Saturday, June 21, 2008

Our Blessed Lady's Saturday

Our Mother, Mary

Thou art clement, thou art chaste,
Mary, thou art fair;
Of all mothers sweetest, best,
None with thee compare.

O Mother blest! whom God bestows
On, sinners and on just,
What joy, what hope, thou givest those
Who in thy mercy trust!
Thou art clement, etc.

O heavenly Mother! Mistress sweet!
It never yet was told
That suppliant sinner left thy feet
Unpitied, unconsoled.
Thou art clement, etc.

O Mother pitiful and mild!
Cease not to pray for me;
For I do love thee as a child,
And sigh for love of thee.
Thou art clement, etc.

Most pow'rful Mother! all men know
Thy Son denies thee nought;
Thou askest-----wishest it-----and, lo,
His power thy will has wrought.
Thou art clement, etc.

Mother of Love! for me obtain,
Ungrateful though I be,
To love that God Who first could deign
To show such love to me.
Thou art clement, etc.


Friday, June 20, 2008

Friday At the Foot Of the Cross

Prayers To the Sacred Heart Especially Appropriate During Mass

At the Elevation of the Sacred Host

O MY Savior! with sincere humility I adore Thee, and offer Thee up, by the hands of the priest, to Thy Heavenly Father in reparation for my sins and for the sins of the whole world.

At the Elevation of the Chalice

Most precious Blood, flow on my soul and sanctify it! May the love through which Thou wast shed for me be enkindled in my heart, and purify it!


Wednesday, June 18, 2008

The Year Of Victory Continues

For Boston sports fans, this year reminds us how the British public felt in 1759, when their armies and fleets chalked up victory after victory in the war against France and its allies. Clive triumphant in India at Plassey, Wolfe victorious, though killed, at Quebec, Amherst making good progress along the line of the Hudson, Admiral Hawke giving the French fleet a jolly good thumping at Quiberon Bay, and the army in Germany under Ferdinand of Brunswick routing the numerically superior French at Minden. It was such a year of victories that a hugely powerful first-rate ship laid down that year was christened HMS Victory, and she went on to achieve great fame and victory herself, most notably as Nelson's flagship at Trafalgar in 1805.

So this year has been for Boston sports fans. The Red Sox put us back in the spotlight with a World Series Championship, their second in 4 years, and Red Sox fans can never get enough of those after the long 86 year drought we suffered through. Then the Patriots ran the string to 18-0 in the regular season and playoffs, though they choked in the Super Bowl. Boston College looked like a contender for the National Championship for a while this year, though they ended up winning just a minor bowl. But the hockey team went all the way, bringing an NCAA national title to the Heights. The Bruins, those perpetually underfunded blue-collar guys, even gave us a thrill when it took Montreal 7 games to dispatch them in the first round of the playoffs.

And now, the Celtics. After 22 years without a title, 22 long years in which the promise of two stars who should have lead the team to new heights was cut off when they died suddenly, 22 years in which draft picks that would have helped were denied because of the bizarre lottery rules of the NBA draft, 22 years of mediocre play, poor coaching, and tickets being given away, finally, the Celtics reign supreme this morning.

Now I am not a big basketball fan. Baseball is my game, with football a distinct second. Even in the days of Larry Bird and Kevin McHale and Robert Parrish, with Johnny Most on the radio, and Red Auerbach in the General Manager's seat, I only paid limited attention to that sport. And I can honestly say that I have not watched a single moment of a single game this year. However, the whole City of Boston was alive and electrified last night. I saw hundreds of folks, mostly young, walking about in Celtics gear, and having a good time. In some cases, too much of a good time. I saw hundreds of cops in riot gear with very long batons patrolling about in groups as big as the groups of revellers. I didn't see anything really bad happen, but I was happy to be safe behind a couple of locked security doors by 11pm.

Of course, it won't last. Runs of luck like this never do. The bad times will come back. But right now, Boston is basking in the glow of a year of victory that I think is unprecedented. A World Series Championship, and an NBA title in the same year, with a Super Bowl Championship just missed by a few inches. I would say that the closest we have been was 1986, when the Celtics last won the NBA title, and the Red Sox went to, but lost, the World Series, and the Patriots went to, but lost the Super Bowl.

So here's to the Celtics, the new NBA Champions. Long and happily may they reign!

Here's to the Red Sox, the defending World Series Champions. May they repeat again and again!

Here's to the Patriots, who have won 3 of the last 8 Super Bowls, and are the defending AFC Champs. Better luck in the Super Bowl this year!

Here's to the Bruins. May they finally get ownership that desperately cares about, and will pay whatevr it costs to bring the Stanley Cup back to Boston after 35 years!

And here's to Boston College. May many more fine young athletes grace the programs, and bring new honors to my alma mater!


Tuesday, June 17, 2008

The Battle At Breed's Hill

This is the anniversary of the bloodiest single battle of the American War of Independence. It happened quite early in the war, and its outcome colored British tactics for the next 8 years.

Penned up inside the town of Boston after the retreat from Concord, the British under General Gage and the newly arrived Generals Howe, Clinton, and Burgoyne planned to make their position more secure by seizing the heights of Charlestown and Dorchester, and then converging on the main rebel force at Cambridge. The New England rebels pre-empted this plan by secretly fortifying Breed's Hill in Charlestown on the night of June 16-17.

The next day, with frigates and shore batteries bombarding the rebel positions and burning Charlestown, General Howe landed on the Charlestown shore with an eventual force of 2,500 redcoats. The New England rebels under Massachusetts' Colonel William Prescott, New Hampshire's Colonel John Stark, and Connecticut's General Israel Putnam were not impressed and held their ground atop Breed's Hill.

The British plan was not to launch a a frontal assault, but have the fast-moving light infantry strike quickly along the Mystic River beach, get up behind the rebel fortifications, and attack from the rear, while the rest of the assault force kept them pinned in front. Efforts to land troops in the rear of the rebel works were impossible because of the tide. By the time the troops were landed, and General Howe had a chance to see how things looked on the ground, the rebels had fortified the beach that the light infantry was to use. The emphasis of the first attack was still trying to get a column of light infantry to hammer a way through the hastily-constructed stone wall on the beach. But the cost proved too high, and the light infantry recoiled after company after company had been decimated.

Two frontal assaults were driven back with huge British losses. Howe's third assault only succeeded when the rebel defenders ran out of ammunition. Fierce hand-to-hand fighting erupted in the redoubt as the Massachusetts men there withdrew. Doctor Joseph Warren, the leading figure of the Massachusetts rebel government was killed at the end of the battle as he and other volunteers tried to cover the retreat.

Howe, who had lost 1,054 killed and wounded, including 10 of his 12 aides, found his troops too decimated and exhausted to pursue. The plan to sweep from Charlestown on to Cambridge and Roxbury was abandoned. The rebels lost some 300 killed and prisoners and a few hundred wounded. Recriminations followed in the Rebel camp, with courts martial the order of the day. Not all the New England troops or leaders had behaved as well in the fighting as had Prescott, Putnam, and Stark. Troops atop Bunker Hill behind the battle scene had refused Putnam's orders to join the battle, and had cowered from the cannon fire in droves. Other troops sent to reinforce the rebel positions refused to cross Charlestown Neck, the narrow strip of land connecting Charlestown to the mainland of Massachusetts, as British naval cannons swept the Neck.

Howe, who succeeded Gage in the supreme command later in the year, was transformed by the bloody experience. He would win a knighthood and much praise for his handling of the army, driving Washington from position after position in New York, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania. Never again, even when his subordinates told him that all he need do was press an attack on a dispirited American force crouching behind makeshift entrenchments to finish Washington off, would he commit his forces to a direct frontal attack. He would use flanking movements, coups de main, amphibious landings. But never again would he hurl his army against defended positions. Because of that, the Continental Army would live to fight another day, again and again.

Today, the battlefield, except for the block-sized area where the monument is located- the site of the redoubt- is covered over by highways and row houses. Authentic re-enactments of the battle on the site are impossible because of this, and because of National Park Service regulations.

But a perversion of the spirit of Bunker Hill is perhaps the battle's most enduring living legacy. Many state workers and city workers in Suffolk County have long had the day off as a result of union contracts. So Bunker Hill Day is primarily comemmorated in Massachusetts as a Hack High Holy Day. It is most unfortunate that this is the most we do to remember the bravery of those Yankee rebels and the intrepid redcoats, whose descendants are now our staunchest allies.

The Massachusetts Historical Society has an exhibit on the battle on-line.


Holy Trinity Update

It has been a while since I posted about the status of Holy Trinity (German) Church in Boston. The parish with its small host German community was the home of the Archdiocese fo Boston's TLM under the Ecclesia Dei indult of Pope John Paul II. Then Cardinal O'Malley moved the indult to Mary Immaculate of Lourdes in Newton. But the rump of parishioners left at Holy Trinity, under the terms of Summorum Pontificum applied for the traditional Mass, and were granted weekly low Masses at 9:00 am on Sunday since late January. Numbers have rebounded since then.

But the Archdiocese still insists that it wants the money from selling the parish and turning it over to developers to convert into condos for rich homosexuals (it is located in Boston's South End, the upscale gay neighborhood of the city), and it has remained on the list of parishes to be closed. Since before Easter, the Archdiocese has been planning to close Holy Trinity. And for a while now, we have had a date for the final closing: June 30th. It is to be merged with the Cathedral parish, located only a few blocks away.

The Cardinal remains adamant, for Lord knows what reason, no good one that I can see, that he will not allow the FSSP to move into the parish, and relieve the Archdiocese of staffing it. When it closes, there will be an appeal, but the fate of similar recent appeals from the closed parishes in the Archdiocese leaves little hope that Holy Trinity will not be sold off.

So there we are. Boston regained its Traditional Mass, but will lose it again very soon. All because the chancery rats hate the traditions of the Church, and probably have a cozy and profitable deal in the works that will allow the butt pirates to move in as soon as the traditional Catholics are kicked to the curb. And don't think they won't pay top dollar to set up housekeeping with their catamites in the same place where the Latin Mass was once said and devout people once prayed. It is the ultimate "in your face," and that is what they are all about.


I Don't Expect To See It, But It Would Not Greatly Surprise Me If It Happened

President Bush might swim the Tiber. That is the story, and it has some plausibility. More likely, a flirtation with Rome might strengthen his basic Christianity, and that is no bad thing, either.

But the notion that he might do it because Tony Blair did is ludicrous. One point that the article did not make is that the President's brother, former Florida Governor Jeb Bush, is a convert to the Church, as he married an hispanic lady. And the President has Catholic nieces and nephews.

I think it goes without saying that on issues important to Catholics, he has been the most Catholic president ever, including the CINO who actually held the office back in the early '60s. Catholics owe President Bush far more gratitude than the holier-than-thou idiots who want to consign him to hell and Texas because of Iraq are willing to admit.

I am sure that the story has already been met with the usual pro forma denials. But the spin issued from the White House may have little relationship to the reality of a Christian's growing spiritual life.

We shall see.

And just to go on record for what may be the first time (after 9,300 posts, who even remembers?) the conservative leader I really expect to see swimming the Tiber one day, though he little suspects it now, is Rush Limbaugh.

Why? How can I say that? The guy's been married more often than most men buy new belts. He's abused drugs, after railing in public about people using drugs. He has said some very uncharitable and intemperate things about certain people.

I think it because of the company he keeps. So many of the people he has liked and respected in public life either were born Catholic or converted. Name a few? Bill Bennett, Tom Clancy, Jeff MacNelly, Bill Buckley, Robert Bork, Pat Buchanan, Bob Novak, etc. Russell Kirk made the leap, because it was the logical thing for him to do. Becoming a Roman Catholic brought him to his true home, to the only Church genuinely compatible with his conservative intellectual values. I think the same logic will play out in Rush's life.

I think I shall see the day when Rush Limbaugh embraces the Church of his ancestors, and I shall pray for it, if it is God's will.

And President Bush, too.


Monday, June 16, 2008

Hey, Traditio In Radice Is Back In Operation

An alert reader let me know that Traditio In Radice started back up a while ago! So it can come off my list of most-missed blogs. Now If only I can shift it in my template to its proper spot without the whole jury-rigged thing that Blogger thinks is too big coming crashing down on me (which is why I don't make many changes int he template these days).


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