn't notice when it happened.

Well, 8,000 entries. And miles to go before I sleep.

Monday, October 30, 2006

Gregorian Trental Masses For the Dead

From Traditio.com:


By the "Gregorian Masses" is meant a series of Masses offered,
uninterruptedly, on thirty successive days, for the repose of the soul of a
deceased person. The series is called a Trental.

This practice arose as far back as, at least, the eighth century, and
is ascribed to an incident related by St. Gregory the Great (540-604) in his
Dialogues (Lib. IV, Cap. 55) -- how he ordered such a series of Masses to be
said for the soul of one of his monks who had died penitent, after the
commission of a fault against monastic poverty, and how, at the end of the
series, the monk announced his delivery from Purgatory.

Hence arose the belief that, in addition to the intrinsic value of
the celebration of thirty Masses for the soul of a dead person, an extrinsic
efficacy was added through the prayers and merits of St. Gregory, inclining
God to apply more fully the infinite merits of the Mass to the deceased
person, so that at the end of the thirty days he would be freed from

VALUE OF THIS VERY OLD BELIEF, the Sacred Congregation of Indulgences did
declare (Acta Sanctae Sedis, XVI, 509), on March 15, 1884, that "the
confidence of the faithful, convinced that the offering of thirty Masses
called "Gregorian" Masses possesses a special efficacy for the deliverance of
souls in Purgatory, is pious and reasonable, and the custom of celebrating
these Masses is approved by the Church."

Conditions of the Trental
1) The thirty Masses must be offered without a break (S. Cong. Indulg., Jan
14, 1889; Holy Office, Dec. 12, 1912 [II]), for thirty consecutive days, not
necessarily by the same priest (Holy Office [III]) -- hence the priest who
undertook the celebration may have one or more Masses supplied by another
priest--, nor in the same church. Should the last three days of Holy Week
occur, and the celebrant does not say Mass on Maundy Thursday, or Holy
Saturday (if he does, he must make those Masses part of the Trental), the
series is not broken (Benedict XIV, Institutiones Eccl. 34 [n. 22], and he
may continue, on Easter Sunday, as if there had been no interval.

2) The Masses must be spread over thirty days -- one being celebrated each
day. Hence, the celebrant must not get one more more of the Masses
celebrated by others on the one day, so that the thirty are completed in a
shorter period than thirty days; nor must he apply more than one of his
Masses on Christmas Day as a part of the Trental (S. Cong. Indulg., Jan. 14,
1889; Holy Office, Dec. 12, 1919 [II and IV]).

3) The Masses must all be offered for ONE deceased person only, not for
several; nor for the living (S. Cong. Indulg., Aug. 24, 1888).

4) The Masses need not be Requiem Masses, even on days when these are
permitted, but "it is praiseworthy to say them, out of regard for the dead,
on days on which this is lawful and becoming" (Holy Office, Dec, 12, 1912

5) The Masses need not be said at a privileged altar, nor need they be
offered in honor of St. Gregory, nor with a commemoration of him (S. Cong.
Indulg., Jan 14, 1889).

6) It is not certain that there is any plenary indulgence attached to the
Trental (S. Cong. Indulg., Aug. 24, 1888). the special efficacy is due
rather to the divine good pleasure and mercy, and to the acceptance on God's
part of the Masses (S. Cong. Indulg., Aug. 24,, 1888, and Mar. 15, 1884).

7) The Masses of the Trental have no liturgical privileges. (J.B. O'Connell,
The Celebration of Mass)

There are several traditional organizations whose priests offer Gregorian
Masses. For listings, see the Traditional Catholic Supplies section of the
latest edition of the Official Catholic Directory of Traditional Latin Masses
& Resource Book for the U.S. and Canada.

There is a variation on this type of trental discussed by Eamon Duffy in The Stripping of the Altars. In it, the 30 Masses were said over the course of the liturgical year, with 3 said during the octave of each of the 10 the most important feasts of the Church. It was pointed out then, and I suppose it remains a valid point, why delay the 30 Masses, and make the poor soul linger longer in Purgatory while the 30 Masses that might move him or her to Heaven are being spaced out over the year? Why not, as described here, have the 30 Masses said immediately?

A Hallowmas Project That Is Hanging Fire

In Medieval Europe, the votive Mass of the Five Wounds was almost universal for week's minds, month's minds, and anniversary Masses for the dead, as well as any Mass specified in wills by testators to be said for them after death. It was viewed as the most efficacious Mass for moving souls from Purgatory to Heaven.

And I would like to discuss that votive Mass. However, neither my 1959 St. Joseph's Missal, nor any on-line source I have been able to find, gives the propers for that votive Mass. So if you happen to know where they can be found, preferably on line, send me an email, and you will have my thanks.

Last Years' Hallowmas Posts

I did quite a bit of work on Hallowmas last year, and this link will take you to an index of all those posts.

A Hallowmas Recipe

Ossi di Morti
These cookies are brittle and dry like old bones. They are made all over Italy around November 1 and 2 to celebrate All Souls' Day, in remembrance of deceased relatives. Don't let their name turn you off. They are unusual to look at, delicious to eat, and a real conversation piece. I know a few places in Boston's North End where you can get these.


2 large egg whites, at room temperature
2/3 cup confectioner's sugar
1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons fine semolina flour
2/3 cup coarsely chopped semisweet or milk chocolate
3/4 cup coarsely chopped blanched almonds


2/3 cup coarsely chopped semisweet chocolate
2 tablespoons (1/4 stick) butter

Preheat oven to 300ºF. Generously grease and flour your cookie sheets, or line with parchment paper.

In a glass or copper bowl, whip the egg whites until stiff peaks begin to form. Slowly add half the sugar a little at a time, beating until well incorporated and the whites are stiff and shiny. With a spatula, sprinkle the remaining sugar, semolina flour, chocolate, and almonds over the egg whites and fold in with a rubber spatula.

Using 2 teaspoons, use a small portion of batter to form bone-shaped cookies about 3 inches long and 1½ inches wide. (I use a cardboard template of a bone and trace it with a pencil onto the underside of the parchment paper, then fill in the space with the batter.) Space the cookies about 1 inch apart.

Bake for 30 to 35 minutes or until the cookies are fairly dry but still pale looking. Cool on sheets, then transfer carefully to a cooling rack.

Fill the bottom of a double boiler with water and bring to a boil. Turn off the heat, add the chocolate and butter to the top of the double boiler, cover, and let stand for 10 to 15 minutes or until the chocolate and butter are melted.

Stir the frosting well. Dip the underside of each cookie into the frosting and, while still wet, make wavy lines through the chocolate with a fork or a frosting comb. Let the cookies dry completely.

A Decent Precis

Of why younger people like the Latin Mass, and why it is the most rapidly growing part of the Church.

If only every bishop read this, and took what the people interviewed for this article are saying to heart.

And on a related note, see what Gerald from The Cafeteria Is Closed has to say on a Traditional Mass he attended recently.

Catching Up

A hectic, busy weekend and last two weeks for me, but I'm taking a few minutes this morning to relax and do something that has become rare recently: blog!

I'm way behind on my Hallowmas cascade of Memento Mori posts, and owe the League of Evil Trads a Christ the King post, as yesterday was Christ the King in the traditional ordo (in the new ordo, it is moved, sensibily enough, I think, to the last Sunday of the liturgical year).

Let's catch up with football news first. It has been several weeks since I posted on the topic. My prep school, St. John's Prep in Danvers, had been doing well in the early going this season, building a 4-0 record. But they have dropped their last three games to St. John's of Shrewsbury, Dracut, and Billerica. So they seem headed for destined mediocrity this season.

When last we addressed the topic of the New England Patriots, they had just droppd a game, and things were looking rough. But since then, they have won 2 more, and seem destined, at 5-1, to win the AFC East (not that that is a great achievement, as the AFC East is probably the weakest division in pro football). They play the Minnesota Vikings, their first NFC opponent this year, tonight on Monday Night Football.

Dear to my heart now is the performance of my alma mater Boston College Eagles. They beat Buffalo this weekend 41-0 to move up to 16th in the AP top twenty, while Clemson's loss this weekend finally brought them down from 12th to 19th. I mention Clemson because their previous ranking was an injustice. They had an identical record to that of BC (except they had played one more game and won it), with one loss. But Clemson's loss was to BC, and yet, the college football establishment ranked Clemson 12th and BC 18th. Next target in the rankings, Notre Dame!

While on the topic of sports, I should mention the death this weekend of Arnold "Red" Auerbach, the basketball genius who coached the Boston Celtics to 9 NBA titles in the 1950s and 1960s, and built the 1980s powerhouse team of Larry Bird, Kevin McHale, Dennis Johnson, Robert Parrish, and Danny Ainge. Red was the Boston Celtics. Cigar in mouth, and Chinese food on the way, he, like fellow cigar smokers Winston Churchill and John Adams, lived to a ripe old age (in Red's case, 89). I must admit that I have not had much interest in basketball (haven't even watched a game) in the 15 or so years since Larry Bird retired. Requiescat in pace.

In ecclesiastical news, Boston has two new auxiliary bishops. I wish them well in their pastorships, and hope that they will prove to be friends of the traditional Latin Mass community at Holy Trinity, since one of them is taking over the Boston (Central) Region.

Meanwhile, in Rome, rumors of the forthcoming universal indult make it seem that publication is imminent. Meanwhile, the French bishops (in France, more people attend SSPX chapels than parish churches) are trying to dissuade the Holy Father from granting the indult. I think my money is on Pope Benedict to stick by his guns, and tell the French hierarchs to shape up the celebration of Mass in their parishes, to win back the dissatisfied.

Election news appears universally grim. Certified Leftist Moonbat Deval Patrick has a commanding lead over liberal Republican Kerry Muffy Healey in the Massachusetts' gubernatorial race. When presented with a choice of two liberals, people will always pick the authentic liberal, rather than the ersatz one. Republican control of both houses of Congress is seriously jeapordized. The country is having a severe midterm malaise, though the economy is strong and gas prices have come down dramatically. Excellent Senators like Rick Santorum and Mike DeWine are in danger of losing their seats. When it comes to Senate seats, given that these are the guys who approve presidential nominations for the judiciary, I'll always stick with someone who will caucus with the GOP. With regard to the absolutely vital and non-negotiable life and moral issues, there is no Catholic interest in seeing the number of Democrats increased, as that would give power to liberals.

The National GOP is set to unleash a tremendous fundraising advantage and a huge, and very sophisticated GOTV operation in the final days, but it may be too late to save some of our best, as well as Republican control of Congress (especially the House). I saw that, last week, Barron's prognosticated that Republicans would maintain slim margins in both houses. That may be correct, and it accords with my original predictions. But I have a feeling that things have changed, are changing, and not to the advantage of the GOP, or those who want to assure more conservative federal judges and Supreme Court justices. Karl Rove has made me eat my words once or twice in the past, so we shall see if he accomplishes it again, by holding losses to a minimum. But I am more a Lyn Nofziger, Roger Ailes, or Lee Atwater when it comes to how to run a national campaign, and would feel more confident if the entire election had been nationalized around issues like illegal immigration, quotas, English as the national language, and basic patriotism, the rock bottom gut issues that Republicans do much better with.

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