Monday, February 28

Respondeo Dicendum, Part II

In keeping with the Novus Ordo mass, this section has been moved relative to the Tridentine mass to preceed the Penitential Rite.

On the Translation of "Et cum spiritu tuo": Whether or not this will continue to be translated idiomatically as "And also with you" or literally as "And with your spirit" in the next English revision of the Novus Ordo is currently up in the air. As such, I am open to both, especially since this proposed order of mass is attempting to cling close to the Tridentine mass.
As I said before, my rationale for these changes is not to necessarily trying to cling close to the Tridentine mass but restore a greater apparent continuity between the present and earlier forms of the Mass. I think, in general, we should expect more from the faithful; the ICEL translation chucked "And with your spirit" because it was supposedly too difficult to understand. It may cause some initial head-scratching, but Catholics will soon see, with a minimum of thought, that they are speaking of the soul. While one should avoid deliberately obscure translations, spiritual things are still always a little mysterious and special and the Mass should convey that. "And with your spirit" forces you to confront spiritual realities.

The other thing is Catholicism is not a bare-bones religion. I know the Squire is not implying it is; but there is a vast body of beliefs and customs which the faithful are initiated into through the Church. If we retain a few of the little niceties here and there like "et cum spiritu tuo," they will want to know more and better understand their Mother the Church. At the very least, it can be explained by one sentence of catechesis and then it will take on a beautiful and deep meaning every time hence when someone hears it.
(Penitential Rite)

This is the point at which everyone admits they are lowly sinners and go begging all and sundry for forgiveness.
Not to be flip, but, well, we are, and we ought. The old rite may have exaggerated the sinfulness of man to the point of scrupulosity, but we've gone too far the other way to "I'm OK, you're OK."
Kneeling as it is done in a pew has too much pious dignity attatched to it - I much prefer the "stand up and admit it" attitude encouraged by the currently indicated posture. This, though, is a matter of my opinion.
I never specified whether the faithful should kneel or stand. I think they should stand, simply as a matter of practicality--though I have seen whole congregations kneel for a Kyrie during Lent, and during a Novus Ordo mass--but since the priest's gesture is more symbolically important than that of the people, he and the server ought to do more than simply stand.
On the Inclusion of Michael the Archangel, et. al.: This is redundant with the subsequent phrase, "and all the angels and saints," as well as the litany of the Saints. The case for the reintroduction of this minor litany needs further justification.
I've mentioned before that we shouldn't be so eager to go hunting for redundancies, given the original intention of that section of Sacrosanctum Concilium. Admitted, they do not always appear in the earliest forms of the Confiteor, but I think the naming of the saints is important. Their naming gives them a permanent place in the Mass. Their absence from the liturgy (save for the Virgin and the occasional treat of the saint of the day) always puzzled me as a child. It was as if the whole company of saints were some later accretion, faintly chimerical, which had gotten tacked on to the primitive purity of early Christianity. This wasn't the intention of the originators of the 1970 Missal, interested more in historical purity, but that was the effect.

Aufer a Nobis and Oramus Te

The first seems redundant to the end of the Penitential Rite, so a case for its inclusion must be made.
The Aufer is one of the oldest prayers of preparation we have. It serves to sum up the entire Penitential Rite before we go up to the altar and also, through its language, links the Mass to the earthly temple of Solomon and the heavenly Jerusalem.
As most modern parishes do not include relics in their altar, and as the Priest's sins have just been forgiven in the Penitential Rite, the Oramus Te is also redundant. Again, explaination needs to be given for its inclusion.
First, I have provided a form for kissing an altar without a relic--and my own parish, built in the sixties, has not one but three relics in the altar, so they are not so rare as one might think. Secondly, the latter part of this comment is a legitimate criticism, I think, but, as I have said before, repetition does not always imply redundancy. While one must not become scrupulous (a rare problem these days), it is a healthy thing to ask forgiveness, especially during the Liturgy. The Oramus could be conceivably omitted, if absolutely necessary.
On the Location of the Priest: Many newer and newly renovated churches make use of a basilica-style floor layout with the altar at the center. Other new, smaller chapels are simply an oval of chairs surrounding the altar, ambo, and presider's chair. While both have distinct areas for each of the three areas, such setups do not have a real "right" or "left." Perhaps this type of micromanaging is best left to the national conferences or to the Ordinaries.
This is not so much of a problem as one might think. The priest stands either before (as in an ad orientem arrangement) or behind (as in a versus populum arrangement) and the side his left-hand is on is the left, and so forth. The main reason I specified this is that the Missal has been traditionally placed on the priest's right during the opening of Mass and one would have to read the Introit and Collect from those Missals. This is also intended to prevent the altar boys from being reduced to mobile book-holders. This rubric was continued even in the 1969 Missal with regard to private masses, so it seems well to preserve it. I suppose one could place it in the center without trouble (as in Pastoral Provision masses, like those celebrated at Our Lady of the Atonement in San Antonio) but given that such motion prevents the opening of Mass from turning into a long monologue and seeming more like a rite, it seems useful to retain this distinction.
The Kyrie Eleison

On the Inclusion of the Kyrie in the Penitential Rite: Just because something is old doesn't make it superior (unless, of course, it was instituted by Christ and practiced by his disciples, but that's a different case). Conversely, just because something is relatively new doesn't make it inferior. Why should innovations such as the Oramus Te be left to stand while the third setting for the Penitential Rite (which involves the Kyrie) is demeaned as "unhistorical"?
Yes and no. Tradition, as Chesterton has remarked, is the democracy of the dead. Something usually survives because it works well, or because it is beautiful. I also agree that novelty does not necessarily make something bad. But that sort of logic could be used to defend the Oramus Te as well as the troped Kyrie which serves as one penitential rite.

The truth is, Penitential Rite C ("You came to heal the contrite, Lord have mercy, etc.) is unhistorical. It is derived, I will admit, in part from the far more elaborate and effervescent troped Kyries of the Middle Ages, but those were not associated with the Confiteor per se. (Also, those tropes were more poetic). The Kyrie has never been exclusively associated with the Penitential Rite; it comes after it and was sometimes sung over it during High Mass, but the present semi-exclusive association between the two (and the Asperges) is an entirely new thing. It always followed the priest's blessing at the Indulgentiam and the Oramus Te which ended the preparatory prayers. Since the Kyrie has a long history as an independent part of the Mass with great dignity (and it may have begun actually as a form of the Prayers of the Faithful rather than as an act of penitence) it ought to be treated as such and not grafted into the Penitential Rite, the Confiteor of which has a far longer history exclusively as an act of penitence.
The Gloria

On Language: "You Who..." is archaic. Even the form of the Gloria found in the current English draft of the missal removes the word "who."
It expresses Qui tollis well; anyway, it is easy enough to understand, archaic or no. It seems ordinary enough to me.
On the Deacon Bowing or Kneeling While Recieving the Priest's Blessing [at the Gospel]: While, for a healthy person, a profound bow (from the waist) is not a problem, I can see where some older Deacons might have difficulties maintaining such a position. For those who cannot make a profound bow, an allowance for kneeling should probably be made. However, those who can make a profound bow probably should.
As someone who has been profoundly bowing during the Creed for a long time, and who considers himself fairly healthy, I find it a very unpleasant exercise if carried out for a long time, especially if one actually does a proper profound bow. All the blood goes to one's head. More importantly, it is a gesture with less meaning in modern culture than kneeling. One kneels when one's about to propose to one's wife, for example. One doesn't profoundly bow unless one is Japanese. Anyway, if the priest is sitting when the deacon bows, the result is essentially the deacon's head is shoved in the priest's face, which looks rather ungracious.
On the Use of the Biretta [during the homily]: Matthew states that the "Biretta is a sign of authority." A sign to whom? To my pious, late grandmother, possibly. To my other grandparents and parents, an outside chance. To myself and most other Catholics of my generation, not at all. I didn't even know that it existed until a couple years ago, and have never seen one in person. Suddenly donning the things again during mass will not have the intended effect; instead, it'll merely look as if the Church is intentionally regressing. What's next, the maniple?
Funny you should say that, since Cardinal Arinze, the current head of the Congregation of Divine Worship, has indicated that the maniple was never formally abolished and can be used by priests during Mass.

If one argues that one particular vestment ceases to be prima faciae symbolic, without recourse to the appropriate explanatory section of the missal to explain it to the faithful, you might as well abolish all of them. Vestments gain their meaning from historic use and accumulated symbolism, which requires a passing-on of information to explain that symbolism. If after that explanation is obtained they still remain opaque, that's a problem, and perhaps those are the things to be dispensed with, but only then. We shouldn't expect the faithful to immediately, instantaneously understand what every symbol means, not abolish all symbols which don't immediately make sense. That lowers the Mass, the most sublime act on earth, which has inspired some of the finest works of art, music and architecture to the lowest common denominator.

Regarding the biretta, headgear connotes authority in general--bishop's mitres, policemen's hats, firefighter's helmets, etc. Anyway, the biretta does not have to be used; it would be optional. It still is permitted for use during Mass.

Birettas, maniples, amices, all that, they're inconvenient. But their inconvenience has important value. Liturgy isn't just something you slip into like sweatpants.
Respondeo Dicendum, Part I

The Squire has been good enough to critique my proposed Ordo in a thorough and detailed manner. Here are some of my own thoughts in response to his criticisms. I'll post more when I have time.
Matthew at Shrine of the Holy Whapping has, all by himself, proposed a revision of the Order of the Mass. Reguardless of the fact that he did not wait for the third edition of the Novus Ordo missal to be finalized and published...
I admit there is something perhaps mildly comic about a lone layman taking upon himself to redesign the Mass, as Fr. Brian Harrison himself remarked on his proposal in his excellent essay, "Postconciliar Eucharistic Liturgy" in Fr. Thomas Kocik's The Reform of the Reform? That being said, it was exactly these sorts of proposals, advocated by men like Jungmann and Reinhold, which shaped the changes of the 1960s and 1970s. So, while I am no Joseph Jungmann or nor was meant to be, one has to get the ball rolling somehow.
(which, from what I've seen of it, may already be the step backwards in ecumenicalism and clarity of language he desires)
"Clarity" is perhaps misleading. I would like language which accurately conveys the original Latin, which is much more hierarchical than the current ICEL translation. The Squire, though, later commented that he has now a better sense of the logic behind the Vox Clara draft.
On the title: I'll admit my Latin is a bit rusty. Even so, shouldn't it be, properly, the Ordo Carolus or some inflection thereof? This, though, may cause confusion with Carolus Magnus, the first Holy Roman Emperor, so perhaps Ordo Johannes Paulus Secundus or somesuch would be more appropriate.
As far as I know, the grammar is acceptable. The Tridentine Rite is called the Ordo Pianus, from Pius V. The K is to distinguish Karol from Carol; though perhaps it would be best to call it the Johanno-Pauline Ordo would be more suitable. It's not as catchy, though.
Before proceeding further, it should be noted that a new order of mass is typically promulgated in Latin before being translated into the various vernacular languages. Since the Ordo Karolingianus was created without apparent recourse to the various forms of the Roman Missal in their original language, it was effectively created de novo.
A fair criticism, since the organic development of the liturgy is a major concern of the conservative and traditionalist critique of the Novus Ordo. That being said, I did study the Latin text to the best of my abilities when considering word choice. Since many of the issues surrounding the present mass are ones of translation, it seemed sensible to issue the text in English, and easier to work in it. However, I think while its creation is in a sense de novo, it nonetheless could serve as a guideline for a future, more organic reform of the Mass.
On "Of Concelebrants": Beyond the prohibition against concelebrants performing "servile tasks," this is merely a summary of the US Conference of Catholic Bishops document Guidelines for the Concelebration of the Eucharist. Would it be more profitable to include this (or a direct reference to it) in the text, as it covers more eventualities?
This is intended merely as a sketch of a much larger rubrical issue; furthermore, I was attempting deliberately to limit the number of opportunities for concelebration as, while it is not without precedent in the ancient Church, seems to cause a number of practical and rubrical problems when implemented on a large scale. For one thing, there are fewer masses celebrated when there are more concelebrants, while the primacy of the old trinity of priest, deacon and subdeacon (there seems to be a fairly early consensus--I think it may go back even to Patristic times--that the minimum number of ministers needed at a mass are three) seems to be obscured by large numbers of concelebrants. Concelebrants also make it harder to distinguish the graded hierarchy which has always been a characteristic of liturgy.
Also, on the prohibition, it seems unneccessary to require an instituted Acolyte for "servile tasks" for situations where, for instance, the entire congregation is made up of ordained ministers.
I think this could easily be solved by a priest attending in choro as a server, vesting in alb or cassock and surplice. My main point was to avoid the sight of one vested priest assisting another in a servile manner. It sends the wrong symbolic message.
The Fore-Mass
(Introductory Rites)

Before getting nit-picky on this section, Matthew deserves credit for swapping out all the "thous" for "yous" in his proposed order.

On the inclusion of Psalm 42: Matthew leaves no footnotes to explain why he has added the Psalm back to the order of mass. While I, unfortunately, am no schollar of church history, I would hazard to guess that no references to this section of the Tridentine Mass could be found prior to the Middle Ages. I would like to see Matthew's rationale for its re-inclusion.
This is my fault; I have a longer commentary I am writing, and I swapped out most of the footnotes and put them there. Here's a digest of my rationale for the return of this private prayer to the altar. Note, of course, that the priest may recite this silently while a hymn is sung, so the processional aspect is not lost.

Here, from the unfinished Exposition of the Ordo Karolingianus, are my thoughts on the return of Psalm 42 to the altar:
The Preparatory prayers were the subject of contentious debate among liturgists leading up to the Second Vatican Council. Before the Council of Trent, some form of the Prayers at the Foot of the Altar were said either in the sacristy or on the way to the altar, though they varied substantially from one diocese to the next. [...] At Trent both the preparatory prayers and the Confiteor were given increased dignity and importance in the rite by being given a standard form and being moved out of the sacristy and to the sanctuary. [...]

In order to increase the active participation of the faithful, the dialogue mass [of the 1940s] endeavored to open up the formerly private Preparatory prayers to the whole congregation. This, however, caused some difficulties as it competed with the introit appointed for the day. Furthermore, until the dialogue mass, the “Roman rite never began with a public and corporate act of confession and repentance by the congregation” [...].

The unexpected result [of the excision of Psalm 42] was a removal of a sense of degree and preparation from the rite by the immediate ascent of the altar. By placing the ascent to the altar before the priest’s declaration of sin and symbolic cleansing, the necessity of sorrow for sin as a preparation before worship was confused.

The Opening Rite of the current Mass, however, remains unsuitable in several ways. While the Confiteor is acceptable in its present place, the removal of Psalm 42, [...] is unfortunate [and] opens up a liturgical and pastoral gap in the Mass. There is, as mentioned above, a loss of the sense of approach to the altar and silent, prayerful preparation apart from the Confiteor. The single Confiteor, while not problematic in and of itself, collapses the priest’s and people’s preparation into one, unintentionally downplaying a sense of his separate and distinct mission. If it were preceded by private prayer (visible to the faithful), this would be less of a difficulty.

The camaraderie of priest and servers is utterly removed since no longer are they needed to respond to his private prayers; especially with the Collect removed from the altar and the server required to hold the Missal open, they become reduced to peripatetic lecterns and glorified candle-holders. The result is that serving becomes a far less specialized activity requiring less training and less knowledge, a fact that I believe has affected the decline in interest in the priesthood among servers. While historically, the congregation has had its part, the servers have also had their part to say as well. While it would be unfeasible and probably unfortunate at this present date to return many of the parts formerly reserved to the server from their congregational role, the private prayers fill this gap with dignified ease. [...]

It is important that [the preparatory prayers] occurs in the open, in front of the congregation rather than in the sacristy, as a more archaeologically correct reform might have done, because it recognizes more clearly the distinct dignity of the priesthood and ministers without requiring an extensive revision to the current form of the Penitential rite. The congregation now understands that it is not always the focus of the Priest’s attention.
The Squire goes on to say:
Also, Matthew doesn't use the New American Bible as the source for his text. The NAB is the translation currently approved for liturgical use in the United States. This, I believe, is an instance where a return to the source text (and direct translations thereof) would be more faithful to sacred scripture than to filter scripture through an additional language.
At present, there are quite a few alterations from the NAB text in the lectionary that have come in over the years. This hardly seems a problem.
On the Inclusion of the Gloria Patri (Glory Be): First, as all other mentions of Jesus Christ in the mass merit only a head bow, why should the Gloria Patri?
The Gloria has been said or sung in the Office and in other rites of the Church, with a full bow. I don't see why it should be different here.
Secondly, this part of the mass seems to be redundant the Gloria, which is why I am not bothered by its removal. A better case needs to be made for its inclusion.
The Gloria Patri is retained here, restoring a time-honored Catholic prayer to a more permanent home in the new liturgy and also serving to underline the connection between liturgical and devotional life considering how often this appears in private prayer. I grew up somewhat mystified by the apparent lack of correlation between much private prayer and the ceremonies of the Mass.

Before we go on, I think it is important to consider the nature of "redundancy" in the Mass. Sacrosanctum Concilium states that "the rites should be distinguished by a noble simplicity; they should be short, clear, and unencumbered by useless repetitions [...]." If one reviews the history of the Liturgical Movement this has less to do with the repetition of specific phrases (then we should have to get rid of the triple Agnus Dei, the Kyries, and all litanies, but more with the curious custom of the priest reading in secreto the Epistle and Gospel readings at the Altar, the Gloria, the Kyrie, the Creed, etc., as other ministers sung or read them elsewhere. This is certainly a repetition which can surely be removed.

Other things which entered High Mass through the influence of the Low Mass, like the Priest reciting the deacon's prayer Jube Dom(i)ne before the Gospel in addition to his own preparation, could be considered to fall under this heading. However, there is no call for the removal of every and all repetition, considering that ritual repetition is an act deep at the heart of the nature of ceremonial.

In order to act in a way consistent with previous liturgical reforms (such as the work of codification done at Trent and continued by Pius XII whose liturgical reforms are careful and sophisticated, and even to a great degree in the 1965 Missal), Liturgy should be carefully pruned; whole limbs ought not to be lopped off wholesale. Until the present, the need to show the burden of proof has always fallen on those who want to remove an aspect of the liturgy rather than those who wish to preserve it. As a consequence, the Ordo Karolingianus is not seeking to 'cling' to the Tridentine Rite but restore a greater sense of continuity between the old and new rites.

Anyway, I'm hungry and need to go eat, so I'll continue with the Squire's comments tomorrow. Thanks again for your thoughts, Squire.

Sunday, February 27


The Mass of St. Gregory. Adriaen Isenbrandt (c.1490-1551).

Ordo Karolingianus Update

Last time I wrote about the Ordo Karolingianus, my project seeking to envision what a "reform of the reform" of the Mass would be like, my gentle readers expressed great interest in obtaining a copy of the revised draft. While I hope eventually to write a full-length commentary explaining the general principles of my hypothetical reform, I have decided to make the actual text of the Ordo available in PDF format via the Shrine. Most of my sources and the logic behind the choices I've made are mentioned in the footnotes. Feedback would be much-appreciated, certainly, as I've always been impressed by the quality and intelligence of my readership.

For those unfamiliar with the Ordo Karolingianus, it is a proposed draft of a Mass, named in honor of Pope John Paul II (Karol Wojtyla) and striving to unite the best aspects of the Tridentine and Novus Ordo masses in a dignified and practical vernacular. The Ordo has several purposes: 1) To "re-run" the reforms of 1970 in a manner which is truer to the substance of Sacrosanctum Concilium and possessed of the hindsight accumulated in the last thirty years. 2) To imagine a form of the Mass, which, while familiar to those who have grown up with the Novus Ordo, would nonetheless provide a more potent link with organic liturgical tradition. 3) To prove that in order to fulfill the aspirations of the Fathers of Vatican II, the Tridentine Mass could have been reformed less drastically, with greater subtlety, and with less trauma to the faithful; and most importantly, 3) to provide a common liturgy derived in substance from the historic Roman Rite behind which, it is hoped, both traditionalists and conservative reformists could unite.

This last point is very important as while the liberals do not need a united front to obsfuscate the maintenance of the Church's liturgical heritage, it is clear to me that in order to reform the Novus Ordo that the bickering between various liturgically conservative and traditionalist groups must give way to a greater sense of mutual trust, a realistic, prudent program for reform and more mutual and specific proposals. In proposing this draft Mass, I have read the writings of the twentieth-century Liturgical Movement, with proposals both radical and traditional, Vatican II, modern traditionalists and modern conservative reformists of all stripes, and also many works of liturgical history. As I have said before, I hope the Ordo Karolingianus will provide a model for how to go about achieving such a goal. I'm only just one man, but my ideas are out there in the marketplace for anyone who's buying.

Read the Ordo Karolingianus in PDF form.

Friday, February 25

In a move unexpected by either side, it seems that the Florida Department of Children and Families will intervene on Terri's behalf.

This could be the miracle we're looking for.
Just Swim the Flippin' Tiber, already!

Apparently, North American Episcopal Church leaders have been asked not to attend an upcoming Anglican council because of their stance on ordaining homosexuals. They will, however, be asked to send representatives to a hearing at the council in order to explain their position.

It seems to be the nature of Prostestantism to come apart at the seams just when one needs it most.

Thursday, February 24


Pope Back in Hospital

Wednesday, February 23

More on Terri Schiavo - Not an update, but a petition to save her life that will be delivered to the Governor today is available online here. I don't know about the background of the group delivering it. They seem to be fundamentalist Protestant, and something about them doesn't quite sit well with me--but if you feel you're called to sign (after careful review), do so. And pray. And email the Governor on your own!
This Just In...

Fr. Rob reports that Terri Schiavo has been given a reprieve until 5:00 EST today. The Schindlers have a hearing at 2:45.

Pray hard.

Tuesday, February 22


"Aslan is on the move."

Get Religion posts on the new Chronicles of Narnia film, set to release Dec. 9:
link via Fr. Tucker
Comments by Disney veteran Martin Kaplan, director of the Norman Lear Center of the University of Southern California, cut to the heart of the matter.

Of Lewis's work, Mr. Kaplan said: "There's enough story and traditional emotion in the 'Narnia' books that they can let the Christian mysticism in it either be a subtext or not a part of it at all. I suspect you can portray resurrection in the same way that E.T. comes back to life, and that practically every fairy tale has a hero or heroine who seems to be gone forever but nevertheless manages to come back."

That sound you hear is C.S. Lewis devotees (and scholars) screaming.
I think the key word that sets me on edge here is "Disney." I read that and think, "Please, anyone but them." I mean, any company that is capable of twisting The Hunchback of Notre Dame into a children's musical with a happy ending will certainly have no compunctions about tweaking C.S. Lewis to make it more P.C., or whatever they think will make them the most money. Of course they know that if they do that, they'll have devoted fans, young and old, screaming bloody murder at them, but will that be enough? I mean, said fans will still buy tickets to see the movie either way, and money talks louder than fan forums.

Where have you gone, Pete Jackson? Lord of the Rings wasn't perfect, but it was about as good as one could expect, considering all the factors involved (the necessity of making the movies less than 20 hours long, for example). LotR sacrificed several plot elements in the interest of conciseness, but in the end I think it managed to capture the spirit of the books in a way few movies do. On the other hand, with TCoN, I can very easily see them creating a movie which keeps the plot intact, and misses the point entirely.

Another problem TCoN will face is that the spiritual elements are even more overt than in LotR. Although there are Catholic themes running throughout his works, Tolkien repeatedly insisted that they were not allegories. Rather, they spring out of his concept of the truth about human nature, condition, and telos, and as such can't help but be Catholic. Had Lewis tried to assert the same about the genre of The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe, however, he would have been laughed at. It is almost insulting to the reader for me to write here that LWW is an allegory for the Passion. Since this is so evident throughout the work however, it stands alot stronger chance of being axed. This can't be written off as vague 'spirituality' by a director and writers. This is, without a doubt, Christianity, and all the uncomfortable baggage that goes with it.

In our favor, of course, is The Passion. It doesn't get much more uncomfortable than that, but it certainly didn't suffer in the box office. One hopes that producers will look towards that success and be more open towards Christian elements in their films.

I still keep coming back to that word, though: "Disney." *shudder*
WorldNetDaily: The wonderful world of legal murder
As you read this, Terri Schiavo might be processing. That's the au courant word to use these days. It means dying.
If you're reading this anytime after 1pm EST today, to be precise; unless an emergency stay is issued.

Is this the face of a brain-dead woman? Nobody in their right mind could think so; but if something isn't done, it may be the face of a dead woman.

When I first heard about the Terri Schiavo case, I assumed she was in a coma: a "vegetable," as we so charmingly term such cases today. I still thought that her husband's attempt to pull out her feeding tube was completely wrong, but now that I know more--and know how much has been kept from us by the media--the whole affair takes on a lurid tinge which passes far beyond the merely grotesque. It's also an urgent matter--Terri may have her feeding tube pulled this week. Tomorrow, in fact. (Rumors about a possible stay to bar her husband's action turn out to be baseless, sadly.)

I don't usually do things like this, but I just emailed the governor about the matter. He has expressed great interest in the case and has saved Terri's life at least once before and hopefully he will intervene again. While perhaps my individual voice will not be heard, certainly it will swell the thousands of others who have sent him their pleas on this subject.

I received an email forwarded by my mother from Catholic Answers which sums up this utterly horrific situation:
A woman is about to be murdered, and you probably already know her name--Terri Schiavo.

Please help us rescue Terri from a horrible death by starvation! The moment her feeding tube is removed, Terri will begin a long, slow, painful death by starvation and dehydration.

We need your help NOW to rescue Terri from her cruel executioners. They've already tried to kill her once before, and she fought to stay alive. But this may be the last chance Terri gets. Will you help save her life?


If you've heard about Terri only through the news media, you've probably been led to believe things like this:

* Terri is brain dead.
* She is in a coma.
* She's a vegetable.
* Extraordinary means are being used to keep her alive.
* She wants to die but her parents stubbornly won't let it happen.

None of these things are true!

Terri is NOT brain dead. She is NOT in a coma. She is NOT in a "persistent vegetative state." And she is not on ANY life-support system.


When her parents visit her, Terri laughs, she cries, she moves, and she makes child-like attempts at speech with her mother and father. Sometimes she will say "Mom" or "Dad" or "yeah" when they ask her a question. And when they kiss her hello or goodbye, she looks at them and "puckers up" her lips.

She's able to sit in a chair, she loves to listen to her favorite music, and she recognizes her brother and sister when they come to visit.

Board-certified neurologist Dr. Jacob Green of Jacksonville, Florida, who examined Terri, said unequivocally: "She is not in a vegetative state." When asked if it would be ethical to remove her feeding tube, he said, "I'd call it murder."

Terri receives food and liquid through a feeding tube because she can't swallow. In other words, Terri depends on food and water to stay alive-just like everybody else!

But her husband, Michael, wants to disconnect her only means of food so that she will slowly starve to death.

Medical experts all agree that death by starvation and dehydration is perhaps the most painful, the most tortuous, and the most agonizing way to die.

Yes, Terri's injury left her disabled. But there are tens of thousands of disabled people who depend on gastro feeding tubes every day, and they live otherwise normal lives.

Terri can breathe for herself. She is not on a ventilator. Her vital organs are working fine, which means she is not hooked up to a machine. Furthermore, she is NOT dying or being "kept alive" by artificial means. She does not have a terminal disease, and she will be able to feel pain if she is starved to death.

And that could start to happen in the next few days.


Time is running out for Terri. Her feeding tube could be removed THIS WEEK!!!

There is one last court procedure that is being tried to save Terri's life, but if it fails her feeding tube could be removed Wednesday.

If that happens then only thing that may save her might be action by Florida Governor Jeb Bush.

Governor Bush has already fought to save Terri's life. The last time her feeding tube was removed he stepped in and snatched her back from the brink of death. The Florida legislature even passed a special law--"Terri's Law"--to give him the authority to keep her alive.

But then the law was struck down by a judge, putting Terri's life on the line once again.

If the courts continue their anti-life crusade against Terri and others like her, the only thing that may save her would be action by Governor Bush.


The attorneys who are fighting for Terri's life have a few more possible ways to prevent Terri's murder. But these are last-ditch efforts that may or may not work. The courts are decidedly on Michael's side--not Terri's.

So that means we have to come to Terri's aid-especially through the amazing power of prayer and sacrifice--but also by sharing this story with everybody you know, and encouraging Governor Jeb Bush to do everything he can to rescue Terri once again.

Here's what you can do...

1.) First, PRAY for Terri--harder than ever before! Not enough people are praying for Terri right now. And she needs our prayers now more than ever.

2.) Second, FAST along with Terri if and when her feeding tube gets removed--and then offer up your sacrifices for her.

3.) Third, please ENCOURAGE Governor Bush to do everything he can to rescue Terri. Since time is of the essence, we recommend that you send him an e-mail at

Or, if you prefer, you can call his office at the Florida State Capitol
at (850) 488-4441.

4.) And finally, please FORWARD this e-mail to everyone on your e-mail list. The more people who know the true story about Terri Schiavo and how she is in imminent danger of being murdered, the greater our chances of achieving a victory in this life-or-death struggle between good and evil.

It's hard to believe, but there are many hard-hearted people out there who believe that, due to Terri's condition, she is "better off dead." Words cannot describe the pain and anger such sentiments cause Terri's family.

This is their daughter, their little girl. And even in her disabled condition, she still has the right to life and the right to be loved and cared for by her family.

Terri doesn't have to die. If you'll carry out the steps above, we can win this battle and save Terri's life.

Please do your part--immediately--because tomorrow may be too late.


Catholic Answers
As a Catholic and a Floridian, I implore you to pass this information onto all your friends.

Also, see this website for further details. And pray. Please pray.

Monday, February 21



Children of Mary and Knights of the Immaculata have always been dedicated to the Eucharist.

For this reason, we will be working to hold a EUCHARISTIC PROCESSION with Campus Ministry in the afternoon of Saturday, April 16, 2005.

In order to hold this procession, we will first need 250 people to confirm that they will attend. If you can attend, send your confirmation to, subjectline "PROCESSION."

A Eucharistic Procession is a procession with the Blessed Sacrament in a monstrance throughout the campus. As we process, we will sing hymns and songs. We would stop at four places along the way to hold benediction. This is a long Church tradition of honoring the Blessed Sacrament and witnessing the beauty of our Catholic Faith to the Campus Community.

Please help us give this gift to Our Lord!!

For more information, go to
Romanis Civis Sum, or Something Like That

The School of Architecture here at Our Lady's university recently had its yearly Expo Roma, where senior arkies (such as yours truly) invite their parents up to see exhibits of their projects from their year abroad in Rome, slide shows of their adventures around the Italian boot and hob-nob with their professors. I was one of the people running the Foyer Decorations Committee, and so helped with the design of the big backdrops which we hung up in the lobby representing, variously, a Roman cafe, and also the piazza in front of S. Maria della Pace near Piazza Navona. I did the preparatory drawings for the backdrops and some of the detail work of the actual painting, including the scale figures in the cafe. Some examples of the work, taken by my lovely and talented mother.

The author and his father in front of a quintessentially Roman cafe. Note the painting in the background by the author of the (also quintessentially Roman) sleazy carabineri.

Santa Maria della Pace. (Compare with the original!)

Sunday, February 20

I find THIS even MORE amusing

The term Protestant resulted from the summit at Augsburg between the Lutherans, the Catholics, and the Emperor. The Lutherans protested some of the proceedings, and henceforth the term "protestant" was born.

This site, however, informs me that, in addition to being big fans of the Rosary, Lutherans are not Protestant.

"Lutherans have retained the historic liturgy and doctrines of the church catholic (i.e. the "universal" church), maintain the holy sacraments as means of grace (including the Real Presence of Christ in Holy Communion), profess the ancient creeds, and follow the church year. At the same time Lutherans profess the gospel of justification by faith and the firm belief in the scriptures as the sole measure of our knowledge of God and His plan for our salvation. For these reasons Lutherans can be said to be both Protestant and Catholic and yet neither Protestant nor Catholic. This is the nature of a middle way between the two."

Never mind that, since at least either the Protestants or the Catholics are wrong, drawing a middle path between them is a compromise with error at best, and a mishmash of two erroneous systems at worst.

Friday, February 18

I Find this Trend Amusing

It seems that the Vatican has decided that bishops who make a big stir with very controversial Cathedral renovations will pay the price in their ecclesial after-life.

The trend, as far as I know, started with Archbishop Weakland's replacement by the epitomy of the very "smiling conservatives" the Milwaukee chancery informed the press they would never accept -- Archbishop Dolan.

Now it seems that Archbishop Flores, who cause a very significant uproar in his renovation of San Antonio's cathedral (formerly the oldest continually-operating sanctuary in the United States, but that title has probably been lost now that the actual sanctuary no longer houses the altar), has been replaced by Archbishop Gomez. According to NCR, Gomez is associated with Opus Dei, and is already a (long-shot) candidate for cardinal. More information on Gomez can be found here.

I just wonder if liturgical design consultants will start including "future cessation of diocese to conservative bishop" under their list of "project costs..."

This is the current status of San Antonio's Cathedral

This is the pre-renovation Cathdral; less nice art, more traditional lay-out

This, however, was the original plan which ticked off so many conservatives and likely caused the controversy which sent a flurry of angry letters to the Vatican -- and, I posit, resulted in the choice of Gomez
Successor of... St. Paul?

Following on the heels of the announcement of the discovery of St. Paul's Tomb in Rome (more info here), I can't help but wonder whether the Popes should make a bigger deal over the fact that they are both successor of Peter AND Paul.

Certainly, John Paul II has rivalled Paul's missionary journeys. He has, in fact, in references that I'm not going to spend the time to look up now but have read, openly compared his travels to the legacy of St. Paul which he inherits as the bishop of Rome.

This is not without earlier precedent. For example, in decreeing the feast of Corpus Christi (the Bull Transiturus), Pope Urban IV spoke "in the authority of the Holy Apostles Peter and Paul."

Now there's a word we haven't heard in far, far, too long.

Thursday, February 17

From a friend:
Perhaps you have heard about this, but I was told by a friend that the woman involved in Roe vs. Wade is trying to get the decision in her "favor" reversed. The Supreme Court is supposed to decide whether to hear her request tomorrow, that is, the 18th of February. He asked several of us to pray, fast, sacrifice that this first step might be successful.
I don't know if this is just a rumor or something bigger, but certainly a little prayer wouldn't hurt in this case.

Tuesday, February 15

"I am the Koala Master! Wombat henchmen attack!"

--my friend Rich suddenly summons to life the least likely supervillain ever created.

James II and VII Stuart, who started this whole mess.

Cardinal O'Brien calls for the end of the pro-Protestant Act of Settlement, which bans Catholics from the British throne. As a Jacobite, I can't help agreeing. As we legitimists all know, the true English king of England descends from the line of Stuart, who were thrown out by a bunch of foreign usurping Germans at the turn of the eighteenth century.

(Checks geneological trees, rustling of paper) Which means that the present ruler of England...mmmmm...take a left through the Savoy, Duke of Bavaria.

A very old and very foreign German guy.

Never mind.

If you want to get nitpicky, very few of the rulers of that delightfully weird little island have been really English. Prince Charles is half Greek through his father (who was really Danish-cum-German, anyway, don't ask); the Stuarts were Scotsmen, the Tudors were Welsh, the Plantagenets (Peter O'Toole and Katharine Hepburn) were from Hollywood, and I'll let you connect the dots on where William of Normandy was from.

Incidentally, if Franz was king, that would mean his successor would be his niece Sophie, who is married to the hereditary prince of Liechtenstein, the heir apparent to supposedly one of the most Catholic dynasties of Europe. Here's a pic of the happy and handsome couple. As you can see, the Wittelsbach family from which she derives has been very lucky avoiding any apparent visible side-effects of centuries of inbreeding (see, for example, Charles II of Spain, the Bewitched, who couldn't chew his own food). They just tend to go, very romantically, and very tragically, crazy, which makes for much more interesting reading. Considering hubby Prince Alois used to be an accountant, I think the Liechtensteins could use a little romantic insanity in the family.
This is Funny

The Onion often is.

Point/CounterPoint: English grad student meets Physics grad student

"I would give you the moon and the stars."
"Giving me the moon and the stars would have a disasterous effect on our galaxy."
Catholic Comic
From Drew, a 16-year-old blogger in San Diego. I wish I would have thought to have a blog when I was 16, but then again they didn't really start the whole "blogging" thing until 4 years ago.

Here it is!

Monday, February 14


CNS: Vatican official says Sash wearers disqualified from Communion

VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- The Vatican's top liturgy official said Rainbow Sash wearers disqualify themselves from receiving Holy Communion because they are demonstrating their opposition to church teaching on homosexuality.

Cardinal Francis Arinze, head of the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Sacraments, made the comment in a written response to Catholic News Service in early February.
I suppose it would be too much to hope that the bishops will get on board and present a united, orthodox response to this...

(Story via But I Digress)
Oh, that's a Great Idea

"There's been K Street chatter, our colleague Jeffrey H. Birnbaum tells us, that Lieberman could be on an administration list to replace Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld in the next year or so."

This isn't a poltical blog, but I had to comment. It's awkward enough that all the terrorists which we've identified are Muslim. It does give opportunity for people to have the impression that we are waging war on Islam; obviously, we're not -- some brands of militant Islam are waging war on us. But the appearance is, none the less, awkward and demands tact and precision, so that we don't give the impression that Islam itself is the problem or the target. Unnecesary or wrongfully polarizing actions really need to be avoided. So, tell me... where's the wisdom in appointing the nation's most prominant Jewish leader to head the war against Islamic terrorism?

Sr. Lucia Dies

"The last surviving witness to whom the Virgin Mary is said to have appeared in a series of apparitions in Portugal in 1917 has died aged 97. Sister Lucia de Jesus dos Santos died at the convent where she had been living since the 1940s, the Roman Catholic Church said. She was one of three shepherd children who claimed they spoke to the Virgin Mary near Fatima town over six months."

Two thoughts:
- For some reason, the end of the world somehow seems 10% more likely.
- Considering the beatified status of Francisco Marto & Jacinta, how many others have been so certain to be canonized?

More here...

Sunday, February 13

Scary Lenten Zubarán POD-ness over at Basia me, Catholica Sum!
By the way, tomorrow is St. Cyril and St. Methodius's Day, a celebration of great importance to those of Eastern European heritage. Though nobody seems to remember that here in the U.S. The fact that it (used) to be St. Valentine's is largely a coincidence, though I have a pet idea about combining the two events. You could buy a dozen red roses for your favorite Bulgarian girl. I don't know any, don't look at me. Or, if you know any women from Kiev (once again, I do not), you could also try singing them the only Soviet-themed surfer-rock song known to modern man, "Back in the U.S.S.R." Ahem:
Well, those Ukraine girls really knock me out.
They leave the West behind.
And Moscow girls make me sing and shout
That Georgia’s always on my mind, mind, mind
Yes, that was in very bad taste. So is everything else around here.

Incidentally, my idea to attempt to cash in on the Apostles to the Slavs by selling tee-shirts saying "Kiss Me, I'm Croatian," died an unfortunate death somewhere along the line. Why should the Irish have all the fun? Everyone is Slavonic on St. Cyril's day!
Winter Makes You Do Crazy Things

Here, at the Shrine, we do not of course encourage in dangerous college-student pranks such as, for example, setting couches on fire and pushing them through the window, which seems to have been about the only thing P.J. O'Rourke did that was worthwhile during his years at Miami of Ohio. (Incidentally, googling "P.J. O'Rourke couch Miami" produces very little of use). Sure, there's the peculiar rituals associated with Zahm Residence Hall, such as the mid-week procession of all the former and present inhabitants of one particular room who march around the building chanting the phone number, or the report alleged by my friend Andy that my dorm's inhabitants went over and mooed repeatedly at his dorm at the beginning of his freshman year. Make of that, semioticians, what you will. I've also heard rumors of people climbing up the geodesic dome of the ugliest building on campus, the Stepan Center. Note that the Stepan Center website does not have a functioning image gallery. Hopefully it never will.

From personal experience, I can mention there was that brief period when my friend Steve and I considered and rejected an April Fools' prank revolving around the idea of placing forged documents in the Mediaeval Institute in order to substantiate a claim that the Holy Grail was hidden on the (inaccessible) third floor of the library. The Ark of the Covenant may well be there, too, like in the last scene of Indiana Jones.

But we have never ever even thought of blowing up a microwave, much less doing it like our translatlantic friend Andrew Cusack recently did. By the way, doesn't "Country Life (Blowing Up Microwave)" sound like the title of a song? Maybe the Sanctus Belles (the mythical all-girl Tridentine punk rock band which surfaces from time to time on this blog) can do a cover of it.

Friday, February 11


I'm too holy for my hat...

... and other... odd... photos from a calendar that purports to picture, well, 12 months of Roman seminarians?

(thanks, I think, to

And, well, vote for us! We're close to winning "Best Group Blog," but those priests at Ragemonkey are just a little too far ahead.

Vote for us!

How otherwise can we call ourselves "the Elect" without committing the sin of presumption?

Thursday, February 10

I'd just like to thank husband-and-wife Catholic blogging titans Michael Dubruiel and Amy Welborn for the delightful conversation (and free books, if we succeed in prying them out of Em's hot little hands) during their visit to the Notre Dame campus bookstore yesterday. It was a real pleasure for all of us at The Shrine to chat with you and your family and we hope for all the best with regards to your new book Here. Now. Next time you're in the neighborhood, drop in for our Saturday morning solemn Mass!

Museum of Purgatory

When the Shrine visited Rome last year, we made certain to visit the modest-yet-fascinating "Museum of Purgatory," a collection of various artifacts burned by the Holy Souls as they visited earth to request prayers and suffrages. While Googling images for my Ash Wednesday post, I happed across this picture of the Museum, and thought I'd share.

"New Catholic University"?

Has anyone else heard of this?

"Vision: To create a university that equips its graduates both with the skills and confidence to build and participate in sustainable businesses, and with a dynamic orthodoxy of faith for passionate practice in the work place and marketplace."

"Mission and Core Purpose: NCU will shape innovators, leaders and entrepreneurs at the intersections of business, technology and communications media, guided by the spiritual, moral and social teachings of Jesus Christ."

Wednesday, February 9

An official-looking draft translation of the Mass from the Editio Typica Tertia of the Missal, recently shown to the English-speaking Bishops of the world. Extremely promising.

Incidentally, I have not forgotten about the Ordo Karolingianus, those of you who requested a copy. I'm currently still editing up some parts of it (it has been significantly tidied-up since its first appearance on the blog), and also working on a written exposition explaining the logic behind my suggested changes and their relationship to the Missals of 1962, 1965 and 1970. Discovering this new (and rather lovely) translation may also makes me want to undertake a few revisions to my own proposal.

It's the Most Wonderful Time of the Year

It's the most wonderful time of the year
With the kids’ foreheads ashen
And Gibson’s “The Passion”
For your sins you will fear!
It's the most wonderful time of the year.

It's the hap-happiest season of all
With those holy day Masses
To Confession he dashes
When sin come to call
It's the hap-happiest season of all.

There'll be prayers against boasting
Whatever envy we’re hosting
And penances out in the snow
There'll be stunning saints’ stories
And tales of the glories
Of Christians long, long ago.

It's the most wonderful time of the year
There be much satisfy-ing
Our hearts will be dying
To sins we hold dear!
It's the most wonderful time of the year, ooh ah.

Woah, there'll be prayers the roasting
Those Holy Souls toasting
In penance for sins long ago.
There'll be scary ghost stories
And tales of the glories
Of sinners long, long ago.

It's the most wonderful time of the year
There be much satisfy-ing
And hearts will be burn-ing
In hopes that Christ will be near
It's the most wonderful time

It's the most wonderful time
It's the most wonderful time of the year
Ooh, ooh, ooh, ooh.

(image credit: here)

Vade retro! Vade retro!

(from the inimitable Fr. Bryce.)

I am cautious about explaining poetry, even my own, but I'll give you at least a bit of a clue here: the italicized portions are in part adapted from a sequentia of St. Hildegard in which she describes a vision she had of St. Maximinus celebrating mass. The rest is a mixture of reading Dante in class and Hildegard on my own and putting them, perhaps somewhat superficially, in dialogue, as well as noticing a plainly-dressed, striking, though not conventionally beautiful, middle-aged woman wandering the halls of the Chicago Art Institute during a visit last summer. I find it helpful to be on the lookout for unusual faces when I am out and about--often one can invent a whole fictional family that way. You may also find references to St. Bernard of Clairvaux's Sermons on the Song of Songs, which I was also (somewhat unsuccessfully) trying to tackle at the time. I started it then, finished it later, and have only gotten around to posting it just now.

The Dove Looked In

by Matthew Alderman

Vita Nuova, xxvi

I saw faded beauty once
Pass me by in a gallery of stippled Seurats:
Maybe she was an English teacher,
A soccer mom in homely new white sneakers,
A nurse in jade-green scrubs.
You would have never called her pretty,
Nor stopped, admiringly at a distance,
Draping a chaste lechery in classical garb with the wan
Affectations of swooning lovers,
And bothered to notice her.

The dove looked in
Through the latticed grate:
And behold:
There sweetest balm rained down on her face,
Sweated from the bright priest-bridegroom.

I might have noticed her on purpose
Rather than accidentally
Had I been an artist: a painter, a Giotto di Bondone,
An Angelico in fluttering fluted black and white,
If I had been searching not for perfection,
But for the subtle twist,
Wrong going right,
Right going wrong,
That felix culpa, that perfect flaw,
Armless de Milo,
That makes a masterpiece.

It was a face made for halos and heavens,
The face of the dove.

The heat of the sun blazed out
And gilded the dark around him at his Mass:
A bud split open, jewel-like,
In the temple of his heart:
Most pure and kind his heart
As he cried out from the altar,
O Beatrice!

Maybe, just maybe, as a girl
The luminous plainness of her features might
Have been transformed by the glow
Of dewy Youth, giving bloom to the endless
Fascination of her visage,
As satisfyingly sharp-cut as a Shaker chair
With that one humble sharp cut that made it imperfect
That one sharp rent that made her human, like the rent
In the gaudy golden curtain that hid the Ark.

A high tower of cypress is he,
Dark turret to her purest white,
Counterweight and mirror
To the Tower of David.
O thou who mirrorest the Great High Priest:
O thou who mirrorest God to my Church,
O thou,
O thou who are callèd to be the ikon
Of Ageless Wisdom,
And yet like I am not worthy of it:
The ikon
Of the Key of David,
Of the Son of Mary,
O thou,
Wrought of Lebanon's cedars—
Sardis and hyacinth stones frame your turrets--
And thou, vicar of the king of heaven,
Art a city surpassing the arts
Of all other artisans.

And I looked upon this Tabernacle,
This still-slim Mater Dolorosa on vacation
In Nikes and a clean sweatshirt,
This woman who issuèd forth from the wound in
Adam’s side, drawn out
By the supreme command of the Architect
Of the Universe.

And I
Looked at her bobbed inky hair just starting to
Streak silver,
Looked at her straight, plain Roman nose,
Looked at her straight, plain Roman mouth,
Looked at the upward, tragicomic slant of
Her slender black brows
Perpetually knit into a question of humility
Or doubt.

Among ye this builder shines,
A rampart of the temple,
He who longed for the wings of an eagle
As he kissed—

Let him kiss me with the kiss of his mouth
Let me kiss him on foot, hand, and upon
The mouth, for I, Beatrice, I glow with
The crackle of lighting and my womb is a chamber of thunder,
And I, I am terrible
As an army with banners—

As he kissed
His wet-nurse Wisdom
In the glorious gardens of Mother Church.

O ikon of the bridegroom:
On Thy towering height
The mountain goat leapt
With the oliphaunt,
And Wisdom (
O Sapientia!) was in rapture.

She had kind, ordinary eyes,
(I forget their color: gray or green?
A color to pierce the sky in any other face)
In sockets just beginning to gather
A pocket of pale wrinkles like
The trickling capillaries of a river:
And they looked up from her
Strange and tragically equivocal
Eyebrows with oblivion as she chatted
With someone on her left:
Her husband, her daughter,
Her sorority pal from college
On some mundane errand of joy.
They blended back into the pixilated
Background as static as post-Impressionist
Sculpture, like the ethereal crudities of Duccio,
Netted over with gilt linear shadows,
Or like the Egyptian mummies
That range over the noonday grass of
La Grand Jatte.

I took her from that realm,
Sent her to college: sent her to a lecture hall
(Ekklesia: assembly)
And imagined her a great and aging scholar of letters,
Putting Dante’s world behind her eyes:
I saw her pacing the floor in a vast tiered
Acoustic-tile arena with precise, cocked steps,
One foot behind the other, weight shifting,
Weight shifting, balletic, animal, graceful,
Deliberate, and yet unknowing.
She sketched great arcs and tiny circles
With her hands, clasped into fists
Or open, fingertip to thumb
Like a priest at mass
(like Christ the priest at mass,
Who I am a mere copy,
Weighed down with the
Dignity and burden
Of God’s image),
Cosmologies and symbols I thought she might decode
By her very existence: my agèd Muse.

And I heard her cry aloud
(Or imagined I did, I’m not sure)
That she had lost her soul in the dark, dark wood
Under the dying orange sun of Hell
Until I had found it for her,
(And she mine)
Until together we
Had chased, like Christina the Astonishing, through
The wheelwork of the Universe,
On a cosmic road-trip with some dead Mantuan dude
To find it, to behold
The multifoliate rose of Dante and Prufrock
Perhaps strained through the fine scientific sieve
Of fish-eyed pointillism: or
Watching Satan æviternally munch Judas
Like guacamole-flavored tortilla chips.

But she slipped from my sight, my middle-aged muse:
For she had another master, another purpose,
This dripping honeycomb
Longing for a Lamb,
Longing for milk and honey beneath her tongue,
And she flew skywards to home.

And I sang to her, now invisible, from the back row
Of ugly plastic chairs,
As if on the step of the altar,
Mode Five, with melismatic drama:

Thy flowering
God forsaw on the first Day of creation:
O golden matrix of the Word,
Miracle of God’s hand,
O laudable Virgin, He made Thee thus!

O how great is Man’s side, how strong,
From which Woman didst God draw forth
And who He made the mirror of all His ornament,
The embrace of all creation,
The door from which came forth
The light and glory of the whole world’s frame.

But I saw her not, and she was taken
Into the desert, and given the wings of an eagle,
And, for all her homely beauty,
Her unexceptional face
And sweet greying eyes
She was set in the heavens as a crown of twelve stars,
And without losing her
Sweet tired face
Became incomparably beautiful,
White-hot as the sun and wreathed
Round with sweetest roses:
This blessed damozel,
And she sang aloud to me, and me alone—

Strong and sweet
In the sacred rites and
In the shimmer
Of the altar, where
Thou dost rise like incense
To the pillar of praise—
Pleading for Thy people,
Who strive toward Light’s mirror
To that goodly Light be praise and glory in the highest!

Gloria. Sicut.

And I, a man like any other, could have seen this all
In any face,
In any curl of lip,
In eyes blue and green and grey and brownest hazel,
In gleaming locks of black and golden brown,
Or dullest grey, or purest white,
In the polished calypygian gleam of a Canova Venus
Or a wizened Bosch bacchante:
In any blessed damozel,
All who are called Beatrice, the image of Mary,
All who, like sweetest Ekklesia, came forth from the darkness
Of Christ’s heart on Calvary
As water and blood,
Passing in the squalor of the bus station,
Pregnant in the produce aisle,
Or amid the elegance of forgotten masters and musæums.
Blessed art they amongst all women for their womanhood;
To all these maidens, O greenest branch, O most purple of crowns,
Be praise and glory in the highest.
Although I do not hope to turn again
Although I do not hope
Although I do not hope to turn

Wavering between the profit and the loss
In this brief transit where the dreams cross
The dreamcrossed twilight between birth and dying
(Bless me father) though I do not wish to wish these things
From the wide window towards the granite shore
The white sails still fly seaward, seaward flying
Unbroken wings

And the lost heart stiffens and rejoices
In the lost lilac and the lost sea voices
And the weak spirit quickens to rebel
For the bent golden-rod and the lost sea smell
Quickens to recover
The cry of quail and the whirling plover
And the blind eye creates
The empty forms between the ivory gates
And smell renews the salt savour of the sandy earth
This is the time of tension between dying and birth
The place of solitude where three dreams cross
Between blue rocks
But when the voices shaken from the yew-tree drift away
Let the other yew be shaken and reply.

Blessed sister, holy mother, spirit of the fountain, spirit of the garden,
Suffer us not to mock ourselves with falsehood
Teach us to care and not to care
Teach us to sit still
Even among these rocks,
Our peace in His will
And even among these rocks
Sister, mother
And spirit of the river, spirit of the sea,
Suffer me not to be separated

And let my cry come unto Thee.

--T.S. Eliot, from Ash-Wednesday
"Advocata Nostra Vivat!"

Or so our dear friend Andrew Cusack is fond of saying. Who, incidentally, is quoted in our latest issue. So, have a look, before the hard copies even start rolling out.

In this issue: The Duke Comes to Campus, The Maria Goretti Project, and a 4-page Right to Life Special Report.


Tuesday, February 8

New Webpage

For the first time in... 5 years... Children of Mary has a new, functional, updated website.

Please visit and give suggestions for improvement. I pounded it out in 3 hours' time, so I'm open to criticism.

Monday, February 7

Current voting stats:

The Whapping is ahead in Best Presentation, 58-51, against the Cardinal Ratzinger Fan Club blog. (Sorry, folks. But we did meet His Eminence and got him to sign you guys' tee shirt.)

The Whapping is ahead in Best Group Blog, 63-62, against Catholic Ragemonkey. (We should also start a category for strangest name, since I think we're both very good contenders...)

The Whapping is in second place, 54-69, against the Curt Jester, for Most Creative. (If we do not get more votes in this particular race, I may be forced to do something truly horrible and inflict some more of my poetry on you you really want that?)

The Whapping is in (somewhat more distant) second place, 48-85, against Fr. Bryce in Most Bizarre. (As I have said before, I think we present a much sort of weirdness, sorry, Father).

The Whapping is in (very distant) third place for Most Humorous after Fr. Bryce and the Curt Jester, who are neck and neck, and also in Best Overall after Fr. Bryce and Amy Welborn. (No way we can compete here against the titans of the Blogosphere...but we can dream...)
Also, I must put in a request for all and sundry to vote for cnytr in the Best Blog by a Woman category. Lauren B. is up against Amy Welborn here, and come on, Amy's bound to win something anyway, so why not cast your vote for this most Dominican of blogs?
Em has already given you the voting schpiel, I would particularly appreciate if you remembered us when considering the Most Bizarre category. Lest you forget, rememver where you read about St. Christopher-of-the-Dog's-Head, maraca-playing Swiss Guardsmen, Catholic maenads, drunk fresco artists, Father Ted, flounder-shaped churches, the Modern Vicar-General, a comparison between Semi-Arianism and chocolate chip cookies, the sacred chin of St. Anthony, the Popesicle, the Seminarian-of-the-Month calendar, and much much more. Also, let's not forget, when you're considering Most Creative, what other blog has its own order of Mass? Vote today! Or to paraphrase Mr. Liebchen from The Producers, "Don't be stupid, be a smarty, come and join the Whapping party!"

I have nothing to leave or give but my life and this I have consecrated to the Sacred Heart to be used as he wills. I have offered my all for the conversion of non-Catholics in Virginia. This is what I live for and in case of death what I die for ... Since my childhood, I have wanted to die for God and my neighbor. Shall I have this grace? I do not know, but if I go on living, I live for this same purpose; every action of my life here is offered to God for the spread and success of the Catholic Church in Virginia ... I shall be of more service to my diocese in heaven than I can ever be on earth.

--Frank Parater, December 5, 1919

My Virginian friend Lynn wrote last night to remind me that today is the eighty-fifth anniversary of the death of the Servant of God Francis "Frank" Parater, a North American College seminarian and Eagle Scout who died young after dedicating his sufferings to the Sacred Heart of Jesus for the salvation of his home of Virginia. Frank Parater's causus was opened only in 2002, and as a Servant of God, is only on the lowest rung of the sanctoral ladder. (However, he doesn't have to remain so). He is the first former boy scout to be considered for sainthood, and also the first Virginian. Frank's prayer--a last will and testament of sorts--is still published in the North American College's manual of prayers, as George Weigel notes here. Pray for his canonization and ask for his intercession in a special way today!
Vote early and often!

SHW is up for 6 categories in The 2005 Catholic Blog Awards, so head on over and vote!

Friday, February 4

The Pirates... er, friars... Who Don't Do Anything
(Note, this has nothing to do with any real Carmelites, Franciscans, Augustinians, or Dominicans whom we have ever encountered, and everything to do with VeggieTales)

We are the friars who don't do anything
We just stay home and lie around
And if you ask us to do anything
We'll just tell you, we don't do anything

Well, I've never been Lourdes and I've never been to Fatima
And I've never kissed a relic of St. Louis or St. Paul
And I've never been to Rome and I've never been to Turin
And I've never been to ND in the fall

'Cause we're... {Refrain}

And I never light the incense and I never clean the thurible
And I never rush the homily 'cause I never preach at all
And I never chant the Sanctus and I've never owned a missal
And I've never been to ND in the fall

'Cause we're... {Refrain}

Well, I've never said the office and I'm not too good counsel
And I've never walked the cloister in contemplative prayer
And I've never read the rule and I've never had a vision
And I've never been to ND in the fall

How do you think St. Joseph died? Vote here!

Thursday, February 3

State of the Union Address

... he took the trapper into his Presidential hands, and looking up to heaven, to you, almighty Father, he gave you thanks and praise...

Wednesday, February 2


Where even the Muslims promote gay marriage...?

"Rizwana Jafri, president of the MCC said Muslim Canadians have experienced life as a marginalized minority and have relied on the Canadian Charter to fight for their right to be treated as equal citizens. "It is incumbent upon us, as a minority, to stand up in solidarity with Canada’s gays and lesbians despite the fact that many in our community believe our religion does not condone homosexuality," she added."

Of Mary, Nothing is Sufficient!
or, "If St. Louis Monfort and I had 'restored' the Roman Calendar"

My roommate and I were talking about good choirs and when it was important to have them. I opined that they are most important for Christmas and Marian feast days... to which he responded, "Easter?"

The following is my solution:

What was... -----> Is now....
Easter ----------> Feast of Our Lady of the Resurrection
Christ the King --> Mary, the Mother of Christ the King
------------------> (Or, Mary, the Queen-Mother)
Lateran Basilica --> Mary Major Basilica
Chair of Peter ----> Chair of the Prince of Our Lady's Son's Apostles
Corpus Christi ---->Still Corpus Christi, but with lots of Mary statues
Holy Thursday ---> Our Lady of the Eucharist
Trinity Sunday ---> Mary, Tabernacle of the Trinity Sunday
Pentecost --------> Mary, Spouse of the Spirit Descendant
Ascension --------> Feast of the Event-People-Confuse-with-the-Assumption Thursday

Note to Fr. Pusey & fellow alarmists: Don't take this too seriously...

Tuesday, February 1

Pray for the Pope

He was just taken to the hospital, after earlier catching the flu and cancelling his audiences for the week.
I recently received a very polite email from Gemma, the coordinator of the Society of Our Lady of the Cloister: and I have to admit I unintentionally sold them a little short in the earlier version of my post below talking about their website. Actually, I think their project sounds pretty cool--using the internet to bring up new vocations and new charisms. Anyway, I figure my readers ought to hear the details from the source, so here is an excerpt of what Gemma wrote:
You were very perceptive to pick up on the fact that very 21st century needs are to be met by [indult] Tridentine Mass communities. That's the beauty of it all. [...]

All of those proposed communities have a purpose in life. All are being started out of compassion. Did you read Karin Yarosh's story? Ten years of no companionship save that of God and her family after her racing accident? Women are still being treated as second class citizens on the backstretch. Some female owners aren't even allowed onto the backstretch to visit their own horses. Women can work as grooms, yes, but the owners can't visit. The Jockeys' Guild has also stated that most of their funds, if not used for medical expenses, go for groceries for the poorer jockeys. So the women won't be the only beneficiaries of the Sisters of St. Joan of Arc and Karin Yarosh.

[The late Karin Yarosh sounds kinda cool--nice to hear about a devout laywoman who wasn't just your ordinary parish Church Lady, not that I don't like Church Ladies. I shall have to ask for her intercession.]

One reason why we're founding the Entourage of the Divine Bridegroom is to supply our foundations with priests. [...]

Many of the discerners who have written in have told me that the communities they have seen "are all doing the same thing" (teaching and nursing). They see our foundations as at least something different--new opportunties to serve God--while worshipping Him with the Tridentine Mass.
A lovely idea, really: the old and the new wonderfully linked together. I hear that the good ladies have even got a few responses from the public about prospective vocations, especially in their Holy Innocents sisterhood. Exciting!

Also, if anyone ever founds a society of clerical architects and artists (Priestly Fraternity of St. Denys the Araeopagite? Guarini Fathers? Angelicani?), I'd love to be a lay associate.
You can tell you're really a Catholic Nerd when you imagine religious orders that don't exist yet. As a writer and a former dabbler in what the hoity-toity academics call "counterfactual history" (e.g., "what if George Washington had joined the British navy?"--which actually might have happened, given Mount Vernon is named after an admiral) I've invented a few groups of nuns and monks that could only exist in a parallel universe. For example, in a world where the Papal States still exist and the Austrians thwarted Italian unification, there were the Albertines, dedicated to scientific study, and the blue-and-white habited Brotherhood of Zion, ministering to Jewish converts and writing elaborate polyphonic motets in Hebrew.

However, it seems that I'm not the only one interested in hypothetical orders, though perhaps with an interest which extends to more practical concerns than my own armchair fantasizing. I came across this rather enjoyable website, the Society of Our Lady of the Cloister, through Fr. Bryce's comments box. It's a list of orders that ought to be founded and may well be but haven't yet (all of them, rather pleasingly, adhering to the Ecclesia Dei Tridentine indult, and looking for potential vocations) and ministering to an unusually varied kaleidoscope of distinctly twenty-first century needs.

The names alone are poetic and delightful, such as the Handmaids and Manservants of St. Dymphna (with their red cappas and blue tunics), St. John Vianney's Company of Nurses, or The Ministry of Our Lord's Sorrowful Grandmother. Some of their charisms seem much-needed--assisting rocky marriages, patients in comatose states, or using the teachings of St. Maximilian Kolbe to help the the morbidly obese. The last idea is particularly interesting: gluttony and the opposite extreme of "dieting" have become so unmoored from the Christian ideas of temperance and fasting, such a sisterhood would seem rather timely. Others have unexpected and surprising charisms, such the Sisters of St. Joan of Arc and Karin Yarosh, named after a devout and deceased female Catholic jockey (of whom I wish I could find out more, and if her causus has been opened) and dedicated to, among other things, ministering to women in the racetrack industry.

At first glance, it seemed an odd and specific area to focus on, but I suppose ministering to lepers sounded odd back in the days of St. Francis, and you can't get more oddly specific than many great orders still extant today, like the Mercedarians with their mission of ransoming Christian captives or the Tuscan Order of St. Stephen with its history of glorious naval campaigns against piracy. I also have to admit that their proposal for an "Entourage of the Divine Bridegroom" sounds like a cool idea: a group of priests who would, in addition to many other duties, would lead retreats and give convent road tours to aspiring postulants--you know, that wonderful staple of Catholic nerddom, the nun run! Neat idea, really. So many young ladies are looking for orders these days, after all.

I appreciate these imaginative ladies for sharing their ideas with all of us. Perhaps some day I'll run across some red-tunicked Sisters of the Holy Innocents and St. Gianna Molla at the March for Life.

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