Sunday, September 30


Fama Romae

Will the Pope celebrate with the Extraordinary Form on Dec. 2?

Whether (and when) Pope Benedict will use the 1962 missal has replaced expectations of the motu proprio as the center of papistical gossip. The speculation is fun, and this time the topic is not nearly so "high stakes."

Dec. 2 would be the first Sunday of Advent. Liturgically, this is significant as the 1965 Missal became mandatory on the first Sunday of Advent, those years ago. That doesn't give or take credibility from the rumor, but it is the most likely date: anything feast more significant would be riskier (like, say, Christmas), but this date is still significant within the historical context of the Latin Mass.

The recent appointment of Marini, as Marini's replacement, means that it is now actually in the realm of possibility that Benedict even could use the Extraordinary form publicly.

But, I think it still seems unlikely. We'll see!

Saturday, September 29




The inimitable John Allen discusses a recent poll of Americans' perceptions of Benedict XVI:

A solid majority of Americans, 56 percent, describe Benedict XVI as “conservative" and just 5 percent see him as "liberal." Among college graduates, fully 71 percent say the pope is “conservative.” Likewise, 68 percent of American Catholics describe the pope as "conservative."


Nearly three-quarters of Americans, 73 percent, who say they’re familiar enough with Pope Benedict XVI to offer an opinion have a favorable view of the pontiff, according to a new poll. Benedict scored well not just among Catholics, but also white Evangelicals, black Protestants, and mainline Protestants.


While 84 percent of Americans who describe themselves as conservative Republicans have a favorable view of the pope, 59 percent of self-described liberal Democrats also give Benedict XVI high marks. [He has a] 68 percent approval rating among independents to 79 percent approval among conservative and moderate Democrats.

This makes Benedict roughly 3x as popular as the United States Congress, and a rather more than 2x as popular as President Bush.


The Shrine has been given the "Mathetes" award, by the blog De Cura Animarum. Father Author of the blog in question is writing a thesis which I hope to read when it is completed!

A little more on the Mathetes Award:

Mathetes is the Greek word for disciple, and the role of the disciple (per the Great Commission) it to make more disciples. I'd like to take the opportunity to award five other bloggers with this award and badge for acting in the role of a disciple of Christ. These five all share the message in their own creative ways, and I admire them all for what they do.In the spirit of this award, the rules are simple. Winners of this award must pick five other "disciples" to pass it on to. As you pass it on, I just ask that you mention and provide links for
(1) this post as the originator of the award (Dan King of management by God),
(2) the person that awarded it to you, and then
(3) name and sites of the five that you believe are fulfilling the role of a disciple of Christ.
If you know of other deserving recipients of this award, and would like to start a new string, then please post a link to where you've started in in the comments to this post. I would love for many deserving bloggers to be blessed with this recognition.

It's a unique award. Thanks!

Episcopalian Convert Bishops Have Valid Orders?

This year, Episcopal bishops Clarence Pope and, last week, Jeffrey Steenson, converted to the Catholic Church. I wrote, when discussing this, that it was not known whether these men would seek ordination in the Catholic Church.

However, in a very bizarre turn of events, these two (married) men may already have valid Catholic orders.

In 1971, the Roman Catholic archbishop of Santa Fe, James Peter Davis, joined with Episcopalian bishops as a co-consecrator of Episcopal bishop Dr. Richard Trelease. There is journalistic evidence of this:

Abluquerque Journal, Dec. 16, 1971, p. A-2—“While Dr. Trelease knelt before a temporary altar, eight Episcopalian bishops and Archbishop James Peter Davis of the Catholic Archdiocese of Santa Fe and Bishop Hines laid their hands on his head to signify his consecration to the office.”

In response, the Vatican is said to have privately disciplined Archbishop Davis, forcing him into retirement. I would have to check the appropriate acta to see whether Davis’ resignation was accepted for reasons of age or for the ambiguous “section two” of the retirement canon.

That Episcopal bishop (Richard Trelease) reigned from 1971-1988. He was replaced by bishop Terrance Kelshaw, who reigned from 1989-2005.

Reportedly, when Kelshaw was ordained, the Roman Catholic Archbishop of Santa Fe, this time Robert Sanchez, again served as co-consecrator. The Archdiocese of Santa Fe is said to have photographic evidence of Archbishop Sanchez clearly shown with his hand bishop Kelshaw’s head. To me seems less certain: some people have said the photo depicts the 1971 ordination, not a subsequent ordination, and I have not heard anything about Rome disciplining Sanchez.

When Clarence Pope became Bishop of Fort Worth around 1983, he requested Bishop Trelease as one of his co-consecrators. This is why Clarence Pope, in his first conversion to the Catholic Church, requested being re-ordained only “conditionally.”

Now, arriving at Bishop Steenson. Bishop Steenson was consecrated on January 15, 2005. Bishops Terrance Kelshaw and Clarence Pope both served as co-consecrators in his ordination.

These consecrations were done, perhaps with the exception of the 1971 consecration, with a revised ritual form that the Anglican Communion submitted to the Vatican and which the CDF certified was acceptable to validly pass on apostolic succession—so that if someone with valid orders were to use it, the resulting episcopal ordination would, in fact, be valid.

Questions of intent may be a factor, but under the principle of “ecclesia supplicit,” and the other circumstances, it seems they were quite likely valid.

Thus, whatever the possible doubts may be, the Catholic Church finds the whole of the situation seems sufficiently compelling that the current Roman Catholic Archbishop of Santa Fe, Michael J. Sheehan, has reportedly requested that Bishop Jeffrey Steenson prepare a vita and submit it to the Archdiocese to further investigate Steehan’s ecclesial history.

I should say that this article is mostly a distillation of rumors from the website Standing Firm.

Update: Someone commented that all of these statements are very qualified. That is on purpose, because it is not my competency to make any actual judgments on the matter--the Church does that. I am pointing out the possibility that the Church could rule that these bishops have valid orders: I am not trying to say/argue that they do, only that the Church could judge that they do--or that they do not. If the Church rules positively, I imagine the bishops could be re-ordained conditionally; if not, the bishops would be re-ordained, if at all, absolutely.

Friday, September 28


From the Oft-Ignored Bowels of Canon Law

I don't even want to try to count how many times I've seen this violated:

Can. 1213: "Each church is to have its own title. Once the church has been dedicated, this title cannot be changed."

(No matter how many times the church is merged..)

Clarification, of sorts, on Side Altars

In a previous post I mentioned that liturgical law forbids putting images over a consecrated altar--aside, of course, from the required image of Christ Crucified.

I was only slightly wrong--it explicitly forbids images of saints for new altars, as we read in the post-Conciliar Ceremonial of Bishops for the "Dedication of Church and Altar" (often published in other collections of rituals, like the Rites) para. 10: "statues and pictures of saints may not be placed above the altar." **Even in its strictest interpretation, this does not call for the dismantling of previously-consecrated altars.**

Msgr. Peter Elliot, a commentator on liturgical law and rubrics praised by Vatican officials for his faithfulness "to the authorities and official sources," s tates that "obviously, this need not preclude a reredos or window depicting events from the life of that saint." (Ceremonies of the Modern Roman Rite, p. 31)

I don't know how he justifies that position. However, if it works for him it works for me. In a sense there is continuity between the changes in art made by Trent and this change. Pre-Tridentine art often depicted the saints as solitary figures, isolated from the reality of their earthly lives. In response to Trent's canons on art, pictures placed above Reformation side altars moved sharply away from simple depictions of a solitary, decontextualized individual, instead showing almost exclusively saints within the context of scenes from their lives. This method of depiction in liturgical art seems to have prevailed until the rise of neo-Gothic architecture in the 19th century. Msgr. Elliot thus interprets current liturgical norms as a call to recapture the Tridentine manner of depicting saints in the altarpieces

So, that is my attempt to "clear up" what I alluded to below.

In the reformed practice, then, to answer the question of a priest as to whether or not he should re-install side altars: by all means re-install them!! However, you will not be able to have them consecrated as altars under the post-Conciliar rubrics: they would remain simply devotional surfaces, a practice which Duncan Stroik employs with extreme frequency (e.g.: Shrine of Our Lady of Guadalupe in LaCrosse, Wis.). Further, it is prohibited to celebrate Mass anywhere in a consecrated church except a duly consecrated altar.

Here, though, is where it gets messy: Summorum Pontificum.

The provisions against side altars and against images of saints over altars are contained within the revised liturgical books. And, the 1984 Code of Canon Law, which now governs both the Ordinary and the Extraordinary Uses, gives authority to the liturgical books themselves:

Can. 1217: As soon as possible after completion of the building the new church is to be dedicated or at least blessed, following the laws of the sacred liturgy.

Can. 1237: Fixed altars are to be dedicated, movable ones either dedicated or blessed, according to the rites prescribed in the liturgical books. The ancient tradition of placing relics of Martyrs or of other Saints beneath a fixed altar is to e retained, in accordance with the rites prescribed in the liturgical books.

So the question now is this:

If Canon Law gives the liturgical books the force of law, does the law change depending upon whether one uses the Extraordinary books or the Ordinary books?

To me, that would seem to be the case. Certainly, it is something which Ecclesia Dei or its successor will probably articulate more clearly.

If that is the case, then there are no more impediments
- to erecting any number of side altars
- to using small pieces of relics set in the altar table (currently forbidden)
Update: I was wrong: the part about relics is in canon law itself and so would not change, regardless of the norms within the liturgical books.
- to placing images of saints over altars
... provided that one uses the Extraordinary books to do so.

These, and other similar implications, are reasons why Summorum Pontificum has the power to re-enforce a hermeneutic of continuity, that is, the attitude that what was once universal practice cannot now be "bad," in all manner of instances where the liturgical reform produced very significant ruptures in Church practice.

Open House New York

Coming up next weekend, museums, historic sites, old theaters and churches throughout the five boroughs will be throwing open their doors to tourists in the know, free of charge, for tours, sightseeing and access to architectural sites usually closed. I went last year ("Episcopalian Real Estate Envy Tour 2006") and enjoyed stops at the Museum of the City of New York, St. John the Divine, the Fabbri-Vanderbilt Mansion and the (Episcopalian) General Theological Seminary, Chelsea, where the, er, girl seminarian (cough) who led the tour told us all about the pranks they play on their professors in chapel, as well as several labored Harry Potter analogies to describe the architecture of the place, which resembles a Cambridge quad translated to Manhattan.

This year, sites of interest to the church-hopping tourist include:

The possibly doomed St. Vincent de Paul Catholic Church in the low 20s, a splendid example of continental Greek Revival architecture built for the local French community in 1857. Check out the interior while you still can.

The Lutheran Church for All Nations, a chunky terra-cotta neo-Gothic monolith, formerly one of New York's two churches built by the virtually extinct Irvingite or Catholic Apostolic sect, famed for their discerning taste in architecture. This tiny group of Protestants concocted an eclectic set of liturgies rivaling in mind-boggling complexity anything Sarum, Lyons or Constantinople ever produced. (Let's put it this way: a fully-functioning parish required, in theory, a staff of 64 clerics to keep things running smoothly. Even I think that's overkill.)

The Little Church Around the Corner, a tiny Episcopalian parish nestled amid the high-rises of Murray Hill, well-known for servicing the spiritual needs of actors.

Temple Emanu-El, the world's largest synagogue, a massive (and sometimes rather overpowering) Moorish-Romanesque-Deco structure on Fifth Avenue that I am quite fond of, despite being described by a friend of mine as looking like a "Celtic mausoleum."

Our Lady of the Scapular and St. Stephen's, a hybrid Catholic parish featuring a monumental east wall painting by Constantino Brumidi, the artist who brought you the Stations of the Cross at Notre Dame and the mildly ridiculous "Washington in Heaven" dome painting in the U.S. Capitol.

The St. George Theater, on Staten Island; not very ecclesiastical, but no doubt much of the Italo-Spanish Baroque detailing for this 1929 landmark was borrowed from churches across the Mediterranean.

These, and much, much more can be found here. Enjoy!

Thursday, September 27


Benedict XV against "Traditionalist," "Liberal," "Integralist," etc.

In the Encyclical Ad Beatissimi Apostolorum, Pope Benedict XV condemned the contemporaneous practice of those who referred to themselves as "Intergralist Catholics," as opposed to simply "Catholic." His condemnation, a part of the ordinary magisterium, is binding today--despite the prevalence of Catholics who very wrongly attach modifiers to their self-description of "Catholic."

We desire that this practice, lately come into use, of using distinctive names by which Catholics are marked off from other Catholics, should cease; such names must be avoided, not only as 'profane novelties of words' that are neither true nor just, but also because they lead to great disturbance and confuse the Catholic body... There is no need to qualify by fresh epithets the profession of faith; let it be enough for a man to say, "Christian is my name, Catholic is my surname..."

What kind of Catholic are you? "Just Catholic."

Fr. Philip, OP, on Campus Ministry

These students aren’t you at 18. Apply your own standards of liberality and let them explore the fullness of the Church’s ancient traditions. You had a crappy childhood at St. Sixtus of the Perpetual Frown under the bruising discipline of Sr. Mary of the Five Wounds of Christ, so religious habits, rosaries, crucifixes, devotional booklets, Latin, incense, sanctus bells, etc. all remind you of stifling dogmatic lectures, knuckle-rappings, silly moral imperatives, triumphal-martial Catholicism, etc. Guess what? They aren’t you! They didn’t have these experiences, so they don’t associate Eucharistic adoration and First Friday Masses with intellectual repression and physical pain. Let them transform these traditions and make them their own.

I love the parish name, btw.


Stroik Strikes Again

Duncan Stroik, who designed Our Lady of the Trinity at Thomas Aquinas College about which Matthew speaks below, also recently finished this new shrine to the Sacred Heart for Archbishop Burke's cathedral in St. Louis.

"The focus of the new shrine of the Sacred Heart is a mosaic produced by the esteemed Mosaic Studio located at the Vatican. The mosaic is based upon an original oil painting, presumably by a Spanish artist in the Nineteenth century, owned by the Archdiocese...

The design of the shrine is free standing with a pediment to give it verticality and prominence within the colonnaded apse...

In total, approximately thirty different marbles and onyxes, pieces that weigh up to six hundred pounds, were employed in the design to reflect the rich variety of marbles found in the Cathedral... The marble fabrication and carving and the bronze casting was supervised by Roberto Pagliari in Carrara and Pietrasanta Italy."

I don't know if the table structure is a consecrated altar or simply a devotional surface. In fact, if it were a consecrated altar, it would violate one, maybe two, very stupid provisions in the current Ceremonial of Bishops--first and definitely, that new altars cannot have images above them, and second and less definitely, that new minor altars should in general be avoided. The post-Conciliar Ceremonial is that liturgical revision for which I have the most contempt. Bleck.

More Information

That's Quality

Source:The inimitable

St. Gelasius Redux Redux

The Institute of Christ the King recently uploaded a splendid drawing of the proposed high altar intended for their Shrine of Christ the King in Chicago, which we discussed recently below. While I'm unclear whether this is the work of William Heyer or the Institute's in-house art director, I'm really impressed, in terms of the quality of design and the extremely ambitious nature of its detailing, as well as the confident quality of the rendering itself. If this gets built I may have to make a special trip to the Windy City to see it in person. As with their work at Wausau, they have not simplified or watered-down down their proposal for the sake of modern sensibilities or budget cuts; the magnificence of material and ornament shines forth with unabashed joy.

The design is a convincing adaptation of several existing precedents, joining the distinctive altarpiece of Santa Maria in Campitelli in Rome with an altar that draws on several other Roman examples. However, it is not by any means a copy. Even if we work very closely to a precedent, as may be required in some cases, architects very seldom copy outright. In some respects it is actually an improvement from the original from a rubrical point of view. The ensemble has been liturgically corrected by the addition of a wonderfully exuberant hanging tester, or altar-canopy, in line with a more exact reading of the Tridentine rubrics. This is very much to be applauded.

Furthermore, the altarpiece's adaptation--in terms of scale and also detail--to the interior of the church has been achieved with great care and sensibility. The combination of these various elements with the polychrome walls of the Shrine, very different from the plain stonework of Santa Maria in Campitelli, will prove to be a wonderful and unique combination as well.

I know some purists may balk at the large superstructure of gradines that rise above the altar, though it seems to me this in the end a matter of taste. There's an infinite number of ways you could rearrange them, from the perspective of the armchair designer, but that would be mere nitpicking. I am not going to loose sleep over them. There's a logic in their placement, after all: the large candlesticks lifted high on the upper gradine are required by the large scale of the church and serve to visually amplify the mass of the altar below. It might be good if, in the built version, the aedicular tabernacle was replaced by a domed, veiled tabernacle, but once again, this is a very small critique of an otherwise stupendous design.

For that matter, the gradines are integrated with the altar table in such a way that they form a discrete unit independent of the hovering sunburst rather than merely serving as a base for a large classical aedicule as in many other examples. In a sense we may conceive of these gradines as 'bulking up' the silhouette of the altar, rather than dominating it, so it might stand out in the vast sanctuary of a large church. One might do it differently in the case of a baldachino, but here the choice makes visual sense. Covered by the canopy of the tester, the altar is no less dominated by the reredos than a dozen hallowed medieval examples. It will be a welcome addition to Chicago's splendid liturgical patrimony.

Wednesday, September 26


Breaking News on the Cardinal-Duke of York

Who is still, sadly, dead.

But, get this: an event that incorporates the Knights of Malta, the Jacobite pretender, a solemn pontifical requiem mass, heraldry, and a catafaque with both an ermine cloak and a jeweled mitre. Sounds like one of my freaky liturgical dreams/nightmares? (Like the one I had one night about being at the funeral of Anti-Pope Gregory XVII, that was weird. Especially since they were all wearing red vestments.)

Actually, no. This really happened.

It seems that some considerate souls got together and held a solemn high mass of requiem on the occasion of the bicentenary of the death of the king over the water, Henry IX, good old Henry Benedict Stuart, Cardinal-Duke of York, with all the appropriate trimmings. This I like for several reasons. First, who knows? Maybe he's still stuck in purgatory and nobody bothers to remember him. I try and pray for the late unlamented Henry II on All Souls' Day, myself, though he has a lot more punishment due to him than the Cardinal-Duke.

(I realize Stuart pretenders and jeweled mitres are not part of the core deposit of faith of our holy religion. But it does help make it fun.)

And secondly, say what you will about this sometime Dean of the Sacred College (or the Stuarts in general--when Henry Benedict took to calling himself the King of England, the Pope responded, essentially, "who are you kidding?" Henry nonetheless was the last King of England--or whatever--to touch the scrofulous in order to cure the King's evil, all the same), but you have to admit this is pretty nifty. Who isn't a sucker for a lost cause, especially with a deacon and subdeacon thrown in?
I was recently sent some sneak peak photos of the progress of the other major Duncan Stroik project, Our Lady of the Most Holy Trinity out in Santa Paula, California. Enjoy!

For more info on the project and beaucorp renderings, check out Duncan Stroik's website.

"Danke... Really.."

Pope Benedict blesses a belated birthday present, from the parishes of Germany, which looks suspiciously like a partially-burnt cigar.


Tuesday, September 25


Daily Dose...

... of enormous papistical joy:

A recording of the Vatican's silver trumpets, when the Vatican used silver trumpets, made in about 1910.

Sunday, September 23


Sophia Institute Press

The Sophia Institute Press is in financial distress.

As good a reason to buy books as any!

Francis de Sales' "The Art of Loving God" is good.

Episcopalian Bishop to Become Catholic

The third this year

For those unaware, the Episcopal Church is in the midst of a meeting of bishops to discuss the various matters (read: the ordination of active homosexuals and the understanding of Biblical authority which that implies) which have been stressing the world-wide Anglican Communion.

A very moving address was given to the American bishops by an Anglican Egyptian bishop, asking the Americans to admit that they held significantly different views on Christianity than the wider Anglican Communion and asking the American bishops to stand up for those views with clear conviction: if they believe their recent moves are true, then they should stand up for them boldly, willing to make the necessary sacrifices which are the difference between sentimentalist "I'm ok, you're ok" and true conviction.

However, the consensus at this point in time (the meeting continues Monday) seems to be that the American bishops will make no significant changes which would ease the global tension, such as altering their current practices or voluntarily separating themselves from the wider Anglican Communion.

Faced with this very soul-draining stalement between contrasting theologies and contrasting views on Scripture, authority, sexuality, and a host of such issues, the Rt. Rev. Jeffrey N. Steenson, the active Bishop of the Rio Grande, will announce his intention to enter the Roman Catholic Church tomorrow.

Those who claim to be close to the bishop report that, in the face of these many problems and afflictions of the Episcopal Church and the Anglican Communion at large, Steenson has been telling friends for some time, "The answer is Benedict XVI."

In his own (public) words:

Regarding his move to the Roman Catholic Church, Bishop Steenson said, “I believe that the Lord now calls me in this direction. It amazes me, after all of these years, what a radical journey of faith this must necessarily be. To some it seems foolish; to others disloyal; to others an abandonment.”

At this point in time, it is not known whether Steenson will seek, or be given, presbyterial (or episcopal--most unlikely!) ordination in the Catholic Church.

One place at which to read more

Saturday, September 22


The Liturgical Referee

This is making the email rounds. Now it can make the blog rounds!

(1) No Crucifix in sanctuary.

(2) Liturgical dance detected.

(3) Member of laity giving homily - to be evicted from lectern.

(4) Incomplete or no consecration. Occurs when illicit matter is used, wrong formula used, only one of the two elements of bread or wine is properly consecrated, or no one bearing the sacerdotal character is present. In cases where only one element is consecrated, a replay is called for.

(5) Illegal use of hands. Normally called when the celebrant has left the sanctuary to shake everybody's hands.

(6) Homiletical use of questionable or heretical theology. When detected, the Liturgical Ref pulls on his lips in a downward direction.

(7) The "What the heck am I hearing" signal is one of the most common signals. It indicates syrupy or banal liturgical music, or the inappropriate use of secular music.

(8) Disregarding the prescribed text of the Order of Mass. This is another common liturgical penalty despite the fact that no other person, even if he be a priest, may add, remove, or change anything in the liturgy on his own authority. (Constitution on the Sacred Liturgy)

(9) Illicit Posture. Usually called when you are being asked to stand instead of kneel as specified by the GIRM or set by your bishop's conference or licitly specified by your local ordinary.

(10) Illicit purification of sacred vessels. This is called when the purification of the sacred vessels is done by an Extraordinary Minister of Holy Communion despite the fact the the Pope revoked the indult in the U.S. for this permission.

(11) Illicit Participation. Called when too many people are in the sanctuary. For example occurs when EMHC arrive before the fraction rite or when some members of the congregation are invited into the sanctuary to pray with the priest during the consecration.

(12) Un-Christian Like Conduct. Can be called when elements of other religions contrary to Christianity are introduced such as new age beliefs. Un-Christian Like Conduct is also often called in the parking lot after Mass.

(13) Illegal Pass. The celebrant is simply not allowed to make a pass at anybody.

(14) Stole Infraction. Normally occurs when the celebrant wears his stole on top of the chasuble. Another penalty can be added if the celebrant does this and the stole is horrendously ugly.

(15) Excessive use of inclusive language. Penalty is thrown when grammatical awkwardness is detected in avoiding male pronouns.

Friday, September 21


God Responds to Lawsuit by Agnostic

And apparently, His lawyers are based in Corpus Christi. Somehow, I'm not surprised.
Today in addition to being my onomastico is also the feast of Santa Maura, a fact I note with some interest and surprise as I have always thought it a pretty name for a girl, despite the fact I know nothing about her save she was a martyr, there's an island in the Ionian group (now Lefkada) that was once named for her, and her companion in martyrdom was St. Britta, patroness of water filtration devices.

From the Golden Legend, as Englished by Caxton, 1483

Here beginneth the Life of S. Matthew, and, first of the interpretation of his name.

Matthew was named by twain names, that was Matthew and Levy. Matthew is expounded a hasty gift, or a giver of counsel, or it is said Matthew of magnus, and theos, that is God, as it were a great God. Or of manus, that is a hand, and theos, that is God, as it were the hand of God. He was a gift of hastiness by hasty conversion, a giver of counsel by wholesome predication, great to God by perfection of life, and the hand of God by writing of the gospel of God. Levy is interpreted assumyt, or applied, or put to, or set. He was assumpt and taken away from gathering of tolls, he was applied to the number of the apostles, he was put to the company of the evangelists, and set to the catalogue of martyrs.

Of S. Matthew.

Matthew the apostle, preaching in Ethiopia, in the city that is said Nadaber, found there two enchanters named Zaroes and Arphaxat, which enchanted the men by their art, so that whom that they would, should seem that thy were prived of the health and office of their members. Which were so elevated in pride that they made them to be honoured as gods. Then Matthew the apostle entered into that city and was lodged with the eunuch of Candace, the queen, whom Philip baptized. Then he discovered the faits and deeds of the enchanters in this manner, that all that they did to men into hurt, that turned Matthew into health. Then this eunuch demanded of S. Matthew how he spake and understood so many tongues. And then Matthew told him how the Holy Ghost descended and had given to the apostles all science of tongues. That like as they had emprised by their pride to make the tower unto heaven which ceased by confusion of tongues that were changed, all in like wise the apostles made a tower of sciences of tongues, and nothing of stones but of virtues, by the which all that believe shall mount up into heaven.

Then came before them a man that said that the enchanters were come with two dragons, which cast fire and sulphur by their mouths and nostrils, and slew all the men. Then the apostle garnished him with the sign of the cross and went out surely to them, and anon as these dragons saw him, anon they came and slept at his feet. Then said Matthew to the enchanters: Where is your craft? Awake ye them if ye may; and if I would pray our Lord, that which ye would have committed in me, I should soon execute on you. And when the people were assembled, he commanded the dragons that they should depart without hurting of any, and they went anon.

And the apostle there made a great sermon of the glory of paradise terrestrial, saying that it appeared above all the mountains and was nigh unto heaven, and that there were neither thorns ne rocks, and that the lilies and roses flourished always and waxed never old; but the people were there always young, and the sound of angels sounded there always, and the birds came anon as they were called. And said that out of this paradise was a man cast, but he was called to the paradise of heaven by the nativity of our Lord. And as he said these words to the people, anon a great noise arose, and a great weeping was made for the son of the king which was dead, and when these enchanters might not raise him, they made the king believe that he was ravished into the company of the gods, and that he should make to him a temple and an image.

And then the foresaid eunuch, keeper of the queen Candace, made the enchanters to be kept, and sent for the apostle. And when the apostle was come he made his prayer and raised the king's son anon. And then the king, which was named Egippus, sent for all the men in his provinces saying to them: Come and see ye God in the likeness of a man. And then the people came with crowns of gold and divers manner of sacrifices, and would have sacrificed to him, and then S. Matthew beheld them and said: What do ye men? I am not God, but I am servant of our Lord.

And by the commandment of him they made a great church of the gold and silver that they had brought, which in thirty days space was edified and achieved. In which church the apostle sat three and thirty years, and converted all Ethiopia to the faith of Christ. And then the king Egippus, with his wife and his daughter, and all the people, were baptized. And then the apostle hallowed to God Ephigenia the king's daughter, and made her mistress and governess of more than two hundred virgins.

And after this, Hirtacus succeeded to the king, and coveted the said virgin Ephigenia, and promised to the apostle half his realm if he would make her consent to be his wife; and the apostle said to him that after the custom of his predecessor he should come on the Sunday to the church, and Ephigenia being present with the other virgins, he should hear what he should say of the goodness of lawful marriage. And then he departed with great joy, and supposed that he would have stirred Ephigenia to his marriage. And when the virgins and all the people were assembled, he spake long of good and lawful matrimony, and was much allowed of the king, which supposed that he had said for to have joined the virgin to him for to consent the marriage.

Then when silence was made, he made rehearsal of his sermon saying, that marriage is good if it be truly held by good alliance. But ye that be here, know ye well that if any servant would take the wife of a king wedded he should not only run to the offence of the king, but above that he should deserve death, and not for to wed her, but for that he in so taking the spouse of his lord should corrupt the marriage joined. And thou the king that knew that Ephigenia is made the spouse of the king perdurable, and is sacred with the holy veil, how mayst thou take the wife of a more puissant king and couple her to thee by marriage?

And when the king heard this he began to enrage and departed all wood and frantic. And the apostle without dread confirmed all the others to patience. And Ephigenia, Iying tofore him for dread, he blessed, and all the other virgins also. And after the solemnities of the mass, the king sent a tormentor which slew Matthew with a sword behind him, which was standing by the altar holding up his hands into heaven, and so was consecrate a martyr. And then all the people would have gone into the palace for to have slain the king, and with great pain were they holden of the priests and deacons, and hallowed with great joy the martyrdom of the apostle. And the king then sent to Ephigenia matrons and enchantresses, but for all them, when he saw that he might not turn her courage ne draw her to him in no manner, he environed and beset the house of her with a right great fire, for to burn her and all the other virgins. And then the holy apostle appeared at the fire and put out the fire about the house, and it took the palace of the king, so that it burnt and consumed all that was therein, that none escaped save the king and his son only. And the son was ravished of the devil and began to cry and confess his father's sins, and went to the sepulchre of the apostle.

And the father was made a foul mesel, and when he saw that he might not be cured, he slew himself with his own hand with a sword. And the people then established for to be king, the brother of Ephigenia whom the apostle had baptized, and reigned seventy years, and established his son for to be king after him, and increased much the honour of christian men, and replenished all Ethiopia with noble churches of our Lord. And then Zaroes and Arphaxat fled into Persia from the day that the apostle raised the son of the king, but S. Simon and S. Jude vanquished them there.

And know ye that four things be principally considered in the blessed S. Matthew. The first is the hastiness of obedience, for as soon as our Lord called him, he left all and doubted nothing of the Lord, and left the reckonings of his receipts imperfect, and joined him perfectly to our Lord Jesu Christ. And for this hasty obedience some took occasion of error in themselves, like as S. Jerome recordeth in the original upon the foresaid place, saying in that place: Porphyry and Julian Augustus reproveth in the same place the folly of the story, saying that as the story saith, like as they followed suddenly the Saviour, that they would as hastily follow another man that had called them. For there were showed so many virtues and so many tokens tofore, that the apostles of our Lord believed verily without doubt. And certainly this replenisher of the privy majesty shone in his blessed face at the first to them that saw him, and he might by that sight and will draw them to him. If such virtue, as men say, is in a precious stone which is named magnet, which draweth to him festues and straws, how much more the creator of all things may draw to him whom he will. This said Jerome.

The second is his largess or his liberality. For anon he made to him a great feast in his house, the which was not great by apparel of meats, but it was much great only by reason of great desire, for he received with right great will and right great desire. And also it was great by reason of service, for this feast was demonstrance of great mystery, which mystery the gloss expoundeth upon S. Luke saying: He that receiveth our Lord Jesu Christ in his house was fed withinforth plenteously of greater things than the other, that is to wit of delectations, of good manners, and of good delights. And after he was great by reason of his enseignments, for he showed great teachings and doctrines. And this was of great mercy by desire, and not by sacrifice, as he said: Misericordiam volo et non sacrificium, etcetera. And also they that be whole need no leech, and so it was great, for there was Jesu Christ and his disciples.

The third is humility which appeared to him in two things, first he showed him a publican. The other evangelists, as saith the gloss, because of shame, and for the honour of the evangelist, they set not their common name, but as it is written: The just is first accuser of himself. And Matthew named himself publican, first because that he showed that none converted ought not mistrust of health, like as he was made of a publican, an apostle and evangelist. Secondly, because he was patient in his injuries. For when the pharisees murmured that Jesu Christ was descended to a man, sinner, Matthew might have answered: Ye be more wicked and more sinful that ween ye be just and refuse the leech, for I may no more be said sinner that am gone to the leech of health and hide not my sin ne wound.

The fourth is the great solemnity of him in the church of his gospels. His gospels be offer and more used in the church than the other evangelists, like as the psalms of David and the epistles of Paul be rehearsed before other scriptures, which be more offer recited in the church. And this is the reason that James witnesseth that there be three manner of sins, that is to wit: the sin of pride, of lechery, and of avarice. In the sin of pride sinned Saul, for Saul by the sin of pride persecuted the church over proudly. David sinned in the sin of lechery, for he made adultery, and for the adultery he slew Uriah, his true knight. And Matthew sinned in the sin of avarice, for for covetousness he meddled him of villainous gain. For he was in a port of the sea where he received the toll and custom of ships and merchandise. And howbeit that they were sinners, yet always our Lord took their penance in gree and was pleased therewith, so that he pardoned them not only their sins, but multiplied in them his gifts of grace.

For him that was a right cruel persecutor, he made a right true preacher, and him that had been adulterer and homicide, he made a prophet, and him that coveted so villainous gain, he made apostle and evangelist. And therefore these foresaid three be oft recited that no man that would be converted should have despair of pardon when such that were in so great sin, he beholdeth to have been in so great grace.

And it is to be considered that, after S. Ambrose, some things ought to be noted in the conversion of S. Matthew, that is to wit somewhat of the party of the leech, and some of the party of the sick to be healed. In the leech were three things, that is to wit, wisdom by which he knew the root of the malady, and the bounty by which he ministered the medicine, and the power by which he healed him so soon.

Of these three saith S. Ambrose in the person of the said Matthew: This master may take away the sorrow from my heart, and the dread of the soul which knoweth the things hid and privy. And this is as touching to the first. And as to the second: I have found a leech that dwelleth in heaven and sheddeth in earth his medicine. And as to the third he said: He may well heal my wounds that knoweth not his own. In this blessed sick man that was healed, that is to say S. Matthew, three things be to be considered, after S. Ambrose.

He took away first his malady, he was always agreeable to his leech, and he was always clean and whole after he had received his health. Then he said: Matthew, follow now thy leech merrily and gladly, and he joying said: Now I am no publican, ne am not Levi, I have put away Levi sith I have received Christ and follow him, and this is to the first. And as to the second, I hate my lineage and flee my life and follow only the Lord. And as to the third he said: Who shall depart me from the charity of our Lord God which is in me? Tribulation or anguish or hunger? As who saith: Nothing. And the manner of healing, as Ambrose saith, was treble. First, Jesu Christ bound him with bonds; secondly, he impressed in him charity; and thirdly, he cleansed him from all rottenness.

And Ambrose saith in the person of Matthew: I am bounden with the nails of faith, and good life of charity. Secondly, I shall keep thy commandment as imprinted in me by charity. And as to the third: Good Lord, come soon and open my wounds lest any noieful humour corrupt ne rot the hid passions, and wash them that be foul and cleanse them.

His gospel that he had written with his own hand, was found with the bones of S. Barnabas, the which gospel Barnabas bare with him, and laid them upon them that were sick, and anon they were healed by the merits of the martyr, and were founden in the year of our Lord five hundred.

Thursday, September 20


First Roman Baroque in Chicago, Now in Wisconsin

Some folks snickered a bit at my thesis project last year, considering it plopped down a full-fledged grandchild of Austria's Baroque Melk abbey down in the Midwest (all right, it was over the top, but it was also a student project), but Shrine friend Duncan Stroik is doing just about the same thing for real, with his marvelous early Roman Baroque-style Shrine of Our Lady of Guadalupe. JBP at The Society of St. Barbara has the details, and some very snappy new photos of the interior.

St. Gelasius Redux

If you're like me, no doubt you've found yourself lying awake at night thinking, "Self, what Chicago needs is an authentic Roman Baroque church."

(You know I would think that, come on, I already gave you a Hispano-Italo-British Baroque church last year...)

If so, never fear--and the folks to bring it to you are, unsurprisingly, our pals at the Institute of Christ the King. (If they can't pull this off, nobody can.) I suppose most of you are vaguely aware of their continuing renovation project in Chicago's fire-gutted church of St. Gelasius (now the Shrine of Christ the King), but what you don't know is they now have a website for it, as well as an official project architect, William Heyer, who looks to be a welcome addition to the growing family of Catholic liturgical architects of traditional bent. Even better, I've discovered their high altar is going to be modelled on that of one of my favorite churches in Rome, Santa Maria in Campitelli, the former titular church of Henry Cardinal Stuart...alias the Cardinal-Duke of York, alias His Majesty Henry IX by the Grace of God King of England, Scotland, Ireland and France. This thing's gonna rock!

Tuesday, September 18


This Weekend! Matt Alderman! In Columbus! One Time Only!

(And you might add, so what? In my defense, I'm told I can be quite amusing.)

Because I am a shameless self-promoter and have long ago come to accept the fact, I'd like to mention to youall I'll be doing a presentation, "Manifesting Heaven: Architectural Solutions for The Spirit of the Liturgy," this coming Saturday at this year's Society for Catholic Liturgy Conference. (I'm actually only the second-youngest presenter there). So be there, or be square.

The downside of all this is that posting will be sparse this week while I add the finishing touches to my presentation. In the mean time I suggest you celebrate the Feast of St. Joseph of Cupertino by reciting Aves while bouncing on a trampoline, or possibly taking up bungee-jumping. And, for those of you preferring passive deaths, let's not forget the San Gennaro festival and all its wonderfully disgusting artery-clogging fried food products is finishing up this week in Little Italy...

I Didn't Draw This But I Wish I Had

Martin Schongauer, Censer, 1480-85.

(Image credit: WGA)


Oh, The Things You Read on Wikipedia

Allegedly, the first telenovela, that wellspring of Spanish-language nuttiness now well-known to cablesurfers after quick and frantic pass-throughs of Univision, to be produced, ever, was of all things, 1973's Santa Barbara, Virgen y Martir, with Hialeah doubling (presumably) for Nicomedia. The mind reels.

And no, we're not syndicating it for HWTN. The twenty-five-part Spanish-language production of Goya Foods Presents Francisco Goya's The Horrors of War: The Musical! and The Supreme Protector-President for Life Andrés de Santa Cruz y Calaumana Memorial Variety Hour should suffice for now (you'd be amazed at how many disco combos there are in Bolivia), though Catalan speakers and Clint Eastwood fans will be glad to hear we're currently in principal filming for The Outlaw Josemaría Wales. "We got somethin' in this country..." cliiiick "...called the Aragonese Boatride..."

Thursday, September 13


This is How I Spent Sunday Afternoon

More photos can be found here.


Blessed--Nearly--Basil Moreau, CSC!

From an article by Michael O. Garvey in ND Works, Notre Dame’s faculty and staff newspaper:
Dozens of members of the Notre Dame community will travel to LeMans, France in September and join with other members of the Order of Holy Cross and its affiliates for beatification ceremonies honoring Basil Anthony Moreau.

Moreau, the 19th-century French churchman, founded the Congregation of Holy Cross in LeMans. He is to be beatified in a ceremony at the Centre Antares, a sports arena, on Saturday, Sept 15.

A person who is “beatified” by the Catholic Church has significantly advanced toward “canonization,” or the status of being officially and solemnly proclaimed a saint.

Notre Dame was born as a project of the Holy Cross order in 1842 and continues to rely on Moreau’s followers for its administration, inspiration, and communion in the Catholic Church.

“This event is a significant opportunity for the Holy Cross order and the University community to recall and reflect upon Father Moreau’s invaluable wisdom, which continues to lead us today,” says President Rev. John I. Jenkins, C.S.C., who will lead the University’s delegation to LeMans.


Some 60 undergraduate students who are participating in international studies programs in Europe will join the contingent of University faculty and staff, as will administrators, deans, and faculty members.

Among official activities of the two-day event, Bishop Jacques Maurice Faivre, of LeMans, will preside at a 4 p.m. Mass on Saturday, Sept. 15 in the Centre Antares, during which Cardinal Jose Saraiva Martins, prefect of the Congregation for the Causes of Saints will read a letter from Pope Benedict XVI declaring Father Moreau “blessed” and establishing January 20 as his liturgical feast day.

First the Tridentine Mass back on campus, and now the founder of the Congregation of Holy Cross beatified, at long last. Football excepted, it's shaping up to be a great fall at Notre Dame.

Wednesday, September 12


An Irish Ecclesiological Curiosity

Gallarus Oratory (possibly 6th century), near Dingle, Ireland.


Dominican (O.P.) Day Celebrations A Success

NEW YORK (HWTN News)--Thousands of white-robed clergy thronged Fifth Avenue last weekend as Manhattan celebrated the 75th Annual Dominican Day Parade. Vendors hawing black-and-white cookies, ice-cream bars in the shape of St. Thomas Aquinas's face (rather than the usual SpongeBob with liquorice eyes), and souvenir copies of the Summa weighing twenty pounds packed the edges of Central Park.

Units of professed brethren from as far away as Providence College, the Dominican House of Studies in Washington, D.C., and the Angelicum marched in formation, accompanied by baton-twirling drill-teams of Ann Arbor sisters and one rather muddled group of pom-pom-waving friars from Southern California with whom the Master-General will probably have a little talking-to at some point.

One highlight was the special O.P. K-9 Section from the novitiate in Cincinnati, who formed a dog pyramid while holding flaming torches in their mouths while stopped in front of the reviewing stand at St. Pat's, to the honor of this year's grand marshal, English theologian Aidan Nichols, who rode at the head of the parade in a giant float (due to some last-minute miscommunications) shaped like a mango and holding Miss Dominicana Angelita Santos from Union City, New Jersey.

Other celebrities in this year's procession included Brother Jordan of Saxony Cartwright, the winner of this year's Jordan of Saxony look-alike contest in Grand Rapids, Michigan, and professional Catherine of Siena impersonator Sister M. Joan Newhart, sister of Bob Newhart.

Bob Newhart himself put in a cameo appearance at the subsequent Black Tie (and Cappa) Gala (with salsa dancing and monastic chant) at the Club Dominicana at St. Vincent Ferrer's bringing the house down with his impression of St. Dominic attempting to explain the nine ways of prayer over the phone to Angelus the Carmelite.

A few small tragedies marred this year's wonderful pageantry. As early as a week before the festivities, several carloads of Nashville Dominicans in souped-up T-birds blasting Salve Regina over their boomboxes disturbed the peace of a few residents on the Lower East Side, as well as getting into a rumble with some roller-blading Sisters of Life in the process. A lone VW Bug filled with CFRs flying the Franciscan flag was sighted cruising up and down in front of St. Vincent's looking for trouble. It was then vandalized by a large and intimidating spray-paint wielding friar (subsequently identified as one Brother Justin), while on Wednesday, several men in plaid shirts loitering in front of St. Francis Xavier's in the Village were mistaken for Jesuits and given atomic wedgies.

Despite this, the local Provincial, Fr. Thomas McGregor, has deemed the festival a success and hopes next year will prove even better. However, his perspective is not shared by everyone, such as the contingent of foreign notables from Ciudad Trujillo who were mistakenly invited to the Reviewing Stand and then turned away. "What are all these crazy old gringos doing marching down Fifth Avenue in their bathrobes?" Francisco Suarez of the Juan Pablo Duarte Chapter of the Rotary Club, asked. "I thought this was a Dominican parade!"

Tuesday, September 11


La Bohème, Chicago Style

That worthy repository of urbanist causes, the Society of St. Barbara blog, has brought yet another local masterpiece to my attention--the murals at the Bohemian National Cemetary Chapel in Chicago, by the unjustly neglected ecclesiastical muralist John Mallin, who labored in his traditional style well into the 1960s. The chapel is not Catholic, but non-denominational, but features some wonderful paintwork which would be a tremendous shame to lose.

The cemetary itself started out as a burial-ground for non-Catholic Bohemians, particularly those of a radical or agnostic bent, but over time more Catholics have come to be buried there. There has even been some discussion of opening up a specifically Catholic chapel in the cemetary in recent years--admittedly somewhat tenuous discussions--but nonetheless Catholic funerals are occasionally held inside this particular chapel, and a priest recently consecrated the grounds.

And the folks at St. Barbara have the solution:
American Express has a novel program to protect and celebrate American architecture, they are calling Partners in Preservation. The idea sure sounds like a pleasnt one, in sort of 1960's radio contest way: Amex will donate $1 Million to the upkeep of a Chicago area landmark, based on the leader in number of votes on their website to maintain the landmark (it also sounds a bit like the SNL skit where callers voted on whether to boil a live lobster or not).

John Mallin is the premier ecclesiastical mural painter in the United States. He did work all over the Archdiocese of Chicago, following Henry Schlacks with his finishing touches to Schlacks Churches. One of his finest works, however, was not at a Catholic chapel, rather at the non-denominational Bohemian National Cemetery Chapel at Pulaski and Foster in Chicago.


John Mallin lived a very long time, and was still producing classical artwork in the 1960's when the rest of the world had given up on 2000 + years of tradition in exchange for Roy Lichtenstein. We need more artists such as Mallin to uphold the fine arts regardless of the prevailing artistic norms.
More on the contest here.

And if now you suddenly have a mysterious craving for lobster, go here afterwards.

+ Dona eis Requiem +

Saturday, September 8



In honor of Mr. bin Laden's kind request that I convert to Islam, I happily enjoyed a ham salad sandwich for lunch today.

Even if it was Friday.

Friday, September 7


Low Masses with Music, and the Missa Cantata

There is a fascinating discussion going on over at WDTPRS regarding the proper way(s) to incorporate music--either vernacular hymns or the appropriate chants--into the Extraordinary Form Low Mass and the Missa Cantata. Fr Z explains:
A Missa cantata without sacred ministers can be done in two ways, a simpler and a more solemn form.

In the first case, you pretty much follow the rubrics for low Mass. The priest sings all that is sung at a Solemn Mass, including the Gospel and the Ite, etc. He can sit while the choir sings the Gloria or Sequence or Creed. A server who is a cleric in surplice could sing the Epistle and then the priest would not say it himself but only listen. The choir could sing pretty much everything they would sing at a Solemn Mass. There wouldn’t be incense but there could be torchbearers.

The fancier form is like the above, but… well… fancier. This would be the form that was often used in places instead of a Solemn Mass.
High Mass, and even a full-blown Missa Cantata can be a lot for a simple parish to handle at this point, so such rubrical explorations are extremely important right now, in order to give the Mass as much musical and ceremonial beauty as possible within the relatively limited resources of a mainstream parish, which might be expanded further upon (additional servers, incense) as interest grows, and which also might bleed over into the equivalent ordinary form celebrations of a parish, as such a simple Missa Cantata is about equivalent to the normal parish mass today. So, definitely worth discussing.

One more thing. Combox liturgical discussion is increasingly becoming a bloodsport, so if you say anything over there, be nice. This is not to say "don't criticize." In the South (where half my ancestors hail from, and where I was born and raised), we can say anything we want about someone, so long as we follow up with, "Bless his heart."

Thursday, September 6


Tridentine Mass and Lecture at Our Saviour's This Sunday!

For all those in the New York City area, you will be interested to hear there will be a special Solemn High Mass in the Extraordinary Form sponsored by the Society of St. Hugh of Cluny at 5 PM, this Sunday, September 9, at the Church of Our Saviour, 59 Park Avenue, New York City, New York. I hope to be there, in the pews!

This will be followed by a presentation by German novelist Martin Mosebach, the author of The Heresy of Formlessness, who will be introduced by liturgical scholar Fr. Uwe-Michael Lang, author of Turning Towards the Lord. After that, they will entertain discussion and questions regarding the coming Motu Proprio and the Tridentine Liturgy in general.

I have not read Martin Mosebach's book on the Tridentine mass and have heard both praise and constructive criticism concerning it, even among Traditionalists, so I cannot offer comments on his thesis (the details of which are still a bit hazy to me at this point), either pro or con. I am sure it will make for engaging discussion, though.

That being said, I have read Fr. Lang's book and can recommend it with three hearty cheers. At the very least, having the two of them together under one roof, answering questions, will doubtlessly make for a fascinating evening revolving around one of the most critical issues in the Church today, and on top of that, the opportunity to pray a beautiful liturgy sung at the altar of one of my favorite churches in the city.

Was Baby Jesus a Mime?

Okay, I generally file the whole "draping the Infant of Prague in enormous amounts of lace thing" under "things whose popularity puzzles me but don't mind" (the Spanish Virgins who are similarly clad do a better job of pulling it off, but then Our Blessed Lady looks good in nearly anything) but could someone explain why He is always shown trapped inside a glass box?!

Wednesday, September 5


Caption Contest!

Hurtling to a stop in St. Peter's Square on the papal segway, Benedict deploys the emergency zuchetto parachute.

Irish Ecclesiastical Architecture, Part II

From a ruined cathedral located on the outskirts of Tralee. (The local diocese is now centered in Killarney). Note the distinctive multi-light square end, which I saw in several variations during my trip.

Another view.

Sedilia from the sanctuary of the former cathedral. Rather than sitting in the presider's chair common today, or the bench used from Trent to more recent days, medieval priests would sit in elaborate seats, often arched and built into the wall, flanked by places for the deacon and subdeacon and sometimes incorporating a niche with drain for the lavabo.

Another view of the complex at about sunset. The bell-cote, another common Irish feature, belongs to a subsidiary chapel or church of some sort located just behind the cathedral's liturgical west end.

A remarkably well-preserved Franciscan monastery, also near Tralee. It's quite literally in suburbia, surrounded by back yards, a nearby soccer-field, and hedges.

A view of the monastic church's east end, with a five-light variant on the typical Irish design. Such vast spreads of glass are worthy of study today as a manifestation of liturgical orientation towards the rising, eastern sun.

Monday, September 3


On Notice

(If Steve Colbert can do it, so can I)

Whoever it was who decided to put the Hallelujah Chorus in the Charmin commercial with the portapotties, the beach and the computer-animated bears, consider yourself warned.

Radio Free Saxe-Coburg-Gotha

The Shrine's beloved TV affiliate, HWTN (Holy Whapping Television Network) has recently acquired the moribund Radio Free Saxe-Coburg-Gotha, a former outreach of the Propaganda Fide that, after an unsuccessful attempt to broadcast anti-Lutheran news during the Thirty Years War, pretty much crumbled in 1676 and has been playing a continuous loop of Archangelo Corelli's Baroque Elevator Grossi Concerti for the past three centuries. So, to commemorate the occasion, we are kicking off the grand inauguration of the new station building in Meissen (the old one was recently burnt down by a bigoted anti-harpischordist mob) with a marathon of justifiably ignored opera arias from the past two hundred years. Highlights will include:

The Catalogue Aria from Salieri's infamous Donald Giovanni, about a philandering regional sales manager in Wilmington, Delaware. In this charming air, Don's irritated and overworked assistant, Leoporello, complains about the 1,003 Pottery Barn fliers he has received this month alone, not to mention the 231 J. Crew advertisements, though he's only had to deal with a mere 91 mailings from Abercrombie and Fitch.

Batter, batter, hey, Masetto. Also from Donald Giovanni, after Don attempts to seduce the lovely and virtuous temp Zerlina at the company softball game, thus inciting the jealousy of her enormous retired linebacker husband Masetto, she taunts her spouse with infield chatter as Giovanni steps up to the plate.

Knotty Journal, Fatty Car, the opening number of this timeless opera, in which Leoporello polishes up his resume on company time, trying to decide whether to send it to the offices of Rope Monthly or Weight Watcher's Annual Auto-Buying Guide.

Sempre Paratus. It is a nearly unknown fact in opera buff circles that La Traviata was originally meant to be about maritime search-and-rescue operations, but the lead diva refused to appear on stage wearing a sailor hat because it made her look like a pekingese. In this early version of Sempre libera, Violetta Valery sings her determination to defy Victorian convention by being the first courtesan to join the Italian Coast Guard.

La Donna e Mobile (translated literally, Donna is a Large Hanging Piece of Balanced Metal). From Verdi's Dadaist and largely unsuccessful late-in-life operetta (using heavily recycled tunes) The Hamburger that Ate Washington about the construction of the modernist West Wing of the National Gallery in Washington D.C., nearsighted architect I.M. Pei sings about his astonished discovery that the woman he is in love with is in fact a colossal piece of welded sculpture by Alexander Calder.

Se vuol bowlare (If you want to bowl, my dear little Count), from Le Eight Lanes di Figaro, an extremely loose adaptation of Beumarchais's The Guilty Mother written by Paisiello as revenge on Rossini, in which Figaro faces down the still-libidinous count at the Almaviva Bowling Alley, with the prize as Susanna.

Key Largo al Factotum. Another piece from Paisiello's notorious Le Eight Lanes, Figaro sings about how indispensible he is now that he has has just opened up a barber shop in South Florida.

S. Gregory the Great

Matthew Alderman. S. Gregory the Great and His Parents SS. Gordian the Senator and Silvia of Rome. Ink on vellum, begun January 2006 and set aside; completed October 2006.

Matthew Alderman. S. Gregory the Great, Pope of Rome, Seated in State Upon the Throne of Peter. Ink on Vellum. January 2006.

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