Saturday, February 03, 2007

Today's Catholic Cultural Heritage Image

Main altar, Old St. Mary's Cincinnati, Ohio.

More to follow at another time.

Pro-Abortion Democrat Terry McAuliffe

Denied, as a Knight of Malta. And justifiably so. With his record in support of abortion, he shouldn't even be able to take the Sacrament.

First good news we have had this age and more, with all the feckless, useless nonsense coming from bishops like Trautman, and Wuerl, and McCarrick lately.

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Found via The Roving Medievalist

But What Does It Mean?

The Holy Father has named Cardinal Rode to the Ecclesia Dei commission that oversees the indult Latin Mass (but there is no English translation yet).

Friend or foe?

I just checked him out on Wikipedia, and this is what they have to say about him.

That doesn't say much. Who is this guy, and what are his views on the Latin Mass?

St. Blaise

Gosh could I use the intercession of St. Blaise today! I have been suffering from a respiratory infection all of this week (since last weekend) and now, while most of the other symptoms have lessened, I have an acute case of laryingitis, and can't talk above a hoarse, raspy whisper. So the sweet, gentle voice my loved ones know, and the extremely loud commanding voice that could once be heard frequently bouncing off the hills around Concord Bridge ("Company...Shoulder your...Firelocks!") can only be heard within about 3 feet of my mouth.

Here is what The Golden Legend has to say about St. Blaise.

Deposito of the Alleluia

We do not now deserve
To sing the Alleluia forever;
Guilt forces us
To dismiss you, O Alleluia.
For the time approaches in which
We must weep for our sins.

From Father Francis X. Weiser, S.J. (former pastor of Holy Trinity, Boston), Handbook of Christian Feasts and Customs.

The depositio (discontinuance) of the Alleluia on the eve of Septuagesima assumed in medieval times a solemn and emotional note of saying farewell to the beloved song. Despite the fact that Pope Alexander II had ordered a very simple and somber way of "deposing" the Alleluia, a variety of farewell customs prevailed in many countries up to the sixteenth century. They were inspired by the sentiment that Bishop William Duranti (1296) voiced in his commentaries on the Divine Office: "We part from the Alleluia as from a beloved friend, whom we embrace many times and kiss on the mouth, head and hand, before we leave him."

The liturgical office on the eve of Septuagesima was performed in many churches with special solemnity, and alleluias were freely inserted in the sacred text, even to the number of twenty-eight final alleluias in the church of Auxerre in France. This custom also inspired some tender poems that were sung or recited during Vespers in honor of the sacred word. The best known of these hymns is, Alleluia, dulce carmen ("Alleluia, Song of Gladness"), composed by an unknown author of the tenth century. It was translated into English by John Mason Neale (1866) and may be found in the official hymnal of the Protestant Episcopal Church.

In some French churches the custom developed in ancient times of allowing the congregation to take part in the celebration of a quasi-liturgical farewell ceremony. The clergy abstained from any role in this popular service. Choirboys officiated in their stead at what was called "Burial of the Alleluia" performed the Saturday afternoon before Septuagesima Sunday. We find a description of it in the fifteenth-century statute book of the church of Toul:

"On Saturday before Septuagesima Sunday all choir boys gather in the sacristy during the prayer of the None, to prepare for the burial of the Alleluia. After the last Benedicamus [i.e., at the end of the service] they march in procession, with crosses, tapers, holy water and censers; and they carry a coffin, as in a funeral. Thus they proceed through the aisle, moaning and mourning, until they reach the cloister. There they bury the coffin; they sprinkle it with holy water and incense it; whereupon they return to the sacristy by the same way."

In Paris, a straw figure bearing in golden letters the inscription "Alleluia" was carried out of the choir at the end of the service and burned in the church yard.

With the exception of these quaint aberrations, however, the farewell to alleluia in most countries was an appropriate addition to the official ceremonies of the liturgy. The special texts (hymns, responsories, antiphons) used on that occasion were taken mostly from Holy Scripture, and are filled with pious sentiments of devotion....

Thus the Alleluia is sung for the last time and not heard again until it suddenly bursts into glory during the Mass of the Easter Vigil when the celebrant intones this sacred word after the Epistle, repeating it three times, as a jubilant herald of the Resurrection of Christ.

1. Alleluia dulce carmen,
Vox perennis gaudii,
Alleluia laus suavis
Est choris coelestibus,
Quam canunt Dei manentes
In domo per saecula.

2. Alleluia laeta mater
Concivis Jerusalem:
Alleluia vox tuorum
Civium gaudentium:
Exsules nos flere cogunt
Babylonis flumina.

3. Alleluia non meremur
In perenne psallere;
Alleluia vo reatus
Cogit intermittere;
Tempus instat quo peracta
Lugeamus crimina.

4. Unde laudando precamur
Te beata Trinitas,
Ut tuum nobis videre
Pascha des in aethere,
Quo tibi laeti canamus
Alleluia perpetim.

Friday, February 02, 2007

I Couldn't Agree More

With Howie Carr's take on the two nit-wits who planted the "mooninite" devices around Boston, that caused such chaos Wednesday.


Candlemas Day
by Robert Herrick
Kindle the Christmas brand, and then
Till sunset let it burn;
Which quench'd then lay it up again
Till Christmas next return.

Part must be kept wherewith to tend
The Christmas log next year;
And where 'tis safely kept, the fiend
Can do no mischief there.

This poem describes the custom of taking down the last of the Christmas holly on Candlemas, and burning it. It should certainly be dry enough by now.

However, an alternate custom was to reserve the last of the holly and use it as kindling for the fire for the Shrove Tuesday pancakes. This year, that would mean keeping the dried-out holly around almost another 2 weeks.

This is the feast of the Purification of the Virgin, which, under Jewish Law comes 40 days after childbirth. And Candlemas is 40 days after Christmas. The Church also (rather oddly, I think) adds the Feast of the Presentation. Odd, because under Jewish Law, the baby Jesus would have been presented and circumcised on the eighth day after his birth, or the Octave of Christmas. So, there were two Temple-related events after the Nativity, the Presentation on January 1st, and the Purification or Churching of Mary, on February 2nd. The Holy Family must have remained in Bethlehem (though they probably moved out of the stable, as the Magi story speaks of a "house") to be close to Jerusalem and the Temple for these two events. It can only be after this that the Flight to Egypt and the Slaughter of the Holy Innocents took place.

How did Candlemas get its name? Today was the day to bring to church for blessing the year's supply of candles, especially candles with a semi-sacramental nature, like the candles placed in the window on Christmas Eve, Christmas Day, New Years, and Epiphany in Irish homes, candles for the Advent wreath, candles for the home sick visit kit, or candles used in home shrines.

One of the European superstitions connected with Candlemas was that a fair, clear Candlemas meant a longer winter, where a cloudy Candlemas would mean the end of winter was at hand. In Europe, the end of February is often quite spring-like, where here in the US (especially here in New England), it tends to be more wintery, as our seasons run about 3 weeks behind the European seasons.

Here is a German saying:

When it storms and snows on Candlemas Day,
Spring is not far away;
if it's bright and clear,
Spring is not yet near.

This gave rise to the legend that if the groundhog sees his shadow on February 2nd (now better known as Groundhog Day) it means 6 more weeks of winter (as opposed to only 4 more weeks if he does not see it).

Folks, here is some good news for 2007. In Pennsylvania, Punxatawney Phil could not see his shadow this morning, for only the 15th time (or so) since 1885. So that supposedly indicates we have only 4 more weeks of winter weather to look forward to. However, while the prospect of only 4 more weeks before the coming of Spring is nice, the forecast for next week indicates that the coldest weather of the year is about to lock itself in over us, and be with us through virtually all of next week.

Check out our friends at Fish Eaters for more on Candlemas customs.

Also, see The Golden Legend on the Purification of Our Blessed Lady.

Thursday, February 01, 2007

Saint Brigid

Here is a website on the beloved patroness of Ireland. Included on a page, are 3 different methods for making a St. Brigid's Cross. I always wanted to try dong that, but I doubt my skills at that sort of thing are equal.

Interestingly. on another page of the site (scroll down, but take the time to peruse the entire page of seasonal customs, much of the information derived from the excellent The Year In Ireland by Kevin Danaher), there is yet another Luck Visit custom associated with St. Brigid's Eve.

In my various researches, I have come across numerous luck visit rituals (mostly) from the British Isles, and mostly associated with what we now call "the holidays," the period from Halloween through Candlemas. To jog the memory, I have discussed here Soulling, Trick-or-Treat, A Penny For the Guy, Something For Thanksgiving (apparently entirely American, though derived from British precedents), wassailling, carolling, John Canoe (again American, and particular to the slave population on Southern plantations), and the Plough Monday Ritual and play.

Irish folk used to go about with an effigy of Saint Brigid dressed in white, and offer this song in exchange for a gift of food, drink, or coin:

Something for poor Biddy!
Her clothes are torn
Her shoes are worn
Something for poor Biddy!


Here is Brigid dressed in white,
Give her a penny for her night
She is deaf, she is dumb
She cannot talk without a tongue.


Here comes Brigid dressed in white
Give her something for the night
She is deaf, she is dumb
For Gods sake give her some.

Note that among the Celts, and in Europe generally, February 1st is considered the beginning of Spring, where here in the Northeastern US, it is very much a cold, snowy winter month, with the first real hope for nice weather at least 6 weeks off, often longer.

Final Harry Potter Book Will Be Out July 21st

J.K. Rowling has announced the publication date for Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows. It will be quite iteresting to see how this saga finally works out. I have been following it closely for the last 5 years or so.

Boston's Crazy Day

I was too busy yesterday afternoon to follow here the crisis atmosphere that prevailed in this city, as some 14 (of 38) unknown devices were discovered all over the city, at landmarks, in or near subway stations. The first device discovered forced the closure of the Orange Line's Sullivan Square stop, and the nearby Route 93. Later the Longfellow Bridge and the Red Line were closed down. Fenway Park was among the other locations where these devices were found.

Well, it turned out that the devices (they look to me like the old kids' toy LiteBrite) were part of the marketing strategy for the Turner Broadcasting adult cartoon show Aqua Teen Hunger Force. They show a character from the show giving "the finger" (sorry, I'm not familiar with it as I gave up watching network TV programming 9 years ago and now only use the TV as a platform for the DVD player or VCR). They were placed in various cities, not just Boston.

Not bombs, just idiocy.

You have to be pretty stupid to pull a stunt like this in a country that is still at war, whose cities could (as was just amply demonstrated) be suddenly and without warning again be turned into new war zones. Have we forgotten the Madrid and London subway bombings, the daily suicide/homicide bombings in Israel and Iraq? Traffic disrupted on an incredible scale, subway service disrupted. Everybody given (at the least) quite a bit of annoyance.

And a corporation like Turner Broadcasting has to have had rocks in its collective noggin to give the OK for this type of marketing strategy. More importantly, it ought to be held responsible for the disruption. I saw this morning that Mayor Mumbles Menino, who wouldn't know an Aqua Teen Hunger Force character from Barney Rubble, wants Turner to pay $500,000 in costs.

I think the cost to Turner ought to be much higher. There ought to be a punitive aspect to this. I'd say Boston ought to sock Turner for a cool $1 billion. And take Ted Turner personally (whose name the company still works under, even if he doesn't have day-to-day control) onto Boston Common and give him 100 of the best with a cat-o-nine-tails.

That will make out-of-touch corporate executives think twice before they pull a stunt like this again.

Now on to what this shows us. A couple of guys were able to drop 38 devices at various locations throughout the city, including in the T, without being caught in the act. And what really puts me in full Sherman T. Potter blood vessel-bursting mode is that these things were installed 2 weeks ago!!!!!! Two weeks, and these things under bridges, highway ramps, and in the T were not even noticed by the relevant security forces.

It makes you wonder whether Jane Not-So-Swift and Ginny Buckingham really were the well-spring of utter cluelessness, or whether the problem is systemic here. Any body realize we are still at war? How about acting like it?

We just gave al Qaeda all the evidence they need that Boston's subway system, and in fact the entire city, is asleep at the security switch (still: remember where 2 of the 9/11 planes were hijacked from, and why).

I read a few months ago that there are only 40 Boston Transit Cops on duty at any one time, and they are stretched throughout the entire system, from Brockton to Salem to Framingham. No wonder these idiots were able to pull off this stunt.

Heads ought to roll, and not just at Turner. Mumbles himself must bear a significant portion of the blame for the lax security that allowed this to happen. If these things had been bombs, we would now be counting the dead, if we could. And those responsible for the security lapses at the T and elsewhere really need to be severely mulcted.

I find it incredible that, 5 years after September 11th, and after the creation in this city of a virtual standing army of private security forces (complete with SWAT-team like uniforms and combat boots) this sort of thing could occur. What kind of security is all this money paying for, anyway??

Anyone? Anyone? Bueller? Bueller?


Maple sugaring in late February in Vermont
Important feasts during the month of February include:

1st St. Brigid
2nd Candlemas, Purification of the Blessed Virgin Mother
3rd St. Blaise
5th St. Agatha
6th St. Vaast
7th Bl. Pope Pius IX
8th St. John of Matha
9th Bl. Anna Catherine Emmerich
10th St. Scholastica
11th St. Benedict of Aniane
12th Our Lady of Lourdes, Bl. James Fenn, John Nutter, John Munden, & Thomas Benstead (martyrs)
14th SS. Valentine, SS Cyril and Methodius
16th St. Gilbert of Sempringham & St. Julian of Nicomedia
17th St. Finan of Iona
18th St. Bernadette of Lourdes
21st St. Peter Damian & Bl. Noel Pinot (martyr)
23rd St. Polycarp & St. Milburga
27th Bl. Mark Barkworth and Roger Filcock (martyrs)
28th SS. Gregory II & Hilary (Popes)

The First Friday of February is Friday, February 2nd.
The First Saturday of February is Saturday, February 3rd.

The month begins in the season after Epiphany. Septuagesima Sunday is the first Sunday of the month, so that most of the first 3 weeks of the month are part of the pre-Lenten season. Ash Wednesday falls on February ushering the penitential season of Lent.
Septuagesima Sunday (70 days under Easter) is February 4th.
Sunday in Shrovetide, or Quinquegesima Sunday is Sunday February 18th.
Collop Monday is Monday, February 19th.
Shrove Tuesday (or Mardi Gras) is Tuesday, February 20th.
Ash Wednesday is Wednesday, February 21st.
The Lenten Embertide begins Wednesday February 28th (and continues on Friday, March 2nd-also first Friday of March, and Saturday, March 3rd-also first Saturday of March).

Our Holy Father Pope Benedict XVI's prayer intentions for the month of February, 2007 are:
General: That the goods of the earth, given by God for all men, may be used wisely and according to criteria of justice and solidarity.

Missionary: That the fight against diseases and great epidemics in the Third World may find, in the spirit of solidarity, ever more generous collaboration on the part of the governments of all nations.

Wednesday, January 31, 2007

A Lesson In Life

I liked this rather a lot.
From Ad Majorem Dei Gloriam:

A professor stood before his philosophy class with several items in front of him.

When the class began, he wordlessly picked up a very large and empty mayonnaise jar and proceeded to fill it with golf balls. He then asked the students if the jar was full. They agreed that it was.

The professor then picked up a box of pebbles and poured them into the jar. He shook the jar lightly and the pebbles rolled into the open areas between the golf balls. He then asked the students again if the jar was full they agreed it was.

The professor next picked up a box of sand and poured it into the jar . Of course, the sand filled up everything else. He asked once more if the jar was full and the students responded with a unanimous "yes."

The professor then produced two cups of coffee from under the table and poured the entire contents into the jar, effectively filling the empty space between the sand. The students laughed.

"Now," said the professor, as the laughter subsided, "I want you to recognize that this jar represents your life. The golf balls are the important things- God, your family, your children, your health, your friends, your freedom -- things that if everything else was lost and only they remained, your life would still be full.

"The pebbles are the other things that matter like your job, your house, and your car.

"The sand is everything else -- the small stuff.

"If you put the sand into the jar first," he continued, "there is no room for the pebbles or the golf balls.

The same goes for life. If you spend all your time and energy on the small stuff, you will never have room for the things that are important to you.

"Pay attention to the things that are critical to your happiness. Play with your children. Take time to get medical checkups. Take your spouse out to dinner. Help the poor and the less fortunate. Pray and thank God for your many blessings. There will always be time to clean the house and fix the disposal."

Take care of the golf balls first -- the things that really matter. Set your priorities. The rest is just sand."

One of the students raised her hand and inquired what the coffee represented.

The professor smiled. "I'm glad you asked. It just goes to show you that no matter how full your life may seem, there's always room for a couple of cups of coffee with a friend."

Saint John Bosco

More about the life of St. John here.

Tuesday, January 30, 2007

The "Tridentine Rite" Motu Proprio:

Still waiting.

I note that the final document of the 2005 Eucharistic Synod is also still pending. Why is getting a document out of Pope Benedict's Vatican like waiting on hold with tech support?

Lent Comes Barrelling Towards Us

This Sunday is Septuagesima Sunday, 70 days until Easter, and the start of pre-Lent.

The Deputy Was Soviet Misinformation

I had to read the vile diatribe in the guise of a play, at B.C. in my freshman year (1982-83) Honors Program ("Great Books!") class. Incidentally, the class was taught by a man who, in the first semester, was known as "Father" X, and who left the Jesuits that term, and in the second semester was plain old "Professor" X.

Knowing what we know about the incredible devotion to the destruction of all good things nurtured by the Soviet Union, I see no reason to doubt the veracity of this report.

Red Sox Spring Training Can't Come Soon Enough For the Boston Sports Fan

Both the Bruins and Celtics touted "new and improved" products for the 2006-2007 season. Well, here is the result:

The Bruins are 22-22, in dead last place in their division.

The Celtics are a dismal 12-31, again in dead last place in their division.

Short of a major health collapse like the Red Sox had last year (and management has been busy trying to "deepen" the pool of talent) the Red Sox should post numbers way, way better than their winter collegues.

Not Bad For a Benighted Obscurantist Papist

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Father Drinan Dead

"De mortuis, nihil nisi bonum."

So I have nothing further to say on this topic.

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