Formerly Ad Orientem

"Irish Elk is original, entertaining, eclectic, odd, truly one-of-a-kind. And more than mostly interesting."
Amy Kane

"Puts the 'ent' in 'eccentric.'"

"The Gatling Gun of Courteous Debate."
Unitarian Jihad

"He instinctively can find the shining greatness of our American culture and does a good job of highlighting it (although he also does have those rare lapses when he writes about hockey, but that is something caused by impurities in the Eastern waters or something)."
Erik Keilholtz

Under the patronage of St. Tammany



Mark C. N. Sullivan is an editor at a Massachusetts university. He is married and the father of three children.

News & Ideas
Real Clear Politics
Daily Telegraph
Washington Post
Pajamas Media
American Digest
Little Green Footballs
National Review
The New Republic
The Corner
Opinion Journal
Best of the Web Today
Lileks: The Bleat
Mark Steyn
Midwest Conservative Journal
The Spectator
Atlantic Monthly
Front Page Magazine
Critical Mass
Weekly Standard
Power Line
Llama Butchers
The Onion
Conservative Home
Tory Diary
Henry Jackson Society
Naked Villainy
Fear & Loathing in Georgetown
Commentary: Contentions
The People's Cube

Culture & the Arts
Times Archive Blog
Spectator Book Club
Zajrzyj tu
Terry Teachout
Elliott Banfield
Today in History
Telegraph Obits
Maureen Mullarkey
City Journal
The Historical Society
The New Criterion
American Memory
Wodehouse Society
Hat Sharpening
Doubting Hall
Random Pensées
Hatemonger's Quarterly
Patum Peperium
Forgotten NY
NYPL Digital Gallery
Mid-Manhattan Library
BPL Online Prints
Cigar Store Figures
Scuffulans Hirsutus
Poetry Hut
Spinning Clio
Ye Olde Evening Telegraph
Atlantic Ave.
The Monarchist
Dr. Boli's Celebrated Magazine
The Port Stands At Your Elbow
Sven in Colorado
Dickens Blog
Feast of Nemesis

Red Hot Jazz Archive 'Perfessor' Bill's Ragtime
Arhoolie Records
Sinner's Crossroads
Riverwalk Jazz
Steamboat Calliopes
Cajun Music mp3
Old Hat Records
Virtual Victrola

Touching All the Bases
SABR Baseball Bios
Baseball Fever: Teams of Yesteryear
Boston Sports Temples
Philadelphia A's
Elysian Fields Quarterly
Mudville Magazine
US College Hockey Online
Baseball Reliquary
Sons of Sam Horn
Smoky Joe Wood & More
WaPo DC Baseball
Royal Rooters
Baseball Library
H-Y Football Gallery
Shoeless Joe

Cops in Kilts
Irish Eagle
Slugger O'Toole
Tallrite Blog
Irish Echo
Edmund Burke Society
Wild Geese Today

Theodore Roosevelt
Winston Churchill
Louis Armstrong
H.L. Mencken

St. Blog's Sampling
New Liturgical Movement
Damian Thompson
First Things
Mere Comments
Andrew Cusack
The Revealer
E. L. Core
Catholic Light
Thomas Fitzpatrick
Inn at the End of the World
Dale Price
Curt Jester
Domenico Bettinelli
Erik's Rants and Recipes
Shrine of the Holy Whapping
Todd Flowerday
Some Have Hats
Daniel Mitsui
Roman Miscellany
Against the Grain
Summa Minutiae
Digital Hairshirt


Truth Laid Bear Ecosystem

He is a very shallow critic who cannot see an eternal rebel in the heart of a conservative.

The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing.

Irish Elk - Blogged


05/01/2002 - 06/01/2002 06/01/2002 - 07/01/2002 07/01/2002 - 08/01/2002 08/01/2002 - 09/01/2002 09/01/2002 - 10/01/2002 10/01/2002 - 11/01/2002 11/01/2002 - 12/01/2002 12/01/2002 - 01/01/2003 01/01/2003 - 02/01/2003 02/01/2003 - 03/01/2003 03/01/2003 - 04/01/2003 04/01/2003 - 05/01/2003 05/01/2003 - 06/01/2003 06/01/2003 - 07/01/2003 07/01/2003 - 08/01/2003 08/01/2003 - 09/01/2003 09/01/2003 - 10/01/2003 10/01/2003 - 11/01/2003 11/01/2003 - 12/01/2003 12/01/2003 - 01/01/2004 01/01/2004 - 02/01/2004 02/01/2004 - 03/01/2004 03/01/2004 - 04/01/2004 04/01/2004 - 05/01/2004 05/01/2004 - 06/01/2004 06/01/2004 - 07/01/2004 07/01/2004 - 08/01/2004 08/01/2004 - 09/01/2004 09/01/2004 - 10/01/2004 10/01/2004 - 11/01/2004 11/01/2004 - 12/01/2004 12/01/2004 - 01/01/2005 01/01/2005 - 02/01/2005 02/01/2005 - 03/01/2005 03/01/2005 - 04/01/2005 04/01/2005 - 05/01/2005 05/01/2005 - 06/01/2005 06/01/2005 - 07/01/2005 07/01/2005 - 08/01/2005 08/01/2005 - 09/01/2005 09/01/2005 - 10/01/2005 10/01/2005 - 11/01/2005 11/01/2005 - 12/01/2005 12/01/2005 - 01/01/2006 01/01/2006 - 02/01/2006 02/01/2006 - 03/01/2006 03/01/2006 - 04/01/2006 04/01/2006 - 05/01/2006 05/01/2006 - 06/01/2006 06/01/2006 - 07/01/2006 07/01/2006 - 08/01/2006 08/01/2006 - 09/01/2006 09/01/2006 - 10/01/2006 10/01/2006 - 11/01/2006 11/01/2006 - 12/01/2006 12/01/2006 - 01/01/2007 01/01/2007 - 02/01/2007 02/01/2007 - 03/01/2007 03/01/2007 - 04/01/2007 04/01/2007 - 05/01/2007 05/01/2007 - 06/01/2007 06/01/2007 - 07/01/2007 07/01/2007 - 08/01/2007 08/01/2007 - 09/01/2007 09/01/2007 - 10/01/2007 10/01/2007 - 11/01/2007 11/01/2007 - 12/01/2007 12/01/2007 - 01/01/2008 01/01/2008 - 02/01/2008 02/01/2008 - 03/01/2008 03/01/2008 - 04/01/2008 04/01/2008 - 05/01/2008 05/01/2008 - 06/01/2008 06/01/2008 - 07/01/2008 07/01/2008 - 08/01/2008 08/01/2008 - 09/01/2008 09/01/2008 - 10/01/2008 10/01/2008 - 11/01/2008 11/01/2008 - 12/01/2008 12/01/2008 - 01/01/2009 01/01/2009 - 02/01/2009 02/01/2009 - 03/01/2009 03/01/2009 - 04/01/2009 04/01/2009 - 05/01/2009 05/01/2009 - 06/01/2009 06/01/2009 - 07/01/2009 07/01/2009 - 08/01/2009 08/01/2009 - 09/01/2009 09/01/2009 - 10/01/2009 10/01/2009 - 11/01/2009 11/01/2009 - 12/01/2009 12/01/2009 - 01/01/2010 01/01/2010 - 02/01/2010

Irish Elk
Tuesday, January 28, 2003  
They gave their lives for the Sign of the Cross

When the Sign of the Cross is dismissed by the Rev. Thomas Quinlan as a "meaningless action," it is worth recalling the sacrifice of the Jesuit brother St. Rene Goupil, proto-martyr of North America, tomahawked for teaching a child to cross himself.

Or consider this account of the martyr St. Isaac Jogues from the Jesuit Relations, circa 1646:

"...Father Jogues blessed the food and himself with the Sign of the Cross. 'Stop that', the old [Iroquois] chief snapped at him. 'That gesture is no good. The Dutchmen have told us of it....They hate these ceremonies of yours, and we hate them also. It is the making of that sign which caused the death of your comrade [St. Rene Goupil]; and it will be the cause of your death if you continue to form it among us.'

'That doesn't make any difference to me,' Jogues answered. 'I shall continue to form this Sign of the Cross, since the Author of our lives commands it. Let the people do whatever they please about it.'"

(Via Antoninus at Free Republic)

For more on the North American Martyrs, see:

Accounts of miracles and relics at the Martyrs Shrine in Ontario;

Biographical sketches of the Jesuit martyrs of New France here and here and here (midpage);

A reflection on the North American Martyrs by Jesuit iconographer Rev. William Hart McNichols;

A 17th-century print, Torture of the Jesuit Martyrs.


What the well-dressed Useful Eejit is wearing

They don't even appreciate how fortunate they are to live in a nation that tolerates their running around in tee-shirts like these.

Their "friends" would have them shot.


What TR thought of abortion

From the 1913 Autobiography of Theodore Roosevelt:

On the other hand, there were certain crimes where requests for leniency merely made me angry. Such crimes were, for instance, rape, or the circulation of indecent literature, or anything connected with what would now be called the "white slave" traffic, or wife murder, or gross cruelty to women and children, or seduction and abandonment, or the action of some man in getting a girl whom he had seduced to commit abortion. I am speaking in each instance of cases that actually came before me, either while I was Governor or while I was President. In an astonishing number of these cases men of high standing signed petitions or wrote letters asking me to show leniency to the criminal. In two or three of the cases—one where some young roughs had committed rape on a helpless immigrant girl, and another in which a physician of wealth and high standing had seduced a girl and then induced her to commit abortion—I rather lost my temper, and wrote to the individuals who had asked for the pardon, saying that I extremely regretted that it was not in my power to increase the sentence. I then let the facts be made public, for I thought that my petitioners deserved public censure. Whether they received this public censure or not I did not know, but that my action made them very angry I do know, and their anger gave me real satisfaction. The list of these petitioners was a fairly long one, and included two United States Senators, a Governor of a State, two judges, an editor, and some eminent lawyers and business men.


The Post steps up: "One of the most eye-opening things about this UN kabuki dance has been how it has highlighted the differences between the editorial pages of The Washington Post and The New York Times." More from Jonah Goldberg at The Corner.


Bush as "cowboy": "What we are really seeing...is not a Texan cowboy on the loose but the even less elevating spectacle of European elites having a cow," writes Christopher Hitchens.


Monday, January 27, 2003  
Misereatur Vestri Omnipotens Deus…

The Last General Absolution of the Munsters at Rue du Bois, Fortunino Matania, 1915

"I go further up -- near the trenches and bid goodbye to all. So Sad!!" An excerpt from the First World War diary of Chaplain Francis Gleeson and an account of his administering of general absolution to the troops before battle are included in a web site devoted to the Royal Munster Fusiliers, one of the old Irish regiments of the British regular army.


Acadie toujours: Bill Cork's links of interest to those of Acadian ancestry include one to his own Acadian page. Check out the PEI IslandCam and an outstanding gallery of PEI photographs at the official Prince Edward Island web site.


What is piobaireachd? Find out at this site devoted to the classical and mystical music of the Great Highland Bagpipe: This is the music that summoned the clans to battle, celebrated sweet victory and terrible loss, commemorated murder, and lamented the deaths of their chiefs and heroes. In peaceful times they played drinking tunes, and piobaireachd of love.


More Jesuitica: Another thoughtful post on the state of the Society by Jesuit friend Karen Hall. Plus: An amusing imagined conversation.


Wrong A.N.S.W.E.R.

College Republicans jeer anti-war protesters, Washington, D.C. Photo by Declan McCullagh. This one neatly summarizes the leftist argument.

Bill Cork and E.L. Core have been providing the definitive St. Blog's roundup on A.N.S.W.E.R., the hard-line Marxist, pro-Saddam, pro-North Korea front group that has been a driving force behind recent "peace" demonstrations.

Writes Bill Cork: I cannot fathom how any Catholic, in the name of "peace," could march alongside and under the direction of Stalinists. These are truly "useful idiots."

A clever graphic captures A.N.S.W.E.R. in a nutshell.


What Spong did for God, Griswold does for Patriotism.

The presiding bishop of the ECUSA makes a useful chaplain for the Fifth Column.

''I'd like to be able to go somewhere in the world and not have to apologize for being from the United States,'' Presiding Bishop Frank T. Griswold III said Friday in an interview with Religion News Service.

The United States is rightly ''hated and loathed'' around the world for its ''reprehensible'' rhetoric and blind eye toward poverty and suffering, he said in the interview in which he criticized the Bush administration's position on Iraq.

''Quite apart from the bombs we drop, words are weapons and we have used our language so unwisely, so intemperately, so thoughtlessly that I'm not surprised we are hated and loathed everywhere I go,'' he said.


Why has a priest seemingly mad as a hatter continually been assigned parish duties by Richmond's bishop?

David Kubiak sees in the case of Fr. Quinlan in Virginia Beach another angle of the clergy crisis: a priest assigned and reassigned to parishes despite having given every indication he's non compos mentis.

For me it connects to the scandals in an interesting way. The percentage of mentally disturbed people in the priesthood may not be larger than the population at large, but the structures of the Church allow certifiable people to function professionally in a way the world would never tolerate. What is distressing is that many Catholics are being raised to associate with religion behavior they will sooner or later (if they have half a brain themselves) come to realize characterizes serious instability of personality.

Meantime, Long Islander indicates the postings of TQ's rants may in fact be the parish webmaster's cries for help.

This Virginian-Pilot account of the colorful Fr. Quinlan is a pip, and duly archived at TQ's parish site. (Via RC at Catholic Light)

The TQ bulletin rant on proper comportment at Mass received an airing earlier this past week at Free Republic.


Friday, January 24, 2003  
The Church of TQ

TQ and his flock, Feast of St. Francis, Church of the Holy Family, Virginia Beach, Va. See also here.

"We do not have souls.

"Transubstantiation is not a teaching of the Catholic Church.

"Every baptized Christian is a priest."

All this according to the Rev. Thomas J. Quinlan, pastor of the Church of the Holy Family in Virginia Beach, Va., in a letter of response to a visitor from Texas who had complained of "heresy" in one of the pastor's sermons.

If I thought you were a heretic, I would recommend that the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of Texas tie you to a cactus and burn you on the prairie, Fr. Quinlan writes his critic in the June 21, 2002, letter, cc'ed to the Richmond bishop and the apostolic pronuncio, and reprinted in the parish bulletin.

But have no fear. You’re just too out of it!

May the Holy Spirit within you prompt you to overcome your ignorance and aid you in vanquishing your arrogance.

Arrogance is a quality with which Fr. Quinlan – "TQ" to his parishioners – is familiar.

He gives a breathtaking display of it in this parish-bulletin essay instructing Mass-goers in proper comportment:

1. Everyone in this parish should receive a piece of the consecrated Bread, and drink from the common cup. Jesus (not the Church) instituted the Mass in ratione coenae (in the nature of a meal), not in the form of a snack. Nine hundred years of host ("What’s that?" Jesus would say.) history does not excuse us from the twofold facet of communing as Jesus intended and the Bible handed on.

2. People who enter the building, which their presence in Faith will make into a church, should reach into the Baptismal Font and bless themselves, educating their children to do the same. This applies to the innumerable latecomers. Incidentally, if you are ten minutes late (look at your watch in the parking lot), go to another Mass. Missing the three Bible readings manifests your misunderstanding of what Mass is: Word and Meal.

3. Do not leave early. The priest should always be the first one out of the church. If you have prescheduled appointments, reschedule your Mass. Last week I confronted three people leaving early. And one of them, to add insult to injury, had blessed herself on the way out–a meaningless, pietistic gesture.

4. Do not bring any games, toys, Cheerios, etc., to the church building. Little children belong in the nursery, and younger children at the Liturgy of the Word. If you have uncontrollable children, consult psychiatrist listings, or arrange with your life-sharing spouse to go to separate Liturgies until control is restored in the family (which is usually the problem). There are a few exceptions–autistic children, et similia, who are more than welcome.

5. When the cantor introduces the service, answer the "Good Morning" or "Good Evening". That’s the cue to stop conversation. In our parish, the older people seem to be the chief offenders. When the cantor leads the singing, or the lector is reading, they are presiding at that part of the Mass. Look at them and pay attention to them. The overall presider is the presbyter (Priest), but not the only one. Notice that when the cantor is leading the Hallelujah how the priest turns and faces him/her, an acknowledgement of presidency.

6. When there is a lull, it is not a signal to start chattering. I have noticed it before the first reading, at the presentation of gifts, and even during Holy Communion! However, the chattering, laughing, howling, and conversation before the cantor signals the beginning of the service is highly encouraged.

7. When it is time to sing, everyone sing. When it is time to be silent, everyone should be quiet. The Mass has ups and downs built into it. You should have ups and downs in your moods, singing, and actions.

8. Do not be a hostgrabber. Put both hands out for the Eucharistic minister (ordained or not) to place in your hand. Say "amen" loudly so all around you can hear. Look at the Body and Blood as you receive it. No looking at the priest, or closing your eyes, and certainly not making the sign of the Cross, genuflecting, or other meaningless actions. You blessed yourself in the Baptismal Font at the beginning of Mass, and before the opening Prayer–that's enough.

Be sure to visit the accompanying discussion forum to read the comments.

Meantime, what in the Sam Hill is going on at the parish children's Mass? Is it a raid? Are the tykes being rousted? Or imploring the deity to send rain?

(Via Bill Cork)


Coming soon to a yard near you

Go here for all your warmongering graphics needs.


Ambo proximity is all

That's why the recently-completed renovation of St. Jude's in Westlake Village, Calif., respected the church's lecture-hall feel. Cardinal Mahony in this picture taken at the rededication ceremony seems to be lacking only chalkboard and pointer. "The altar," he says, "is the main reason why we build a church." As a handy place for the overhead projector?

I know, I know, picking on The Tidings is shooting fish in a barrel. But it is hard to resist when it insists on running pieces like this op-ed drawing on the Seventh Commandment to make the case for slavery reparations.


A foretaste of heaven for the multi-culti church progressive

Check that. The recent ordination rite for new Suffragan Bishop Gayle Harris at the Episcopal cathedral in Boston must have been heaven for the Green Party at Prayer. Legions of CTA panel discussants and NCR op-ed writers no doubt looked on longingly. Here's a picture gallery from the ceremony. Very nice miter on the far right. Wonder if they handed her a Pro-PLO placard with her crozier?

In other Massachusetts Anglican news, Suffragan Bishop Bud Cederholm writes of his need to get his mind right on his own innate racism as a white person.

I remember vividly the anti-racism training and experiences of the 1960s and ‘70s. Through such training I was able to understand the privilege I enjoy in American society as a white male. By virtue of the color of my skin I am immune to the abuse, prejudice and discrimination suffered by people of color. Those training experiences transformed my life, my heart and my understanding of mission as reconciliation. Sadly, the evil of racism is alive and well in society and in our institutions, including the church. Apathy allows racism to increase. Continuing and increasing inequities in education, housing and health care, in the justice and penal systems and in job opportunities cause suffering that can not be tolerated by a church committed to “respecting the dignity of every human being.”

When I look at our national policies and priorities I ask, Why has most every war or skirmish that the U.S. has found itself in since World War II been with people of another race or culture—Korea, Vietnam, Panama, Nicaragua, the Gulf and Arab nations? I realize there are many factors that draw us into conflict with others, but racism which causes hate and fear makes it easier to wage war, seek revenge or engage in violence against a people who are different from us.

For a bracing look at how this sort of thought-reform in the guise of racism-awareness is practiced in that other haven of the bow-tied progressive, higher education, see this classic article by Alan Charles Kors in the archives of Reason magazine.


Thursday, January 23, 2003  

At Pamplona Ignatius was struck by a cannonball

Television writer Karen Hall, who knows from liturgical horror, maintains a useful page of Jesuit links, including one to a magnificently illustrated page on St. Ignatius Loyola. (Via Catholic Light)

From the archive: A remarkable account of Juana of Austria, 16th-century Spanish princess of the house of Hapsburg, and woman Jesuit.


How do you say "Jump the Shark" in Latin?

No, it's not the Hale-Bopp part of the liturgy, but this scene from the recent bishops' ordination at St. Peter's would be sorely tempting to Evel Knievel.


The Sad Demise of a Once Great Party, Chapter XXVII

Mark Steyn is at his scathing best in this takedown of jaw-dropping pro-Ted Kennedy puffery in the Globe.

Meantime, while Amy Welborn, writing on the anniversary of Roe v. Wade, laments the brutal treatment of the most defenseless, six presidential candidates from the supposed Party of the Poor and Weak outdo each other fawning before NARAL.


Bill Mauldin and Al Hirschfeld, R.I.P.


Wednesday, January 22, 2003  
Amy Welborn in Commonweal

“My husband, the priest”: Amy Welborn, in a remarkable and thought-provoking piece in the Jan. 17 Commonweal, describes how her marriage to a laicized Catholic priest has shaped her perspective on The Situation and her advocacy of a role for married clergy.

It is a shame, I think, that the bishops have spent so much time guarding their numbers and their clerical class by protecting sexual miscreants. It is a shame, not just because of the injustice to the victims and the harm to us all, but because it is just so ridiculous and unnecessary. For thousands of priests are sitting in their living rooms with their wives tonight. Some wouldn't give two cents to get back into it, and have left it all behind, gladly.

But there are others. Others who left and harbor no real bitterness. They who still embrace the Catholic faith. Others who may not yearn for their old life, exactly, but are still haunted by it.

They don't want the clericalism and the pedestals. They are grateful that their new lives let them see the falsehood in all those trappings and the simpler, yet joyful, realities of marriage and family. Service is still a part of their history. It is why they entered the priesthood in the first place. It is how they understood the call. So many are still willing to do just that. They would gratefully spend time during the week preparing a homily, then go down the street Sunday morning, put on some vestments and say Mass in their own parish communities. They wouldn't mind doing sick calls and being with the dying or even doing some marriage preparation, some weddings, some baptisms. They would give themselves gladly to that, grateful that all that training and those gifts are being put to good use. It seems to me, if clerical culture needs to be broken up and exposed to the light, that would just about do it.

Yes, it's a shame that the bishops have been so worried about seminary numbers, going about closing parishes, putting priests to work as pastors of three parishes at once, trying to maintain parishes that twenty-five years ago had three priests on staff, but now have only one. It is a shame that these bishops have been motivated by this concern to throw their resources into keeping sexually screwed-up priests in, no matter what the cost.

While all the time, they could have been working, quietly but firmly, toward bringing good priests who happen to be married back into ministry. Had they done so, we might not be all the way there yet, but we would be much closer to the point at which you didn't have to be a convert or Eastern-rite to be a married priest.
For now, the chalice stays in the closet, the baby runs joyfully wild, marveling at the bubbles falling from the heavens, and the ghosts of ancient history lurk in the shadows, marveling at the puzzle of such pointless waste.

The article is not online, but go find a copy at the newsstand or the library and, as they say, read the whole thing.


Roe v. Wade, 30 years later

Frederica Mathewes-Green writes at NRO on The Lessons of Roe.

Susan B. Anthony and Elizabeth Cady Stanton regarded abortion as an abomination, Norah Vincent writes in the LA Times. (Free registration required. Via Amy Welborn.)

And while Margaret Sanger may have considered a good deal of humanity as "weeds" unfit to multiply, she regarded abortion as a horror. (Link via Dale Price, who also calls attention to this piece by Peggy Noonan on the Democrats' abortion legacy.)


The Vatican: Wrong on the Gulf War in 1991, Wrong on Iraq Today: Read the editorial in the Washington Times. (Via Verus Ratio and Catholic Light.


Tuesday, January 21, 2003  
Anti-war blotter

From Cox and Forkum’s collection "Black and White World."

Scott Ritter, we hardly knew ye. It's all about the children, indeed. More from Little Green Footballs.

"New anti-war 'movement' PC, shallow, elitist," Boston journalist Jon Keller writes in the local edition of the free paper Metro, apparently riling its readership among Somerville and Cambridge T-station musicians, to judge from the online comment box. Go and vote in the reader poll and carry the day for common sense!

A profile of ANSWER, the group that organizes all these "popular" rallies against the war, reveals the group as a front for the Workers World Party, a small political sect that years ago split from the Socialist Workers Party to support the Soviet invasion of Hungary in 1956. The party advocates socialist revolution and abolishing private property. It is a fan of Fidel Castro’s regime in Cuba, and it hails North Korean dictator Kim Jong-Il for preserving his country’s “socialist system,” which, according to the party’s newspaper, has kept North Korea “from falling under the sway of the transnational banks and corporations that dictate to most of the world.” The WWP has campaigned against the war-crimes trial of former Yugoslav President Slobodan Milosevic. A recent Workers World editorial declared, “Iraq has done absolutely nothing wrong.” More from LGF.

For your all-around peace-rally-coverage needs, see:

Little Green Footballs, with bonus Marin Valley Moonbats.

Instapundit. (Here, too, and here.)

E. L. Core here and here.


A new and improved Ibidem: Very nice, indeed.


The OCP beast recalled, and other ramblings

The OCP octopus hugs the Barque of Peter

From the archive: A link to an outstanding article that details the OCP monopoly, "The Hidden Hand Behind Bad Catholic Music," and an appeal to Bust the Trust in liturgical music.


At Catholic Light, Richard Chonak offers "Here I Am, Lord," translated in Latin.

Any Latinists out there willing to provide similar renderings from the Liturgists' Songbook?


Friday, January 17, 2003  
'I Have a Dream'

The Problem We All Live With, Norman Rockwell, 1964

Listen to a clip from Martin Luther King's 1963 speech here.


Yeh, baby! The Austin Powers phenomenon in liturgical pop

If ever I open a carnival, the barker's job goes to Dajjal, whose re-post of the St. Louis Jesuits item below has sparked an interesting and entertaining exchange at Free Republic.

There Dajjal writes:

The creepy thing is that the style of V-2 Catholic liturgical music has not been "pop" for over thirty years! It's another V-2 fly in amber, stuck in the '60s.

Much like the way Catholic philosophy and theology (and all Church pronouncements) are couched in the language of '60s existentialism and phenomenology.

(Let's go down to the coffee house and dig the happening.)

There is an Austin-Powers-like quality to much in the Church, where time is frozen to the era around 1963-69.

Which draws this reply from Howlingly Mind-Bending Absurdity:

Yes. It's been "out of style" for quite a while. I started kindergarten in the late '60s so I remember the authentic "folk" gnosticism in liturgies well. A little too well maybe. You remember the version of the Lord's Prayer sung to the Maryanne Faithfull/Rolling Stones "As Tears Go By" melody? How about the Byrds' "To everything, turn, turn, turn..." at Mass? Or (horrors!)...the Godspell Masses? It's sad but occasionally some idiots still stage Godspell at Catholic colleges and high schools. Apparently completely oblivious of the outrageous bad taste and silliness of a clown mime Jesus in denim overalls.

...There is a STRONG need to teach Catholic sacred music, sacred art and architecture properly to the clergy and laity. How such monstrosities of bad taste, such as the ones exhibited over the last 35 years or so, are ever approved by pastors and bishops is a disturbing question. Liturgical gnosticism, wreckovation, minimalism, radical modernism in stained glass and cathedral architecture...all of these banalities are funded with the tacit approval of bishops and their staff. It's sad because the Catholic tradition offers such wonderful music and art to choose from.

If those who directed and funded the erection of that monstrosity parody of modernist kitsch in LA were unaware that minimalist modernism had been satirized long ago as the epitome of bad taste, one wonders what the clergy read or studied in college.

The latter also writes:

There is certainly a need, in addition to courses in theology, philosophy, and church history, to add some basic and formal instruction on style and taste. One of the unfortunate consequences of the "spirit of Vatican II" has been modelling church forms on modern American counter-culture. The idea that the folksy, New Agey, hand-clapping style in popular music is appropriate for Catholic worship has been part of this post-Vatican II circus. It may sound condescending, but some of these types really don't know any better. They....uh....they think it's good. The Sesame Street approach to Catholic liturgical life is one of the ultimate expressions of neo-modernism in American Catholicism. It achieves the goal of making Catholic worship just as silly and goofy as certain trends in secular culture.

What has happened is that this Sesame Street approach merely transfers one form of communication style from the secular pop arena to the sacramental life of worship where it doesn't belong. It is part of a larger drama of therapeutic touchy-feelyism in clerical culture, an exotic topic in itself which would require multiple levels of psychological and sociological explanation. What really needs to happen is that no one should be allowed in "music ministry" work who has not received formal (and orthodox) Catholic training in the history of Catholic sacred music. The mischief of the music ministry mafia can be curtailed when enough people stand up and protest the silliness of this. Will we have Eminem-inspired "Rap" Masses next? The basic problem is the relativistic idea that the Church needs to follow the forms of contemporary culture in order to be relevant to this or that culturally challenged victim group in our midst. The other problem, of course, is the self-appointed nature of the minority faction (the music ministry mafia) who impose these forms on the rest of us. As with other and more unsavory problems, many bishops turn a blind eye to such matters. It is also a racket. Someone is SELLING the music books for this goofy style. As with so many other banalities and asburdities of the post-Vatican II landscape which have contributed to the current wasteland, the conservative critics can be dismissed as narrow, mean-spirited, and not up to date enough, etc. ...

You almost feel sorry for future church historians who will have to wade through this mess trying to make sense out of what exactly happened to the church in the U.S. during this period. In many cases, "the lunatics were running the asylum..."


Wonder how this plays with the alumni?

The Association of Bisexuals, Gays and Lesbians at Holy Cross hosts a drag ball. The blue-wigged transvestite cavorting with the feather-boa-grinding Chippendale boy in photo three is identified as a member of the English faculty.

(Perhaps they have a concentration in Ed Wood Studies. *)

And above Prof. Ireland's entry on the English faculty page, note the biographical blurb on his colleague Prof. Geracht, the humanities chair-holder, which rather neatly captures the ethos of literary studies in today's academe:

(I am also fond of a large variety of cheeses, red wines-especially Burgundy-and bread and chocolate)

The scholar as sybarite: Muscular Christianity, indeed, on Mt. St. James.


From Midwest Conservative Journal

This commentary on the incoherence of the anti-war lobby:

I think I've finally found the reason that current antiwar opinion grates on me so much. I like to think of myself as a logical person. And antiwar statements, whoever makes them, don't even make the slightest effort to be intellectually coherent. On the one hand, every delegation that goes to Iraq, religious or not, reports on the great suffering of the Iraqi people, particularly The ChildrenTM, as a result of the sanctions imposed on Iraq by the UN as a result of the Gulf War. Yet, to such people, the United States and its allies may not proceed against Iraq without the approval of the very organization that slapped those sanctions on Iraq twelve years ago.

Another thing. Were the United States to be successful in this endeavor, there would obviously be no more need for sanctions on Iraq and they would be quickly removed. Yet antiwar types do not wish the United States to go to war against Iraq. Do they think that it would be better for the Iraqi people they claim to care so much about that the sanctions, which they say have done so much harm, remain in place?

Also, an interesting note on Quakers.


William Byrd: The Three Masses

A Baltimore Sun reviewer gives four stars to a new CD by the Pro Arte Singers of Indiana University, directed by Paul Hillier (third item):

At considerable risk, William Byrd composed and had printed three settings of the Latin Mass in the early 1600s, when Catholicism was proscribed in England. Throughout his life, he remained true to his faith, which, as his music makes plain, meant everything to him.

The three Masses, in particular, reflect that intensity; they are remarkably expressive, without ever turning florid. Byrd's style is a model of melodic directness and exquisitely molded harmonies. The Credo of his Mass for Five Voices is a case in point; this profession of faith could hardly be clearer or more emphatic, yet there is no sense of overemphasis or straining for effect. Everything is in balance, everything innately beautiful. It's the same throughout each section of these three important works.


Wednesday, January 15, 2003  

Which obsolete team from the Arch City do you prefer?

The St. Louis Browns?

Or the St. Louis Jesuits?

I have to go with the Brownies. There was an appealing honesty regarding their merits. They were pretty much horrible and nobody made any bones about it.

Not so with the Jesuits who gave us the St. Louis Sound in folk Mass hymnody, and who still are upheld as trendsetters in parish music ministries across the land.

Check out the site of "Sing a New Song" and "Here I Am, Lord" composer Dan Schutte, the former Jesuit responsible for the Lamb of God you hear at just about every local parish (and probably many of the other hymns, besides).

Give a listen to "Meadows and Mountains." Then sample "Join in the Dance."

It's as if Bernie and friends from Room 222 had cut short a rap session with Mr. Dixon to try their hands at sacred music.

Shades of Love, American Style! Shades of New Zoo Revue!

Why, 30 years after 1972, after Godspell and bell-bottoms have gone out and in and out of style again, is this sort of peppy Aquarianism still the musical standard in as many parishes as it is?

UPDATE: Dan Schutte is no longer a Jesuit, having left the order. The post has been corrected accordingly.


Life and My Party

A pro-life Democrat's lament:

I have a problem with my party these days: I cannot reconcile its traditional liberalism, egalitarianism and life-affirming qualities with its current love affair with the nihilism of abortion.

Perhaps the Democratic Party is not ready, for whatever reasons, to extend its life-affirming compassion for the vulnerable in society to young lives in the womb. Might I then suggest that the least it could do is acknowledge that among those dismayed by the current abortion culture are many loyal Democrats who do not belong to what the abortion-endorsers like to label the "far-right fringe." And might I urge that the party, in accordance with its platform promise to try to make abortion "rare," drop its automatic opposition to every legislative act aimed at reducing the abortion toll. It could also stop using the euphemism "choice" when, in every other context, what counts is not the choice but what is chosen.

More from the Washington Post.


The lion who roared for the victory of freedom

The past few years have seen a resurgence of interest in Winston Churchill. Perhaps because contemporary political leaders, diminished by the destructive attentions of the media and tarnished by what John Lukacs calls “the viscous wash of public relations”, have sunk in public esteem, Churchill stands out by contrast as a colossus. His reputation, as Lukacs remarks in his preface and the recent “Great Britons” television vote showed, is at a peak. Even so, given the recent biographies by Roy Jenkins and Geoffrey Best, it might be thought that, at least for the moment, no further books on Churchill were needed. It speaks for their quality that both these two short studies, in their different ways, offer fresh perspectives on his character and achievements.

More from The Tablet.


Mark Steyn writes:

A couple of weeks back in this space, I made a passing reference to ‘rope-a-dope’ — the much promoted theory under which the administration’s apparent lethargy this last year is all part of some cunning bluff. Even if it were true, a man like Kim Jong-Il reminds us of the perils of this approach: crazy as he is, it’s unlikely he’d be crying ‘Look at me! Over here, you moronic cowboy!’ if Bush had already killed Saddam and set in motion the remaking of the Middle East. The 13 months since the liberation of Afghanistan allowed Kim to figure that the US isn’t serious. When Saddam looks out the window and sees Hans Blix motoring around in his UN minibus, he concludes likewise. So do Hamas and Hezbollah. And those ill-disciplined Pakistani border guards who fired on US troops the other day. And the al-Qa’eda sleepers in Amsterdam and London and Montreal. And all the other likely customers of Kim’s going-for-a-Dong discount warehouse.

Every month that passes without the Americans using force against Iraq increases North Korea’s potential client list. That’s the linkage, and the deterioration in perception this last year is at least as damaging as any actual capability in Pyongyang’s arsenal. If Saddam’s still in power by May, the world’s in big trouble.

More from The Spectator.


Tuesday, January 14, 2003  

The Globe's Dan Shaughnessy, a Crusader at both Groton-Dunstable Regional and Holy Cross, writes of a campaign launched at his high-school alma mater to replace the mascot one Jewish parent finds offensive.

From the Lowell Sun (via Tongue Tied):

Some are calling for a quick death to the legacy of the Crusader, the mascot for the Groton Dunstable school district. They claim the armored figure evokes images of holy war and genocide.

…Leslie Lathrop, leader of the battle, decided that the transition from the current high school to the newly constructed building, scheduled for next fall, was a perfect opportunity to leave that legacy behind.

"It was the first genocide. It laid the groundwork for the Holocaust," she said of the Crusades.

Here's a cached version of an earlier Globe report on the Crusader debate, such that it is.

Two years ago, Wheaton College in Illinois announced its teams would no longer be named for Crusaders but after an amorphous meteorological phenomenon. The Christianity Today weblog commented:

Wheaton College has announced its new, inoffensive replacement for its Crusader mascot. The evangelical school will now play as the Wheaton Thunder. The college's Web site says that more than 1,300 nominations were considered and were assessed by the following criteria: "1) graphically representable, 2) teams could rally behind it and be inspired by it, 3) gender neutral, 4) cheer-able, 5) stand the test [of] time, 6) heroic, representative of strength and determination, 7) unique, and 8) constituents could easily identify with it." And, if you think about it, thunder is one of the few things that's scary but doesn't kill people. Only one problem with that list, however: if being graphically representable is your number one criterion, how are you going to graphically represent thunder? Sound waves? As sophomore Megan Cheng tells the Chicago Sun-Times, "It's very hard to visualize, but I really do like the name." College President Duane Litfin tells the Chicago Tribune that Wheaton is in no rush to finalize its depiction of thunder.

The weblog later posted a follow-up:

'Wheaton's New Mascot Ridiculed by Other Crusaders.'…The Los Angeles Times asks for reaction from Holy Cross in Massachusetts, which still uses a Crusader mascot. "Maybe weather symbols are the way to go," says James F. Powers, a history professor at the school. "Weather is an impersonal force of nature," so it can't be called bigoted. Indeed, it thunders on the just and the unjust. But Powers suggests that the Wind or Breeze or Drizzle may not be mascots of the future.

In the end, it's hard to top the following tongue-in-cheek commentary on the Crusader from the place that pioneered the mascot war. Take it away, Dartmouth College Marching Band:

From the halftime performance at the Dartmouth-HC game of Sept. 25, 1993:

The DCMB would like to welcome the boys in mauve, the Holy Cross Children's Crusaders, to the Hanover plain. Two years ago two DCMB members were arrested for attempting to temporarily remove the Holy Cross bench flag. Just to show that there are no hard feelings, the DCMB would like to challenge the Holy Cross band to steal our mascot! Go ahead! Try! We dare you!

Speaking of mascots, what kind of mascot is a Crusader anyway? The color of holy cross is purple, so we at the DCMB have come up with the top 10 new purple mascots for Holy Cross:

10) Grimace
9) A Grape Slushy
8) Prince
7) Prunes
6) Bruises on the Holy Cross football team!
5) The purple cow... oh Williams already took that one.
4) We regret to inform you that #4 has been declared the intellectual property of NBC.
3) The lovely, delicate pansy
2) The bunch of grapes guy on the Fruit of the Loom commercials.

And the number one new purple mascot for Holy Cross,
1) Barney the purple dinosaur

And from the band's halftime show at the Dartmouth-HC game on Oct. 14, 2000:

The DCMB was shocked and appalled to learn that the Holy Cross mascot is the “Crusader.” We are deeply offended by this thoughtless, insensitive, backward-looking mascot choice. This stereotypical icon belittles the noble image of the Crusaders, and mocks their cultural heritage of honorable holy conquest. That such an outrage could occur in this age of tolerance and understanding is incomprehensible. We hope our opponents can learn from Dartmouth’s shining example, with our own un-offensive ambiguous concept mascot: the “Big Green.” Watch now as the band holds a candle light vigil on the Green in an effort to reform the last Crusaders.

[Band forms the letters “PC” and plays Raiders March]

They don't make program covers like this one anymore


Flotsam and jetsam

Groton sensitivity police seeking a rousing replacement for the Crusader could do worse than the Knight of Ni. What antlers! And imagine the sideline cheer: Ecce Ecce Petang Zwooo-ooo-Pong!

Who knew they had a whole line of Monty Python plush toys, with requisite sharp, pointy teeth and detachable limbs? Yes, that is a late parrot.

If you're in the market for a wearable suit of armor and complementary blunderbuss, this is a place to visit.

For the pantomime version, go here. (Call for pricing on jumbo bird feet.)


CIEL Canada

The web site of the Canadian branch of the International Center for Liturgical Studies (CIEL) is dedicated to the classical Roman liturgy, and has a fine selection of links. (Via Catholic Light)


Monday, January 13, 2003  

From a 17th-century print: 'The souldiers in their passage to York turn into reformers pull down Popish pictures, break down rayles, turn altars into tables.' Today Catholic bishops themselves are among the Roundheads warring on reverence and traditional devotions.

What if your bishop decreed all attending Mass must say the "Our Father" with palms lifted, as the priest's, in the orans position. Would you?

What if your bishop ruled you must also hold hands in the orans position for the opening prayer, the prayer over the gifts and the prayer after Communion?

What if your bishop banned kneeling after the Agnus Dei?

And forget kneeling for Communion – what if your bishop forbade you to kneel after taking Communion until all in the assembly had received?

These aren't hypothetical – they're actual rulings by Monterey Bishop Sylvester Ryan (see also here).

Would you comply?

I'd be interested to hear from any members of the We-Are-Sheep-and-the-Bishop-is-Our-Shepherd-to-be-Obeyed School (er, Flock).

It is sad to contemplate philistinism imposed in the land of Junipero Serra, and the mandating of irreverent flummery in beautiful old mission churches such as this one in Carmel.

Unfortunately Bishop Sylvester Donovan Ryan (somewhere, one hopes, Hibernian ancestors roll in their graves) has been a bellwether: He's president of the California Bishops Conference.

Next door in the San Jose Diocese, Bishop Patrick McGrath in 2000 initially approved a funeral Mass in the Tridentine rite for the late and long-persecuted Cardinal Kung of Shanghai with one proviso – that it be offered facing the congregation.

San Jose Bishop Emeritus Pierre DuMaine shared this antipathy for the traditional Latin Mass, describing it as intended only for a dying generation: "The Holy Father's intent was to give comfort to those who grew up with the old forms (as I did) and remain deeply attached to them. The intent was not to introduce a new generation of Catholics to forms now disallowed, except by indult."

Meantime, the Roundheads pictured above could hardly have done as thorough a job of eradicating any sense of the sacred as the designers of the un-sanctuary of the new LA cathedral.


'Not a Stage'

Even the editors of The Tidings feel compelled to explain this is actually the altar of the redesigned worship space at St. Maria Goretti Church in Long Beach, Calif. Peanuts! Popcorn!


Do the initials SSS mean Sisters of Susan Sarandon?

A credulous nun gives this report on her return from a peace pilgrimage to Iraq. More incomparable Catholic journalism from Cardinal Mahony's house organ.


The beauty of Our Lady of the Angels

The Catonsville, Md., chapel of that name is breathtaking, to judge from the photo on the site of the Baltimore engineers who did the lighting.


A cardinal's coverup

The story of William O'Connell shows where the church's troubles really started, historian James O'Toole writes in the Boston Globe's Ideas section.

O'Toole's 1992 biography of Cardinal O'Connell, reviewed by James Carroll in the Atlantic Monthly, revealed that the ethos of Lake Street under the imperious cardinal was Roman in more ways than one.

Plus ca change


Happy Burke's Day: A tribute to the brilliant Irish statesman on the anniversary of his birth, at Verus Ratio. While there, see also the ode to tin soldiers.


Friday, January 10, 2003  
Mad about Brubeck

From Victor Lams:

The only reason folks can sing "Sing of the Lord's Goodness" in 5/4 time is because it's a complete and utter rip-off of Dave Brubeck's "Take Five" -- the next time your "music minister" subjects you to this ditty, do what I do and sing Paul Desmond's sax melody from "Take Five" along to it instead: it works, bridge and all.

By golly, he's right. Here's "Take Five."

And here's "Sing of the Lord's Goodness." Find yourself whistling the saxophone part?

Put it this way: George Harrison's "My Sweet Lord" got tagged with plagiarism for a whole lot less.

(It's interesting to note that jazz great Brubeck is a composer of sacred music, which was performed in concert at the cathedral in San Jose this past Easter.)

Bad liturgical music has been inspiring some awfully good – and evil – writing at St. Blog's of late. From another post by Victor Lams:

I usually am forced by the sheer banality of the music make up my own lyrics to the tunes. For example, for the insipid "Rain Down" which our music minister loves to play whenever it's raining outside (get it? Because it's raining and the song has "rain" in the title?) or there are kids in the choir (because they can make little hand-gestures like the falling rain), I sing these alternate words: "Raaaaaain down, Raaaaaain down, Raaaain down your fire and brimmstone. Raaaaaain down, Raaaaaain down, Raaaain down your fury and purrrrge us."

He then goes on to compare and contrast the OCP hymn "Bread for the World" with the Mr. Clean jingle. Good. Very good.

Meantime, Dale Price explains what he calls his "Air Supply/America/Christopher Cross Test" for church music:

If I can imagine one of those artists doing a straight cover of the song, it doesn't belong at Mass. If I can't, then it's probably OK. Greg Krehbiel put it nicely when he said he was tired of the gooey "Good Morning, Yahweh" repertoire. It's music that suggests we aren't so much praising God as being willing to shake His hand.


Thursday, January 09, 2003  
Homage to Moloch

Fire god to whom the ancients sacrificed children and others for the good of society. (Image from the 1914 Italian silent film Cabiria.)

This is a child in the womb.

And this is an African-American slave.

At times in our history, the expendability of each has been held by enlightened opinion to be central to liberty and to the progress of civilization.

From Rod Dreher at The Corner:

This notice appears in the current edition of the community newspaper in my corner of Brooklyn: "January 23, 1973, is a landmark in the history of women's struggle for freedom and equality. On January 19, 2003, the Women's Alliance of the First Unitarian Congregational Society will celebrate the thirtieth anniversary of the Roe v. Wade Supreme Court decision that was handed down on January 22, 1973. The celebratory worship service, officiated at by the Reverend Carlton Veazey, will begin at 11 a.m. at the First Unitarian Church, located at 50 Monroe Place, on the corner of Pierrepont Street and Monroe Place. The Women's Alliance presents a Reproductive Choice Sunday worship service every year in January." (Via E. L. Core and Dale Price)

In the same spirit, an editorial in the Boston Globe, April 7, 2002:


In the 30 years since Roe v Wade - and before that, the 1965 Griswold v Connecticut ruling legalizing contraception - opportunities for women to become full members of society have steadily widened. The decisions whether and when to marry, have a career, pursue higher education, even whether to run for elective office - these are the real freedoms that reproductive rights confer on American women. In 2002, the phrase "abortion rights" is not so much about abortion as it is about rights.

Many women understand this almost instinctively. Abortion has become a kind of plebiscite issue, a marker for a candidate's essential view of women's roles in society. It is an issue that supports a wider philosophy about the role of government in regulating private behavior, about civil liberties and religious pluralism.

There are exceptions, of course, but most genuinely pro-choice candidates can also be counted on to support equal opportunity, affirmative action, pay equity, quality day care, and gay rights and to be be skeptical of government schemes to promote marriage, religious values, or sexual abstinence.

For many Americans, connecting these dots has become lost in increasingly trivialized gender wars. Overseas, interestingly, the connections are much clearer. The United Nations and foreign aid agencies consistently find that in developing countries where women are fuller participants - with access to education, family planning, and the right to delay marriage - societies are healthier, more economically secure, even safer from war or revolution.

It is not too sweeping to say that Roe v. Wade is one part of a century-long struggle for women's rights that started with winning the vote. Abortion rights - and all that they contain, including the right of a woman not to have an abortion and to raise children fully supported by society - are necessary for the continued emancipation of women.

"It's not about the act of abortion," Kate Michelman, director of the National Abortion Rights Action League, said in an interview. "Really it's so much bigger than that. It goes to the very core question of a woman's right to dominion over her own life."

…Politicians can hedge about being "personally opposed" to abortion - no one welcomes the actual procedure. But candidates should expect to have their sincerity examined on the issue. What voters are really asking when they ask about abortion is whether a candidate trusts women to make their own decisions, to participate fully in the economic and social fabric of society. Even women who are deeply ambivalent about abortion should know that closing the door on one essential right directly threatens the others.

Compare to this 1858 speech by South Carolina Senator James Henry Hammond which describes the slave caste as the needed "mud-sill" upon which Southern white civilization rests:

In all social systems there must be a class to do the menial duties, to perform the drudgery of life. That is, a class requiring but a low order of intellect and but little skill. Its requisites are vigor, docility, fidelity. Such a class you must have, or you would not have that other class which leads progress, civilization, and refinement. It constitutes the very mud-sill of society and of political government; and you might as well attempt to build a house in the air, as to build either the one or the other, except on this mud-sill.

Or these writings by antebellum South Carolina Chancellor William Harper (1790-1847), who presents slavery as vital to the cotton industry (fourth item):

The first and most obvious effect [of abolition], would be to put an end to the cultivation of our great Southern staple…

A distinguished citizen of our own State, than whom none can be better qualified to form an opinion, has lately stated that our great staple, cotton, has contributed more than anything else of later times to the progress of civilization. By enabling the poor to obtain cheap and becoming clothing, it has inspired a taste for comfort, the first stimulus to civilization. Does not self-defense, then, demand of us steadily to resist the abrogation of that which is productive of so much good? It is more than self-defense. IT is to defend millions of human beings, who are far removed from us, from the intensest suffering, if not from being struck out of existence. It is the defense of human civilization.

And in a glowing review of a pro-slavery tract by William & Mary President Thomas Roderick Dew, vital to civilization itself:

President Dew has shown that slavery is the principal cause of civilization. Perhaps nothing can be more evident than that it is the sole cause.

Today's pro-choicers in the Unitarian pulpits and on the Globe editorial page have a good deal in common with the genteel slavers of the Palmetto State of a century and a half ago.

They've tied liberty and progress – their own liberty and progress – to the subjective devaluation of a whole other class of people.

And declared it a blow for humanity.


Wednesday, January 08, 2003  
Sumptuous images

Altarpiece of the Church Fathers: Vision of St Sigisbert, Michael Pacher, c. 1483

The Dec. 20 edition of Commonweal features a cover review by Lawrence Cunningham of what the Notre Dame theologian calls "as stunning a book of art" as he has seen, Great Altarpieces: Gothic and Renaissance, by Caterina Limentani Virdis and Mari Pietrogiovanna (Vendome, $150, 421 pp.).

What end did these altarpieces serve? Cunningham writes. Some, to be sure, gave glory to the patrons who paid for them: their portraits appear not infrequently in the central or side panel, usually in an attitude of prayer. But like so much Christian art, altarpieces were meant, simultaneously, to raise the mind and heart of the worshiper to the mysteries of the faith and to enhance the beauty of the setting for the liturgy. Since the interior panels of the altarpieces were shown only on special occasions, they assumed a certain revelatory character. When the exterior doors were pulled back, the interior panels gave the viewer a glimpse of the beauty of the world of heaven.

For most people today altarpieces are simply great art, and many of them adorn the walls of museums. Yet they were meant to be seen in a church setting, illuminated by the unsteady light of candles and lamps andwhatever natural light filtered in through stained-glass windows. It is only in their intended setting, I think, where we can properly gaze as opposed to look, that we can really appreciate how powerful these works are. That said, there is still merit in a careful perusal of a book as beautiful as this: as Saint Bonaventure notes in the opening chapter of the
Itinerarium, "whoever is not enlightened by such splendor of created things is blind."

More on altarpieces from The Guardian.


'Put that in your schismatic thuribles!'

The Pop Pope topic has led to a certain chippiness – in the understated Derek Sanderson sense of the term – at Free Republic.

Thanks to Dajjal for the link.


Legends and the Chester-Belloc

We are indebted to Chesterton, Belloc and others for defending and preserving the priceless treasure of legends, William C. Van Breda writes in an essay from the files of Homiletic & Pastoral Review. More


Liturgists unplugged, or the Lake Wobegon School of Sacred Music meets Lilo & Stitch

Grab your conga drum and check out the rockin' clip from the video "Glory Days: David Haas & Friends in Concert."

Say, is it something they put in the holy water up there in Minnesota? From a biographical blurb on Michael Joncas:

The appearance of "On Eagle's Wings" in 1978 coincided with his MA in liturgy from Notre Dame, an academic pursuit that has since taken him to the Pontifical Liturgical Institute of the Pontifical Athenaeum, San Anselmo in Rome. During that interim, he was ordained in 1980 as a priest for the archdiocese of St. Paul/­Minneapolis. In this Minnesota scene, he collaborated with two of his colleagues, Marty Haugen and David Haas, in producing some of the most effective music for the Church's worship that has appeared in the post-conciliar days…

His work causes one to muse over what some historians might see as a "Minnesota school of liturgical composition." It would be even more interesting for the cultural historian to discover the reason why, in the middle of the United States with so many Lutherans encircling the various Catholic centers of middle-European extraction, there exists such a formidable powerhouse of Catholic creativity. The Benedictines at Collegeville, the clean energy of the Midwest, Lake Wobegon--all of these factors confront us when we look at Michael Joncas with his enormous impact on the Church's musical life. Perhaps Horace Greeley was right after all about moving westward.

And where do Minnesota liturgical composers go on vacation? Hawaii, of course. (Via Marty Haugen's Liturgical Links)

I've got to say, however, that E Haku I Ka Pu'u Wai is no Meli Kalikimaka.


Edmund Burke: The Conscience of a Nation: When this silver-tongued Dubliner spoke, the British people listened. More from The Wild Geese Today.


Why We Fight: An Anti-Idiotarian Manifesto


Tuesday, January 07, 2003  

Boston Common at Twilight, Childe Hassam, 1885-86

Maureen Mullarkey on the eating habits of tenured art appreciators, the oiliness of Degas, and when a cigar, docent notwithstanding, is just a cigar:

The current issue of the College Art Association’s newsletter carries the NAEA’s solicitation which lists, in earnest alphabetical order, a catalogue of suggested topics. Herewith, the wall chart:

author / artist / authority bricolage
cognitive dissonance
commercial art
common sense
content and context
gaze and glance
icon / index / symbol
taboo, or values and ethics

One look at this curry of buzzwords and the eating habits of tenured art appreciators are clearer than Perrier. The menu signals that all academic dietary laws will be observed. No artminds will be put off their feed. Feminists can sink their capped teeth into "gaze," that evilly male phenomenon. Multiculturists will gnaw on "colonialism." Donnish radicals get to jab their forks into "pedagogy" and "power."

There’s only a single H, the predictable "hegemony." But that is enough to keep the taps open until closing time. The entire faculty, in concord and beery unanimity, can raise a pint to, say, manifestations of gendered power in headress iconography. Or, the æsthetics of post colonial politics. Listen while everybody cocks a snook at the bourgeois bogey of delectation that lurks in that word "ideology."

The most depressing item here is "common sense." It is offered as a specimen under scrutiny, like a fly in amber, indicating its rarity as an inherent component of the discipline. Orderly alphabetizing lends an aura of rationality to what is , at heart, a mad endeavor: the compulsion to reduce the pleasure of art to zero. Educators scenting a foundation grant with this kind of beady-eyed erudition have no more interest in art than a hamster. They are pushers of a self-blinding intellectualism that projects upon art formulæ that fit their chosen blinkers.

It gets even better. Go read the whole thing.


Soccer hooligans: Booing. Fighting. Crossing themselves. More


In accompaniment, the Schola will chant Circle of Life in Swahili.

The Lion King appears to be the inspiration behind this Milwaukee parish's hot-tub baptisms. * Captions?


The OCP's puppet Marni Nixon?

There can be little doubt: The lead singer of the hymn Intercessions now playing on OCP Radio is actually Edgar the Cook of the Mister Rogers Show.


Sex, please

Many, many thanks to Norah Vincent for so ably pointing out: The word is "sex," not "gender."

Be sure to pay a visit to her archive. Among the articles of interest: Op-eds for the Los Angeles Times on the libel risks of blogging and on the blind eye the "humanitarian" Left turns to the plight of Iraqis.


And while on the topic of Iraq

See this excerpt from the British government dossier detailing torture and human-rights abuses under the Iraqi regime the Vatican says it would be unjust to militarily depose.

To go by the Holy See's former UN envoy, your mother was wrong: If everyone else is jumping off the bridge, you should, too.

Martino argued that "unilateralism is not acceptable…[I]t's clear that - being part of the international assembly - the United States must also realize the needs of others."

Hmmm. Go along to get along with the UN. Does this mean the Vatican soon will be deserting its vigil as lonely sentry against the "Culture of Death"?


Monday, January 06, 2003  
Papal adulation &c

The Pilgrims Meet the Pope, Vittore Carpaccio, c. 1492

I love the way they balance the reverence with the indigenous. Raymond Arroyo, EWTN, commenting on Aztec tom-toms at a papal Mass in Mexico City.

"WOW, I did not know so many could have their lives changed by seeing the Pope. If they can be changed, I can too!" Delilah, 15, on the 'Real World'-meets-World Youth Day video Don't Turn Back.

Several respondents to a previous post have commented here and elsewhere that the personal charisma and holiness of Pope John Paul II have a stirring effect, and have led many in his presence to spiritual conversion. No doubt in many cases this has been true.

Pious devotion, the thrill of seeing the Pope, the pride of being present for the making of history at a papal Mass: all play roles in the excitement surrounding appearances of JPII.

But between the Wotylapalooza atmosphere of World Youth Day and the censing of the Pope by vestal Aztecs at Mexico City, other phenomena also have been present in the hyper-emotionalism and pop mentality that have marked recent papal galas.

The Pope warrants three cheers, certainly, but not Lady Di bathos.

I can understand teenagers screaming for the Rolling Stones. But to paraphrase that great barnyard theologian Foghorn Leghorn, there is something kind of yeeeeeeh about the idea of "Christian Rock." I can't imagine a red-blooded teen listening to it – or for that matter, squealing at the sight of the aged pontiff, "John Paul Two, We Love You!"

World Youth Day has seen the confluence of a multicultural-extravaganza-loving Vatican liturgical celebrations office, described here by Mark Cameron, with what might be called the Ned Flanders elements in Catholic evangelical outreach, for whom revivalism and "relevance" are all. Hello, LifeTeen. Hello, Rapping Friar. And now Don't Turn Back, the video (as seen on EWTN!) that makes the Catholic faith as relevant to teens as MTV!

But Billy Graham Creep isn't the worry here.

What is: The prevalence at World Youth Day and other papal mass-rallies of certain groups whose stocks-in-trade are psychological manipulation and the personality cult – and who encourage a fervent devotion to the Pope whose endorsement insulates them from criticism. From 2000:


JERUSALEM, MAR 24 (ZENIT.org).- Last night, thousands of youths spent the night in the rain and cold in order to be able to celebrate Mass with the Holy Father today…Some estimates say there were as many as 120,000 present, and even the most conservative guesses stand at 90,000…

While they waited for the Pope, Kiko Argüello, founder of the Neo-Catechumenal Way, sang and played the guitar along with a group of youths, who also sang and played musical instruments. Groups of boys and girls danced in a circle…

Half of them, about 50,000, were members of Neo-Catechumenal communities from around the world…The other half came from other movements and ecclesial institutions, such as Communion and Liberation, the Focolares, Opus Dei, as well as parishes and dioceses from different parts of the world.

Similar reports here and here.

This account of a Neo-Cat altar call smacks not of renewal but of the Moonies.

From these particular fruits of the new evangelization, I'd rather not bite.

The authority of the Church, personified by a heroic and saintly JPII, has a strong appeal for Catholic conservatives. Some seem to regard JPII as the embodiment of the Church (or at least, the post-conciliar status quo they have embraced) and as such, beyond criticism, to be given the benefit of every doubt.

And indeed, the Pope and his Office are worthy of respect and admiration. But Rome is not above criticism on fronts liturgical and political, particularly today, given its non-handling of the clergy sex-abuse crisis.

Meantime, the current pontiff is frail and ailing. My thought at Christmas was that he looked worse than the photos of FDR at Yalta. I found it painful – not inspiring – to watch the poor man put through seemingly endless ceremonials.

Why is he? So he can be venerated as a living relic?


CathNews: From Australia, this informative site offers a roundup of "what's been happening in, and impacting on, the Church in the last 24 hours."


Report: Jesus was a pothead. More


A review of a new book on Cardinal Newman

What Turner leaves us with is Newman the theological street-brawler - less a detached, self-doubting searcher for truth than a spirited combatant desperately battling the influence of evangelicalism within the Church of England. By focusing on Newman's early life and contrasting it with his delicately crafted autobiographical narrative, Turner exposes a very different Cardinal Newman to that of Catholic lore or the artfully dissembling agenda of the Apologia. More


Thursday, January 02, 2003  


Mr. Frank Sinatra, an amiable young singer of popular songs, is inspiring extraordinary personal devotion on the part of many thousands of young people, and particularly young girls between the ages of, say, twelve and eighteen. The adulation bestowed upon him is similar to that lavished upon Colonel Lindbergh fifteen years ago, Rudolph Valentino a few years earlier, or Admiral Dewey, the hero of Manila Bay, at the turn of the century…

One difficulty was that multitudes of the admirers of "The Voice" as Mr. Sinatra is popularly called, refused to leave after having seen one complete performance in a non-stop programme which went on every day from nine in the morning until after midnight. Of 3,500 spectators only about 250 left at the end of the first performance. One young woman is known to have sat through 56 consecutive performances, which means about eight consecutive days. Some of the youngsters faint with hunger and fatigue after sitting six or eight hours without food, but still refuse to leave until they are bodily removed by the attendants.

From "Frank Sinatra and the 'bobby-soxers,'" the Guardian Jan. 10, 1945

Sinatra's fans are overwhelmingly young women. Their versions of the effect he has on them are, on the whole, more daintily phrased than the callous judgments of the psychologists.

"I shiver all the way up and down my spine when you sing, just like I did when I had scarlet fever."

"After the fourth time I fell out of a chair and bumped my head, so I decided to sit on the floor in the beginning when I listen to you."

"I love you so bad it hurts. Do you think I should see a doctor?"

A radio station conducted a "Why I Like Frank Sinatra" contest. Among the fifteen hundred essays submitted was one that read:

"I think he is one of the greatest things that ever happened to Teen Age America. We were the kids that never got much attention, but he's made us feel like we're something. He has given us understanding. Something we need. Most adults think we don't need any consideration. We're really human and Frank realizes that. He gives us sincerity in return for our faithfulness."

-- From "The Slaves of Sinatra," by E. J. Kahn Jr., The New Yorker, November 1946.

"I love you, Papa!" screamed a hoarse male voice, while nearby, another young woman collapsed onto a friend's shoulder weeping and shouting, "There's the Pope!"

Miguel Garcia, 14, from California, blasted off three long hoots on a red plastic trumpet -- not something he'll do when the Popemobile rolls past the nearby chain-link fence, he said.

"He's been shot twice, so we won't do it then. . . . But I'm happy, I'm so happy. I might even cry."

…The buzzing descent of the helicopter shortly after 3:30 p.m. snapped everyone to attention. Soon great hordes raced back and forth across the pavement, the slightest suggestion of a papal sighting enough to trigger a stampede.

Finally, the Pope began his slow journey to the main stage, riding in the Popemobile down a long corridor marked by chain-link fences, the crowd pressed dozens deep on either side.

Some waved crosses or flags, while others chanted fervently "John Paul II, we love you! John Paul II, we love you!"

Pat Hain from Delaware, in her late 40s, leaned against the wire long after the procession had moved on, quivering with emotion.

"He's our shepherd, he's our great shepherd. . . . This is the greatest experience I've ever had."

Robyn Ferguson, 18, from Ottawa, was one of the many pilgrims who perched on a friend's shoulders, snapping photographs from less than three metres away.

"It was really enlightening to be able to see him. Wow! Wow!"

As the Pope finally began to speak, the masses grew silent, some clustered around radios and others intently watching the video screens that were peppered throughout the site, cheering whenever he paused. Many in the crowd wept openly.

Emmanuel Arches, 33, a Filipino who works in New Jersey, wore a hip plaid hat and a wooden cross flung nonchalantly over his shoulders. But as the Pope's words rolled over the crowd, he pressed palms together and wiped tears from his eyes.

"When you see him, you cannot help but pray, pray for myself, pray for my loved ones, pray for him also. . . . It's the closest I can be to God."

Goosebumps broke out spontaneously up Jennifer O'Connell's arms as she recalled her first glimpse of the Pope, back in 1984 while he was boating in Ottawa.

"I swear, he looked right at me and smiled, full of love. . . . Seeing him, I get goosebumps. Today, I'm going to cry tears of joy and happiness."

Gloria Puruntatame, 25, patted her stomach -- three months pregnant, but she hasn't felt a kick or cramp since she began her journey from northern Australia to see the Pope.

"Since I travelled, I haven't felt anything . . . no pain, none at all. I pray to him . . . and he protects my baby."

Even as some pilgrims swooned with excitement, others were dropping from heat exhaustion, dehydration, allergic reactions and other maladies.

Captain Rob Bygrave, on patrol with a cart full of water bottles for the Toronto Fire Services, said not many people needed medical assistance until after the Pope arrived.

"It's going nuts -- we've got hundreds of people lined up at the hospital," he said. "A lot of the kids wanted front-row seats and they wouldn't leave them for food, they wouldn't leave them for water."

-- From "Young People Wait All Day for the Pope," Toronto Globe and Mail, July 26, 2002

In that moment of recognition as the Popemobile passed through Exhibition Place, they laughed or wept or bowed their heads in prayer. Some fell into each another's arms.

"Papa John is in the house," a young voice cried out.

While many shrieked with delight, others sat silently, a rosary in one hand and a tissue in the other to wipe away tears.

…Nicolas Pappalardo, who's from Toronto and works for World Youth Day, thanked the Pope. "You are a compass when we need guidance. You are our luminous beacon of hope in a world of darkness."

…Peter Richards, from Halifax, broke down in tears when the Popemobile passed a few metres in front of him. "I'm just so overcome with the power of his presence," he explained.

…Pawel Zuchniewicz, a Polish journalist, recalls meeting John Paul at World Youth Day in Denver in 1993. "He was very robust. I remember his grip, which was very strong, and I was weeping like a small child."

-- From "World's Youth Greet Pontiff with Smiles," Toronto Star, July 26, 2002

I went to the Vatican expecting a solemn affair. It felt more like a rowdy World Cup soccer crowd. Mexican and Russian delegations held up national flags as they waited for His Holiness. Other groups waved matching colored scarves. The Americans were most boisterous. A group of about 200 college students chanted and clapped in unison as they unfurled a large spray-painted banner. "John Paul Two, we love you!" they cried, hoping to lure the Pope out on stage.

I was five feet from the center aisle, where in moments, one of the world's most influential people would walk by. I just wanted one good photo. As the time grew closer, people began shoving – Pope hooligans.

…I was busy protecting my own vantage point. There was a shove from behind, and as I stumbled off my chair, I watched another man's video camera crash down. I had seen tamer crowds at Pearl Jam concerts.

Finally, the Pope entered. Everyone gasped. Just as I snapped my photo, a rugby match broke out, in which the guy behind me attempted to get closer to God by flinging himself over the crowd to fondle the Pope's robe. The Pope, a man who usually radiates inner peace, looked perturbed as his follower tried to grope him.
-- Dave Fox, "Don't Grope the Pope"

This is progress?


Wondering what Bishop Spong has been up to lately?

He's among the honorary advisors to the Cambridge-based Center for Progressive Christianity, which casts the net thus:

Religion doesn't have to be irrelevant, ineffectual, repressive...

Do you find more grace in the search for meaning than in absolute certainty, in the questions rather than in the answers?

Do you have religious interests and longings but cannot accept the beliefs and dogmas you associate with Christianity?

Are you repelled by claims that Christianity is the "only way"?

See their professio fidei.

There are no absolutes but tolerance. But if tolerance is mandatory it must be an absolute. But there are no absolutes… Isn't this about where the smoke starts pouring out of the androids in that Star Trek episode?


Et Raggedy Andy factus est: Yes, it's Huggy Jesus -- soft and cuddly and hypoallergenic.


Kumbaya! Massachusetts Episcopalians sing for peace, from the vantage of what appears to be the top of a colonial Boston roller-coaster. Six Flags over St. Paul's? Don't look down!


This page is powered by Blogger.