Wednesday, August 31


A slightly less controversial happy thought (I hope)

Today, everyone's favorite website (no, smarty pants, I mean this web site), reached one-quarter of a million hits! Thanks to everyone who's dropped by, stuck around, commented, and emailed. Thanks to mom, apple pie, and especially to Our Lady, who brought this crazy bunch of kids together at her University.

Happy Thought

I recognize that, after that last post, I owe all of you a happy thought. So, without this devolving into Scotian hemming and hawwing about rubrics, I have just the thing.

At Mass the other day, right after the priest announced the sign of peace, the first person he gave the sign of peace to was Our Lord, kissing the Blessed Sacrament before turning the shake the hand of the server.

I really liked that. It also sort of solves the "why do we all suddenly ignore Jesus on the altar" conundrum of the Sign of Peace.

So... Creepy...

I'm with Don Jim... This just isn't right.

Tuesday, August 30


"Human Zoo" in London

On the surface, this just looks like vintage postmodern silliness. But the more I think about it, the creepier and disturbing it gets.

SSPX Update

Here's the statement issued by the Society of St. Pius X in the wake of Bernard Fellay's meeting with the Holy Father today at Castel Gandolfo (Catholic World News article here). At first glance, it looks good. It suggests talk of reconciliation may yet bear fruit, but given a few subtle equivocations here and there in the text and the complex nature of the split between the Church and the Society, it's anyone's guess as to what this means in the long run.

Monday, August 29


Agatha Christi Indult Lives?

Interesting news from Liturgia:

The "Agatha Christie Indult" was the first permission granted by the Papacy for the continued use of the Tridentine Mass after the publication of the 1970 Novus Ordo. The story is that a petition from a diocese in England was given to Paul VI requesting permission to continue using the Tridentine Mass; he looked through the petition without any particular reaction until seeing Agatha Christie's name among the signatures: exclaiming "Agatha Christie!", he grabbed a pen and signed the indult.

Interestingly, however, the indult granted use of the 1965 Missal, the Tridentine Mass as initially revised according to Vatican II.

Even more interestingly, that indult was not trumped by the Ecclesia Dei indult.

So, the Diocese of Westminister is the only diocese in the world authorized to celebrate what is essentially the Tridentine Mass in a venacular language.


Whether or not they do is a different question.

Sunday, August 28

From the "I Kid You Not" Department

Saturday, August 27


Exemplary Mother of the great Augustine, you perseveringly pursued your wayward son not with wild threats but with prayerful cries to heaven. Intercede for all Christians in our day so that we may learn to draw the world to God. Teach us how to remain close to all children of Christ, even the prodigal sons and daughters who have sadly gone astray. Amen.

For your weekend enjoyment.

*that's Pious and Overly-Devotional, for that one person who always asks

With thanks to Holly for the germ of the idea.

More to come!

Friday, August 26


The Future is Now?

The first year of Fr. Jenkins' presidency, the priests at Notre Dame are all wearing clericals again. This is ironic, because Fr. Jenkins himself was seldom a clericals-wearing sort of priest!

There's more. Word on the Quad is that the Holy Cross priests at Notre Dame are set to re-institute their cassock-like habit within the next 2-3 years.

The times, they are a'changing.

This picture is NOT of Notre Dame priests; we randomly Google-image searched the word "cassock."

A point of clarification: as stated above, they're not full-time in their cassock-like habits NOW. There's simply a rumor that they MIGHT be, in a few year's time. But it seems they're wearing standard collar/blackshirt clericals more now than in the past.

The younger fathers DO where their cassock-habit liberally on Feast days, like Our Lady of Sorrows (their patroness) or at Easter, etc.

Thursday, August 25


The good elephant in airship dropped what things?

What happens when you translate Star Wars: Episode III into Chinese and back again.

Tune in for the next installment, in which Anakin is informed, "The Presbyterian Church like enjoys you not."

Caveat: Some rather strong language shows up in the most, um, unusual places.

Wednesday, August 24

Lovely photo.

(From the ever-funny Musum Pontificalis.)
"'We have the gloomy and purposeless trousers of Uncle Vanya,' said one, doubtfully."

--Terry Pratchett, The Fifth Elephant

Non timetis messor

"I think it needs more cowbell."

--ascribed to Giovanni Angelo Cardinal Medici of Milan (later Pius IV), on hearing Palestrina's Missa Papae Marcelli.

Don't worry, if you don't get the joke, it doesn't matter.

Caîma, Iyaî Jesus

A baroque tune from the Chiquitos Mission Indians of the Jesuit Reductions of Bolivia, with a slightly free translation, from Florilegium's new album Bolivian Baroque: Baroque Music from the Missiona of the Chiquitos and Moxos Indians.

Caîma, iyaî Jesus
izet’ aemo, au niñooutimo,
na apoquenu nauxiîca,
mta auna cubare iñemo.
Acuacîrîca iñemo,
Iyaî, ichupa,
ñomînana nanaiña numuquîñaca,
na abe aquî apeito.
Acuacîrîca iñemo, acuatoñe.
Ache iñemo na gracia,
mo nacuba iñemo,
au siboriquîs,
Tarî izoma aubo mîrîyot’ ape,
yazaraîcarî au napooatoñe,
mo nacuatoche caî iñemo nana,
mon taquînunaui,
mon taquînunaui ñaana.

Today, Lord Jesus,
I come to Thee for Thou art my hope,
In Thee I find my happiness
Because I love Thee, too.
I love Thee,
My Lord, my Father,
Because of my fear of the evil
On earth and in heaven,
I love Thee
With all that I am,
So that I might love Thee for ever,
I need not anything else
For the whole of my life,
I need nothing more than Thy love
That I might die with Thy grace and enter heaven,
To contemplate Thee in Thy own House
To contemplate Thee in Thy own House,
To love Thee now and for all ages,
For all the ages of ages, for ever more.


Irrelevant, but Amusing

A royalist demonstration in Tirana, Albania:

"Then, at greater volume yet, they played the Albanian national anthem, which is as long as a Wagner opera and sounds like the Marine Corps band perfornming the Ring cycle falling down all the stairs in the Washington Monument.

"The royalists were demonstrating on behalf of one Leka Zogu, who thinks he's the king of Albania. He'd just gotten his butt whipped (80 percent of all voters said, "jo") in a national referendum on restoring the monarchy. Not that Albania ever had a monarchy...

"Leka Zogu's father, Ahmed Zogu, was a putsch artist from the sticks who overthrew what passed for the government in 1924, crowned himself King Zog the First in 1928, pimped the country to Mussolini, and Airedaled it into exile one step of Axis occupation in 1939. Leka was two days old at the time...

"...and the royal himself popped out in one royal beauty of a leisure suit. Leka (in the Albanian language, the definite article is a sufixed u or i, so "Leka Zogu" translates as "Leka the Zog") stood at the microphone like a big geek--six feet eight inches tall, chinless, and bubble-bellied. He mumbled a few words. (His unmajesty's command of Albanian is reported to be sketchy.) Then he booked. Wide guys patted lumpy items under their clothes. All the Benzes tried to turn around at once, creating still worse traffic mayhem, if such a thing is possible."

--P.J. O'Rourke, Eat the Rich: A Treatise on Economics, pp. 44-45.

Not Wasting Any Time...

From Catholic World News: "Pope Benedict XVI will meet with Bishop Bernard Fellay, the superior-general of the traditionalist Society of St. Pius X (SSPX), on August 29, to discuss the prospects for reconciliation between the Vatican and the schismatic group."

Two words: "Universal Indult." (please?)


Xácara: Los que fueron de buen gusto

A free translation of excerpts from the Mexican Christmas xácara Los que fueron de buen gusto by Francisco de Vidales (died 1702). The xácara, a self-consciously "rustic" outgrowth of the Mexican baroque, was a extraliturgical religious song in D minor based on a dance form of the same name. It forms a subset of the wildly popular villancico type.

At the Moon Inn,
Next to the Gate of the Sun,
A damsel brought forth from heaven's domain,
To us below a lantern-bright star.
To pay court to us, most gallant of lovers,
God's World was born into snow and ice,
Which took Him gently and graceful,
But without any warmth to cheer Him tonight.

No doubt that Giant divine
Was born to die of His love,
For in hiding His face in human flesh,
He opens up His bleeding heart unto me,
This one from the Trinity
He came to redeem us,
And bent down and entered into Saint Mary the holy,
And became our Holy Savior.

He settled into a cradle of snow,
For nothing is new in His old love,
In the spirit of God moving over the waters.
And that sovereign Cupid was pricked
By the arrow at His very birth,
Dart wounding His flesh,
More easily in naked poverty.
He came to slay death,
Spurred on by love's mortal blow,
And it was because of His very body.
That Bethlehem's gates did not split and fall down
Is a miracle of God:
Oh well may he say, our Giant today,
That here He has truly been born.

Tuesday, August 23


Shameless Self-Promotion from Me

Just another pitch for The New Liturgical Movement; we've got a whole mess of new posts, book reviews of Berger's Thomas Aquinas and the Liturgy and a few unknown gems from Spire Books, commentary on the luminous and mystical "imcomprehensibility" of Eastern Catholic spirituality from Abbot Joseph, and an old Roman story from me.

Getting an Early Start

For your enjoyment, especially for those of you who are interested in what goes on here at Notre Dame, we have this year's first, four-page edition of Advocata Nostra, highlighting Catholic campus activities for the edification of the incoming Freshmen. It's a great issue, for which I can take absolutely no credit.

Monday, August 22

Apparently, one of the elements of the Russian political scene is, or was, anyway, the "Party of Beer Lovers."
For your edification.

Sunday, August 21

Actions Ring Louder than Words?

I recently read the following:

Before the Vigil, the WYD Cross arrived in a procession. The pope then blessed a bell which will bear the name of John Paul II. On it was inscribed: “God I praise you, God I proclaim you. The Holy Father Benedict has consecrated me; I will be called John Paul II”. A youth began to ring the bell.

As I understood it, bells are named after saints. Now, a pope can do as he pleases; the pope celebrated Mass in Commemoration of a Virgin as St. Claire's funeral mass, for example. And indeed, I think it may be Fra Angelico who was defacto-sainted when he was declared patron saint of artists, despite being only a Blessed.

So it looks to me like Santo might be pretty subito: I'm sure they're going to do all the paperwork on JP2, but nonetheless, interesting.
Danish Abortion

I was talking to a German friend the other day, and he told me that Denmark outlawed abortion--and only in the last few years. The reasoning was supposed to have been that they were losing too much of their population to abortion, more than they could afford as a small nation.

Can anyone else back that up? Certainly interesting.

Friday, August 19


This Picture Represents So Much that is Totally Awesome

(thanks to Dappled Things)

Thursday, August 18


It's kind of odd to see your own blog in Italian..

But that's just what I found linked off of our sitemeter.

Hey, that's us!

A friend told me today that Notre Dame had gotten a favorable mention in the diocesan newspaper. What he didn't mention was that it was in George Weigel's column:
"Then there are campuses like Notre Dame, where students are reconverting their faculties and their schools, often against great odds."
I always figured he'd mention us at some point, after that time he was on campus and all but led our then-novice chanting at Saturday morning Mass, on his birthday. (Seriously.)

From Pope Benedict's Address in Roncalliplatz:
Full Text

"The city of Cologne would not be what it is without the Magi, who have had so great an impact on its history, its culture and its faith. Here, in some sense, the Church celebrates the Feast of the Epiphany every day of the year! And so, before addressing you in the presence of this magnificent Cathedral, I paused for a moment of prayer before the reliquary of the three Magi and gave thanks to God for their witness of faith, hope and love. The relics of the Magi were brought from Milan in 1164 by the Archbishop of Cologne, Reinald von Dassel; after crossing the Alps, they were received in Cologne with great jubilation. On their pilgrimage across Europe the relics of the Magi left traces behind them which are still evident today, both in place names and in popular devotions. In honour of the Magi the inhabitants of Cologne produced the most exquisite reliquary of the whole Christian world and, as if that were not sufficient, they raised above it an even greater reliquary, this stupendous Gothic Cathedral which, after the ravages of war, once more stands before visitors in all the splendour of its beauty. Along with Jerusalem the “Holy City”, Rome the “Eternal City” and Santiago de Compostela in Spain, Cologne, thanks to the Magi, has become down the centuries one of the most important places of pilgrimage in the Christian West."

Papal Address at the Welcoming Ceremony on the Poller Rheinwiesen bank


Dear Young People,

I am delighted to meet you here in Cologne on the banks of the Rhine! You have come from various parts of Germany, Europe and the rest of the world as pilgrims in the footsteps of the Magi. Following their route, you too want to find Jesus. Like them, you have begun this journey in order to contemplate, both personally and with others, the face of God revealed by the Child in the manger. Like yourselves, I too have set out to join you in kneeling before the consecrated white Host in which the eyes of faith recognize the real presence of the Saviour of the world. Together, we will continue to meditate on the theme of this World Youth Day: “We Have Come To Worship Him” (Mt, 2:2).

[in English]

With great joy I welcome you, dear young people. You have come here from near and far, walking the streets of the world and the pathways of life. My particular greeting goes to those who, like the Magi, have come from the East. You are the representatives of so many of our brothers and sisters who are waiting, without realizing it, for the star to rise in their skies and lead them to Christ, Light of the Nations, in whom they will find the fullest response to their hearts’ deepest desires. I also greet with affection those among you who have not been baptized, and those of you who do not yet know Christ or have not yet found a home in his Church. Pope John Paul II had invited you in particular to come to this gathering; I thank you for deciding to come to Cologne. Some of you might perhaps describe your adolescence in the words with which Edith Stein, who later lived in the Carmel in Cologne, described her own: "I consciously and deliberately lost the habit of praying". During these days, you can once again have a moving experience of prayer as dialogue with God, the God who we know loves us and whom we in turn wish to love. To all of you I appeal: Open wide your hearts to God! Let yourselves be surprised by Christ! Let him have "the right of free speech" during these days! Open the doors of your freedom to his merciful love! Share your joys and pains with Christ, and let him enlighten your minds with his light and touch your hearts with his grace. In these days blessed with sharing and joy, may you have a liberating experience of the Church as the place where God’s merciful love reaches out to all people. In the Church and through the Church you will meet Christ, who is waiting for you.

[in French]

Today, as I arrived in Cologne to take part with you in the Twentieth World Youth Day, I naturally recall with deep gratitude the Servant of God so greatly loved by us all, Pope John Paul II, who had the inspired idea of calling young people from all over the world to join in celebrating Christ, the one Redeemer of the human race. Thanks to the profound dialogue which developed over more than twenty years between the Pope and young people, many of them were able to deepen their faith, forge bonds of communion, develop a love for the Good News of salvation in Christ and a desire to proclaim it throughout the world. That great Pope understood the challenges faced by young people today and, as a sign of his trust in them, he did not hesitate to spur them on to be courageous heralds of the Gospel and intrepid builders of the civilization of truth, love and peace.

Today it is my turn to take up this extraordinary spiritual legacy bequeathed to us by Pope John Paul II. He loved you – you realized that and you returned his love with all your youthful enthusiasm. Now all of us together have to put his teaching into practice. It is this commitment which has brought us here to Cologne, as pilgrims in the footsteps of the Magi. According to tradition, the names of the Magi in Greek were Melchior, Gaspar and Balthasar. Matthew, in his Gospel, tells of the question which burned in the hearts of the Magi: "Where is the infant king of the Jews?" (Mt 2:2). It was in order to search for him that they set out on the long journey to Jerusalem. This was why they withstood hardships and sacrifices, and never yielded to discouragement or the temptation to give up and go home. Now that they were close to their goal, they had no other question than this. We too have come to Cologne because in our hearts we have the same urgent question that prompted the Magi from the East to set out on their journey, even if it is differently expressed. It is true that today we are no longer looking for a king, but we are concerned for the state of the world and we are asking: "Where do I find standards to live by, what are the criteria that govern responsible co-operation in building the present and the future of our world? On whom can I rely? To whom shall I entrust myself? Where is the One who can offer me the response capable of satisfying my heart’s deepest desires?" The fact that we ask questions like these means that we realize our journey is not over until we meet the One who has the power to establish that universal Kingdom of justice and peace to which all people aspire but which they are unable to build by themselves. Asking such questions also means searching for Someone who can neither deceive nor be deceived, and who therefore can offer a certainty so solid that we can live for it and, if need be, even die for it.

[in Spanish]

Dear friends, when questions like these appear on the horizon of life, we must be able to make the necessary choices. It is like finding ourselves at a crossroads: which direction do we take? The one prompted by the passions or the one indicated by the star which shines in your conscience? The Magi heard the answer: "In Bethlehem of Judea; for so it is written by the prophet" (Mt 2:5), and, enlightened by these words, they chose to press forward to the very end. From Jerusalem they went on to Bethlehem. In other words, they went from the word which showed them where to find the King of the Jews whom they were seeking, all the way to the end, to an encounter with the King who was at the same time the Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world. Those words are also spoken for us. We too have a choice to make. If we think about it, this is precisely our experience when we share in the Eucharist. For in every Mass the liturgy of the Word introduces us to our participation in the mystery of the Cross and Resurrection of Christ and hence introduces us to the Eucharistic Meal, to union with Christ. Present on the altar is the One whom the Magi saw lying in the manger: Christ, the living Bread who came down from heaven to give life to the world, the true Lamb who gives his own life for the salvation of humanity. Enlightened by the Word, it is in Bethlehem – the "House of Bread" – that we can always encounter the inconceivable greatness of a God who humbled himself even to appearing in a manger, to giving himself as food on the altar.

We can imagine the awe which the Magi experienced before the Child in swaddling clothes. Only faith enabled them to recognize in the face of that Child the King whom they were seeking, the God to whom the star had guided them. In him, crossing the abyss between the finite and the infinite, the visible and the invisible, the Eternal entered time, the Mystery became known by entrusting himself to us in the frail body of a small child. "The Magi are filled with awe by what they see; heaven on earth and earth in heaven; man in God and God in man; they see enclosed in a tiny body the One whom the entire world cannot contain" (Saint Peter Chrysologus, Serm. 160, No. 2). In these days, during this "Year of the Eucharist", we will turn with the same awe to Christ present in the Tabernacle of mercy, in the Sacrament of the Altar.

[in Italian]

Dear young people, the happiness you are seeking, the happiness you have a right to enjoy has a name and a face: it is Jesus of Nazareth, hidden in the Eucharist. Only he gives the fullness of life to humanity! With Mary, say your own "yes" to God, for he wishes to give himself to you. I repeat today what I said at the beginning of my Pontificate: "If we let Christ into our lives, we lose nothing, nothing, absolutely nothing of what makes life free, beautiful and great. No! Only in this friendship are the doors of life opened wide. Only in this friendship is the great potential of human existence truly revealed. Only in this friendship do we experience beauty and liberation" (Homily at the Mass of Inauguration, 24 April 2005). Be completely convinced of this: Christ takes from you nothing that is beautiful and great, but brings everything to perfection for the glory of God, the happiness of men and women, and the salvation of the world.

In these days I encourage you to commit yourselves without reserve to serving Christ, whatever the cost. The encounter with Jesus Christ will allow you to experience in your hearts the joy of his living and life-giving presence, and enable you to bear witness to it before others. Let your presence in this city be the first sign and proclamation of the Gospel, thanks to the witness of your actions and your joy. Let us raise our hearts in a hymn of praise and thanksgiving to the Father for the many blessings he has given us and for the gift of faith which we will celebrate together, making it manifest to the world from this land in the heart of Europe, a Europe which owes so much to the Gospel and its witnesses down the centuries.

[in German]

And now I shall go as a pilgrim to the Cathedral of Cologne, to venerate the relics of the holy Magi who left everything to follow the star which was guiding them to the Saviour of the human race. You too, dear young people, have already had, or will have, the opportunity to make the same pilgrimage. These relics are only the poor and frail sign of what those men were and what they experienced so many centuries ago. The relics direct us towards God himself: it is he who, by the power of his grace, grants to weak human beings the courage to bear witness to him before the world. By inviting us to venerate the mortal remains of the martyrs and saints, the Church does not forget that, in the end, these are indeed just human bones, but they are bones that belonged to individuals touched by the transcendent power of God. The relics of the saints are traces of that invisible but real presence which sheds light upon the shadows of the world and reveals the Kingdom of Heaven in our midst. They cry out with us and for us: "Maranatha!" – "Come Lord Jesus!" My dear friends, I make these words my farewell, and I invite you to the Saturday evening Vigil. I shall see you then!"



Pope Benedict at Cologne Airport

Pope Benedict's zucchetto is blown off as he exits the plane
"With deep joy I find myself for the first time after my election to the Chair of Peter in my beloved homeland, in Germany. With deep emotion I thank God who has enabled me to begin my Pastoral Visits outside Italy with this visit to the nation of my birth."
Full Address
News Story

I'll be posting the opening ceremony address as soon as it's made available.

Juventutem Featured in San Diego Paper

Catholic youths flock to centuries-old Latin Mass

"The traditional liturgy, almost forgotten since the Church switched to vernacular tongues for its services, is full of reverent rituals and ornate vestments which were put aside as outdated after the Second Vatican Council (1962-1965).

But these traditions are making a quiet comeback among a tiny minority of young Catholics who find the strict Roman rite more sacred and prayerful than the loud guitars and chatty priests they see in their local parishes."

Holy Blogging Bishops, Batman!

No, seriously. The Spanish bishops have a blog for World Youth Day. Of course, alot of good it does me, since I don't read Spanish. Now if only the Italian Bishops' Conference would start one ... (I'm not holding my breath for the USCCB or the Canadians to do something that hip.)

HT: Fr. Tucker

Wednesday, August 17


I want one!

This is the coolest thing-- a German teen magazine is giving away these posters of Benedict.


A Find

In case you don't know, I'll tell you now: St. Vincent de Paul stores are one of the cheapest sources of Catholic books you'll find. This summer alone, I've obtained 4 different hard-cover editions of "Concilium"--for 40 cents total. That would have been about $75 from a bookdealer who knew what he was doing.

As the summer wore on, however, we noticed that many good books were stamped, "St. Mary's School." Guessing that St. Mary's had donated them to St. Vinny's, we called up St. Mary's: "Do you have any books you don't need?"

Did they. After getting clearance from the Principle, we walked away with two boxes full, including:
- $75 worth of books from the Vision series.
- Childrens' books on about 100 saints
- Tales of the Brothers Grimm
- And many more!

But perhaps the best find?
"Jesus, Son of Mary"
... signed on the first page, with a flourish, by "Fulton Sheen."

Not ... Being ... Jealous ...

Tim Drake, whom I've had the pleasure of meeting a couple of times, is blogging like crazy from WYD. Check out some of his great coverage.

Tuesday, August 16


One WYD, two Popes.

Saturday, August 13

WYD Eye Candy!


Hear, hear!

Silly dissidents, WYD is for kids!

Catholic World News : Cologne cardinal says WYD for youth, not aging dissidents
"In an in interview on the preparations for World Youth Day, the hosting archbishop, Cardinal Joachim Meisner of Cologne, said the event is a gathering for young people, not for 'the people of yesterday' such as dissident theologians Eugen Drewermann or Hans Kung.

In an interview granted to the Bonn newspaper General-Anzeiger , Cardinal Meisner noted that Hans Kung and Eugen Drewermann are not welcome at the event. 'The entire event is oriented to be an encounter for young people and not for 'seniors',' he said.

'There is nothing for them (Kung and Drewermann) here, as young people are not interested in the silliness they fostered for so long. We don't need any Drewermann or Kung or anything else stale at WYD,' Cardinal Meisner added."
HT: But I Digress


And His Mother Prayed 500 Times...

In case you've been wondering what I've been up to, last week was my parish's VBS program. Over 500 kids showed up for the 5-day circus zoo catechetical event.

On one of the days, we used this song, brilliantly composed by Jessica (with a little help from her friends) to the tune of "I'm Gonna Be (500 miles)," and sung by Holly ten (yes, ten) times, as the kids moved through the Learning Centers. Enjoy!

"When he was born, well his mother knew he’d be
Yeah he’d be the one who defended the truth
And she raised him, yes she raised him up to be
A good Christian like good mothers try to do.

But Augustine, didn’t like theology
He liked to drink and party all the long day through
And if you struggle with sins of impurity
St. Augustine’d be the role model for you

But his mother prayed 500 times
And then she prayed 500 more
So he’d be the man who laid 1000 sins
all down at Heaven’s door

One day Ambrose, yeah Augustine he did see
While he was preaching, as those preachers often do
In Augustine, some potential he perceived,
So he called him to exchange his sin for truth.

And Augustine, well he dropped down to his knees
And prayed, “I know my sins are very far from few,”
“But dear Jesus, I know that I must believe,”
I must believe in the great beauty that is You.

Because his mother prayed 500 times
And then she prayed 500 times
So he’d be the man who laid 1000 sins
all down at Heaven’s door

St. Augustine! St Augustine! St. Augustine! St. Augustine!
St. Augustine is in heaven now with God! (repeat)

Then Augustine, he prayed continuously
And preached and wrote as very few could do
His book “Confessions,” contains much philosophy
And he also was the Bishop of Hippo (Hippu?)

Well Augustine, he wrote many useful things
Telling all the faithful Catholics what to do.
“You are great Lord, and greatly to be praised,
Our hearts are restless, Lord, until they rest in you.”

Because his mother prayed 500 hours
And then she prayed 500 more
So he’d be the man who laid 1000 sins
all down at Heaven’s door

St. Augustine! St Augustine! St. Augustine! St. Augustine!
St. Augustine is in heaven now with God! (repeat)

The C&E Challenge

Few of us will actually face this most challenging of sermons in reality, but I've always wondered: what can one do?

That is, what is an appropriate homily to give to the Christmas and Easter Catholics, the ones who only darken a church door twice a year--but still, nonetheless, do come twice a year?

The challenge, of course, is to inspire them to a deeper relationship with Christ without turning them off to religion all together. No hell-fire and brimstoning, probably, but at the same time, one can't let this opportunity to greatly improve their lives with the Light of Faith to pass by unused.

So, what would you say? I know this is entirely unseasonal, but I'm curious now.
World Youth Day Scare

Saturday, 13 August 2005 Police and firemen in Volkenroda (Thüringen, east Germany) have prevented a planned attack on a youth Camp in Volkenroda where 2,000 youths from 40 nationalities are meeting. Three young man (15, 18 and 21 years old) were arrested.

The three men had earlier rampaged and damaged an information tent on the site and had fired a shot with an airgun. Firemen and private security had later noticed they were still near the camp and had alarmed the police , but the three men fled. Upon their arrest the young men were carrying a molotow cocktail, an air gun and balaclavas. Police said the motives of the three were probably xenophobic

From: Your New Favorite Website, for the Next Week

Friday, August 12

Gay Marriages Afterall?

Though the Spanish Parlament approved gay marriages, the matter is not entirely solved. Two judges have questioned whether gay marriages are unconstitutional. The question hinges on the following:

Article 32 [Marriage, Matrimonial Equality]

(1) Man and woman have the right to contract matrimony with full legal equality.
(2) The law shall regulate the forms of matrimony, the age and capacity for concluding it, the rights and duties of the spouses, causes for separation and dissolution and their effects.

Note that the Constitution refers to "man and woman." Whether or not this is interpretted to refer to "only with each other," or "exclusively men and women," or any myriad of other ways which could still permit gay marriage, remains to be seen.


Question of the Week

Is it necessary to make a little "pip" sound when you kiss devotional items or images?

Find out.
First Papal Encyclical!

"On the Dignity of Cats"

You saw it here first, folks.

Thursday, August 11

Did you hear the one...

A Jesuit, a Dominican, and a Trappist were marooned on a desert island. They found a magic lamp, and after some discussion decided to rub it. Lo and behold, a genie appeared and offered them three wishes. They decided it was only fair that they could each have one wish. The Jesuit said he wanted to teach at the world's most famous university, and poof, he was gone! The Dominican wished to preach in the world's largest church, and poof, he was gone! Then the Trappist said, "Gee, I already got my wish!"

(from phlogredux)

Msgr. Clark Resigns

Without saying anything about Msgr. Clark himself, the prospect of it all reminds me of one of the greatest lessons I've learned, from the start of the sex-abuse crisis.

There was a group (since disbanded by their diocese) called the Society of St. John, a Latin-Mass sort of community which wanted to build a medieval town to be a shining example of happy Catholic life. They were essentially ruined when reports of the seminarians all sleeping together in the same bed broke.

E. Michael Jones broke a huge homosexual scandal at Notre Dame in the 1980's involving a progressive liturgist. From then on, the general assumption was that separation from traditional orthodoxy -- not even necessarily heresy -- led to immorality.

And certainly, the notorious abusers from the 1960's and 1970's (like the priest who belonged to a Man-Boy Love Assocation) were often markedly heterodox.

But the dissolution of the Society of St. John shocked me personally into the realization that what matters ultimately is not per se professed orthodoxy or traditional practices like the Latin Mass, but a a firm graft onto the Person of Christ, the Tree of Life.

E. Michael Jone's theory needed to be tweaked: immorality did not equal heterdoxy. The truth is that many abuse cases date from the 1950's, and not from priests who were dissidant theologians but the average-Joe priest of a golden (though not perfect, obviously) moment of American Catholicism--who all said the Latin Mass, for what that's worth. It is a disconnect from the living person of CHRIST, so well known through the Catholic tradition, which leads a soul to a life of (sustained and grave) sin.

Traditional Catholic practice and traditional Catholic teaching are great, powerful, and moving forces of Christianity. The great, powerful, and moving FORCE of Christianity, however, is obviously Our Lord Jesus Christ Himself: He alone matters, He alone forgives and fortifies against sin, and He alone is the Beauty towards which we strive.

Catholic teaching and practice, traditional or post-conciliar, are not magic in and of themselves, but instead matter only insofar as it brings us to Christ. That's why they're so great, powerful, and moving: because they lead us to Christ, and a life in which our hearts--our will, our temperatment, our sensitivities and our intellect--are entirely, immaculately centered upon Christ.

And when that doesn't happen, there's no innate value in proclaiming either practice (like the Society of St. John did) or doctrine (however "hard-hitting") which isn't bearing fruit in the life of the one(s) proclaiming. What matters is our connection to Christ, and the greatest of Catholic tradition is just lace and hot-air without that radical, life-changing dependency.

Tuesday, August 9


Le Petit Prince de l'Eglise Posted by Picasa

Once when I was fourteen years old I found a magnificent old book, St. Joseph’s Daily Missal, with pictures of the “15 Mysteries of the Holy Rosary.” I pondered deeply, then, what these mysteries were and why they were called mysteries. I decided to say “the Rosary,” but when I showed the book to the grown-ups, it frightened them.

The grown-ups' response was to advise me to lay aside my Rosary and my book and focus on the communal action of the Mass. I had been disheartened by their failure to understand, but grown-ups never understand anything by themselves, and it is tiresome to be always and forever explaining things to them.

So I said my Rosary alone, without anyone that I could really pray with, until one day I had an accident and the Rosary broke. I simply had to get another!

At the first store, then, I found only “mantra beads.” Looking around, I realized my sentiments were more isolated than a shipwrecked sailor on a raft in the middle of the ocean. Preoccupied, I ran to the next store—nothing. Thus you can imagine my amazement, at the third, when I was interruped by an odd little voice. It said:

"Will you get it blessed?"


"Will you get it blessed?"

I blinked my eyes hard. I looked carefully all around me. And I saw a most extraordinary small cardinal, who stood there examining me with great seriousness.

Now I stared at this sudden apparition with my eyes fairly starting out of my head in astonishment. Remember, I had broken my Rosary and was a thousand miles from any Leaflet Missal outlet. And yet to my surprise here was a cardinal in red gallero.

"But--what are you doing here?"

And in answer he repeated, very slowly, as if he were speaking of a matter of great consequence:

"Will you get it blessed?"

“Well, I suppose my deacon who serves as Pastoral Associate…”

"No, no, no! Where I live, every Rosary is blessed by the local ordinary. How else can you receive the June 29th plenary indulgence?"

So then I got it blessed.

And that is how I made the acquaintance of the little prince of the Church.

(adapted, of course, from the timeless original)

Before you read too much into the "Gamarelli Socks" thing...

We're also a top Google hit for "polka costumes".

Let's just hope the same person wasn't searching for both...

Monday, August 8


Kolbe and Nagasaki

Since Fr. Jim over at Dappled Things has been posting prolifically about the 60th anniversary of the Hiroshima bombing and the upcoming anniversary of Nagasaki, it's worthwhile remembering the Catholic connections in Nagasaki, most notably Saint Maxiliam Kolbe and the City of the Immaculata, named Mugenzai no Sono, that he founded there. As this biographical sketch by Mary Craig puts it,

People thought Fr Maximilian was crazy to be building on steep ground sloping away from the town; but in 1945, when the atomic bomb all but levelled Nagasaki, Mugenzai no Sono sustained no more damage than a few broken panes of stained glass. Today it forms the centre of a Franciscan province.

Also worth noting with regards to Nagasaki is the "bombed" Mary, the head of a statue that survived the bombing.

Welcome Sock Shoppers

Apparently we're near the top of the Google list for Gamarelli Socks. Unfortunately, we don't stock those at the moment, but I guess if we ever open a webstore, we'll keep that in mind.

For Those More Towards the Middle Part of the Country.....

It's worth keeping up on events held by the Lumen Christi Institute, a Catholic intellectual center based out of the University of Chicago and peopled by philosophers and theologians from Chicago, Notre Dame, and other schools in the area. They haven't updated for a while, but I'd expect to see their fall slate of events soon, and looking at past events, the lineups have been impressive - for example, their April lecture featuring Alasdair MacIntyre, Charles Taylor, and Jean-Luc Marion. One of the many good things that have sprouted up in Chicago under Cardinal George's stewardship.

Heads up for Art Lovers

Starting in October and running through January, the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York will be putting on an exhibit entitled, "Fra Angelico", presenting 75 works of the great Florentine Dominican painter. It's the first ever exhibition of his works like this in the country, and the first anywhere in 50 years, so anyone within reasonable range of New York might want to keep it in mind.

Added to the Bloglist........ the Ressourcement Blog, La Nouvelle Theologie, named after the Catholic intellectual movement of the same name, which featured such greats as Henri de Lubac, Hans Urs von Balthasar, and our current Holy Father, Joseph Ratzinger. Blogger David L. Jones reflects insightfully on theology and culture, and I heartily recommend checking out his site.

Sunday, August 7


The Democrats, and Why it's a Problem

This is not a political blog, of course, but (just like the Church is not political) we are impacted by political things. So I'm taking a risk and considering something political.

I was reading this story from a Democrat/Progressive site about the failures of the Democratic Party to, well, win elections. The story was insightful, but many of the comments were not: they insist that nothing stinks in Denmark, and sooner or later the Democrats will start winning again just, well, because. No real need to change.

I think that's a problem for the Democrats and for our country as a whole. On issues touching the Culture of Life, Catholics often find themselves more at home with Republicans (for the first time in history). Abortion, euthanasia, homosexual unions, etc.

But the Democrats do offer a very important check on other social issues: third-world debt, discrimination, education, social nets for the poor, etc. These are all issues that must touch the Christian conscience, even if many Christians do not believe the government is the best answer to these problems. I was once invited to join a campus progressive alliance just because I was one of two people in class who insisted that all people have a right to food, water, and life: everyone else advocated a "Let the poor starve to death" position. Good God.

In a perfect country, we would have a powerful political party that fused traditional social concern with the Culture of Life: a friend's friend in El Salvadore was shocked and confused that anyone could be Progressive AND pro-Abortion. Sadly, that is not the story in the US.

So, I think Christian charity gets an important boost when the Democrats de-emphasize capital punishment and push for the needs of the marginalized. So, to hear so many Democrats think that maintaining their status quo is somehow a good idea (especially the refusal to accomodate the country's majority opinion on Abortion), that's a problem for all of us, even those who don't consistantly vote Democratic.


Friday, August 5


Our Lady of the Atonement, everyone's favorite Anglican Use Catholic Parish, has just raised the two spires of its in-progress expansion project. See here for more details.

Thursday, August 4

I've just signed on as a co-blogger at Shawn Tribe's new group super-blog The New Liturgical Movement. I will be joined by Fr. Peter Stravinskas, Fr. Thomas Kocik, Sandra Miesel, and Shawn himself; there's not much up at present but expect more soon. I just posted a reflection on rubrics, rubricism, inculturation and the various forms and uses of diversity entitled "The Epoch of Red Ink: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Rubrics." Expect more soon. And don't worry, you'll still find me most of the time at the Shrine--it's not that easy to get rid of me! (That's a joke).


My best friend from home is going to Cologne for WYD. And I'm so happy, because this is an excellent opportunity for me to grow in the Christian virtue of "not getting really jealous."

However, I couldn't help myself from reading through the WYD handbook, so I thought I'd share the link to it -- there's some good stuff in there, about the Eucharist, Reconciliation, and how the Three Kings ended up in the Cologne Cathedral.

Here it is!

Wednesday, August 3



"Is that a Swiss Army shirt you're wearing?"
"Yep, it is."
"Huh... Does it tick you off that it only does one thing?"

This is a real vocations poster, from the Archdiocese of Indianapolis. Really. Now all we need is Catherine Pickstock as Trinity.

Via Paul Lew.

Monday, August 1


A blog by someone named Elizabeth notes:
"Today was great, it seems as if the day is brighter when you go to mass in the morning (as funny as it sounds.) I don't even mind being the only person at mass under the age of 40, the priest even made a comment before the end of mass about there being new people at there, probably not me though LOL. I can't remember his name, since he's only been at the church for about a month, and I am horrible with names. Although I guess he has some Catholic youth website that has Catholic/Christian music, I believe it is"

We're fortunate enough in my hometown that, despite a net population of 2,000 (and there are three churches in addition to the Catholic church) an average of 80 people come to daily Mass. And we're not the only ones under 40!

But the meat of what I liked about her post was simply her point about how the day is brighter when you go to Mass in the morning. I agree. I once heard a Catholic speaker say that he would never take a job that didn't allow him to attend daily Mass: at the time, I thought he was a fundamentalist wacko. After 4 years of daily Mass at Notre Dame, though, I can't think of anything I'd agree with more.


Anyone who has read "An Exorcist Tells His Story" knows that Italy has witnessed a growth of interest in Satanism.

Apparently it's gotten so bad that the BBC has noticed. Click here to watch their video segment on the subject.

I really don't care too much about the typical 17th Century Protestant concerns that witchcraft will ruin the lives of upstanding citizens, because a strong sacramental life is the best and surest protection against any diabolical activity, from simple temptation towards sin to more extraordinary events. But, it's truly a tragedy for those involved, who get wrapped up in systematically worshipping as an idol all that is unforgiving, jealous, and filled with hatred or isolation. I can't imagine it's a very humane existance.

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